Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hot Springs LTVA - West of Yuma

Steve Hunter - Campground Host

Hot Springs Long-term Visitor Area (LTVA) is about fifteen miles East of El Centro, California on interstate eight.

The springs are 75 feet behind two  concrete-block pit toilets that double as changing rooms. The water comes out of the ground at 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.7 C), but is cooled to 103 (39.4 C) by management. There's a lawn-sprinkler like device for the kiddies and two cement tubs. The larger tub can hold half a dozen friends or four strangers. The smaller, cooler tub is a one-person or "intimates" deal. The rules ask you to shower before getting in.

But then there's the oasis!!! Immediately adjacent to the springs, it's 80 feet across, with reeds, palms swaying in the breeze and (Lucky Herrmann!) a lovely bathing beauty.

The springs are free. Swimsuits are required.

Across the street is the LTVA. Steve Hunter, the campground host, had spent the previous 30 years in the area and gave me a list of places to visit that'll keep me busy for a while.

The LTVA permit is good for eight different LTVAs in Arizona and California.

Bathing Beauty

$180.00 per season or $60.00/28 days or $40.00 for 14 days.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Julian Grade

Longer Than Wide

Steve Hunter (camp host at Hot Springs Long-term Visitors Area - west of Yuma) said anyone travelling in these parts was missing something if they didn't go to Julian for apple pie.

It wasn't as if I *needed* any, so I rationalized with "It's my patriotic dooty."

I exited I-8 at Ocotillo where a banner advertised for help wanted in the case you need a job of work. (What other kinds of jobs *are*  there?)

Ocotillo Blossom
Wind Farm - Help Wanted
It was sunset when I topped a ridge and spied a track disappearing over a knoll. I went to the edge of a precipice overlooking the valley (top picture) with spectacular 360-degree views.

Entering Julian the next day I noted the elevation of 4500 feet and shuddered with horror at the patches of roadside snow. If not for the beckoning pie I'd have turned around then and there.

Setting my cap, I strode the boardwalk with numerous others -- an assortment that included boisterous teenagers throwing snowballs and oldsters in walkers venturing to cross the busy main street. The place was hot!

Given the temperature (cool) and presence of white stuff (snow), I steeled myself to eat and run. I wasn't ready for a night of freezing temperatures just yet.

I selected the venue by whim and took a table at the back near the register.

Tastes vary as do results (see mileage ratings for vehicles) so I'll simply say it was not Mom's or The Julian Pie Company. While not bad, it wasn't quite worthy of a troo patriot. The apples were over-cooked and the cinnamon was so strong there wasn't room for another flavor. There just ain't nuthin' like Mom's (my Mom's, that is).

Mojave Wildlife

I was descending from my top-o'-the-bajada camp outside Blythe when I met this gentleman highstepping across the road.

 Males have  larger (I forget the technical name) "things" sticking out under their necks. Dora, at the Mojave Preserve office, said based on his size he was a real oldster.

He was in full stride with head and legs fulled extended when I came around the corner. I was so overwhelmed by his natty bowler, cane and spats it took me a bit to remember the camera. By then he'd discerned my intentions and, quickly changing to his Chairman Mao gray's, he pulled in and "parked."

I put out a bit of apple as enticement with the bottle for scale. But he was having none of it. After a bit, I decided it best to leave. But if you'd seen him before he was overcome with shyness, I think you'd agree he'd have done great alongside Gene Kelly.

Monday, March 4, 2013! Yuma!

West of Quartzite, Arizona

Arching overhead from horizon to horizon, poked from below by crags borrowed from the moon. The ocotillo are so fluffly their spines are hidden. Everything has a thorn. The pace is pokey too.

A few miles south of Lake Havasu City we reached clothing-optional warm. I chose a promontory that jutted out from the Bill Williams Mountains' bajada.

Fred Williams Mountains bajada

The next day a herd of ATVs went by with shouts of welcome to the "land of perfect weather." It was too...except for their noise.

We arrived in Quartzite near sundown and had to settle for a camp kinda close to the freeway. But the fine mix of saguaro and teddybear cholla leant an exotic aire to the landscaping. The night was a bit chilly.

Blythe was better. Temperatures were tolerable and there's room enough to escape the noise.

I read about Wonderland of Rocks in  Joshua Tree Nat'l Park and went to see. The Ranger said the trees need a hard freeze in order to bloom and the one that was closing in would probably do it. I watched the clouds roll in as the temperature plummeted. I packed up and Yuma.

Where I hit gold! More desert than you can shake a stick at! Land spreadin' out far & wide. But the wind!!

In the Historic District I discovered Bandanna Books. (Link is to a map. They don't have a website.)

Neat & Tidy - Right Aisle

Steve, a poker-player since age 7, bought it last December. He claims he don't know nuthin' 'bout books. Well *somebody* does...or did. For the moment at least, he has the finest collection on sexuality this side of Xavier Hollander. I chose a pristine  version of Mead's Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies and was tempted by a nice copy (no stuck pages) of the The Art of Sexual Ecstasy: The Path of Sacred Sexuality for Western Lovers.

Neat & Tidy - Office Aisle

The art section'd been ravaged by a horde of seminarists from nearby Yuma Art Center, but Steve said it'd be replenished in a few days.

Ravaged Art!!
Steve and Wife