Sunday, December 21, 2008



Always amazes me how the temperatures can vary so much in just a matter of feet. On the south side of the rig where the sun is shining it's warm enough for short sleeves but if you walk around to the other side of the motorhome, you have to put a sweater or coat on or your gonna be cold. Guess that tells me the daytime desert air is cool but the sun's rays are warming. It's a lot like our early spring days in Ontario.

We headed off for the short drive to the old abandoned gold mining town of Tumco about 4 miles up Ogilby road. It's a short half mile bumpity drive along a gravely stone road to the trailhead & just a few minutes walk to the townsite. There are no buildings left here, only some stone foundations, a cellar, some stucco & stone walls, a cemetery, a few concrete pieces & thousands & thousands of rusting cans & various pieces of metal. Tumco was a mining boom town in the 1890's with about 500 people & the only thing that stirs here now is the wind coming in off the dry California desert.


We spent the best part of 3 hours walking the mile or so around where the townsite had been. The mine itself was further back at the base of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. Tried to imagine what it would have been like here over a hundred years ago on a typical Saturday morning in the month of December just before Christmas. Men probably worked the mine 7 days a week & the townsfolk would have been busy with their company stores, social clubs, local saloon, many houses & hospital. Hard to imagine all the hustle & bustle as I stood at the cemetery site overlooking where the town used to be. We noticed there didn't seem to be any kind of life here at all now. No birds, no animals, few trees, & no sounds. Only the wayward wind. And 28 stony grave sites. 4 LARGE CYANIDE VATS

It was particularly interesting standing at the site & walking down into the cellar of the place called, The Miner's Club. This was a saloon complete with billiard & pool tables where miners played, drank, roughhoused, & spent time with the ladies. As I stood in the basement with all it's old rusting tin cans & bits of forgotten memories I tried to imagine the carryings on of the all the characters just above me in the wild saloon on a rollicking Saturday night. The drinking, the fights, the guns, the laughter, the girls, the carousing & the shenanigans. This was probably quite a place in it's day. IN THE BASEMENT OF THE MINER'S CLUB SALOON

The largest man made structures still remaining are the 4 huge metal cyanide tanks up on a hillside. Weak solutions of cyanide were used in the mining process to separate the ore from the gold. Those tanks are slowly disintegrating now & have been filled with clay but we were able to walk through them & marvel at the heavy timbers the tanks were sitting on. I always find it difficult to understand how people did things years ago without all the wonders of modern technology & machinery. If only we could enter a time capsule & travel back to those times to see how they lived. I always find historical things fascinating, so to-day was not only a good learning experience, it was also a good day for getting some much needed exercise. OUR CHIEF SCROUNGER

From the Tumco site we headed further up Ogilby Road looking for another road we heard led back into a canyon. We didn't find the canyon but we found another curious site in the desert. I'll save that for to-morrow's blog.

We were back to the rig by 3 & I kicked back in the lounge chair for a little solar delight. Kelly built a campfire later & we had some steaks on the barbie until the sun began to set & then it was quickly inside as the desert air temperatures plunged rapidly. It was the end of another fine day.....................


Friday, December 19, 2008



We are only a half mile from a busy mainline double tracked railroad, but the heavy freight train whistles have never bothered us. Something about their mournful sound far off in the night seems re-assuring. Something about trains in a lot of us I guess.

Our morning walk brought us across a scene that was familiar to us. Scattered clothes, boots, suitcases, toothbrush, books, old cans, a rumpled sleeping bag, collapsed tent, etc. The remnants of a once living & breathing human being, scattered about on the desert floor. I find it always sad to think that what I'm looking at is the end of a person's way of life........ or perhaps their very life itself. Who the person was or where they have gone we'll never know, but what they left behind will remain in my mind for a long time. And the photos I took as well. THE SCATTERED REMAINS OF SOMEBODY'S LIFE

Decided to do the old mining town hike on Saturday morning instead of to-day. We were out of bananas, low on milk, & getting low on dog food so it was off to Yuma this morning. Seems odd to be way out here in the dusty wind swept desert & then a short 20 minutes later we're in the Yuma Palms Mega shopping Mall with huge palm trees, pansies & snap dragons in manicured flowerbeds. It's a crazy world I tell ya. I refused to go back to that IGA grocery store with the horribly loud Mexican music so we managed to find us a Wal-Mart Super Center not far from the Yuma Palms Mall.

The State Line between Arizona & California runs right through the west end of Yuma along the Colorado River. On the Arizona side the time might be 10 a.m. & a few inches away on the California side, the same time is 11 a.m. By the same token, we got gas in Arizona to-day for $1.59 a gallon & if we had crossed the state line into California, that same amount gas would have cost us $2.19 a gallon. Also, upon entering California, every vehicle is required to stop at an Agricultural check point & could be searched for citrus, fruits or vegetables because of potential bugs or something coming into the State. At least that's what we think it's for. And they wonder where all the Government money goes!! Yep, crazy world alright!!

We were back to the rig by 2 & unloaded the 650 bags of groceries. Ok, well at least it seemed like that many. Had an unexpected little visitor this afternoon. We always leave our door wide open & sure enough, a tiny hummingbird flew into the motorhome this afternoon. Poor little fellow couldn't figure out why he couldn't just keep on going through the big windshield, so I quietly explained things to him & not to worry. He placed his trust in me, sat in my hand while I carefully cupped him with my other hand & then gently moved him to the open window, wished him well & he was free once again. He was a happy little guy because I could here him humming contentedly to himself as he winged his way off in the direction of the distant mountains.

Stretched out later on the lounge chair & soaked up some sun shine. Watched 3 border patrol vehicles whiz by & head off into the desert. Yep, life goes on...........ME & MY LITTLE SUPER PAL, MOTORMOUSE......... CATCHING SOME RAYS

I've uploaded a few photos to an album to-night.


Thursday, December 18, 2008



Well, lucky for me the rains had stopped, the big bad gray clouds had blown away, & the temperatures were on the rise first thing this morning. No need for the shovel!!

The past 2 & a half days here at the Ogilby Road site had been cold, cloudy, & rainy so I kind of had it in my head to move on this morning & put this gloomy area behind us. Figured we'd head up into the Slab City area. However, that was not the same plan Kelly had in her head. "Why leave now when the weather has turned nice," she said. Well, I guess she had a point so I had to get to work re-arranging my thought process for the day.

Up until now we hadn't used our solar panels, so once it was determined that we were going to remain here for a bit I scooted up on the roof & set about putting the panels up. Last time I had put those panels up we were over in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico near Elephant Butte State Park. That would have been back around the beginning of March. The panels went up fine without any problems. I THINK THIS IS A PETRIFIED ALIEN'S HEAD

The sun felt so good after the past few days that we just kicked back in our lounger chairs & soaked up some serious solar until about 11. GOLD CREEK RANCH MINING MEMORABELIA

This area is ripe with old gold, copper, & ore mines so we took a drive back up into the foothills on some of the old mining roads. About 4 miles north of here is the site of an old gold mining town by the name of Tumco so we hope to slip up there maybe to-morrow & have us a look around. In the same area we did see a sign pointing down a dusty gravel road saying, Gold Rock Ranch, so we headed off in search of it. Turned out to be an RV & Mobile Home Park complete with a small museum. Many old rusty mining artifacts, WW2 memorabilia from the area & a few old trucks which I took some photos of. They even have a website... One of those quaint little places out in the middle of nowhere. THIS TRUCK PROBABLY HAULED A LOT OF ROCKS IN IT'S DAY

Back to the rig around 2 & spent the rest of the day just soaking up some more good old California sunshine & doing some domestic chores around the rig. We're kinda getting to like this area so will probably stay for a bit & do some day trips, but first we'll have to dump some tanks & take on fresh water at a Shell Station over at Pilot Knob about 5 or 6 miles from here. Probably going to have to do that to-morrow.

Nice night with lots of stars & I can see the glow of Yuma on the other side of the Cargo Muchachos Mountains. On the distant horizon to the southwest are the miles & miles of shimmering lights which I assume are between Yuma & the Mexican border crossing point of Algodones. The desert nights of the American southwest have a clarity all their own & for a fellow like myself with an interest in Astronomy, it's a very special place.......................