Broke Down In Yuma

(I know I promised)

I know I promised to cut down on the prose and focus on photos. (Now there’s a pun.) At the moment I am writing while sitting in my van while a young man works on the engine four feet away from this keyboard. He is frustratingly slow. It is not because he is Mexican, he’s just young. And how the hell do you work under the hood of a vehicle while wearing sunglasses?

So where do the Catholics park? This was a sign I found in Austin. Nothing is sacred if there is a dollar to be made.
Hours north of Las Vegas I passed through Goldfield NV, a once thriving gold rush community. There are still mining activities, but the place is a living permanent ‘Burning Man’ sort-of gasping ghost town.
A truly great radio station!
Google it up and have a listen.
A product of the “Four Wheel Drive Truck Company”
No airbags!
No flats. Low-profile solid rubber tires, mechanical band brakes. She must of been a riot to drive.
A Cletrack. My camera heated up as I shot up this fascinating place.
Yes, it is real. A narrow gauge mining steam locomotive.
SEE! Burning man!
A wonderfully nutty town.
Main Street,
Goldfield. There was an aroma of wood smoke.
Say no more!


I mentioned my old tires in a previous blog. I finally decided that I had to replace them. Problem is, their cost equals my gas budget to get home again. But, it now feels like I’m driving a much newer vehicle. It would be irresponsible continuing to drive something that was clearly unsafe. After parking in Searchlight, my morning inspection revealed that my engine’s water pump was giving me fair warning. I bought a replacement pump in an effort to outwit Murphy and have made it to the campground where some friends from home are staying in Yuma. It was great seeing them and they have been wonderfully helpful. Replacing the pump is a straight forward job for an old wrench-bender like me but my experience says it is not a job to do on the roadside nor in the very civilized camp ground where I’m staying. And, if there is some small part I may need…! So here I sit, trying to patient while time and money vaporize.

Runway 24
My morning amble took me up and down on the runway at Searchlight Nevada where I stopped for the night
Crash landing. This place was clearly a failed development of a fly-in suburb built around a runway where you could taxi right up to your house.
Speaking of crash landings! north of Las Vegas I came upon the once infamous Mustang Ranch, a bordello just north of Beatty NV. There was a huge horse’s head in white on the hill above the site. The wreck is a Beech 18, famous twin-engined workhorse. A little further north I passed a sign marking the “Shady Lady Bed & Breakfast” Uh Huh!

It looks like I may not be going to Mexico after all . The friends I was rushing down to San Carlos to meet have moved on south because their plans shifted into sub-section F. After making repairs I think it is prudent to stay north of the border but…I am dead, burned-out exhausted and not making good decisions. I think I will stay in Yuma for one more day and just rest. I have long wanted to return to an area I saw from the top of Kitt Peak Observatory, a short distance southwest of Tucson. To the south of the observatory stands Baboquivari, an ancient volcanic cone that is a sacred mountain to the local Tohono O’Odham Indians. There is a remote campground there which will be a great place to rest, write, and explore with my cameras. After that, I’ll decide which plan is best. It is certainly not pleasant doing this pilgrimage alone and on a tight budget but I need to recharge my own batteries and have a rest. Baboquivari will make the whole journey worthwhile, and I’m not ruling Mexico out just yet.

On the road to Vegas
The long road home
Sundown before Las Vegas. I knew I should have stopped for the night!

Yuma is a bewildering mix of endless dusty barios and shining Neo-Amurica. It sprawls on and on and is the largest farm town I’ve ever seen, surrounded for many, many miles on all sides with some of the most productive agricultural land on the continent. Chances are the vegetables for tonight’s supper came from the Yuma area. The price of that production is the draining of the Colorado River. It no longer runs into the Sea Of Cortez. It is pumped dry for irrigation of the fertile dark soil. That is after several years of drought, a subject to discuss another time.

Beatty Nevada. That damned cop trundled along at 1 mph under the limit…of 25mph. I felt he was daring me to pass him!

Apparently, there were December rains this winter and I am told that desert will soon burst into a rare riot of blooms. Today a cold, dry winter desert wind continues to blast the broad valley but I am wearing short sleeves while many folks are in wool caps and parkas. I am a Canadian…like hundreds of thousands of other Northern Snowbirds crowding dusty campgrounds for hundreds of miles. I clearly have a very different notion of getting away from it all.It is abierto for me! In the distance, the ancient sun-blasted mountains of Mexico loom above the verdant plains of the Colorado River. Their call is so strong!

Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know.” …John Keats