High Plains Drifting

High Plains Drifting

I’ve described arriving in Page, Arizona. It was a time to buy provisions, do laundry and purposely begin heading in a vague direction toward home. It is amazing what can happen in one day. The next two blogs will be pictorial accounts of an amazing and ongoing trek.

And a partridge in a bare tree. It is going to be a good day when you are bid farewell by a Mourning Dove. There are thousands of these beauties in the Southwest. They are considered a game bird and  are hunted aggressively.
Dam it all!? Page Arizona, where the Colorado River was backed up to make huge Powell Lake. This mighty but sorry river never reaches the Sea Of Cortez as it used to. It is pumped dry for irrigation of the rich farmland in a radius of Yuma. That happens after it is again dammed by the Hoover Dam near Las (Lost) Vegas That dam’s reservoir, Lake Mead, is almost dry. It is still an amazing river despite all the effort to destroy it.
Run ponies, run. Horses are another cornerstone of Navajo culture. The creatures are allowed to run wild and free. They are extremely wary and will herd up and charge off with the simple provocation of your stopping. They are difficult to photograph. They are beautiful!
The photographer’s shadow. I cannot get enough of this country.
I hope this cut was not made with pick and shovel. They are a feisty lot in this part of the country.
After doubling back from Page, i drove through the cut and down the long, steep grade to Bitter Springs on the plain below. Here one leaves Highway 89 and heads westward into the magic of Marble Canyon, the Vermillion Cliffs and the hig snowy North Rim country of the Grand Canyon. Bleak and desolate perhaps but I was overwhelmed by the stark beauty of it all.
More wild horses, wary as ever. Surely another good omen for the day ahead. They quickly vanished beneath the rise of land as if I had only imagined seeing them.
Uh Huh? Would this sign make a difference if you were really going to take the plunge? This is on the old Navajo Bridge at Lee’s Ferry, a crossing of the Colorado River.
Head-Smashed-In-White-Man Jump. Turbid and swift, the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry is cutting its way toward the Grand Canyon.
Nice Canyon Ya got there!
The Vermillion Cliffs drew me westward. I found a notation on my map about a place called “Cliff dwellers”. You know what I was thinking. I began to get excited.


WTF!? Bedrock City! In 1927 a couple driving by had their car break down. They decided to stay and built an abode with out-buildings (outrockings?)
They constructed walls and roofs beneath the immense boulders, opened a restaurant, put in a gas pump and…? Cliff Dwellers is listed among Arizona’s ghost towns.
C’mon on in. Set a spell. D’ya bring any water?
An old Scottish expression came to mind. “Long may your lum reek.” Translation: Long may your chimney smoke.
The In-law suite.
Graffitti. Some from 1878. That’s cool!
Oh SHIT! Really? What’s with the Porta-potti security? Guess we’ll have to go behind a rock. Paper? No! Really?
Who let the rocks out? Why the hell would anyone go to the effort of fencing this? My dirt! It was intriguing but I couldn’t bring myself to trying to live beneath any of it. What if, what if?
Car-squashed-flat-native-jewellery vendor. Don’t lean on anything!
“She died, and left me the deed to the ranch.” That’s a punchline from an old Paul Harvey joke. Dang! that’s a lot of fencing to look after. There are ranch buildings at the bottom of the hill. The vastness, solitude and endless beauty are overwhelming.
Fredonia!? Old Fred drove onwards. Jacob Lake is where you turn in to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was closed, and heaped with snow. I was amazed at the number of people who live up in every one of these high, desolate places.
Descending into the Kanab Valley, the Utah border is a few miles ahead. I can never get enough of these broad, spectacular vallies. There were fresh deer tracks in the snow everywhere.
I once knew of a boat named ‘F.R.E.D.’ It meant F—ing Ridiculous Economic Disaster. Welcome to Fredonia.
The Town Center. Someone should be charging admission.
Low profile tires, spoked wheels, full cabin air. There was nothing to indicate what make it was.
A dodge tow truck. No hydraulic problems with the rig.
Home-made signal lights.
Straight-out, left turn.
Pointing-up, right turn. You used to have to know the hand signals for your driving test, car or motorcycle. Folks don’t even use their electric signal lights now.
The original Ram-Tough Dodge grill.
They delivered fuel in this!
You can still see Standard Oil on the side of the three-compartment tank. There are mechanical brakes on the rear axle only. And there are no hills anywhere! Nope.
With a little paint, I’ll bet this thing would sell!
It didn’t hurt him a bit!
Farm yard frugal. Ya could stuff it with straw and git another cupla hunnert miles outta ‘er!
Says it all, that saw blade mural on the tin wall. I did not stop at the realtor’s office.

All I’ve ever wanted was an honest week’s pay for an honest day’s work.”

… Steve Martin


Driving south from Goldfield I began to see Yucca trees. Here’s a forest of them.
Poston, Arizona on the banks of the Colorado River
This area, within a large radius of Yuma is some of the most productive farm land in America… and the money is made on the backs of Mexican immigrants, legal or not. The extravagant farm owner’s houses tell the story. so do the grim barrios where the workers are housed.


Driving toward Yuma from the west, you must pass through Quartzsite, the biggest flea market I’ve ever seen.
It’s a mess to get through
Everything imaginable is for sale
I mean everything! This is a Bell 47 J2A. I worked on these when I was an apprentice helicopter mechanic. I still love this model.
Tens of thousands of RVs park in the desert. It is called “Dry Camping”
Yuma bound
Hundreds of thousands of northerners spend their winter here, just like this.
Old cars are a passion here. This, I believe, is a 1940 Ford
In a Yuma backyard. The grapefruit just fall and lay on the lawn. They are $3 each back home.
A Yuma weed growing beside the sidewalk. Dates are smeared all over the concrete.
Yet another Yuma suburban scene
Colorado River dawn. It looks kind of biblical!
The Mormon Battalion once passed through here to fight the Mexicans. This is a commemorative statue in the adjacent park.
I liked the poem.
Nobody home.
January flowers. There are wonderful colours, alien to me, which bloom everywhere.
Still working after all these years
Waiting for parts

Re-radial low profile tires
Dry dawn
Thinking green? Recycling is clearly a novel idea here. It looks a lot like Mexico!
Super mannequin
Studebaker Bullet Nose
Nearly 70 years old and still ahead of its time!
My Mexican laundry.
Anything for a buck. Mexican enterprise.
First coffee and finally… a selfie stick!
RV Park dawn. Up before the quail to catch up on my blogging. The stars are magnificent here. Five hours later, it is getting too bright to see the computer screen. Time to move on. Desert Ho!


In my last blog, I described Yuma well enough. It is a massive sprawling agricultural barrio with non-stop trains, howling freeway and endless military flights. Look there goes another F69! I’ve stayed in the same RV park for four nights while repairs were made and while visiting friends from my marina in Ladysmith. John and Lynne are seasoned snow birds and have pampered me wonderfully. Now it is time to move on. This RV park is nestled on the southern bank of the Colorado River, immediately adjacent to an amazing park built on the reclaimed land of a huge garbage dump. Here are some of my photographic impressions of the drive into Yuma and of my last four days here. I’ll post this blog and then move on into the raw desert.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” …Mark Twain