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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Jamming in the deserted desert

March 19, 2024 (Tue)

9:00 am Calipatria, CA

Well, we wake up and we’re still in Calipatria at the Not Ready for Prime Time Hotel (yes, they call it a hotel). Since the shower in Harvey is broken, and it’s been too many days since our last dip, we take an aggressively lukewarm shower.

 

There are shampoo packets—but they contain exactly enough shampoo to remind your hair of what soap is like, but not enough to actually cause suds to appear.

 

Robert’s take: “Hey, we don’t have to worry about scalding ourselves in the shower!”

 

10:40 am Calipatria, CA

We go to check out of the hotel, but of course there’s nobody at the front desk. We saw the desk clerk/manager/maid out back blowing dust off the walkways. We leave our electronic key and take off..

 

11:00 am Brawley, CA

The closest place to have breakfast in Calipatria is in Brawley, about 11 miles away. This hideaway is so special that even when Siri insists we are there, we’re having a hard time finding it. Finally, we walk through some bushes, and there it is! Virginia’s Casita!

 


Gini outside her casita

 

Perhaps you’ve never had Avocado Toast covered with pico de gallo and avocado slices, but Robert now has (complete with jalapeño peppers!). He reports that it’s got more of a kick that the ones served at the Woodinville Café.

 

12:00 pm Brawley, CA

Now that we are all fueled up with oatmeal and avocado, we are ready to head for Arizona!

 

Up to this point, we’ve come to think of “desert” as land with lots of warm sunshine, scrub, a few cactus, and bunches of flowers (at least during the Superbloom). That’s how the desert is around Borrego Springs, anyway and lots of the other deserts we’ve seen on our way look the same.

 

Now, though, we go through some real desert .This is the Colorado desert—part of the Sonoran desert and it’s got those Hollywood movie dunes rolling around, with absolutely nothing growing. Fortunately, it doesn’t last long, and Harvey doesn’t break down in the middle of them (although, that would make for an interesting story!).

 


We pass through some REAL desert


There’s also some deserted desert that doesn’t have sand in it, just dirt. Empty dirt, and a lot of it. It does not surprise us that there are no towns or even gas stations along this road. Looking at a map, this road seems to exist solely because it’s the faster way to get from where we were (the Calipatria/Brawley Urban area) to where we want to go (Quartzsite, AZ).

 


Deserted desert

 

2:30 pm Quartzsite, AZ

Way back in late 2021 and far away in Woodinville we watched a movie called Nomadland starring Frances McDormand who won an Oscar for Best Actress and the move won Best Picture. We also read the book. It was about people who live full time in their RV’s (or a van in Frances’ case). This movie and book inspired us to get Harvey a few months later.

 

Not that we fell in love with the lifestyle which showed older people traveling the country to work at Amazon and the sugar beet harvest and other not-so-great occupations. But it was interesting to us to carry around everything you needed to survive.

 

Much of the story focused on the yearly RV gathering in Quartzsite in January where thousands of RV’s descend and there are seminars and gatherings and a good ol’ times.

 

So here we are—where the story took place!

 

And boy, does this town love RV’s. There are a dozen or two RV parks, the local stores have lots (and lots) of RV supplies and the surrounding area is full of boondockers. We cruise down the main street and drive through a couple of RV parks, featuring metal palm tree sculptures and other assorted prehistoric creatures and no shade. Continuing down the road, Gini spots a bunch of real palm trees and declares that this RV park is the place for us!

 

Since it’s late in the season and it’s getting into the 80’s, there’s a space for us, although it’s next to the highway.

 

After driving all day in this heat, we’re not up for much, so we switch on the A/C and settle in to reading.

 

 

Day 35 Travel



Our travel on Day 35 (Tue)

 

 

 

March 20, 2024 (Wed)

9:00 am Quartzsite, AZ

One nice thing about waking up in an RV park called “Holiday Palms” is that you see a lot of palm trees when you wake up. It’s very picturesque.



Morning at the Holiday Palms RV Park

 

11:00 am Quartzsite, AZ

The guy next door to us has a big Class A RV. These are the ones that look like big buses, and they have more than one room, beds that don’t turn into tables, couches, and sometimes even washers and dryers. We get jealous of them until we think about how little fun it would be to drive and park one of those behemoths. They also have to be super-aware of height restrictions when not driving on the freeway (“Whoops, guess that town didn’t really need that overpass!”).

 

This guy’s big Class A has sprung a leak and it’s pouring out of the bottom of his rig. The poor guy is trying to get it to stop, but nothing is working and he’s sitting and staring forlornly at it with a wrench in his hand.  So this makes our predicament—of having to use the bathroom sink to get water because our kitchen sink faucet has not worked for the whole trip—seem small in comparison.

 

As annoying as Harvey can be (like with the Voodoo), he hasn’t sprung a leak on this trip for which we are very grateful (The leak in the toilet was a trip or two ago...) We do enjoy our indoor plumbing!

 

12:00 pm Quartzsite AZ

It’s time to do some resupply, so we head out to see what’s available. There are, of course, no big chain supermarkets, and the store called Big Market turns out to be a big market for liquor and hardware (a combination that doesn’t seem like it goes together).

 

There are more stores than Borrego Springs had, though, so we’re able to finally find a shower scrubby and some other miscellaneous items. Not much in the way of fresh fruit, though…

 

6:30 pm Holiday Palm RV Park

Like a lot of RV parks, the Holiday Palm RV Park works at creating community. Pretty much every night there’s something going on. Last night was Bingo, and tonight is the Music Jam. We decide to grab our instruments and check it out.

 

We’ve been to a number of “jams” and there’s a lot of variety. Usually, musicians sit around in a circle and play tunes with each other.

 

This time, as we walk in, we see one guy up on a stage singing old songs (well, old popular songs from the 1960’s, not old fiddle tunes from the 1860’s). Because we brought our instruments, we are marked as Musicians by the audience—all 10 of them.

 

Pretty soon, we’re up on the stage, doing a few songs together (Gini on vocals, Robert on ukulele). Then Robert does a few songs on his own, and before you know it, the guy who was on stage wants Robert to join him and pretty soon, the Robert & Ron Show is well underway.

 

It’s hot and sweaty and great fun and since the audience is made up of old people, and we ourselves are old people, we get a lot of folks singing along.



Ron & Robert rocking out 




Video of part of “Bad Moon Rising”

 

The fun goes on until 8:30 pm, when we finally drag ourselves back to Harvey to get ready for another day. Whew!

 

Day 36 Travel



Our travel on Day 36 (Wed)

 

 

 

Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff

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