Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bard, Ca

Yuma is a better known town, but we’re actually camped on BLM land so you could pretty much just throw a dart at southeast Arizona pick a town of your choice. We had planned on two nights here, but the amazing sun, the endless desert, the pure and complete silence and stillness, the blazing stars filling the sky have convinced us that mainland Mexico can wait a week. Or more. We are high on a bluff overlooking canals and dams and the Colorado (or what is left of it) and it amazes me that we have seen the Colorado from the US state of Colorado, through Arizona all the way to the Sea of Cortes in Baja California. You can see this on a map; it isn’t rocket science, but it astounds me that we have followed this river from the continental divide to the sea it empties into.

If you have ever felt uncomfortable, if you have ever felt out of place, if you have ever felt, well, just a BIT too large with your vehicle, if 17 meters (or more) of vehicle gives you the heebie jeebies while driving down the street, come to Quartzsite! I headed up to “Q” very early yesterday morning. Up with the sun, it rose tentatively over the desert horizon and I rushed to close the shade so it wouldn’t wake Ellen. One of these days I’m going to get up, have charged batteries IN the camera and see if I can capture the moment on film. I snuck out (WITH coffee; I’d laid everything out the night before so I wouldn’t be without) and headed up the road, chill in the air, sun rising and alternately blinding, alone in the massive van for Q. At the beginning of the month, I’d purchased some books for the kids on Ebay and had them delivered to Q. I figured we’d be somewhere in the area. It was a nice morning drive and I was at the Post Office by 9:20. Arizona time. Our camp, deep into BLM land is actually in California but we do errands in Arizona. Q has an entire separate post office facility devoted to General Delivery. This is a town of (maybe) 5 which explodes to 100,000 in the winter with the arrival of RV’s and RV vendors and snowbirds.

After waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the counter (in hindsight, Monday morning was NOT the best time to visit the Snowbird Capital General Delivery Center) I found the books had been sent to Jamie’s name and he would have to come and pick them up. There was a guy in line that I simply could not stop looking at. He was, unfortunately, directly in front of me so a direct gaze was out of the question. I know I will never become a photographer because I wanted a photo of him desperately but could not muster the courage to snap one. The sun was still new and low on the horizon. He has a very light stubble, almost like his razor just wasn’t all that sharp. The sun was picking up each miniscule whisker and highlighting it, turning his jaw into a field of sparkle. His shirt was bright and new; blue and green wide stripes tucked tightly into brand new, pressed that morning, deep blue Wranglers. His teeth were yellow from the pipe he smoked, his skin a working tan. His cowboy hat fit him like a glove. He was chatting with the man ahead of him in line and he had a deep drawl. I schemed and maneuvered the entire hour I waited, but couldn’t figure out how to take a photo. Next time I’ll have bring a duck blind along with me. The trip was not wasted, however, I found the largest laundry-mat/shower building in the free world and we’re going back today to clean up. The boys are out of socks, the bathtub is spilling dirty laundry over the bathroom and Jamie is dying to see all the RV crap.

I’ve been moving pictures from Typepad to Flickr and January and Feb 05 are complete. If you’re keeping score or something.

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