Camping near Cibola Wildlife Refuge


Where I am today: Palo Verde County Park, south of Blythe California

The view from my campsite is very peaceful

If, of course, I don’t count the birds flying in, the fish jumping, the doves cooing and the owls hooting! The birds are active, I sit in my chair in the sun and enjoy.


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Some days are warm enough that I to want to paddle


I’m learning to put my new inflatable kayak together and get it in the water.  Getting out with knees that don’t want to bend very much is not so easy!  We’re camped in an old oxbow of the river so there isn’t much current – just lots of birds.


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We passed this hunters blind – since this spot is outside the refuge, hunting is allowed.  The white heron wasn’t impressed and was sitting quite near the blind.


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Sunset is beautiful here – this is looking east at the river.

No matter where you look, the sky at sunset can be spectacular.  I loved how soft the pinks and blues were tonight over the water.


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A Visit to the Blythe, Ca. Intaglios


Driving a very bad road to a really cool site!


About 20 miles north of Blythe, Ca. on Hwy 95, there is a protected area of the desert containing several  ‘geoglyphs’ or intaglios.  Geoglyphs are huge structures carved into the desert by early (very early) people in the area.

These geoglyphs were created by scraping away a layer of the desert rock to reveal the sand beneath.  In this area, the rocks are very dark (minerals leach out in the sun, leaving the top layer very dark) so the contrast makes a very striking image.  There are 3 geoglyphs left, surrounded by protective fencing along a very rutted, almost washed out road. There are pullouts at each site so that you can park and walk over the desert to the fenced in sites.  While they’ve suffered some damage, considering their age, it’s somewhat surprising how well they still show up.

Like similar structures in other parts of the world, they are on a scale that makes appreciating them difficult from the ground (some are over 100 feet long).  This begs the question of why the creators of these pieces made them so big when they didn’t really have anyplace from which to really view them. 

I really wished that I could have flown over the area in an ultra-light or a helicopter; I think it would be the only way to really appreciate the images.  Very worth seeing and wondering about the people who made them so long ago.

The first picture is mine; the second is an aerial view shown on a plaque by the geoglyph; you can see the fencing that outlines the figure.


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After viewing the geoglyphs, it was time for another relaxing afternoon by the river.


A few minutes after this picture was taken, Scruffy jumped out of Julie’s boat;  he did not enjoy the paddle very much after that.  While ducks can seemingly run along the surface of the water, Cairn Terriers can not.

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Cibola Wildlife Refuge

Camping alongside the wetlands of the Colorado River listening to the birds.

We’re camping at Palo Verde County Park which is nestled between Hwy 78 and the Colorado River a couple of miles from the Cibola Wildlife Refuge.  It looked like there was no charge for camping - no host, no posted fee, no iron ranger box; but just before we left (after a week), a ranger pulled in and quoted us the rate ($10 night!). Luckily, he only charged us for about 3 nights - a lot more reasonable.  There’s a boat ramp, bathrooms, a dumpster and access points to the river.  Sat in the sun by my trailer watching the birds (White Herons, Great Blue Herons, Scoots, Grebes, Northern Pintails) and listening to a bunch more we couldn’t see (finally Julie spotted the 2 Great Horned Owls that roost in the trees near us).  Occasionally, small fishing boats would troll or float by.  All in all a very pleasant stay.

The view from my campsite

Just South of the county park we stayed is Palo Verde Oxbow Park at the turn onto Baseline Road which leads to the refuge.  Oxbow Park is a good size BLM run campground ($15 night/$7.50 with the Senior Pass). We found more boon-docking on the way to the refuge; a large sandy area just after and to the right after crossing a one way bridge on Baseline Road; and also across a cattle guard opposite the refuge visitor center.

Cibola Wildlife Refuge

Even though we were visiting a bit after peak season, we saw a lot of birds on the Auto Tour - a 3 mile loop passing a pond, going through alfalfa fields that are flooded during the winter for the birds, and past many constructed burrows for the Burrowing Owl population.  There is also a 1/2 mile walking tour through the desert but we were advised that a bobcat has been seen there and not to take Scruffy unless we carried hiking sticks – we decided to do the walk another day, maybe without the dog.
While there weren’t a ton of birds at the ‘loafing pond’, being a beginning birder, I sure saw a lot of different birds to add to my list.

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This was one of the smaller constructions – maybe a studio apartment; some were more like large condominiums with lots of pipe for burrows and many crossed sticks for perches.

When scenery is boring, I doodle

Where I am today (actually, this was awhile ago; haven't had internet access so I'm behind on posting):  Still in Quartzite Az for a few more days

I am not a landscape sketcher

As pretty as the mountains are, I usually find them very boring to sketch.  So, I tend to doodle.

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A new camper joins us


Julie has been wanting a dog

Julie has been trolling the dog rescue sites as we’ve been traveling around.  We took a day trip to Phoenix a few days ago to look at some small dogs.  The dog had to be small enough to fit under an airline seat for air travel, be OK with an RV lifestyle, be OK with dogs, cats, and people.  Be OK with long periods of meditation.  Within minutes of entering the foster home for about 8 little dogs, one of them was up in Julies arms.  Even as she looked and interacted with the dog we’d come to look at, Scruffy was close by.  Unlike the other dogs, Scruffy was quiet and calm.  While he ran around with the other dogs, he didn’t bark and often lay down on a free bed or snuggled up to another dog.  As paperwork for a 2 wk trial was filled out, he sat quietly at Julie’s feet – almost like he knew what was happening.

Scruffy (a black/silver 1.5 yr old  7+ pound Cairn Terrier) is really changing my beliefs about small dogs.  He’s very chill!  He really wants to make friends with Faye Wray – but not in an aggressive way.  Although they’ve sniffed noses a couple of times, Faye Wray is still not very sure about having Scruffy visit from his trailer. 

So far the only negative thing I can find is that Scruffy is black and that makes it hard to get good photographs!  Trust me – he’s exceptionally cute!

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Quartzite AZ: Things to do after the rallies


As rallies end, and new/old friends trundle off towards new adventures, a slower, more peaceful daily schedule emerges.

My hummingbird feeder is finally drawing at least 4 regular visitors.  I love just sitting in the shade and watching their territorial displays and competition over the feeder.  Faye Wray occasionally comes out of the trailer to sit on my lap.  She’s a bit more reluctant to come out now that there is a small, very curious dog that wants to visit her (Scruffy, more on him later).
The nearest town with a full service grocery is Blythe, only about a 30 minute drive.  So, every few days we might drive over for wi-fi at the library, groceries and lunch.  Lunch out at Las Casita Dos is a real treat – best Mexican food that I’ve had in a long time.

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A few weeks ago, we attended a concert given by Paul Winer, an accomplished boogy-woogy piano player from New York (performed under the name SweetPie) turned book store owner (Desert Oasis Books, home of the Naked Book store guy).  During the concert, he mentioned a Memorial Garden that he initiated many years ago for the daughter he lost.  Celia’s Rainbow Garden has become a memorial garden for the community.  Many people and families are remembered there with elaborate desert garden structures.  It’s a special place and worth a quiet walk.

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Feb 6-8: Quartzite Casita Rally

All Fiberglass welcome – and there was quite a variety!

Over 100 people registered at this fun event; mostly Casitas, but a few Scamps, 4 Escapes (2 17, 1 19, and 1 brand-spanking new TA 5th Wheel!).  AND, there was a fully re-furbished 13 ft Ventura – Luc from Manitoba is dong a great job redoing and enhancing this cute little trailer.

What happens at a Fiberglass rally at Dome Rock?

Well, there’s homemade sopapillas, thanks to Betty and Catherine.  This leads up to the potluck soup lunch and then the fiercely contended (well, not really) ladderball tournament (“can’t we just lose so I can get my afternoon nap in” – the guy making this comment came in second and did, in fact, miss his nap)
I love looking at the trailers: mods, decorating ideas, helpful tips for boondocking.  I always come away with a list of things that I may do with my trailer.

Also, lots of old gold mines in the area provide great hiking opportunities

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Well, they didn’t go in very far.

Today I met Rusty and Timber!

Sitting in the sun enjoying the day  

We had just finished lunch and were enjoying the day, when a pickup with a homemade camper pulled up to chat.  An exhuberant dog jumped out of the cab and came running up to us barking Hello.  His owner called him back - "Timber".  Hmm . . .  I thought  Homemade camper, older guy, dog named Timber - I'll bet it's the famous Rusty and Timber that I've read so much about on RVSue's blog.

And, sure enough, it was.  He wanted to know about Julie's trailer and showed us how he's slowly outfitting his camper.  Rusty built the shell himself and is 'glassing' the outer shell for better water-proofing.  He showed us inside (still a bit rough, but functional, as he completes various projects).

It was really a surprise to meet Rusty.  He told us about a few of his favorite places to camp in the area (good info!) before he took off to pick up a new bigger fresh water tank for his camper.

Rusty and his camper (and the singing fish!)

Gratuitous sunset pictures from last night.