Desert Explorers Rendezvous
by Bob Jacoby
The action began actually on Thursday morning (March 10) when a group of us met across the river in Ehrenburg, Arizona to go on the annual Joseo (Bob Jaussaud) two day inbound trip. All of Bob’s trips are spectacular, but this was extra special. We explored both sides of the river between Blythe and Yuma and visited some country that many of us had never seen. We traveled over a couple of the most scenic roads that I have ever been on and really had a fabulous time. The group was able to get back to the Cove in time for the beginning of Happy Hour festivities on Friday afternoon. Elsewhere, in this newsletter there should be pictures and more stories about this great two days as well as about all of the other trips during the weekend.
There were also two other one day trips on Friday which were very interesting. Gerry Dupree led an inbound trip with several vehicles along the historic Bradshaw Trail. Most of the folks who went on this dirt road journey all the way to Blythe had never been on this trail. Also, on Friday Nelson Miller led an afternoon trip to the Mule Mountain Intaglios west of Blythe. Nelson’s knowledge of Native American art and culture makes his trips special.
Whenever the DE has a Happy Hour you can usually count on plenty of food and a wide variety of it. This was no exception. The Rec Room at the Cove was overflowing with mass quantities of good stuff to eat. This really set the stage for an evening of socializing and making plans for attending trips on Saturday and Sunday. The evening was topped off with a special Power Point presentation by DE members Claudia and Alan Heller. The presentation provided fascinating information regarding the strange and extraordinary sights that can be found in the California deserts. Especially interesting to me were pictures of the quirky roadside art on Route 66 in the Mojave. For those who were not there, I highly recommend the Heller’s book, Curiosities of the California Desert.
Saturday morning at the Cove saw three trips beginning at about the same time. Bill Powell and I led an all day trip hitting two areas across the river in Arizona. During the morning we enjoyed a scenic jaunt through the Arizona desert to Plumosa range north of Quartzite. We generally skirted the range but finally followed a road through a pass to the other side of the mountains. This was a fairly easy but interesting trip given all the wildflowers and blooming cactus. The afternoon part of the trip was a more harrowing drive from Quartzite to beautiful Dripping Springs. This road proved to be a rock crawling challenge but fortunately Mr. Neal Johns was along. Neal knew all the tricks and we managed to make it through relatively unscathed. Also on Saturday, Jay Lawrence led an interesting trip to the KOFA Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. There was also some special scenery on that trip. Finally, on Saturday Bill Neill led one of his geology trips. This time to the Whipple Mountains.
Back at the Cove on Saturday night there was plenty of activity. We enjoyed a catered BBQ meal from Rebel BBQ in Blythe. The food was very good and everybody enjoyed the dinner. In my opinion, Rebel BBQ is by far the best place to eat in Blythe. They also have a branch in Lake Havasu. If you like BBQ you can’t beat this! After dinner we were very fortunate to have two guest speakers (Ned Hyducke and his assistant) from the Palo Verde Irrigation District. The presentation was fascinating and we all learned a lot of interesting information about water usage in the Palo Verde Valley. The speakers also provided some interesting historical information about the Valley. To top the evening off most everyone visited the silent auction which has proven to be a valuable fund raiser for the club.
On Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to the Cove, but the fun wasn’t over. There were three outbound trips to choose from. Nelson Miller led yet another trip to several areas including the intaglios. The reviews on this trip have been highly complementary. Bill Neil also led another geology trip. This time providing a tour of the Mecca Hills. The third trip was led by Gerry Dupree and was an interesting tour of the Paden Pass area north and west of Blythe.
If you like the desert dirt roads and enjoy the comradery of like-minded individuals the DE Rondies are very special. If you didn’t make it this year, plan on it next year. We will begin talking about next year’s Rondy at the DE business meeting on April 15th.
Bradshaw Trail Rondy Inbound Trip
March 10, 2017 • by Jerry Dupree
I have driven the Bradshaw Trail from the Salton Sea to Ripley before, but it was several years ago. This time I was to “lead” a trip by starting about midway between the two and thought I would recognize all of the landmarks and we reviewed the BLM map at the kiosk at the beginning of Summit Road. We met up at the Patton Museum parking lot and everyone arrived within minutes of each other. The trip was attended by Jerry and Dolly Dupree, Allan and Ding Wicker, Will and Julie Smith, Bret Heinrich, Terry and Eileen Ogden, Leonard and Hannah Friedman. Allan volunteered to be the tail and watch over us to be sure we didn’t have any stragglers. The trip proceeded east and we got off I-10 at Red Cloud Road so we could intersect Bradshaw. I took a wrong turn on the Red Cloud mine road, which went about ten miles and dead ended. As embarrassing as it was, it turned out to be the most scenic part of the trip. It cost us some time, but we did get to the Bradshaw Trail. The road parallels the Naval Gunnery Range and is plainly marked. We proceeded eastward and then determined we were running short on time. It was decided to head toward I-10 by way of Wiley Well Road which runs near the Ironwood and the Chuckwalla state prisons. We didn’t miss much scenery except a rough spot through a mountain pass. The scenery on Wiley Well Road was very nice. There is a modern campground near the intersection of Bradshaw Trail and Wiley Well road. I am mentioning this for future reference if anyone is interested in visiting the area.
The trip continued without incident and we arrived at the Rondy in Blythe on time. ~ Jerry