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| Dan Messersmith & Marilyn Martin | Trip Reports

2009 Trip Reports - Quartzsite Reports

Quartzsite  Shop-a-Thon and Day Trips

January  22-26, 2009

By Dan W. Messersmith

The following are the names  were gathered of those who were in and out of camp while we were there: Bob &  Shirley Bolin; Lou & Pat Carfield; Bill & Barbara Gossett; Sunny & Jean Hansen;  Charles Hughes; Jim & Jeanne Jacobs; Neal & Marian Johns w/Feliz and Blue; Ed &  Maxine Manes; Marilyn Martin w/Solace; Michael Martin; Homer Meek; Dan  Messersmith w/Buddy; Carl & Nancy Noah; Dick & Connie Taylor w/Sassy; Donald  Sweinhart & Betty Wallin w/Molly and Dan & Rose (whose last name was  unfortunately not recorded).

(click Read More, below, to continue reading this, PLUS the story by Marilyn Martin)

 Thursday, January 22

      Dick and Connie Taylor  and myself met at Calico’s Restaurant for breakfast and to await any other  travelers that might join us. We moved to the meeting point at the Museum  parking lot and let Sassy and Buddy have a comfort break before we got on the  road at 8:00am. We had not had any other folks join us.

      We took old Historic  Rt. 66 to I-40 and had an uneventful trip down the freeway. We decided to go on  over to California and take US 95 south to Blythe. We made a short stop in  Blythe and then headed out to Quartzsite. There Dick picked up his motorhome (he  and Connie had been down earlier in the week with Jim and Jeanne Jacobs) Jim and  Jeanne were waiting for us and we all moved over to the traditional DE camp site  on the west side.

      We found Ed and Maxine  Manes’ motorhome, Marilyn Martin’s motorhome and her son Michael’s motorhome in  place at camp. They were not in camp. We picked out sites for the Taylor’s and  Jacobs’ motorhomes and were settling in when Neal Johns pulled in. He and Marian  had been shopping and Marian was still out making the rounds.

      About 1:30pm, we  decided to take a short trail run. Neal helped Dick look it up on his new  GPS/Google Earth system. We headed out to the Dome Rock interchange on I-10 and  crossed over to the north side. Dick and Connie were in the lead, I was in the  middle and Jim and Jeanne were in the sweep vehicle. We found a road that headed  into the mountain range past several mining claims. Further in we ran into folks  out dry panning for gold. As the road worsened, we encountered another group of  modern day miners and they informed us our trail ahead was a dead end.

      Dick turned us around  and we took another road that basically twisted us around and back toward the  area we just left. Dick took another tack and we encountered a group of Jeeps  coming toward us. Dick spoke with them and we headed out along another trail  that was eventually blocked by a locked gate. We then turned our attention  toward heading to Quartzsite via some back trails eventually coming into town  near the Hi Jolly monument.

      We dubbed this our  Christopher Columbus tour. We didn’t quite know where we were going, nor where  we were when we got there, nor where we had been when we got back. But we had a  great time doing it and took credit for discovering a whole new part of  Quartzsite.

      Back in camp, others  had arrived and returned from their adventures and we settled in for a nice  evening of cocktails, dinner and a campfire.

Friday, January 23

      Up at 6:00am, with  coffee and breakfast made and served in short order. After the camp got up and  got moving, we discussed plans for the day. Some were going shopping, some to  points of pre-historic interest and some of us were going to go visit an old  1920’s solar observatory site on a distant mountain top.

      Ed Manes had done more  research on the site since last year and with Dick Taylor in the lead and me at  sweep we had our route all mapped out. Our group included seven vehicles that  included Dick and Connie Taylor, Marilyn and Mike Martin, Ed and Maxine Manes,  Homer Meek, Carl and Nancy Noah, Jim and Jeanne Jacobs and Me and Buddy.

      Leaving camp at about  9:30am, we took the Interstate east to exit 69 where we caught a dirt road over  to another paved route that took us to the Harquahala Mountain Byway. At the BLM  check-in site we reviewed the information available and prepared for our  ten-mile ascent of the mountain.

      The scenery along the  way was striking with beauty every direction. Along the way we saw one of the  largest catsclaw trees I have ever seen. Its trunk was more than 3 feet across.  It had limbs that were larger than most any other catsclaw.

      The road up was in  pretty good shape although steep in places. We slowly made our ascent in 4x4  low. About half way up, Ed was having trouble with his 4-wheel drive. Although  all indicators showed it was in 4-wheel drive, the front wheels were not helping  the vehicle. Ed finally decided not to fight it and he and Maxine got into Mike  Martin’s vehicle to finish the climb.

      Harquahala Mountain is  the highest point in southwestern Arizona. Once at the top, we were not  disappointed. There were spectacular views in all directions and there was lots  of evidence of the old site. We did not stay as long as we might have as a  cloudy cold front had moved in and the temperature was dropping quickly.

      We gathered in one of  the parking areas just below the peak and had lunch in our vehicles. A group of  ATV enthusiasts had arrived before us and were just finishing their lunch in the  same area.

      After a short lunch  stop we headed down the mountain. As usual the views going down were just  different enough to be as great as the views were on the way up. After a short  stop to pick up Ed’s vehicle, it was about 3pm as we gathered once more at the  check-in site before heading back to Quartzsite and our camp.

      Back at camp, we  rounded out a great day with a cocktail hour, a funny incident (below), dinner  and another campfire.

      Without naming any  names, I need to relate how calling one’s puppy can get you into trouble. Seems  one of our campers was making her way from one motorhome to her motorhome when a  fellow camper noticed his puppy was over at the motorhome the camper had just  left. As she made her way through the rocky terrain, about half-way between both  motorhomes the puppy owner yelled out to his wayward puppy – “Hey you, get over  here you crummy old dog!” The pause just after the “hey you” just long enough to  make the walking camper turn to face him as he finished the rest of the phrase.  You’ll have to imagine the surprise on her face and the riotous laughter that  filled the air by those of us who witnessed the event.

Saturday, January 24

      Again as the camp got  going in the morning plans were made by different groups to do an assortment of  things during the day. The Taylors, Noahs and I were going to do a short run  down along the Colorado River.

      We left about 9:30am  getting off the Interstate at Ehrenberg and headed south along the river.  The  river glistened in the winter sun with ducks swimming, fish making rings in the  river’s surface and a slight haze still lifting off the water. A little further  down river there was what seemed to be a hundred vultures practicing their  magnificent and graceful circles in the sky. Their beautiful aerial ballet  almost makes one forget their place in the food chain.

      Down river a bit more,  Dick had us pull off onto one of the washes that runs into the river so that  Sassy and Buddy could run and frolic a bit in the water. As this is one of their  favorite things to do, they do it well.

      A short while later,  we continued our journey down river. At River Road we turned toward the small  town of Cibola and the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. We made a short stop at  the visitor’s center and then took the short driving tour into the Refuge. We  were treated to flight after flight of Canadian Geese soaring overhead as they  made their descent into the waters of the Refuge. It seemed like these flights  would never end.

      Continuing southerly  we came to the area of the Cibola dry lake and found an old homestead that dated  from 1910. It had been built by C. Bishop and was called the Cibola Cabin. The  mud packed log structure with a mud and thatch roof was actually a duplex with a  covered breezeway between. We decided to have lunch at the site.

      After lunch, we  continued to follow a road to the south until we encountered a sign saying only  authorized personnel were allow to proceed past it. We turned around just as a  group of 4x4 vehicles arrived with all intent to ignore the sign. It’s folks  like them that give all of us a bad rap. We retraced our earlier route looking  for other routes to the south. Finding none, we headed for the Hart Mine Mill  that we had passed along the way earlier. We made a short stop at the mill to  look it over. Based on the mill leavings, it was a mystery to me as to what they  might have been processing. We continued our journey heading up the hill to the  Hart Mine.

      When we got to the  mine, with the Taylor and Noah vehicles ahead of me, I spotted four big horn  sheep off to our right behind us. I was able to get the other vehicles turned  around and back to where the sheep were spotted. The sheep put on a grand show  for us. They had only gone across a small ravine by the time we caught up to  them, and we watched as they traversed an almost vertical cliff face to move  away from us. It was an awesome sight.

      As we made our way  down from the mine to the main road, we spotted a burro off to our left and  watched him watch us for a while before we moved on. We took another side road  that took us up into the Trigo Wilderness area. We were following a nice little  trail with great rock formations and beautiful little keyholes when we came to a  sign that informed us that the “motorized trail would end in two miles.” It did  and we had to backtrack once more. A map of the area shows the trail as a cherry  stem that goes through the wilderness area.

      We returned once more  to the visitor’s center for a comfort break and then made a short stop at a  unique sign post at Cibola for some pictures. Back on River Road we headed north  to Blythe and stopped for supper at the Steak and Cake restaurant.

      After supper, we  returned to camp and enjoyed cocktails and a campfire with our other campers to  finish out the evening.

Sunday, January 25

      Camp got moving late  today and most of the camp had left or were leaving today. The Jacobs, Taylors  and I would be going to do some limited shopping today and leave on Monday.

      We went to town to  have a late breakfast and ended up at Carl Jr’s as every other place were packed  with travelers.

      After breakfast we  headed to the Big Tent Event to look around and for some new camp chairs. We  spent our time mostly outside of the tent and eventually found the chairs we  were looking for and made our purchases.

      We returned to camp  and just hung out and visited. The wind came up and created some dust blows that  threatened to make us retreat into the motorhomes, but we toughed it out until  dinner time and headed back into town to have pizza for dinner.

      After dinner we  returned to camp and had some cocktails and a small fire as it was still a bit  windy. Everyone had retired by about 9pm.

      The wind continued and  it was a chilly night.

Monday, January 26

      Camp got moving about  7:30am and the Taylors, Jacobs and I got packed up and headed for Ehrenberg for  a late breakfast. We stopped at the Flying J which had the only active  restaurant in town. After breakfast we headed up the river highway past the  historic La Paz and Poston sites to Parker.

      We had been invited to  stop by and see the Noah’s at their riverside home and we did so. Carl and Nancy  gave us a grand tour and we visited for a while.

      I bid my farewells and  headed for Kingman. The Taylors and Jacobs followed soon after.

This was another good trip,  with good friends and good times. We hope to see more of you on the trail real  soon!

DE Logo-with-coyote


Quartzsite report

by Marilyn Martin


 After an uneventful trip, son, Michael, and I  arrived at the designated Quartzsite camp site about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Maneses  had arrived the day before and set up camp in a spot large enough for the expected group. Mike and I were soon off to go shopping.


    Next day folks started arriving and the final list included: Neal and Marian Johns, Dan Messersmith, Dick and Connie Taylor, Homer Meek, Don Sweinhart and Betty Wallin, Jim and Jeanne Jacobs, Sunny and Jean Hansen, Bill and Barbara Gossett, Carl and Nancy Noah, Charles Hughes, Bob and Shirley Bolin, Lou and Pat Carfield and one couple Dan and Rose with a white American Eskimo dog who disappeared when they went to get a carburetor repaired. There were several dogs along but the hit of the group had to be Don and Betty’s new pup , 9 week old  Molly, a Toy Boston Terrier.


    On Thursday folks took off in every direction – some 4 wheeling and some shopping, but all returned in time for Happy Hour and later a campfire.


    On Friday 7 vehicles decided to follow Dick Taylor, with Ed Manes in #2 spot as navigator and Dan Messerschmidt as Tail End Charlie (a group of leaders par excellence)  to the abandoned Harquahala Peak.Observatory which is on Harquahala Mountain, the highest peak in west central AZ, and was established in 1920 to measure solar activity.


  There is a very nice interpretive site at the bottom of the trail which informs one that Harquahala comes from an Indian word – aha qua hala – which means place where the water is high and that 4 wheel drive is necessary to take the “45 minute. very steep ’road’ to the abandoned site”. They forgot to mention ROUGH. There was some really
lush desert flora to enjoy.


     About 3/4 of the way up on the 1/1/2 hour trip to the top  Ed discovered his car would not go into 4 wheel drive, and he and Maxine were forced to jump in with the Martins. As everyone was enjoying the spectacular view and interpretive signs the sky darkened and a few sprinkles were felt. They group quickly agreed it would be prudent to get down the hill.


    The same day other groups took off for shopping or touring. Maybe someone will write about their own tour. That evening another Happy Hour and campfire along with descriptions of the day’s activities were enjoyed.


    On Saturday Neal and Marian and  others took off for a 3 day tour to parts south. This is one trip where you only see the entire group in the evenings. The remaining group enjoyed another Happy Hour and campfire.


    The weather remained pleasant the entire time Mike and I were there. Unfortunately we endured heavy winds on our ways home, and I went through several heavy showers to discover a light snow at home. I really enjoyed getting out to visit with so many long-time friends.