Jim & June's Odyssey - 120110 Goodyear, AZ
Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
26Trip End Ongoing
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120110 Goodyear, AZ
The drive from Palm Springs to Quartzite is a constant climb toards the Chocolate Mountains where it eventually flattens out just west of the Arizona border...that's where the wind started. We drove through a dust cloud for the next 30 miles and could smell dust in the motorhome. Surprizingly, the highway has fences along side it - don't know why.... there's no grass anywhere, just short sagebrush engulfed in swirling sand and gravel. Somewhere in the middle of this desert, there is a prison - signs along the highway warn "Do not pick up Hitchhikers."
We crossed the mightly Colorado River but if it weren't for the sign indicating its presence we probably wouldn't have noticed - it's a wide, shallow dip and the highway over it is barely above the water.
Around Quartzsite, there are numerous motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers parked in the middle of nowhere (no roads, no shade, no power, no water, no sewer). Evidently they're already picking out their favorite spots for the annual RV show here starting next week.
As we approached Phoenix, we noticed a long piles of dirt along the highway. Evidently, these 20-60ft high "dams" drain flash flood waters from around Phoenix. But the water is not allowed to escape - it is diverted to a holding area where it is allowed to soak into the ground therby replenishing the groundwater systems. In addition to the 304 automatic rain guages, 167 automatic stream guages and 33 automatic weather stations, the 22 dams (in Maricopa county) are continuously monitored via satellite surveillance programs for deterioration.
Many roads undulate through "dips, washes, ditches, troughs" where flash flood waters rush through - sometimes without a cloud in the sky; the rainfall may have occured several miles away. And when it hits, the wall of water may be 3ft high, without warning! Your only indication of its depth are large, cemented yardsticks located in the middle. Some yardsticks are 10ft long.
We stayed at the Destiny RV Resort in Goodyear, AZ (just W of Phoenix). The next morning I was awakened by a breying donkey on the other side of the fence....at 5:00 AM - great, just great! On the other side of the resort is an abandoned racetrack that was used to film the Martin & Charlie Sheen movie "No Code of Conduct" in 1998. In this gangster movie, all of grandstand windows were blown out killing nhundreds of pigeons inside. Humane societies immediately filed suits and it's still the talk of the town.
Since we were up already we decided to check out other RV parks in Sun City, Surprize and El Mirage. None were as nice as the one we were in. We also checked out a few Del Webb Resort Villages - the nicest one was the Sun City Grand. Fantastic!!! As we toured, a very excited couple from St Albert chased us down, gave us their card and invited us for a visit. They've lived here for 8 years and want to expound the attributes of this community. We'll love it already and will return for a beer with Wayne & June Wagner.
Yup, we've hit the road again! With a blast from the airhorn we're speeding down the blacktop, the radio is playing a new two-stepper called "I want you to love me like my dog does, Baby". Jim asks me, "If your wife and your dog are locked out of the house, which one will you let in first?" Answer, "The dog - at least he'll stop yippin'". God, if I die, please don't send me to redneck Heaven....
The wind is blowing sand across the highway and does little to add any appeal to the grubby looking desert. We pass a rest area but nobody is taking a break there - I guess nobody wants to get out in the wind and experience the sand on their face.
The most interesting thing I've seen on the drive between Quartzsite and Phoenix are billboards. One reads "Kickstart Our Recovery - Buy Your Wife Some BLING". I wonder if jewellery sales are up this year. Another sign reads "If you must curse, use your own name...signed "God"..." The sign I liked read "This year thousands of men will die from stubborness". I don't know who pays for these messages but it does break the monotony. Meanwhile, Alan Jackson is singing "Everything I Love is Killin' Me - Cigarettes, Jack Daniels and Caffeine"... And so, after a long break the adventure begins again. Yippee, bring it on!