Monday, March 23, 2009

Alamo Lake

Friday, March, 20.
Another hot Day.
By the time we got fuel and left Quartzsite it was 12:00. We arrived at Alamo Lake at 2:00.
The sign on campground “C” the one with utilities, read “ Campground Full”. We went past the road a little and I can’t back up with the jeep hooked up so we drove further down the road and turned around so we could cruse through the campground to check it out.
As we were driving around we heard someone shout “Do you need a camp spot?”.
“Yes!” We replied and stopped the RV.
The fellow told us, that he was ready to pull out and we could have his spot.
“Great” I said “I’ll just disconnect the jeep and come back around”.
I did so and only had to wait a few minutes for him to leave.
The spots here have Water and Electricity but no sewer for $20 per night, which is fine.
They do have a dump station.
With electricity we can run the Air Conditioner with out having to run the generator and it is pretty hot here.

Unfortunately we don’t have any Internet connection. I am not sure why because we do have cell phone and I thought that as long as we had a connection to the cell we would have a connection to the Internet because our Internet is through Verizon Wireless, the same as our phone. I guess broadband needs a stronger signal than the phone does.

When we were in Quartzsite some one suggested that I should include GPS coordinates for the places we get to, so I’ll add them along with the trip specs.

Trip miles = 80
Trip time = 2 hrs
Camp spot = N34 14’ 42.2” W 113 33’ 46.5” 1270 ft.

Saturday, March, 21.
The morning started off cool but by mid day it was very warm.
When we were at Quartzsite, Mike told us about a spot near Alamo lake where there was a couple of waterfalls and an arched rock. He gave us directions but they weren’t quite on the money.
He said to follow Palmerita rd. to the end, turn left and follow the wash to the pools and waterfall. It seamed simple enough.
We left around 8:45 this morning, Took Park road to “Wayside” turned right and went about a quarter of a mile then turned left onto Palmerita rd. We followed Palmerita road to what appeared to be the end, but there was no wash, instead there was a “Y” in the road we took the left fork and went down a rocky track along some beautiful red sandstone bluffs

into the Santa Maria River valley

and came to the ruins of the Palmerita Ranch.

It looked like they had had a big operation there at one time. There were the remains of three houses, a shop, chicken coops and cattle pens etc. There was a track going to the right just before you got to the compound that looked like it went to the river so we followed it for a short ways.
Shortly it split up into several very narrow quad runner trails through thorny brush and into a marked wilderness area so we turned around and went back up the rocky road to the “Y” and took the right fork.
That lead us to a locked gate with no trespassing signs and a sign that read “Grapevine Spring Ranch”.
We turned around again and headed back west on Palmerita Rd. A little ways past the “Y” there was a trail going up a hill to the right that I turned onto to see if we could get an over view of the Santa Maria River. From the top of the hill we could see the river and the Palmerita Ranch compound below us, We could also see a road going through the compound and down toward the river. We decided to go back down there and follow that track to see where it might go.
About a hundred yards down the from where we were over looking the valley we came across the first Rattle snake we have seen on this trip. Its coloring was interesting in that it was a very light tan for most of its length with about 3 inches of black and white rings near its tail. It appeared to have 3 light colored rattles.

We drove back down into the valley and followed the road that we could see from up above.
It wound through a small forest of unusual black barked leafless trees. Some of the trees had the beginnings of green buds at the tips of the branches so they were not dead or burned as I had at first suspected. Eventually we emerged from this small forest onto the soft sandy banks of the river and followed some tracks for a short ways until they ran out at the water’s edge. We didn’t try to cross the river because I was concerned about quick sand. The river is about 50 yards wide and maybe 2 inches deep with a sand bottom. I’m not sure I would even want to walk across it let alone drive my jeep.

We turned around and headed back to Palmerita Road where we headed west for a few miles until we came to an intersection with “High Road“.
We turned south on High Road and followed it for several miles until we came to a “No Trespassing” sign where we turned around again.
We saw our first flowering Hedgehog Cactus on High Road.

I saw a road on the map that looked like it might take us toward the river again so I figured out the coordinates of the intersection and by using the GPS we had no trouble finding it. I did this so I can get used to using the GPS. The road didn’t take us to the river though it took us to a large open pit style mine called the “Anderson Mine”. We wandered around in the mining area for a while and then decided to go to the top of a hill on the east side of it to take a look around and have lunch. While we were having lunch we saw a couple cacti blooming that we hadn’t seen so far. There were Pincushions,

and Beaver tails with a slightly different blossom than we had previously seen.
The blossoms were more like a Rose and less cup like than what we had seen before.

Patti also got a nice picture of a “Fish hook Barrel Cactus” although it was not yet in bloom.

After lunch we drove back to High Road. On the way we saw our first Indian Paint Brush of the season and some pretty lavender flowers of a species unknown to us.

Driving north on High Rd. we found a small road going east that the map said was Parmerita Rd. so we followed it for several miles each time we came to a wash that looked navigable we turned left on it and followed it in the hope that it would take us to the "Waterfalls" but none did. They usually ended in steep, narrow, rocky gullies. On one of these washes Patti got a picture of a interesting lizard.

Eventually we tired of this road and since it was getting on to late afternoon we headed back toward “Wayside” to see if we could get something for an early supper and maybe also get some information on the whereabouts of these “waterfalls“.
On the way we tried a couple more washes with out success.
When we arrived at Wayside there were at least 50 quad runners parked in front of the place. As it turned out they were having a poker run today. They had cooked a pig in the ground and the only thing they were serving today was pulled pork sandwiches.
Bummer! :o)
We ordered two sandwiches, beans, salad and two soft drinks.
The pork was very good.
After we had eaten I inquired of the waitress the whereabouts of the “waterfalls“. She informed me that, had we continued past the “No Trespassing” sign on High Road and gone about a mile we would have come to a large wash where we should turn left and follow it to the place where the falls usually are although, there was no water falling at present. She also told us to ignore the no trespassing sign as it does not pertain to the road.
She said that the guy that put up the sign doesn’t like people and tries to keep them out but has no rights. She also said that if he gives us any trouble to just mention to call the sheriff and he will back off .
Maybe tomorrow we will try again to find the falls.
We had a tiring but fun ride and saw a lot of neat country.

Total trip Miles = 93.4
Trip time = 7hrs. 45 minutes.
Wayside N 34 14’ 36.1” W113 29’ 11.6” 1430 ft.
Palmerita Ranch = N 34 17’ 51.8” W 113 25’ 19.9” 1569 ft.
Anderson Mine = N 34 18’ 33.4” W 113 16’ 24.5” 1900 ft.

Sunday, March, 22.
A very nice morning, bright and cool. By afternoon the wind came up and is blowing very hard at this time 3:00. Dark storm clouds are gathering.
About 9:20 we took off on a ride to See if we could find the “Ponds and Falls” that we were looking for yesterday. We drove back out to the “High Road” and followed it south, passed the no trespassing sign and across the wash. I drove on for another couple of miles because I wanted to make sure that it was the correct wash and that there wasn’t another one further down the road. By then the wind had started blowing hard enough to blow tiny pebbles onto the jeep.
We turned around and came back to the wash where we headed east following some well defined tracks in the soft sand through a very beautiful gorge.

We went on until we came to a pickup parked at the wilderness boundary and noticed some tracks continuing to the right so we followed these tracks until we came to a 12foot high fence across the gorge from wall to wall. There we turned around and went back to where the pickup was parked.
There were two canyons coming together at that spot. One going straight ahead and one going to the left. I tried walking up each one but couldn’t go very far due to the pain in my knee and bad leg. I figured we were in the right spot but it just wasn’t worth the pain, since we had been told that the falls were dry and there wouldn’t be much to see there.
We got back in the jeep and headed for home.
On the way I decided I wanted to check out a place just off the road that the locals call the “Mud Cliffs”.
We turned onto a set of tracks that went toward the cliffs and eventually got onto a quad runner trail that wound its way between high eroded clay walls.

It was a real neat place but for the first time I came to a place that Clifford was unable to go. It was a real tight turn over some beg humps and every time I tried to get through Clifford would get one wheel on opposite corners off the ground and loose traction.

I tried several approaches but on the last try it felt like Clifford was going to roll.

Because we were alone I didn't want to take too many chances so I backed out to a spot where I could turn around and we left. ;o(
If it had been real important that we get through I could have gotten out the pioneer tools (pick and shovel) and knocked down the hump on the left side.
I guess I am going to have to think about some modifications for Clifford like maybe a locking front differential and front sway bar disconnects.
There is supposed to be a couple of arches some where in this canyon. I guess we will have to try to find them some time in the future.
We got back to “Plan B” around 1:00 and had lunch.
Dark clouds are building in the north and moving our way so I think we may get a storm this evening. I guess we will have to put the top and doors back on Clifford just in case it rains.

Of course, we had another good ride all be it a short one.
Tomorrow we will leave here and head south and east toward New Mexico.

Trip miles = 77.4
Trip time = 3hrs. 40 minutes
Trail head at falls = N34 12’ 46.9” W 113 08’ 58.7” 2434 ft.
Mud Cliffs = N 34 15’ 17.7” W 113 26’ 00.2” 1463 ft.

Monday, March, 23.
Yesterdays storm was all show and bluster. By 8:00 the clouds had disappeared and by 10:00 the wind had died down. It did get cold during the night but this morning was beautiful.
We left Alamo Lake around 11:30 and stopped for lunch in Salome at Christina’s.
We both had the specials. Patti got the “Western Bacon Burger” and I got the “Burrito Enchilada Stile”. The Western Burger Was huge with a bunch of fries. The Burrito was also large with Beef and Beans, smothered in cheese and enchilada sauce. Both for $7.50 each. What a deal. :o)
After lunch, we headed south on a road that connected to I 10. At I 10 we turned east and drove 32 miles to AZ 85 where we turned south and drove to I 8 at Gila Bend we turned east on I 8 and drove to exit 200 where we went south to Arizona City and then east to The High Chaparral RV park where we will spend tonight.
Full Hookups for $20.00 / night, if you are good Sam, or $22.00 if not.

Trip miles = 197
Trip time = 5hrs 15 minutes

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