The Great MisAdventures of David & JoEllen Laurita

Our Fulltime RV Adventures Across America With Toby The Cat


The Great 2008/09 Winter MisAdventure

Quartzsite, Arizona

October 31, 2008 through March 10, 2009
Our Winter Home Once Again

The State Flag of Arizona

     The 13 rays of red and gold on the top half of the flag represent both the 13 original colonies of the Union, and the rays of the Western setting sun. Red and gold were also the colors carried by Coronado's Spanish expedition in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1540. The bottom half of the flag has the same Liberty blue as the United States flag. Since Arizona was the largest producer of copper in the nation, a copper star was placed in the flag's center.

     While traveling through Tucson, AZ, we encountered a bright flash while running a yellow turn signal. I would guess that a traffic ticket is in the mail. We spent a comfortable night in the parking lot of the Desert Diamond Casino before moving on to Quartzsite.

Home in Quartzsite, Arizona  Winter 2008-09
Our winter camp in the desert.

      We are now camped in the LTVA, managed by the BLM, just south of Quartzsite, Arizona. We arrived Halloween and set up camp next to Bill and Stella just east from last years winter camp. Campsites are first come, and our previous site was occupied already. Not too many campers yet, as temperatures have been in the high 90's for the month of October.

     One of the great benefits living in the desert southwest, GREAT SUNRISES AND SUNSETS! Every day, twice each day, the skies turn shades of amazing colors. We also enjoy the nightime dark skies, looking at the stars, and watching for the International Space Station, the Space Shuttles and other satellites. NASA has a neat website that lets us know when the sighting opportunities will happen. When the temp's cool down, campfires will be in order.

     David and Bill have gone prospecting several times using a modified Keene A51 sluice. A hopper was installed at the top of the sluice and water is recycled over and over again. This is desert mining, any water needed is trucked up to the claim as no water is available onsite. A 2000 gallon per hour marine bilge pump is used to cycle the water. Unlike a stream setup, the water gets brown and thick quickly. This setup seems to work, improvements will be made this winter. Now all we need is gold bearing ground to run through this contraption. (Still looking for such ground.)

     JoEllen and David found this tiny creature under a rock while walking about. This scorpion is only 1/2 inch long!

The Hi Jolly Pyramid


     This pyramid of native stone marks the resting place of Hi Jolly, a Greek born in Syria, also known as Philip Tedro and Hadji Ali. Hi Jolly was hired in 1857 as a camel herder in the U.S. Army's short-lived historic Camel Corps by Lt. Edward F. Beale in his expedition to chart a wagonroad across New Mexico and Arizona, ending at the Colorado River. In 1861 the Civil War commenced, ending the day of the Camel Corps. Hi Jolly returned to Quartzsite trying his hand at mining, packing, scouting, delivering the "Jackass Mail", and selling water to travelers. Legend has it that the ashes of Topsy, Hi Jolly's favorite camel and companion are also placed in the pyramid.
     The camel atop the pyramid symbolizes the legend of The Red Ghost that roamed the desert, terrorizing man and beast with what amounted to a corpse tied to his back.

David and friends resting on a sidewalk bench.

Castle Peak Mines Museum

January 14, 2009

     This MisAdventure is at the Castle Dome Silver Mines Museum and Ghost Town, with more than 25 restored buildings that, as the brochure says, are "dedicated to preserving Arizona's rugged past."  We started out from our desert home and drove south down Highway 95 fifty miles and started a 10 mile trek through the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds and onto the KOFA Wildlife Refuge. The museum is located on old silver mining claims, now patented (private) land, and consists of the ghost town and relics of all sorts gathered from the area and in the mineshafts. Rebuilt here are replicas of a dress shop, a dentist's office, a barber shop, a two-story hotel, a cookhouse, a blacksmith shop, a 50's gas station, a mercantile, a church, an assay office and a machine shop. There is also a copy of the Flora Temple Mill with the original elevator, an ore car on rails, and a 3 stamp mill for processing ore.

     This is one of the oldest mining districts in Arizona, and prior to 1862 when Jacob Snively began silver mining here, it's believed that the Spanish with Native American labor worked the area. Mining continued here until 1979. In the 1870s and 1880s, Castle Dome actually had a population larger than Yuma.

      The area was extensively mined with many shafts down to 450 feet. Very little tailings piles are around, as all the material removed was rich silver-lead mineral. Here is JoEllen looking down the Flora Temple Mine, and the view from above.

     Arizona's Castle Dome Mining District was a mecca for those wanting to get rich quick, and desperados hiding from the low seeking easy opportunity. There were shootouts, brawls, murders and untimely deaths. Fortunes were made and fortunes were lost.

     While driving to and from Castle Dome, we pass close to the blimp we see from our Quartzsite home over 50 miles away. Operated by the U.S.A.F., this blimp is designed to monitor the airspace around the Yuma Proving Grounds. It is tethered to the ground station with a heavy cable and was docked when we arrived.

Yuma, Arizona and Los Algodones, Mexico

January 16, 2009

     On this day we venture the 80 miles to Yuma to visit the dentist. A stop at the In 'n' Out Burger is a must for lunch when visiting here, decent burgers and great french fries! The giant fiberglass head is a landmark at a local shopping center in town.

     We went over the border after lunch to Los Algondones for some medicines and a marqarita. This Mexican town has somewhat cleaned up it's act with a heavy police presence, trying to avert the gang trouble most of the border towns are presently involved with. The tourists flock here for the cheap dental work, dozens of pharmacies and inexpensive eyeglass shops giving the local economy a great boost, something not to loose.


     The wait to get through U.S Customs was another matter, as the line moved slowly taking almost 2 hours before being greeted by the I.C.E. Officer.


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David & JoEllen

Lord, let us live with joy in our hearts, knowing you will grant us strength and keep us safe in our travels.  Amen

Toby the Cat

Frredom - Be  A Workamper

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