Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Storm Chasing"

Due to a death in the family we hung up our helmets for awhile and took a trip down to California – ON-road.

Mesquite was heading into a "rainy-spell" when we left and southern California was expecting "possible flooding" but we didn't count on doing "storm chasing" like we see on TV.

Much of the difficulty in driving ON-road between here and Indio California is "iatrogenically" caused by the THOUSANDS of trucks in nearly every lane!

So, even though… the weather on the other side of Barstow was only a drizzle, water was coming from every direction at once! It was like a four-hour drive through a car wash, with your wipers not quite keeping up!

Streets were wet, washes and streams were full but, other than truck caused, we didn't see any flooding until we had started home toward Arizona and were coming into Blythe.

In fact, there were two things that I've never experienced before. First, we took a rest stop at an old diner on the outskirts of Blythe which had a desert-common flat roof, not designed for rain. They had taken a plastic painters tarp and hung it from the ceiling over the counter and patrons.

Water was "sieving" through the roof, onto the tarp, down to the center, through a grommet and down into a five-gallon bucket which a man swapped out and emptied about every 120 seconds.

At Blythe it was raining, palm trees were broken off and strewn about and a string of 15 telephone poles had been snapped in two and were lying along the road. Half of the town was without power, so we stayed in the half that was still lit up and realized that we had just missed the tornado which had crossed the road by about 10 minutes.

Second, was the "population-600-people" bump in the road called Quartzite Arizona where mom and dad wanted to stop to visit an old friend. What makes it significant is that for about a month every year motor-homes and other rigs pour into "town" for a rendezvous of sorts; this year to the tune of OVER A MILLION! That's like fitting half of Las Vegas into a postage stamp!

Time is the longest distance between two places.”
Tennessee Williams

I never went to Woodstock but now can join the small group of my friends who scoff at "kids" who venture to say they think something is crowded in front of us. "You think THIS is crowded," I'll look down my nose at them and say, "you don't have a clue what crowded is until you've spent almost two hours going a quarter-mile just so you can be met and taken guided into a campsite." I'm just glad I wasn't trying to get to a bathroom.

How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.”

Getting through Phoenix toward Wickenburg was a headache – even using "On Star" which kept telling us to go places we "knew" were wrong. And the ride up to Wickenberg was literally 20 miles of red-stoplights placed one city-block apart! None of them traffic actuated.

But once we got to the other side of Wickenburg the ride up to Boulder was completely stunning. Most of the Cacti were different than what we see around Mesquite. There were whole valleys of closely-packed old-growth Joshua Trees in which the trees were so healthy you could FEEL how happy they were.

Then, just up, over and down into the adjacent valley it changed into a similar area only packed with Saguaro's. Valley after valley, across trestles and rivers — what a botanical show! Well worth the drive down (just don't go past Wickenburg).

Just so you will know, because they never tell you what's happening on the Dam construction, the workers at Boulder Dam are back working again and have made at least some progress on the new bridge. It still looks like it'll be years before it's done; but, at least they are moving.

It was good to get back to headquarters. Charley said that it had rained every day (slow but sure) while we were gone.


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