Arizona, Mid-Spring: Feels like summer to US!

First things first.

We hope that all of you and those you love are staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. But we know it is likely not true for some of you. Our thoughts are with you.

We are fortunate that the known case count here in LaPaz county is still only 7. However, that may be because the county has only tested a handful of people. We are sure there are more infected people around, so we are taking as many precautions as we can when we go out, particularly when we have to go to Phoenix, which is the primary virus hot spot for Arizona.

We have moved from our winter home on the desert to the commercial campground in Quartzsite that Kathe mentioned in the last post. It is already quite hot (105 today, and even hotter tomorrow), so we may need to reconsider our plans to stay in Quartzsite for the summer. Time will tell—stay tuned. Thank goodness for “shore power,” so we can run the ACs; it still stays comfortable in the RV.

Cacti are blooming!

So… what to do? What to do? We’re riding our bikes around town, which is now constrained to the (very) early morning. We hope to build up our endurance, but for now with the shape we’re in and the heat, we’re limiting our rides to about 7 or 8 miles. I know…we’re pikers! Trying to get out most days.

Quartzsite has several miles of bike paths alongside the town streets . We use the paths where we can, and ride the quiet side streets when necessary. We’ve been able to do lots of exploring and enjoy the lizards and quail that often dart in front of us.

All of the street names in town are designated with a compass direction: North, South, East, or West. Part of this is probably to be able to visualize where a street is without checking a map, but c’mon. The town is just not that big. (We’re not in Washington, DC!)

But there is another reason. Being in the desert, the town is riven with washes, those paths that drain heavy rains out of the nearby mountains.

One of the larger washes through town.

The very first piece of advice we got about camping on the desert here back in 2018 was, “Don’t camp in a wash!” Ya think???

Some roads cross the washes on bridges. Some roads just follow the terrain down into the wash and back up. “Do not enter when flooded” signs are a common sight in town.

But some roads… ummm… don’t. Some roads simply stop on one side of the wash and then pick up again on the other side. For instance, West Cowell isn’t connected to East Cowell at all. Pro tip: Not all in-car navigation systems are aware of this!

Here, the road just drops down into the wash and back out again.
Good advice!
In Montana, this would be for snow. Not here!

While we’re out and around biking the side streets we notice that lots of the plants are flowering. As we go past the same places with each day’s rides, we notice that bud to blossom to past is sometimes the matter of only two or three days. As always, click on a picture below to see a larger version.

We’ve also noticed that cottontail bunny rabbits are almost as abundant as squirrels are back east. They seem to be a lot more skittish, though. We haven’t been able to get a picture of one for the blog yet.

There is also a fair amount of “public art” around town. This is not commissioned art in parks, downtown squares (of which there aren’t any), etc., but art of various types put up by property owners.

Kokopelli dancing
A saguaro cactus from welding tanks and caps.
A decorated (real) saguaro

There is a spindly cactus out here called an ocotillo; it has tiny leaves, which limits moisture loss through transpiration. Out at the edge of town on one of the bike paths there is an ocotillo made of rebar. (It loses even less moisture through transpiration!)

Ocotillo out in the desert
Ocotillo blossoms
Rebar ocotillo!

Kathe’s major activity for the past several weeks is helping to produce our Bar Harbor church’s streamed worship service. Each week’s process is getting more and more efficient as she becomes more familiar with the tools she’s using, primarily the Audacity audio editor and the OpenShot video editor.

Kathe is also quilting up a storm, taking several online courses enjoying learning about free motion quilting something she had never tried before.

Project from Kathe’s Precision Piecing class with Philippa Naylor

I’m puttering at the computer (is that “’putering“?) to learn some new programming tools and some new photography techniques. Two of my hobby projects are writing a program to plot historical Covid data, and rationalizing about 15 years of backups. (How many copies of the Quicken database from 2008 do I really need?) I’m also reading a lot, generally alternating a new book with one I’ve enjoyed before, sort of brain “comfort food.”

We continue to watch a lot of streamed TV. Some of our new favorites are The Great British Baking Show and Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, and Blue Murder, Line of Duty, and Silent Witness on Amazon Prime.

If you’ve found (or rediscovered) one or more favorites to stream, please drop recommendations in the comments! We only have enough queued up to last us through 2022.

We know that we are very fortunate, since we are both healthy, continue to have an income, and have a place in which to shelter away from others. There are so many who don’t have those things right now. I’m probably even more fortunate since I’m an introvert. Social distancing—let’s make that physical distancing—is easier for me than it is for extroverts like Kathe.

So…what are YOU doing? And HOW are you? A wise person recently told me, “It is OK to not be OK.”

We’ll write again soon, even if just to say “same ol’, same ol’.” Keeping in touch is important, especially now.

-Al & Kathe

15 thoughts on “Arizona, Mid-Spring: Feels like summer to US!”

  1. I love the Great Australian Bake Off (lots of seasons) and haven’t yet gotten to the Great Irish Bake-Off 🙂

    1. More baking??? I’ll be 400 pounds by the time quarantine is over. (I do have to try each challenge, you know. NOT!) Thanks, D’Nise.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed all the photos. The sculptures are amazing – the rebar Ocotillo looks so lifelike. We have a real one in our back yard. I sure hear ya about getting outside early. The quilt block looks really nice. Sounds like you both are good at staying busy.

  3. Hi friends!
    Thanks for the update. I have been aware of the high temps in your area and am amazed at just how hot it it already. Be careful and drink a lot of water:)
    My job is considered “essential” so I have been working steadily through this corona virus upheaval. Lots of folks are staying home and getting everything they need delivered to them. We are working many hours a day right now. Only one person at our Fedex station has had the virus. She is fine and nobody else has gotten it so far.
    Glad that you are both doing well considering these uncertain times. Stay well!

  4. Great to hear from you. I’m also enjoying working from home. What a relief! Grateful to be healthy and fed.

    Ozarks, Shetland, Wallander (Netflix)
    Miranda for laughs (Amazon Prime and Hulu)
    Letterkenny, very dry humor (Hulu)

    1. Loved Shetland; have watched it twice. Which Wallander, Swedish or British? I enjoyed the Swedish version more, but have several friends who liked the British version better.

      We haven’t seen the others, so thanks… On the list!

  5. Good morning from Maine. So nice to hear from you and especially enjoyed the pictures and descriptions from the desert. We are doing fine on MDI. JR busy with medical policy and planning for hospital, town and state. I am out walking in the park everyday/ taking a watercolor class, tai chi and we are working on getting the boats ready. Looking forward to summer travel in our sprinter, most likely in State to avoid a two week quarantine if we leave and come back. Take good care of each other! Mary and JR
    PS I am sure JR would love seeing your historical data when you get to that point.

  6. All is well with us in Maine. We enjoyed a 52 degree day with sunshine yesterday – very nice compared to all the rainy, windy days recently with even a touch of snow. There must be a happy medium somewhere!

    Watch Money Heist on Netflix

  7. Hey Al and Kath! Sounds as though you are both finding nice (cool) ways to stay busy. Can’t imagine it being so hot so early in the year!!

    We’ve enjoyed (are enjoying):
    Ozark – Netflix
    Grace and Frankie – Netflix
    The Crown – Netflix
    West Wing (of course – can’t see too many times!) – Netflix
    Homeland – Hulu
    Succession – Hulu
    Little Fires Everywhere – Hulu
    Big Little Lies – HBO
    Game of Thrones – HBO
    Man in the High Castle (Don likes it more than I do) – Amazon Prime

  8. Always great to hear from you two! We know all about summer heat here in FLA, for sure. I hope the Maine lobster industry gets some help. Wonder what Acadia will be like this summer and all those that rely on cruise ship business.

    You, an introvert? Hmmmm…

  9. Hello Al & Kathe,

    The hot weather sounds nice compared to the rain and cool temperatures in NH! So glad to hear you are both healthy and active. The pictures are beautiful and thank you for sharing.

  10. I look..we look so forward to these blogs,,We have been here for 53 far!I remember desert flowers on Route 66,long ago! So happy I mastered ZOOM! So nice to see and hear you! I am so loving your Adventure! Stay safe and Love Life!

  11. Hi Kathe and Al,
    I always enjoy your posts, thank you! Just a couple of things-
    Kathe, have you played mahjong on real mahjong You can play at your own speed with the computer, or with others if that’s what you enjoy. Who knows if we’ll play in ME this summer.
    Also, I really enjoyed Unorthodox on Prime, I think, or maybe Netflix. It is based on a true story, (for which I‘m on the waiting list at the library).
    Stay safe and keep writing!

  12. Jimm and I always enjoy reading about your adventures and the pictures you post are wonderful. It is a little too hot where you are. The Pan Handle area of Florida is perfect right now. We have really enjoyed our front and back porches lately. When friends come, we sit on the porch to visit. We have kept busy with LOTS of yard work and cleaning out drawers etc. On line church is not the same as being there, but we are blessed to have our own church streaming. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. God bless you. Sue Ann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.