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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: January 27, 2004 -- Quartzsite, Arizona
Stones ... Growing up on a farm with the glaciated soils of Wisconsin one of the more memorable event of every childhood was picking stones. Each spring after the winter thaw, stones would magically appear on the plowed earth. One of the chores of spring was to gather these "equipment harming" stones and amass them upon the "stone pile".
As a young boy this was one of those first farm jobs that I remember. It doesn't take a whole lot of skill to pick stones. It was a fun job for about five minutes and then it became a drudge. Children being an inventive sort would find rocks that were too big for them to pick up and then picked up gravel sized stones. No doubt my dad wondered what this free labor was really worth.
As I grew up on the farm, I recall picking stones each spring for many years. But it is the early memories of stone gathering that stay with me.
Old habits are hard to break. Fifty years later I walk across a rock covered desert gathering rocks. Carrying them back to my rig, I built a monument to Leverite Rock. For those of you who have not heard the story before. "It's Leverite rock; like in 'Leave er right there.'"
Back up your computer disk data.... The dreaded hard drive crash finally happened to me. I had heard stories over the years about a crashed disk drive with no backup. One would think that would have been an inspiration to me. Not really. I did back up things once in a while, but not with a whole lot of regularity. The tragedy happened a couple of days after Christmas. Regardless of my skills with computers, there was no way for me to retrieve any of the data on that disk.
The irony is that my job before retirement was to market the merits of backup and fault tolerant disk storage systems. I sure didn't take any of my marketing advice personally. So... A bad experience is a good teacher. Fortunately, the last backup I had was in mid-November 2003.
So I bought myself a Christmas present in the form of a new laptop. I also bought an external disk drive which will be used to do backups automatically. It is all back in place again -- except for pictures and emails from mid November to the end of December. Those were some of the best pictures I have ever taken....
My apologies to anyone who may have sent me an email during that time to be placed on my notification list. Please resend your request. The request will not be lost again. The new backup systems are in place.
Christmas in Tucson ... Cyndi and Rich Goscicki met me in Tucson for Christmas. Although it was a cold spell in Tucson, it warmed up for Christmas day so we could sit in shirt sleeves and have a Christmas dinner outside at the picnic table adorned by a Christmas tree. (A picture would have been included, but you already know that story.) Since it was my menu, I elected to serve Southwestern Chili as an entree. What else would you serve in the desert Southwest? There was some tradition in the meal -- we had pumpkin pie.
After a few more days in the area playing tourist and a visit to the Desert Museum, they headed back to Colorado.
We stayed at Gilbert Ray Campground because I thought the rates were great last spring at $12 a day. The rate had gone up to $20 a day. Whoa! My incomes did not go up that fast!
Quartzsite, AZ... Boon docking in the desert (Coordinates: N 33° 45.492 W 114° 10.696) for about a month. The Wandering Individuals Network (WIN is a singles RVing group) holds an annual event at Quartzsite and I volunteered to co-host the event. It is a time to re-meet old acquaintances and welcome the new. We hike, kayak, shop, chat and plan future events across the US -- and Canada.
Over a million people pass through Quartzsite at this time of year shopping at the RV shows and the numerous swap meets throughout the town. Within the town and on BLM land within five miles of town, RVs are on every available piece of land. Not the usual rush hour of most cities, here it is 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as the shoppers scour for bargains.
Hiking ... My hikes have been searching for Leverite right behind my rig. One of the finds was Desert Rose. Another time, I found half a geode. The problem with finding one geode is that you think that you will find another one. No luck so far.
I also led the WIN group on a hike of over five miles to a nearby mine.
Cinnamon Roll Search ... The morning after I rolled into Quartzsite, I headed to the Quartzsite Bakery and Pastry Shop. There are lots of bakery selections to choose from including a great cinnamon roll. Although large, I can make it last for a morning snack and the rest is dessert for dinner.
Vanity Plates ....
IWA2ROK --- ??
IKAPOE -- ??
PTPADRE -- On a PT Cruiser
FIDLER -- on Oregon plates
CUBAN DJ -- on California plates
"Accident Discount Lawyers" on a billboard in Casa Grande, AZ.
"DONUTS BROASTED CHICKEN" on the same sign in a strip shopping mall in west Tucson. I didn't check it out when I thought about donuts and chicken deep fried in the same oil.
"Will trade gold for metal detectors" was sighted in Quartzsite. Seems to me you would need the metal detector to find the gold. Perhaps the vendor was referring to paper gold!!
Latest Reads ... "The First Salute" by Barbara W. Tuchman. A small port in the West Indies was the first place to recognize the flag of the newly declared independent Unites States of America. The author describes the process of the war as the British, French, Holland, and other Old World nations chose alliances that best suited their particular needs. The book describes the political, geographic and economics of those nations involvement in the wars.
The biography "Lincoln" by David Herbert Donald is the life of Lincoln in a single volume and reviews his life and decisions through the knowledge available to Lincoln. For me, the one thing that stood out from the book was that Lincoln dealt with the Civil War for his entire Presidency. As I read the book, I found the fact that he became president most unusual. For him to become a great and revered President is even more unusual considering his obscure background.
From the fiction section, I read E. Annie Proulx' "The Shipping News". This story is set on the coasts of Newfoundland where Nature rules. The characters themselves in the story are tossed about very like the environment in which they live.
Thanks for reading ... If you are not already notified of updates, send me an email.