Wow, how time flies. It’s been nearly two months already since arriving at Rancho de Deserto, our little piece of heaven here in Quartzsite, Arizona from our summer job in Wyoming. Thanksgiving Day having come and gone, we were reminded that we DO have a lot to be thankful for.
Quartzsite is smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona. Being a desert environment, the “beauty” is considerably different than what we were used to in Wyoming. The “forests” here are of a different kind. Instead of pines, spruces and Aspens, we have Saguaros, Chollas and Palo verde trees. Instead of ever-flowing rivers and creeks tumbling over rocks and boulders, we generally have boulders and sand and gravel making up dry washes which serve as “highways” for all manner of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). I say “generally” because flash floods are real here. It can be clear skys overhead, while rain falling 20 miles away can turn these dry washes into raging rivers. Such was the case shortly after arriving here in early October.
An hour before this photo was taken, riders on ATVs were flying down this dry wash. Then a most spectacular storm left over from a Mexican hurricane south of Baja California moved into the area complete with 360 degree thunder and lightning and pouring rain non-stop for 3 1/2 hours, resulting in this river flowing under the Main St. bridge.
Other than flash floods, there are two certainties here in Quartzsite. One is that temperatures here have decreased dramatically. The high in Quartzsite this summer was 119 degrees. Now daytime highs are in the low 70s and, next week, will drop a bit more due to approaching weather. The pleasant climate this time of the year leads us to the second certainty in that folks are pouring into town, as is typical. Snowbirds love to winter here, contributing to this area going from a couple of thousand people to several hundred thousand people all within 90 days or so.
My top priority since arriving has been to keep the progress going on our second shed. Last spring, before heading north, I was able to finish the floor. Throughout the summer, I worried that being exposed to the extreme heat, the floor might need to be done all over again. Upon our return in early October, although I had to deal with some warped plywood, the base for the shed was in pretty good shape. So, onward and upward.
Six weeks later, I’m nearly ready for roof sheathing. I know some readers are saying “Six weeks? Why so long?”. My response is that this is not a production job. It’s my therapy. Although it is a priority, I’m in no rush. And also, I have no help…by choice. I’ve had several offers of help but I prefer working alone.
On another front, my truck which I bought for the “ranch”, and which seemed mechanically perfect when I bought it, decided to all but spit out the throw-out bearing which is part of the clutch. Since I had no history on the truck, particularly the clutch condition, I went ahead and had a new clutch, throw-out bearing and pilot bearing installed. It was a good decision because the clutch disc was pretty worn out. Back in the day, I would tackle a job like this myself. I remember more than a few times being under a car with a 4-speed transmission resting on my chest. Those days are gone. I’m certainly older. Not sure about the wiser part. In any event, all I needed was a good shop with a good mechanic. Although there are several so-called “mechanics” in Quartzsite, most leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, after a little research, I found Everett’s Towing and Repair and their chief mechanic Glenn Love. It’s a family-owned business here in Quartzsite. They treat you right, their prices are fair, and they do good work. For those traveling here for the winter, I highly recommend them.
As for me, I’m already thinking of my next project…a carport. Here’s a pic of what I have in mind.
In between projects and tasks, we have also found time to share meals and campfires with friends. Zack and Rayeanne, our friends from Nova Scotia, are in town having crossed into Montana from Calgary in October. We met them here in Quartzsite 3 years ago and have crossed paths at other times in other places. We enjoy their company. Sharon has introduced Rayeanne to basket weaving. They both belong to the Gem and Mineral Club here and attend classes. They’re having a blast.
Other than that, we’re slowly but surely meeting our neighbors. We also have recently found a beautiful kayaking spot at the south end of Lake Havasu, about 45 minutes away. It is where the Bill Williams river flows into the lake and is bordered by cattails and lots of fish. Hmmm…:)