Since I left Colorado back in October, I’d done a lot of traveling, and now it was time for a few lazy days. I had come down to this part of Arizona for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, which started during the second week of January 2018. I was in Ehrenberg awfully early, so had some time to pass before the RTR.
Because I have an AWD Astro Van with a small lift, I can get into some places that some folks in rigs that are much longer, heavier, or closer to the ground can’t park safely.
One day I just decided to drive to the beach, which is basically a gravel bar along the Colorado River. The eastern side of the river is Arizona and the western side is California.
During the day I kept my doors open because it was hot, but the flies here were truly horrendous and at the end of the day, I’d have to chase them all out. I’m talking at least fifty flies and possibly a lot more.
But the flies were a small annoyance for the rewards.
I invited a friend, that had shown up in Ehrenberg, to join me. He had a 4×4 rig, so was able to get onto the beach with no problem, but when it came time to leave he had a hard time getting off the gravel bar because he sank into the deep sand because his rig was very heavy. After a couple of practice runs, he got the speed and angle just right and made it out.
Keep in mind that this is the middle of December, blue skies, and flowers.
The next day we went for a walk up a wash and onto the plateau. We found very clearly defined burro trails up there, loaded with burro tracks and the occasional wild horse track (see the image below). The last time I camped in this area a few horses came down to the river to drink.
In the image above you can see Studley Van and my friend’s rig parked on the gravel bar. In the distance are the agricultural fields just south of Blythe, CA.
Above is what it looks like via satellite. Click the image to go to Google Maps.
The Colorado River may look wonderful in my pictures, but you wouldn’t catch me eating a fish out of it or swimming in it. All of these crops are dusted with toxic pesticides. When the crop dusting is going on the sky fills with a white powder that looks a bit like heavy smog from a distance. Sometimes people camped along the river take direct hits. I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had this happen to me. anyhow, all of those chemicals have to go somewhere when the wind blows, or when it rains, and much of it gets washed into the Colorado River and other water sources. Below is an image I shot of a crop dusting plane at Fortuna Pond, near Yuma, AZ, (which is surrounded by agricultural fields).
I have a theory; I believe that one of the reasons the sunsets are so beautiful in this part of the country is, in part, because of the crop dusting. You can decide for yourself if you agree or disagree by reading this article by Scientific America.
If you look at the map above, you’ll see that just south of where I was camped (I was about 8-miles south of the interstate), is the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. I visited it in 2016 and watched the morning flight, and also saw the Burrowing owls. If you’d like to see the pictures I took, just click the image below:
I hope you have enjoyed these images Down by the Riverside, and my travels during the fall and winter of 2017. In my next post, I’m going to attempt to bring the year to an end.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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