Day 7 - February 4, 1998 - Milepost 1262 - Quartzsite, AZ
(SF). I sit gazing out the window with a coffee cup in hand and sun streaming in the window warming RTENT from the cold of the night. I notice the activity around me. It reminds me of an ant colony. The road is already clogged with traffic. More RVs are coming than packing up to leave. Two men are staring at the side of a Wilderness fifth wheel probably discussing their plan of action on how to fix the broken refrigerator or heater as only men can do. There is a woman walking to the dumpster with a bloated plastic bag (I assume garbage), a group of 10 playing beanbags their shouts echoing across the desert landscape, a man walking his dog, and birds flittering in the bushes behind us. A PaceArrow down the way has a landscaped front yard. The owners have lined up rocks around a bush with plastic flowers and lawn ornaments adorning the ground. Atop an antenna, an American flag waves in the warm desert breeze. Satellite dishes face southeast. People do stay awhile in this area. I recall last night, a few groups sat around campfires protecting them from the desert cold, while others said their goodnights which could be heard clearly in the still nighttime atmosphere. I love this life and find I am happiest on the road and in my RV. When Bert returns from his birding, we again take to the bikes. This morning the wind is not accompanying us on our journey. The pedaling is much easier. Today is the first day of the POW WOW. Anything to do with rocks, crystals and minerals can be found there. There are polished stones, raw rocks, precious gems set in jewelry, clocks on faces of polished slabs, bins of turquoise, quartz and rocks with names I never heard of or can hardly pronounce. I wonder how anyone can make money since there is so much competition for parting the green stuff in visitor's wallets. We succeed to keep our purses closed until we see a bookstore. Yes we buy another book and four books on tape for $20. Yesterday the proprietor did not want to part with the same tapes at that price. Today was a different story. He tells us this is his third and last year at doing the books. He is selling to his brother since he thinks he is getting too old. He looks more worn out than old to me. We pedal to the Big Market and are a little dismayed at the prices on the groceries we need. We purchase the bare minimum and decide to do without cereal in the morning. We find a fresh produce mart at the entrance of the RV show that has wonderful prices and end up parting with $10 for two bags of fruit and vegetables.
(BF). A cat's paw breeze pads my face as I follow the outline of a distant mountain ridge below cloudless skies illuminated by a baby's bottom pink sunrise. I hike over the course gravel dampened by last night's rain. The bright sunrise provides quality lighting for my avian photographs and I capture on film several Phainopepla singing, a patient Anna's Hummingbird that allows my close approach, a Verdin buried in deep dark bushes and a glorious Gambell's Quail crowing like a proud rooster from a wooden perch. I add a new species to my life list: a Sage Sparrow sporting a striking white eye ring on a gray head. After breakfast we bicycle to the Pow Wow flea market, a rock and mineral sale starting today. For the first time, I spend more time than Shari browsing each aisle. I can examine minerals and crystals for hours, a talent Shari reserves for clothes and crafts. Back at camp we ask the BLM attendant where we could connect to a phone jack to collect our e-mail. She suggests Radio Shack and gives us directions. An hour later after traveling 2 miles by car (some traffic jam, huh?) we find Radio Shack (she gave us wrong directions). Again, my computer fails to make a complete modem connection, this time hanging on my WorldCom access code. Fortunately, Shari's computer works and we get messages for both of us and send several we wrote days ago. The Radio Shack manager charges us $2.50 for the toll-free call even though we made a purchase, but given all the frustration we've gone through I guess it was worth it. Back at the RV flea market we stop at a satellite dealer and learn of a new system just coming on the market that may eventually solve our remote e-mail frustrations. For an initial investment of $399, plus $25/mo, plus 30 cents per minute we will be able to get a new type of 56K+ baud modem that will operate worldwide through a system of 125 Leo satellites. Although the hardware is available now, the coverage is limited to a few major cities. It will expand worldwide within the next year. I can hardly wait!
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