Monday, January 30, 2017

Name Valley

An adaptive and happy couple, Lazlo and Aurora Van Dweller, proclaim that it is the journey that matters, after all.  Loquacious Lazlo.

The journey southeast takes us across the Algondones Dunes.  Riding ATVs across dunes is a favorite activity of So Californians (and others, too, right?)

Alex selects an interesting road to take us further south - it is one that is periodically sand-plowed probably using equipment similar to that used for snow plowing.  We very nearly opt to camp here in the sandy land, but the weather forecast is for wind.  As we study the map and consider options we see the California State Park that eluded us on our entry into California a month ago - Picacho.  And there is a way to get there from here.  A W-shaped route on dirt roads will take us around the Cargo Mountains.  However, some of the roads disappear under what appears to be mine (gold and silver) and tailings.  By the time we get around the mountains the light is failing.  Oh, well, looks like an interesting place to camp, and there is one other camper in view.  We leave the road to select our overnight spot and notice that jumping chollas are traveling along side.  Is it the vibrations produced by our movement that inspires them to try to hitch hike?

Quiggy eyes the peaks of Picacho in sunset light.

In the night the wind gusts are astonishing. Rocking Quiggy...and we sleep.  It is a little surprising that Q doesn't lift off.

As we continue on roads that are mysteriously marked with 3 digit numbers and say "designated route" somewhat reassuringly; we cross several washes including twice across Picacho Wash.  There are times between the somewhat reassuring signs that there are many roads crisscrossing.  We try to consistently select the road that appears to be the most traveled and hope for another "designated route" sign.  We are after all just a few miles from the border towns of Winterhaven and Yuma.  

What's this? Acres of little hills/mounds covered with names spelled out in rocks.  We later learn that the name rocks are a 60 year long tradition.  In order not to disturb existing rock names, people now carry in rocks to add their own messages & names.

Not far from the name mounds we find an official directional sign to Picacho Park.  The 15 miles to the park become ever more beautiful.

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