Yesterday we drove to about 80 miles from Wellton, AZ to Painted Rocks Historic Park.

Along to way instead of being out on Interstate Highway 8, whenever possible I chose to drive on Old U.S. Highway 80…aka the Ocean To Ocean Highway. In this area of Arizona the old highway parallels the Gila River which in the old days was the major highway for pioneers moving westward to California. Modern man has changed that and it is now just a dribble. You can read about the Gila River by clicking this Wikipedia link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gila_River

You can read all about the Painted Rocks Petroglyphs by click this BLM link…

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/camping/dev_camps/painted_rock.html

and this Wikipedia link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_Rocks_%28Arizona%29

Here’s what the petroglyph site looks like on Google Earth…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

From a higher elevation you can see Interstate Highway 8 about 12 miles to the south. You can also see the Gila Riverbed flowing towards the lower left…

This is my second time here. I was first here in January 1996. It’s a lot different from I remember as very remote and quiet…like it was the end of the World. We were the only people here. Not so now. There are about 12 RV’s in the campground and trucks roaring by on a nearby road. Heck, there’s even a four-bar Internet and cell phone signal.

But then, I have trouble remembering what happened yesterday! :)

Now that you know all about the petroglyphs, here are some of the photos I took while there…

These are the two petroglyph hills as seen from our campsite, they are maybe 50 feet high. The hill on the right has the most petroglyphs as it was closer to the Mormon Battalion Trail where all the pioneers such as Kit Carson passed…

Shortly after our arrival we met a local expert. Jerry Ahnert has been studying the trail for 42 years. He gave us about a 1/2 hour seminar about the history of the trail which also served the Butterfield Overland Mail Company.

In the above photo, he told us the white skull marked the actual trail…even though there were no signs identifying it. We presume it’s to keep it from being stolen.

Turning 180 degrees and looking west…this is what the trail looks like today…

He has written a book entitled “The Butterfield Trail And Overland Mail Company of Arizona, 1858-1861. It presents a very detailed of the history of the 400 mile portion of the trail in Arizona. Mary bought his book for $29.95. To order you can contact him at nobottomgulch@yahoo.com.

Here are some other photos that I took…

And finally…a panorama sunset shot. The two petroglyph hills are to the right of the motorhome and above the Bronco…

And finally finally…a cloudless desert sunset with a jet plane exhaust trail, a quarter moon and the planet Venus in the background…

To see the remaining photos that I took…click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/PaintedRockHistoricParkArizona

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Pilot Knob, California

January 18, 2012

Waaay down in the southeast corner of the State of California, the land is flat except for a rise of land called Pilot Knob. This is what it looks like on Interstate Highway 8 heading east approaching Yuma, Arizona…

As always you may click upon a photo to see and enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

The campground I’m heading for is located at the horizon at the very far right in the above photo…about one mile from the highway. Why is it called Pilot Knob? I’m glad you asked! You can find out all about Pilot Knob by clicking this link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_Knob_%28Imperial_County,_California%29

I’m headed for this 14 day limit BLM campground. It’s called a campground…but there are no amenities here. But it’s convenient and free…so the price is right!

I parked next to my friend Leo Perth from Slab City. He was in the Yuma, Arizona area to take care of some business for a couple of days. He headed back to Slab City yesterday afternoon…

This is only the second time I have ever parked at this location…the other time was when I had just started full-time RVing back in January, 1996. I remember that time vividly because a violent wind of about 60 miles an hour created an awesome dust storm…my first experience with that kind of activity. The sand blasted the side of my then travel trailer and I thought it was going to blast the decals off! I remember looking out of the window expecting Lawrence of Arabia to come riding by! Fortunately…no sand storm this time.

Here’s a panorama looking due West…

Here’s another panorama looking due East with Pilot Knob in the background…

Finally here’s a fun perspective photo…

I spent only one night here as this morning at 9:00 AM I’ll be entering a nearby RV park for a four night stay. I’ll meet Mary at the Yuma, Arizona Airport about 12 miles distant this afternoon.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

About 12 miles north of Yuma, Arizona is a small parcel…about 5 acres…of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where RVers can park for free while visiting the Yuma area. Yuma has dozens of RV parks where one can stay for 35+ dollars a day…but free is good.

My ex-Singles RV group has parked here for a number of years during the Christmas/New Year’s Day period. They are here now so I’ve had a chance to see some old friends even though I’ve elected not to join their gathering. Another reason RVers like this spot is because, daily, the VFW has a band from 2 to 6 PM, that plays good old country and western music that draws a good crowd. In addition, on Christmas Day, the VFW hosted a great meal of ham and all the fixings for only a $5 donation or for free if you brought a dish. I paid the $5 because I do not like to cook. They also have a similar meal on New Year’s Day.

The weather this year has been a little cool…in the 60’s. But, starting today, the long-range forecast is in the 70’s. New Year’s Day current forecast is for sunny and 75 degrees. Right on!…says the Weather Wimp…that’s me according to my life-partner Mary. She’s currently at home enjoying the holidays with her family. She’s scheduled to join me once again in about three weeks.

Here’s what the place looks like…

First a Google Earth view looking from above. This image was taken on September 30, 2006 so the lot appears empty but for three RV’s. The little round spots with a dot in the middle are creosote bushes…found everywhere in the desert southwest.

I’ve identified the adjacent VFW location. I stay a lot at VFW’s but I’m told county regulations do not allow it at this location. I’ve also identified my location with an “x”. Also identified  are where I took below photo’s 1,2 and 3. In these photos I’ve highlighted my location with a yellow marker. You can see enlarged views by clicking on the photos and an even larger view by clicking on the photo once again…

In photo #1, the entrance is just to the left of the stop sign. I’m located along the southerly fence line…tends to be quieter here…

Photos #2 and 3 were taken from atop a small rise…probably about 25 feet above the site elevation which is about 288 feet above sea level…

Here’s a panorama shot…

Like many places I travel these days…the number of RV’s is less. A few years back…this site would be crammed with more than twice as many as there is now. You’d be lucky to find a spot if you came in today, years ago. A long-time friend from the singles group told me 10 years ago they would draw about 150 RV’s. This year they have 58 registered. Quite a difference.

I’ve never particularly liked this location. It tends to be crowded, windy, dusty and noisy because of the vehicle traffic on Highway 95 and the railroad on the other side of the highway. The BLM regulations allow a 14 day stay before one has to move along. At 35+ dollars a day in an RV park…that comes to around $500. Despite the negatives here as identified above…free is good!

Here’s a photo from my location about one hour before sunrise…

and the same shot about five minutes after the sun dipped below the horizon with the VFW in the foreground…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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