johnny January 22nd, 2010
Whew! The weather has been pretty nutty around here lately. We spent a couple of days in Quartzsite putting up fliers for freecampsites.net and got rained on every evening. One mid-day shower caught us while out on the scooter. Fun!
Quartzsite is just not our scene. Two days would have been more than enough even if the weather had been great. It was pretty crazy to pull into the BLM area the first night and see rigs lined up awning to awning just like a commercial campground. We had to go about a quarter mile deep into the area before we found a spot where we could get a mere hundred feet from a couple of neighbors. The next morning, we found out why the area was so ‘sparsely’ populated as the kids in the converted school bus had breakfast and blasted the MTV version of the Grateful Dead over the world’s crappiest PA system. Ah, well… at least it wasn’t polka.
This morning, we got up ‘early’ to try and make it back to Slab City by dark. Apparently, I was still on California time and not really adhering to Jenn’s schedule. Still, we got out at a reasonable time and then sat in mid-morning traffic at Quartzsite while the rain started splattering. The wind had not stopped in at least 24 hours.
The crosswinds battered us all the way to Blythe, CA, where we stopped to do some shopping and laundry. We got an amazing deal on London broil at Albertson’s and had the butcher chop up a bit and grind a bit until we ended up with twenty-something pound of beef to squeeze into the freezer. By the time we made it the laundromat, the storm was starting to get feisty. Jenn volunteered to do laundry if I would make us some burgers.
You don’t have to ask me to cook a burger twice! Jenn says I made the burger Eddie Murphy’s mom used to make. They were somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of a pounds w/ sauteed mushrooms and onions stuffed inside along with barbecue sauce and mozzarella cheese on homemade bread. We finished eating just in time to get seasick!
No chunks were spewed, but I was sitting in the camper in my long johns waiting on clean pants when a nasty front hit Blythe. We had 70 mph winds and a torrential rainfall that dumped 4 or 5 inches in something like 10 minutes. The camper was rolling back and forth like we were on the road and the rain drops were so big it sounded like hail on the roof. Jenn’s cat jumped up in the bed with me and whined the whole time.
As soon as it slacked off, Jenn brought a load of laundry with my pants in it and said ‘By the way, there’s a tornado 5 miles from here. Might want to put your pants on and come inside.’ Ten minutes later, the front had passed and we were ready to hit the road. Somehow we’d made it well into mid-afternoon and were still only twenty-ish miles from Quartzsite! The crosswinds were nasty for another twenty miles or so and we passed two over turned semis that were in the same area the tornado passed through.
The weather finally settled down a bit, but the wind is still fairly stiff and there are a few more fronts rolling in. We decided to call it a day at the dry camping area behind the General Patton museum in Chiriaco Summit. Jenn, who is an amateur meteorologist amongst her other talents, says the weather should be fairly tame here compared to what we’ve seen so far. Let’s hope she’s right!