Saturday, November 3, 2012

What'd You Do Today? We Drove to California and Bought a Rock.

This morning, I woke up feeling the need to just get out of here - git the heck outta dodge, if ya know what I mean.  It's been a long, trying week.  Melon Man and I decided to go on a small day trip and after a few minutes of discussion, we had a plan.  So, we got dressed, I pulled the rats nest into a ponytail, and we were off.

We decided to cut through Sun City Grand to get up to Grand Avenue.  As we motored on through the community, there were cars EVERYWHERE.  It was, apparently, their community yard sale.  Wow...tons of people!  Luckily, I didn't capture all of them in my picture...just the gorgeous morning.
We went to this little 4 Sons gas station just across from the north entrance of SCG.  I'd seen this gas station a lot in the last 11 years that I've lived out here, but I'd never been to it.  Well, today I went there for the first time.  It actually appeared very clean and nice.
Of course, as Melon Man got back into the truck (yes, we took the gas guzzling truck on this little jaunt...we just wanted some extra space and some cargo room in case we decided to buy something big), I had to take the obligatory trip picture.  I took 3 pictures trying to get him to smile, but, he wouldn' usual.
So, we took off toward "out Wickenburg way", up the 60.  This is the 303 bridge.  Our church is just about 2 miles northwest of here.
This is 163rd Avenue.  You turn here to go to our church.  You turn here to go to Linda and Dave's.  You turn here to go to the big house we built but didn't buy.  But, today, we didn't turn here.  We just kept driving straight...once the light turned green, that is.
One of the things I love about where we live, where we almost lived, and where Dave and Linda live is that we can see "mountains".  These are the Bradshaws far off in the distance.  In the winter, they will periodically get a little snow on them.  It's really pretty when it happens.  It was definitely cooler today, yeah, in the 80s, but definitely not cold enough to snow!
As we were driving along, I just had to capture this picture.  I call that mountain, Linda's Nipple.  See, in Utah, where my family and Mr. Spock's family have property in the mountains, there is a similar point like this on top of one of the mountains.  Mr. Spock's dad always called it Molly's Nipple.  I guess it really does look like a breast with a nipple popping up.  So, when I saw this one, I decided to name it Linda's Nipple since it's out by her house.
It wasn't long before we saw this sign advertising Yarnell.  It's a little town up in the "mountains" and Melon Man has wanted to buy some property up there and build a vacation home.  Um, no.  When he took me there once, I could never see us there.  It is not in the MOUNTAINS, it's in the dry, hot, hills.  Old.  Dirty.  No thanks.
Along the road into Wickenburg are all kinds of little, old, abandoned buildings.  They still have things in them, like this Gems shop.  You can see in the window that there is still "stuff" in there.  I guess nobody wants to keep it open though.  I've never seen cars there in all the times I've been "out Wickenburg way."
Soon, we came to the sign pointing to the turn for Highway 74.  This flooded my mind with memories when Jenn and her family came for Easter.  I had hooked them up with a super cheap rate on a hotel room near my work so they could have their own space, swim, etc., but still be close enough that it wasn't a whole other vacation to come to my house for dinner, etc.  Well, unfortunately, on their last night in town, someone tried to steal their van and caused some damage to it.  She called me from the road and we met up.  This sign reminds me of where I had to turn to go meet them.
And this is where I actually turned that day.
So, as we're starting to come into Wickenburg, I notice this made me think of Desert Dweller Dave - who just happened to be in Wickenburg today trying to sell some car parts.  We wondered if we'd see him, but we didn't.
I loved this statue of two old cowboys just off the side of the road.  It made me think of our former Stake President, Alvin Hancock, who actually lives "out Wickenburg way" and Melon Man's Uncle Gene who was a cowboy at one point in his life.  Looks like they're just sittin' there havin' a good ol' conversation.
Soon we came to Jones Ford.  Our 1st counselor in the Bishopric, Aaron Wayas is the Sales Manager there.  Love the Jones Ford "out Wickenburg way".  They took good care of Jenn's van when it kept braking down after it was damaged in the attempted car theft...and for free.
Since we hadn't stopped at The Coral for grub this morning on our way out of Dodge, we stopped at McDonalds "out Wickenburg way."  This MickeyD's used to give me somewhat bad memories because this is where Mr. Spock and Mom and Dad Spock and I ate when Mr. Spock and I moved here.  We thought we were still 2-3 hours away from our new place in Phoenix so we stopped to eat.  Little did we know we were really only about an hour out.  Anyhow, I don't really have those memories/feelings so much anymore...just last year or the year before, they tore that old building down and built this really nice new one. can get food here 24 hours a day.  Yet...we have 3 McDonalds in our town and not one is open 24 hours.  Weird.
Welcome to actual/historic Wickenburg!  Melon Man noticed that the sign that says "no fishin' from bridge' is now gone.  Sad....Guess that little town has grown up enough that they don't want that sign anymore....or maybe some hoodlum stole happens.
Downtown Wickenburg.  Lots of saloons and cafes.  Melon Man says there is a really good restaurant right there on the right...but I've never gotten to eat there.
This is the Circle K where Jenn and fam stopped to get munchies and use the potty.  They did end up stopping at another one just a mile or two up the road after Jenn decided she couldn't use this one.  She and I both have public potty phobias.  They have to be SPARKLING.
Melon Man mentioned that he wondered if Uncle Gene had anything in this cowboy museum.  Did we stop to see?  Nope.
One more Wickenburg sign before we head out west...
Just on the edge of town is this Alco store.  It's kind of like a nicer Family Dollar, etc.  I've heard of them at work, but never been to one.  Did we stop and check it out?  Nope.
So, this is the road out to nowhere ahead of us.  The outskirts of Wickenburg.  I've never been this way before.  Time for our adventure!
Our first sign...Aguila...21 miles to go.  That's the next town?  Okay.  Didn't even really know it was out there.  I just thought the next town was Wenden.  Even still though, I had no idea Wenden was 44 miles from outer Wickenburg! can go this way to Los Angeles?  Hmmm!?!
We saw this sign for the Flying E Ranch - it's a Dude and Cattle Ranch!  Very cool!
We saw this flamin' hot car coming toward us...
Melon Man kept telling me how he had, at one time, wanted to buy this little spot in the road and build an RV park on it.  He just knew people would come there.  No sooner had he told me about that idea, that all of a sudden an open spot in the road appeared and I began teasing him about it.  This ended up not being the spot he was referring to, but it did end up being a way better spot than the one he originally wanted.
Only 5 more miles to Aguila.  At this point, we start talking about going all the way to's ONLY 93 miles to Blythe...
 We noticed these honeydew melons that were essentially all picked over - although there were a ton of melons that were still just lying there on the ground.  They'll get plowed under, I'm sure, and will help with next season's crop.
 They've already started planting something new here.  The Aguila, Wenden, and Salome areas are big farming areas.  Lots of migrant workers.  There is a church branch in Wenden.
Look at how beautiful this freshly tilled earth is!
This is the Aguila Valley Food Market.  I'm not sure it was actually a functioning store though.  Sure didn't look like it.
We've finally arrived in Aguila proper.  Don't blink!  See that something or other sticking up in the end of the road down there?  Yep, that's the end of the town.
Big Mama's Country Kitchen - the sign looked pretty new, but the building sure didn't!  By the way, bikers are were welcome...but not anymore.
The Aguila post office.  Tiny, old building.  Probably only open once or twice a week.  Looks to need a paint job.
Wenden - just 23 miles away and Salome only 5 more miles after that.  We are seriously out in the middle of nowhere now.  See...just road and weeds...and dirt.
Oh wait...a sign that says "Gladden".  Was there a town here at one point?  I think we saw only about 5 buildings here.  If you go to Google maps, it doesn't even show up!
See...this is it.  Nothing else.  I think this is where Melon Man mentioned he had wanted to buy the property and make an RV park.  See, honey...nobody's done it yet...for a good reason....there is NOTHING out here!
We saw these two bikers...hmmm...I bet they were sad Big Mama's wasn't open anymore.  For some reason though, these are not the type of bikers I imagined they welcoming....
When I saw this sign for Alamo Lake, only 1/2 mile, I begged Melon Man to turn here and go to it.  I was's only a 1/2 mile.  Let's go see it.  He wouldn't.  He probably knew better...for shortly after about a half mile, there was a turn with a sign that now said, Alamo Lake - 35 miles.  Hmpf.  Drat.
Finally.  Wenden.  Apparently, the Branch President, President Bohlen, lives here and is the sheriff or such as well as the fire chief and what not or such...for here AND Salome.  I was hoping to see the branch building, but it's actually out on the far (?) north edge of town.
So...we're driving along and, of course, we have the windows down because it's so comfortable and nice outside right now.  I'm looking at this field and I see a bunch of colors and mention to Melon Man, "Look at the rose bushes," thinking they look similar to the ones we see out by our house - but these have darker leaves.  Then, I realize that those white spots actually make these plants cotton, not rose bushes.  I start to notice this fragrance in the air.  It smells nice... first.  Then, we see these trees.  The leaves on them are also black-ish.  The smell gets worse and worse...(kind of like the dog fart that just occurred while I'm writing this - ew, gross Dog!!!).  Soon, I can't stand the smell and I'm gasping for air.  Yuck!  It is a bitter, gross smell.  Melon Man informs me that it's likely defoliant that's been sprayed on the cotton plants and these trees to make the leaves dry up so the cotton and the whatever is on the trees can be harvested more easily.  Okay, fine, but yuck - it stinks - hurry, get us past this!  (I wish I could do that with the dog fart...yuck!)
Finally we arrive in Salome - okay, 5 miles later.  Not really any different from Wenden, although...
They do have this "Salome Business Center."  But, I didn't see any businesses in it, nor any cars parked in front.  Maybe because it was a Saturday?
Now...HERE is something I recognize!  A Napa Auto Parts store! was open!  It looked pretty dang fresh and new too.
Soon we came upon Harcuvar.  What you see there on the left is what you get.
Okay, here's a close up.  Golf cart parking available.
We then headed into some "mountains" and again, no traffic.  But, it was pretty seeing the different layers of mountains in the distance.
Soon we came out of those "mountains" and started down into a valley again.  Brown, desolate.  But, quiet.  After everything that has happened this week, I was really happy for the peace and quiet.  It was just a few miles back though that we had this conversation:

Gout Girl:  Babe....have you seen the air compressor in the garage since all this crap happened?
Melon Man:  Pausing, thinking...No, now that I think of it.  Ah crap.  They took that too.  You'll have to call the police to add that to the report.
Gout Girl:  I will.  Dang it.  Just when I was finally starting to sort of being able to "deal" with all of this.  I wonder how many other things we'll eventually notice are gone.

Yeah, it sucks.  But...soon....we came upon...
Hope.  Just had to take the picture, even if it's not real clear.  Gave us a little hope for some good.
Only 10 more miles until we come to I-10?  Wow!  But...Blythe is still 51 miles away?  I guess that's not too far.  Babe...wanna keep going and go to San Diego?  Yes, I asked him that.  And...we actually considered it.  Until we remembered Dog was in his kennel.  And that we had no extra clothes with us.  And we had to work on Monday.  Oh well.
A roundabout out in the middle of nowhere?  Yep.  Seriously.  Why?  Guess they have a need for it. this one of Obama's lovely roundabouts to nowhere?
I wanted to take some pictures of some old rock homes on this adventure.  But, when I would see one, it would be too late to capture the picture by the time I realized it.  So, this one is crooked because I took it across Melon Man and out his window while we zoomed by.  Yeah...I don't think this really was approved by a building inspector.
Need a septic tank installed?  These folks will do it for ya.
This little Mexican Restaurant actually looked nice and it looked like it was open.  You can't see the cars in this picture, but there were some.  I wanted some chips and salsa.  Melon Man wouldn't stop.  So, I ate some celery sticks.  Yay.
 So...funny story about these next few pictures.  We passed this motorhome, trailer, and slug bugs at one point.  I was kind of ticked that I didn't think to take a picture of the old hippy driving the old motorhome and the old hippy chickadee driving the slug bugs.  So...Melon Man zoomed ahead.  He pulled over off the side of the road and I jumped out and sat there with my camera waiting for them to roll by.  I snapped away as they drove past.  I just had to capture the slugbugs because they were connected and it just looked odd.  It's not as funny (at all) now writing this and trying to explain it, but it was when we were trying to get pictures without them really realizing we were taking their pictures!

 We soon caught up with them again and this time I took pictures from behind.  Yeah, not great, but still - got 'em.
 See anything interesting in the picture above?
 Soon we rolled into Brenda.  You would never know this place is here without the sign that says it. least right now.  Give it another few weeks and a magical little city will have popped up with tons of snowbirds.
 Maybe one of those snowbirds will buy this cute little country store.  How fun would that be?!?!?....if there were a town that could support it year-round....that is.
 Only 1/2 mile to I-10.  Finally.  Back to the real world.  Hmpf.  I actually rather enjoyed living in the land of my imagination there for a while.
 So, which way should we go?  Home or to the beach?  Which do you think we chose?
 Yep, we decided to head in the direction of the beach.  Quartzsite straight ahead.  Blythe, just 24 miles.
 So, we arrive in Quartzsite and slowly motor on through town.  The snowbirds are starting to arrive.  But, there are still not as many as will be here in a few weeks.
 I saw this little restaurant and quickly was able to get a picture of the restaurant's sign.  Miss ya mom!  This made me really think of you.  Next time we go through or to Quartzsite, we ARE going there to eat, Babe.
 We ran into the gas station/Subway/Dairy Queen and got some food.  Veggie sub for me.  Not great.  Would have rather eaten at Sweet Darlene's.  Oh well.  Headed over the bridge because Melon Man wanted to go see some old cars.  But...the traffic on the right...they are all headed to California...
 These are just a few of the old cars Melon Man wanted to see.  I shall say...they were pretty nifty, but even my truck gets better mileage than those do.
 So...the rock place.  We ended up going here not because we collect rocks and such, but for a real, bonafide purpose.  I have a lesson coming up in two weeks that I decided I wanted to use a geode for.  I asked around in our ward, if anyone had a geode I could borrow for my lesson. Nobody did.  So, we decided to stop in and see what this place had.  Almost right at the entrance, see that table with yellow rocks on it right behind and to the right of this one with gray rocks already cut open, is a table full of Moroccan Geodes.  I picked one up that was already open and it was INCREDIBLE!  I decided to find one that was similar to that one in hopes that it will be similar inside because that will be perfect for my lesson.  I weighed it on one scale and it said 2 pounds.  At $10 a pound, I was like, $20 for a rock?  Okay, because this is going to be really cool.  But, when I got the rock around another scale, I weighed it again and it was almost 6 pounds.  I fretted and stewed about it.  Melon Man finally said, "Just get it."  So, I did.  It was 5.4 pounds.    With a discount and tax, it came to $53.80.  But, the lady sold it to us for $50 even since we had cash.  I really hope it's GORGEOUS inside for that much.
 This is what it looks like right now.  I will post a follow up entry when we open it up.
 At this point, I was tired of sitting in a vehicle and trying to stay awake (I always fall asleep in the car as a passenger!), so I suggested we NOT go to California, but head home instead.  So, we did...the faster way.  We saw this pretty "mountain" jutting up out of the ground.
We saw this "field" of cacti...and a gray pole that jumped into the picture and ruined it.  I just didn't feel like spending the time to edit it out.
 We saw the U.S. Mailman that hauls mail from Dallas to Los Angeles - or at least that's what we assumed from the markings on his truck.
 And...for the first time ever, in all of my travels on this road, I actually saw the 3 nuclear power generating station buildings at Palo Verde.
 We decided to avoid the construction on the 303 by taking the Sun Valley parkway instead.  Yeah, that was a LONG ride.  When you're used to clipping along at 75/80 miles an hour and all of a sudden you can only go 50 (seriously, on this road?) and you only see 3 cars in 30+ miles, yeah, that sucks.
No wonder anyone's not built out here...

We finally made it home and all was good.  It was a really lovely day just being with Melon Man and not thinking (most of the time) about our crappy week...and we bought a $50 rock, even if we didn't quite make it all the way to California.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Just checked in!~ It's been a while for me. Sounds like good things are happening for the Vinson's minus the break-in!

My blog is suffering--I've been SO busy lately. Gotta get back to it.

FYI on the shredding: We went through that a few months ago. Linda put me on to a community site that shreds for you for free. You put it in boxes in your car, drive up, they pull it out for you put it in their BIG trailer shredder and in 30 seconds everything is shredded!!!!! They have these places in lots of communities all over the place. Ask her for the online info site to tell you where it is by you. They even have an electronics recycle trailer on the other side of the parking lot for that kind of thing too.

It saved my sanity!