Day 208

Hope, AZ to Palo Verde, CA

I wake up alive, safe, and warm. No hurry to get up. I put the bike together and escape my cactus-strewn bed without a flat.

Oh, the little cafes call to me for breakfast. I wonder how I could possibly eat without money. Beg? Wash dishes? Charm the snowbirds? For now I just resist.

As I approach Quartzite, it looks like a great bed of white rock in the desert. As I aproach, I notice there are a lot of RVs scattered around. Getting closer, I see there is no bed of rock, but thousands upon thousands of RVs. There don’t seem to be any permanent buildings at all. I call Mom to wish her a happy birthday, and tell her about this crazy place. I work up enough curiosity to ask somebody what’s going on here. Apparently as the winter site of some swap meets Quartzite began to attract snowbirds for 3 months out of the year. Now in December the population goes from a few thousand to well over a million.

Again, I resist bargaining for food.


Over a small pass I finally reach a rest area at Ehrenberg, where I cook a big bowl of oatmeal. I’ve now been on I-10 for a while, with just a couple of miles to go to the California border. The border station smells like a hundred kinds of citrus and plants. It must be from food confiscated at the point of entry.

Blythe is a big town. Again I feel the economy tugging at me. Ice Cream. Pizza. But I ride on through, munching on Christmas chocolates.


I enter a strange desert valley, wide and flat, where big green fields display the magic of irrigation. The contrast with the surrounding dusty hills is stark.

In Palo Verde I enter a store looking for water, since there are no more towns for a long way. A guy looking at fishing tackle tells me there’s a free campground outside town. Sounds perfect, so even though it’s still early I pitch the tent under a huge, soft Tamarisk and relax. No one there pays any attention to me. I read, write, and cook noodles. There’s a phone and I consider calling Ann, but decide against it. I get very into the story of Oedipus reading the cycle of plays by Sophocles, impressed by how the plain style can embody so many insights.

One response to “Day 208”

  1. Hello Hobolog, I am a digital designer and you have some great shots of Palo Verde landscape. I wanted to ask your permission if I can use some of your shots on a website. let me know asap. Thank you again and great shots!

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