Category Archives: Retired Military

Retired Military


The “Nellie E Saloon” (Desert Bar) is situated in the Buckskin Mountains, in Parker, Arizona. The location is on an old mining camp. When Ken, his last name I never found, acquired the land in 1975. The mining camp was abandoned and nothing was left of the mine at the time. He had the land and a liquor license from an old business venture, Ken decided to give the “bar in the desert” idea a try. In 1983, Ken opened for business in the temporary three-sided structure which is across from the outdoor restrooms. Yes, the restrooms, with a half wall, overlook a spectacular scenic vista. He operated there for the next five years until the current saloon was constructed. The name “Nellie E” originates from the old mining claim. They used to mine copper and then take it to the smelter and get gold!

When Ken opened the bar, he hauled water in a 50-gallon tank loaded on the back of his truck. Then he purchased an old fire truck, which he used to haul water. In 1989, he started using a well in the canyon as his water source. In the summer of 1997, Ken drilled a new well on the north side of the saloon that operates on solar power, with the pump set at 360 feet.

The “Nellie E” was completed in 1988. The inside of the saloon is unique in many ways. It has windows that are old commercial glass refrigerator doors, the bar stools are made of steel and they sway from side to side. The top of the bar is brass and the ceiling is made of stamped tin purchased from a factory in Missouri. The saloon is powered by solar energy and is stored in batteries and run through inverters.

Built in 1991, the covered walk bridge was the next big project, it was dedicated in October of that same year. The church is made of solid steel and the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used inside the bar and roof is made of copper. The names inscribed on the plaques in the church are people who donated money to help build the church. The church is a unique place for weddings and a great photo spot. There are no services held in the church and all religions are welcome.

Across from the saloon is an outside bar, cooking area, and stage. The tall structures you see on the property including Ken’s house, located across from the parking lot are “cooling towers”. They work similar to an evaporative (swamp) cooler, except they don’t have a fan. When you wet the pads on top, cool air falls and you get a nice cool airflow.

Behind the outside bar is a horseshoe pit and to the right is a stage for live music or D.J.

The above information was taken from their online flyer.

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Vintage Rock Band and they were excellent!

My Opinion

Now let me tell my opinion of the Desert Bar and the “Nellie E Saloon”. For three months since our coming into the Southwest, we’ve been hearing about this Desert Bar. “You’ve got to see it!” Everybody has been saying! Time had come, this past Saturday, for our eyes to view the Desert Bar.


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Nellie E Saloon and the Desert Bar


It is only open Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm and only from October to March (Just plain too hot in the summertime!) Maybe the logistics for operation more than two days a week would be too much to handle. You see the Desert Bar is located five miles in the desert, on a road that I would call a tank trail. It is so rough that going 5 mph might be speeding unless you were in an ATV! Probably that is one of the lures to this remote icon in the Buckskin Mountains. Many a person has told me to leave at 11am for the 12pm opening. (To avoid the traffic rush and dust!) With all this in mind, Helen and I set off early enough to drive the road very slowly. My tires had been aired down from 80psi to 45psi. Maybe I should have gone down to 35psi to smooth the ride down further! So, it is about 4-1/2 miles to the bar and going 4 to 5 mph, we arrived nearly at noonish.

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Upper Parking Lot

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Church & Lower Parking Lot

First View

When nearing the last bend, in a natural canyon cut, the first eye-opener is the front profile of this church! Its copper greenish roof and nearly black siding silhouetted against the brown hillside gave us a WOW moment! Next, we drove into a fortress-like mote. Two 30 foot high walls of dirt on each side of the road brought us into the fortress. A concrete wall, again very high, with a sign that read out and in greeting us. What could I do but take the “in” side of the uphill road? At the top, a very large gravel parking lot, with marked parking spots directed us to our parking spot. How would you mark parking spots in a gravel parking lot? Very cleverly with 2inch canvas fire hoses staked with spikes on each end! Not a big to-do, but cleaver.

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The Steel Church ~ One of a kind!

The Church

Ok, what’s so special about a design and build of a church? The church is built of steel, not a solid piece, but welded pieces! The siding is not wood or vinyl, but 5/16″ by 5″ steel plates. The word “clapboard”, I don’t think has ever been applied to steel siding in this fashion! It is a “fashion statement” and very noteworthy!

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Solar Panel Stage Area

The Covered Bridge and Bar/Lounge/Stage Area

The terrain is steep, other than the parking lot, literally on a mountainside, in a gully. Hence a covered bridge brings you to a middle-level floor area with the stage to the right along with a light food bar. As a fabricator/welder, I couldn’t help notice the structural details. Either an Engineer and/or the owner has over-built the design! It isn’t going to fall over. It is very well done in my book!  The bar stools caught my eye right off the bat! A welder’s design that has taken structural square-tubing and created function and ingenuity. I could go on for a lot more details that I spotted throughout the multi-floor structure. On the lower level, more food venues are offered. On the upper levels, several areas have been set up with tables and chairs. One can view the panorama, listen to an excellent vintage rock and roll band or just eat and enjoy the company of others.

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Restroom View

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Ladies Restroom

The Open Air Restrooms

This might sound a little weird, but on a cliffside, the restrooms have a concrete wall that rises to about five feet from the floor. A roof covers this restroom, the commodes are set back and private. Yet one can view the Buckskin Mountain range off at a distance. Very well done!

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ATV Heaven

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Original Desert Bar on the left!

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Multi-level Seating Areas & Old Firetruck Pumper

My General Rating!

It is certainly a place that one must visit at least once in a lifetime. I would go back next year just to see the new improvements and/or additions. The 5-mile road trip is probably part of the draw into the desert. The architecture is unique, the number of people that attend every weekend is phenomenal!


That is what we saw and did!



​Life on the Colorado River

We’ve been here on the river for about 2-1/2 weeks. This place is growing on us! I love sitting on our riverfront site, in mid-afternoon, reading a book, watching wildlife, and relaxing. This usually comes from a full morning of exploring! It might have been visiting a CRIT (Colorado River Indian Tribe) museum, maybe going on a geocache hunt or like yesterday visiting Poston, AZ (more on the latter below).

In the evening, sitting outside with neighbors, gathering for a chat on the days’ events or for one of Bill’s colorful stories! It is always a good way to end the day. Now that the evenings are a little warmer, I can watch the moon rising, the reflection in the river and the night stars getting brighter. Ah, life is good on the Colorado River.

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The last relocation camp leaves Poston, AZ

Poston, Arizona

The name might not ring a bell unless you’re a history buff or of a certain golden age! In 1942, a year after World War II started with the declaration of war on Japan, this is what took place!

“All persons of Japanese descent living in California, Washington, Oregon and a section of Arizona were forcibly evacuted by the United States military on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security. This massive interment of 120,000 men women and children with more than 1/16th ‘Japanese blood’ was authorized by Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. The majority of the detainees, American citizens by birth, was stripped of their citizenship and became a class of ‘non-aliens’.”

Can you imagine how this would be received in today’s political atmosphere!



One personal bag allowed!


Each internee was allowed to take only what he/she could carry and a bedroll leaving behind farms, homes, and businesses. They endured countless indignities at the hands of a nation misguided by war-time hysteria, racial prejudice, and fear. We erect this monument to remind us that such a gross miscarriage of justice will never happen again to any group of people.

These people were incarcerated at this site from May 5, 1942, to November 28, 1945



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Life in the Relocation Camps



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Panorama of Relocation Memorial




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Japanese Serviceman who Died Defending the United States


The only thing left at the campsites is the large Poston Memorial Monument. The area sits on a large flat desert landscape, which is now farmed with the help of Colorado River water from irrigation canals that stretch for miles and miles. It is located on CRIT land.



Colorado River Indian Tribes and the Camps


I have mentioned geocaching in past blogs, but here in the immense Mohave Desert, it has expanded immensely! When you log in that you’ve found a cache, a new symbol appears on geocaching online maps, a smiley face appears! What I’m getting at here are a few smiley faces that appear on my log-in geocaching map. When you log-in a cache a date is entered as a time stamp. Well, one of the smiley faces has a time stamp of February 2011! That’s when we traveled in this area last. We had rented a car and doing California and part of Arizona that year. The following year is when we started our adventures with the truck camper.

Wyatt Earp and his Vilda home!

Vilda is no more than a crossroad, nearly abandoned town in the Mohave Desert. What makes it interesting is that Wyatt Earp had a house here. He lived in Los Angeles, in his later years, but he would come here to prospect. He died in 1929 and this man has a reputation that lives on from Tombstone and all over the west! The string of geocaches along the highway gives you an insight into what Wyatt’s environment was like, back in the day.

Lucille Ball & Desi Arnez

Directly across from River Land Resort, and our #8 site, lies a large house, high on a bluff, overlooking the river valley. Rumor has it that it was originally built for Lucille Ball and her husband Desi. That brings us to many rich and famous that live, part-time, on the river. We never really get to see celebrities, but maybe we do and don’t realize it. Things are relatively quiet during the week, but come Friday and the weekend and the river comes alive with party-boats to twin supercharged v-8 engines ~ cigar boats, costing in the million dollar range. From the party-boats putting along, to those “cigar boats” traveling at 80 to 100 miles per hour, the river can be a busy place! The rich and famous come to play!


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Moon Rising from our site #8 ~ The silhouetted house of Lucy Ball & Desi Arnaz


That is what we saw and did!


The Parker 425 ~ Off Road Race!

Ever since I was a teenager, many, many moons ago, I’ve always been interested in racing, especially in modified “Off Road Vehicles”! The Baja 1,000 and the Parker 425 were and are the best arousal races in mind. What really threw me off was the fact that it never entered my mind that the Parker 425 was in Parker, Arizona. For some weird reason, I associated both of these races someplace in Baja region of California and Mexico. Continue reading

Lake Havasu & London Bridge

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Parker Dam ~ Dividing California and Arizona

The Parker Dam

The ride to Lake Havasu City was interesting in itself. Staying on the California side, up to the Parker Dam, we encountered numerous RV parks. Starting with ours, which is the first one on BLM land, they are all privately owned, but must follow BLM regulations. This makes them clean and orderly. They all have clear signage with the BLM designated logos. The Indian run RV parks are not as well maintained further south.

A few miles upstream, we arrived at the Parker Dam. Numerous signs on the way up indicated that large trucks and RV’s are not allowed over the dam. I was thinking it was for security reasons, but soon realized it was because the dam road is extremely narrow and in a curved formation. I started across only to meet two pickups going in the opposite direction. A note here is that our truck camper is off the truck! The first truck was of little concern, but the second service truck had extended mirrors. We both slowed to a crawl and squeaked by each other. Once we were on the other side of the dam, I stopped for a few photos. A mile or two after the dam we jumped on Arizona 95 North.

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London Bridge ~ Lake Havasu City

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Living the Tourist Life under the London Bridge

Lake Havasu City

We have visited both Parker Dam and Lake Havasu City a few years ago, but we were moteling it back then. Lake Havasu City’s best icon is the famous bridge that originally went over the Themes River in London, England. It was dismantled back in 1981 and shipped over to Havasu City and reassembled. The rebuild project lasted four years. In any event, it is a diamond in the heart of the city!

We drove over the bridge and parked on the West side, walked the bridge, descended the stairs, admired the bridge and watched many different boats going up and down under the bridge. With a 5 mph speed limit on the water, it was a pleasant atmosphere strolling on the dock/sidewalk watching every type of boat going and coming. The shops were open and although not super crowded, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.


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The Arch Discovery!

The Painted Rocks Search

On the way home, we noticed an area, that we were told of a hiking trail into the desert to view some painted rocks. It was getting too late for a hike in this late afternoon, but we returned to this starting point the next morning. Our hiking buddy, Pat, had given us the starting point, but failed to explain that at the ATV/Access point one could go in a dozen different directions. We were hiking on foot hence, I marked our starting point at  the truck location on my Garmin 60Cx. Our hike started in a northerly direction. I was looking at the terrain and figured it might be a good location for painted rock mosaics.

A half mile later, it looked very mountainous with no possible way to the painted rocks! We were ready to about-face, but in the corner of my eye, I noticed some sort of tunnel to our left. Closer examination revealed a large arch! It was big enough for the ATVs which have driven through. We walked to it, cool looking arch! Mother nature along with a torrent of rain created this arch. Looking towards the West, the canyon funneled to a tighter narrow wash. I walked a little further and discovered more unusual tunnels and arches. We didn’t find the painted rocks, but the arches and tunnels were a conciliation bonus!

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Geology Up Close!


Geology ~ Rock Heaven!

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Helen Entering the Cave

The Geocache ~ Conciliation

Back at the truck, with my Garmin 60Cx handheld GPS, we both wondered if there were any geocaches close by. I opened the app on my iPhone, hit the geocache icon. Bingo, a cache was about a mile up the ATV trail. The description said that we could drive to the cache. “Lets go”, I told Helen! Off up the ATV road we went. Helen, gets nervous when I go off-roading! I said to her that I would stop and turn around when the road gets tough or impassable. We went in about a half mile and I could tell she was getting a little tense! “Ok”, I said, “I’ll turn around and we’ll walk-in the rest of the way.” The road was hard packed and easy walking. The terrain was now getting more volcanic with red, black mounds sort of bubbling out of the ragged mountains. A cool place to explore! I was using my GPS and not my iPhone as the iPhone takes data but more importantly uses a large amount of battery when tracking. Save the iPhone for emergencies, I was thinking!

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Up the Wash!

We were within 100 feet of the cache. It looked promising to right, but the GPS was increasing to 115 feet. I backed off and reversed direction across the road. Ah, good possibilities here, a lot of loose volcanic rocks. I reminded Helen that rattlesnakes hide in the rocks and it was definitely hot enough for them to be actively out! I hunted for a stick to do my poking around in these rocks. GPS now reading 17 feet and an accuracy reading of 9 feet, we must be very close. I climbed high up the cliff to check the back side. Wow, dozens and dozens of loose rocks, I poked here and there with no results! Back around to the front side towards the road I went. Helen was a little lower watching and poking around also. 

I spotted something not quite right. “Helen,” I hollered. “Look up here. See that hole. There is rock inside that is laid horizontally and doesn’t appear normal.” There, in front of me, was the lock and lock box! I opened it, took out the log book, signed the log with our geocaching handle of “TravelduoNH” along with the date. I took none of the trinkets and replaced the box as found behind the loss rocks. (I later went on-line and recorded the “Copper Basin Cache” as found. This gives us a total 872 caches found between the two of us.) 

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The Geocache possible location

We both felt good that we hadn’t lost our touch for finding a geocache. This cache brought us to a very volcanic geological area that we would not have gone to without a geocache! A short time later, we were back at the truck. We didn’t find the painted rock mosaics, but that’s another exploration for another day!

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“The Parting Shot!! ~ Haha

That’s what we saw and did!

The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land

We’ve been in the Parker area now for five days. Getting the lay of the land is a must when looking for adventure! One of the first places to checkout is the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in Parker. We left there with a handful of flyers for us to read back at the Truck Camper. Just prior to entering the Visitor Center, Helen had a good idea, saying, “Lets see if there are any Geocaches near by”. We haven’t geocahed in a long time. Sure enough there was a cache very near the Visitors Center. My iPhone app directed us to the general location and within a minute, Helen found the cache. This gave us a positive feeling! Our month stay in the Parker area would also be positive!

Continue reading

Quartzsite, AZ to Earp, California

Blythe, CA

Early Saturday night, in Quartzsite, I was planning our departure from the “Rocking, Rock Capital” to our next base of operations in Parker, AZ on the Colorado River. We planned on attending Sunday morning mass in Blythe, CA, a mere 20 or so miles away from Quartzsite. We didn’t have any planned location for our stay in Parker, but it is convenient and comments have all been positive!

During the night, I woke up and came to the realization that crossing the Colorado River into California would mean a one hour time change. With that thought, I made a mental note to leave one hour earlier. I was up at 5:15am, had breakfast, took care of business and we were on the road by 6am. Little traffic on the I-10 and was in Blythe by 6:30 am (Arizona time). Helen made a comment that it was awfully dark for 7:30am California time! You guessed it, I should have slept an extra hour instead of leaving an extra hour early! So, having our hotel room in the back of the truck, we did some reading, texting and a little Facebook for a couple of hours before the 8am mass at St Joan of Ark.

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Our Truck Camper ~ Site #8

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Desert Mountains in Background

Parker, AZ & Earp, CA

After attending church, a quick stop at McDonald’s for coffee and my decision to follow US 95 up to Parker on the California side was made. I chose the California side to be in less traffic and smell the Roses Desert! The secondary highway follows the Colorado River more closely than the Arizona highway. We enjoyed viewing deserts, rocky mountains and some views of the river.

Arriving in Earp, CA, I drove across the river into Parker. Our first stop was at the Wal-Mart for a needed resupply of food. This Wal-Mart does allow RV parking overnight and lets me tell you there we many RVs parked here in the early afternoon.

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Night View from our Site #8

The Recon ~ for a place to stay!

On the way into Parker, we saw many campers dispersed on BLM land. Some would stay at Wal-Mart for short periods of time. Our plan was for a 30 day stay in this area. This wasn’t going to be a boondocking situation. We needed a little creature comfort for a 30-day stay.

On the way up, on the California side of the river, we noticed many RV resort signs. I decided to drive across the river and start looking on that side of the river. It is a little-laid back with less traffic and still the same river, but looking east instead of west.

The first stop was at an Indian run park. Not impressed at all! Office closed with limited hours even during the week. It looked like permanent year-round residences and not what we were looking for. The second stop, a couple of miles down the road, looking very promising, but again the office closed! The third place, River Land Resort looked inviting and the paved entrance leads us to the office, on the river. It was open! Vanessa, smiling as we entered, gave us options for a couple of nights, 30 days, 60 days and so on. There were only two available sites. Being apprehensive, I wanted to walk the sites. The first was at the end and sandwiched by two 53 foot Class A’s, it was on the water’s edge. The second site at the extreme other end was on the third street with storage garages and dirt, dusty road. We decided on the first site, Vanessa told us that another site #8 was also available on the water. Third time is always a winner! Perfect for us! We actually paid less than at Davis/Monthan AFB in Tucson. Full hook-ups, cable tv (hundreds of stations), laundry, showers, community room, activity calendar and most important to me Super WiFi and bandwidth! I assume that the bandwidth comes from everybody watching TV and not on the internet! Streaming online no buffering!! Love it!

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Arizona Looking into California

Quartzsite visitors

John, Cheryl, Len, and Elizabeth were up at the Casino in Parker to watch the football game Sunday afternoon. They gave us call just after we were setting up. I couldn’t believe they were here, not thinking about the football game. I think they were impressed with the resort!

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River Land Resort ~ Earp, CA

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Reminds Me of Homes in Venice, Italy

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Sunset ~ On The Colorado River!

We are just getting settling in and will start exploring today!


That is what we saw and did!


Quartzsite Unleashed!

Just a quick update: WiFi in Quartzsite was iffy! Some of the original pictures didn’t upload…here is a hopeful update!

Jan 14th to 20th

Arrived Sunday around noon. John and Cheryl arrived, no more 30 minutes after us, from a different direction. We linked up at the BLM office. Helen and Cheryl stayed in John’s truck and the guys went on a recon in my truck to find a suitable site for both of us. After driving for a half hour, it was decided that being close to the “big tent” was better than not eating dust further away. We oriented our vehicles to maximize shade, if we needed it in the middle of the day.

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The Big Tent ~ “Several Hundred Feet Long”

The big tent opens on the 20th. It’s also the main event, not to say nothing else is happening here in Quartzsite! It is pretty hard to describe what is going on in this town, but it is like the biggest agricultural fair on steroids without the animals! Multi-events all over town keep everyone busy. Monthly schedules have just about anything and everything you would be interested is covered. For example:

  • ➤Line Dancing level 1
  • ➤Bluegrass Hardshell
  • ➤Off ~ Road meet & greet
  • ➤Crafters
  • ➤Spanish Intermediate
  • ➤Barefoot & Boots
  • Just a few of the many activities one can find here.
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Adult Daycare Center ~ Beverages included!

The Numbers

Many people tell you that there are over 1 million RVers here in Quartzsite, AZ. The Arizona Deapartment of Transportation estimates that between 750,000 and 1,000,000 RVers are here in this time frame. Two years ago the estimate was an all time high of 2,000,000! Amazingly the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) does a pretty good job of handling all those people. You can camp for free (in certain areas, with a free permit) or you can pay $40.00 for a two week permit (this is what we did). The $40.00 permit entitles you to portable water, dump station and trash disposal. If you camp free you than have to pay for dump station and portable water fees. In addition, you can stay at 60 RV campgrounds with full or partial hookups at standard daily or monthly rates.

The Big Tent

Some call it the main event! It is mainly dedicated to the RV industry, but that includes everything from cooking demonstrations, to Satellite Dishes etc. I am writing this part of the blog on Jan 18th. The “Big Tent” opens in a couple of days. Vendors are just starting to fill the tent up. On the outside, hundreds of Class A motorhomes and 5th wheels and Class C motorhomes are lined up for showing. On our walk yesterday, a salesman showed us a Class A with a price tag of $750,000.00! I told him I didn’t like the color! These are open now for viewing. Stay tuned for our comments on the “Big Tent”!

Quartzsite ~ A Nice Town

Quartzite ~ The Town

Yesterday, was our exploration day. A little out of the downtown area is the Municipal building which contains municipal offices as well as the Public Library. (free WiFi, both inside and out). Across the divided street, a large park, gardens, dog park, picnic area and a model radio controlled airfield! Pretty cool environment! We parked there for my 10am conference call for the Berlin Water Works Board meeting. Helen toured the gardens while I had the meeting. After the meeting, we toured around the town and did some more exploring!

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Hi Jolly “The Camel Caretaker”

Hi Jolly ~ A Little History

This history takes us back to 1856 when a famous camel herd arrived here, of which the name of Hi Jolly is linked. Back in the day, Jefferson Davis (Secretary of War for the Confederacy) was talked into procuring a herd of Camels for the Confederate Army. Haiti Ali the caretaker (AKA, Hi Jolly) got his name because the soldiers couldn’t pronounce his Arabic name. There is more to the story, but for brevity we’ll end it here.

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Can You Imagine How Much That Solid Rock Sphere weighs?

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Colors in the Raw

Rock Hound Heaven

As much as RV’s might seem to dominate the Quartzite scene, the Rock Gems is king of this event! Never in my wildest dream would I imagine so many different types of rocks in the world and even some from outer space! This afternoon, I took my Nikon down to the venders and tried to capture a little variety of these stones. Some have been processed, some in raw form, all special in their own right. From Madagascar to Zanzibar, they all have a place in this market. Some will wind up as jewelry, some kitchen sinks, some will be artistic shaped into conversation pieces. Only the imagination limits these rock treasures from us mortals.

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Lise, Andre and Helen ~ Comparing Photos!

New Friends ~ Andre, Lise and (the Labrador) George

Camping just across from us is a sweet couple from Canada. We got friendly with them when “ George” barked at us on our first encounter. I wanted to be friendly the Lab, so our doggy treats usually work to break the ice and so it did. Andre was starting a campfire and invited us over. That was the beginning of a new friendship. You see, Andre, Lise and even George speak french. Ah, the french connection, we also speak french, nearly fluently enough to carry on a conversation. George obeys to french commands like sit, give me your paw and so on in french. With doggy treats, we became best of friends.

Andre and Lise have a lot in common with us. In age, kids, marriage length and working careers. They have been coming down here for years. We spent several nights by the campfires chatting with them. They gave us all kinds of valuable info on places to stay and visit here in the West. These are the encounters that we treasure! They live between Montreal and Quebec City, Canada. They have been through or home town of Berlin, NH on their way to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Many Canadian visitors travel south and are truly “Snowbirds”!



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Bulk Quantity Available!

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Quartzsite ~ La Posa Campground~ Sunset

That is what we saw and did!