Oxbow Recreation and Wildlife Area

I packed up my lakeside camp and headed out yesterday morning. Of course, heading out was a long, multi-step process. Leaving my campsite was just the first step. Then I had to dump my trash, refill my water jugs (hey, I paid for that privilege), and grab a hot shower at the Squaw Lake Campground. Then I drove to Yuma, had lunch, restocked groceries, and picked up a few odds and ends at Lowe’s for some minor projects I’ve been putting off. Only then could I actually leave the area I’ve been bopping around in for the past few weeks and head to parts unknown.

After a short jaunt down I-8 west, I turned north onto Oglby Road. Once again, I felt like I was driving through an episode of Knight Rider across the California desert. I found myself dodging potholes like I haven’t done since I left New England, the road surface was so bad at times. At a 65 mph speed limit (I hovered between 55-60) it was challenging to spot the worst ones far enough ahead to maneuver around them — my van is not the Miata I used to race. It was smooth sailing after turning right onto Route 78, though, as well as more curvy and fun.

I had no cell service for a while and became worried that I might have to skip this place entirely as a result. I regained service just before Google sent me down an unmarked dirt road, which soon led to the Oxbow Recreation and Wildlife Area. This is set up like an actual campground rather than the free-for-all BLM land that I’m used to. Each site has a fire ring and a picnic table, which is nice. Data was marginal, but I bounced between empty campsites until I found a location where my Verizon phone and T-Mobile hotspot worked. I’m glad to finally get some use out of my T-Mobile hotspot since it’s been a paperweight since I got to Quartzsite in December.

So now, I officially live in a van down by the river. I’m camped right next to the Colorado River. Fortunately, since Daylight Savings Time just kicked in, California and Arizona are at the same time since Arizona doesn’t play that time change game. I don’t have to wonder which time zone my phone has synced to today, and miss work meetings as a result. The ground here is soft sand, not hard-packed gravel or rock like Imperial Dam or La Posa South. My tires dig in a little, but not too far, so I’m not concerned about getting stuck as long as I’m careful. Though I am thankful for my new tire choice back in Illinois.

It’s quiet here. Lister is enjoying it. He goes between sleeping and stalking all the nearby wildlife. One form of wildlife he won’t catch is the hummingbirds that hang around here. I love watching them buzz around. I have a couple of neighbors nearby in an RV and Ford Fiesta with British Columbia plates. We talked a bit as the sun went down last night. In fact, they even had me bring Lister over to get some extra attention.

Even though the moon is a week from being full, it throws out a great deal of light. I don’t need my headlamp to walk to the nearby bathroom. I experimented with the long exposure settings on my phone and came up with this picture. It’s not this bright in real life, but I like the otherworldly look. Things just glow in a way that’s unnatural in sunlight. It’s pretty neat. I should play with this some more.

I need to do laundry in the next couple of days. Yesterday was already too full with other errands to cram laundry in on top of it. I don’t really want to leave when I’ve just arrived here, but I’ll have to. I’m allowed to stay here for 14 days, and it costs nothing additional since the pass I bought for the North Shore is good here, too. I’ll likely move on before my time is up since temperatures are warming up and I’d like to get to a higher altitude before it gets uncomfortable. I’m figuring out a vague sort of plan, subject to constant change as always.

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