From Sea to Shining Sea, Day 38: Blythe, CA to Tempe, AZ
|HADJI ALI (aka HI JOLLY)|
Under the leadership of Secretary Jefferson Davis (the same one who later became president of the Confederacy), the War Department was charged with surveying, defending and supplying vast swaths of land ceded to the U.S. in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. Believing that most of the Southwest was a barren desert, Davis approved an experiment to import camels to use as dray animals. In 1856, some 80 camels were imported from the Middle East along with knowledgeable camel drivers who were hired to teach soldiers how to manage the animals.
One of these was Hadji Ali, whom the fumble-tongued soldiers took to calling Hi Jolly. Able to survive on a minimum amount of water and plants they found growing on the desert, the camels served their purpose well. Efforts to persuade Congress to expand the program failed in the atmosphere of growing tensions that led to the Civil War. Once Davis left the federal government, the experiment was abandoned. Some of the camels were left on the desert to fend for themselves, the last surviving descendent found in 1946. Having adjusted to life in America, Hi Jolly remained and operated a mail and transport service using camels and worked as an Army scout before retiring to Quartzsite, where he tried his hand at prospecting.
|ARIZONA HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT HOMAGE TO HI JOLLY|
|WE'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD HIDING PLACE.|
|ARIZONA IS CERTAINLY A BETTER PLACE FOR THE CHOSEN ATTIRE THAN ALASKA.|
|ALMOST EVERY INCH OF THE READER'S OASIS IS COVERED IN MERCHANDISE.|
|THE LETTERBOX WAS NEAR THIS SIGN AT THE ENTRANCE BUT WE HAD TO EXPLORE MORE.|
|ONE OF MANY PERSONALIZED MEMORIALS|
|OPUNTIA MICRODASYS (FAMILIARLY KNOWN AS ANGEL WINGS OR POLKA DOT CACTUS)|
After the people of the town were so generous with their outpouring of sympathy and concern after their little girl died, Joanne explained, she and Paul wanted to do something to express their appreciation. When they approached town officials with the idea of planting a tree in the town park in Celia's memory, they learned of a botanical garden/nature trail plan on the books which had never been implemented. Joanne offered to take on the job of organizing volunteer efforts to make the garden a reality.
When others saw the small memorial the Winers made to Celia, they loved the idea, and soon other creative exhibits were installed as an homage to many of the town's departed. There are no burials in the gardens but you can learn a lot more about the deceased from these quaint personal tributes than from most traditional headstones. A constantly evolving and locally beloved project, the gardens have expanded from their original eight acres to cover twenty.
|RV'S ON EVERY CORNER|
|BOONDOCKING NEAR QUARTZSITE (Photo from liferebooted.net)|
Riddle me this: If someone can pay upwards of $400,000 for an RV and $40,000+ for the SUV they're towing behind it, what's the big thrill in saving a few dollars a day by parking free in the desert?
Pondering this and other mysteries, we decided it was time to move on. We arrived in Quartzsite about 9:30 this morning to check out the Hi Jolly monument. By the time we left, after a picnic lunch at a BLM site where we found another letterbox, it was after 2:30 and the sun was sinking toward the horizon. Fortunately we had only a couple of hours to reach our destination for tonight in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix.
Tomorrow we'll check out the faux Arizona State Capitol and decide where to go next.
FRIDAY, 24 DECEMBER 2016
• Ended in: Tempe, AZ
• Miles driven: 190 [trip: 5,764]
• Weather: 46° to 54°, overcast and windy
• Letterboxes: Found 9 [trip: F100, P14]
• Walked: 2.5 miles [trip: 96.8]
• States: CA, AZ [trip: 8]
• Counties: 3 [trip: 113]
• Towns: 8 [trip: 250]
• RVs in Quartzsite today: 4,127
• Naked booksellers in Quartzsite: 0 (whew!)
• Books we bought from the Coloradans: 0 (though they were pitching hard)
Loved: Exploring the quaint and quirky town of Quartzsite, AZ
Learned: In some places, you can make a pretty good living by taking your pants off.
More Photos from Today
|JAM PACKED BUT HIGHLY ORGANIZED|
|A COLLECTION OF ITEMS SOLD AT THE BOOKSTORE TO BENEFIT CELIA'S GARDEN|
|MEMORIAL TO A MICHIGANITE FEATURES STATE OUTLINE & MACKINAC BRIDGE.|
|ANOTHER PERSONAL TRIBUTE|
|MAKING THE MOST OF THE LOCAL ROCKS|
|LOTS OF BUSINESSES SERVING THE RV INDUSTRY IN QUARTZSITE|
|ANY AND EVERY ASPECT OF THE RV BUSINESS...|
|KEN TIPTOES PAST CHOLLA TO RETURN A LETTERBOX TO ITS HIDING SPOT.|