Monday, January 31, 2011

Quartzsite-Jan 2011

Upon arriving at the usual location out off Plomosa Road at Quartzsite, AZ, I found a group of bluegrass musicians holding a rally. It was the last day, so I only got to see a few groups, but one group was great and I even bought one of their CDs, Mark Phillips and the III Generation.
They had tents set up and even a stage.

Mark Phillips and the III Generation. Someone said they have been nominated for Bluegrass Band of the Year.

An annual tradition at Quartzsite is to head out to the Desert Bar outside of Parker, AZ.

Here we are heading to the Desert Bar the back way on the Gray Eagle Mine Trail. Although its not a lot of miles and not too rough a 4-wheel road, it did take us over an hour to go only about 4-6 miles.

We always stop here to admire unusual rock formation. Notice the change in the rock structure halfway up.

Along the way we pass the leaching tanks of the Grey Eagle Mine.

Here we are finally. Ahead are the cooling stacks at the Desert Bar.

Notice Randy almost verticle? He likes his own spot which no else bothers to take.

Dancing, good friends and live music on a Sunday afternoon. This bar is all solar powered, so it is only open on the weekends, during the day.

Max and Gord are challenging each other on how low they can go doing the twist.

The solar even powers all the bands equipment.

Until this year, the hamburger menu was all that was served.

But this year they added some additional food vendors. You could get brats, chicken sandwiches or tri-tip sandwiches along with kettle corn.

They also added additional seating for this year. Notice then entire roof is made up of solar panels. I wonder how many batteries they have?

Someone said this was the owners home, which is also solar powered. The 2 stacks are the cooling towers.

At the entrance there are several older antique tractors, machinery and this old car.

The chapel sits in the middle of the parking lot.

But notice, it is only about 6 feet deep. But they do have weddings here they say.

After leaving the Desert Bar, we stopped at 'the floating bar', officially known as The Roadrunner Bar and Grill, located in LaPaz County Park in Parker, AZ.

Their Sunday evening special was prime rib with all the fixin's. Several of us thought this would be a beautiful way to end the day, eating prime rib as the sun set on the Colorado River. Life just can't get better than this, can it?

I had to leave Quartzsite and return to Mesa one day, so I drove the car. I filled up with gas in Bouse, got on the highway and drove to Mesa, transacted my business and returned to Quartzsite. I didn't believe what my speedometer was telling me so I took a picture. I really did get 41 mpg, avg speed was 57 mph, and this was over about a 240 mile trip. This car was only rated for 34 mpg by Chevrolet. I love my HHR.

Desert Golf is also an annual tradition while at Quartzsite. There were 4 groups of 16 playing over several days. It's only a 4 hole course and takes about an hour to play.

If you haven't ever played desert golf, it isn't like real golf. I mean, you would never try hitting a tennis ball in real golf. But that is what you do in desert golf. Using regular golf clubs, you are trying to hit this tennis ball and get it into the coffee can buried in the desert. At one time my team was winning, but alas, another group went out after us and beat us.

Another annual tradition is to head to the Somewhere Bar in Bouse, AZ. I don't know why, but people just kinda look at you funny when you tell them you are going to Somewhere in Bouse. And they ask, "Where"? and you reply "Somewhere". Millie is singing with several members of the original Silver Buckle Band. Although Millie doesn't belong to our club, the club has unofficially adopted her. She owns property along the Green River in Utah where the WINs have launched several week plus river trips.

I am hosting the WINs Annual Dance Rally in Casa Grande in February. Several of us were promoting the dance rally at circle one day.

About six cars decided to check out the ghost town of Swansea.

The map had an arch located along our route. And here it is. A window arch. I almost missed it because I was looking up along the ridge of the hills, but is was down almost at road level.

Swansea really was never a town, but a mining community. Originally founded in the late 1800s, it wasn't really developed and mined commercially until the early 1900s and only for less than 20 years. Today, ruins like these are about all that is left.

A couple of walls are left on the old copper mill. At its peak, they smeltered 50 tons of copper out of this mine per day. Although they could get copper out of the rock, it was costing more to get the copper than it could be sold for, so eventually, the mine closed down.

There are piles of tailings next to each of the mine shafts. In the last few years the state has come in and covered all the old mine shafts with these metal mesh coverings. There were 6 major shafts which were between 200 and 500 feet deep.

I thought it was spooky to walk on top of these grates covering the shafts.

But it didn't stop me from climbing up there and taking this picture of the shaft down below.

Do I need say more?

About 4 miles further along a 4-wheel drive road was supposed to be the remains of the original power plant.

Now all that is left is the well where they stored the water. All the water needed to smelter the copper came from the Bill Williams River, so they placed the power/water plant close to the river and piped it back to the smelter.

The Bill Williams River has been damned since then and probably changed course too, but about 1/4 mile from the power plant we did find water.

Back towards Swansea we found the remains of the old train station. There was a special spur through the canyon linking the mine to the outside world. Now there is a 4-wheel drive road following the old railbed through the canyon. All in all, it was a great day!
One afternoon some of the group brought Pete Bonine up from Yuma. He is a special WIN and the group did a tribute to him.

Here is some of the group from his houseboat from the Lake Powell Houseboat gathering in Fall of 2008.

Randy even wrote a poem for the event.

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