Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scaddan Wash: Camping in the Desert

“Sky-blue, pink” describes the color of the early morning sky, a two-colored rainbow, over the desert. With each passing moment, the sunlight grew brighter. Shadows on the distant mountain peaks disappeared, and the pink layer across the flat desert horizon faded leaving a bright blue sky. Our 13-foot high coach created an elongated shadow - a mirage of three-story skyscraper stretched across the desert rocks. No other RVs fell under this shadow. We had a rare three acres or more around us. This is desert camping.

We pulled into the Scaddan Wash on January 10th. From Interstate- 10 east of Quartzsite, Arizona, we could see the white rectangles of RVs. These shapes protruded unnaturally from the expanse of flat, brown desert. This was the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) terrain, land open for dry camping. There’s no fee to camp here and you can remain here for up to 14-days.

A volunteer BLM host gave us yellow registration papers as permits for the RV and car. He marked 1/23/09 in big black numbers as our check-out date. “Park anywhere you want.”

Tire tracks in the dust gave us a faint indication of navigable roads across the terrain. Yellow hats hung on tree branches and perched on top of cacti are the closest clues to frequently traveled routes. There are no numbered sites. Only the left-behind stone campfire rings give some indication of prime campsites. We simply found a flat spot away from other RVs and far enough back from the parallel I-10 to minimize the highway buzz and stopped.

This is our fifth day here. Scaddan Wash offers no hook-ups so we are cautiously conserving our water resources. The generator runs for a couple of hours each day to chill the refrigerator and power our batteries. My Verizon internet service draws the maximum five bars. The daytime temperatures reach a non-humid 70° and fall to a comfortably cool 40° by night. This is a new dimension to our camping experience in our RV “Dolly’s Pride”. It’s a place where I’d be tempted to stay beyond the 14-day limit if we could.

January 15, 2009

Scaddan Wash

Quartzsite, AZ

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