A hearty “Hello!” to all the stay-at-homes who have been waiting with bated breath for another Chelan Traveler posting. Your lives will once again have meaning in the near future. We left our home base in Chelan on January 22. We are now in Quartzsite, Arizona. Unlike last year when we toted a 2000-lb block of ice on the 5th wheel’s roof all the way to Redding, CA, this year was a snowless one in Chelan so we had an uneventful exit from that northern clime.

We took the I-5 route south which was convenient to the point of boring. Most memorable was the sad sight of an injured coyote south of Sacramento. He appeared to be resting on the center line between the southbound lanes as a steady stream of vehicles whizzed by. I presume he had been snagged by a passing vehicle while crossing the freeway and had lost the use of his hind legs. Thus unable to move he had curled up to await his fate, head erect, apparently calmly watching the cars pass by only inches from him. It was a heart-rending situation. There was nothing anyone could do to help him. The traffic was merciless. He was unapproachable not only because of the traffic but because he would have bitten anyone who approached. And even if he was somehow removed from his perilous situation, what can you do for a paralyzed coyote?

North of Sacramento we saw an airplane slowly circling above with long narrow wings. I told Mary it looked like the famous U-2 spy plane from the 1960s (most famously piloted by Francis Gary Powers who was shot down by a Russian missile over the Soviet Union.) The U-2 hasn’t been used for decades so I doubted my eyes but as the plane flew closer there was no doubt in my mind as to its identity. The U-2 flies again!


We made a beeline for Quartzsite, one of the most favored spots for sun worshipping RVers in Arizona. One of Mary’s school friends, Peachy Sanger, and her husband Ed called from there and invited us to join them. Mary wanted to talk old times but I wanted to pick Ed’s brain for tips on gold prospecting. He’s hobby prospected for thirty years. My primary motive for this whimsical pursuit is not a far-fetched dream of discovering the mother lode but rather an excuse to legitimize my habit of wandering through desert landscapes. I love these naked hills and their crooked canyons. Ed has already given me a lesson on panning technique, the loan of his Gold Prospecting magazines, and a ton of advice. Today we’re going to a nearby naked hill to dig some holes and gather some “concentrate.”

Ed and Peachy are leaving for Ridgecrest, CA tomorrow because there’s more “color” in the ground up there. (For those of you not as familiar with prospecting jargon as I now am, “color” is prospector talk for gold.) We may stay here a week or so and then we plan to head east toward Tucson where Mary’s older brother, Mike, lives. Rumor has it that my older brother, Lars, has been sighted south of Tucson. We hope to rendezvous with him also.