Fulltime Roadrunners

Fulltime Roadrunners
Staying Put at BLM Oxbow Campground on the Colorado River, Cibola, AZ

Lots Happening

March 28th, 2014

Happening slowly, but still happening.  Looks like the water level on the river and our pond has reached it’s peak and pretty much staying there for now.  It will recede slowly according to the Bureau of Reclamation guy who comes out here to launch his boat to check levels and maintain river equipment.  Surface level of the river is 224’ still but the flow has slowed down by 2,000 cubic feet/second.  They say it will be at least a 6 week time period for us to really start seeing the decrease again.

The BLM is still saying we WILL have “shore” power here in time to see us through the heat of the summer.  To RVers, shore power refers to power provided by a source other than your own RV… a place you can plug in and be assured of a steady power source.  That’s pretty important when the summer temps get over 110° and even into the 120’s and you desperately need the power for an A/C. 

We are also supposed to get our UTV out here in the near future so we can start using it to do rounds and to haul the pressure washer to the bathrooms for deeper cleaning and for generally getting around the campground to do our job instead of putting the wear and tear on our own pickup.

We know it takes time and there are many other considerations within the Yuma Field Office beyond the Oxbow Campground so we are trying to be patient, but that doesn’t keep us from reminding our supervisor these things still need to be fulfilled when he can fit it in.  I want these thoughts to be in the front of his mind, not the back.

The season is continuing to ramp up.  We were getting a few water skiers and wake boarders, but with the high water, which is colder, they don’t wanna come play.  But, the fishermen are coming out more and more.

The last couple of days we have had a couple of folks come out to catch live bait for Flathead Catfish.  The Flathead is a live fish eater, not a bottom feeder, and is considered the Cadillac of catfish eating.  These guys come out in the morning or afternoon to catch the Blue-gill for bait and then go fishing for the Flatheads at night.

Our “mancationer” group of men that were here last October are back.  They come here to go fishing for catfish during the day and have a good time in the evening.  They always quiet down early enough to not be annoying.  They usually have a fish fry their last night here, assuming they catch enough fish.  These guys are the ones who gave Thom and I our first taste of catfish last October when we’d mentioned we’d never tasted it.  We loved it!  Today they caught a good bunch of fish down river – along the banks and in the backwaters.  They were only out about 3 hours and between 4 of them caught 12 channel catfish, with a couple of those fish being pretty good sized.  Here’s a pic of their catch today.  (click on the pic to go to full size pic, close window to come back to blog)
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Looks like a pretty good fish fry coming up!

Only one of the guys does the fileting of the fish and I watched him do the first 3 of them today to get an idea of how to do it when/if we catch a fish.  Looks pretty simple with the trick being – have a sharp, flexible filet knife.  I’m ready!

There is a place down river on the other side of the river that is an isolated piece of state land.  This is right on the river and a little backwater and people come to this place, called Hippy Hole, to camp for free and party.  If the water is high enough they can launch their boats and can almost always launch their jet skis.  Unfortunately it has no amenities whatsoever which means many of the people who camp and even use it for day use will come to our campground to use the bathrooms and trash dumpster.  We have an ongoing battle keeping these guys from filling our dumpster and using our facilities.  They work hard at trying to outfox us and sneak in.  And,  because they are partiers and young they take dares from each other to do outrageous things in our bathrooms and campground, etc.  Thom did a drive around today checking for new campers and went past the Hippy Hole… there are several people there so we expect this weekend to present a few challenges, to say the least.  There’s nothing we can do other than take license numbers and file reports.

Most of our water birds are gone, but we are getting a few migrating birds coming through.  I had a male Bullock’s Oriole drop by one day.  I keep hoping he or others will come by again.  Today I saw a flash of yellow acting much like a warbler.  I’m hoping it’s a yellow warbler and I can catch a good picture of one flashing it’s color.

I’m seeing lots of little lizards and with the Mesquite bloom in full force, lots of bees, and some butterflies.  Today we had a Monarch on a Mesquite bloom.

We do love living here and watching our world change with the seasons and nature and even manmade events like flushing the river, and fire control weed removal.  Sure have a lot more Cottontails in our campground since all those weeds were cut down and the acreage dug up.  Probably destroyed a few burrows.
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The gal that runs the food shack in Cibola wanted to see my bead work so I showed her my hummingbirds.  She wants me to display some at her shack for sale and has ordered one for herself.  She didn’t want a traditional hummingbird like an Anna’s, Costa’s or Black Chinned, she wants one all purples.  I started it a couple of days ago and have the head finished.  I am throwing in a bit of black and white for contrast though.  I hope she likes it when it’s finished.  If not, I’ll start over.  If I’m pleased with it, I’ll post a pic to share with ya’ll.  If I’m going to put them on display for sale/order, I need to build up my inventory so I’m planning on doing Costa’s, Rufus, and Black Chinned as time allows.

Does it sound to you like I’m rambling?  Sure does to me.  Must be time for me to say g’nite.  Hope to post again soon.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!

And it Begins…

March 23rd, 2014

The weather is pretty consistent now with highs in the 80’s, lows in the high 40’s and low to mid 50’s, sometimes a stiff wind, always a light breeze.  The water temp is in the low 60’s and the fish are biting.  Makes me think of the song that goes “Summertime, and the living is easy… fish are biting…” or something like that.  We had a wind from the south the other day that was strong enough some kayakers had to paddle to go down river, and that was with a water flow of 8,000 cfs.  We had a beautiful view of the river that day, what with all the whitecaps and sun making the water sparkle.

The Bureau of Reclamation is still releasing copious amounts of water from the Parker Dam.  Our water level this morning is 222’ (surface elevation) and the flow is 13,314 cubic feet per second.  It’s my understanding that Mexico wants more water from the Colorado River and at the same time the Bureau of Rec wants to “flush” the river in an attempt to wash a lot of the silt/sand out to get rid of the many sandbars that have developed.  It’ll be interesting to see if it worked when the water level gets back down to 217’ at flows of 3,000 cfs.  Here is a picture of Al ‘n Linda fishing on Dec. 21, 2013 on the pond’s beach, followed by a photo taken yesterday of that same area.

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Of course the warmer temps, high water levels, and biting fish are bringing out the water recreationists.  We have several people coming out to launch their boats for fishing in the early mornings and several others coming out to launch mid-mornings and head out to go water skiing or wake boarding.  The snowbirds are stopping in here for a few days to a couple of weeks on their way home to cold country.  Up until this last week most of our guests are people with existing annual passes, but now we are getting returnees buying the annual passes.

I still haven’t found or made time to try fishing again.  It’s been several days.  Until the Bass are done spawning I’m only gong to try for catfish or the larger blue gill/sunfish.  There are way too many fisher persons taking home the bigger egg laden females, or females pulled off their “nests”. Without the protection, the eggs won’t survive.  These people only care about filling their freezers now and don’t think about the future generations of the fish.  Besides, catfish taste better.  I plan to release any bass I catch until they are no longer spawning.

I’ve mentioned we get some interesting people in here.  Some are scary, some are sweethearts, and some have lived lives that have given them  a never-ending number of stories to tell.  One of the scary people is a single guy who came in last December and bought an annual pass, which allows him to camp here for 14 days then be 25 miles away for 14 days, then he can come back for another 14 days… which he has done since he bought the pass.  He sold his home and lives in his car, a fairly new Chrysler 300.  He’s tall ‘n skinny ‘n loud.  He is bi-polar and takes meds for depression.  He often goes into the food stand in the trailer park in Cibola and comes on to the women with words and actions, being quite touchy-feely.  He parks right next to one of our bathrooms and when our lady campers go to use it he flirts with them in such a manner that their husbands have told them to take one of the men with them or a gun when they go to the restroom.  He’s done nothing against the rules or the law so we can’t make him move away from the restroom or ban him from the campground.

On the other side, there is another single guy who is a veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This guy has an annual pass but usually stays in out of the way places on open land along the river.  He does sometimes come in here and camp if there aren’t many people and his favorite secluded spot is available.  Obviously, he’s not comfortable around people and it takes a while for him to warm up to anyone.  Wherever he camps he gathers trash others leave behind and throws it away in our dumpster.  This guy gets permission from the farmers to go into their fields and harvest what the pickers reject.  He has brought us some of his pickings including broccoli and lemons.  Broccoli straight from the field sure tastes better than that from the stores!  I still have frozen lemon juice from some of the lemons.  He also fishes for food.  We haven’t seen him for a while now.  Maybe he’ll be back.

We are learning a lot about our area, and the people who live here, from our guests.  Many of them have been coming here for years and tell us stories about Jeff, the host who was here for well over 20 years and pretty much built this campground.  They tell us stories about the local people and sites to see, places to fish, etc.  One couple who is here now used to work out here with Jeff.  They love it here and come back several times a year.  We get many fun stories from them.

Living here is a joy for us and we wouldn’t change it for anything.  Sure, you’ll hear complaints from us about the heat and the prima donas and bugs, but they are just nuisances and nothing to chase us away.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

Still Alive

March 16th, 2014

It seems I took a 3 month vacation.  I haven’t written in the blog since December.  I’m back at it now and my head is full of things I want to write about in the blog.

Al ‘n Linda arrived here a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful time with them until they had to head back towards Maine (in a round-about way) the middle of February. I cried when they left and still feel sad when I look out my window. My view is prettier, but much emptier. 

Scott ‘n Mari were here over New Years.  We had a great New Years Eve campfire, with good food and good friends. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Marv ‘n Deb came over for a couple of days.  It was wonderful to see them again.  Sitting around the campfire with them was kind of bitter sweet.  It hit home that last winter was the last time “the group” would be sitting around the campfire together.  “The group” being Thom ‘n me, Marv ‘n Deb, Al ‘n Linda, Ron ‘n Deb, Scott ‘n Mari, Bob ‘n Susie ‘n a few others who popped in now and then.  It would be wonderful to get all of them together out here for a couple of nights.  Now that Bob ‘n Susie have seen the size of the bass we have in here we may be able to entice them out.  It sure was wonderful to sit and relax by the fire with Marv ‘n Deb and catch up!

Life out here at the Oxbow Campground is totally different from life on the BLM LTVA in Quartzsite.  They both have their own sort of beauty. The Quartzsite desert has wildlife we don’t get to see here at Oxbow, like the two types of ground squirrel, Desert Iguana – which I dearly miss, hardly any Quail and to see a Mourning dove here is rare.  We don’t have much cactus or creosote or Ironwood, but we do have beautiful Cottonwood, Mesquite, Willow, and even the evergreen Tamarisk are pretty.  We don’t have much in the way of wild flowers here either. I’ve learned that since we arrived here the first week of September something is always blooming.  Mesquite was blooming last fall and is blooming again now, the evergreen Tamarisk (salt cedar) blooms year round, the deciduous Salt Cedar is blooming now,

side note – a real plus here – I’m looking out my window watching a 3.5 foot tall great egret walk along the bank of the river.

the Cottonwood bloom in February, the Arrow Leaf blooms in the winter, willow trees blooming now, and the Desert Willow blooms in spring & summer.  The sunsets at Quartzsite are gorgeous, almost noon-existent here, but the sunrises over the river are absolutely breath taking.

Here at Oxbow, we also have the Colorado River, Oxbow Lake, and our pond.  I love being able to look out my window and see the river floating by.  I love watching the many faces of the river, from slow meandering water interspersed with sand bars to water rushing by carrying lots of debris because of the high level of the river.  It’s really lovely when the wind is blowing pretty good creating choppy whitecaps speeding down river.

The downside of being right on the water is the myriad of bugs. I have to keep all my baking mixes and powders sealed in ziplock bags or the tiny beetles invade them. In the heat of summer we get invaded by flies of all sizes. Right now it’s mostly the little fruit flies, but the larger flies are becoming more and more.  The ants are starting to come out again also so we’ll have to keep an eye on them.

I’m still trying to get veggies to grow out here.  I’ve had pretty good luck with radishes and Swiss Chard.  The cabbage worms decimated my turnips and brussel sprouts.  I tried my cukes a bit too early and the cold got to them.  I’m having another go round now.  A couple of weeks ago I planted more cucumbers and today I planted some stubby carrots seeds and transplanted a heat hardy tomato I got last Thursday.  All of these in pots still.  I also planted a pot of regular sized Marigolds and a pot of dwarf Marigolds.  I’m hoping we have the raised garden built by the middle of April, but by then there will only be a couple of things I can plant and expect to grow… if I’m very careful and find some shade cloth.  I intend to transplant my Marigolds into the holes in the cinder blocks we’re building the raised garden with. The marigolds should help keep the bugs out of the garden.

I’m going to close for now and share a few pics that have been taken over the past few months. I still plan on sharing some stories about some of our guests and some of our thoughts about the local area and people, just at a later date.

Raccoon trapped in the garbage bin

My new Granddaughter, Bailey Faith, born 12/27/13
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Our campground from across the river.
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Lastly, a 22” 7 lb Large-mouth Bass caught in our pond.

Until next time…

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!