Saturday, January 12, 2008

Exploring Quartzsite......

We were happy to see Bobbie & Jim Chapman, whom we hadn't seen since Goshen along with Ron & Linda, Joe & Marcia, Norah and Howard and others who have arrived at our campsite in the desert.

We explored the town and markets of Q, which are so vast it could take weeks to see them all! Of course, we had to see the RV vendors and the many food vendors....Bratwurst and Indian Fry Bread.. and ice cream...Yum!
Bobbie & Jim enjoy ice cream!

We had heard much about this character called Hi Jolly and so we set out find his monument and see what he was about, in relation to Quartzsite. It was not an easy find, as the old cemetery in which he lies is at the end of an unmarked dirt lane.

Around 1857 the army decided to train camels to be pack animals in the desert and imported many of the desert animals to Quartzsite. Along with them came a Syrian by the name of Hadji Ali, who came to be know as "Hi Jolly". The camel experiment was interrupted by the Civil War and eventually abandoned, primarily because camels are not well suited for walking on rocks as their feet are simply too soft, and they are difficult to control with the noises created by horses, coaches and wagons, but Hi Jolly stayed in Quartzsite after the camels were released into the desert. He died in Quartzsite in 1902 and there is a monument erected at his gravesite in the desert memorializing him.

Desert cemeteries are unlike those in the east...they are sandy and brown with rock or cement covered mounds, just as you might expect.

The cemetery in which Hi Jolly lies was rather old and had many old gravesites. Many were marked with simple crosses or held concrete collages of colorful desert rocks with turquoise, amethsyt, quartz and many others. We took some photos of some of the most colorful ones.....

It was an interesting side trip!

Later that evening we had a huge pot of Hatteras Clam Chowder with Corn Bread and other fixins' then spent a nice evening around the campfire. The night sky is filled with stars and it is VERY dark here, as there are no electric lights in the desert. It makes the night sky very vivid. We don't go out at night (from our camping area) as they say it is very difficult to find your way back to your site in the desert darkness. You must carry a flashlight to get to and from the campfire, as it is so dark you cannot see your rig!

This is a new and wonderful experience, camping here in the desert!

Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!

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