A storm in the desert

12th April 2011 by Helen

After staying with Paul & Jean in Tucson, we are heading east again towards our border crossing in Mexico.

The news for the last couple of days has amazed us.  It was reported that due to the government not being able to agree aspects of the budget the government would ‘shut down’ from midnight on Friday (9th April).  This means that all Interstate Rest Areas, State Park campsites (both of which affect us), and all other deemed non-essential government provisions will close until agreement has been reached.  This includes scientific research as well as certain public amenities (Rest Areas) will cease or close at least temporarily.  As far as I could gather, some services such as refuse collection would continue.  It also means that the workers in the affected services, including the military, will have their pay delayed.  The politicians of course will still get their pay on time.  As usual it seems that the poorer members of society are the ones most likely to suffer!!  Businesses will not be directly affected initially, although if such a situation goes on for too long then the whole country will be affected in various ways.  The whole thing is largely beyond our comprehension.  At least in the illogicality of it.  I suppose delaying paying the poorer members of the community means the money stays in the bank and earns a bit more interest for longer, while those who have to borrow to pay the rent etc will in effect be subsidising the country.  As usual it’s political football.  With an election round the corner and only a narrow majority at present, any gains are to be fought for hard.

Anyway, our plans to move on to a State campsite on Friday was put in doubt by the threat of a shutdown and so we opted for the safe alternative of an RV park.  It turned out that the shutdown was averted at the last minute, but in theory we could have been turfed off our campsite at midnight when the shutdown took effect!  And we didn’t fancy that!!

We have used a few of the KOA’s since we have been in the US (should have bought a membership card, it would have been cheaper).  Each one has been very different.  The first, in Flagstaff, was small, friendly, well maintained, with all the facilities we needed.  The culture was one of enjoying outdoor pursuits (near to Moab, Sedona, etc, that’s hardly surprising).  In Needles, we found a poker and bingo culture (in gambling Nevada, also not particularly surprising).  Sadly Petaluma, while having beautifully kept grounds, was not overly friendly and the amenities were all locked up by tea time.  I wonder has the local San Francicoans would like to be compared to that – pretty on the outside with little substance.  I’m not qualified to comment, so won’t.  Costanoa was opulent, like its central/southern Californian surroundings.  As if to prove a growing theory, we reached Lordsburg, set in the middle of what appeared to be a very run down area, with boarded up buildings and rough ground.  The KOA itself appeared to be a large car park with little going for it in the way of attractive appearance, rather like it’s surroundings.  We decided we didn’t want to even stop to see if the amenities were any good, and drove on. 

We found a little supermarket in the small town of Lordsburg and were amazed at how much cheaper the total bill was compared to what we expected.

We ended up at Silver Springs.  It’s very pretty here, but at over 6,300 feet has been much colder than we had begun to relish in the Arizona desert.  Sleeping bags have come back out again, along with the winter pyjamas.  A storm blew threw on Saturday afternoon and, with gusting around 30 mph, we decided to take the lower room tent down, which reduced the buffeting a bit.  Fortunately the worst of the storm blew past where we are staying and we were able to put the lower room back on and sleep in the roof tent as usual.  Over the next couple of days the sun has come out again in full force and we have been enjoying the warmth again.

We were delighted to be able to watch a tiny humming bird feeding just outside the office window, and next to our tent is an amazing cactus covered in seed pods from the last flowering.  Very pretty.

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