We left Leasburg Dam State Park on April 12 and took I-10 west embarking on our California trip. The first day was grey with occasional drizzles along the way. Our first stop was Willcox, Arizona. The night was chilly in the desert. But the morning sun ushered in a beautiful day with blue sky and white clouds. Areas of desert were blanketed with spring wildflowers.
As we were getting close to Tucson, the highway cut through an area with layered rock formations in oblong shapes. The smooth eroded rocks resembled those of Alabama Hills. Red flowering ocotillos look more beautiful with green leaves on their spiky branches. The first sight of saguaro indicated that we entered the Sonoran Desert. Tucson welcomed us with a corridor of yellow blossoms. Yellow flowering bushes hugged the ground. Airy flowering trees with yellow canopies covered the fields and intensified the theme of yellow. Armies of tall saguaro cacti stood up in the desert near Picacho Peak State Park. Their distinctive forms make this landscape lively. From the moving vehicle, we saw a column of long dust devil twisted above a farmland. In the early afternoon, we took a short break at Sonoran Desert National Monument. The desert has returned to spring with green trees, bushes and colorful wildflowers. Lizards were running about on the sands. Masses of orange colored globemallows were blooming together with yellow poppies and blue lupines among other blooming wildflowers.
We arrived at Gila Bend KOA on day 2. The tall trees at the entrance clothed with yellow blossoms caught my eyes immediately. Later I took a close look at them and found out that they were palo verdes. I guess those trees with yellow canopies at Tucson were palo verdes as well. Young palo verde has green trunk and branches. Each delicate branch were covered with happy little yellow blossoms and fine leaves. The blossom has five petals with orange speckles on one petal and orange stamens and pistil. The nice swimming pool was the best place to cool off before sunset.
Leaving Gila Bend, we stopped at Buckeye and bought a new double electric burner. Then we filled up the tank with diesel at the gas station. When we left the gas station, I caught a glimpse of a small white blossom at the top of a saguaro by the gas station. It was as cute as a flower pinned to a hat! That was the first time I saw a saguaro blossom! I didn’t expect they could flower so early in the spring. We continued our journey to California on I-10. Saguaros still followed us along the way. They stood high on the volcanic rock covered mountains or stood close to the road. With their cheerful arms and legs pointing different directions, saguaros were fun to look at. Though it was sad to see some of them had damaged lower part or has died. Some of these giant cacti might have lived for a hundred years witnessing the change of the desert. We crossed several aqueducts along the way. The aqueducts carried precious water to thirsty places in the desert.
Near the border of California, a small town appeared at the foot of the mountains – Quartzsite. This is a popular camping site in winter for lots of RVers. We spotted a few trailers on the desert and drove over there. Then we found the Quartzsite Campground and parked there for lunch. It was a field dotted with some desert plants. Imagining the scene when it was filled with RVers in winter, it looked so empty in the heat of spring. A small white church sat across the street. Several trailer home parks dotted with saguaros and palm trees were situated nearby. After a short break, we left Quartzsite behind and went through the mountain range. A bridge crossing the Colorado River took us to California. Hello again, California!
A different world came to our vision. Miles and miles of farmland covered with green crops extended to the distant mountains. Colorado River turned the desert into an oasis. Mayflower Park sits right by Colorado River. The river is wide and clear. I dipped my feet into the water and it was cold. Colorado River carries the melted snow from the Rockies running all the way here. I have seen so many faces of the river. The last time I saw her was in Colorado. There it was muddy at the Dead Horse Point State Park at Moab. It sits at the bottom of Grand Canyon. It makes a horseshoe bend at Horseshoe Bend near Page. Now after running thousands of miles, it is blue and clear at Blythe, California.