My Journey

Ace.....I am actually surprised at the shallow depth of the Colorado River at this point. Tanner could easily walk in it and I watched kids walk across the river and the water at its deepest point was only waist high on the kids. I am also surprised at how toxic this water is and regret letting Tanner swim in it daily.....and kids seem to swim in it daily as well.....

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crb92592.....once again I am amazed that someone was able to read thru the whole thing. I guess it happens every 3 months or so. I believe that ITTOG was the last. And yes, I'll keep on posting although maybe not so frequently. Thanks for following along and taking the time to read about my travels.....

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I came across this very cool car while shopping at the Yuma, Arizona mall. The guy gets out, leans into the drivers side of the car and removes his steering wheel, and heads into Buffalo Wild Wings. Got to say I've never seen that before.....

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To me.....that car says Latino (is it acceptable to say that ?).....

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That must look like dog heaven right there.....

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No doubt Tanner is ready to hit the road and get out of that damn camper.....

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And finally we did hit the road.....we drove north to one of my past haunts. And we've brought a new friend along.....someone that knows nothing about this style of life.....his life is about to change and his world is beginning to open up broadly as he experiences places and things that he could never have imagined.....

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I surely can't change the world.....but I can change one life.....

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Arjan.....probably just an example of poor photography more so than not a cool car. Although for us car guys, we all seem to have strong feelings in regards to our likes and dislikes so who knows. Thanks for posting up and following my travels.....



In my last post I mentioned that we'd brought a new friend along for this planned one week trip so here's just a bit about him.....he's the 20 year old Mexican kid that I've been trying to help during my stay in Yuma. Now then, being the son of poor Mexican immigrants doesn't really afford a young man a whole lot of the opportunities that many of us here on XP probably just take for granted so when he told me that he'd never been on a vacation, and had actually only left Yuma twice in his entire life, it struck a chord with me.....and so here we are.....Yukon, Tanner and myself.....sharing the great pleasures of travel and exploration with him.....and trying to make a difference in his life.....

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On our first day of travel we drove north to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to do some hiking, climbing, and camping....activities that he'd never been introduced to in his life, yet activities that he would soon find a great love for.....

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We arrived late to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge that first day and set up our camp in the same spot I had stayed nearly six weeks prior. Now he'd never driven a manual shift so first on my list of firsts for him was to put him behind the wheel of the Jeep to teach him how to drive a manual shift. He was a quick learner and quite soon after his lessons began we were off to hike on his first trail as he drove us to the Palm Canyon trailhead.....

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Since he was such a quick learner, after the hike was completed we hit a back road and he ripped through the desert just loving every second of trashing my poor old Jeep.....

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That night he experienced his first campfire with his new best friend Tanner now always at his side.....

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The following day was an early morning hike to a planned summit of Signal Peak. The drive to the trailhead was spectacular as the desert flowers were in peak bloom (was this the super bloom that I've been reading about on the internet ?).....

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The trail to Signal Peak was again difficult to follow and at some point we got so far off the trail that we bagged the summit idea.....

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.....and we hung out high above the valley on a massive boulder having a cold water and a protein bar.....his new best friend Tanner again right at his side.....

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We sat there on that boulder and we chatted and he shared with me the stories of his life.....and I'll have to tell you that I left that boulder quite humbled late that afternoon. The summit was no longer important.....and maybe it never was.....the smiles on his face, the gratitude that he expressed....this was all priceless.....

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JD.....it was a pretty cool trip to say the least. I can recall him saying over and over....."I'll never forget this. I'm so grateful for you and these experiences. Thank you." (Or something quite similar to that anyhow).....



After our stay at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge we continued to drive north and our next stop would be at the Arizona Hot Springs.....which would entail approximately 6 miles of hiking roundtrip.....

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Now something that just flat out amazes me is how someone can live so close to a place like this yet never have visited (and actually never heard of it either). He says that the activities that I pursue are pretty much not a part of his culture and even if it was, he could never justify spending money on driving this far for something like this.....

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As we descended into the canyon and hiked towards the Colorado River and the hot springs we noticed this huge lizard cooling itself in the shade of the rocks.....it must have been a foot in length.....

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We spotted kayaks on the Colorado River which really sparked his interest.....and that was a good thing.....it was on our to do list.....

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We both have had quite a bit of fun poking each other with white people vs. Mexican jokes and there's really nothing he can say that would offend me, and the same goes with him. So when we arrived at the hot springs, I soaked in the hottest pool, yet he barely would touch the water while saying "Mexicans don't do this.....our skin can't take it" (or something like that anyhow). That conversation would digress, as did many others, into a white people vs. Mexican thing. Sitting there in that hot spring I couldn't help but look at him and think how really stupid racism actually is.....

Looking up past the canyon walls into the blue sky.....soaking in the steaming hot water.....it was a time to think.....a time to reflect.....a time to be grateful.....

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Late in the day we would continue north to see the big city lights.....yet one more thing that he had never seen in his life. It wasn't New York of course.....but it was definitely big city lights.....

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Me.....I prefer the solitude.....but this trip.....it ain't about me.....

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Arjan.....I sure do appreciate your enthusiastic endorsement of my posting(s). No doubt what I've been up to for the past few months has been quite controversial and no doubt not everyone sees my actions as being positive, and maybe not even acceptable or worthy of a posting on XP. But for me, in my life, I see it as a natural progression of life.....somewhere that we all need to go at some point to make the world a better place. So thank you.....


Now this short (by my definition anyhow) trip really is just about a Mexican kid experiencing a whole lot of firsts in his life. When we first discussed this trip he said that he wanted to include a visit to one big city if possible.....and of course that was possible.....and it was Las Vegas that we agreed upon. As you approach Las Vegas from the south undoubtedly the first thing that comes into view are the tall buildings.....a sight that he had never seen before.....

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Beyond the valley where Las Vegas lies is the Spring Mountain Range which just happened to be blanketed in snow, one more thing that he had never seen before. I couldn't help but laugh when he pointed at the white mountains not realizing that it was snow that he was seeing. I was tempted to drive to the mountains but that would have to be on another trip.....another time.....

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We would spend three nights in Las Vegas camped in the auxiliary parking lot of the Mandalay Bay Casino, right on the strip and just a short walk to all of the Vegas action. Here we were reminded of the Mandalay Bay shooting which occurred on October 1, 2017 and left 58 people dead and 851 people injured.....the power of hate.....

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We walked a lot on that strip.....Fitbit tells me 44.52 miles. We went shopping at the malls, ate a ton of restaurant food (some good and some not so good).....it was hard to believe that a burger dinner without drinks at Walburgers could cost $65 (the rich get richer I was thinking when the waiter handed me that bill).....

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We saw lots of strange people in Vegas as would be expected.....but none stranger than this couple we saw parked at the mall (as I recall anyhow).....

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We browsed shops such as Gucci, Dior and Louis Vitton to name just a few.....and what a contrast it is for me to see.....the kid with $2 in his pocket and the stores in the background that sell items for prices that are totally out of this world.....

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This was a good trip.....a trip that neither of us will ever forget. But it wasn't quite over as there was yet one more place that I wanted to share with him.....

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We left Las Vegas and headed southeast for Lake Mead for a day of kayaking and a bit of four wheeling, and a night camped under the stars and without the big city lights. We drove to the southeastern shores of the lake and camped that night at Kingman Gulch.....far from a great site but it would work just fine.....

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He was apprehensive about the kayaking so initially it was just me.....and there's absolutely nothing wrong with paddling alone in my thoughts.....

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Eventually I coaxed him in and he loved it quite a bit.....but honestly, how can you not like paddling at Lake Mead.....

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He kept saying that there was water in his kayak and questioned me repeatedly if that was normal. I said of course you'll always get a little water in the kayak while paddling. Once on shore I discovered that the patch on his kayak had fallen out and I was thankful that I hadn't taken him way out.....

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That evening we had some beautiful views of Lake Mead.....

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Some segments of the dirt road out of Kingman Gulch were rough and steep so my Jeep training paid off fairly quickly.....it was a benefit not to tow the Jeep out of there.....

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The Jeep quickly disappeared and I thought how great it must be for him to blast out of that canyon.....

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We headed south for Yuma that evening and decided to stay one more night in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.....a place I have come to love.....

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As we neared Yuma he said that there was something he wanted to show me. We took a turn off the highway and after a few more turns he said stop here. He pointed to a house and said that this was the only house that he had ever lived in, although it was for a very, very brief period of time. He said he would never forget the good feelings that he had while he lived here. He told me that he dreams of being able to buy his family a house one day.....he says that's really his only dream in life.....

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GregSplett

Adventurer
I firmly believe that America needs more dreamers and less of the give me give me give me that has become so prevalent. I work alongside many of these guys. Have always had a deep respect for the effort these young men have spent to better their lives for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, I am starting to see a sense of entitlement among the illegals here in Washington state which is a sanctuary state. I do not owe them.. and this newfound sense of entitlement is starting to change my views. Good on you Jerry for helping these families with the fortitude to come into this country legally.
 
ITTOG.....thanks and yea I too love rig pictures, especially when parked at campsites. I'm either taking dog pictures, sunsets and sunrises, landscapes, and then pictures of the rig (often with a dog, sunset or sunrise, or landscapes).....

PNWY.....but I'll always miss that beautiful dark green of my Chevy 2500HD.....

Greg.....first off thank you. The past few months of living life along the Mexico / U.S. border wall has been quite the experience for me. I am just amazed at how much I've learned from the migrants, the illegal immigrants, the dreamers, the customs agents, the border patrol agents, the police, and the local people. That being said, I'd tell you that I'm just as puzzled today about that entire situation as I was when I first came there. I know enough now to know that I really don't know all that much at all. I would also add that I am amazed when I hear a dirty rotten scoundrel politician (from either major party) say that they flew down to the wall for a day or two, and then they speak as though they know what's going on. I call bullsh*t.....

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The time had finally come to leave the border wall and all my new friends behind.....I almost feel bad cause I swear I just don't know how these people survive the summers down here. The thermometer read 92 degrees when I made my last stop in Yuma at the Tractor Supply store for propane and dog food. I only mention this cause the employees here had been so great to me during my winter stay. Just as I was leaving the store the manager gave me this hat, thanked me for my business and said I'll see you in the fall.....he's got a customer for life.....

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We drove north out of Yuma.....passed through our last checkpoint for the season.....

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Now I just couldn't get myself to pass by Kofa National Wildlife Refuge without hanging out for a few more days in the desert. We pulled into "our spot" next to the large saugura cactus and settled in for the night.....

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The following day we made another attempt, our last for the season, on Signal Peak (4,877').....

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I struggled with my decision with bringing Yukon on our climb or leaving Yukon in the camper once again. It's a long, steep haul and I knew she'd be hurting afterwards but I also know that her climbing days are numbered and that she would love it so much if I let her come along.....

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The canyon was still covered in the most amazing assortment of wild flowers.....

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As you can see in the next two pictures I had decided that Yukon would come along. I'm still not sure if I, and her as well, regretted that decision but I can tell you that she was in heaven for the majority of that climb.....and it was one phenomenal day on that mountain.....

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It had been quite sometime since the only watering hole along the trail had been refreshed but the dogs seemed to care less.....

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As we approached the summit I could barely believe my eyes as there stood five mountain sheep nearly in a perfect row looking down into the valley a few thousand feet below. I immediately thought I'll be the National Geographic Amateur Photographer of the Year with this picture but Tanner thought differently and the chase was on. If you strain your eyes you may be able to see the five mountain sheep in the center of this picture.....

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This day gave us perfect skies and perfect temperatures, and the winds were barely noticeable so I took the time to sign the summit register.....

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.....and was able to get a summit picture of my climbing companions.....

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My curiosity had never waned regarding the fall that Tanner had taken in that previous climb when the strong winds blew him off the mountain. I hiked to the base of the cliff and my measurements told me that at most he fell fifty feet. Yikes !

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We down climbed the mountain and took the rough road back to the campsite.....

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The step on the Jeeps drivers side finally fell off so now it matches the step on the passenger side.....

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That night was an unusually nice night so I grabbed my chair and sat outside with a campfire.....

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The skies were great that night and we all slept well.....we are now back on the road again.....

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Mccaf

Observer
I forgot about Tanners fall. That’s pretty remarkable -fifty feet- that he was ok. The three pics starting with the boyz down are awesome, and the jagged peaks in the distance. Are you carrying your DSLR camera? (Sheep pic)
 
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