Monday, March 21, 2016

Bouse, Arizona BLM boondocking

We’re at Bouse, AZ boondocking off Joshua Dr. There are BLM areas off Plomosa Road for quite a ways before you get to town; less off Joshua Dr. When we were here a couple of weeks ago for the Bouse Hills Muzzle Loaders Rendezvous with the jeep, we scouted out some parking spots.

We get Verizon 3G 2-3 bar cell service with the booster on. Four TV channels, one of which is Spanish. We’ve been able to get packages sent general delivery to the post office. We’re about 3 miles from the post office in town.There's a couple of stores to buy food. There are a couple of RV parks. We were told that the Bouse Community Park would be the cheapest for water and dump for boondocking. The refuse station for garbage is open Thursday-Saturday from 7-2. 

There’s a lot of 4-wheelers in this area, and it seems that they cross from camping on Plomosa Road over the cattle-crossing, past us, and then heading on in to town. We moved from one side of our dirt road to the other in hopes we can block the dust a little bit. We’ve had temps from the 70’s to 90s, wind, and some cloudy days which don’t help solar a lot. Other than the occasional 4-wheelers, it’s a pretty quiet place. We’ve heard coyotes at night and early morning, and of course, our  hummingbirds.


For more pictures, please click here. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What’s with the letters on the hills?

How many of us have seen a giant letter on a hill by a town signifying the name of the town, or their school name?  It seems we’ve seen that a lot in the western U.S.

The letter “B” by Bouse, Arizona

These letters, typically constructed of whitewashed or painted stones or of concrete, are cultural signatures. Letters can be traced back to 1905 with The University of California’s “C” on the Berkeley hills. It was built by the freshman and sophomore classes, and was 70 feet high. The next year, 1906, Brigham Young University had a “Y” 2000 feet above it’s Provo campus. The letter was 320 feet high, more than four times taller than the Berkeley “C”. In 1907 came the “U” at University of Utah. In 1908 saw three more colleges; a 100 foot “M” on Mount Zion behind the Colorado School of Mines at Golden, a much larger “A” for Aggies at Colorado A&M and University of Oregon at Eugene “O”.  After that many colleges followed suit. High schools and a few junior colleges and grade schools followed the collegiate example and today their letters vastly outnumber college letters.

By arbyreed - Flickr, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hillside letters are typically built in three different manners: (1)  Built-up letters made from rocks and concrete are the most common. Other materials such as wood, old car tires, metal and vinyl have also been used. (2) Painted letters are typically found on bare rock faces and cliffs. (3) Cutout letters, the least common, are formed by removing the vegetation to create a letter.
These emblems can range in size from 10 feet tall to hundreds of feet tall. The largest includes the “L” for Lassen high School in Susanville CA at 580 feet long. Full messages have been placed on hillsides, such as “SAN LUIS OLDEST TOWN IN COLO" in San Luis, Colorado.  Every letter of the alphabet is found as a single letter on a hillside except for “X”.

                                   "La Biblia es la verdad. Leela." Translation: The Bible is the truth. Read it.                                                         
  Seen in Mexico, while driving through El Paso

Not everyone is in favor of these, believing it would destroy the natural beauty of the hillside.  Some have been abandoned because of lack of student interest, objections from environmentalists or concerns of property owners.

I try to take a picture of these hillside letters when I see them. To me they are a work of art (and labor) and show pride of a community

Has anyone seen these in places other than the American West?

Information sources: 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Camp Bouse and Bouse Museum, Arizona

Bouse was founded in early 1900s as a mining camp and by the 1930's the mining had pretty much slowed down. There is a small park that has old WW II tanks and monuments. 


We learned that in 1943 General George Patton brought WWII troops to Bouse for secret desert training. They tested a top secret weapon which mounted on top of a tank turret known as the "Gizmo". Troop movement was extremely restricted; once in Camp Bouse there was no chance of transferring out. Camp Bouse was closed in April of 1944 and all of the men where shipped back to For Knox, Kentucky, then to Kilmer, New Jersey, and on to England for further training. Each year in February Bouse celebrates Camp Bouse Days with some of the men stationed in Camp Bouse returning. Camp Bouse is approximately 25 miles from the town of Bouse on a dirt road/trail.


There is an interesting video (click here) regarding Camp Bouse that was made in 2014 at their yearly dedication.

There is also a small museum in town


For more pictures of the memorials and museum, please click here. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It’s the season for rattlesnakes

There is an article from USA Today, 03/08/16 - regarding a gentleman who was bit by a rattlesnake Sunday. He was interviewed in the hospital. Also, in the article it mentions “Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman Randall Babb said the peak season for rattlesnake bites varies between years, and often depends on outside temperature. With this year getting warmer so early, rattlesnake season may have started earlier as well, he added. Sunday's high temperature was 80 degrees, according to Babb also noted that there are 13 different species of rattlesnakes in Arizona, some with more toxic venom than others.”

With that in mind, I looked up Arizona rattlesnakes and came up with this information on the Arizona Game and Fish web site.  Here is the link to the original page:  

Arizona Rattlesnakes
Rattlesnake Facts
  • Scientists have identified 36 rattlesnake species
  • Rattlesnakes live only in North and South America
  • 13 species live in Arizona, more than any other state
  • Rattlesnakes use the "loreal pit," a heat-sensing organ between the nostril and eye to locte prey and potential predators
  • These snakes have glands that make venom, much like human saliva glands make saliva
  • The rattle is made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails
  • The age of a rattlesnake cannot be determined by counting the segments of its rattle
  • Rattlesnake prey may include small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and centipedes
  • According to Arizona Poison Centers, less than 1% of rattlesnake bites result in human deaths

Living with venomous reptiles brochure

Rattlesnake Species
Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

  • Up to 22" long
  • Most primitive form of rattlesnake in U.S.
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona
Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

  • Up to 50" long
  • Widely considered most toxic rattlesnake in U.S.
  • Easily confused with Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

  • Up to 64" long
  • Reportedly used in famous Hopi snake
    dance ritual
Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)

  • Up to 25" long
  • Travels in side-winding motion
  • Only rattlesnake with horns over eyes
Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli)

  • Up to 51" long
  • Color can vary greatly from nearly white to pink, gray or brown
  • Color often matches their surroundings
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)

  • Up to 26" long
  • Small rattle sounds like insect
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special
    protection in Arizona
Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

  • Up to 35" long
  • Small head doesn't hold much venom, but venom is powerful
Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

  • Up to 26" long
  • Gets its name from raised ridge of scales around front of snout
  • Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake is official state reptile
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

  • Up to 66" long
  • Largest rattlesnake in the West
  • Responsible for more bites and deaths to humans than any other rattlesnake species in U.S.
Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

  • Up to 48" long
  • Color can vary greatly from brown or beige to green or golden yellow
Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)

  • Up to 42" long
  • Young are vividly patterned and can look very different from adults
Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

  • Up to 63" long
  • Has venom twice as strong as Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, but produces less venom
Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)

  • Up to 33" long
  • Young use brightly colored tail to attract prey, but tail changes color as snake gets older
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona

 We saw a rattlesnake a couple of years ago while boondocking on Plomosa Road near Quartzsite. It was the end of March and warm out. It scared the daylights of of me; and, I think, Curt too, as he just walked out the door when it started rattling.

snake 2snake

So, pay attention when hiking, or geocaching, or just reaching under something. It’s their territory.