Decided to quit with the movie titles -- unless someone knows of one with Ghost Town in the title ...

Monday, I decided to wander over to Bouse (rhymes with house) to see the Swansea Ghost Town and the place where Patton trained his tank-drivers for the African campaign. Got side-tracked to another ghost town called Old Brayton (original name of Bouse) -- below are some really neat pictures. Will continue on to Swansea at a later time -- people I talked to along the way said it's worth the trip.

These buildings in "Old Brayton" are from the original town of Bouse -- some were moved here and for some this is their original location. In the first shot to the left, the "cataclysmic flows of ancient volcanism" that created this area are described with examples of volcanic rocks that dot the area. To the right is the main building of the town with the art museum. The jar at the left of the gate is where you pay your entry fee ($1 for adults) -- yes, I did.                                                          Beyond the white metal dinosaur to the right ...  ... are some recreations of petroglyphs, painted in the sand.
On to my Amazing Balloon Adventure!
I want to go choose a different chapter
12. Ghost Towns and Big-Horned Sheep
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On the way back, I stopped to hike a little into a place called Quinn Pass. Later down the road, I saw a Big-Horned Sheep! Have been looking all over the West for one -- never thought I'd actually see one. Look below for Quinn Pass and Big-Horned Sheep pictures.
Left, saloon exterior.

Right, interior of saloon.

Altogether, one of the best ghost towns I've seen!
Below left, a rickety bridge leading to the rest of the town.          Center, blacksmith's shop.                                                  Right, the jail.
Here's my Big-Horned Sheep -- hoho. This is probably about as close as I'll get to one. I looked for the crossing, but never did see any live ones. On the way back from Bouse, I stopped to explore a place called Quinn Pass as announced by a plaque by the road about a mile after the Big-Horned Sheep crossing sign.

On the right: I started to drive into Quinn Pass -- decided maybe not when I saw the first little hill shown in the lower right corner of the picture.

Left: This hill at bottom center of picture really convinced me I was right to park -- couple from Montana on the 4-wheeler (circled) even decided the hill was too steep for them. I volunteered to take it up for them (hoho), but they declined. They also said that the walk to Quinn's camp wasn't worth it -- there wasn't much left there.

Right: Just a pretty view -- about 6 layers of mountains.
Tuesday, I drove over to Lake Havasu City (where London Bridge is) to visit Walmart. The lady in the Mail Outpost was right -- you're better off going to Phoenix. Altho' Havasu is only 73 miles compared to the 110 to Phoenix, it's 2-lane, hilly, busy, curvy, bumpy ... I think I burned more gas and took more time on this trip than on the Phoenix trip. However, comma, it was very scenic and a worthwhile trip. You also pass through Parker, which is really pretty -- right on the Colorado River with houses leaning off the bluffs, etc. Lake Havasu reminded me alot of Santa Barbara, with it's low adobe-style houses. Both looked very SouthWestern and probably very expensive. And guess what? I didn't take a single picture ... lol.

Friday, I went back to Bouse to visit Swansea Ghost Town. Well, a couple of words of advice to any Q-area wanderers out there -- 1) Don't go to Swansea unless you've got a 4-wheel drive and/or really tough tires, 2) Go in the morning, because you sure wouldn't want to get stuck out there at night. From Bouse, it's about 30 miles to Swansea. Road starts out paved, goes to graded dirt/rocks, get narrower, gets bumpier, gets narrower, gets hillier, gets narrower -- by the time you get there, you're on a one-lane trail hanging off the side of a mountain, hoping you don't meet anybody going the other way. Took me a couple of hours from Bouse, although I did stop for a few pictures. I'd been there about 2 minutes, just long enough to say hello to a couple from Montana, when I looked around ... I had a flat tire!! Boo-Hiss!

Well, that was the bad news. There were several good news's after that. Firstly, back in October when I was visiting my sister, I noticed the spare tire had a lock on it. Well, I'd had the truck for a couple of years and hadn't noticed that, but I knew I didn't have a key for it. My nephew found their bolt-cutter and we replaced the lock with a new one (with key). Thank you, Steve, for finding that bolt-cutter! Secondly, I didn't have the vaguest idea how to get the tire down -- you ever lowered the spare on a pickup truck? -- I hadn't. Turns out the guy from Montana had -- he showed me how to put the tire iron through the hole in the bumper and turn it with the wrench -- I never would have figured that out. Thank you, Montana guy! Finally, the spare, which has been under there for years, had air in it. Well, I got the tire changed, took a few pictures, and headed back to Bouse. On the way in, I'd done 35 as directed by the speed limit signs, since I didn't know what was ahead. On the way out, I knew pretty much what to expect, wasn't too sure how long the spare would hold air, knew I would see a dust cloud from anyone I was about to meet, and was in somewhat of a bad mood anyway, so put the pedal to the metal. Well, I got out in about half the time it took to get in and the dips only took me off the ground a couple of times ... hoho. At one point, I got to wondering what I'd do if the road took a sudden turn when one of the dips had my wheels off the ground, so I slowed down a little ... lol. How do those dirt-bikers make a turn when they're in the air? ... hmmm

Bottom line -- I didn't think Swansea Ghost Town was nearly as cool as the Old Brayton Museum I talked about in Chapter 12 and it sure was alot more trouble to get to. Probably more interesting if you're into Copper mines, etc. Below, I've included some Swansea Ghost Town pictures. Below them, just some miscellaneous  pictures that didn't really relate to any of my tales ... scenery, buildings, cacti, tank tracks, etc.
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Left: The traditional "looking back at my truck" picture. Truck is just above and to the left of center.

I also took a bunch of pictures to show my sister. She said she'd like to see how these people (or did she say fools?) looked camped around the desert. So, I've included some photos of a bunch of RVs parked in the desert.

Right: Entering La Posa South.

Left: A little way in looking back at the gate. Notice the tendency to cluster near the gate. Not sure why except you get to see everyone who enters and leaves.

Right: I was trying to show the contrast in the types of "RVs" here -- in the forfront are a couple of high-priced class A's, with their solar panels, wind generators, etc. -- in the background just above and left of the little sign is a guy camped in what looks like about a 4x8 utility trailer with a tarpaulin attached.
Left: People put signs all over to let others know where they are, etc. Signs, and alot of other things around here, are held in place with piles of rocks to combat the frequent "breezes".

Right: More signs. This one tells me I live on Sidewinder Way ... lol.

Left: My nearest neighbors showed some originality with their rockpile -- that's me off to the left.

Right: I was coming out of Quartzsite afternoon of 1/15 and noticed a dramatic increase in the number of RVs. This shot was taken just outside of town on 95 South. Looks like about 5 times as many here as there were yesterday. More on why the 15th is such a biggie in Chapter 13.
Left, coming into Swansea -- road gets narrower and curvier.

Right -- and narrower.

Left, looking back at the hill I just came down.

Right, the final 100 yards had erosion on both sides -- the wood on the right of the road is the remains of a structure to hold the road in place.
Left, these houses are most of what's left of the "town" -- there was also some mining stuff, like chutes and piles of trailings and holes in the ground.

On the right are some shots looking through the house door and out the window. All of them had a room with a view ... lol. The mine was established in the late 1800's and was abandoned the final time in 1923.
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Below, I've included some pictures that I thought were worth showing, but that aren't really connected to any big adventure. First is one of a little craft shop in Q that caught my eye -- next door is the La Casa Del Rancho Restaurant with all the cacti in the front yard. On the right is a sketch of one of the more famous goldmines in the area -- from a book "Lost Mines and Prospectors' Lore", a kind of diary of Quartzsite Pioneer Bill Keiser -- $6.95 at the Tyson Wash Stage Museum -- great book!

Far right, some neat cactus shots I took on the way back from Swansea.
Right, I finally got a half-decent shot of Q Mountain and found the 47-armed Saguaro on the frontage road West of Q.

Below, tracks from Patton's tanks where he trained near Bouse about 1942 for the African campaign. Note how far apart they are -- some LARGE ATV! Isn't it amazing how long things like this last in the desert?
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February 2009 Update: How Sad! I just learned that some vandals knocked down the 47-armed Saguaro on the frontage road West of Q.  I guess you'll have to just get along with the photo.