Thursday, February 3, 2011
Winter in Quartzsite - 2011
Paul joined me for a shopping trip to restock Crystal Moon Gallery after Christmas 2010. The shows are huge, outdoor, events that are nearly always dusty (practically all merchandise requires cleaning after purchase). Paul's first comment about the shows were that they are "an amazing collection of sub-cultures"...and he is right. One may encounter dreadlocks or deacons, tattoos or turtlenecks, piercings or Porsches, wheelchairs or (power) walkers.
One of the most interesting items we saw offered for sale was a Radium Rejuvenator. This piece of medical history dated from the 1920s, and consisted of a piece of crockery, somehow lined with Radium, and fitted with a tap. Glazed in blue was the recommendation that one drink four glasses of rejuvenated water daily. Water was placed in the device at the top, then dispensed into drinking-glasses. The owner of this item overheard me comment that I had a Geiger-counter, and asked me to check whether the rejuvenator was radioactive. His tent was pretty crowded with people as we worked our way to the rejuvenator. And initial check of the outside showed little more than background radiation up to about a foot away from the crockery. But, even then, it only showed about .1 to .3 mR/hr. Then, the proprietor lifted the lid, and I poked the business end of the device in the hole...what a noise! The needle registered something like 9 mR/hr, and I immediately jerked my hand away from the crockery. After a moment to think about the situation, I looked-up, and found only five people left in the tent: the proprietor and his wife, my brother and I, and one woman who was apparently not paying attention. It is amusing to me that very few people have actually seen a Geiger counter, but thanks to popular media, we all know what one sounds-like. I did some research after we got home, and learned that the rejuvenator was a piece of medical fraud that led to many illnesses and deaths.
Paul is very fond of hiking, and discovered a place called "Palm Canyon" in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. This very narrow canyon is home of (apparently) the only native palms in all of Arizona. One drives about 20 miles south of Quartzsite, and about 7 miles east of the pavement to a parking-lot. The canyon network is apparently a collapsed caldera, and is about as rugged as one would expect of an unimproved volcano. Most people hike as far as the "palms" sign (see first photo above), take photos, and return to their vehicle. But, the view of the palms is distant: