Sunday, February 28, 2010

PACKED UP AND READY TO ROLL

We had an incredible storm overnight with thunder and lightning, hail and very heavy rain. The streets were just awash when I peeked out. I also got a face full of water when I opened the door. It rained steady all morning then tapered off after lunch. We’re getting a little sun now in mid afternoon. The forecast is for sun all week with mid 70sF temperatures. I guess we’ll benefit from that for the first couple of days but looking at the forecast for Northern California and Oregon says cooler and showery.

Yesterday, I took our friend Ken, from Colorado, out to the turquoise mines. He was happy with the pieces he found. Lunch was at Ken and Marie’s with their friends Marty and Marlene from Saskatchewan. We all played SkipBo later and had lots of fun and laughs. Then it was back to work packing and loading. It took two tries loading the ATV as the first time I had a tote in the way so I couldn’t slide the ramps up underneath the ATV. The tote had to go, but we managed to get everything in. We purchased a cover for the ATV for traveling to try to keep the road crud off it when we get to the northern areas so installing that was next on the agenda. Aileen had been picking away at moving stuff out to the Arctic Fox and this morning we hit it hard even though the rain continued and we had to walk through it each trip. We had most things completed by lunch time so were quite receptive when Wendy came over to ask if we wanted to go to town for a bite of lunch. Her house is in disarray as the living room carpet was removed this morning in preparation for new flooring. I hadn’t been looking forward to summerizing (that’s the opposite to winterizing!)the park model but it went better than I thought. We’ve had several friends stop by and give us good wishes, sad to see you leave etc.

I think we are going to work our way over to Bakersfield, California then take 99 and I 5 up to Weed. If conditions remain suitable, we’ll take Hwy 97 up through central Oregon and Washington to Salmon Arm. I would like to have gone up through Nevada which is about 260 kms shorter but it is also much higher with one pass at 7700 feet and much of the road over 6000 feet. We just think it will be way colder when stopping.

The birthday cake for our neighbour's son who is a farmer in Minnesota



Wayne from White Rock, BC
Dona from Kamloops, BC
A few pictures from our Spring Fling parade last Saturday. Don't forget you can click on them to enlarge them to full screen. Hit the back arrow to return to the regular screen.



Friday, February 26, 2010








The above are on the way to Martinez Canyon


Carol in the cave of ill repute. The story has it that this cave (see the doorway on the right) was used as a house of ill repute and there were supposed to have been a couple murders as well





Almost in trouble

Where did the rock go?

Going under

ATV rodeo. I didn't know these people, we just happened on them.

Jim outside the cave

Carol inside the cave

Rock detail

Home made winch setup for pulling the ore carts out of the mine shaft

Silver Bell mine concentrator in Martinez Canyon

Martinez creek with the cave in the background

Ocotillo in flower

Ocotillo flower

The Gila River in flood. Last year there was no water at all.












PACKING UP FOR THE TRIP NORTH

PICTURES TO FOLLOW WHEN THE UP LOADER IS WORKING

I was without internet for over a week as I went and pushed a button I should have left alone! Because of that I got way behind in my emailing of photos and other things. I’m finding it difficult to catch up now as there are the ever pressing other things requiring attention before we head north on March 1st. I’ve been to the bank to ensure sufficient funds are on deposit to cover the automatic withdrawals until next fall. I also went to the hydro office and gave them extra money to last through the summer. I cleaned the trailer battery connections and checked the water levels. I took a tire off the trailer over to Coolidge to repair a slow leak which turned out to be a small staple. I was impressed that it only cost $8 for the repair. I also took a propane bottle for a refill so we start out full in case of cold weather where we might want to run the furnace constantly. Aileen has been baking bread again, which is a treat. She has also made more of her really good cookies. Mitzy and I have been going every day for our walks in the desert. We went almost three miles one day and nearly that this morning. I have to take her little back pack on these walks so she can have several drinks.

We had lots of company on our back lot to watch the Spring Fling parade. It isn’t huge but it is a good one. Just after the parade went by us, the skies opened up and it poured. We headed for cover but the entrants got soaked. This can’t be southern Arizona!! That’s how this winter has been. Later in the day we went to a surprise birthday party for our neighbour’s son. He actually owns the unit next door as they signed it over to him last year. He usually only makes it here for five days a season. There was a good sized group of us and we almost froze with the cold wind. Everyone was dressed in their warmest clothes. I made some CDs for several people and did some 4x6 prints for others.

Last Sunday, we took Eleanor and Ron to the Mesa Market for the afternoon. It was very crowded of course. We stopped at the Red Sage restaurant in Gold Canyon for lunch on the way and had an excellent meal. We came home by a more western route for a change of scenery. On Monday, I went to my last PhotoShop Elements group for this season. I must get more involved next year and see if I can learn something. Last Monday night, we took Eleanor and Ron and met Jacquie and Jim at Chen’s Chinese Bistro in Anthem, for an excellent meal. It may be the best Chinese food we’ve ever had.

On Tuesday, Jim and I made our long planned photo trip to Martinez Canyon. We wanted to go by ourselves so we could stop and take pictures wherever we wanted. My neighbour, Carol, came along for the ride and I think she really enjoyed it. She had never been on an ATV and couldn’t believe how smooth a ride it was. We had a great day. The weather had been lousy for days but it dawned sunny was gorgeous, and has been until this afternoon when it clouded over. The forecast is for rain and high winds the next two days. It is supposed to turn sunny again Monday for our departure.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PICTURES WITH FEBRUARY 16 POST

The sign below describes both the stage station and school in behind



It looks like they cut the shaft from the windmill and put a Wisconsin motor on using the homemade dipper with a pitman arm


Not much wire used in this corral at the old stage station




Indian pictographs south of Florence, AZ


The Ray copper mine


Looking along the Ray copper mine


Lots of colour


Florence Kelvin highway and the A-Diamond Ranch headquarters

Eleanor's Crown Saguaro - these are quite rare, one in several million I've heard










FINALLY, SOME LOVELY WEATHER IN FLORENCE

The weather is improving nicely these last few days and they are forecasting highs in the low 70sF for the next week with mostly sunny days. There are only 12 more days until our departure for points north. We’re hoping the mild weather being experienced in Salmon Arm continues as we have a lot of work coming up moving everything from storage back into the house. We went to Casa Grande this morning to buy some 1/2 inch foam board to put under the mattress to see if we can solve the mattress sweating problem. We also bought a bigger plastic tote to conceal the generator from prying eyes in the open truck box. After a quick stop for gas and groceries at Safeway we were home for lunch. Since it was pretty warm, we left Mitzy home. The gas was $2.419 per US gallon which, I think, with exchange works out to about 66 cents per litre.

Our friends Ken and Marie were here for supper and Mexican Train last Friday night and the ladies whomped us guys. 216 for Aileen, 217 for Marie, 349 for me and 439 for Ken. And I was the scorekeeper! I had a different ATV ride on Saturday as a small group of us went south and west of Florence. We went by a large memorial to a pilot who crashed and died there in 1975. The next was an 1879 restored stage coach station then we saw a large hillside of rocks with lots of pictographs. The ride was all flat except for the washes we had to cross. Usually we have lots of up and down when we ride to the east. I checked my gas consumption and got just over 28 miles per US gallon. That’s more than double what the truck does.

On Sunday, both my aunts and their spouses and sister Wendy and Randy took two vehicles and went to Superior for lunch. From there we went south on #177 past the huge Ray copper mine. We stopped a few times for pictures but the big problem was all the power lines that were in the way. We came home via the Florence Kelvin highway which was gravel for about 1/2 of the distance. We stopped several times to admire the scenery. Aileen had been telling Eleanor about Crown Saguaro cactus and only minutes later, an excited Eleanor had me stop and there was a beautiful crown specimen right beside the road.

On Monday night our friends Ken and Char brought their friends over to chat as Tom is looking for a newer and better digital camera and wanted my input. We had a good chat and I sent him away buried under a mountain of info, poor man. I went to the PhotoShop Elements special interest group on Monday at the next door park. There’s only a few of us but we try different tools and approaches so it’s a good way to get better at it. I bought a foot of 2 inch Velcro and have replaced the old Velcro in the dining room valance in the Arctic Fox travel trailer. The old Velcro, we discovered, had so many staples in it that it didn’t have a chance to mesh properly.

Wendy had us over for supper last night which was nice. Eleanor and Ron are away to Yuma for a couple of days. When they return we plan to go to a highly rated Chinese bistro for supper.

Friday, February 12, 2010

OUR THOUGHTS TURN TO THE TRIP NORTH

The square coke ovens (they actually made charcoal, not coke)

Looking into an abandoned mine tunnel

Jim taking a picture further in

Dale shining his light over a small cave in

Looking out from back in the mine. The dark circle in these flash pictures is caused by the large lens blocking part of the pop up flash when using the widest angle of the lens

Looking out from just inside

Price Rd cottonwoods shot on Christmas Eve

Just seven weeks later, the Fall colour has gone to be replaced with new green leaves. Jim J on his ATV

The good news is that the weather is finally going to warm up into the mid to high 70sF. The bad news is we only have just over two weeks to enjoy it before we must head north and back to late winter weather (we hope it isn’t real winter weather!). The next couple weeks will be taken up with deciding what we can leave and what we must take with us. Space and weight are both issues we have to take into account in the decision. While whether we need it or not is crucial, another factor is how the item would stand up to the extreme heat if left. If it could explode, melt or warp, then it either comes with us or is disposed of. I’m sure it will be a challenge getting everything in the truck and trailer. Of course, we have complicated things by having the ATV to carry as it uses up much of the truck’s cargo capacity. Another challenge is coming up with a route home that is reasonable direct but snow free. I have been looking at that and checking weather along the way trying to get a feel for it.

We had rain on Wednesday and yesterday the ATV ride started out cloudy and cool but the weather did improve as the day progressed. We continue to get large groups ATVing. We seem to be mostly in the high 20’s and other than stretching out over longer distances, the large number doesn’t cause any issues except perhaps our rest stops are longer to allow more visiting. Many of these people have ridden together for years and are also friends and neighbours. We had seven ladies with us yesterday.

Mitzy had her hair cut this morning and she was certainly needing it. The groomer gets so busy this time of year with all the snowdogs that are here with the snowbirds from colder climes. She was getting very shaggy and the timing is good since tomorrow is to be the first warm day at 75F.

Friends Ken and Marie are coming for supper tonight and perhaps a game of Mexican Train. There are a couple restaurants we want to visit over the next two weeks and we’ll try to get together with other friends before departure day as well.

On Tuesday we went to the Canadian Snowbirds Convention. We easily found the Mesa Convention Center and the Snowbird’s do. There weren’t many displays but we did get to listen to Walter Ostanek and his accordion. We heard just a little of Ronnie Prophet. There were lots of people there and I was surprised that I didn’t recognize anyone. Aileen went to Casa Grande with Marie on Wednesday. They made it a day and had lunch at a popular restaurant called Mimi’s. If you don’t get there early, be prepared for a very long wait.

Mitzy and I are still doing our walks in the desert most mornings. After our walk, we went to Coolidge on Wednesday to pay for our electricity as we had just received the bill. It seems we were on the list about to be cut off! We’ve talked to several people who also missed getting a bill and one of the neighbours, in fact, had their service cut off the other day. They hadn’t received their bill either. I wanted to set up direct debit with them but they (the San Carlos Indian Band, under the Bureau of Indian Affairs) claim they can’t do it. It would certainly make life easier for most of us. I will have to give them a cheque before leaving to cover the minimum payment over the summer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM

Mustard planted in hills for flood irrigating

Mustard in flower


Abandoned Doll Shop at a cross roads several miles south of Florence

Behind South Butte

Ocotillo flower


Behind South Butte

The rocky road

South Butte on the right


Martinez Canyon

My Mother is 82 today and again I am far away on her birthday. That is what happens with our chosen lifestyle though. Wendy has her school chum, Brenda and husband John, visiting for a couple days. We were halfway through eight handed Mexican Train last night when the company arrived so had to finish with six players. It didn’t change the outcome though. Jacquie was the clear winner followed by Eleanor. Jim and I were the worst by far. We had been to the ATV club potluck last night for supper and there was no lack of food, no snacks needed during the game. I had a couple good rides last week. I’ve been combining hiking with the rides by going for a stiff hike most lunch times and some long breaks. It’s getting harder for me to be introduced to new areas as I seem to have been to most of the good spots, but they did surprise me on Saturday by going into a neat area behind the South Butte. The desert is greening up rapidly after all the recent rain and I imagine the flower display will be incredible after we have gone back north, sniff, sniff!

Our weather continues to be on the cooler than normal side. Randy heard yesterday that we are 7 degrees below normal on average. We are getting considerable precipitation this year and even our sunny days haven’t been all that warm for the most part. In fact our sunny days only last a few days then another front comes through to cool us off again. Saturday was a gorgeous day and we had to keep peeling clothes off on the ATV ride. Sunday morning we were awakened just after 5 AM by thunder and pounding rain.

I made a couple of 13x19 prints which turned out pretty good then dug out my matting supplies and cut mats for them. Mitzy and I have been taking some fairly long walks in the desert lately and yesterday’s was the longest at an hour and a half. We were both dragging butt when we returned.

One day last week we took Eleanor and Ron for a drive to Arizona City then Casa Grande to pick up some cat food for Sophie and plywood for Jim who is taking out the motor home carpet and installing tile. Then we went to the Golden Corral Buffet. It’s quite large and Eleanor and Ron were both impressed. Last Friday evening we went to a new cafĂ© for supper with friends Ken and Marie. They served really good sweet potato fries. Later we played Aggravation which the ladies won two out of three games. They did that to us last time, too.

Today is the AGM here at Caliente and we are abandoning ship. I got smart this year and voted last week in the advance poll so I don’t have to sit through all the verbal garbage we heard last year. I don’t enjoy politics at all. We are instead going to Chandler to find Aileen’s preferred face cream then to Mesa to the Canadian Snowbirds Convention. After that, we plan to go to Superstition Market for fresh veggies. Marie is going to dogsit Mitzy for us. I guess I will be the dogsitter tomorrow as Aileen and Marie are going to Casa Grande while Ken goes to the casino on the bus.