Saturday, October 30, 2010


We were on the road shortly after 9 Thursday morning and did well with the wind pushing us nearly all the way to Globe. We stopped at Florence Junction for an early lunch as we didn’t want to arrive in Caliente before eating.

It was quite a challenge but we got the motor home in under the RV cover. Unfortunately, we can’t open either slide very far and can’t open some of the storage bays either. I called Brian, the resident RV cover builder and he is to come by to see what we can do. An added bonus was that Kathy R had already opened and cleaned the park model. Also, later, I discovered our internet was already active. Both things were scheduled for Monday.

Since the park model was ready and the motor home not very livable with the slides in, we started moving in. We did all the food stuff then it was necessary for Aileen to go for a nap. We moved more later. We puttered at our various tasks and made progress. I got Aileen’s scooter unloaded so the car is roomier again. I plugged in the carpet cleaner and after it charged a bit, I cleaned the area for the outside table so I could get the table and chairs out of my office/lab.

After catching up on my blog friends, it was time to check out the pool. The pool and hot tub were great! Jerry and Suzy commented on the last blog suggesting we could have visited them if we’d gone through Benson. Perhaps we can schedule a visit over that way during the winter. I think there is quite a bit of interesting stuff to check out in that area.

We slept quite well considering how hot it was all night. We had the fan on us all night which helped. Aileen went to the exercise room and rode the recumbent bike for a few minutes Friday morning. She did laundry later. She did quite a bit of zipping around on her scooter. Late in the morning we went looking to see if there were any yard sales then drove all the Florence Garden streets looking for used ATVs. Didn't see any!

Aileen had a long nap Friday afternoon. I’d wandered down to the office to update our name tags and grabbed a book out of the library which I read in the afternoon. We took Mitzy to the dog park several times, she was enjoying meeting her friends, too. We moved the motor home back a bit so we could access the storage we couldn’t before. I finally found the plates and bowls that were missing from the white set we brought from storage. They were mixed in with the library books and travel literature tote. Aileen was despairing thinking we’d somehow left them behind at the storage locker.

Aileen made rice pasta and potato salads which were very tasty for supper. I went to the library after supper and returned a whack of books and grabbed Aileen a bag full. Brian came by to look at the RV cover but couldn’t stay long as he was rushing off to baby sit a grand daughter. He’ll be back some time I guess. He saw enough to think on a solution, hopefully, but he’s seems to be difficult to pin down.

We went to the pool for another great swim/soak tonight. It was again very quiet, just we two, the stars and a few winking plane lights overhead. I spent a couple hours on Craigslist Phoenix checking used atv ads. I did see a few possibles.

We were awakened in the middle of last night by the oscillating fan suddenly racing in speed then all sorts of things happening with the power. The window air conditioner quit as did the fridge and most of the front end plugs. All three bathroom light bulbs went super bright then burned out when Aileen turned on the switch. I went out to the breaker boxes which are on the outside of the trailer and nothing was tripped. I did eventually find one of the 50 amp plugs into the box on the post was slightly loose. Pushing it in tighter brought the power back to everything, except for the blown bulbs. Fortunately, we did get back to sleep afterward.

I got busy early, before breakfast, and installed our six solar garden lights out front. When I thought of it yesterday, it was too hot. Aileen got the laundry caught up this morning. I’d walked over to see if the ATV group was going out today and they were so I got to catch up with some friends. They couldn’t believe I arrived without an ATV. I mentioned I was actively trying to remedy that and they mentioned seeing one being put on display out front minutes earlier. I went and checked it out then came home and called the number. I took it for a spin out in the desert behind the park later. It is only a 325 cc motor but a full size body. Everything seemed to work okay but I wonder if it would have to work too hard to keep up to the group. It didn’t have a speedometer either but a gps mounted so you could monitor your speed. However, no guesses as to how many miles are on it as there is no odometer or hour meter on it. It is right here so I wouldn’t have to figure out how to get it home which is something to consider. Some of the ATVs I have found online appear to have more value for the dollar by being newer and more powerful and not much more money. I will have to think a little more on the whole process.

After lunch we went to Coolidge for groceries. It was calm here but partway over we ran into fairly strong winds which were whipping lots of dust out of the bare fields. There is lots of cotton not harvested here but I think the fields where it has been taken off have already been tilled. An hour or so later on the return, the wind had mostly subsided down to a breeze.

Again this year, we are among the earlier arrivals. Several more neighbours have arrived since we did with more expected daily. We arrived here two days later than last year. I think we have guests booked for two weeks in February so far and we’ll probably be away the last two weeks of January. Aileen is quite enjoying having her scooter with us this year. Actually I have used it a couple times myself, once to haul water and once to take a large whack of books to the library. Some of the books we’d taken from here but lots I had purchased along the way and they were donated to our library.

Sorry there's no pictures this post. The camera has been neglected the past three days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


First time at the wheel out on the highway

Welcome to Arizona

After dumping the tanks and getting the rig ready, we hit the road about 10 Tuesday morning. We didn’t get too far along #70 West when we were stopped because of missile testing. They stopped traffic for nearly an hour but it was only 25 minutes for us since we arrived part way through. It took a little while to get that blob of traffic sorted out but it did go pretty smoothly for us. We stopped in Las Cruces for gas but I picked the wrong station as they had the slowest pump I’ve seen for some time. It must have taken 25 minutes to put in 49 gallons. We had lunch just past there on a frontage road

We carried on to Deming, NM and are at the Little Vineyard Good Sam RV Park. They have a pool and hot tub which is great. I noticed an ad in their brochure for the Steer Safe factory so I whipped over there right away but it was 3:34 and they closed at 3:30. I called his cell phone later and have an appointment for 10 am Wednesday. I am pretty tired of the horrible steering and thought I’d have to go to Phoenix or some other big city to get something done.

Well the indoor pool and hot tub were great! And of course, we had it all to ourselves. It was nice to see all the stars out on the walk home. There’s some road noise here but not consistent and there are periodic trains but they don’t last long so I think it will be okay. It cost $25.31 and I see one of the three campgrounds next door advertises $18.50 plus tax but I think the pool makes up for the difference. Except for our one swim at Cameron Lake this was our first dip since Caliente.

It was a quiet night for sleeping. We got going in good time this morning and filled the onboard propane tank on the way out. It took $19 worth which is pretty good since the last time we put in propane was back in August before leaving Vancouver Island. We use the water heater every day since we don’t have a gas/electric combo and the fridge all the time when driving.

We went early for our appointment and they got right on it. We were out the door with the Safety Steer installed and the bill paid in 22 minutes. We then found a car wash and spent a long time washing the motor home. We had to so it in three sections as the hoses were too short. We got back onto I-10 again heading west and the wind was blowing rather nasty so couldn’t tell how much better the steering was. We stopped at a rest area for lunch then carried on to Safford, AZ where we are at Lexington Pines RV. The only Wi-Fi is when you take your laptop up to the office apparently.

The steering seemed quite improved when we got on to #70 and out of the worst of the wind. In fact Aileen took her first turn at the wheel and drove us to Safford from a few miles out of Lordsburg on #70. She did very well. Soon after we arrived here Aileen gave Mitzy a much needed bath then went for her nap. Tomorrow should see us arrive in Caliente Casa Del Sol, our winter home. We decided to come via Safford since we might not use this route again but would be likely to go to the Benson/Bisbee area for a trip sometime.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Mitzy loves to run in the sand!

Now we're tired so we'll stand in the wind for awhile

A far cry from yesterday's images

The old La Luz Pottery works a few miles up a canyon behind us. I liked the pattern on the chimney

We slept fairly well but the highway noise picked up about 6 AM. We managed to get back to sleep for awhile. Aileen gave me a haircut after a late breakfast then we went to Walmart which was the only large grocery store we could find. I did an online search for a Safeway and was told the nearest was 245 miles away. It seems odd but there must be more shopping than we discovered since the population is about 38,000. We did find an excellent health food store.

After lunch we went to White Sands and am I glad I went there yesterday as today the wind is blowing and the dunes didn’t look all that great. Most of the day from the RV park and town, we couldn’t see the mountains beyond the dunes and sometimes not even the dunes. Aileen and Mitzy enjoyed their visit anyway. Mitzy loves to roar around in the sand. I guess we’ll have to try to return again when the light is good and the road is open so we can get to the main dunes.

We stopped at a pistachio farm just down the highway from here on the way home and bought a couple bags of nuts. They have a winery also and after sampling a chardonnay, I bought a bottle. While Aileen was napping before supper, I took a drive up one of the canyons behind us and was surprised how many houses were scattered over the hillsides. The higher up I drove, the more green grass and deciduous trees. There were even a couple of apple orchards. Aileen made a lentil stew for supper which was very tasty. We are having a leisurely evening and early to bed for Aileen. I downloaded today’s images and processed a few for the blog.

We’ll likely be heading down the road again tomorrow. No firm destination in mind but perhaps Deming or Lordsburg. Then we have to decide which way from there. West or Northwest is the question.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A few images from White Sands National Monument south of Alamogordo, NM

We’ve had a mostly sunny day for a change and the temperature has climbed considerably as we descended in elevation. In fact, it is still 17C at 9:30. We are at about 4400 feet. We got on the road around 10 AM heading east from Magdalena. We passed through St Johns, Carrizozo and Tularosa getting to Alamogordo, New Mexico where we arrived just before 2 PM after 264 kms (165 miles). Some of the roads today were among the smoothest of the trip. We’ve had some very rough roads along the way. The worst are the cracks running across the road that are 3-4 inches wide and deep. The constant banging gets to you after a bit. Mitzy panics every time. We are at Boot Hill RV Park which Rick mentioned in his blog last April. He had been recommended to stay here but he missed the road and ended up elsewhere. Al from the Bayfield Bunch who are from Bayfield, Ontario stayed here last November and were pleased with it. It is located just south of Tularosa at about the 72.5 mile marker. Going south, you have to make a left turn off the four lane divided highway so you have to really be paying attention and be prepared. There is a little pass through that lines up with their entrance.

After setting up, I took my cameras off to White Sands National Monument while Aileen had a long nap. I got some bad news from the gate attendant when she told me the road was closed about four miles in because of flooding. They have no idea when it will reopen. The dunes were just low and brushy where the road ended so I struck off heading toward the mountains looking for higher more open dunes with less footprints. I eventually got beyond most people and into cleaner dunes but it was a long walk. I was fairly pooped when I finally got back to the car after about three hours. My shoulders were complaining from carrying my pack and tripod. It was certainly a worthwhile experience and I can see why my late photo friend Natalie kept telling me I had to visit White Sands! I will have a more leisurely visit tomorrow when I take Aileen to have a look.

Aileen was nearly finished supper when I arrived home at dark, so I dished mine as soon as I washed up. Later I processed some images and will try to get my blog posted. We may stay here another day before wandering westward. We haven’t fully decided on our route yet. We could go out through I-10 to Tucson then up to Florence or we could take #70 (I think) up to Globe, AZ then down #60 to Florence. The Globe route is shorter by about 25 miles, I think, but the weather would be cooler since it is much higher. I guess we’ll decide when we get to Lordsburg.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The Very Large Array, one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories, consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. Each antenna is 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. The data from the antennas is combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 36km (22 miles) across, with the sensitivity of a dish 130 meters (422 feet) in diameter. Aileen took this picture as we were driving by.

Some of the old buildings in Magdalena

The modern front of the Marshall's Office

And hidden away at the back, I found this

Another old timer on a gravel back street

We were up and going in good time and on the road well before 9. Of course in a couple hours we reached New Mexico (our first time in the state) and that translated into 10 AM with the time change again. We stopped along the road just before the continental divide for our lunch. Right after lunch we passed through the little hamlet of Pie Town, NM and there were two cafes selling pies with lots of signage inviting one to partake, and no, we didn’t stop. We did stop early in Magdalena, NM. There was no one in the Western Motel and RV Park at first so I went for a walk around the old town with my camera while Aileen enjoyed a nap. I found the lady back in her office after a bit and got us a site. $20 fully serviced and even Wi-Fi beamed over from the town library. The lady had been to a Democratic Party rally she said.

After moving the RV over to the RV park and setting up, I took the car for a spin around to see if I’d missed anything on my walk. I seemed to have found the spots of interest in town already. I enjoy stopping in these little dying towns that most people ignore. Usually the people are very friendly, and today was no exception. Most people wave or nod and some stop to chat and start telling about the history or interesting places to see. Later, I took Mitzy for a long walk around before supper. The sun was shining nicely when we first looked out the bedroom window in the morning, but that was just about all the sun we saw all day. We had lots of wind today as well, which was fine when it was behind us but not so much when coming at us or broadside. I seem to recall other bloggers complaining about the wind in New Mexico. This was a bigger travel day for us at 345 kms (216 miles) but plan on a little less tomorrow.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The above are all chunks of petrified wood strewn around on the ground

This is for my brother in law John F in Port McNeill, notice how they are all cut to length waiting to be tossed in the back of the truck? The only problem is this stuff weighs 200 pounds per cubic foot!

You can still see the grain pattern in some pieces and even the bark. The bark is solid rock too

Part of the Painted Desert

Early native art. Notice the male and female figures. I see they exaggerated even back then!

We had a few minutes of sun. I grabbed this shot as we were driving in the park

I was able to get this shot before the clouds reasserted themselves

I love this old southern style architecture. This was an old closed down inn

We were awake in good time this morning. Since we have gained an hour by coming to Arizona, we were on the road before 9 am. We only moved the house 135 kms (85 or so miles) choosing OK RV Park in Holbrook, AZ. After an early lunch, we headed over to check out the Petrified Forest National Park. The weather was not great with wind and some rain and nearly all cloudy. However, as usual, there was a benefit to that weather in that the petrified wood came out more saturated with the lower contrast.

We were over 5 hours wandering in the park. I was surprised to find more than just petrified wood. There were old building foundations from the 900-1300 AD era, petroglyphs and the Painted Desert also. There were several trails I could have taken, had I had the time and initiative.

Back home we had a late supper then Aileen did laundry. She had the whole laundry to herself and it was a very good one, clean and modern. Later, we both had free showers in the excellent shower house. The sites here are huge. I’m sure we could fit four of our motor homes lengthways in this site. I spent most of my evening with my images. Our plan tomorrow is to begin a loop over into New Mexico which will take us the rest of the month likely.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


One more image from yesterday in Angel Canyon

The rainbow out front this morning

Our first view of the Vermilion Cliffs

This was right below me when taking the above shot

Closer around to Marble Canyon and close to the tiny community of Vermilion Cliffs
And another shot of our wheels and house

We heard some heavy rain on the roof sometime during the night but the sun came out while we were having breakfast. In fact we had a nice rainbow out the front window a little later. We got packed up and on the road in fairly good time. A few minutes after departing, we entered Arizona for the duration of our stay and suddenly it was an hour earlier. Arizona stays on Mountain Standard Time year round.

We took old Highway 89A so we retraced our route all the way to Jacob Lake where we turned off for the North Rim the other day. From there it was a long downhill stretch until we crossed the Colorado River at Marble Canyon where we were under 4000 feet for the first time since October 4th. We then climbed gradually all the way up to 7276 feet just before Flagstaff. It is about 7000 feet where we are parked for the night on the outskirts of Flag.It was 6 degrees C (47F) and raining when we arrived here and the guy at the office was in awe that I had shorts on. I only had them on as I couldn’t get at my long pants until we got set up and I put the slides out, but I didn’t share that with him.

Aileen has gone for a long nap – this is good napping weather! We’re thinking of heading east tomorrow to visit the Petrified Forest. We’re not sure what comes after that. We’ll have to check the weather forecasts for several areas to see if they appeal to us. The weather is forecast to be only mid 80’sF and mostly sunny in Caliente for the next seven days dropping into the lower 50’s at night so that could be pretty inviting too. At this time in the trip, I really start longing for the pool and hot tub which is only a few hundred feet from our door and which we utilize nearly every day all winter.

My next younger brother, Sam, was scheduled for a hip replacement today so we are hoping everything went well. Just over a year until I am officially an old age pensioner so I guess it is getting to the time in our lives when more and more medical procedures will be occurring with family and friends.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


On the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

North Rim looking across to Desert View on the South Rim, the Colorado river is shown in two spots

Near the junction of Angel Canyon and Highway 89 just north of Kanab

One of the barns in Angel Canyon

Some of the livestock along the road. Don't they have a cozy spot?

One of many interesting rock formations

The different layers of sandstone

Notice how they have used slabs of rock to bridge this little slot canyon in order to drive across

Mitzy enjoyed the sand in Angel Canyon

More layers of sandstone

Mitzy enjoyed a good run at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Now that's a longhorn!

We awoke to a foggy morning Tuesday and two of our neighbours had departed quietly. Aileen couldn’t believe she didn’t hear the Dodge diesel that was closest, leave. It was nearly ten when we got on the road. I had to tighten up a couple bolts on the tow bar hitch as I noticed them loose. It stayed foggy for 15-20 miles then all of a sudden was sunny. There were patches of snow along the road in one spot also, from the storm a couple days ago. We drove to Kanab, Utah and are staying at RV Corral for a couple nights.

After setting up and having lunch, it was decided to go to the Grand Canyon North Rim in the afternoon as the weather was forecast to deteriorate. We had a gorgeous sunny afternoon but it was a long drive, over 100 miles each way. Aileen drove us there then I did the rest. There were not very many people where we went so very peaceful and low key. There was hardly any traffic to speak of as well. There was some smoke degrading the view to the west but straight across from us was clear enough for decent photos.

We managed to make it home just before dark then Aileen put some supper together while I took Mitzy for her after supper stroll. Aileen staggered off to bed shortly after she finished her cleanup. I read my computer stuff then processed a couple of the day’s images.

I took Mitzy for a big walk around town this morning but she kept getting thorns in her feet from some of the nasty weeds that are everywhere here. She is good, in that she stops as soon as she feels pain and stands there holding her foot up for me to fix.

Sometime after a late breakfast we decided to get moving. Two and a half hours later we had covered about 20 kms! We thought to take a peek at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary which our daughter has spoken of. It is just up the road from Kanab. Well the amazing thing was the incredible scenery before and beyond it in Angel Canyon. All sorts of different striations in the sandstone and some great colour patterns as well. We had our lunch alongside a little slot canyon which had very muddy water running through it. You could see where the water level had been several feet higher a couple days ago when they had a major flood go through Kanab.

From Angel Canyon, we headed out to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was a bit of a bust as the lighting wasn’t great and only a little portion isn’t overrun by ATV’s and their tracks. The colour was quite orange to my eye; I couldn’t see a hint of pink anywhere. After talking with the park ranger, it didn’t seem to be worth going into the main part of the park as he said they pretty much just catered to the off road crowd.

We continued on past and eventually came out on #389 which we followed back to Fredonia then Kanab. Along the way we stopped in at Pipe Spring National Monument which is primarily set up to showcase early Mormon settlement of the area after centuries of Paiute and Navajo Indian occupation. It is 40 acres of Federal land surrounded by the Paiute Reservation. We made it home in time for Aileen to have a nap. I walked over to the local grocery store for a few items. Tomorrow we are moving on taking #89A past the Vermillion Cliffs. I had wanted to go to Page to Antelope Canyon to tour the slot canyons of photographic fame, but with the roving thunderstorms we’re having, I’m not sure if the canyons will be accessible. People have died in them during flash floods. We’ll just have to see where we end up.