Tuesday, November 14, 2017

COMPANY COMING

Yes, a rare occurrence, but we actually have company coming to visit for a couple weeks.  My sister Susan and husband John are flying into Phoenix tonight .    This will be quite a change from the blustery, stormy weather they are leaving on Vancouver Island.  Over eighty days since measurable rain here and it is very dusty on the desert trails.  I was glad to be the leader on yesterday's club ride.
We are looking forward to playing tourist with Sue and John while they are here.  John enjoys ATVing so we will be out on the trails fairly often, I'm sure.
Aileen is really enjoying her new three wheel bike and Mitzy thinks its great to ride instead of walking all the time.  Aileen and I are still working on my Mom's diaries and while Aileen is about four years ahead of me getting them typed, I finished proofing and printed 1999 yesterday.  It ended at page 5,334.  Yes that is a lot of text!  The diary was started by my Dad in 1946 then taken over by Mom shortly after.  There is an amazing amount of family history in the diaries which often makes interesting reading.  We have been working off and on with her diaries for over twenty years, but we are starting to see the end approaching.  Mom's mental state is deteriorating as she writes in 2004 but she is still trying to document hers and Dad's daily life.

Grandma's new ride

Mitzy thinks this is great

Male Gila Woodpecker

Female Gila Woodpecker

Morning break on yesterday's ride

Playing in the rocky wash.  Maureen took this of me with my camera.

Linda having fun

Way in the distance I thought I was looking at a cow.  When it didn't move, I put the zoom on it and discovered it was a Jeep that had rolled hundreds of feet down the hill.  Looks like it has been there for some time.  I'm guessing it was probably stolen and driven out here and sent over the edge.

Down a tricky spot

The cows we are seeing the past couple of years are in much better shape than they were before that.  A new rancher took over and he seems to be doing things better.

The view along one of my favourite ridges just above Box Canyon

Interesting sky this morning

When Mitzy and I were walking in the desert behind the park this morning, this Hummingbird was keeping an eye on us.

We also got this long shot of a Loggerhead Shrike on our walk

Monday, November 6, 2017

SETTLING IN AND ANOTHER BIRTHDAY GOES BLAZING BY

Things have settled down here for the time being.  Our friends and neighbours continue to stream in from points north so the park is getting busier.  Aileen and I cleaned Ken and Marie's carport the other day so it will be ready for when they get here. 
I was asked if I would bring my RZR on a ride on Saturday.  One of our friends daughter and family were down from Ontario and we ended up with five machines which meant there was a seat for everyone.  The photos down to the rain on the RZR hood are from Saturday's ride  The rest are from today.  I led the first "club" ride, I guess, today but there were just four machines out.  Three of us were ride leaders!   There will be more riders showing up every ride day now.
The temperatures are continuing to get to the upper 20s C which is in the 80s F.  Some of us are more happy with that than others.  There is a slight cooling trend in the forecast so we'll see what happens.  It has been cooling down at night so fairly good for sleeping.

This Staghorn Cholla was really out of season with its nice blossom.  It was the only one we saw in two days riding.

We did see a couple or more of these Ocotillo blossoms

We were fortunate to see these Javelinas on a seldom used trail.  They stayed around long enough to give us time for some photos.




The view along what we call the Top of the World trail

While we were taking a break, a rain shower came by and visited us.  What you see on the hood is the full extent of it.

Saw a pair of these Harris's Hawks along the trail today


After our cloudy start this morning, the light improved this afternoon


We managed to spot this one lone Desert Bighorn Sheep high above Box Canyon today.  Unfortunately, the sun was directly behind him and I could pull any detail out of him.  He didn't stay long enough for me to adjust my exposures.  This was taken at 1200 mm then further cropped in the computer.

These photos of South Butte were taken a couple miles apart 


This Roadrunner ran across the road in front of me then perched on the railway tracks and waited for his portrait to be taken.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

WE HAVE ARRIVED

Yes, we are back in Caliente in Florence, AZ for most of the winter.  We stayed two nights in Hawthorne, NV then three nights in Beatty, NV and five nights in Payson, AZ.   With those multi day stops it took us sixteen days from when we left Victoria until we arrived in Florence.  We spent the five nights in Payson waiting for the hot weather down here in the valley to moderate. 
We arrived here about 11 yesterday morning.  After pumping up a couple of tires on the RZR then jump starting it, we were able to move it out of our way so we could back the motor home into it's spot.  After lunch I got started cleaning the carport of the accumulated debris brought in by the wild weather during the summer monsoons.  I pick up the larger debris then sweep up what I can then vacuum before finally using the water hose to flush the rest out.  There didn't seem to be as much as some years.
I cleaned out neighbour John and Carol's this morning which proved to be good timing as they arrived this evening.  John isn't doing very good this year so there is no way he could have done the cleanup anyway.  He was very grateful.

Near Payson, AZ looking across to the Mogollon Rim.  This major topographical feature runs about 200 miles across Arizona.  The Rim is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau.   The Rim rises as high as 8,000 feet.  Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour used the Rim in various novels. 

I was out geocaching one morning near Payson when I stumbled onto Mud Springs and surprised this Redtail Hawk at waters edge

He flew up into a willow tree and kept an eye on me for a while

Looking over the town of Payson, AZ

The view to the east from a hill above Payson

The view north east to the Rim

And a view to the west

Southeast view

Mitzy and I surprised this rabbit on our morning walk this morning

On my return from Coolidge this afternoon, I spotted this sky tractor.  These guys seem to be a bit crazy dipping under the power lines to dump their spray.  


He didn't seem to be spraying an existing crop so perhaps he was killing the weeds in preparation to turn it into cropland

Thursday, October 26, 2017

GRAND CANYON SIDE TRIP

On our last day in Beatty, Nevada, I took the Titus Canyon Road into Death Valley National Park.  It is a 27 mile long one way gravel road.  I saw a total of eight vehicles during my trip.  The sign at the beginning said to allow three hours.  I took five and I could have taken much longer.  It was a fascinating journey and I would repeat it again if we ever venture that way another time.
We moved on from Beatty to Seligman, AZ which was our most expensive campground and the absolute worst for internet.  We are now in Payson, AZ at about 5,000 feet elevation.  We are spending at least five nights here as Aileen is happy with the temperature which is considerably less than is current in Florence.  Phoenix set another record yesterday at 99F so Florence would be pretty close to the same.  We hope to get to Caliente early next week.  It is only 109 miles from here.

On my way out of Beatty in the morning, I spotted two Moms and babies and the male

A few miles along the Titus Canyon road looking back toward Beatty

Looking ahead at my first high point


Looking toward the big hill that I went up to enter a high pass on the right

And looking back from that pass.  If you look closely, you can see several sections of the road I traveled.

Again looking back from the pass

Closer view with two Subaru Outbacks crawling along

Looking ahead from the pass

Along the route

The mighty back roads CRV

Approaching Leadville a very short lived enterprise that was mostly a swindle by a stock promoter.  Funny how some things don't change?

That would be me

Starting to approach the actual canyon

And in we go





The canyon section was at least a couple of miles I'm guessing.  I didn't think to check as I was going through.

After supper, I took Aileen out to see if we could spot the burros.  It turned out they were all five on their way in to town for a drink at a water tub someone had installed outside their fence.