Thursday, January 26, 2017


Cliff and Patty from Alberta wanted to experience some of the rougher and maybe more exciting trails before they left so the only day that worked for me was Tuesday.  They, Richard J and I went off on our own since we were going on trails that 87 year old Blue doesn’t ride any more.   His group went elsewhere.  Since we were on time constraints, Richard with an appointment and me needing to finish packing etc., we took the most direct route to get to the big spine.  After it we did a few more fun and steeper trails then returned home via Box Canyon.  With all our recent rains, I was surprised to find so much water running through the wash and canyon.  In my eight years riding out there, I have never seen anything close to that much water.   It was pretty neat to experience.
After I got home Tuesday, we hooked up the trailer and loaded the RZR.  I washed the motor home windshield so I could load the ladder in the trailer then edited some of the day’s photos.  We went to Jim and Judy’s for supper being joined by Ken and Marie.  After supper we played Progressive Hand and Foot.  The guys were big winners in game 1 while the ladies edged us out in the second by 90 points.  We enjoyed one last night in the hot tub/pool even though it was getting late.
We slept late yesterday then got busy with our normal routine then getting ready to leave.  It was nearly 10:30 by the time we had the trailer hooked on the motor home and were rolling down the street.  We stopped in Florence for gas ($2.019 gal) and it was heading for 11 when we carried on.  We had an early lunch at In N Out Burger in Casa Grande before getting on to I-10 then I-8 heading for Yuma.  After a couple of rest stops including a nap for Aileen and a short doze for me, we arrived in Yuma shortly after 4.  Our GPS took us right to our destination at the Escapees’ KOFA membership park.  We were able to snag a full hook up site which was nice since it is still going to be cold for a few more days.  Sure enough, frost this morning. 
We had a short visit with our friends Keith and Sue from Duncan, BC before supper.  Sue was playing in a hand and foot tournament in the evening and invited me along.  I was number 25 signed up and since the game is played in groups of four, a lady kindly dropped out so I could play.  It was a fun evening.  You played partners with the person opposite then the winners moved tables and played with new partners.  I was very lucky, winning all four rounds managing to end up in second place.  It cost a dollar to enter and second place paid $8.  Pretty good return on investment?

Today dawned with no clouds visible but there is a breeze.  We are enjoying the sun streaming in the windows.  We will stay here three nights then move up to Quartzsite Saturday.  I intend to attend bloggerfest in the afternoon then find a place to park for a week or so before moving to a suitable spot to lead ATV rides from.  It looks like we will have a smaller group joining us this year.  

Northern Mockingbird on a saguaro

A rumpled looking Red Tail Hawk

Managed one shot as he flew

Using Sandman Rd as our desert access Tuesday morning

Richard J dropping down the big spine trail

Cliff and Patty from Alberta

Bluffs along the Martinez Mine Rd

After the heavy rain the previous night, it took some serious coaxing to get a fire going

One of two waterfalls in Box Canyon

Same waterfall

This would have been exciting at the height of the storm!

The second waterfall is on the left

Sunday, January 22, 2017


We have been having a wetter than normal winter which is good as they didn't get their summer rains this year.  Our temperatures mostly can't get out of the 50's F if they even make it there.  The desert is really greening up and if we could get some sunshine, there might even be flowers.
We're hoping it is going to clear up after tomorrow's forecast rain as we are heading to Yuma on Wednesday and I'd like to take short term visitors from Alberta, Cliff and Patty, on one last trip on Tuesday.  They leave at the end of the month so we won't see them again once we leave.  
We hope to stay in the same park in Yuma as our friends from Duncan, Keith and Sue.  We met them through the Escapees Vancouver Island chapter and I took over the Chapter treasurer's job from Sue.
We will probably spend three nights in Yuma then head up to Quartzsite Saturday.  I hope to make it to the yearly bloggerfest held Saturday afternoon.  I attended the first one two years ago but missed last year.  It is rather neat meeting face to face with people whose blogs you read online.  There can be some surprises there!  
We will have a different visit to Quartzsite this time as Jacquie and Jim, who we always have spent time with there, have had some motor home issues come up and have cancelled their travel plans.  I do have a few of the Florence area ATVers coming over to ride for three days again so I will have to scout some trails as soon as I get set up.

Last Thursday I rode with the main club group as there was no dust.  There were about sixteen of us and it was pretty cool.  After lunch it rained on us for a while so I quickly stopped and donned my rain gear.

We went up a wash I had never been in and had to turn back after a while as it got too narrow.   I was impressed by how green the moss has become with all our rain.

The fire was appreciated

Just before we left our lunch spot, I noticed these dew drops in a low spot in the rocks

I think this is an immature House Sparrow in a nest in a saguaro cactus

This is a Northern Mockingbird on a Saguaro

Thanks Lisa W for catching my mistaken name

There were several small herds of beef critters along the Florence Kelvin Hwy today

My own little cattle drive

This is a Harris's Antelope Squirrel.  He posed very nicely for me.

The Florence Kelvin Hwy at about mile 22.5

Same as above

I think those are the Pinal Mtns with some of the Ray Mine visible at the bottom

A handsome pair

They don't normally install culverts or bridges on the secondary roads down here.  The water is free to flood across the roads.  In many such spots you take your life in your hands attempting to cross when it is flooding.

A more distant view of the Pinal Mtns from closer to Florence

South Butte from Whitlow Ranch Rd off the Florence Kelvin Hwy

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Boy, we've had a wet weekend here.   The desert will be very appreciative of it and perhaps there will be some nice wildflowers soon.  The desert was greening up very nicely from the previous rains we had but it doesn't take too long a dry spell before the plants start retreating again so this will prolong the spell.  The forecast is calling for showers again next weekend.  The people who work during the week and have weekends off probably aren't too pleased with the wet weekends and the only sunshine happening during the week.  Oh well, I remember going through years of that when I worked.
We keep pretty busy here.  I lead a couple rides and we play cards several times a week, ATV happy hour once a week and tomorrow is the ATV club's monthly potluck.  Then of course there is my photography that takes up lots of time both with the current photos and scanning and editing of old ones.
We are moving over to Quartzsite for a few weeks, probably leaving here January 24 then spending a few days in Yuma connecting with RV friends from Vancouver Island.  From there we will try to make it to the annual bloggerfest at Quartzsite that happens on January 28.  My aunt and uncle, Jacquie and Jim, will be in the area to visit with and I will be leading ATV rides February 7, 8 & 9.  Then it will be back here for less than six weeks before we go to Tucson for the Escapees RV Rally.  We'll probably have a couple of days back here after that then it will be time to head north to the border.

The Meyers Tow'd.  It was pretty surprising how well this little buggy did going up to the Top of the World.  Manual transmission and street tires, long wheelbase and low clearance.

On the way back down

Looking out over the hills to the flat lands from near the junction of the Martinez Mine Rd and the Top of the World trail.  If you click on the image to enlarge, you can see a canal wandering past Florence just left of center.  Box Canyon is beyond the first ridge. Three photos down you will see a closer image of that first ridge.

This is the trail leading up to top of the World.  That tiny speck you see peeking over the ridge just to the right of the left peak, is the left rock upthrust in the photo below.  We call it the Thumb and it is visible from the entrance to our park. 

At the junction of Martinez Mine Rd and Top of the World trail

Here's that ridge we were looking down on and over

Box Canyon

A male American Kestrel shot from my ATV seat

We stopped to play a bit on one of our rides

I climbed up for a view of the group having a rest break

We were lucky to have these Javelinas wander away slowly instead of running flat out like they often do

We happened on this Turkey Vulture on a recent ride