Saturday, November 24, 2012


Aileen suggested a road trip this morning so we put some lunch together and hit the road.  We wandered through the little village of Queen Creek then took the gravel road past Hewitt Station getting back onto Highway #60 just before Superior.  We climbed up the hill out of Superior following Queen Creek which is very pretty steep sided canyon with rock walls towering above.  Today’s road is pretty tame compared to some of the sections of the old road that are still visible.
We dropped from 24C to 17C while ascending the hill.  There was about a 2,000 foot elevation gain.  We found a quiet corner in the Oak Flat Campground to have our lunch.  It was quite cool with the strong breeze even though the sky was completely clear and the sun was strong.
We topped up the gas in Miami before taking Highway #188 west along Roosevelt Lake.  Once beyond the Blue Bridge, just above Roosevelt Dam, we were in new to us country.  Punkin Center was a neat little spot in the Tonto Basin.  Heading south on Highway #87, which has a number of long hills we let the GPS take us home.  She took us a different way than I would have, which turned out well.  We got to see a bit of Saguaro Lake which is the last dam on the Salt River above Phoenix.  Canyon Lake next upstream is near Tortillo Flats and where we took a paddle wheeler cruise a few years ago.   Apache Lake is next then Roosevelt.  This series of dams is what enables the greater Phoenix area to prosper.  After logging the better part of 200 miles, we arrived home about 4:30. 

Queen Cr canyon with a bit of the old highway showing top right

Across the road and above the first picture

Top of the World area between Superior and Globe has lots of neat rocks

The Blue Bridge and Roosevelt Lake.  Roosevelt dam is just to the right of the bridge

The Punkin Center Bar

Across from Punkin Center

Saguaro Lake is very busy because of it's close proximity to Greater Phoenix

Friday, November 23, 2012


One thing about coming south from Canada is that we get to enjoy two Thanksgiving feasts.  We got together with friends Ken and Marie yesterday for a great meal.  Aileen did the turkey outside the motor home in our electric roaster.   She made gravy, real whipped cream and pecan pie.  Marie did buns, salad, veggie tray, potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, green beans and mushrooms and pumpkin pie.  It was quite a feast and I probably missed listing some food. 
After we stuffed ourselves, we played a new game to us called Sets.  We played something similar with Charlie and Sheila last spring.  I was score keeper which didn’t keep me from last place both games.  Marie was big winner both times with Aileen second.
I rode Monday and Tuesday this week but don’t expect to get out until next Tuesday now.  I think Tuesday and Thursday will be my ride days from now on.  I’m trying to drum up interest in a ATV geocaching group so that may change things yet again.
Aileen and Marie went to Casa Grande to check out Black Friday sales but didn’t buy much.  They did get a chip repaired in Marie’s windshield.  Ken and I went for a drive through the Florence Kelvin Highway.  We did a few geocaches along the way and enjoyed lunch overlooking A Diamond Wash.  We drove up #177 to Superior then back via Florence Junction.  The weather continues sunny and warm, some of the team would say very warm!  It does cool off at night, though.
We took a drive up to the Phoenix area Wednesday and that was interesting.  I spent some time in Harbor Freight which is a real guy’s toy store.   From there we went to Bass Pro which is similar to Cabela’s.  The store is huge and has everything you can imagine for hunting, fishing and camping plus a lot more.  They have a large fish tank which you can sit in front of.  You also see it through the glass walls of the elevator which is pretty neat.  They also have a lot of boats on display and they are an Arctic Cat ATV dealer with lots of those machines scattered about.  A person could spend the whole day wandering around the store and there is a large fish restaurant integral to the store.

Sunset down our street the other night

Kelvin, AZ

The main road through Kelvin, AZ

The Gila River from the Kelvin bridge

The Copper Basin Railway hauls copper ore and bi-products from the Ray Mine down to Hayden for further processing then again past Florence to market

Somebody's dream went sour.  This is an old Class A motor home with an abandoned house in behind

Monday, November 19, 2012


This is the warmest November we’ve had since we started coming south.  The temperature is getting up in the high 70s to low 80sF every day.   It does cool off nicely at night for sleeping.  It is very dusty out ATVing so I keep as far back as I can from the ATV front of me.   The only problem with that is when you get a worry wart in front of you who keeps stopping when he can’t see you all the time.  Then, when he takes off again, you’re so close you get dusted.
I went geocaching from the park on my bike yesterday and found five.  I was unable to locate four others.  Two of them claimed to be associated with rusty fenders but when I went to the location, there was no fender anywhere in the vicinity.  The other two had been recently found so I will have to give it another try.  I haven’t gone back to the Florence Kelvin Highway since last Wednesday but I have been entering the co-ordinates in my GPS as time allows.  I have enough entered to go do another day trip out there now.  
I was mentioning about my bike problem in the last post.  I finally googled bike repair shops in the region and found one in Casa Grande.  I gave them a call on Saturday morning and he said bring it right over.  As soon as I walked in with the bike, he pulled the one he was working on off the bench and put mine up and started adjusting.  He told me it was just out of adjustment and he’d fixed it.  When I took it for a spin around the parking lot, it was still slipping so I insisted he try it.  Fortunately, it slipped lots for him.  It turned out my gear hub assembly on the rear wheel was broken.  When he removed the wheel, gears fell out and rolled all over.  He charged me $10 labour and $16.99 for the part.  Total bill was $28.64!  I’d almost decided to buy a new bike so that saved me lots of money.  I would heartily recommend Round Trip Bike Shop to anyone needing bike service.
Our ATV group has changed the Saturday ride to Monday now as the weekends are getting so busy out where we ride.  Only nine riders out this morning and for the first time I can remember the side by side models outnumbered the regular ATVs five to four.  This may help to keep our numbers down and more manageable as many of the riders have other commitments for Mondays.  I think some of the members will still ride Saturdays so now there are rides going four days of the week.  I think I will ride just Tuesday and Thursday although this week I will ride today and tomorrow as Thursday is a holiday so not many will ride, if any.

Out in the desert, we have an ice skate tree

Sandi used my camera to get a shot of me getting a bit of air the other day

This neat rock was right beside where I stood to take my pictures.  Can you see the little cactus plants at the top?

I spotted this crown (or crested) saguaro on today's ride.  Both leaders hadn't noticed it before

This is called the waterfall and while we managed to find another trail around it, three of the guys did go up and down it but the group didn't.  This is Dave going up

and coming down

Friday, November 16, 2012


I took Mitzy for an ATV ride and walk before heading off on Tuesday’s ride.  I led the group again.  Since Scotty Wilson’s son Rob was along, I took the group over the Little Spline, Top of the World and Box Canyon.  I consider those the best highlights in the shortest ride for this area.  Eleven of us to start then one went home to attend a homeowner’s meeting.  The group all said they enjoyed the ride.  Aileen took her friend Marie over to San Tan for a little shopping and a challenging lunch at McDonald’s.  That McDonald’s staff weren’t very gluten wise.
On Wednesday, I took a lunch and wandered off geocaching.  I did stop in town to fuel up the car as it was getting down and I thought perhaps Aileen might want to use it Thursday while I was off ATVing.  I parked at the end of the pavement on the Florence Kelvin Highway then rode back about 2.5 kms or more to get started from where I’d left off Sunday.  The wind was brutal.  I rode into it all day mostly was in low gear and sometimes I was hardly making headway.  I got pretty tired and thought of quitting several times, but didn’t.  The gears were slipping really badly which didn’t help matters.  I finally finished all the caches I had written down, except for some away from the road which I’ll use the car for, just before three pm then I could turn and ride with the wind behind me.  It was just before four when I got back to the car.  The gears slippage was even worse and when I was loading the bike, I noticed the front tire was going flat.  Luckily, it stayed up enough for me to get back.  I found 82 caches and rode at least 28 kms!  One tired dude that night!  I did do three loads of laundry before and after supper, though.
I went on the Thursday ATV ride and we had a good day.  Although it started off sunny, it clouded over soon which made for more moderate temperatures and was easier on the eyes.  Nobody was complaining.  I was even shown a new trail I hadn’t been on before.  After lunch the group of 18 split in half and I went with the slightly more adventurous.
Aileen didn’t go to Casa Grande Thursday morning as she thought it looked like a dust storm over that way.  I wanted to go to Walmart to check out bikes so away we went shortly after I got home from my ride.  Aileen was in need of a new bathing suit but there were no ladies swim suits to be had anywhere we looked.    It’s pretty dumb considering all the RV parks that have swimming pools in this area but it seems all the stores have to send their swimwear back to the main warehouse as soon as summer is over.  She was able to order one online from JC Penny last night which should be exactly the same as the one she has.  We went to the Casa Grande Olive Garden for supper and it was very nice.  They seem to be very conscientious at serving gluten free.  I spent quite a while looking at bikes at Walmart but didn’t get one.  I hope to get a bike mechanic to look at the bike to see if it is an easy fix or whether I should buy another.
We took a quick run over to Coolidge this morning for a few things.  I found a bike tube that advertised no more flat tires.  It has some kind of slime inside that will heal the leak.  It claims to be able to seal up to a 1/8 inch hole.  For $8 I bought one and installed it after lunch in my flat front tire. 
We went to our neighbour Daryl’s 80th birthday gathering this afternoon.  To celebrate the occasion, Daryl did a tandem skydive from 13,000 feet the other day.  Most of the immediate neighbours and some friends attended today’s party.  We had a visiting good time and lots to eat.  Daryl had asked me to take pictures which I did.  I edited some tonight and put on a thumb drive to give him.  He doesn’t seem able to email pictures from his computer anymore so I will do that tomorrow for him.

I saw a few of these Christmas Chollas while geocaching the other day

A couple of neat gates along the gravel highway where I was caching Wednesday

I enjoyed this sign along the caching trail Wednesday

An old tree near Quartzsite a few weeks ago

Out behind where we parked near Quartzsite

Bonnie across from our park model  brought over this Pink-Spotted Hawk Moth one day thinking it was about to die.  I started to take some pictures with my normal lens then Aileen asked why I wasn't using my macro lens.  I thought, great idea and went in and got it out of the cupboard.  I came back and got one shot then the sucker up and flew away!  I guess maybe it was newly hatched and got dry enough to fly.

We were fortunate to see some Javelinas on our Tuesday ATV ride.  These are the first I've seen in four years of riding and amazingly, they didn't run fast away as they normally do, I'm told.

Two Javelinas

Looking at the Thumb and adjacent peak on the Top of the World trail Tuesday

In Box Canyon Tuesday

Monday, November 12, 2012


As forecast, the weather did make a big change from the high temperatures we were experiencing.  Yesterday morning was only a few degrees above freezing and with the wind, was downright chilly.  Our highs the past couple of days were in the lower 60’sF even when it was sunny.
I spent most of my Saturday and Sunday out geocaching along the Florence Kelvin Highway, mostly on my bike.  Aileen came along Saturday morning and moved the car along.  At one point, when I was out of sight of the road, some kind of cop came along and asked her what she was doing.  He left her alone after she explained what I was up to.
I rode my bike from where I parked the car then made my way back later.  Both days I had to ride against some nasty wind to get back.  Good thing it was slightly downhill.  I found 44 caches on Saturday and 55 more yesterday in about four hours.  I pedaled my bike in excess of 20 kms yesterday so it is a good way to get some exercise. I sure fell asleep in a hurry last night too!  The wind was blowing too strong today to take the bike out so I did other things.
I started washing the motor home again as we had a dust storm followed by some rain the other day which messed up my cleaning job.  I also made a visit to our little library to restock our reading supply.  I even did some reading for a change.  Our neighbour, Daryl, made a tandem jump out of a plane today to celebrate his 80th birthday.  That is something I could never do!
We had friends Ken and Marie over for supper again last night as it was her birthday today and we were planning on attending the ATV club potluck tonight.  There was a huge turnout to the potluck tonight will a large selection of dishes to choose from.   Aileen said she won’t have any sympathy for me if I’m up in the night with a tummy ache!  Aileen took a big dish of gluten free scalloped potatoes and one of the other ladies remembered her allergy and made a gluten free quinoa salad that was very tasty.  The ATV group are all very friendly so we enjoy the get togethers.
The photos in this post were all taken with an old 6 meg Kodak point and shoot.  I keep it in my pack because it is so much lighter than my other cameras but it is not nearly as good for close up shots.

This was over near Quartzsite a couple weeks ago.  There was a geocache up between the two arches so I had to make the climb.  I was actually up there four years ago but didn't know anything about the sport at the time

Can you see my car down in the center of the picture?

Looking through one of the arches

This was a little different geocache I found on Saturday.  It is a 9mm pistol casing with the log tightly rolled up inside and

This is how it was hidden in a fence post.  Click on the image to enlarge

I ate my lunch yesterday while enjoying the view of this crested cactus

Thursday, November 8, 2012


We’ve been hitting 90F or more just about every day since we arrived here. The other day we were only 4F off the all time record for that day.  Today a few clouds moved in and we even had a few spits of rain.  The high today was to be in the 80’s, tomorrow in the 70’s then the weekend is to be only in the mid 60’s.  We are supposed to get back into the low 70’s next week so I think our heat wave is probably over.  We sure could use a good rain though as it is very dry and dusty where we ride.
I led the ATV ride on Tuesday this week but was just one of the huge pack today.  We had 25 machines out with 27 people.  That makes a pretty long line when you stretch out to let the dust settle.  On Tuesday, 83 year old Blue had his engine seize up while riding at nearly 40 mph on a paved road.  There was quite a cloud of smoke that came from his tires skidding on the pavement.  Two of us took turns towing him home.  When we got home and he tried his starter, the engine turned over.  He said today it runs fine again now.  I wonder if his fan quit working causing the engine to overheat and seize?
After some research and checking around, I bought a Rand McNally RV GPS the other day.  Aileen had been suggesting that we get one for quite some time.  This one is supposed to warn you away from roads not suitable for your particular RV and also make route choices based on the RV info you enter.  It also has a car mode for normal use.  We hope to try it out tomorrow as we are planning a run up to Gilbert to a Sprouts store and also a gluten free store nearby.
My birthday came and went with less fanfare than last year.  Our friends Ken and Marie came to help celebrate the occasion and delicious supper Aileen made including a really tasty gluten free cake.  We played a couple game of SkipBo later both of which the guys won somehow. 
Our neighbours next door arrived last night.  They had a beautiful 2010 Buick Enclave but arrived in a different car.  When I inquired about that, he told me how somewhere in Kansas the other day, the motor blew.  It only had 25,000 miles on it and he’d had it serviced just before leaving Minnesota.   Lots of people arriving in the park these days.     
Did I find the mother lode of light chocolate?  No, just some dried mud along the Gila River

Our ATV road past South Butte on Tuesday

Looking back to where I took the previous picture

Further down the road looking east

I walked up above today's lunch stop and saw this balanced rock

Lots of interesting rocks in this area

A different shot of the balanced rock with the moon peeking over its shoulder

A man made water tank with Grayback Mtn in the background.  Where we had lunch today was just at the bottom right of Grayback.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I went riding both Thursday and today with a small group both days.  We only saw two other people the whole day on Thursday but today was a gong show out there with all kinds of different types of machines some of whom were roaring around.  That is the main reason our group is considering changing from Saturday rides to Mondays.  There are six brand new ATVs in the group so far this year.  I imagine more will pop up as the season progresses.
On Friday morning, we shook out the floor mats, put the slides in and raised the jacks.  I had Aileen drive ahead a couple feet so I could dig a hole for the back tires to settle in.  That way the front wheels aren’t raised off the ground like they were.  We needed to reset the jacks anyway as the crushed gravel under the jacks had settled so we had gone out of level. Later Friday I went to Casa Grande on several errands.  I even remembered to stop and renew my ATV insurance even though it wasn’t on my list.
Lots of our friends are arriving daily now.  I chatted with my sister Wendy and Randy this morning while waiting for the ATV group to get organized.  They had come over to some yard sales including a large including a large one in our clubhouse.
The temperatures continue to stay warmer than usual so Aileen is finding it pretty tough to be out in the daytime.  It does cool off okay for her in the evenings.  Showers are possible late next week with next Saturday’s high forecast at 65F.  The temperature has been hovering pretty close around 90F since we’ve arrived so the air conditioner is getting a good workout in the afternoons.

This spot was a little tricky on Thursday

A few shots from inside the old house at Martinez Canyon

Beside the house

The house

Martinez Canyon