Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Given that the weather is to deteriorate tonight and showers forecast for tomorrow, we took advantage of the clear blue skies today to make our next move.    We travelled along #72 to Bouse this morning and dumped our tanks and took on water at the community campground.   At $10, it is much cheaper than doing so in Quartzsite.   We then drove along Plomosa Rd to #95 then about four miles south toward Quartzsite to the Hi Jolly 14 day free camp.  While the majority of the camp is close to the highway, we are nearly all the way to the back and are not getting any highway noise.   Hopefully, for the two weeks we plan to stay here, it won’t get too crowded.    We will be heading back to our lot in Florence no later than the 13th of January which coincidentally, is the day we have to vacate here.

I think this will work well as a base for our ATV adventures, especially when the  group from Florence arrives next week.   I will have to get out and start laying out some routes as soon as possible.   Of course there are some new caches to be found so that will be part of my stay here too. We are close enough to town here that it will be a short ride in with the RZR should we decide to go poke around a bit.   Just from our quick drive through yesterday, there aren’t a lot of vendors set up yet.   

Some more old mining debris

I went for a drive in the RZR yesterday as a final trip into the hills behind camp.  I drove up a wash til the trail dead ended just beyond yet another failed mine site.  The wash narrowed and looked interesting so I grabbed my pack and left the RZR to rest while I went to see what there was to see.  I love looking around the next corner.  Maybe you've already noticed that?  Anyway, less than five minutes of walking brought me to this real surprise.  There were about a dozen petroglyphs in a small gathering.  These are made by using a rock tool to chip away the weathered surface on the rock to reveal the lighter coloured rock underneath.  Some were so badly faded that one couldn't really see them but a few were quite sharp.  It was quite a thrill to stumble on these in such a desolate area, although it was only a bit over three miles from the highway at Vicksburg.

This is near the petroglyphs and I continued on with my hike, ending up on the flat topped hill in the far center of the image.

This was taken from the top of that hill looking way back down the draw I walked up.  The first image was taken from about 1/3 down from the top and 3/4 from the left.  When you enlarge the image, it is where the wash takes a turn to the left.  That's only if anybody actually cares!

With a bit of effort and ingenuity, we managed to get Jim's bike on with the RZR.   There is an aluminum ladder with bits and pieces of plywood under the bike to raise it up enough to make it in.  We used eleven straps to ensure the load remained stable for the ride.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I've been out caching a couple times with Jim the past few days.   Aileen and I took the RZR and found a great trail through the hills behind us over to the Salome side then we lucked out and found another at the highway end that took us back through without having to go on the highway.  The scenery was excellent as was the weather, other than remaining cool.  Our weather is to deteriorate even more over the next several days with highs barely making 50F.  Just one day with possible showers though and quite a bit of sunshine, just cool.
We've really enjoyed our two weeks here at Vicksburg but we will have to move along and seek out a dump station.  Since we have to move to do that, we'll just carry on and get closer to Quartzsite.  I have to get out and put together three days of riding for some of our friends from Florence who are coming over with their ATVs.  I have a rough idea of where to take them but I need to confirm the routes are acceptable and I'd like to combine some trails to make a good day's outing.
We are planning to head back to our Florence lot on January 12th or 13 as we have some people moving into the park model.  They will be there until the end of February, or that is the plan anyway.

I was intrigued by this formation up on the hills near Brenda, AZ

This wrinkly old Mesquite tree caught my fancy

Jim and I were geocaching here and after I googled Harquahala Mine, I found out all sorts of interesting information about it and other mines in the area

Harquahala Mine adobe

Along the route Aileen and I took through the hills yesterday

There were large areas of these incredible rock formations

Can you see the face on the rock center right?  Did you click on the photo to enlarge it?

If you look closely above and to the right of me, you can see Aileen and the RZR way down there on the road beside the railway tracks

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Merry Christmas to all.

Aileen and I took the RZR for a ride in the hills behind camp one day and as you can see, it was a gorgeous day.  There are many old mines throughout the hills.  Most of the dangerous open shafts are fenced but one has to be alert for those that aren't.

Heading homeward.  As we came out of the hills, we could see a dust storm out in the open valley

It got to be a little thick

On a different evening, this was our view while we were having supper, some nice alpen glow.

Anticipating a possible outstanding sunset, I finished supper and grabbed my camera and tripod and headed over to where there were a few Saguaro Cactus.  That is an Ocotillo Cactus on the left.  This was taken in near total darkness using very high ISO setting and long shutter opening.

I took this shot yesterday afternoon about 10 miles east of camp while Jim and I were geocaching.

Our camp

Jacquie and Jim on the right

Jim and I passed this old timer while out caching one day about 6 miles west of camp

We've been here over a week so far and are enjoying the area.  There is a train track fairly close but there are only a couple trains a day so not too disruptive.  We made a shopping run over to Blythe, CA on Monday but otherwise we are staying within a few miles of home base.  The weather is mostly staying sunny but the temperature is dropping.  Our daytime highs will only be around 60F for the next week according to the forecast.  It can be downright cool at 60 here in the desert if the wind is blowing or if you are in the shade.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CACHIN’ AND SHOOTIN’ (photos that is)

The forecast rains came and there was quite a bit which was welcome in this dry desert.  Wednesday afternoon was a lay around inside type day.  Jim and I had taken the RZR and gone caching after breakfast but less than two hours later we were rushing home trying to beat the rain we saw coming.  We got most of the way back before it struck us.
We took Jim’s Suzuki Thursday morning and did some more caching.  After lunch, we all went in the car to Quartzsite as J&J had a parcel to pick up and we wanted to peek around and see if anything interesting was to be found.  There wasn’t!  Later in the afternoon, Aileen and I took the RZR out to do some exploring and checked out the mine Jim and I had seen at a distance.  We had to dress warmly as the weather stayed cool even with the sun shining.  We received a phone call from a lady in Saskatchewan who will now be renting our park model from January 15 til the end of February.   The renters we had lined up had cancelled a few days ago due to illness.  As the lady from Saskatchewan discovered, it is difficult to find a February rental in Caliente.

This morning, Jim and I took the RZR and finished the cache series nearest us.  We took the car and scoped out our next series up the road near Hope, AZ.  It is close enough to use the RZR again.   We have been for some walks as well as spending time in the sun reading.

This appeared to have been the kitchen at the mine

Looking out over the valley

Loading chute

Several mine shafts visible

Looking out

Side view of chute

Taken while caching this morning

Some morning mist in the valley this morning

On my walk this evening

A normal Fishhook Barrel Cactus

And a crested fishhook cactus which is quite rare

A sunset shot on my way home to supper

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Since rain was in the forecast for the next couple of days, and I don’t like to get the motor home dirty if I can help it, we left Florence this morning and are now parked in a free camping area near Vicksburg, AZ.   We have met up with Jacquie and Jim and will spend the next while with them.    Jim and I have lots of geocaches to find in the surrounding area and the ladies have their projects to work on in the RVs.

We left the car behind in Florence and just brought the RZR with us this trip to see how we make out.   It may leave us feeling marooned but maybe not.   Once we move closer to Quartzsite after New Year’s, we’ll be able to drive the RZR to town for shopping and whatever.    We had a nice travel day but the further west we got, the darker the sky.   I climbed up on the roof and tilted the solar panels up to take advantage of what sun we can get but don’t know if we are parked at the best angle.  There was no hint as to where the sun was in the sky when we arrived.  The car would have had a compass to help us.  My GPS was buried in the back of the RZR so too much trouble to locate.  We’ll just have to wait until the sun peeks through.

I mentioned in my last post about 85 year old Blue getting a new ATV.  Well here it is!  A brand new 2015 Sportsman 570.  That's the same engine we have in our RZR side by side so I hope it isn't too much power for Blue.

There were lots of admirers and everyone was so happy for him.  Now we hope he gets to be able to enjoy it for long while.  Blue has long been an inspiration to the rest of us in the ATV club.  Not many people are able to do what he is at his age. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I got to take the RZR out three days in a row this week.  The riding has been pretty nice all week due to the fact that the heavy rain last week knocked down the dust.   On Tuesday, Old Blue couldn’t get his ATV to start and neither could the rest of us who tried for half an hour.   I went home and got our RZR and lent Blue my old ATV so we could get out on our ride.   We had a couple’s ride on Wednesday with our neighbour’s and Mickey on her ACE.  Her John was volunteering at the ELKS so couldn’t make it.  Then on Thursday, I lent Blue my old machine again so he could ride.   Today, Blue had his brand new ATV delivered so that should take care of his breakdowns with his two old machines.   He was able to trade in the one that wouldn’t run, on the new one and he plans to sell the other old one asap.   Pretty bold step for an 85 year old guy?
We had our December ATV potluck this past Monday evening.  I didn’t ride that day as Aileen and I cooked a 20 pound turkey, a big pot of potatoes and lots of gravy.    Last Saturday, Aileen and I went with her friends from the celiac group down to Oracle then Tucson.   In Tucson we went to a totally gluten free bakery and restaurant for lunch.  They have a supper on Friday and Saturday nights so sometime we’ll have to try that as the menu looked interesting.

I have managed to come down with some type of bug that I presume is a cold which has really crimped my style.  Sore throat and general achiness plus a constant runny nose are the dominant characteristics.   I hope it disappears soon as we want to head over to the Quartzsite area by Wednesday.  We had showers overnight and heavier showers this morning which will take care of the dust again for a few days.
A long view down to the Gila River and the hills on the far side.  This image brings to mind Zane Grey's books and his rapt description of the desert.

A closer view down, looking across to the mouth of Walnut Canyon.  Apparently the best access is to come in from the highway on the far side of the mountains.  I hope to trailer our ATV over there one day this winter.

Afternoon light on South Butte.  I quickly stopped and grabbed a few shots here as the rest of the group continued speeding across the desert.  I'm sure most of the riders are so busy watching the trail and the rider in front, they miss seeing the beauty around them.

I captured this image of a White-Crowned Sparrow early one morning while walking Mitzy out behind the park.  The yellow glow is the first sun on the Creosote Bushes

We saw many of these purple Buckhorn Cholla cactus on our Thursday ride, the majority of the Buckhorn in this area are green.

Amazingly. after the cool weather we've had, we found this Buckhorn Cholla bursting forth with its beautiful colour on Thursday.

Friday, December 5, 2014


I got to ride three times this week.  On Monday, I took a small group who declined to go on the club ride and instead wanted to go to the Woodpecker Mine.  We had a great ride and they all got to see some new trails they had never been on.  On Tuesday, Blue had a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t be with us so that left Ray, Scotty and myself free to explore some more demanding trails.  We found several trails we’d never tried and had a good day.  Then on Wednesday, we had our couples ride and invited John and Mickey from the regular crowd to join us.   We wandered our way to the Coke Ovens which was a momentous trip for Aileen as she never thought she would actually get there.  She had seen them from afar, but it was too hard for her to walk to.  Many times she had seen my photos but with the purchase of the RZR, she was able to experience the thrill first hand.
Aileen got two pairs of new glasses a couple weeks ago and managed to kneel on one pair and destroyed them.  Amazingly, the company didn’t charge her anything to replace them.   We picked up the replacement today which we made into a half day outing to the big city.   We went to Sprout’s for some specialty grocery shopping and then lunch at 5 Guys Burgers.  We also stopped at a Home Depot and bought a shop vac to make clean up easier on the lots.

Yesterday we had one inch of rain overnight and before 11 am.  We really needed the rain as the desert has been very dry and dusty.   Since there was no riding, we went to Casa Grande and did some needed shopping.   I wanted a pair of shoes better suited to dancing as we have been enjoying going to dances in both parks here.   It is difficult to glide gracefully around the dance floor in hiking shoes.   After lots of looking, I finally found a pair and surprisingly, they were the cheapest at $29.

This was a new to me mine.  I walked a ways in but didn't have a flashlight so my only illumination was the brief burst of camera flash.  I've never seen a shaft completely lined like this one.  Next time I will be sure to take some lighting with me.  I had left the ATV back down the trail a bit as there was a rather difficult spot I wasn't attempting on my own.  Ray and Scotty had already retreated.

On Monday we played in one of the many washes (dry creek beds), Scotty taking his turn

Ray getting a bit of air

Scotty and Ray coming through the narrows.  The wider ATVs wouldn't fit through this spot.

Lunch on the way to the Coke Ovens

Gila River reflections on the back side of South Butte

The trail to the Coke Ovens goes through a Mesquite forest

Our couples group.  L-R John and Mickey, me and Aileen, Bud and Jackie and Norm and Cheri at the Coke Ovens.

Along the Gila River bank

Looking up the Gila River

Same spot as above but looking downriver on the back side of South Butte

A weak rainbow over South Butte.  We had a few spits of rain but not enough to get anything wet.  The river photos were directly behind the butte and the Coke Ovens are a few miles straight behind the butte.