Thursday, December 24, 2015


Here it is Christmas Eve and we've had a quiet day.  Aileen got rained on while on her morning walk but it turned out to be a pretty decent day.  we are mostly cloudy for the next week according to the forecast and it is supposed to cool off.  We are joining four other couples tomorrow for turkey dinner. Aileen and I are cooking the turkey and more and the others will be bringing lots more food.  There will be lots of leftovers, I'm sure.  For those celebrating Christmas, enjoy.

Don't forget to click on the image to enlarge!

Our Monday ride this week took us up the Martinez Mine Rd.  We drive by these incredible cliffs.

Since the government has gated off the mine, preventing vehicle access, we only go as far as these old corrals where we have our lunch.  I climbed up a rock bluff to get some photos.

An overview of the corrals and surrounding area.

Earlier in the morning, as we approached Box Canyon, we we able to watch some Desert Bighorn Sheep playing on the hillside.  These photos were taken at least half a mile away.  It was difficult to see what was happening with the naked eye. 

The whole group appeared to be rams

As I mentioned, butting heads

The big guy on the right was a quick winner and the other one bounded away

As the sixteen ATVs headed into Box Canyon, I spotted this ewe about 200 yards way,  I was at the rear of the group and was the only one to spot this one that was right out in the open.  She was on the other side of the canyon from the rams.

After lunch, I joined the main group who took some more technical trails ,while three others took an easier route home.  This is on the Top of the World Trail.

On Blue's Tuesday ride which I led, the weather scared most people away so we only had five machines out.  This is a distant shot to the southwest looking beyond Casa Grande. 

Aileen took this photo so I could be in one for a change.  Blue on his machine is from Ohio, then Dale from Ontario, Steve and Linda from Saskatchewan and me on my knees.  Rick from Michigan had already cooked his wiener and was at his machine eating.

As we were heading homeward, we were fortunate to see a large group of Javelinas.  By walking up onto a low ridge, I was able to get a couple shots as they disappeared.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Hi to Roseann in Salmon Arm.  She sends Mitzy's new dog tag to us every year and enjoys reading our blog.   We're having one of the colder winters that we've experienced down here so far.  It has been windier as well.  Just mentioning the fact, not complaining!   We've had a couple more big card games with friends.  Yesterday, one member from each couple won a game and Aileen was our winner.  She went from last to first place in the last hand!  That was quite a surprise to all of us.
Our new neighbours from Saskatchewan, Steve and Linda, have been out riding a couple times with us but their UTV wouldn't start for the Friday ride.  We tried several things trying to get it to go but weren't successful.  Yesterday, I used our RZR to winch it onto our trailer and we hauled it to the dealer in Casa Grande for them to diagnose.
We bought an all in one Epson XP-830 printer the other day to replace the big old Canon that I've had for about ten years, I'm guessing.   I don't know if it is worth trying to fix it at this point.  It started printing everything magenta and the more I tried, the worse it got.
We are staying put here in the park for Christmas this year for the first time in several years.   We just took a turkey out of a friend's freezer a few minutes ago that we will cook on Christmas Day.  We are getting together with our Colorado friends and there should be at least five couples of us to share in the eating.

This Cactus Wren had a bath in our slideout awning and he hasn't dried completely yet.

We've had some rainy weather and some of the clouds were quite interesting

Fast approaching rain

Can you see the bare bum in these clouds?

That is a band of rain along the bottom of the clouds.  It caught me before I got back to the motorhome.  This is out behind the park.

After the rain, we had several days with a few degrees of frost.  This is the seat on an ATV that was parked where we gather for our rides.

It isn't too often that I get in the picture when we do stuff like this.  I'm usually behind the camera but this time I got my friend Dave to take some of me.

Here's a really distant shot of the Cochran Coke Ovens.  This area has been gated off so we can't go there anymore.  I'm guessing some idiots caused some problems for the rancher who controls the area so we all have to suffer.

This is a Pencil Cholla, also known as a Christmas Cholla as it has these nice fruits this time of year. 

On our trip to the Cochran area on Friday, I took some images with my full  frame Canon 6D to better show the great scenery we ride through.  

This shows South Butte on the left and North Butte on the right.  The Gila River flows between them.  Florence and home is way beyond them and hidden behind South Butte.

The Gila River is at the base of those cliffs where you see the gray band of brush

Saturday, December 12, 2015


On our Thursday ride this week, 21 machines went over the mountain to Superior for lunch.  These are the ladies who accompanied us.   It was about 35 rough miles getting to Superior so we came home an alternate route that while longer at around 45 miles, was actually faster.

As it was a long ride there wasn't any real opportunity for photo stops but I did make this one.  Short as my stop was, I didn't catch up to the others until the next rest stop far down the trail.  At least there wasn't any dust in my face. 

That is the little town of Superior, AZ way down there

All but four or five were side by sides on this trip.  Ours is third one in from this end.

On our Friday couples ride yesterday, we managed to spot some sheep.  This is the first time this season I have seen them.  They seemed to be mostly rams.  These were barely visible to the naked eye and were difficult to shoot as the light was low and it was hard to hold the camera steady enough.

There was a 10% chance of showers on Friday and here it comes.  We actually got a few spits before lunch was over but none while we were riding.

In addition to our regulars, Norm and Cheri and Bud and Jackie, we had a brand new couple out on their first ride through Box Canyon.  Steve and Linda are from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  I went with them a couple weeks ago and helped them purchase a used side by side.  They had done some practice riding out behind the park but got to do some more serious riding with us.  They were a little nervous going up the big hills and getting some elevation, being flat land people but by the end of the day everything was cool.

Not only did Steve and Linda see sheep on their very first ride, they got to see a Javelina as well.  This was taken as it was moving off the trail away from us.  Again in low light conditions so way too slow a shutter speed.

Some of us went into the mine shaft above where we had lunch.  That's Linda in the gunfighter pose.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


It is hard to believe that we are already well into December.  We are cooking a turkey today for our ATV club Christmas potluck tonight.  Two other turkeys and a ham are also being cooked by other members.  We've been having a run of nice weather again but our high for Saturday is forecast to be only 57F.  Its a tough life but somebody has to do it.  
This seems to be the winter for things breaking for me.  Now my big printer appears to have gone kaput.  It wants to impart a magenta cast on all my prints.  I have tried everything I can think of but it just keeps getting worse.  I even tried to find something on YouTube but nothing came up that matched my issue.
Solar power is becoming very popular here in AZ.  There are two very large complexes under construction within five miles of here and many houses also have roofs covered in panels that they are able to sell the excess power to the power company.  We already had a large solar farm a few miles north of us.

Since we made the decision to stay in the park over Christmas, I thought I would do some decorating.  Jacquie gave us this angel when they sold their lot.

We get a lot of nice sunrises and sunsets here in AZ.  This was yesterday morning.  Venus, I believe, is very close to the moon.  Click on the picture to enlarge.

I managed to capture a few images of this Northern Cardinal while on our ATV ride the other day.  Aileen spotted it while we were crawling up a rocky trail. 

We visited the petroglyphs in Cottonwood Wash the other day on our ride.  Here is a portrayal of a lady from long ago.

While the others were content to stay up on the trail, Aileen went down for a closer look.

On yesterday's ride, this Red Tailed Hawk let us drive past within about sixty feet without flying.  I even stopped for these two photos with four other ATVs bunched up with me.

What are you looking at??