Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Some of us Canadians do a little double dipping when it comes to Thanksgiving.  North of the border, we celebrate it in early October.  We will be cooking a nice gluten free turkey first thing tomorrow morning and will take it to our friends, Jim's and Judy's, in Florence Gardens an adjoining park. There will be nine of us there for a late lunch.  Aileen is also doing gravy, Brussels's sprouts and dessert.  The others are all bringing food too so we will not go hungry!  
I led a small group of six machines on both Monday and Tuesday this week.  Aileen came along on the Tuesday ride and enjoyed her day.  That was her first time riding with the main group and specially with Blue.

There was a pretty good sunset here tonight and I was out with my SX50 while my supper got cold on the table.   Later after nearly full dark, I took my 6D out and took a few handheld shots.  This was at 1/20 second and was possible because this camera will auto focus in extremely low light.  The SX50 would not have handled this image.

I thought this group of saguaros looked neat erupting 

Here's 86 year old Blue enjoying yet another ride in the desert

We managed to find one saguaro blooming on our Monday ride.  We passed by thousands of other cactus and not a bloom to be seen.  I took the Tuesday group back to the same saguaro and again there was one lonely bloom, but on a different arm.

I've been seeing lots of roadrunners this year so far but none have stopped for a photo.  This guy crossed in front of me then stopped behind a bush.  By standing up on the ATV seat, I was able to shoot over the bush and catch this image.

This was a new species for me.  He is a Zone-Tailed Hawk.

Today being cloudy and fairly good light for flower photography, I took my bike and rode around much of Florence Garden Mobile Home Park to see what I could find.  These small flowers were on top of a tall cactus.  Since the sky was so crummy looking, I blacked it out to better show the blossoms.  I didn't spot the bee until I was looking at it on the computer screen.

Cactus fruit from last summer's bloom

This one was about head high so I was able to actually do a macro shot nice and close up

Saturday, November 21, 2015


My computer arrived on Thursday this week and after being without it for twenty nine days, I was quite behind in many things.  I did get most of my photo editing caught up already and have sent out several emails with photos to my ATV friends.   
We were saddened to hear the news this morning that our daughter-in-law's father had passed away in the night while in the cardiac unit in Victoria, BC.
We've had three card game evenings so far this season here in the park.  We took the turkey out of the freezer this morning and will be cooking it for several of our friends for the American Thanksgiving which is November 26.  We already have turkeys in the freezer for the ATV December potluck and for Christmas with friends here in the park.  This will be our first Christmas in the park in several years rather than being out in the desert near Quartzsite.

Sacred Datura also called Angel Trumpet

My friend Donna pointed this flowering Barrel Cactus out as we were on one of my first rides 

These wild bees nest in cavities in the cliffs in some of the washes.  These were taken from 35-40 feet away with my little Canon SX50 at 1200mm then 200X digital zoom on a tripod with image stabilizing turned off.  When digital cameras first came out, I used to scorn people for using the digital zoom but boy have they improved!

This butterfly image was taken from behind the wheel of our RZR side by side at about 20 feet handheld

One day last week, Aileen and I went to Queen Creek shopping and drove through a couple of heavy showers.  This is after we drove out of the rain in a locality known as Little Mexico

A little further down the road we noticed this neat phenomena which I believe it called a Fire Rainbow also called an Iridescent Cloud.  That little bit of mountain visible in the lower left is Superstition Mtn east of Phoenix.

On our ATV ride Thursday, I was crawling around in the rocks above our lunch spot at the base of Grayback Mtn when I spotted this Desert Tortoise.  He remained totally motionless except for a couple of eye blinks

On the hillside across the wash from the tortoise, I found this beautiful flower with the not so beautiful name of Prairie Spiderwort

This Red Tailed Hawk posed on a power pole on our way home from the ride Aileen and I led yesterday

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


There has been some concern because I haven't posted a blog in about three weeks.  Aileen and I are fine.  The problem is my computer.  It suddenly died on me on October 23 and I am still without it.  I had taken it to the Geek Squad in Grand Junction but they declined to work on it as it wasn't a plain regular old laptop.  I would have thought most parts to be interchangeable.  I contacted the store in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island who built it for me hoping they could find me a repair facility in the Phoenix area.     What they came up with was his supplier in Fremont, CA so I sent it to them from Grand Junction, CO before we left there.  I finally heard that it was a burnt chip on the mother board. After not hearing anything or seeing a charge on my Visa by six days after faxing them the number, I called and got them moving.  Then I got another email telling me my 8 GB ram is not working and needs to be replaced.  OK, share my Visa number again and now I wait some more.  I am able to make this post from Aileen's tired old laptop but  don't have the ability to edit photos.  I am scratching my head trying to come up with what steps to take to prevent myself from being without a working computer for my hobbies in the future.
We had a great time visiting our friends in the Grand Junction area and stayed there two weeks and two days.  There were lots of card games, meals out, meals in and even a couple road trips.  The best one was when four couples of us took two cars and went looking for the wild horses up in the high country.  Our guide, Ken, finally came through and we got to see some nice looking horses. Lots of great scenery too!   When I get my computer back, I will begin catching up with my photos.
We arrived at our winter digs in Caliente on October 30 and we have been busy getting back in the groove.  The last night on our way down from Colorado we were going to stay in Flagstaff, AZ but the snow was about 500 feet above us as we came over the last pass, it was 4C and it was raining hard.  Since Flagstaff is about 7,000 feet elevation, we decided to continue on down the hill toward Florence and stayed in Camp Verde at about 3,800 feet.  Good thing as Flagstaff got five inches of snow that night.
I've been out riding several times already and we attended our first ATV potluck last night.  Aileen put on a nice party here for my birthday on the fourth with a bunch of the neighbours over. We had cooked a nice big ham and there was lots of good food prepared by Aileen and brought by others. Tomorrow night Aileen is putting on supper for friends Ken and Marie and their friend Robbie as it is Marie's birthday.  We will be having a card game afterward.  Today when we went grocery shopping, I bought a 20 lb gluten free turkey for the ATV December potluck which we will prepare and we also bought a 19 lb one that we will cook for the US Thanksgiving on November 26.  We will be sharing it with several Colorado friends.
We have pretty much decided to stay here in Caliente for Christmas this year.  Jacquie and Jim are staying home this year continuing to work on their house.  When they come down to Quartzsite in January, we will probably head over there for a while.  My ATV group is already wondering if I would lead some rides over near Quartzsite again, so we'll have to wait and see.
Thanks for sharing your concerns about the lack of blog posts and I hope to get back to it soon.  Just can't live and function without these darned computers anymore!