Monday, January 25, 2016


We are heading over to Quartzsite Tuesday morning and will likely be there nearly three weeks.  The RZR is loaded on the trailer ready to be hooked on behind the motor home.  The car will stay behind and have a rest.  We went to our friends over in Florence Gardens this afternoon and picked some beautiful big oranges to take with us.
We  had a potluck supper last night with four Colorado couples.  One of them recently celebrated their 42nd anniversary.  That was a good enough excuse for a party.  We had to wait for the football game to end as they are all Denver fans.

One of the residents in Florence Gardens got rather creative using the skeletal framework from Cholla Cactus

I took this out the motor home window yesterday morning, looking down our street to the pool complex

Mitzy and I saw this Curved-bill Thrasher on our walk yesterday morning

Aileen drove us up to Mesa yesterday.  This is the 202 freeway crossing the Superstition Freeway (US 60) near Mesa

The west end of the 202 crossing.  I always enjoy seeing this dramatic section.

Still heading west, we took Exit 180

Main Street, Mesa, AZ in a quiet section

I enjoyed the shadows created by the picket fence at a historic house in Mesa

We had one steep little section on today's ride

Some of our great scenery where we ride

Saturday, January 23, 2016


We are finally getting some warmer weather.  The past two mornings have seen temperatures near 10C (50F) and I finally put shorts on this afternoon, the first time in many weeks.  Last year I wore shorts nearly all winter.   We've had quite a number of frosty mornings.
We had planned on heading over to Quartzsite this past Thursday but the club rides I am to lead over there got moved out a week so we didn't have to go quite yet.  The current plan is to depart Tuesday morning.  We hope to meet up with Jacquie and Jim over in Quartzsite although we haven't actually heard from them yet.  We do have a good idea of where they will be parked.
Aileen managed a really big win in one of our card games the other night with our Colorado friends.  I had thought I might have won but she got over 900 points in her last hand to blast by me by about 400 points.   Tomorrow we are having supper with four couples from Colorado.  Hopefully there will be a card game too.  

I liked the markings on this guy

This is Aileen dressed for the cold weather we rode in last week.  Yesterday, she was down to a light shirt for the afternoon's ride home.

Spotted this handsome fellow on our Thursday ride

Aileen spotted our first poppy of the year yesterday

Looking up the Martinez Mine Rd, one of our trails.

On Thursday we walked up to this dry waterfall.  I have seen photos of water cascading over here in the summer monsoons.

And a zoomed in shot.  That's me on the right.  I handed the camera to one of our guests on the Thursday ride and coached her through the process of getting these two shots.

We had twenty five machines on our Thursday ride.  Since mine is behind the lens, there should be twenty four in the photo

North and South Buttes, dominant landmarks east of Florence, AZ

This is a zoomed in shot between the Buttes

Our Thursday lunch was under the big old Salt Cedars along the Gila River

The next three were on yesterday's ride

The trail sneaking along the right side is the start of what we call the Big Spine

North and South Buttes from further north, on the road to Box Canyon

We bid farewell to Old Yeller this week.  It went to a new home in Casa Grande.  Surprisingly, I had three buyers lined up to give me my asking price which I had thought quite high given that it had 11, 160 miles on it.  I had put 7400 miles on it in the just over five years I owned it.  My shoulders have been bothering me so it usually hurt to drive the non power steering machine.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Yes the sun came back but with it are frosty mornings everyday this week.  We did get above 60F today and the wind finally died down also.  This is our car's windshield.  I took the photo from inside and the yellow is the sun shining on the park model across the street.  Don't forget to click on the image to enlarge it.

And this would be why we have such icy winds blowing.  This mountain is north of Phoenix and I took the photo from east of Florence on our Monday ride this week.

When it rains in this country, water will lay on the surface for days so I was able to get the reflection of this large Cholla Cactus 

A Red-Tailed Hawk on our Monday ride

A Harris's Hawk on our Tuesday ride 
Some of the country we ride through

Brian's getting a little air

We're getting fall colour in January along Price Rd.  Within a month there will be new green leaves covering the branches

The trunk of a venerable old Mesquite along one of the washes

I had the privilege of having two 86 year old riders out on Tuesday.  On the left is Blue , from Ohio, who is the reason there is a Tuesday ride; he started it several years ago so he could  get an extra day of riding in.  Two days a week wasn't enough then and he still rides three days unless he has an appointment.  On the right is Ken from Montana who is two months older than Blue having been born in July.  Ken still drives a semi hauling fertilizer Spring and Fall up in Montana.

We are making plans to go to Quartzsite some time this month.  Nothing firmed up yet but we intend to leave the car behind again and just tow the RZR behind the motor home.  Several of the club members are planning on joining us for a few days of riding again like we did last year.  No idea how long we will stay over in the Quartzsite area but it could be only two to three weeks this time.  I wasn't planning on taking in the RV show this year as it is pretty much the same old thing every year.  The second bloggerfest is happening on January 23 and I may try to attend that.  We went to the first blogger event last year by making a long day trip from Florence as we had already returned to Caliente and our lot.
One set of our card playing friends are sick so can't play with them but we did play a couple games with Ken and Marie last night.  They let me win both games.  I thought that was nice of them. 
I had a busy day on Tuesday.  I led the ATV ride then it was the ATV club potluck supper.  I snuck in with the first group called so I could leave early and attend my first camera club meeting down here over in Anthem, Merrill Ranch.  That was kind of fun to get together with some other photographers again.  I really miss that.  Today I got word of a new camera club hoping to form over in Coolidge next Tuesday night so I hope to make it to that.  I have been trying to get enough energy or something to drive up to Mesa or further to a camera club but it just seems to be too much effort.  I hope at least one of these clubs will work out for me.  And if you are wondering, no I didn't by a Powerball ticket.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


This was quite a week.  It started raining Monday morning and finally Friday night.  We received about two inches of rain which is quite a bit for here and the temperatures rarely made it above 10C (50F) all week.  In fact, we had a frost this morning.  While we are looking to have quite a bit of sunshine for the next week, the temperatures are forecast to peak at only 59F.  Many of you will be saying that sounds pretty good, but this is shaping up to be our coldest winter so far here in Arizona. Of course there was no ATV riding at all so it was a long week spent mostly inside.
We had friends Carol and Mitch over Wednesday evening and we taught them the card game 2500. Mitch won while I was a distant last.  Last night we played with Ken and Marie and Jim and Judy and I managed to finally squeak out a win in the second game.  Marie had won the first.
Aileen groomed Mitzy yesterday and while she was on a roll, clipped me as well.  Of course there was a lot more hair that came off Mitzy compared to me.  
The sparrow pictures were taken today after lunch when I took Mitzy for her second walk in the desert out behind the park and the Thrasher was on my bike ride later this afternoon.
We had a couple stop by the motor home this morning.  They are from Parksville and saw that our car came from Nanaimo, which is nearby.  Don and Nancy are in a large Class B van and will be here a couple months.  When he mentioned playing in the odd music jam, I told him my sister did that too and it turned out he and Wendy had played at some jams together.  He is also good friends with our friends in the park here, Richard and Judy.

I believe this is a Chipping Sparrow

This shot from my Canon SX50 was handheld and shot at the equivalent of 4688 mm 

Lots of citrus ready in the parks now with some people putting out baskets for us to help ourselves

Another portrait of a Curved-Bill Thrasher.  This one was in the front yard of a home in Florence Gardens and as I was taking this photo, straddling my bike in the middle of the street, a couple ladies started nattering at me as to what I thought I was doing.  When I was finished, I showed them one of the images on the camera screen which mollified them and left them telling each other what a fine shot it was.  They didn't know I overheard that, though.  This was shot at the equivalent of 2950 mm.

Friday, January 1, 2016


We are having a gorgeous New Year's Day.  We've had quite a spell of cool, frosty and cloudy weather so today is very appreciated.   I didn't ride with the ATV club this week but took Colorado friends out Tuesday and part of our couples group on Thursday.   On the Thursday ride, I invited 86 year old Blue from the club to join us as the regular group was going to where Blue can't ride.  Two others also joined us for a gentler ride.
We are joining our Colorado friends this afternoon for prime rib.  Aileen is contributing a fancy green bean dish.  There are to be ten of us for the mid-afternoon meal. 

Ever wonder how the Curved Bill Thrasher got its name? 

Old incinerator or something left over next door to our park from when it was a prisoner of war camp

Vern visiting from Colorado.  I took him and four of his friends out ATVing.  This is inside an abandoned mine shaft.

Rock Squirrel in Box Canyon Wash

Rest break in 7 Mile Wash

Mesquite flames up pretty well

This is how one of our ATV ladies does her brat

Phainopepla.  Very common in our riding area, their main food source here is Mistletoe berries.  They breed here in March-April then move on to wetter climes for a second breeding.

Our friend Richard J took this photo of Aileen and me last night at the Caliente New Year's dance

Dona K took this one of us at the table later on during the dance