Monday, December 25, 2017


Time is just flying by, the year is almost done already.  Best wishes to all for a joyful season and a Happy New Year.  Our turkey is in the electric roaster out in the shed and we will be sharing it with our good friends Ken and Marie and their neighbours, Dale and Martha.
On a sad note, our twenty year old Sophie took her departure the other day so the house (motorhome) is feeling a bit empty.  Fifteen year old Mitzy is still chugging along although she is having some bad days.
We have a sort of sunny morning and the temperature wasn't too far above freezing to start but it is supposed to get up to 72F (low 20sC) this afternoon.   We hope so as we plan to have our Christmas meal outside at 1 pm.  This has been a very windy winter so far.  Combined with scant rainfall the desert is extra dry.  The way its going, there won't be much for flowers in the spring before we leave to go north.

If you look closely on the right side, you might see Santa peeking out of the outhouse

I would title this "beauty in destruction".  There used to be a town over there but it got moved.  This is at Kelvin, AZ

Looking down Ocotillo, our street, Christmas Eve about an hour and a half after sunset.  Taken with the Canon 6D on a tripod.

Carolers serenading Aileen who is in the doorway of the motor home

Christmas Eve caroling

Some Caliente decorations

Out on the ATV  trails one day

Curved-bill Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird

House Sparrow in a Saguaro

Aileen made nearly eleven dozen chocolate peanut clusters to give to the neighbours and friends as part of our gifting.  They are always well received.

So nice to see roses blooming outside at this time of year 

We had our first Caliente Couples ride on Friday

Christmas Eve on Ocotillo with the Canon SX50 handheld 

This person from Saskatchewan had a great display in our neighbouring park

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Well, it has been a while again so time to send out some more photos for you to enjoy.   We don't seem to have any difficulty filling our days which are just whizzing by.  A week tomorrow and it will be Christmas, where did the year go?
Some of us are going out tomorrow to erect a memorial sign for our old friend Blue who passed last spring.  We'll put it on Dozer Hill where his ashes were spread last March.  It will be a shorter ride tomorrow as it is our ATV club Christmas potluck and I will be putting a big turkey in the roaster early then have to be home in time to take it out.
We've had quite a spell of very windy days so Aileen hasn't been riding her bike as much as she'd like.  Mitzy and I have been taking it to the dog run and its fine going but difficult riding back against the wind.  Last night, we finally got some much needed rain accompanied by much cooler temperatures.
We've had a few card games with Ken and Marie, usually accompanied by a pot luck supper.   In another month we should have another couple from Colorado in the park to join us in the games.  We'll be having Christmas dinner with Ken and Marie and probably their neighbours.  We have another turkey in the freezer for that occasion.

Taken from the driver's seat in the RZR, this Red-tailed Hawk was pretty curious about our group

Some of the bluffs along the Martinez Mine Road

Honey combs in the banks of a wash

This zoomed in shot shows the bees huddled in the cracks , I presume keeping warm.

A steep little spot

Quail behind the park

Female Gila Woodpecker

This hawk is on the top of an old Century Plant, a member of the agave family

We were fortunate to see some Javelinas the other day on our ride

A mutated Saguaro called a Crested Cactus.  They are reasonably rare and we know of only 12-14 in our whole area.  There is even a Crested Cactus Society of Arizona that monitors these cactus types.

Prickly Pear Cactus looking across to the Thumb

The above four are in Box Canyon

The little bluff along Price Rd by the diversion dam

A telephoto shot looking east from the last railway crossing on Price Rd

We saw a few sheep as we approached Box Canyon Friday

On our way home Friday this Red-tailed Hawk posed for us

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Some changes happening this year.  Our main ride leader has retired from that spot and it appears to be mine now.  I've been leading the Monday and Thursday club rides and making them a little more challenging than the Tuesday rides I led last year.  It is quite different not having Old Blue along to temper the difficulty.  On our first club ride, we went by Blue's memorial to pay our respects.
We went to the Florence Light up Parade last Friday evening and they put on a pretty respectable parade.  It lasted about forty minutes and there was a large appreciative audience lined up all along Main Street.
We have finally lost the extra hot weather we'd had since arriving October 31.  In fact yesterday was downright cool with our high of 13C (56F).  We even had a short shower about 9 pm last night which may have broken the 100 plus days without measurable  precipitation.  Depends if it was just localized or wide spread.  It wasn't even in our forecast.  We really need a lot more rain to knock the dust down and provide some moisture for the flowers to bloom in early spring.  At 2 pm today it is 22C (71F) with a cool breeze.
I have a ladder borrowed and hope to get our Christmas decorations up this afternoon.  We bought a big ham the other day and had a nice lunch Saturday with friends Ken and Marie and Richard and Judy, followed by cards.
There was some excitement in the park next door the other night when a double wide caught fire.  It seems the owners who weren't here yet were having some work done and maybe the contractor left something on or something else happened as it was nearly ten pm when the fire was noticed.  The carport and shed were totalled and the fire burned into the rear and side of the unit.  I imagine it is beyond repair as smoke was coming out all the roof vents.
I took the motor home to The Tire Factory in Coolidge for an oil change the other day and it only cost $41.30 which is over $100 cheaper than it cost me in BC.  So then I took the RZR over for it to be done yesterday.  I supplied the oil and filter and they charged me $10.  Last time I took it to a dealer, in Casa Grande they charged me $100 plus the oil and filter!

For a small town, it is amazing how many people come out to parades in Florence, AZ.  Parades are always held along the old historic Main Street.

Here's a blizzard Florence, AZ style!  I would bet that the vast majority of those attending have never experienced real snow.

These happy little girls were singing Christmas carols as they went along 
They sure know how to decorate their fire truck

Neat little buggy

Three of us went trail clearing last Friday.  Lots of new growth and some of these big old branches were getting too low to get under with the side by sides.  The vegetation is mostly Salt Cedars which are considered a weed species down here because they suck so much water.  Lots of thorny plants too like Mesquite.  This would be me, by the way, taken with my camera by friend Richard.

After the trail clearing we went up to the saddle to admire the view.  This is why I wanted to keep the trail open.  As you can see, it was a dark cloudy day.

If you look closely, you can see the railway trestle where it comes out of a tunnel

The Gila River is down in those trees

Looking to the south

Mitzy and I went for a walk out in the desert one evening and caught a bit of the sunset

Monday's ride was to the Reymert Mine which we call the Square Coke Ovens.  You can see the atvs off to the left.

Closer view

Starting to get a hint of fall colour.  There was actually a bit of running water under those trees.  Quite surprising since it has been over 100 days since measurable precipitation in this area.

A couple of Sharp-Shinned Hawks across the street from the motor home yesterday morning.

A tree of Doves with a Flicker taking the top spot

The Flicker