Thursday, November 24, 2011
HEADING WEST THIS MORNING ON HIGHWAY 86 WITH KITT PEAK AHEAD
How nice to not only step outside Thursday night under starry skies but to step outside in a warmer desert sky was a real treat. The sky was alive with stars and constellations. Spotted winter’s dominant constellation Orion rising in the East just above the large rock face behind our rig. Orion will travel high across the southern sky for the entire winter.
KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY AS SEEN THROUGH MY CAMERA LENS EARLY THIS MORNING
Parked just across from us was a fellow and his dog camped in their Class A Motorhome. His name was Mike and his little dog was Corky. Corky and the Pheebs got along famously and ran, jumped and played together this morning while we talked to Mike. Boon docking sites and information were exchanged and we now have a few more ideas.
MIKE AND CORKY’S HOUSE
CORKY, MIKE AND PHEEBS….CORKY
Almost 10 a.m. before got the big wheels rolling west along a familiar stretch of road. The Ajo Way highway heading west out of southern Tucson is a scenic drive. It’s a quiet mainly straight road running across the floor of the Sonoran desert ending at a T intersection in Why Arizona nearly a hundred miles away. The KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY is accessed from this highway.
CORKY PLANTS A SMOOCH ON PHEEBE’S NOSE
The highway slowly picks it’s way through Saguaro Cactus, Mesquite and Palo Verde trees, Cholla, Sotol, Desert Spoons, Prickly and Beaver Tail Cactus to mention just a few of the abundant green growing desert plant life. I particularly enjoy the mountain scenery ringing the horizon all way round. Highway 86 is a fairly straight and flat road for about two thirds of it’s way and is a nice quiet alternative heading west if your not in a big hurry and want to avoid going through Tucson along busy I-10.
EVEN LITTLE CORA GOT INTO THE ACTION THIS MORNING
But, a few cautions about this highway. It is a narrow ‘no mistakes’ road with no shoulders as you travel further west. If you drop a wheel off the pavement you are in some very big serious trouble. But, the challenge and excitement are there and the scenery is great. The road is guaranteed to keep you on your toes. At the western end maybe 20 miles east of Why Arizona the road also has enough tricky curves, dips and hollows in it for you to keep both hands on the steering wheel:))
HIGHWAY 86 HEADING WEST
Nice memories as we rolled past the road leading up to Kitt Peak. We were driving a truck and fifth wheel the day we pulled of the road at the base of the mountain that time. Unhooked the fifth wheel and I drove the truck up to see the Observatories. Great scenic and winding drive up and down that mountain. Kelly stayed with the 5th wheel digging up some cactus and gathering some rocks.
Our continuing drive west to Why today under cloudy skies was uneventful and it was nice to relive some more old memories as we passed by the Hickiwan Trails RV Park. Kelly and I did their blogsite for them about 3 years ago. I will always remember Hickiwan Trails for the many great morning desert walks we used to take. It was our first Snow Bird year on the road and Hickiwan Trails was the first RV Park we really stopped at and spent any time. Max, Checkers and the Motormouse were a little younger then and the two big guys really liked fanning out on either side of us exploring the flat desert floor ahead. I miss those two big guys.
We will slip back to Hickiwan Trails in the next few days and visit with Hickiwan Ray who looks after the Park. Nice personable fellow and easy to get along with. He has made this Park what it is today.
Highway 86 will also land you just a few short miles from Organ Pipe National Monument where you can take a very scenic 25 mile loop drive through the Ajo Mountain range. We have done that loop 3 times.
Eleven miles past Hickiwan Trails on the highway leading from Gila Bend to Lukeville on the Mexican border is the once booming town of Ajo Arizona. Not too much booming there anymore but it’s a quiet little place and home to a fair few Snow Birders. West of Ajo is a loop road called Darby Wells. This is a great scenic boon docking area that we stayed at for about week back in February of 2008. We knew it would be quiet here and easy for us to find a good spot this time of year. Gets busier after Christmas when the boon docking Snow Birds land in this area.
The Sonoran desert is thought of as the ‘green desert’ because of it’s wide diversity of vegetation and plant life. It is the greenest of all desert types and for that reason it is our favorite. This whole area is just another great scenic part of big beautiful Arizona.
TURNING WEST ONTO THE SOUTHERN END OF DARBY WELLS ROAD…THE MOUNTAIN AT TOP LEFT WAS MADE BY NATURE AND THE ONE ON RIGHT WAS MADE BY MAN.
Parked the rig at the side of dusty Darby Wells road and unhooked the Jeep. With laptop on board we Jeeped ourselves around the area looking at different spots among the tall cactus. Some roads are not much different than a couple wide hard packed tire tacks and we had to keep in mind the size and ease with which we could get the big rig down some of these little tire track roads. Every time we found a possible site Kelly checked the laptop for a Verizon connection. Only saw 4 other rigs scattered about and I should add that we did later get an acceptable Verizon connection and half a dozen clear TV channels. No cell phone.
JEEPING AROUND LOOKING FOR A SUITABLE BOON DOCKING SITE
Finally picked a spot not far from where we had parked the rig. Managed to get me some fresh desert pin stripping on the coach as I wiggled and squiggled it in and around some scratchy Mesquite shrubs and prickly Cholla cactus. Leveled it up near some towering Saguaro Cactus and that was it. Ocotillo’s, Organ Pipe Cactus and a variety of other desert shrubs are now back dropped by yet another new set of surrounding mountains. Love it when we can just change our surroundings any time we want. Our weather is a bit on the cold side with a slight breeze under cloudy skies but I am sure the big Arizona sun will find us shortly once it knows we are here:))
THAT’S AN ORGAN PIPE CACTUS IN OUR SIDE YARD:))
A Shout out to Renee and Dave up there in that Datil place in New Mexico. We plan to be in your area on our return journey in late winter or early Spring. It has been on our list for the past 3 years. Interested in the lay of the land and property values in your neighborhood:))
RV TRAVELS IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE joined our Blog Followers list a few days ago and we say welcome folks and thanks for climbing aboard.
HOPE THAT HEAVY OVERCAST BLOWS AWAY OVERNIGHT
GROANER’S CORNER:(( After spending nearly half a day enduring the long lines, surly clerks and insane regulations at the department of motor vehicles, a lady stops at a toy store to pick up a baseball bat as a gift for her son. Cash or charge, the clerk asks. Cash, she snaps. Then, apologizing for her rudeness, she explains I’ve spent the afternoon at the motor-vehicle bureau. I am way past sane. Shall I gift-wrap the bat the clerk asks sweetly, or are you going back there?
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Saturday, June 06, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
If you have a keen interest in photography you may see things a little differently than other people. FISHING ON MITRY LAKE.....YUMA, ARIZONA
I first noticed that years ago in the old 35mm film days when I developed an interest in photography. It didn't happen right away but after a few years I began to notice things that I had never paid much attention to before. I think it is just something that slowly works it's way into the subconscious mind. I became aware of colors & shapes & how they interacted with the environment. Maybe it's how an old fencepost leans into it's background or how the rusted color of an old hubcap stands out against the graying fender of an aging derelict car in an overgrown junk yard. Maybe it's big billowing cloud formations on a bright sunny day. Gathering storms take on a new beauty if you have a photographic eye. Bird formations overhead take on meaningful shapes & a cactus bloom backlit by the morning sun suddenly becomes an object of wonder. Long shadows stretch across landscapes as gentle winds ripple across resting ponds. It's a world of beauty we live in & we just have to open our eyes & minds to see. An interest in photography will greatly enhance that world for you. Let it become an unending source of inspiration as you scan the vistas around you in a subconscious or deliberate search for nature's bounties. AJO MOUNTAIN RANGE....ORGAN PIPE CACTUS NATIONAL MONUMENT, ARIZONA
Some folks are able to take their photographic skills to a higher level than the rest of us & a fellow comes to mind that we met 2 years ago while boondocking near Why, Arizona. He is one of those dedicated photographers who is up before the sun most mornings & out there in the landscape with his equipment & photographic eye waiting for those first sleepy shades of sunlight to spill soft hues of pastel colors into the morning shadows. His name is Gordon Wolford & you can find his fine photographer's eye here.......... http://www.pbase.com/merriwolf/root Gordon also has his own website at....http://www.gordonwolford.com/home.htm & Gordon's wife Sandra chronicles their daily RV adventures here...... http://srmerrikinblog.blogspot.com/
GRAND CANYON'S NORTH RIM.....ARIZONA
Well, better go charge up my cameras because I'm off to Grand Bend to-morrow with the mobility van & while I have a 2 hour stop-over there maybe I can take my photographer's eye down to the new beach complex they are constructing & see what I can find...............................:))IN THE DEVIL'S GARDEN AT ARCHES NATIONAL PARK.......MOAB, UTAH
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Saturday, February 02, 2008
Another beautiful Arizona morning. Walked to a rocky ridge just east of the park, climbed up to the top & built an Inukshuk there. Kelly & the doggies waited at the bottom. A lot of loose rocks so it was a little tricky coming down. It's generally always harder coming down from a climb than going up. We were to find that out later in the day.
We headed off to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park around 11 & turned left off the highway opposite the visitor center. This is the 21 mile loop drive through the Ajo mountain range & what a beautiful drive it is. We made this drive back in December & I was glad to be back here amongst the endless Saguaro cactus in the Ajo mountains. I think this is one of my favorite places. There are 2 hiking trails on the loop so we decided to stop at the first one which is, the Arch. Sign says the trail goes for three quarters of a mile & then gets steep. This is a beautiful valley with awesome mountains. http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy The walking is reasonably easy along a narrow rocky path with lots of plant life along the way. Thousands of organ pipe cactus dot the mountain slopes bottom to top. At the three quarters of a mile spot a sign warns of the steep rocky climb ahead. We went another quarter of a mile & decided to take a break before heading back. The path ahead looked pretty rocky & steep in parts & we didn't know how much farther up the mountain it went. I would have liked to keep going but sometimes you just have to understand your aging limitations & make wise decisions. Nuts!! Oh, to be 40 again:)) In this kind of land it's frequently hard to comprehend the awesome beauty surrounding us, & this was one of those places. Words just fail me & it's impossible for photos to do justice to the canyon. Couldn't help but think of the long circumstances of difficulties over the years that finally made this whole journey possible for us.
Coming down a rough stretch of rocks is always far more difficult than going up so I went ahead of Kelly & took some pictures of her making her way carefully down the quarter mile stretch we had climbed up earlier. http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy Nice to get back to the car & sit in the soft cushy seats. We hadn't done a hike like that since our Ghost Mountain hike in California about a month ago. These kinds of medium difficulty hikes are my favorite thing to do. So great to feel the exercise in the legs. So great to see scenery that you have never seen before. So great to experience the "WOW" factor over & over. Just soooooo great to be in the American southwest......"WOW!!!!!!!"
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I had no sooner re-set up the satellite dish last night figuring the big winds had died down, when they returned. And they brought reinforcements this time...rain!! I agonized whether to go out & take the dish down again but finally trusted to the way I had it anchored down. Try as they may for a couple more hours, the winds finally gave up trying to knock down our satellite dish & packed up it's rain & went home. When we fired up the computer this morning everything was still hooked up & working fine. Chalk one up for AL for a change:))
According to the weatherman we were anticipating a cloudy day so were happy when the heavy cloud cover broke early. The air temperature had dropped after the wind & rain storm so it was nice to feel the warm sun breaking through & taking a bite out of the cooler air. Took a drive up the road & browsed a few garage sales & a flea market in Why.
The American Air Force must have the week-end off because there hasn't been any jets overhead to-day. Just the border patrol Blackhawk helicopter buzzing around.
Back from Why for a short siesta & then we headed off for, Organ Pipe National Monument. This is a very large biosphere stretching for many miles right down to the Mexican border. There are 2 scenic drives here & to-day we decided to take the shorter Ajo Mountain Range one. Took us nearly 3 hours to complete the 25 mile loop because I was stopping & taking so many pictures. This is an absolutely beautiful drive that I would recommend to anyone. Roads are mainly gravel with a few rough spots here & there plus some nicely paved stretches. It's a one way road so you don't have to worry about meeting oncoming traffic & there are signs at the beginning saying not to take vehicles over 25 feet in length. If it was all paved it would be a totally beautiful motorcycle run. Took about a hundred & twenty pictures but managed to edit that down to somewhere under a hundred.......http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy
We couldn't help but remark again to-day how truly fortunate we are to be seeing & experiencing all these beautiful things. This truly is a beautiful planet.............