Thursday, February 15, 2018

the week in review

We're experiencing a rare day in the desert.   Rain!     It's not unusual to have rain here in the monsoon season (summer time) but there isn't much precipitation in the winter.   It has been very dry with some fires beginning to show up in the hills south of us so this rain is very welcome.     It began to spit yesterday while we were at lunch (sonoran hot dogs) and running errands but started in earnest late in the day.   Rain all night and all day today.    Lewis is bored (and a bit damp).

He did have a fun day on Tuesday though.    We took him with us on a re-exploration of the area along Reddington Pass Road.    Last year we followed Jodee and Bill along this beautiful dirt road, but didn't take Lewis.   Then we only went as far as Race Track Tank before heading home, so Tuesday I had grand plans to drive it's unpaved length all the way to San Miguel.   Looked doable on the map so off we went.

sweet little nest

  We found the road conditions to have deteriorated since our last trip and it was slow going for the Jeep.   It took us about 3 hours to travel about 15 miles so we realized that we were not going to be able to finish the entire bad.

So instead we concentrated on enjoying what we were seeing, getting out for a few nice long walks with Lewis and some surprising wildlife sightings.

we ignored these warnings - don't judge.....

no signs warning us of huge bulls in the area however.....

my Merlin bird app tells me this is, once again, a Red Tail 

lots of birds taking advantage of this drying tank

a troop of 15 Coatimundi!!!!!!

feet off the ground speed!

So, in the spirit of giving you a picture of what we've been doing this week, in reverse, here is a picture of a lovely Happy Hour we enjoyed at MonaLiza and Steve's site last weekend....

Steve, MonaLiza, Mr. David, moi, Pam,
Laura, John and Kevin

Here's one more, we had such a pleasant time talking with old and new friends that Steve had to pull out the "fire pit" to chase away the night time chill.

Hope you all had a good Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

being watched

After spending a few days taking care of retail business and dealing with traffic we decided to take our lunch and our sweet Lewis and head off onto the back roads south of Tucson.

We traveled south on route 83 then turned off onto FR 92 aiming for the Gardner Canyon loop.    We drove through gentle hills of golden grasses, mesquite and scrub oak.    Because we move along slowly I noticed that there are many different kinds of grass that make up these yellow vistas.

We stopped for lunch under some tall trees.   Lewis enjoyed his bite of turkey and the chance to run around and stretch those long legs.

All along the way, we felt eyes on us. 

Lewis had a good time getting out, checking out all the new smells and leaving p mails for future visitors to read.

leaving a p mail for future passers by to read

sniffing cow smells on a water tank
(the stone ramp is for critters to get out if they fall in)

guys, guys, here I am, right over here, behind the tank, guys, guys!

We got to a  steep, narrow and washed out section of the road and decided to call it a day and return the way we came. 

Dave walked down to see what the road looked like up ahead -
can you see him coming back up?

For us, it's the journey not the destination so we enjoyed the rest of the ride back to the highway.

Once back on Rt. 83 we made one more stop before actually heading home.  We took a little time to check out the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and decided that it would be a great place to return and explore, another day (and not at 4 p.m. in the afternoon).    Next week perhaps, it's Empire Gulch area looks to be a good place to do some birding without noisy Lewis.

So after a lovely day without seeing another vehicle it was back to the Tucson traffic.    We hit the mother of all traffic jams on I-19 and we didn't arrive home until 7 p.m.     Sigh.

my kind of road

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


We're back in civilization.    Back in the land of trains, and sirens and lots of people.     We're happy to be here, Tucson has a lot going for it but I'm experiencing a bit of culture shock from the laid back atmosphere of Borrego Springs.

Our site is the one I picked last year when we were here.   It backs up to the electric storage area where we left Beluga when we drove the Jeep to Santa Fe for our lovely Christmas holiday.  These sites are relatively spacious and quiet (as quiet as city dwelling can be) and we've set up our sitting area toward the back of the site under a blossoming orange tree.   The fragrance is divine!

Lewis entertains us there at second cup.    He plays his favorite games, "Who Stole the Fish, or Where's my Ball, or The Rug Ate my Ball".    He makes us laugh.

He plays a variation of those games at Gramma Pamma's house, a few rows in front of us, whenever he can.   Life is good for Lewis.

So far we've been hitting the places we didn't have at Borrego Springs - CostCo, Trader Joes, World Market, Fry's, AJ's Fine Foods, etc (Retail Deprivation)   We watched the Super Bowl on the resort's provided cable tv.

Last night we had a really yummy seafood dinner at Mariscos Chihuahua with Pam, John, MonaLiza and Steve.    If you'd like to see a picture of actual people, ask MonaLiza (    She had the waiter take multiple shots of us!

The restaurant is one of a small chain in the area and it's walls are decorated with interesting, ocean themed murals.   I took no pictures of our meals.   We all enjoyed our shrimp choices, some of us ate everything provided, some took the leftovers home.   We ended the evening by sharing a delicious cinnamon scented Flan to celebrate MonaLiza's 60th birthday.

Today we took the Jeep for its regular oil change.   Don't ask how how we feel about Larry H. Miller's service department after our appointment.....Just don't ask!

That's all for now.....

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last days

Yesterday Dave played his last round of golf here until next year.   It was a pretty good round and we all had fun on the beautiful course. 

Dave and John played, Pam caddied and I drove the trolley and did a bit of bird watching.   I used my new App (Merlin Bird ID) to identify a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler (Audubon Warbler) in the trees near the tee at nine.

one of a group of bright Meadowlarks on two

Yellow Rumped Warbler (Audubon Warbler)

Afterward I went into "downtown" Borrego Springs to pick up one last Julian Pie for the road. (I have absolutely NO willpower)     We laugh every time we make a left out of one of the shops or stores there.   We look both way to make sure there isn't any traffic coming before we pull out.    This is what we see, every single time.    I love it!

Palm Canyon Drive - rush hour

Pam and John left today but, for some unknown reason, our month's stay ends tomorrow, so we spent the day bathing and clipping Lewis, doing a bit of financial business that I had been putting off and generally getting ready to move on in the morning.

the dog washing station is a new addition to the
dog park here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Rocks and slots and Lewis

Friday was a rock day.   We collected Pam and John and headed off on a new adventure.    Our plan was to drive through Canyon Sin Nombre  and then continue along to investigate the Mud Caves.

the sand wash below leads into Canyon Sin Nombre

We took lunches, plenty of water, maps and a book detailing the mileage and some waypoints to guide us.

The beginning of the canyon had one rocky spot to navigate through, but from then on the trail was basically sand.    It's walls were beautifully colored.

We walked back a small side canyon and found a nice place to have our lunch,   We did a bit of further exploration before continuing on through the canyon.

Our maps showed a clear connection to the Mud Caves via a combination of named washes.    Some of the washes had small markers giving their names, some did not.     Following other people's tire tracks usually helps you stay in the main washes, sometimes not.    Wind and precipitation patterns change the look of these washes and navigating is not as straightforward as you'd like.

one narrow spot required extra care to drive through

 What starts out looking like a pretty simple A to B drive turns out to include some unplanned detours.      "Does this look familiar to you?"   "Hmmmm"   "What direction are we going in now?   Is that the way we're supposed to be heading?"   "Isn't there supposed to be a side wash right here?  The map shows another wash right here!"      "No matter what, we don't want to head toward Diablo Drop Off and Broken Shaft matter what....."

watching another vehicle go down Diablo Drop Off
(Yep, the one we weren't supposed to go to!)

Luckily we always end up in the correct place, the place we were heading for, even with these little detours.   The only problem is that they eat up time and daylight and we never really get enough time to fully satisfy our curiosity!   We do see a lot of the countryside though....

We explored a few slot canyons and peered in some of the fabled mud caves before continuing along towards home.

Pam peers

look up Dave!

we found such interesting mud "rocks" in the small slot canyons

an interesting "street sign" atop a hill
(what's up with the crutches?)

Since you've suffered through all these rock pictures, here's one of our sweet Lewis, snoring away on the couch last night.....