Sunday, October 22, 2023

Life goes on

a totally gratuitous picture of you know who


The weather has been unusually hot for this time of year.      Dave has been walking early in the morning to avoid frying.    A few mornings a week he helps Steve work on his TransAm before the temps in the garage become unbearable.   Wiring is the puzzle du jour......

nightmare for the colorblind....

I've been doing nothing of any interest to anyone.    Reading, getting caught up on household things, reacquainting myself with this finicky oven, watering things, watching birds, you know, life things.     Those of you who know me well, know that when I have time on my hands, I start thinking....and perhaps planning a trip or two.....As a result, November will find us traveling to a few familiar and fun places nearby.    Just a couple days, just a couple weeks.    Nothing like our last odyssey across the country but pleasant nonetheless.

A few weeks ago Dave and I, together with Steve and MonaLiza, attended the Sunset Symphony held at nearby Wickenburg Ranch.    The event was a benefit for the Wickenburg Humane Society, so we were more than happy to make our contribution.   

For that contribution we were treated to a concert by the West Valley Symphony's string section playing a selection of short pieces as the sun set over the mountains.    We each received a "goodie" bag filled with all we'd need to enhance our experience - a small and colorful flashlight, little bottles of wine and boxes filled with charcuterie, cheeses, olives, fruit and chocolates.   

see them?

ML giggles at her salami rose-laughter is contagious!

one of the recipients 

It was a delightful evening.    We arrived early and sat outside, enjoying the warm evening and friendship.    Dave and I were little piggies, we ate/drank everything in our gift bags.   Steve and MonaLiza's strategy was to drink their wines but save half the charcuterie for later.   They're so polite.

 It turned out to be a bad decision for them.  When the evening ended, we folded up our chairs and started to stroll back to the Jeep.   MonaLiza jumped and yipped and shone her little green flashlight onto the gift bag at her feet..... it was covered in ants.    Yep, those same tiny black stinging ants that seem to love me.    She quickly tried to save what she could but, in the end her entire bag went into the garbage can.     As ours was empty, they saw no reason to swarm it, but since I was standing close by, they sampled my big toe.    Thank goodness I keep a supply of  "After Bite" at home!

   Next week is filled with annual Dr./Dentist appointments and a new cactus arrives for the back yard.     Perhaps the weather is cooling down also.     That's all I've got for now!

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Before Wickenburg - catch up

 This year we decided to take a different route from Spokane back to Wickenburg.  I wrote about some of the things that we saw and did on that route in a previous blog, here is the rest.....

After Wells, Nevada we continued south on rt. 93 into another small rural town, Ely where we stayed at the Valley View RV Park.     Our site was beautiful, backed into a grove of HUGE trees and looking out at the distant mountains.    The back section of the park, however, was a little run down and....sort of scary.   It served our purpose, though, and I had a delightful conversation with the woman in the office.    She suggested, since we only had one day in the area, that we take lunch and drive up the nearby Success Scenic Loop.      We were so glad we took her advice.    It was a beautiful drive on a well maintained gravel road that began at 7500 ft. and climbed up into the Schell Creek Mountain range.  

The weather was threatening, as it seemed to be on every single off-road drive we took in Nevada this trip, but we found shelter from a brief rain/wind event in a deep grove of Aspen.     We're glad we brought our lunch, this was a perfect spot (inside Rocky, of course).


Once again, we enjoyed our turkey sandwiches in a beautiful, quiet spot that needed no reservations.     We were surrounded by hundreds of arborglyphs of varying age and creativity.  


We had the entire road to ourselves, although we did see one camper in the distance....can you see them?

The road took us through miles of blindingly white Aspen, beside racing little streams and huge views.

And even a few late blooming patches of flowers and interesting remnants of flowers....

The loop ended about 40 miles from where we started in the small mining town of McGill.    We had no time to explore it but perhaps next time?

From Ely we drove south once more on rt.93 to the next town of any size, Caliente.

Once again, the campground was nothing to write home about but, after walking the grounds, we found a site to our liking and settled in for a day of exploring.

We headed into Rainbow Canyon on a paved road, stopping briefly at pretty little Kershaw-Ryan State Park.    Once again, we were the only ones there.   I love it!

Actually, I lied.  There was one man at the park, repainting NO PARKING signs along part of the roadway.    He smiled pleasantly as we drove through one of the recently painted areas and left white tire tracks behind us....sorry.    The scenery was just so beautiful....

fall was just beginning to paint

We did get out and walk around the beautifully landscaped park.   It seemed to have some nice trails also, but it was SO HOT that they didn't look inviting.   We even took refuge under a huge tree covered with vines (until bugs started raining down on us),  Ah well.... 

oh Dave

We left the little park, and continued along our way further into Rainbow Canyon, leaving telltale tire tracks trailing behind.

The drive was phenomenal.   We followed the path of huge, violently green Cottonwoods trees that lined Meadow Valley Wash.    A train track ran along the entire way, crossing from one side of the road to the other.    Not a train in sight, however.

 We stopped for lunch beside the Wash, we always enjoy the sound of rushing water and silence....yes, silence has a sound!

sheer walls looked perfect for climbing

This was not a loop drive so we returned the same way we came, continuing to enjoy the views.      We did see a sad but very interesting (to us, that is...) thing on the way home.

It appeared that a juvenile Great Horned Owl had gotten caught in a barbed wire fence on a nighttime hunting expedition.    It was long dead but made us very sad to see such a majestic creature in such a situation.      Interesting to us, in that we could examine it very closely.     We touched the beak and talons, looked closely at the leading edge of its flight feathers, touched the down along it's chest - not something that most people get to do.    The beak and talons were razor sharp; mice beware!    We took a feather to remember it by and drove away.

Our next, and last stop before Wickenburg, was Boulder City, Nevada.   We got a nice spot at the Elks Lodge and had a couple days to visit with dear friends Pam and John before they left on an adventure of their own.

site 4

Food, Friends, Familiar and Favorite places.....our last stop!   We hadn't seen them since February, so we were busy talking and eating and catching up, that's why there are no pictures. 

One day we went to a new to us place, recommended by Pam.    I'm a sucker for good ice cream and if it comes at the end of an interesting drive, all the better.    Our destination was in Tecopa, California - The China Ranch Date Farm.
Date milk shake - here we come! 

The drive took us through the stark Mohave Desert near the southern end of Death Valley.

Lunch this day was not in a riparian setting, as you might have guessed.  

The Date ranch turn off was not what we expected.   It wound off the paved road down and into a moon scape.   Pam said there was a date farm ahead, she showed pictures.   

it begins to look promising....

She was right!    A sweet little bakery and date shop sat at the end of the dusty road and....they had date shakes!

I took no pictures inside, my picture taking hand was wrapped around a delicious, cold date shake.      We came home with a couple of highly recommended date/nut muffins also.   Don't judge.

I'm always taken by the difference access to water makes in a landscape.   One side of the road, above, gets water, the other doesn't.

The rest of our time in Boulder City was spent revisiting some the favorite places we could see from the Jeep, on a paved road.    Pam reminded me of how dangerous it could be to explore off road in the 100+ degree temperatures they were experiencing.  

Some pretty nice sights through the windshield.      We were, once again, surprised by how low Lake Mead has gotten.

At one point  our GPS showed me that we were well underwater when my windshield view showed we clearly were NOT.    

I'd hate to pull our boat out on this ramp!

That's not to say there isn't any water in the lake.   In places you could think that it wasn't a problem at all.    Until you realize how far away from the original shoreline you are standing.

After saying goodbye to Boulder City we took a different route from Boulder City to Wickenburg, to avoid construction.    It took us through Lake Havasu City and along the Colorado River.  


 We had planned on stopping for a few days at the lakeside State Park, but the temps. once again foiled our plans.   Perhaps we'll go back in December to watch the Boat Parade, hmmmmm.

So, now you're all caught up.    We're here in Wickenburg and enjoying what our stationary life has to offer, but Beluga is all serviced and ready for our next adventure!

Sunday, October 1, 2023

October already!

   Beluga pulled into her cozy winter home in Wickenburg almost two weeks ago.   She deserves a good rest after carrying us comfortably over 8500 miles on our Food, Family, Friends and Familiar Places tour that began last April. 

Our newest family member says "YAY", gramma and grandpa are home safe!

We (Dave) have taken care of a few jobs that crop up when leaving a house in the desert empty for months, but we've also managed to have some fun times with good friends.    


We helped Steve and MonaLiza celebrate their wedding anniversary, shared dinner at a new Food Truck Park in town, witnessed a mass bat departure from under the rt. 60 bridge, met a couple of rescued owls and raptors from the Wild at Heart Wildlife Rehab, Rescue and Relocation group and drove up to the T Bird Cafe in tiny Peeples Valley for some of the best pizza around. 


bats, millions of bats!

she wanted me to do a profile shot....

eye contact.....

waiting for pizza beneath the 100 + year old Pecan tree

You'll notice there is no picture of us from the Food Truck isn't because I forgot (well maybe), it isn't because the food wasn't good (it was good), it isn't because the weather was inclement (blue sky, sunshine, warm-not too hot) and it wasn't because we didn't enjoy the company (well, maybe not all the company).   There were millions of tiny ants on one end of our table.    I have a bad history with those little stinging devils.   When we first got back, I was moving a potted plant in the yard and received several ant bites for my trouble.   I must be extra sensitive because my thumb blew up to twice it's size and the bites filled with yucky clear liquid.   And ITCHED!!!!  So, you'll see why I didn't remember to take a picture of us at the Food Truck park table....I was busy crushing ants before they got too near.    Also, there were these folks in front of us, hogging all the attention - this is Wickenburg.

If you look closely, you'll see Steve and a slice of MonaLiza sitting at the picnic table behind one of the gentlemen, on the left of the picture.  

The weather was still pretty hot when we first arrived, but it has settled into more fall like (desert fall, that is) temperatures and we're really loving the back yard, our bird friends, the blue skies and those beautiful southwest sunsets.

I know, I've completely skipped our time between Wells, Nevada and Wickenburg. 

  I'll catch you up in another blog soon.    It's just too lovely outside and my book is calling.