Friday, February 27, 2015

Montana Friends

The yellow jeep headed out of North Ranch about 10:30 Friday morning headed for the airport over in Mesa—Gateway to retrieve some friends looking for sunshine and warmth—Terry and Jill.  The cowboy and I were married in Terry and Jill’s house almost 21 years ago and we’ve had many, many good times together—it’s a pleasure to have them come join us in our winter travels. 

DSCN0369After Allegiant Airlines finally decided to off load baggage we headed for Scottsdale and a soon to be gone iconic spot—Greasewood Flats—an outdoor, quirky, legendary Scottsdale spot.  The heirs of the founder of Greasewood Flats were forced to sell the property last year to pay estate taxes and other expenses of the estate—43 acres of Scottsdale sold for $8 million!!!!  Still searching for a new spot to house the restaurant and bar the heirs are finding that type of property difficult to locate! 

DSCN0371DSCN0373DSCN0380You can take the cowboys out of Montana……..

After our delicious hamburgers we headed back out to North Ranch retrieving Emmi from Larry and Geri.  When we drove up Emmi was sitting in Larry’s lap helping him have happy hour!  Jill and Terry are staying in a little park model just up the street from us and after getting settled we walked around the park.  Before they headed off to their little abode for the night we enjoyed a happy hour of our own as none of us was hungry for dinner after those huge hamburgers!!

The weather may or may not deteriorate—depends on which weather forecast you read—we will hope for the best for our Montana friends!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Get Philosophical

Not really—Nina writes such beautiful philosophical blogs but I’m afraid that’s beyond my writing capabilities—I write as I see it, as my day goes.  But today I discovered something—saguaros make me happy, those majestic skyward reaching cactus, especially when you are in a virtual forest of saguaros—feed my soul as Nina would say!  I feel peaceful and the smile won’t leave my face.IMG_1133IMG_1134

Larry and Geri suggested to the gang we go over south of Wickenburg and ride out behind Vulture Peak.  We left North Ranch just after 9am and trailered ATVs to the Wickenburg city park.  Nancy and Fred, Tom and Sandy plus Dell and his friend Terry joined us for a perfect ATV riding day, not too hot, not too cold!!!

IMG_1122Fred and NancyIMG_1124Geri thinking about taking a siesta again!

IMG_1120Geri and LarryIMG_1128

Larry and Geri were the only ones who had ridden in this area and it had been a couple years since they had been on these trails—we did just a touch of back tracking but I would say their memories were quite good or their GPS was right on track?? Smile

Some of the riding was a touch challenging—made even more challenging by our leader Geri stopping right in front of me in the middle of a tough spot to take a photo of ME riding across the tough area—I might or might not have told her to “move it” in no uncertain terms!!!  SmileSmile

IMG_1131IMG_1142And our leader Geri pointed out a Jojoba plant----

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“Jojoba is grown for the liquid wax (commonly called jojoba oil) in its seeds. This oil is rare in that it's an extremely long (C36–C46) straight-chain wax ester and not a triglyceride, making jojoba and its derivative jojoba esters more similar to human sebum and whale oil than to traditional vegetable oils.

Jojoba oil is interesting for the industry because it is odorless and it has a viscosity which is temperature-independent. Applications vary from engine lubricating oil to cooking oil. Jojoba wax is used predominantly for pharmaceutical compounds, specially for skin products. After polymerization factice can be used for rubber production. The use as biodiesel fuel is becoming more and more important………..”Wikipedia

IMG_1150IMG_1144IMG_1152This photo doesn’t show well but the yellow poppy like flowers were blooming everywhere—gorgeous!!

The McDonald’s in Wickenburg sits along the Hassayampa River wash—the ride today took us up the river bed so on the way back our ATVs magically wandered into the McDonald’s parking lot for ice cream—imagine that!  As we were standing around eating our ice cream I happened to check the temperature on my phone—it was 7 degrees in McLeod, Montana and 68 degrees in Wickenburg!! 

And another great day in the Arizona desert!!

On another note, my family back in Arkansas has been experiencing more snow/ice than normal.  Vicky, my sister-in-law has always loved photography and received a new camera for Christmas—she took some great snow photos yesterday.  This particular shot was featured on their local ABC news station in Little Rock tonight.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Harquahala Mountain National Back Country Byway

IMG_1047Last year the outdoor group at North Ranch made a run up Harquahala Mountain and we went along in the jeep as we had no way to trailer our ATVs at that time.  There were probably 40 people making the trip last year, today there were eight of us—what a difference—a good difference!!  Tom and Sandy were our leaders followed by Geri and Larry.  A new to us couple came along too, Dell and Judy. 

The trip to the summit is 10 miles with an elevation gain of 3800 feet!!  The road is rough in spots and very good in other areas.  With all our conferencing talks it took us two hours to reach the summit--

IMG_1074IMG_1097I’m glad I wasn’t riding a mule and although I love to hike an elevation gain of 3360 feet just might be a bit too much for this hiker!

The Harquahala Mountains were mined and ranched in years past—if these rock walls could talk I bet we could hear the old miners talking about all the silver they found!

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IMG_1098The old tin building in the above photo is still standing at the summit.  The cowboy just thought he had solar panels, look at all these HUGE panels!  The next photo tells the story for the panels. 

IMG_1082IMG_1101If you look closely at some of the photos you will see we lost the cowboy today—or at least his hat.  It was COLD this morning and very, very windy.  We all dressed in many layers and on the way to the top Michael had to give up and put his cowboy hat away—a first—the wind was just blowing too hard for a hat and he ended up wearing a knit cap I had brought along. 

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Who knew you could cook lunch on the muffler of an ATV???  By the time we reached the summit Geri’s sandwich was warm and toasted—SmileIMG_1071IMG_1086IMG_1094

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IMG_1080It was a fabulous day even if it was the coldest day we’ve ever been out on the ATVs.  We had a great time and thanks so much Tom and Sandy!

The highway which takes you to Harquahala Mountain from Aguila, AZ is called Eagle Eye Road—here’s the eagle eye--

IMG_1117and every Tuesday in Aguila there is a flea market which also sells produce along with the other junk stuff.  We found tomatoes for $1/basket, bell peppers, 2/$1, a huge bag of oranges for $6—good stuff! 

A very good day in the Arizona desert!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Good Day For Doing Taxes

Want the weather to change, invite friends from Montana for a visit!!  Hopefully by Friday we will be back up to our normal warm temps before Terry and Jill arrive!  It was cool-ish yesterday and last evening began to rain.  Rain fell off and on all night and most of today—heavy rain at times plus it never got above 55 degrees all day—it’s good for the desert!

The cowboy decided a rainy day was good for one thing—doing the taxes.  Emmi and I laid low staying out of his way.  I did help by going back through credit card statements and Amazon orders plus I kept him fed! SmileHe made great progress toward being finished with that nasty business!

I finished my first knitting project!!!  Even though it has many mistakes, I am thrilled having learned so much—how to cast off, I’ve never done that, learning what many knitting abbreviations mean—I’m ready to start the next one!!

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Our across the street neighbor Jan has daffodils blooming and some of the cactus in the park are showing signs of blooming.

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Karen and Steve—the little refrigerator we have in the trailer draws only 200 watts.  It’s small Margy, that’s why we are able to run it on solar although we have a friend, Rollie, who runs a small chest freezer when boondocking on less solar than we have.  The refrigerator gives me a bit more refrigerator space than the RV one does and it also has a separate freezer—read ice cream!!  RV refrigerators are notorious for not keeping ice cream well.  The cowboy is still thinking about batteries, right now he has three old 12volt batteries he brought from the ranch hooked up to the solar. 

Our ATVs are loaded on the trailer—we are off on an adventure tomorrow—let’s hope the sun shines!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Around The Rocks And More Solar

We are generating power!!!  The cowboy found it very easy to program the MidNite solar controller and before lunch time yesterday he was powering the extra refrigerator we carry in the trailer off the solar system!! 

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After dinner last night with the ATV gang we all decided it was time for getting back out on the machines.  Just before lunch today we headed north toward Congress out behind Al and Kelly’s house.  The rock formations and colors are spectacular out there plus there is a forest of saguaros.   

Geri looks as if she is taking a nap, I think if we had been stopped long enough she would have! SmileIMG_1008

And this is NOT a southern belle--

IMG_1019Even Emmi was ready for ATVing—not sure how I managed to catch that tongue in action!! 

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The weather was perfect for being out in the sunshine—building up our Vitamin D!  Jackets and vests were the order of the day.

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IMG_1032IMG_1036Another wonderful day spent in the desert with great friends!  Back in Congress we stopped at the Congress Junction for ice cream, Larry broke speed records getting back after someone mentioned “ice cream!!” Winking smile