Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Friends From Montana

Sarge and Sarah arrived yesterday afternoon bringing their ATV and their lab—Callie.  They are staying in Congress in what is billed as “the smallest motel in Arizona.”  It’s old but very clean plus the owners are delightful! 

We started their visit off by heading out into the desert on the ATVs then coming back to the motorhome for a great supper of chicken fajitas.  Sometimes the Safeway store in Wickenburg surprises me—I was looking for a gluten free dessert yesterday while grocery shopping and came across this:

It’s not an inexpensive treat but oh, my—is it ever good, I bought three flavors—the sea salt caramel which was outstanding, raspberry and cream, also outstanding, and the double dark chocolate—guess what, it too was outstanding!!

IMG_0817This crested saguaro is near Sunset Point.  Sarge and Sarah allow Callie to get off the ATV and run—and as only labs can do, run, run, run!!  Callie was a tired pooch and took up way more than her share of the floor space--four adults and two dogs in a motorhome without slides is about maximum capacity!  Winking smileIMG_0819

Today the four of us along with our neighbors Karen and Dick who had never been to the Hassayampa River took off on the ATVs again.  Callie got in lots and lots of running today—where does she get the energy!!  We had a great day, it rained last night and the river seemed to have a little more water than when Michael and I were there the other day, plus with the rain the dust on the trails was non-existent. 

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IMG_0843Happy Labrador playing in the water! 

IMG_0845Back home we all retired to our respective spots for a little relaxation before meeting at our house for dinner—grilled hamburgers without buns and a huge salad.  Plus we indulged in some more Talenti gelato—YUM! 

Life is good!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

No Power Lines Or Houses Just Some Great Friends

What started out to be a leisurely Sunday turned into a whirlwind of activity!  We went out into the desert for our usual three mile hike then took off in the jeep for Al and Kelly’s.  Not long ago Kelly sent me a funny email which went something like this, “thanks a lot Janna for helping me waste three hours on the computer today looking at the Pioneer Woman websiteSmile.”  Kelly has now tried several of the Pioneer Woman recipes and also ordered one of her cookbooks. 

A few years ago after first discovering the Pioneer Woman website, I bought the Kindle version of her book, High Heels To Tractor Wheels.  Ree’s story of how city girl meets cowboy is very similar to mine—that’s where the similarity ends—she makes money with her blog, has a Food Network cooking show, etc. SmileThe book is a cute, quick read and I knew Kelly would enjoy it.  The Kindle I have is one of the original ones given to me by LoraLee—no touch screen so it’s a little different to use but it works.  I took that Kindle to Kelly today so she could read not only Ree’s book but any of the other books on that device.  Since getting the iPad and the Kindle app, the older Kindle hasn’t gotten much use.

Al and Kelly were in need of a handyman and borrowed the cowboy for a couple small projects—you can read all about it and see the cowboy in their RV shower on Al’s blog!!!!!

When we returned from Al and Kelly’s, ATVing friends Joe and Kathy dropped by to invite us for a sunset ride—yep, we were game.  There were about 12 of us in eight different rigs—there is a spot about four miles out in the desert from North Ranch called Sunset Point.  No power lines, no buildings, just panoramic desert scenery.  We take chairs, tables and snacks plus an adult beverage or two—we are riding ATV’s in the dark back to North Ranch after all!! Winking smileIMG_0786IMG_0795

And my ride back in the dark was a little interesting—discovered my lights don’t work!!  If I held my thumb on the switch the lights stayed on—when I would hit a bump my thumb would slip off and it was mighty dark out there in that desert!!!

IMG_0802Even the eastern sky had color tonight.

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Life is good!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Shiprock

Every time we travel Arizona highway 93 about 30 miles north of Congress we spot this gigantic rock formation rising out of the desert floor off in the distance—it looks like a ship.  We set out in the jeep right before lunch in search of Shiprock.  And we found it—what a great day!

ShiprockWe bounced and bumped along scouting out the various roads and trails leading to Shiprock.  We could see a trail around the back side of Shiprock and took a couple of trails leading that direction but it became too rough for the jeep—ATV country!  Sarge and Sarah are on their way here with their ATV—this will be a good spot to take them—we hope some of our NR gang is up for an ATV trip too!

DSCN0267DSCN0268Joshua Tree country also.

We had so much fun and it was a beautiful, warm day in Arizona!

DSCN0273DSCN0281-001DSCN0283Back home I started a rug making project—Michael built the loom a couple years ago, I cut the old blue jeans into strips but never got around to doing any more than that.  Today I started attaching all the strips together into one long strip getting ready to start weaving. 

About 5pm we decided lunch had been a long time ago and it was the cowboy’s turn to cook—off we went to the Congress Depot stopping to see if Jim and Ellie wanted to accompany us—they did and we enjoyed a pizza while the cowboy had what he said was one of the best burgers he had ever eaten! 

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Life is good!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Cold Ride For Breakfast

There is an organized “outdoor group” here at North Ranch—it’s not just ATVing—there is hiking, golf, etc.  The group planned a ride “up the big hill” to the little community of Yarnell for breakfast.  We waffled and whined—it was only 48 degrees with a stiff breeze at departure time—but in the end bundled up and joined the five other rigs heading through the desert and up the mountain.

Many of you will remember the tragedy which put Yarnell, AZ on the map on June 28, 2013—a lightning sparked fire blew up and over ran 19 firefighters, killing them all.  The town of Yarnell is surviving and re-building—it is amazing to see how the fire destroyed one building and just a few feet away another one stands.  Steps are being taken to establish a memorial to the nineteen firefighters on the state land where they died. 

Fullscreen capture 1222015 60258 PMThanks a bunch Rob Fox for your helpful hint—I was able to take a screen shot of the Garmin map and it auto appeared in Picasa!  I took the screen shot using the “FN” and “PRTSC” keys on my keyboard—you can teach an old dog new tricks!  Now if I could just get the hang of that Garmin—talk about NON-user friendly!!

By the time we arrived at The Ranch House restaurant we were frozen—Yarnell elevation is 4800 feet and Congress is 2700 feet.  It was a dang cold ride and all the way I was wishing I had worn more clothes!!  Breakfast was great and after many cups of hot coffee it was time to head back—the temps had warmed a little and the ride home was not too bad.

Back home Michael conducted some more solar research even climbing on the roof of the motorhome to see how many panels would fit.  Our original intent was to put solar on the trailer roof but I think he has changed his mind and it is now going on the motorhome.  Tomorrow is a new day! Smile

IMG_0767Petroglyphs alongside the road above the historic mining town of Stanton.IMG_0768-001

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And on another note—Judy, the beloved bird lady of blog land whose volunteer hours are legendary wrote a disturbing post yesterday—seems the manager of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma doesn’t know a good thing when he sees it telling Judy he has decided not to have her return next year!  Good grief!  And she has two more months left to work—not sure I could work two months where I knew I wasn’t welcome! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ATVing To The River and Sunset

We are enjoying some fantastic weather here in Arizona—perfect weather for an ATV ride after our hike this morning.  I quickly packed a light snack and we were off heading for the river, the Hassayampa River—my trusty navigator, aka the cowboy managed to get us there without getting lost!!  As with most rivers in Arizona, this one has very little running water but is surrounded by stunning scenery—towering cliffs, stately saguaros, colorful rocks—stunning!

DSCN0261Hey, we got the Garmin to work!!!  I could save the route into Base Camp and the Garmin but couldn’t figure out the logistics of saving it to a type file I could insert into this blog—so I just took a photo of the screen!! 

The Garmin we are using is a Montana 650T—maps for this particular Garmin can be purchased from HuntingGPSmaps.com.  These state by state maps are advertised as “hunting” maps detailing for hunters land ownership—private or otherwise.  We can turn on the Garmin here in North Ranch and the device will tell us exactly who owns each and every lot.  As we are rolling across the desert the map changes colors as we cross private land and gives us land owner’s name.  BLM, state and USFS land—all have a different color on the screen—just like a Benchmark map.  It could be invaluable when boondocking!  The map SDs for each state are a little pricey and so far we only have Arizona and Montana.  Now if we could just figure out all the buttons! Winking smile

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Back home Michael rushed off to the Congress post office to retrieve our mail which had arrived from Montana—took us a while to sort through that box!!  It was kind of strange getting Christmas cards in January but we haven’t gotten the mail since we were in Arkansas for Christmas. 

Sunset this evening took your breath away—gorgeous!

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Another good day in the desert!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lunch With Friends, Chores and Happy Birthday Gina

It was nice to have a day of nothing—just staying home.  Then how is it I am feeling a little beat tonight?? SmileThose dang chores still have to be done even when you are supposedly vacationing—laundry, vacuuming, etc.  We also took a 3 mile hike this morning plus Emmi and I walked another mile this afternoon.  Guess I earned my tiredness!

Today is our friend Gina’s birthday—when I called her she was up in New Jersey playing with the grandchildren—Jolee and Job.  Their parents Ashley and Parker are heading rapidly toward becoming full fledged practicing physicians.  Gina goes up to play nanny when the weather is too nasty for day care to be open. 

Gina and RollieIsn’t she gorgeous!

Michael had a couple projects he wanted to start—a hitch for the ATV and a mount for the trailer spare tire.  He finished the spare tire mount:

DSCN0249See the tire mounted underneath the rear of the trailer—it’s amazing what the cowboy can do with the tools he brings along!  The tire previously rode in the back of the jeep.  He started creating the ATV hitch—he wants to be able to move the trailer around with one of the ATVs—the trailer isn’t real heavy but heavy enough to be awkward. 

Ellie is feeling a little under the weather so I made lunch—a new soup recipe, hamburger lasagna.  I didn’t have any regular tomato sauce but I spied a can of this in my pantry:

DSCN0252While we were visiting Nancy and Geoff in Tucson they introduced us to this sauce—Nancy used it as salsa.  It made the soup taste differently than the recipe intended but it was delicious—a little spicy but good!

This RV lot on which we are sitting is a premium North Ranch perimeter lot—it backs up to AZ state land with a great view:

DSCN0238DSCN0242and our neighbor Maddie feeds the birds—so we hear lots of chirping going on—I love the noise these little quails make.

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A good day in the AZ desert.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Perfect Day In The Arizona Desert

Today was the day—we get to meet Rene and Jeanette—and as with most bloggers it was instant rapport!  The two of them rode into John and Brenda’s just before noon, we enjoyed some time sitting in the Arizona sun before digging into Brenda’s delicious lunch of grilled burgers, salad and carrot cake!  I will let the photos tell the story:

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DSCN0233DSCN0237Emmi is a standoffish little dog, she likes very few people especially men—but she liked Rene!

It was as if we were around friends we had known forever and it was a pleasure to meet Rene and Jeanette—we hope to meet up with them again, soon.

We were kind of lazy this morning, emerging from our home after the sun was well up—when I went to check on Brenda to see if she needed anything I found these two cowboys and Emmi solving the world’s problems.

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And I found Max and Maya solving their own problems:

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And Al—look—I finally figured out how to take the shadow off the cowboy’s face!!! I am loving my new camera!

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After Rene and Jeanette left we thought about heading down the road and decided to wait until morning.  We enjoyed some more carrot cake, ice cream and the sunset with John and Brenda on their deck—it was a fabulous day!!