Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Beautiful morning, windy afternoon, and some rain tonight....

Our Location: 
Superstition Mountain BLM, Apache Junction, AZ

I was awake this morning right around 6 am after a fantastic night's sleep. I didn't hear a thing after I fell asleep somewhere around 11 pm. I hauled myself out of bed as my view out the bedroom window showed the sun wasn't up and looked to be an interesting sunrise. 

The most colour other than yellow in the sunrise this morning in the eastern part of the sky....

It was 44F/6.6C when I checked just before stepping outside. Not a bad temperature at all. Not too cold and with a soft gentle breeze that felt warm my stumbling around among the cacti was actually pleasant. Except for the few stickers that managed to find their way to the bottoms and sides of my shoes. Nothing too much, just annoying. 

Can you see the hints of pink along the top of the blue haze?

I wandered around for about 20 -25 minutes snapping pictures of things and watching the sun slowly starting to make it's way up in to the big empty sky. Looking to the south I could see a large mass of dark blue haze with small streaks of pink drifting haphazardly across the top edges. It was peaceful looking, showing a warmth despite the dark blue, and it looked to me as if given it's choice, the dark blue would happily turn to varying hues of pink to match the dreamy steaks. 

It sure is pretty over there toward the south.....

Turning my attention to Superstition Mountain my thoughts were actually quite bland. I didn't have a reaction of any kind. They appeared to be simply stone, unmoving, unfeeling, unimaginative, stone. What caught my eye was the cacti, their tough spines looked almost fuzzy, or snow covered with a light airy dusting. They seemed to sparkle and dance as the light changed in the eastern sky. The whiteness showing just on the heads or tips, like a tree covered with a light fluffy snow. The nearer to actual sunrise the more amazing they looked. Almost downy, a ball of fluff. The southern sky continued to display it's varying streaks of pinks, here and there....but soon no pink was to be seen. Just the dark blue mass that hovered off over the desert. 

That line of pink is fading...see the white tops of the cacti? 

Once again I turned my attention to the mountain, disappointed by the uninspiring view. However as the sun continued to climb closer to it's dawning moment the mountain transformed almost before my eyes. The mundane look of the stone changed to varying shades of darkness, lighter greys, fuller blacks, while the top edges, the spires and spikes were now almost glowing as if surrounded by a yellow fire that was threatening to consume and envelope the entire north side of the mountain. As I watched the giant yellow ball ascend the mountain once again changed and was bathed with long sweeping shadows that continued to creep and crawl along as the sun rose higher and higher. That once stark unfriendly mountain now looked totally different.  Softer greys, browns, blacks and finally greens were showing and with each minute the sun continued to rise the colours shifted to lighter, welcoming hues nearer to the bottom and the dark recessed areas near the top were also beginning to lighten and brighten. Showing me crevices, and valleys, nooks and crannies that from afar look like mere hints of themselves. I can't wait to get closer to see if there are indeed nooks and crannies, trails and paths, wending their way upwards to a place I can stop, turn around and survey the area below me. I am quite certain I will be mesmerized by what will lay before me. 

See what I mean about the cacti tops? 

The back up beeper of a truck off somewhere in the distance broke my fascination with the mountain scene and I wandered back toward home and slipped inside again. The clock read 7:23 am. I turned on the heater, and the water, went upstairs to do my morning things before coming back down to enjoy my hot cuppa. Riley also rolled out about the time I entered the Igloo and we chatted about the fact that we weren't going to do anything today except take it easy. 

Behind me to the west the sun is splashing off the mountain...

I'm not sure of the time but I had a few things I wanted to do, a couple of quick little chores that wouldn't take much time or effort and so I started by bringing in all the tools I thought I would need. Of course I didn't bring everything I needed and had to send Riley outside for a quick grab. However I did manage within about 30 minutes to have the little chore completed. We had purchased two smaller cords for inside the Igloo and I had them installed quickly and in use before very long. 

Before me you can see the small hint of yellow on the very edges of the peak....

I noticed Doug  (Miss Adventure Travels )outside and slipped over to chat for a few minutes. We discussed his booster pack and how it worked, etc. He even put it all together to show me, which I appreciate so much. Now I know what I want and how to set it up so we'll be able to get better reception in those out of the way places. Thanks Doug. 

And soon it starts to chase away the darkness of the mountain....

Back home I quickly finished putting things away, did a quick 15 minutes clean up of the side cubbie, as well as pulling out the table and the Weber. We've opted not to put the mat out as  I think it will just become covered in prickly little bunches which I will then have to pick off and I have no desire to do THAT job. 

These spines are everywhere on the desert floor around us....

After that I was inside prepping lunch. We had planned on Fajitas and salad but since it was such a nice day outside I changed the menu. Green salad, wedge potatoes, orange zest mixed fresh veggies (green beans, asparagus, carrots, peppers, sweet onion, mushrooms), along with JD Hickory Smoked chicken breast. Riley made Thousand Island Dressing for the salad. 

That's the sun behind there causing the spines to show so well....

Riley was off for a quick walk and I grabbed my book to sit outside reading for a bit in the wonderful sunshine. I noticed a silver jeep coming along up the road, Doug & Yuma were back, I also noticed Riley coming up the path, since everyone was now back around I started lunch. Within about 40 minutes or so everything was ready, and I called Doug over to join us. Well actually Riley and Doug had lunch, I wasn't hungry. It must have been okay as there were no left overs, except a bit of salad. Yeah. Always nice when that happens. I'm not a great cook but it's usually edible and I figure they either eat it all for one of three reasons: either they were very hungry or it was good, or they were afraid I'd serve it again tomorrow as leftovers. Which ever it was, I don't really care. 

The sun gives them a different look....

After we finished, we sat around chatting for a while before Doug and Yuma headed off home, Riley and I came inside to clean up but before that we actually started making tomorrow's lunch, a soup medley. It started off being hamburger soup (made with ground turkey) but ended up being more like a veggie/burger soup. Anyway, whatever you want to call it, it smells good and looks good. Hopefully it tastes good. Tomorrow will tell. After we had the soup going in the crock pot we did dishes, and tidied up a bit. Spent some time reading and just relaxing. 
These folks come by regularly....they don't always come the same way each time....

The wind picked up steadily from about the time I started to BBQ and soon was causing great amounts of dust to become airborne. At one point I looked out toward the west, and across the road was completely obliterated by a wall of dust. The sun was still shining sort of through the dust but the wind was still gusting mightily. 

We could hear this horse coming along the road for a long time before we could actually see him. He was very vocal all the way along the road.

Doug popped over when Riley and I slipped outside to tie the living room slider topper down in these high winds. We discussed plans for tomorrow and kind of a maybe plan. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. 

Can you see what I mean about shadows, colours, nooks, crannies, paths and trails? 

Back inside we shut the doors and windows as the dust was now starting to seep in and a fine layer was evident on the counter. I sat and read for a while before grabbing the camera and heading outside. I will tell you I didn't wait for the sunset as I'm not sure we really had one anyway. Too much stuff in the air but not nice colours. The wind was still whipping around, cold, dust particles floating everywhere. I gave up, came inside and read some more. 

Almost all of the cacti here have these bells or fruits hanging on them ....

I started this post about 7:30 pm, much later than usual but I truly didn't feel like doing it any earlier. I was enjoying my book and hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow sometime. It's a James Patterson book, a real page turner. 

Can you see all the little arms starting on this cactus?

 When we were first heading this way Riley asked me about the name of the mountains and why they were called Superstition. All things being what they are, I figured rightly so, that it was based on Apache belief that the mountain name was in some way related to something in their past many hundreds of years ago. The name Apache Junction also added more credence to that way of thinking. Sure enough my research today it is explained it this way: Some Apaches believe that the hole leading down into the lower world, or hell, is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole is supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the metropolitan region.

I actually had to turn this picture around to make the face appear right side up...

 Added to this set of already named mountains is of course the story of a German immigrant Jacob Waltz who found a huge vein of gold but died before he could excavate it. I'm still trying to figure out why it's the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine as the man was GERMAN. Oh well, it's one of those things. Researching the area has been interesting and I'll share more of what I learn as the days go by. 

This fella has lots of new nubs that appear to be arms starting....

So that was our day. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had an excellent day doing whatever it is that helps get you through your day. I hope you enjoyed your visit to On a long and lonesome highway. Feel free to drop a comment if you like. 

This was as pretty as it got tonight at sunset....

As I write this post at 8:29 pm it has been raining off and on for the better part of 30 minutes. Not hard, but not just a few sprinkles either. The wind seems to have calmed considerably and hopefully stays calm. 
Over to the north east ..... 

Until next time.... take care, be safe, 

Goodnight from Superstition Mountain BLM....



Monday, February 26, 2018

Moving day......

Our Location: Superstition Mountain BLM, Apache Junction, AZ
I was awake this morning before 6:30 am and managed to haul myself out and get the day started just around that witching hour. Riley was up shortly after and together we had things all ready to head out at 8 am. We had discussed with Doug (Miss Adventure Travels) that we'd leave around 9 am but we sent him a text saying anytime he was ready we were too. We agreed to meet at the motel in Tonopah within the half hour. Riley and I headed out and arrived in time to stretch our legs and just do a walk around to check things over before our 100 mile drive. It wasn't too long until Doug & Yuma were coming down the road.  They pulled in and we agreed to caravan to Love's for the dump station, water, propane and of course we dumped our trash as well. 
Doug heading back to climb into his rig at Tonopah, AZ
Love's was very busy, Riley and I used the facilities while Doug & Yuma headed off to find propane. We had just about finished when they pulled in behind us. Bit of a mix up with keys and locks but after they used the facilities eventually we were back on I-10 East heading toward Apache Junction. Riley and I led the way in the Big Dog and the Igloo moving right along with Doug & Yuma keeping pace behind. It was a pretty straight shot  through  Buckeye, Goodyear, Phoenix, Tolleson, Tempe, Mesa and finally we arrived at Walmart in Apache Junction. In that mess of cities we slipped onto the AZ 202 Loop East (although Pheobe - our RV GPS- wanted us to take the 202 HOV road which I thought wasn't a good idea and so ignored her and took the regular loop instead) getting off at University Dr, and making our way to Apache Trail. 
Heading into the tunnel....
Riley really enjoyed the tunnel....
Into the Walmart parking lot we made it, shut 'em down and let out a sigh of relief. We were much closer to our destination now. We all headed off in our own direction agreeing to meet when we were all finished and deciding what to do from there. About 45 minutes later we were all outside comparing notes and discussion Lorne's (A Place Called Away) GPS coordinates. My GPS didn't agree with his coordinates and had it somewhere around Scottsdale, but Doug's phone agreed with Lorne ( I smell a male conspiracy here, don't you?) and so I lead to N Hackamore Road, and then Doug took over. 
City skyline...I think this might be Tempe...but I'm not sure, I can't remember.
When we pulled onto this road the first part was paved and looked pretty good. Pretty soon I pulled over and we decided Doug would go ahead solo and check things out as he's much smaller than we are and could turn around in a much smaller spot. So we stayed put while we watched Doug & Yuma driving away. It wasn't long until Doug sent a text saying to come on slowly as the road was 'rufffffffffff'. Well we started off slowly and soon were going even slower, at one point I thought Riley might have to get out and push and we'd have to hook HRH Miss Kitty to harness in front of the Big Dog to help pull but we made it without resorting to those extremes. 

I have no idea what kind of fake tree this is, or what it's purpose is..but hmmmmm......interesting, don't you think?

We pulled in to where I'm pretty sure that other crew had parked, Doug and I went off in the jeep to check a few more options and didn't go far until we came to the end of the trail. Turning around we headed the short distance back to the where we'd left Riley, Kitty and Yuma but found a perfect spot just before getting back. Long story short, we are parked, leveled, and enjoying the views by around 3 pm.

Decorative overpass and sound barrier displays add an accent of beauty, whimsy and humour to the drive...

We invited Doug over a cold lunch, we were all pretty hungry and the food was good. Thanks again Miss Riley for all your hard work making salads yesterday, and getting lunch out and ready while we set up outside. Macaroni Salad, Bean Salad, meatloaf, bologna, bread, wraps, pickles, cheese, lettuce, a few condiments made up lunch. We sat around outside our door munching away and enjoying the conversation and the views. 

These beautiful touches add character to the roadsides and certainly offer an interesting view....

After lunch Doug headed home, and we came inside to do a few things more in the setting up process. I called my dad again and we chatted for a while before I headed out to catch the sunset. Not spectacular but pretty nice all the same. 

Doesn't that just look so inviting? 

Tomorrow may be a short walk here or there but I think we'll take the day off. I'm exhausted, so is Riley and I think Miss Kitty may be pretty tired as well. 

This is the view out our doorway....

Our spot is beautiful, we are literally surrounded by various forms of cacti, tall, short, round, skinny, living, dead and dying. Care must be taken to ensure we don't bring any into the Igloo for little paws to step on. They stick into tires, shoes, skin, etc. 

Just a bit different view...

The view out the door is spectacular with Superstition Mountain looking back at us. It is tall, striking, imposing, inviting, and greenish. The sprawl of human kind at it's feet is interesting, not distracting, not unattractive but also not expected. It appears as if humans have encroached right to the very edges of the upward slopes. However tomorrow I'll have a better look and give you a much better idea of what I see.

Some of the things we noticed today.....

Mr. Green, I can see why you spent so much time here. It is indeed a very special place. We've seen one horse rider going past our campsite, and one red trolley which stopped just past our roadway and pointed while I'm sure I heard the tour guide saying," I thought we were rid of those Canadians and now look what's here, MORE." 

We are parked in among all cacti.....

So there you  have it, our moving day from Saddle Mountain to Superstition Mountain. A good day, a nice spot, not far from a good friend. Life is pretty good!!! 

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed your visit. Feel free to leave a comment if you like. 

Until next time.... take care, be safe, 

Goodnight from Superstition Mountain BLM, Apache Junction, AZ


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Our last full day here has been very busy.....

Our Location: Saddle Mountain BLM, Tonopah, Az

I didn't wake up until almost 8 am this morning. I didn't get out of bed until after 8:15 am and I can assure you the sun was long up before that hour. 

I often talk about getting across washes here at our location, this wash is between us and the mountain out the door. It's one of three. It's well over my head, (yes I know that's not very deep) but in places the sides are steep, the bottom in places is littered with huge stones, sand, choked with trees, both living and dead.

Riley was up before me, and turned on the heater and water. We started the day by changing linens and sorting laundry before doing anything on the main floor. (Although that is where we sort the laundry). Finally we sat down to our hot drinks and chatted about what to do today. Honestly neither of us wanted to do laundry but alas, we had to do some time soon and I would say sooner is better than later. 

Same wash, different direction. As you can see the water has eroded a great deal of the ground, it has also eroded the sides leaving what looks about the right size for small animal dens, all undercutting is low down to the bottom of the wash. Some places the banks are high, others you can easily cross them. 

We tossed everything we needed into the Dogsled, including some empty water jugs, trash and the necessities to do laundry and headed off to Buckeye to the Desert Laundry Coin Wash. Of course it was very busy and the lot was pretty jam packed. We however parked off to the side, hauled our things inside and started the laundry. Today we had only 4 washers going, as I had used two double washer or we would have had more washers working for us. Before long we moved all the wet stuff in two dryers. Thirty five minutes later we were folding the linens and the rest was ready to fold by the time I had the linens finished. 

This is a small pile of debris at the base of the tree. It's a wonder that any of the trees are able to survive at all when the water rushes down these washes carrying all manners of debris. Their roots must be very deep and very strong to withstand such impacts.

I had to pull the Dogsled out of his spot so we could load our clean laundry into the back seat. The cars on either side were too close to open the door more than about a 1/4 of the way.  

An Ocotillo bloom....

Once everything was in the back seat, we ventured next door to the Family Dollar the next driveway over. Why did we drive do you ask? We had water jugs to fill and I wasn't going to lug them across the parking lot, so instead we parked right in front of the machine. 

So tiny, it was hard to see among the rocks...
That completed we headed out of town and seeing a fuel station with diesel for $2.74 per gallon I pulled in and topped off the tank. Yeah, we had accomplished everything as we had dumped the trash between the laundromat and the Family Dollar. 

They grow from the most interesting places. This one has another small one beside it as you can see on the right low down ....

Back home we had the laundry inside but not put away, I started cleaning up the outside, burning some burnables, putting things away in preparation for travel tomorrow. Riley was inside starting our lunch which today would be macaroni, tomatoes and hot dogs. Nothing spectacular but it sure was good. I'm getting ahead of myself. 

These guys were fighting for space. They are so tightly packed in there. There are 12 at least here, can you see them all?

Outside I was putting things away as I mentioned when I noticed a silver jeep bumping along our roadway, with two handsome fella's in the front seat. One a young handsome fella with regal bearings and a majestic tilt to his head, the other a more mature but equally handsome gentleman with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Our company was Doug & Yuma of Miss Adventure Travels  popping by so we could make plans for tomorrow. I had planned on catching Doug at home a bit later but this worked out just as well. 

I just love the colours of these red barrel cactus, or at least I think they are barrel cactus.

We pulled out some chairs, sat in the shade and chatted. Not before Doug came in to check our new recliners. I think he may have liked them as the smile on his face was a bit of a give away. Outside we discussed our plans for travel tomorrow as we are both heading to the same place and since neither of us have been there before we thought it might be nice to go together. So finalized our ideas, plans and needs and are all set to head out in the morning. Off they went home with a wave and wag!!!

These guys are awesome I see them many many places. I wonder if they grow up to be a single cactus or if some die off leaving only one or two to grow, do they join to form the ribs of one single tall elegant cactus? I've never seen a big cactus that looks like this so I'll have to do some research one of these days.

After that I finished the outside work of putting things away, we have a couple of things left to do but that shouldn't take more than 10  minutes. Back inside we had lunch, chatted about a couple of things, I put away my laundry as Riley had put away everything else as she was making lunch. Thanks Riley. 

Again I don't know what these cacti will be as they mature but they sure are good looking when their young.  Don't you just love those colours?

While I did dishes Riley made a few salads for tomorrow's travel day, we also pulled a meatloaf we'd made a few weeks ago out of the freezer, popped it in the oven so we can have that tomorrow as well. After a complete clean up we both retired to our chairs and have been busy ever since. 
You just have to love these old fellas...

I didn't take one picture today, not a single one. So I went back through my photo's and picked some that I liked. You may have seen them before but oh well, I like 'em and maybe you'll like them this time too. All of these photos have one thing in common, they were taken right here at Saddle Mountain BLM during our stay these last two weeks. 

They all have character, don't they?
So there you have it, our last day here at Saddle Mountain BLM, Tonopah, AZ for this spring. While we're sad to leave, we're also excited to move to a new place with lots of things to see and do. I think we'll enjoy Superstition Mountain and surrounding area, and if not, oh well it's not a loss as we have start heading east anyway. 

There is something magical about these centuries old sentinels.....

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your visit. It is my sincere wish that you have had a wonderful Sunday filled with all good things, family, friends, and good times, good food and that you made some good memories today.  Feel free to drop a comment if you like. 
A bit pointy with a wee bit of sharpness at the end.....

Until next time....take care, be safe, 

Recycled from the 15th, but still a gorgeous sunset. Goodnight from our last night here at Saddle Mountain BLM for this spring of 2018.