Friday, February 28, 2020

A wonderful day...

Our Location: Empire Ranch, Vail, AZ
Don't you just love quiet days? We had a wonderfully quiet day with a fantastic visit in the afternoon. It made a perfect day, just more perfect. Friends Deb & Tom ( Celebrating the Dance) dropped by for a while around 2 and before we knew it the clock was hitting close to 6 pm when I came in after watching them make their way back to the main road. The time slipped past without any effort. Laughter, chatter, and travel plans filled the time easily.  We didn't take a single photo, we were just too busy.
 Sorry for the reflections, but I love the view and it changes often with the light and I simply snap the photo from my chair instead of putting on my shoes and going outside, so I get a reflection. 

 Mounds are over there. 

Those folks parked in the turn around loop. 
A visitor ( I didn't get his name) pulled his little Outback right up beside the Igloo yesterday afternoon and begins to tell me that we may have to move due to a Youth Shoot on Saturday. I finally picked out the facts that he has no idea if we have to move, or if we can park by the ranch house for one day, and in fact, I'm not sure he really knew much of anything except that there is a shoot here on Saturday. Bird shoot. The fella was nice enough, and explained that he brought his dog Princess out for a quick peek at the location. The man is not a spring rooster by any means and when he called it a Youth Shoot, I assumed that to mean young folks. I asked if he was one of the organizers and his reply,"No one of the participants." It should be interesting. 

I am pretty certain that is snow up there. 
Riley and I are debating about staying here due to the cool crisp air and the fact that snow showers or snow may be in the forecast for Monday with another cool day on Tuesday. We may take the Dogsled and do a run back to Why just to check out the cell service again and to get us into a bit warmer climes. However we are just thinking about it at this point. 
 These guys have been out here on two different days. I think they are practicing for the Saturday shoot as well. Maybe I misunderstood the gentleman and it's not a 'youth' shoot but something else because these fellas aren't youths either. 

 This fella went out twice without his friend and the dog. I think he was putting birds out. When he returned the two men and the dog along with a shotgun went off in the direction he'd just returned from. Soon we'd hear the gun and a few minutes later we'd hear it again, and before long they were returning. 

 Orange vest has the shot gun. 
I called Dad last night. Seems the flu is going around up there on the big rock and  places like hospitals, nursing homes, etc aren't allowing folks to come visit the residents as they are trying to keep the flu under control. Like Al & Kelly ( The Bayfield Bunch) over there in that Bayfield place,  the island is also in the middle of a big storm. Strong winds, blowing, drifting snow and all that good stuff that the north gets during the cold months. 

Sunset last night. 
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had a wonderful day. 
Until next time... take care, be safe, 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Friends, new, old and new old.....

Our Location: Empire Ranch, Vail, AZ

Today's post is a bit different, I hope you enjoy it. The photos do NOT match the paragraphs. I am simply telling you what I see when I look out one particular window. The photos are posted at random taken in about a 180 degree of view. I haven't taken any toward the road way that leads us to our spot. 

You know I'm going to tell you about the wind, right? Okay, I've told you. 

 Sorry for the reflection of the kitchen faucet. This is the mountains I describe later in this post.

This is the view when I look southwest out my window. 

Yesterday was a great day for us, we enjoyed a quiet morning and the views outside the window. Let me tell you about the views as I sit in my chair looking out. 

You can see the road beside us, it doesn't look nearly as orange when up close.  Way off in the distance is the mounds I can never reach. To the right is a stump, one of the many that dot the landscape making you think it's something other than a stump.

Those buildings are off in the distance as you can see from one of the above photos. This is just a closer view. The Empire Ranch lands do not reach that far or at least we cannot reach those buildings by the road we travelled.

The grass is a colour that would be hard to duplicate on a painters palette. It's yellowish/brown, but with dark highlights. As it waves in the wind it is quite literally a sea of grass as the long stalks wave in the wind much like a wave rolls on the ocean changing colours as it rolls. In the grasslands it starts off as a yellow/brown roll and as it moves the darker hues of dying stalks show in the wave, when it passes, the yellow/brown once again is dominant. Ripples I guess you could call them in a very light wind, but definite waves as the wind climbs. Stumps and bare somewhat stunted trees (compared to the trees I'm used to back in Ontario) dot the landscape, breaking up the sea of grass. 

 Not welcoming in the least, cold, stark, black with patches of white near the peak to the left of middle. 

The black dot under that tree is a cow. It is near the water tanks which are in the area to the left of the fence.

Here and there you can see black dots of cattle as they forage among the grass, looking for the green tender shoots that appear here and there. Under it all the dirt road ways when seen from a distance look almost orangish, or a very unusual shade of brown maybe,  not the bright orange of Alabama clay but a relative for sure. Upon getting closer it is less orange and more brown. An oddity for sure. 

 You can see that really is a stump. I doubt you believed me when I told you it was. See those mounds way off, I can never seem to reach them. 

This is the view outside our door. I took a series of photos of this view to show you just how different it can look.

It appears to be gently rolling hills but those of us that have visited know it isn't always the case. The washes that run through here present a different colour off in the distance. A patch or line of trees, that looks greenish in hue but you know they aren't. It's a trick of the eye. A dark line of brown or maybe grey seems to hover in these areas and you realize it's the top of the grass along the wash. The colour seems to be darker but it isn't, it just appears to be in the slanted view or maybe it's another trick of the eye. Beyond that is the lower hills or maybe mounds, are far off, I seem never to get close to them, they are always 'over there'. They are a darker brown than the grass but we would still consider them a light brown in colour. They are dotted with dark shapes which of course are more of those bare, stunted trees and stumps. Behind those mounds are bigger mounds, again they are 'over there'. Behind those are mountains. 

A closer view. I believe that tree may be in a small wash, but I haven't yet checked it out. 

The mountains have a look that changes as the light changes. Black, craggy, ominous looking hill sides that end in many peaks. Some with what looks to be snow at their top, but maybe it's simply lighter coloured rocks that appear like snow against the backdrop of such foreboding but majestic formations.  The sun's light changes the views with each passing hour, as the morning turns to afternoon and then on into evening the mountains while remaining dark looks less craggy, less cold, but still not welcoming. There is no colour on these mountains except the contrasting white at the top and black on the sides. 

 Closer still.

The wind is a fact of life here I think. Like a rock in the middle of the water, it just depends on the moment as to what kind of wind you  have. Due to the elevation here, the wind is cool, brisk, some might even deem it to be cold, and I think they would right today as the outside temps hover around 47F/ 8 C at 11 AM. Overall the area is beautiful, breath taking in many ways. I find it some how more lonely than the flat desert floors we've enjoyed for most of the winter. Inviting in a way unlike the desert, but stand offish as well. This is a place that would be easy to have a love/hate relationship with, I have no doubt. I suppose one must decide whether the love side out weighs the hate side, wouldn't you think? 

Can you see the darker grasses over there. A wash runs along that line I'm certain and one day I'll walk over there and check it out.

Yesterday also found us texting with our friends Deb & Tom (Celebrating the Dance) who are currently tethered to full hook ups at Quail Ridge RV just down the way. Riley and I headed into Sierra Vista for a couple of things before stopping at the Stinger Bee for a visit. It is always fun to spend time with this wonderful couple and we hope to see them again before they head out on the next leg of their journey. Thanks for sharing the warmth of the Stinger Bee and the wonders of friendship as well. 

Those are mounds way over there and they always seem to stay 'way over there'.

After a few years of near misses we finally managed to meet new old friends Ken & Shirley ( Seeing America with Ken & Shirley ). We have followed their blog for a few years but have never been able to be in the same place at the same time. Yesterday was the day it all connected as we all met at the Stinger Bee for a visit. They are a delightful couple, lots of smiles and hugs as we settled in to chatter. Seemed like we already knew them even though it was our first meeting. With a full house we didn't get to visit with Ken much but we've all agreed to fix that in the future. We did manage to chatter with Shirley some and of course truly enjoyed her company, she's a sweetheart! We look forward to spending more time with them in the future and getting to know them better.  Shirley of course brought a buffet with her. Thanks for the goodies Shirley. 

Ken on the left, Tom on the right, enjoying a nice cold brew after a hard day of touring and lunch. 

Another couple also came along to join the fun, Doug & Michelle.  Nice folks and they added to the lively mix of conversations. Perhaps our paths will cross again in the future and we will get to know this couple better as well.

Shirley, Deb & Riley.

It was 7:30 pm before we left to head home to the Igloo. Of course we didn't arrive at the Stinger Bee until 4 so I guess we didn't overstay our welcome too much. Riley and I talked on the ride home about how much better she seems at being able to meet new people and how much more comfortable she was with THIS large crowd. She is usually full of anxiety and dreads this kind of gathering. I think because we already know and enjoy the time we spend with Deb & Tom, that helped a great deal as she is very at ease with them. Since we follow Ken & Shirley's blog it's almost like she knows them a little and so the anxiety of meeting new folks didn't really apply to them. The only unknown new folks were Doug & Michelle and as it worked out, we didn't really chat with Doug much, only Michelle. So it was a much easier visit for Riley than it would have been even two years ago. Of course we knew Doug & Michelle would be a nice couple, after all they are hanging out with our friends both old and new old.  How could they not be nice?

Doug and Michelle, and in the right side mirror, Deb & Shirley.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your day even half as much as I enjoyed mine. 

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


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Catch up post....

Our Location: Empire Ranch, Vail, AZ
Yes, we've moved. We had a few glitches but we have finally settled in for a while now. However I wanted to share some photos of our rainy day back at Saddle Mountain BLM and so this post will be filled with those photos.  Some how I missed counted the photos and paragraphs, and I have no patience today to fix that issue. Lots of photos in the first half and few in the second.
 It was so foggy we could barely see the mountains, and at times they disappeared. 

 Then it rained, and rained and rained some more. 

 You can see it pouring off the roof of the Igloo. I took this through a rain soaked window but you can see the stream off the roof. 

We left Saddle Mountain BLM yesterday, Monday, Feb 24, stopping at Saddle Vista Ranch to dump our tanks and Wintersburg to top off the Big Dog's drinking bowl. By 10 AM we were on our way because we only had a couple of hours to drive, around the 100 mile mark. The plan was to stay at Why, AZ for a couple of weeks but those plans didn't work out. No cell service from Bell Canada which teams with AT&T. So after a quick stop at the Why Not store, we continued our journey. 
 What appears to be a river is actually only a minor dip in the ground, it's just that everything is slanted in this area, a very slow gradual slant but it collects water easily 

 It tricked us a few times, looking brighter and starting to clear only to have more clouds move back in with more rain drops falling as well. 

 It's starting to break up now as you can see.
We haven't been to Why since our first year travelling to the southwest and one of the reasons is cell service.  We changed to Bell Canada last fall as it seemed to have better coverage of the southwest but I have to say, I'm not sure it's any better than our previous carrier. We parked near friends that year who had service with Bell Canada and could use their phone. Now being fair to Bell, we didn't try T-Mobile connections until we were a few miles out of Why, but I'm pretty certain it would not have worked anyway. So we've written Why, AZ off as a place to visit in the future. 
 The sun finally came out.

I love the drive between Why and Tucson. There are so many varieties of cacti to see. Prickly pear, teddy bear cholla, buckhorn/pencil, barrel cactus, saguaros and a lot more that I'm sure I missed while driving at 55 mph. They are just haphazard along the road side, very abundant in places. The Teddy Bear Cholla looking almost like a small forest it's so thick in some areas. The saguaros looking like matchsticks as they are so plentiful. I would love to stop and explore but yesterday wasn't the day for that. 
 One would think I could remember the name of this town as they are so few on that drive, but the truth is, I can't recall. 

 Riley liked the metal sculptures. 

A bug splattered window makes its self visible in some of these photos. 
A few places with slow downs as construction season is in full swing. Nothing too much, nothing too rough, and nothing too drastic. Tucson was a bit of a nuisance for a minute or two. The exit we wanted was closed and we missed the detour sign to catch it a bit further along. However we managed to go in a straight line for another mile or so and fix the problem. Yeah, we like easy fixes. 

 We stopped to check cell service, and had none. The Why Not store in Why, AZ.

The scenic route to Sonoita, AZ is a lovely drive but I didn't like hauling the Igloo along however it was much shorter than going all the way around to come in a less twisty, windy road. We found Empire Ranch easily as it was in the same place it was when we visited before.  However cell service was spotty on the way into the ranch house, so we dropped the Igloo there and with the Dogsled we ventured to a location where we have parked before. No service, no stay. We tried to go to a different area where the horse events are located but with a flooded road we decided to forget it. We called Dad from the area of the ranch house as there is cell service there, just to let him know we have arrived safely and will figure out the parking issue after the call. 
Saguaros, Teddy Bear Cholla, Prickly Pear, and on and on. 
We had planned to park just one night between the ranch house and the road where cell service is good but with a spot for group camping and a kiosk. A flatish area near the kiosk would do for one night, but I decided I'd walk down to the group site to check it for a night. There are two other spots not connected to the group site, and so we parked in one of those, we have cell service and are close to the hard top road. Bonus!! At this point we are planning on two weeks here but we'll see how we do with the wind.
Chatted with a nice young fella for a few minutes. He had the strangest tent. His mode of transportation was a bicycle and the tent was excellent for his purposes. It was about 6 1/2 feet long and about 3feet or so wide. It fit him perfectly with no extra space. It was high enough for him to sit up with no issues.  Pretty cool but I didn't get a photo and he left before I opened the curtains this morning.
 Kitt Peak ahead of us.
So we have now changed plans from staying in Why for two weeks to staying here for two weeks before moving on. We aren't certain where we will move on at this point but we will slowly continue our way east. 
Yep, that is Tucson, AZ ahead. 
Thanks for stopping by, we hope you are all having a wonderful time, doing whatever it is you are doing and being where it is you are. 
Until next time... take care, be safe, 

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Our Location: Saddle Mountain BLM, Tonopah, AZ
I didn't hike yesterday, instead I worked on a few little things that needed my attention. Home repair never ends. I spent the morning fixing  two drawers in our kitchen. One I replaced the slide rails, and the other I fixed the bottom where it's pulled apart a bit. Blue air abounded for a short time when I just could not get the darn drawer to close all the way. However, the air cleared, the drawer closed and all is well in our little Igloo. 

 It started out a wee bit slow,

 but soon the colour was starting to show.

 Off to the northwest there was a lot of colour..

to the west, only a hint.
 And just like snapping your fingers the colour arrived. 


All of the above photos were taken on Thursday, Feb 20. The sunset was spectacular out the window.  The photos that follow this paragraph were taken on Friday, Feb 21. Once again a sneaker of a sunset but once it was underway, amazing to see. 

 At first, only the barest hint....

 snap, and there it was covering the sky.

 A phone call to my dad last night had me catching up with the winter news. Lots of snow and some ice as well. Warmer temps in the upcoming so hopefully some of that cold white stuff melts soon.

 The rain comes and goes, 

 hard at times but almost stopped at others....

the fog rolls in and out too.

It started to rain shortly after 3 AM and is still doing so as I write this post shortly 9 AM. Forecast calls for rain to end sometime after the noon hour. 

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment if the desire hits. If not, it was still nice to have you stop for a while. 

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