Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A week and one day in Benson AZ. Day 8.

Tuesday, March, 31.
A beautiful day, warm with a slight breeze.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for high winds with gusts of 40 mph.
Today, we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
Patti did a load of laundry, I inflated the tires on the jeep to 35 psi. for towing and we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
Patti played some games on the computer, we had lunch and we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
I finished the book I started Yesterday, “Conan the Invincible”. Patti is reading a Danielle Steel book and we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
I listen to several readings on “XM Book Radio” and wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
Again, I check the weather forecast for tomorrow on the computer, it hasn’t changed so we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
We have decided that even if the UPS truck brings the package today, we will probably not leave tomorrow because of the high winds but still, we wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
I think I will start another book and wait for the UPS truck to bring the package.
By 6:00 I was tired of waiting for the UPS truck to bring the package, so we went into town to have a Mexican dinner at “Magaly’s“. The food was good and the price was reasonable.
Tomorrow we will once again, wait for the UPS truck to bring the Package.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A week in Benson AZ. Day, 7.

Monday, March, 30.
The wind blew hard last night until around 5:00 this morning, then subsided until afternoon when it came up again and shook "Plan B" until supper time.
Patti went into town, did some shopping, bought a couple of new outfits and got her hair cut.
I stayed home and waited for the UPS truck to bring me the new GPS.
It didn’t arrive today so we will have to stay here for at least one more night. It will cost us $30.00 per day to wait for the package.
I could have paid $30.00 to have the package delivered in two days so if it comes tomorrow it will be a wash. After that it will start costing us.
We will get things ready to go tomorrow so we can get an early start on Wednesday.
“IF” the package comes.
We did receive the letter from Felice today however so that much is taken care of.
I cooked up a mess of ribs, Patti made coleslaw and cut up straw berries. We took supper next door to Sue and Jerry’s.
We all enjoyed the repast and we had another nice visit with them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A week in Benson AZ. Day, 6.

Sunday, March, 29.

The morning started off very cloudy and cool with a light breeze. By noon the wind was coming in strong gusts.
We headed south on AZ 80 and went about 1.5 miles to a dirt road where we turned west and traveled 8.8 miles to AZ 90 where we headed south for 8.3 miles and then turned west up Dry Canyon road.

After about a mile we were confronted with a very interesting sign.
Damn! And I forgot my pistol!
This is high desert and quite different form that around Quartzsite.
There is much less cactus. The predominant plant life is the Creosote Bush with some Junipers in the higher canyons and occasionally a Wiled Rose thrown in for good measure.
There are small Joshua trees, or maybe Yucca's

and Agave.
As to cactus there are some large Prickly pears,

and segmented Cholla.
Unfortunately nothing is blooming this high up yet.
There are several plants that are not known to us but are very interesting.

Could this be a yucca?

Or this, an Agave?
I could be all wrong about the names of these plants, so if I am please set me straight.
The roads are very rough and most terminate in high canyons.
In one such canyon we came upon a very unusual rock along the road.

It appeared as if the rock had formed around a chunk of petrified wood, although this is probably not the case, it was interesting none the less.

Wild life was scarce we did see one snake of a non poisonous verity but it was so fast that we couldn't get get a picture. Its color was light green on top fading to light yellow along the sides and silver underneath.
We came back to the highway on French Joe road.
It was a nice ride and were home by about 3:00

Trip miles = 41 miles
Trip time = 4 hrs
Dry Canyon rd. N31 46’ 52.1” W110 21 00.9 4544 ft
French Joe rd. N31 48’ 56.0” W110 20 52.0 574 ft.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A week in Benson Arizona day 5.

Saturday, March, 28.

We received word today from Felice, that Patti’s drivers license renewal had arrived at the house and that Patti has to appear in person to renew it. This set us a quandary as whether to cut short our stay in Utah by two weeks so we could get back to California in time for Patti to renew the license or to drive back to Quartzsite for a couple of days so we could go to the DMV in Blythe to renew the license. Our decision is to wait here for Felice to mail the renewal to us and then go back to Quartzsite. We have to wait here for the new GPS to arrive anyway so that isn’t a problem.
There is always a silver lining to every cloud in that we will be able to visit with our friends in Quartzsite once more for a couple of days and the weather in the north is still bad so we are not in a big hurry to get up there.
We will have to decide later whether to go through southern New Mexico on our way to Utah as we had originally planned or take a more direct rout across Arizona through the Four Corners area. That can be decided later depending on the weather and time.

We are taking the day off today but hopefully we will take a desert ride tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A week in Benson AZ, Day 4.

Friday, March, 27.
When last we were in Benson a couple years ago, while out for a drive we stumbled upon "Gammon's Gulch" a "ghost town/movie set".
We took a ride out there today to see what changes had been made since our last visit.
The owner "Jay Gammon" is quite a character and very entertaining.

He has buildings from all over the west that he has dismantled, moved to this sight and rebuilt.

There is even an old mock mining area with a millwright shop and lots of old equipment.

The place is chuck full of antiques and old cars.

There is a story to go with most of them and almost all of them run.

He claims that this old Model "A" truck is his everyday work truck.

He started up this old Dodge sedan and it ran like a clock.

If you are ever in the Benson AZ area, you owe it to your self to get out to "Gammon's Gulch" and take the tour.
The tour will cost you $7.00 per person and if you didn't enjoy it, it's free.
Gammon's is about 7.5 miles north of the town of Pomerene.
For more info here is a link to his web sight.
We went out to dinner with Sue and Jerry to the "Golden Corral" buffet in Sierra Vista. We were not impressed. They advertise a "Seafood Extravaganza". There was very little seafood offered and the quality was very low, think fish sticks and frozen shrimp. I didn't eat any of the seafood because when I got to the seafood line there wasn't any. I settled for rare steak mashed potatoes and gravy it wasn't to bad.

Round trip to Gammon,s Gulch = 16.6 miles
GPS for Gammon's Gulch
N32 06' 25.0" W110 18' 16.2" 3401 ft.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Week In Benson AZ Day 3.

Thursday, March, 26.
The wind picked up today but not as bad as forecast, Some gusts up to about 30 mph.
This morning we went into Benson to pick up our prescriptions.
When we got home Patti did the laundry.
I have been looking into buying another lap top. I want a small one to use in conjunction with the Etrex GPS the screen on the gps is so small that I have trouble reading it. I would like one that is small enough to carry around in the jeep. I took our laptop on one of our rides to see how it worked out and liked being able to download the track. It made it alot easier to figure out where we were. I was researching small laptops on the web today but havn't settled on anything yet. Dell has one with a 9 inch screen. But I'll have to order it on line so if I go that way I'll probably have to wait until we are settled in Moab.
Last night I ordered a power cable for the Etrex and a Garmin Nuvi360 for the motor home. We are paid up here until Tuesday so I hope it gets delivered before then or we will have to stay here for a couple more days.
Patti is going to the rec hall with Sue to play bingo tonight and Jerry is coming over here so I can show him some pictures of our dining hall and other indian creek stuff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Week in Benson AZ, day 2

Wednesday, March, 25.
Cold last night, the heater came on several times. This morning was cool but clear. This afternoon the wind is starting to blow, but not to bad yet.
The last time we were here we took several trips out to Cochise’s strong hold It is the Dragoon mountains in an area that has some beautiful rock formations.

We had heard that there were some Pictograph’s there but we never found them.
Yesterday while we were talking with Sue and Jerry the subject came up and Jerry gave us directions to find them. Also I looked them up on the Internet under “Council rocks Pictographs” and got the GPS info.
We started off around 11:00 and drove south from the RV park about 20 miles to Middle March Rd. and turned east toward the mountains and drove about 10 miles where we crossed a cattle guard at a “Y” in the road. We turned north at the “Y” crossed another cattle guard and followed this road for 6.3 miles until we came to rd. 685 K where we turned east and went a about 100 yards to the trail head.

There, we had lunch and I checked the GPS. The numbers matched up close enough that we knew we were at the right place.
We were told that the Pictographs were only about 100 yards up into the rocks

and we would know we were going the right way if we saw ancient carved steps going up. My leg has been bothering me lately so I used my “Cane Chair” to help me climb. After a climb of about 15 minutes we came to the Pictographs.

This area has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years as a shelter and
as a hideout.
During the Apache wars, the Apache chief Cochise and his band eluded the Us Army by hiding in these mountains. It is thought that near here is where he finally surrendered in 1872.
The pictographs are painted on the underside of a large boulder and are accompanied by several grinding mortars in the rocks that were used with a pestle to grind seeds for food by early peoples.

From this place you get a panorama of the land to the south and west. Any one approaching from there would be seen long before they could arrive.
The rock formation’s are beautiful and some of the Hoodoos take on strange and
wonderful shapes. There is one to the north of the Pictographs that is called the “Virgin Mary” Probably named by Catholic Missionaries but it is easy to see why.

There are many others, that with a little imagination you can see other figures and creatures.

As we were climbing back down through the rocks Patti got another of her famous wildlife picture.

We had a good ride out there and were glad to finally find the Pictographs.

Trip Time = 5hrs
Trip Miles + 77.2
Middle march Rd. N31 44’ 10.5” W110 05’ 01.3” 4353 ft.
Turn off at cattle guard. N31 50’ 46.1” W110 00” 09.9” 5071 ft.
Pictographs N31 54’ 23.6” W110 02’ 16.1” 4924 ft.

If you remember in the post about Alamo lake There was a picture of a rattle snake.
I got to wondering about what type of rattler it might be so I looked it up on the web. As it turns out the snake was a “Mojave Rattle snake” and it is the most dangerous of all the rattlers in the US. It’s venom is supposedly 10 times more lethal than the Western Diamond back. The difference in appearance between the Diamond Back and the Mojave is that on the Diamond Back the “black” stripes on the tail are wider than the white ones. On the Mojave it is just the opposite.
Otherwise they look pretty much the same.

I enlarged the picture and counted the rattles and instead of 3 as I first thought, there are 6 on this guy.
I hope I got all these facts right but ether, way if you mess with one of these guys and he stings you, you are in big trouble.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A week in Benson AZ

Tuesday, March, 24.
It was cold last night but very nice today, temps in the low 70’s
We left Arizona city around 11:00 this morning and drove as far as Benson AZ where we stopped at the Wall-Mart to do some shopping and then went to the San Pedro RV Resort to see if some friends (Sue and Jerry) that we had met here a couple of years ago were still here.
They were here, so we decided to stay here for a while so we could spend some time with them. They had us over for supper and we had a nice visit.
The weather forecast is calling for high winds for the next few days and I don’t like driving the RV in high winds, so we will probably stay here until next Tuesday
The park charges $30 per night or $180 per week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Alamo Lake

Friday, March, 20.
Another hot Day.
By the time we got fuel and left Quartzsite it was 12:00. We arrived at Alamo Lake at 2:00.
The sign on campground “C” the one with utilities, read “ Campground Full”. We went past the road a little and I can’t back up with the jeep hooked up so we drove further down the road and turned around so we could cruse through the campground to check it out.
As we were driving around we heard someone shout “Do you need a camp spot?”.
“Yes!” We replied and stopped the RV.
The fellow told us, that he was ready to pull out and we could have his spot.
“Great” I said “I’ll just disconnect the jeep and come back around”.
I did so and only had to wait a few minutes for him to leave.
The spots here have Water and Electricity but no sewer for $20 per night, which is fine.
They do have a dump station.
With electricity we can run the Air Conditioner with out having to run the generator and it is pretty hot here.

Unfortunately we don’t have any Internet connection. I am not sure why because we do have cell phone and I thought that as long as we had a connection to the cell we would have a connection to the Internet because our Internet is through Verizon Wireless, the same as our phone. I guess broadband needs a stronger signal than the phone does.

When we were in Quartzsite some one suggested that I should include GPS coordinates for the places we get to, so I’ll add them along with the trip specs.

Trip miles = 80
Trip time = 2 hrs
Camp spot = N34 14’ 42.2” W 113 33’ 46.5” 1270 ft.

Saturday, March, 21.
The morning started off cool but by mid day it was very warm.
When we were at Quartzsite, Mike told us about a spot near Alamo lake where there was a couple of waterfalls and an arched rock. He gave us directions but they weren’t quite on the money.
He said to follow Palmerita rd. to the end, turn left and follow the wash to the pools and waterfall. It seamed simple enough.
We left around 8:45 this morning, Took Park road to “Wayside” turned right and went about a quarter of a mile then turned left onto Palmerita rd. We followed Palmerita road to what appeared to be the end, but there was no wash, instead there was a “Y” in the road we took the left fork and went down a rocky track along some beautiful red sandstone bluffs

into the Santa Maria River valley

and came to the ruins of the Palmerita Ranch.

It looked like they had had a big operation there at one time. There were the remains of three houses, a shop, chicken coops and cattle pens etc. There was a track going to the right just before you got to the compound that looked like it went to the river so we followed it for a short ways.
Shortly it split up into several very narrow quad runner trails through thorny brush and into a marked wilderness area so we turned around and went back up the rocky road to the “Y” and took the right fork.
That lead us to a locked gate with no trespassing signs and a sign that read “Grapevine Spring Ranch”.
We turned around again and headed back west on Palmerita Rd. A little ways past the “Y” there was a trail going up a hill to the right that I turned onto to see if we could get an over view of the Santa Maria River. From the top of the hill we could see the river and the Palmerita Ranch compound below us, We could also see a road going through the compound and down toward the river. We decided to go back down there and follow that track to see where it might go.
About a hundred yards down the from where we were over looking the valley we came across the first Rattle snake we have seen on this trip. Its coloring was interesting in that it was a very light tan for most of its length with about 3 inches of black and white rings near its tail. It appeared to have 3 light colored rattles.

We drove back down into the valley and followed the road that we could see from up above.
It wound through a small forest of unusual black barked leafless trees. Some of the trees had the beginnings of green buds at the tips of the branches so they were not dead or burned as I had at first suspected. Eventually we emerged from this small forest onto the soft sandy banks of the river and followed some tracks for a short ways until they ran out at the water’s edge. We didn’t try to cross the river because I was concerned about quick sand. The river is about 50 yards wide and maybe 2 inches deep with a sand bottom. I’m not sure I would even want to walk across it let alone drive my jeep.

We turned around and headed back to Palmerita Road where we headed west for a few miles until we came to an intersection with “High Road“.
We turned south on High Road and followed it for several miles until we came to a “No Trespassing” sign where we turned around again.
We saw our first flowering Hedgehog Cactus on High Road.

I saw a road on the map that looked like it might take us toward the river again so I figured out the coordinates of the intersection and by using the GPS we had no trouble finding it. I did this so I can get used to using the GPS. The road didn’t take us to the river though it took us to a large open pit style mine called the “Anderson Mine”. We wandered around in the mining area for a while and then decided to go to the top of a hill on the east side of it to take a look around and have lunch. While we were having lunch we saw a couple cacti blooming that we hadn’t seen so far. There were Pincushions,

and Beaver tails with a slightly different blossom than we had previously seen.
The blossoms were more like a Rose and less cup like than what we had seen before.

Patti also got a nice picture of a “Fish hook Barrel Cactus” although it was not yet in bloom.

After lunch we drove back to High Road. On the way we saw our first Indian Paint Brush of the season and some pretty lavender flowers of a species unknown to us.

Driving north on High Rd. we found a small road going east that the map said was Parmerita Rd. so we followed it for several miles each time we came to a wash that looked navigable we turned left on it and followed it in the hope that it would take us to the "Waterfalls" but none did. They usually ended in steep, narrow, rocky gullies. On one of these washes Patti got a picture of a interesting lizard.

Eventually we tired of this road and since it was getting on to late afternoon we headed back toward “Wayside” to see if we could get something for an early supper and maybe also get some information on the whereabouts of these “waterfalls“.
On the way we tried a couple more washes with out success.
When we arrived at Wayside there were at least 50 quad runners parked in front of the place. As it turned out they were having a poker run today. They had cooked a pig in the ground and the only thing they were serving today was pulled pork sandwiches.
Bummer! :o)
We ordered two sandwiches, beans, salad and two soft drinks.
The pork was very good.
After we had eaten I inquired of the waitress the whereabouts of the “waterfalls“. She informed me that, had we continued past the “No Trespassing” sign on High Road and gone about a mile we would have come to a large wash where we should turn left and follow it to the place where the falls usually are although, there was no water falling at present. She also told us to ignore the no trespassing sign as it does not pertain to the road.
She said that the guy that put up the sign doesn’t like people and tries to keep them out but has no rights. She also said that if he gives us any trouble to just mention to call the sheriff and he will back off .
Maybe tomorrow we will try again to find the falls.
We had a tiring but fun ride and saw a lot of neat country.

Total trip Miles = 93.4
Trip time = 7hrs. 45 minutes.
Wayside N 34 14’ 36.1” W113 29’ 11.6” 1430 ft.
Palmerita Ranch = N 34 17’ 51.8” W 113 25’ 19.9” 1569 ft.
Anderson Mine = N 34 18’ 33.4” W 113 16’ 24.5” 1900 ft.

Sunday, March, 22.
A very nice morning, bright and cool. By afternoon the wind came up and is blowing very hard at this time 3:00. Dark storm clouds are gathering.
About 9:20 we took off on a ride to See if we could find the “Ponds and Falls” that we were looking for yesterday. We drove back out to the “High Road” and followed it south, passed the no trespassing sign and across the wash. I drove on for another couple of miles because I wanted to make sure that it was the correct wash and that there wasn’t another one further down the road. By then the wind had started blowing hard enough to blow tiny pebbles onto the jeep.
We turned around and came back to the wash where we headed east following some well defined tracks in the soft sand through a very beautiful gorge.

We went on until we came to a pickup parked at the wilderness boundary and noticed some tracks continuing to the right so we followed these tracks until we came to a 12foot high fence across the gorge from wall to wall. There we turned around and went back to where the pickup was parked.
There were two canyons coming together at that spot. One going straight ahead and one going to the left. I tried walking up each one but couldn’t go very far due to the pain in my knee and bad leg. I figured we were in the right spot but it just wasn’t worth the pain, since we had been told that the falls were dry and there wouldn’t be much to see there.
We got back in the jeep and headed for home.
On the way I decided I wanted to check out a place just off the road that the locals call the “Mud Cliffs”.
We turned onto a set of tracks that went toward the cliffs and eventually got onto a quad runner trail that wound its way between high eroded clay walls.

It was a real neat place but for the first time I came to a place that Clifford was unable to go. It was a real tight turn over some beg humps and every time I tried to get through Clifford would get one wheel on opposite corners off the ground and loose traction.

I tried several approaches but on the last try it felt like Clifford was going to roll.

Because we were alone I didn't want to take too many chances so I backed out to a spot where I could turn around and we left. ;o(
If it had been real important that we get through I could have gotten out the pioneer tools (pick and shovel) and knocked down the hump on the left side.
I guess I am going to have to think about some modifications for Clifford like maybe a locking front differential and front sway bar disconnects.
There is supposed to be a couple of arches some where in this canyon. I guess we will have to try to find them some time in the future.
We got back to “Plan B” around 1:00 and had lunch.
Dark clouds are building in the north and moving our way so I think we may get a storm this evening. I guess we will have to put the top and doors back on Clifford just in case it rains.

Of course, we had another good ride all be it a short one.
Tomorrow we will leave here and head south and east toward New Mexico.

Trip miles = 77.4
Trip time = 3hrs. 40 minutes
Trail head at falls = N34 12’ 46.9” W 113 08’ 58.7” 2434 ft.
Mud Cliffs = N 34 15’ 17.7” W 113 26’ 00.2” 1463 ft.

Monday, March, 23.
Yesterdays storm was all show and bluster. By 8:00 the clouds had disappeared and by 10:00 the wind had died down. It did get cold during the night but this morning was beautiful.
We left Alamo Lake around 11:30 and stopped for lunch in Salome at Christina’s.
We both had the specials. Patti got the “Western Bacon Burger” and I got the “Burrito Enchilada Stile”. The Western Burger Was huge with a bunch of fries. The Burrito was also large with Beef and Beans, smothered in cheese and enchilada sauce. Both for $7.50 each. What a deal. :o)
After lunch, we headed south on a road that connected to I 10. At I 10 we turned east and drove 32 miles to AZ 85 where we turned south and drove to I 8 at Gila Bend we turned east on I 8 and drove to exit 200 where we went south to Arizona City and then east to The High Chaparral RV park where we will spend tonight.
Full Hookups for $20.00 / night, if you are good Sam, or $22.00 if not.

Trip miles = 197
Trip time = 5hrs 15 minutes

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday, March, 19

It was a very warm and overcast today. We turned on the AC around 10:00 this morning.
Most of the day was spent making preparations for getting underway, Fore tomorrow we are leaving Quartzsite to continue our adventure.
Our small group of friends and we went out for supper at "The Grub Stake".

Patti and I had Calamari and chips. It was great!
We left the cafe at around 7:15 and the temperature was 78 degrees.
Tomorrow we are leaving here In "Plan B" to go to "Alamo Lake" for the weekend.
We have been told that there is some good jeeping around there so we are looking forward to checking it out.
We will leave there on Monday and head southeast for New Mexico.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It was another hot day in Quartzsite.
We had a fun ride to "Palm Canyon" and "Skull Rock"

At about 9:30 we started off down US 95 and drove 18 miles to Palm Canyon Rd. where we turned left and pulled off into a flat area where every one off loaded there buggies. There was the same group as the last time with the addition of Barbara and Jerry from the "88 Shades RV Park" next door, with their "Quad Runners".

Also, there was two year old "Jada" Pam and Joe's grand daughter.

From the off load area we drove east 8 miles to the end of the road at Palm Canyon.
Several of the folks hiked into the Canyon, so we were there for about an hour.
Patti got some more wildlife pictures while we waited.

When the hikers returned, we drove west from Palm Canyon to the Queen mine Road where we turned north heading for "Skull Rock". On the way we stopped at an over look to view the beautiful mountains.

Patti got some nice pictures of wild flowers.

After standing around there for a while looking at the beauty of the desert, we saddled up and started up the wash to our destination. We arrived at skull rock in about 45 minutes.

Every one was hungry when we got to "Skull Rock" so we wasted no time setting up chairs and tables and getting a fire going to roast hot dogs.

It was a very warm day so several of us took advantage of the coolness of the interior of Skull Rock's Cave or "mouth".

When we were getting ready to leave, Mikes buggy refused to run. The problem turned out to be a faulty ignition switch. Apparently he had had the same problem before and happened to have an extra switch with him. He swapped out the switch and we were ready to go.
We got home around 4:00.
It was a great ride and the desert just gets more beautiful every day.
All the pretty cacti are not out in the desert. Patti got a nice picture of some "Beaver Tails" blooming in the RV park when we got home.

trip miles = 68.3 miles
Trip Time 6.5 hrs.