Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tucson Wash and Red Lobster. 02-28-15


We all met at the intersection of Cactus Forest Rd and Hwy 79.
Denis was the leader for this ride so we followed him south on 79 to Oracle Junction


where we turned northeast on Hwy 77 to the town of Oracle to top off the gas tanks. From Oracle we drove about five miles to the town of Mammoth.


Here we turned west into Tucson Wash.


The first place of interest was an old wooden railroad trestle.


The trestle looks like it isn’t in very good repair. If you look closely you can see that many of the bracing is broken and some braces appear to be just slapped on haphazardly.  I’m not sure if it is even used nowadays.


We left the trestle and continued up the wash.


At the beginning the wash is fairly wide but there were lots of interesting rocks along the edges.


Eventually we entered a narrower canyon


and stopped at a spot where a trail came in on the right side. Denis and I drove up the trail a little ways and found that it ended at a spot that we didn’t want to attempt.


We walked up the canyon to see if it went anywhere and decided that even if we could get over the first challenge (doubtful) the canyon became impassable further on.


We turned back into the main wash and continued our ride enjoying the views.
Here is a Saguaro skeleton.


We passed this old piece of mining construction.


Just past it we noticed some red rock.  Patti and I decided to drive closer to it and see if it was a mine or something.


It turned out to just be an outcrop but while we were there we found a couple of bird nests in the trees.



Continuing on in the wash we enjoyed views of large Saguaro’s on the hillsides.


We took a turnoff to the right and followed a small trail up into the mountains.


We drove up to the ridge top where there was a nice breeze and a view. Here we stopped for lunch in the middle of the trail as is the Canadian custom.


After lunch we drove back down to the wash where we turned right and continued our drive. Here we entered another narrow canyon.


We came to a ranch house where there was a road that crosses the wash.


We turned right onto this road and headed uphill. Notice the interesting Saguaro’s.


We passed a couple of big bulls along the road. There is a lot of beef there but this guy is a breeder, not for butcher.


Eventually we came to a rutted road going to the right and followed it. The trail ended at a saddle between two large rock outcrops.


We wandered around the rocks for a while. Roy came back from a walk around and told us that he had found a cave so Denis, Suzanne and I followed him around the rock to check it out. It turned out to be just a small hole but it was interesting none the less.


After a while we headed back down to the wash where the ranch house was.
Along the way Sue noticed a large lizard in a side wash and called us on the walky-talky.
When we got to where she indicated the lizard was we stopped to check it out. It turned out to be a large Gila Monster. The largest that I have seen.


Roy and I got close to this beautiful animal and got some nice close up pictures.


This Gila Monster was about eighteen inches long and very fat. Apparently it was living the good life out here. If you didn’t know, the Gila Monster is the only poisonous lizard in North America. However they are fairly slow and not very aggressive. You would probably have to stick your finger in their mouth to get bitten. I wouldn’t try to pick one up though.

A little farther down the road Roy spotted another denizen of the desert; a small Horned Toad. It isn’t actually a toad but a lizard.


It was a good day for seeing wild life.

Eventually we got back to the wash at the ranch.


We crossed the wash, went through a gate and headed along a good dirt road toward Hwy 77. When we got to the highway we turned west and drove back to Oracle Junction where we turned south and drove to the town of Catalina.


We stopped at the Red Lobster restaurant to have our last supper together for this season.


Patti and I had the Lobster Lovers Dream feast which consisted of a Main Lobster tail, a Rock Lobster tail and Linguini with Lobster meat and shrimp.


It was a bit pricy but it was wonderful.

When we got home we were treated to another of Arizona’s fantastic sunset’s.


It was another wonderful day playing with our friends in the desert.

This afternoon we are going over to Suzanne and Roy’s for our final gathering for this season. It is a little sad to say good bye for an other year. Hopefully we will all be together again next season.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Last weenie roast. 02-26-15


After our ride on Sunday (02-22-15) we decided that we should have one more weenie roast before we all went our separate ways.
We will be leaving here on Sunday heading back to Quartzsite. Suzanne and Roy are going to Yuma for a couple of days then they will be working their way north toward Canada. Jo Ann and Dave will be heading back home to Idaho and Sue and Denis will be in this area for a while then will slowly head back to Canada.
We decided that yesterday would be a good day for the cook out.

I had been looking on Google Earth for a good spot along the Gila River and found an area with a large beach that looked like it would be easy to access through a wash that intersected Cochran Road.

Yesterday morning we met around 10:00 at the RV park where the Canadians are staying. From there we got onto Florence/Kelvin Highway and headed east until we got to Cochran Road where we turned north.

As always the view north from Cochran Rd is superb.


We drove on Cochran for several miles and came to the wash that I had seen on Google Earth. Here we turned left and drove in the wash toward the river.


We enjoyed the views of the canyon walls on both sides of the wash.



When we arrived at the river there were a bunch of jeeps already there.


At first we were dismayed and thought we would have to go some where else but after a short time the jeeps moved on and we were able to access the beach.

Here is the up stream view.


The view down stream.


We set up our chairs near a fire ring that some one had left in the shade of some big trees.
I got the fire going in the old way; with flint and steel (I like to keep in practice).


Once the fire was going, I set up the tripod and took a picture of the whole group.


We sat around and visited for a while. When the fire had burned down to mostly coals we cooked our hotdogs. After we had eaten it was time for dessert.
A few years ago at one of the weenie roasts someone introduced us to a decadent dessert. They toasted marshmallows and dipped them in Baily’s Irish Cream. It was pretty good. We didn’t have any Baily’s but we did have a partial bottle of Chocolate Rouge (wine) so we set about toasting marshmallows.


and dipping them in chocolate wine.


They were delicious and an instant hit.

After a couple of hours messing around down at the river we headed back up the wash.


Here is a testament to natures tenacity.


On the way to the river I noticed a small side canyon and decided to check it out on the way back.


Roy and I walked up the canyon a little ways.


This is what it looked like at the beginning.


After a while the canyon opened up.


There were some cool rock formations along the edges of the canyon.


Check out this hole in the cliff above us.


I can’t get enough of the interesting rock formations in the desert.


After exploring the side canyon we continued south in the wash. We came to an interesting trail going west out of the wash and I couldn’t resist it so we turned onto the trail to see where it went.


The trail climbed into the mountains taking us through some more beautiful country.


The desert wild flowers are beginning to bloom.



The higher we went the better the views became.


Eventually we came to the top of a pass.


In the distance we could see the Gila River valley and this ridge that looked like the spine of some prehistoric Dragon.


The trail wandered on through the hills


but since we didn’t know where the trail went and the hour was getting late we turned around and drove back down to the wash the way we had come and continued our drive south.


We got to Cochran Rd and drove back to Florence/Kelvin Rd where we headed for home. We stopped at Suzanne’s for a while and were home by 6:00.

A fun day playing in the desert.

Before we left the river we made plans for one more ride. Tomorrow (Friday) we are going to take a trip to Tucson Wash. It’s a long ways from here but it should be a good ride. The plan is to stop for dinner after the ride at a Red Lobster in the town of Catalina AZ for a final meal together.