Sunday, March 29, 2015

Home From Quartzsite. 03-29-15


Leaving Quartzsite

We left Quartzsite around 9:00 Wednesday morning. We got onto Highway 95 heading north toward Parker, AZ.

I have been told that these mountains north of Parker look like a gorilla lying on his back. What do you think?


We continued north across the Colorado River to Highway 62 and turned west toward California Highway 95 at Vidal Junction.


Once on Hwy California 95 we drove north through some open desert


and passed some interesting rocky hills.


There were a lot of Ocotillo’s blooming along the highway.


Spending the night at Bullhead City

After about three hours we got to Bullhead City, AZ where we stopped for the day at the large parking lot across the river from Laughlin, Nevada and the casino’s. We took the free boat ride across the river to the Riverside Casino where we had lunch. After lunch Patti wanted to stay and play at the casino for a while so I took the boat back across the river and hung out at the RV.

By around 5:30 I was getting hungry so I called Patti to see what was up. As it turned out she was playing Black Jack and said she was having a ball. After several hours of playing she only lost $20.
We made arrangements to meet outside the casino and go to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. The dinner was very good but not as good as we remembered from the last time we ate there about four years ago.
Of course time has a way of enhancing some memories.

Bullhead city AZ to Lost Hills, CA

Thursday morning we left Bullhead City around 9:30. We followed 95 south to Needles, CA where we got onto I-40 heading west.


As we drove across the desert we could see Mount Whitney to the south west.


There were lots of yellow flowers blooming along the freeway.


At Barstow we got onto Highway 58 heading for Bakersfield.

We saw a lot of windmills just as we came to the east side of the Tehachapi mountains.


In the same area we saw a lot of large airplanes. I think this is Edwards Air Force Base.


We continued over the Tehachapi Mountains and got to Bakersfield around 4:00. I was pretty tired from driving so we decided to stop at the River Run RV Park but they were full so we got back on the road and drove to Lost Hills where we stopped at the Lost Hills RV Park.

As we pulled off the freeway at Lost Hills, there was a small traffic jam. I was surprised to see how many trucks and cars were trying to exit here. While we were waiting to get through the traffic, a road runner ran across the road and posed for Patti to get a picture. We have seen several road runners while we were in Arizona but they never stopped long enough to get a picture.


Once we got settled at the RV park we went to dinner at Denny’s; not one of my favorite places to eat but it was convenient.

Friday; Lost Hills to home.

In the morning we filled up the tank on Plan B at the Pilot Station and were on the road by 9:30.

The ride up I-5 was pretty boring as usual. We stopped at a rest stop near where I-580 goes of toward San Francisco. After lunch we continued on I-5 north toward Lodi where we turned west on Highway 12. We followed 12 to I–80 where we turned south and drove for about 3 miles where we got back on 12 heading for Sonoma County.


The closer we got to Santa Rosa the greener the country becomes.


It was refreshing driving through the vineyards even though they are just starting to leaf out.


The California poppies are also starting to come out.


We got home around 3:00 and began unloading the RV. Around 6:00 Joanne and Dave came by. They were in town to help Elisa and Matt get ready for Riley’s first Birthday party.

Riley’s First birthday party.

Saturday morning we continued taking stuff out of the RV.
Around 1:00 we drove over to Elisa and Matt’s to attend the birthday party.

Here are some pictures.

Riley the Birthday Girl.


Playing with her Grandpa;


Mom Elisa, Uncle Ryan, Dad Matt, Uncle Mike and Cousin Logan.


More of the group.



It was fun catching up with relatives after being gone for several months.

Okay that was our trip home. We will be unloading the RV for the next couple of days as we want to put it back in storage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Leaving Quartzsite. 03-24-15


The Palo Verdi’s are blooming and I am having an allergic reaction to them so it is time to leave Quartzsite for the season.


We are giving up our spot here in the Holiday Palms RV Park. The last thing I had to do was to move our shed. We tried to sell it this spring but had no takers so our friend, Dick, said that he would take it to his place and try to sell it for us.

This morning Dick, Robert and Dennis K came over and we loaded the shed onto Dicks trailer.

The following pictures show the loading sequence

First, Dick backed his trailer up close to the shed.


Then we lifted one end of the shed up so Dick could back the trailer up a little more and we set one end on the trailer.


Once we got one end on the trailer


we were able to just shove the shed the rest of the way.


Once on the trailer we followed Dick to his place and unloaded the shed in his front yard.
He will sell it and I’ll get some money from the sale next fall.

Now that the shed is gone we can leave here tomorrow morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Minnie Grand Canyon or Painted Desert, it’s your choice. 03-22-15


Dennis M met us at the fire station north of town around 9:00 and we followed him to the intersection of 95 and 72 where we turned left and met up with his friend, Ron.
From there we drove about two miles toward Parker where we turned left on a dirt road heading toward some mountains and sand hills.


We stopped at a large parking area just outside the Colorado River Indian Reservation that ATV’ers use as a staging area. We left Ron’s truck here and he got into Dennis’s jeep. We drove north through a wash to a trail that climbs up onto the sandy hills.


We climbed a soft sandy trail to the top of the hills. From here we could see highway 72/95 to the east.


To the west we could see the trail winding around the low hills.


We followed this trail for a while.


Enjoying the views to the west where we could see the farmland between the hills and the Colorado River.


We followed this narrow trail to a fantastic view of a hidden canyon with spectacular colors and formations. It was like a small version of the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert all in one.


We spent some time here looking into the wash below us and taking it all in.


I really didn’t expect to see something like this behind these otherwise drab sandy hills.
Time and water some times does some amazing things in the desert even though this place is usually dry; the only water coming with infrequent winter rains and the summer monsoons.


The time scale here is some times hard to grasp.

We drove to a couple of other overlooks where we could see into this wash and more colorful canyon walls.


Eventually we worked our way into the wash and viewed the walls of the canyons from a different perspective.



We continued driving near the cliffs into a smaller canyon.


We stopped at a place where the jeeps could go no further.


From here we had to walk into a narrow steep sided gorge.


The gorge got narrower as we continued walking.

In some places it looked like a tunnel going into the mountain but it was still open to the sky.


I took a side canyon for a little ways but came back to the main one and joined the others.


Here is Patti exploring the canyon with us.


Eventually we came to a place where the way became very steep with lots of boulders we would have had to climb over to continue. We turned around here but the canyon continued.


We arrived back at the jeeps and drove out of the painted canyon and eventually got back to the highway and headed for home. There is more to explore here but it will have to wait for another time.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jeep Safari day 3 & 4 03-19-15


Day 3 March 17:

We had breakfast at The Prospectors Mall in Crown King.


After breakfast we checked out of Bradshaw Mountain Guest Ranch.


Leaving Crown King we headed southeast taking the back way from Crown King.


As we dropped down to a lower elevation we left the thick forest behind and entered more brush land with more open views.


As we traveled along we saw occasional old mining camps off in the brush.


From the road we could see down into a deep canyon. We could see a stream and evidence of past occupation in the bottom of the canyon.


As we got closer, a lot of rock construction became evident.


We crossed the stream and stopped to investigate the structures.


It turned out to be the Oro Belle Mine. We wandered round the area for a while trying to figure out what all the rock structures were for, without much success.


There was also a lot of large pipe running around the place but we couldn’t decide what they doing with it.


There was so much brush covering everything that It was hard to see anything but small pieces of structures peeking out of the brush.


We continued down the canyon, some times driving in the creek.


Eventually we climbed up another mountain.


As we drove along we passed a lot of wild flowers and cactus ‘s blooming.

I don’t know what these are but they are pretty.


We thought these were Hedgehog Cactus but they turned out to be Cup Cactus.


We also passed some interesting rock formations.


Road side repairs:

The tailpipe hanger on my jeep had broken on the trip to Prescott so when we were there I wired it up. On the ride from Crown King the wire broke again so when we stopped for a break I got under the jeep and tried wiring it up again.



The repair didn’t stop the rattling of the tail pipe. When we got to Wickenburg I purchased new tailpipe hangers and did a more permanent repair.


We got back on the trail and began running into a lot of traffic coming the other way.
There were jeeps


and several large groups of ATV’s.


Lake Pleasant view, lunch and storm clouds:

After traveling through several valley’s and over mountains we got a great view of Lake  Pleasant to the south.


We stopped for lunch at a turnout along the side of the road.


While we were having lunch we noticed storm clouds building over the mountains.


More rocks, flowers and burros:

After lunch we continued down the mountains, passing more rock formations.


We passed some Lupines and Poppies blooming together.


Near Lake Pleasant we saw a small group of wild Burro’s.


Palm Trees and a Hedgehog cactus in bloom:

We came to a junction and turned north on the dirt road. After a mile or so we saw some large groups of Palm trees.


This turned out to be the site of Castel Hot Springs; now closed to the public.


Further along the trail we passed a clump of Hedgehog cactus in bloom.


No Vulture Mine this time:

It was getting too late to go to the the Vulture Mine on this trip. We were all very tired from the drive so we decided to head for Wickenburg to check into our motel’s.

It was a very long but enjoyable ride from Crown King to Wickenburg.


Day four. 03-17-15. Four wheeling around Wickenburg:

We met the rest of the group at the Super 8 Motel on Hwy 93 and left on our ride at 8:00.
From the motel we drove north on 93. We turned right on Rincon Road.


After a couple of miles we entered the Hassayampa River wash heading for the “Box Canyon”

Here is a map that shows the trail we are on.


We eventually got to where we encountered water in the wash. We forged ahead crisscrossing the river.


We continued up the river through the Box Canyon.


We came to a place where we had to decide whether to proceed or not. There was some concern’s about the possibility of quick sand further ahead.


This is what the canyon looks like from here.


In the end we decided to go for it.


As you can see the bottom was pretty soft.


In some places the water was getting deeper.


Eventually we got through this canyon and left the river.


We drove a little further on the north bank of the river.


Eventually we came to a graded dirt road. Here we had to make another decision; whether to go back via the road or drive back down the river.
Of course, we decided to go back down the river.


Eventually we got to the place where the river disappeared into the sand of the wash.


From here we headed back to Wickenburg where Dick had to get gas to continue the rest of the days ride.
We all reconvened at the McDonald's on Highway 60.


Once everyone had used the restroom and got their ice cream, we headed out for the next trail.

Black Rock mine and the Monte Cristo mine:

From the McDonald’s we drove about a block and turned north on a side street and headed into the hills.


We passed a Brittle Bush and some Hedgehog Cactus blooming.


On the other side of the mountain we could see some rock structures in the valley below us.


This turned out to be the Black Rock mine.


We found a road going into the area and went in to check it out.


Along the side of the trail Patti spotted this non poisonous snake.


We drove around on several trails in the area checking out the ruins.
Patti got a couple nice flower pictures while we were driving around.

Here is a Canadian Thistle.


Some yellow flowers.


After a while we continued down the road to our next stop; the Monte Carlo mine. In this picture you can just see a steel structure above the trees.


As we pulled into the area we could see that the structure was part of the mine.
Near the structure you can see a metal shack.


Inside the shack you can see some hoist equipment.


We checked out the steel structure and the shaft that it was attached to.


Looking into the shaft you can see that tracks are coming out of the hole.


We figured out that the hoist pulled ore cars out of the mine on the rails and dragged them to the top of the structure where they dumped ore into the large shoot where the ore went down the shoot to waiting trucks to be taken some where else to be processed.

This was all very interesting but the high light of the exploration of this sight was when Tom climbed a set of steps to get a better picture of the area and found two Diamond back Rattle snakes under a cactus.
Of course we all had to get pictures of the snakes.
Here is a close up of one of the snakes.


Fortunately the weather was a little cool and the snakes were not very active.

Here is a shot of the tails. At the left of this picture you can see the head of the other snake.


These were pretty large snakes and it is fortunate that they were pretty mellow.

We left the snakes to their mating and headed down the road looking for more adventure.

Along the road we saw another rattler but this one had been run over.


We stopped for lunch at Slim Jim Wash and didn’t see any more snakes.


After lunch we headed back the way we had come and took another trail off to the left.
As we traveled we stopped a few times to take pictures of flowers.

Here are some Hedgehogs.


More Hedgehogs and Brittle bush.


These are desert Penstemon.


I am not sure but I think they are Wishbone-Bush.


After a while we turned around and headed back to Wickenburg where we stopped at the McDonald’s again to air up the tires in preparation for the long drive home.


After airing up we got some gas at the Circle K and got onto Hwy 60 heading west for Quartzsite. As we drove down the highway we could see rain falling from the clouds to the north west.


After we had been at home for a short time around 6:00 it began to rain here.

We had a great time on our four day Jeep Safari and a BIG Thank You to Dennis and Cheryl for organizing and leading the trip!