Monday, April 30, 2018

Homolovi Ruins to Colorado

April 2nd cont...

There is not much camping around the Petrified National Park, so I was happy to see Homolovi Ruins SP was open, at one time it closed down... I called and the ranger told me he had 15 spots still open and I didn't need to reserve one.  Happy Happy!

I got there just as the ranger was about to close...he let me chose my site from the park map, I had made an entry in my travel planning book to ask for site 40 in the non electric side...and I got that one,  right by the bath house and also by the nature trail so I could walk the dogs.  Turned out to be the perfect site for us. 

In the shower I locked the door and while I was in there someone tried the door, it was locked, but then they proceeded to knock and rattle the door again, I said "YO It's locked" I've been watching too much Walt and later I walked dogs. Had an easy dinner of tomato sandwich, deli potato salad from the Green Valley Walmart supply run, and a fresh avocado. Yum! 

April 3rd Day 18th of my journey.
In the morning I set up the table  so the doors could protect my cook site from the wind.  

Once we were packed up I drove to view the ruins...there's 5 sites all together and 2 are open to the public I visited Site I first.  

Not much of the old walls have been unearthed but there is a lot of pottery shards and the waste pieces from point shaping at this site.  

Site II There is more of the ruins exposed and more pottery shards!! Beautiful and it must be extremely strong to have withstood snow, wind, rain etc all these 100's of years! These ruins continue to be important lands to the Hopi Tribe.  Once again no one knows why these villages were abandoned by the Anasazi. You must come to your own conclusions...Alien Abduction works for me. 

the Kiva was a central meeting spot for ceremonies and spiritual activities. 

pottery shards from 1200-1300 AD

There is a lot of wild Burro there...

At this point in the trip I drove Hwy 87 North turned left and to the Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations.  They do live in an awesome landscape.  

Although the tribes are more prosperous now due to oil and gas on their lands, they continue to be humble.  They live a simple life which is what we all strive what's not good about that.  I turned east on Indian Hwy 15, to Indian Wells (for Tony Hillerman readers, Slick Nakai was holding his Baptist Revival in Indian Wells)   


                                                                          old hogan

I  picked up Hwy 191 just north of Cornfields...and then onto Chinle, one of the larger towns on the Navajo Res.  I have visited Canyon De Chelley before so planned no stop there this time; my destination this day is Utah.  The scenery is a destination! Utah should be named the Red Rock State.  

                                                                      Bee Hive Rock, Utah 

Once I got to Bluff I remembered Twin Rocks Trading Post and Cafe!  I would treat myself to a lunch/dinner made by someone else's hand and sit down and eat with knife and fork and napkin!    I have followed the blog  from the Trading Post for quite a few years..I should have gone in and introduced myself but when I peered into the window from the porch there was customers in the store so I went to the cafe next door and had the Veggie Taco Salad on Gray Bread which is like the Fry Bread but not deep fried in Animal Fat it's grilled like Naan Bread.  Delicious but so much I was not able to finish it! Where is the photo of my food? Dang I didn't take one. 

From Bluff to Blanding, then I found the Devil's Canyon Campground a NFS Camp in the Manti-LaSal National Forest...with Seniors discount $5. It was one of the nicest FS camps ever...had a paved road, each site had a cement slab,  a nice big iron picnic table, and a cement fire pit! I don't normally build a fire IF it's buggy or lots of Mosquitoes I will make what I call a gnat smoke..but most of the time I'm too tired to deal with it! I do carry a Firelog with me jic I really want a fire it's just lite and relax and it will burn up to 4 hrs! 

Got in sort of early like 4 pm had already had my dinner and so I fed the dogs and gave them a nice long time off leash in the closed section.  I met some ladies in their mid 70's who had rented one of those new Ford Van's the Econoline? And they were camping and visiting the National Parks of the West like Mom and I did back in the 90's.  They were from Maryland and Delaware.  Strange I met 2 groups of ladies from Delaware! So the funny thing was when I opened the box to get my camping form to fill in, there was an envelope in there with cash in it! Ooops someone had dropped their money in the out box not the in box! Campsite 8... it was they laughed and asked "can you tell we're new at this?" I just didn't want someone to steal their money and then the Ranger might check and see no payment from site never knows...

on the road in Utah, the LaSal Range. 

April 4th day 19

Not many birds there at all...too cold!  We loaded up after breakfast and headed north on 191.  Once we got to Highway 211, I turned left.  My destination another Newspaper Rock the one most people are familiar with...once again a spot I had planned many times to turn off and see... and finally I am! 

It's really amazing!  So many petroglyphs!  I took my photos and turned back if you keep going on this road you come to Canyonlands National Park, I visited  in 2011.  You can actually see it from this high vantage point...

On the way back down we took a side road up to Foy Lake...figured to have a dog walk and a snack so we did...

                                                            Flickr Ate my Photo

After this break we headed back north on Hwy 191...
more roadside beauty along the way...

Including Wilson's Arch

Once we got into and through Moab, once a very quaint it's discovered

and once through Moab, Hwy 128  is another found jewel...over crowded and over used...but still beautiful.   The highway follows the Colorado River and the views are stunning can hardly blame anyone who wants to discover it. 

Just one after the other...eye popping awesome. 


And we found this...

We stopped here for rest and a dog walk...Then continued on...before  you know it
I was on I-70 east and pulled into my sister's home about 5 pm.  
Wonderful dinner and sleeping in a really comfy bed with heat was sooooo nice.  You really appreciate the comforts of a home when you do without it for a while...

So nice to see Evening Grosbeaks right up in the trees outside her windows!  A flock of 6 or so showed up to pick through the blooming trees. 

Beginning Mileage 218912
Ending Mileage 223040
4,128 miles 
Thank you all for following along and all your encouraging comments!  Next up real time! 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


 Madera & Heading North

March 31 con't 

After a fine visit with Jo I had to resupply! Into Green Valley to the Walmart I went.  My Coleman air bed sprung a leak and so I had to find a replacement...I bought it in 2011 it gave me plenty of service.  Walmart was sold out of the Coleman I I got an el'cheapo to do for now...and by the time I got outta there it was 5 pm me.  I had heard of this good birding trail in Tubac..(Santa Gertrudis Lane) part of the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail!  

Only 20 miles south on I-19  I figured I might find a place to camp down there so I took off.  
Found the birding trail 

and some "bird nerds" ... gave me a tip on camping.  

there is a lot of old cars dumped here? 

Right away we had 3 Rufous Backed Robins on the trail they were ahead of me so the birds flushed across the river the nerds pointed them out I saw them retreating so no photo...but A decent enough naked eye to call it as seen...then before I could recover Bam.. a Lucy's Warbler in the Willow.  Yes please! (lifer)

Down the trail they spotted a Yellow Warbler and I zeroed in on a Wren but I don't know if it was the Sinaloa that was on everyone's radar and a continuing rare bird...I didn't see the face or neck period just a brown rear end of a wren dart down into the heavy cover right by the river's edge.  Probably was it, because I have not seen any other wrens reported there...but I just didn't get a good look at it. 

...the Santa Cruz the wren dropped down into that  green foliage by the river. I did try pishing etc but he never showed after about 10 mins trying...

So I didn't even mention it since I had basically run it aground...they had gone on up the trail.  We had 2 Bridled Titmouse, and couple of soaring Hawks that I never actually saw, and soon I turned back exhausted! MY day had started at just before sunrise and now I was whacked!

there is a bridled in there somewhere!

I found the county park they had described but it turned out not to be the place for me, several men chugging beer and BBQing so I headed back up to Madera Canyon, and found a nice boondock off one of the dirt roads just before you actually enter the was already dark when I got there, no cows, no company just me and the dogs.  I had a quick sandwich, walked the dogs, pumped up the new air bed, and turned in!

Guess you think Im done with Madera Canyon...but 

April 1,
 Easter...yes I had completely forgotten...when I tried to go up to the Day Use area to fill our water bottles we ended up in a long line of people who wanted to have an Easter cook out and an egg hunt, at 6:30 AM! And they filled the picnic areas to over flowing.  In fact they closed the park! Somehow I was tangled up in the flow so I went as far South as I could on Madera Canyon Rd to Writgtson's Picnic Area and the Old Baldy Trail head.  I  heard rumors the Trogon had been pushed all the way down by birders yesterday so I figured I would give it one more shot...

                                                                 Mexican Jay

The Old Baldy and the Carrie Nation Trails split after about 1/3 the way up very steep and rocky...
Once again the barking....grrrrrrrrrr I was lucky to find a spot to park!

I took the right hand trail Carrie Nation...on the way up I met a few others who were going for the same last ditch effort...and when I ran into a group of preteens wearing flip flops on a rocky trail that has just whipped my butt...I figured I was wasting my time...they were making selfies and screaming and giggling, so I turned back.  On the way back I ran into my Delaware lady friends...they had seen the Trogon on Wednesday so they were just trying to get off the beaten and away from the crowds. They were staying in one of the lodge cabins.  They did have a target bird but for the life of me I can't recall what it was! If it's in your budget I'd suggest staying with the Santa Rita lodge all the areas are within walking distance.  I can imagine as the spring moves on lots of awesome birds arrive, I would not suggest going on any holiday weekend!

There is a day use fee but it's waived by the Access or Seniors pass and a few other passes.  Green Valley is about 10 miles away and you will find everything you can think of there.  

Back to the trail, Ruby Crowned Kinglets and Yellow Rump Warblers had all of us busy...then I saw what I know as a Strickland's Woodpecker.  The only Brown Woodpecker!  Now a days it is called the Arizona Woodpecker.  I was thrilled--> Lifer!  I went away without the Williamson's Sapsucker I wanted and the Elegant Trogon but I was happy with what I did see. 

a backlit Arizona Woodpecker. 

Half way back I walked with a young man named Elon, I don't know if this is the way he spells his name, what a fine young fellow! He said he met me for some reason and at some point that reason would be!
I left and continued out the Canyon and north toward's Tucson and and Hwy 77 to Oracle and then on through Globe and into the Salt River Canyon. 

WOW eye popping scenry all around..Just amazing. 

lunch stop along the salt river canyon

While driving this area my odometer did this! 

should of played the lotto?

When I got to Show Low I was really tired and annoyed with the Urban Sprawl that just went on for miles and miles, it was the same fast food and retail stores over and over...felt I'd never get out of there...I had intended to stay at Fool's Hollow it being April fool's day and all but the fool would have been me $20 for a primitive site?? Way too high for my taste so I hit the Sitegraves National Forest and had a Free Site for the night.  

Another late to camp day with time to walk the dogs, make a meal and lock up for another cold night we had frost on the ground when we awoke at just barely sunrise...I'm still on Eastern time and AZ doesn't do Daylight Savings so keeping up with what day and what time it is became a hardship! My old phone had the date right on the front my new! So I kept asking people what day is it...and they gave me that look.  

April 2, 
After giving the dogs breakfast and making my own I walked around to see what birds were around found some House Finch, a Downy Woodpecker, and Pygmy Nuthatches! The are very much like our Brown Headed back home only smaller. 

pygmy nuthatch

I left on Hwy 77 North and stopped in Snowflake to get my oil changed.  The dogs would not let the tech get in the van period! So I drove it in and got it lined over the grease pit, and I got no vacuum service and only exterior window discount tho...I was actually about 1,000 past due for the oil change...They had fresh popped corn in the waiting area so I had a bag I think that's the first time in my life I had popcorn at 10:00 am it was however delicious if I had a theater room I'd def get one of those counter top pop corn machines like the one they had. 

Back on the highway we stayed on 77 North toward Holbrook, AZ. be continued...--->

Every day is a new Adventure.