Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Montezuma Castle

About an hour and a half north of Phoenix is a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling built in the 12th century by native Americans...

Location, Location, Location

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10

After receiving the new software, the first thing I tried was creating one of those photos that is black & white except for one area of color...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Desert Museum & The "Boneyard"

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a "must see" while you are in the Tucson area.  Be sure to catch the Raptor Live Flight show at 10:00.  They have birds of prey fly literally inches from your head (I dare you not to duck).

The "Boneyard" is actually the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where the military currently has ~4,000 aircraft mothballed.  The only way to tour the base is via a bus from the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


After two days of rain (and I thought I was in a desert), we were rewarded with a rainbow...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Arizona Roadrunner

On a recent hike in the desert, I was able to get a photo of this fast moving roadrunner...

No sign of Wile E Coyote, however.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a wonderful state park just west of Superior, AZ.  Encompassing 323 acres, the Arboretum is Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden.  There are over 300 species of cacti and succulents here that grow in a myriad of shapes and sizes.  Click on photos to enlarge.

Gambel's Quail (note feather on forehead)

Effective Signage

Picket Post House

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Biosphere2 and Pima Air & Space Museum

Biosphere2 is a unique facility for environmental research that contains recreations of five of the Earth's biomes.

The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, and the largest non-government funded aviation museum. You'll see more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft including many of the most historically significant and technically advanced craft ever produced, both from the United States and throughout the world.  Unfortunately, I ran out of time and was unable to take the bus tour of the “Boneyard” at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  I will have to catch it on my next trip to Tucson.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Salt River Canyon

A winter storm dumped snow at elevations above 5,000 feet so I headed to the mountains and the Salt River Canyon (~40 miles northeast of Globe, AZ).  The drive was not as scenic as I had hoped but it was still good to get out after a cold, rainy weekend in the Phoenix area.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kitt Peak National Observatory & Saguaro National Park

The Kitt Peak National Observatory (56 miles southwest of Tucson) has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes along with two radio telescopes.  For $550/night you can have access to one of their optical telescopes for your own use (I am going to wait until the Swedish bikini team comes to town).  The twelve mile road up the mountain is worth the ride in of itself with spectacular views to the distant horizon.

View from the top of the mountain (~7,000 feet)

Optical telescopes

World's largest solar telescope

2.1 meter telescope

The Saguaro National Park is a great way to get up close and personal with the cacti of the Sonoran Desert.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apache Trail

Highway 88 (a/k/a Apache Trail) out of Apache Junction is a curvy, scenic road up through the mountains to the Roosevelt Dam.  Unfortunately, it turns into an unpaved, washboard road that although doable on a street bike, would be an uncomfortable ride.  Just outside of Apache Junction is Goldfield, a replica of an old western mining town.

A live reptile exhibit & bordello - what more could a guy ask for

Roosevelt Dam

Highway 88 dead ends into Highway 188.  If you make a right and drive a few miles, you will see the Tonto National Monument which features a native indian cliff dwelling.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Bite the Wieeenie" Ride

Yesterday, I met Brian & Brenda, Marc & Dee, and Ken in Chandler, AZ for the purpose of riding to Pink's in Hollywood, CA and standing in line for a half hour at midnight to eat a hotdog.  Bikers must have some mutant gene that causes this kind of bizarre behavior.  My initial concern was not the distance (~500 miles) but whether I could remain awake past 10:00 pm.  Fortunately, I made it through the bewitching hour and met some nice people in the process.

The unusual suspects


More crazy bikers

For a better idea of what it is all about, here's a link to the 2010 "Bite the Wieeenie" Ride To Eat

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter Home

The Arizonian Travel Trailer Resort in Gold Canyon, AZ will be my home for the next four months.  It is close enough to metropolitan areas that I can find pretty much anything I want but far enough out in the country as to not be congested.  There is an active ATV community here and you can drive out the back gate right up into the mountains.  Perhaps, Santa will bring me an off highway vehicle for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Desert Camping

Just so I could say "been there, done that", I drove seven miles south of Quartzsite to spend a couple of nights on BLM land out in the desert.  It was a wonderful experience - very quite, very peaceful.  My nearest neighbors were over a quarter mile away.  The best part was sitting out under the night sky and gazing at the millions of stars that I remembered seeing as a boy growing up in rural North Carolina.

Wide open spaces


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Quartzsite, AZ

Not in Kansas anymore
Is the "Rock Capital of the World" and a winter haven for RVers.  I am told that in January and February over a million snowbirders descend upon this small town in the desert for the two month show and swap meet.  In addition to warm, sunny weather, there is a lot of BLM land where you can dry camp free for two weeks.

The vendors are just beginning to arrive but it is obvious that this area will become one gigantic flea market by the end of the year.  If you like rockhounding, boondocking, off-highway riding, and shopping, then this is the place for you.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Lake Havasu City

Home of the London Bridge...

Friday, November 04, 2011

Rock Crawling

I attended my first "rock crawling" event today.  For the uninitiated rock crawling is an extreme form of off-road driving using modified/customized four wheel drive vehicles to go up the side of rocks that would scare the hell out of a mountain goat.  I was told that a high end machine could cost over $100,000.