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.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hoover Dam

The new bridge by-pass is a great way to view and photograph the dam.  You can still ride across the dam on the old highway but you will have to go through a security check point.  On a bike it is no problem but enclosed vans, trucks, and RVs are pulled over and inspected.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fremont Street Halloween Night

Fremont Street is an interesting place any night of the week but on Halloween it gets a little freaky...

Light display video...

And for my cousin, Chris, who prefers "Dancing Girls" over the magnificent vistas of our national parks...