Sunday, May 31, 2009


Sunday afternoon, a great time for a drive above 10k feet. We saw lots and lots of Mule Deer, some Elk and various other species as we leisurely gathered up a little fire wood for camp.
At one point along our drive we came across this sign:

As thunder snow storms threatened we took our little jag of fire wood and retreated down the mountain to camp. Maybe it's time for a nap after such a tough day in the outdoors !

Friday, May 29, 2009


Hominy Snow pelts the Jeep and acumilates on the road as we near the summit of Osier Pass ( 10,300 ft )at the Cumbres and Toltec railroad station. It is remote and difficult to get to, but worth the effort. It is a Jeep friendly 30 mile dirt and rock, round trip. We were in the ditch once but were able to drive out.


Dillon, being his usual cool self as we build a campfire, warm wash water and start lunch to cooking. He, he, now that's multitasking !

Multitasking and other stuff. We have been busy. We have water on at the Campground but don't have the test results back yet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This giant Ponderosa Pine Tree stands silent vigil over our campsite. It has been tested by the USFS and found to be well over 100 years old. This morning during our sunrise walk, Dillon and I paused to take in the majesty of this ancient behemoth that guards our camp daily.
The American flag and the US Forest service flaf flutter merrily and the morning dew sparkles as the sun's rays begin to warm things up. Say, is that pancakes and Bacon that I smell ?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Twenty miles to the nearest labanderia or laundromat and twenty back. The large washer costs $4. per load, then there is drying costs, ect..
We don't want to spend our day off doing laundry, so, we do it in camp. Yep just like granma' used to do. If ya' aint' never done it before it might seem complicated, but for hill folks it jest' comes nachurl !
The blackened, from heating water over the fire, small tub doesn't have a size number on the bottom, you know, like the one that Granny Clampet hung on the back of the truck for the journey to Beverly Hills. Hers was a #3 wash tub and had that number on the bottom. Ours is quite a bit smaller and has no njumber on the bottom. It is often referred to as a foot tub or a peck bucket. Most of the other stuff is pretty much self explanitory.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Zapata Falls is a rough hike wearing flip flops ! Though it is only 1/2 mile up hill to the falls, the trail is strewn with round smooth rocks that can easily turn an ankle. The falls is worth the effort, and is the kind of remote and wild places that we like.
On the post that holds the sign in the photo, some eco idiot had written " ranchers take all of this water into a pipe 100' below here !
Well, DUH ! Looney toon ! Animals and people need water and that is how this part of the world was developed. He, he, sorry for the soap box speil, I sometimes get tired of being looked down upon because I am willing to use nature's resources to survive on.
The road to Trujillo Meadows is open now, but the water system isn't up and running yet. We are still at Aspen Glade.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Located between Aspen glade campground and Trujillo Meadows Campground is La Manga Pass. To get over it you must climb three thousand feet in five miles. It is steep and crooked. We got our brakes to stinkin', on our first trip down it pulling our Ollie. Here is a look from a different trip, climbing this time, without our Ollie in tow, it is some of the most beautiful scenery !

Saturday, May 23, 2009


On the way to see if we could get into Trujillo Meadows campground, snow had been too deep, we came across this. We get a close up look at a bighorn sheep, here's the video:


This is the current home of the biggest trout I have ever caught in my lifetime !


This is our first look at our campground for the up coming Summer season. Three days ago we couldn't get in, the road was blocked by a stuck 4x4. Today we made it and shot this short video of the host's campsite:


Conejos. The first Spanish explorers saw so many rabbits here they named it Conejos, or, Rabbits.
This is the oldest Church in Colorado.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009


We arrived in Chama Nm this afternoon, dumped tanks, bought a few groceries and headed up to Cumbres pass. The pass is open and the steam train has work crews out getting ready for the Holiday weekend that is coming up.
The forest service road that climbs up to Trujillo Meadows was open so we just naturaly drove up it, dragging the Jeeps under carriage and the Ollie's axle in deep snow occasionaly.
We were within 1/4 of a mile of the campground, the gate is still closed, when the road was blocked by a Jeep Cherokee 4x4, stuck in deep snow, in the middle of the road. A Dodge 4x4 was trying to pull it out, but had broken its small nylon straps. We dug out our recovery strap and they got the job done. Here is what it looked like when we arrived. After they were out they helped direct us in a multiple cut back and forth to get us turned around.

We will spend the night at the Cumbres steam engine station, at ten thousand and twenty two feet of elevation.
Another look at the "high centered" in the snow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


In the heat of the day, ( 85*, he, he, yeah, right )it seemed like a good enough excuse for Uncle Roscoe to whup up a batch of his fine homemade ice cream. Now, Roscoe don't need much of an excuse to drag out that famious old machine of his, the one that many of the kin folks have sat around waiting for it to grind to a stop as the ice cream finished making. Though 85* wasn't very warm at all, it was good enough for The home made ice cream master to do his thing ! Here is a look at the master in action:
Is there an art to it ? You bet ! Watch Roscoe at work:

Monday, May 18, 2009


Size matters. We've all seen the Tv commercials and the decals on the back of pickup trucks, well, here is the open pit copper mine equivalent:

You see a haul truck sitting in the bed of a newer and larger haul truck, but the bed it is sitting in is by no means the largest one out there.

In this photo, the Jeep and Ollie look larger than they actually are because they are sitting aproximately twenty yards closer to the camera. In reality, the Ollie and Jeep would both fit in the bed off of that size of haul truck with lots of room left over. Here are the actual specs on the truck and bed:

Now, in an underground copper mine, sometimes size goes the other way. In this photo you are looking at a compressed air powered train engine. It is low to the ground and built very compact, the operator just kind of hangs on, sitting on a small board when operating the controlls.

Smaller yet, this ore car is hand operated and rolls on narrow gauge tracks.
So depending on the situation, size does matter, but, larger ain't always better. He, he, ok, now, guys, no charge for that line ! Feel free to use it as needed.


We have watched it in Sci-Fi movies, viewed television doccumentarys about it, and, passed it on the highway out in the dessert near Socorro New Mexico quite often. But, folks, let me tell you, it is worth the time to drive up for a visit. It is open to the public most week days. The impressive Very Large Array is visible from space and can be seen here on Earth for as far as the naked eye can see. I wonder if all of these powerful radio telescope antennas were focused on a black hole deep in outer space, in another galaxy, could we hear that giant sucking sound that Ross Perot used to talk about ? Here is a video of the site:

Saturday, May 16, 2009



We arrived here Saturday afternoon about 1400 hours. It was quite a climb up through Prescott, Pine and Strawberry, and we certainly knew that we were towing with a 3.8 liter V6. The Jeep handled it but did not excell at it. However, when we topped out at the rim, and had to hunt a unoccupied campsite, ( it is the weekend and it is very hot down in the Valley of the sun ), we found one readily, that required higher than usual ground clearance to get into. The patience with the Jeep's smaller engine paid off at this point !
So, the question is, how did we know which of the many narrow, rough, side roads to try ?
Tracks, pure and simple. Tracks will tell ya'. You watch the pavement where vehicles have pulled out onto the highway. The Higher 4X4 pickups that pull horse trailers make a wider turn onto the highway and encroach into the other lane a bit. They have rough tread tires on all four corners and with any luck when the trailer tires bump as they hit the pavement a bit of horse manure will be there to verify your findings.
We set up camp and a pickup truck came slowly down the road. It was a Turkey hunter and his son, they went past our camp a ways to set up to call a Turkey. They said that they will be out just after dark. I need to be drinking coffee and listening for gobbling in the morning !

As with many National Forest roads, it has a wire gate and is numbered 8384A and turns south off of highway 87, the General Crook Trail. The coordinates for the campsite are:
34*28.861 North
111*27.409 West
We are at 7 thousand feet elevation, it is just after 8 PM, the shadows are getting long and blurred, the temperature has dropped to the mid 70's already, it's gona' be cool tonite !
Betty has built a campfire, and is calling me, more later . . . .
Well, it's later now. We slept with all of the windows open and had a good night's sleep. We woke up to 51*. I stepped out into the pre dawn cool to listen for the elusive wa-ha-lo-te ( you know I have spelled that wrong ), the Western wild Turkey, and heard only the faint sighing of the breeze in the pines. I did take this photo though:

So, what is the plan for today ? He, he, ain't got none ! We will poke, prod, piddle, and mutt around as we explore the Beautiful Mogollon Rim. Who knows, we may find that perfect campsite, you know the one, it has the million dollar view, for free !

Friday, May 15, 2009


Dudleyville, Arizona, a tiny little community on the banks of the Gila River. Nearby historic location of a calvary outpost on the border between Old Mexico and the U.S..
That was before the Gadsen purchase put the Mexico/US border much further South. This tiny bedroom community for the large mining operations nearby has five full bars of 1XEVDO available. We can even stream down movies if we wish to !
We use the internet for so many things that when today I realized that I needed two phone numbers of US Post offices, I didn't even give it a thought, I just automaticly brought up the numbers and entered them into the cell phone. The reason was that our mail has been going to Chama ever since the day we left Home. Chama is the nearest Post Office to our workamper job ( the one we can't get into because the snow is so deep ) and our water bill for the home in Arkansas is on it's way there. We are in Arizona muttin' around, visitin' kin, ect..
So, here we are in Arizona, the job is in Colorado and the water bill that needs paying has left Arkansas enroute to New Mexico.
I am now begining to have a better appreciation for the package delivery solution that the TECHNOMADIA'S were looking for a few short weeks ago.
We have not had a "landline" telephone or internet connection for many months now and felt that we had most of the "bugs" worked out with that, but, then a "bump in the road" requires a little more smoothing.
We have been visiting with kinfolks, sleeping too late, eating too much, geocaching and napping. Not necessarily in that order. You might have noticed the book laying on the bed in the background. It is RAISING THE HUNLEY, by Hicks & Kropf. The Hunley is a Confederate submarine in the Civil war. I spent many hours in the area and have had a keen intrest in the search for and raising of the Hunley. Reading the book has been particularly pleasing and was made more so by the hand clipped, of the period newspaper articles placed inside by BUFFALOBOB's Mom. Thanks Robert for the use of this book !
Our visits have been great, but the snow that has kept us from the Colorado job is melting daily and we will soon point the Jeep in that direction.
In this photo it shows todays inside and outside temperature and the time. Yepper, that's why I am inside writing to the blog. Click the photo for a better view:

We are already talking about a campsite up on the Mogollon Rim at 7000 feet of elevation. Now, that aught to make us pull covers at night !

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It's not there any more, the place where as a youth I caught and befrended an ancient burro that had been turned loose from an life of drudgery down in a mine. The burro that carried me into ever widening circles of adventures miles away from home in the Pinal Mountains of the high Sonoran dessert in Arizona.
The twin towns were named Sonora and Ray. The Hispanic workers of Kennecott Copper Company lived in Sonora. The Anglo workers lived in Ray. Each town had it's own elementary school, but both towns went to High School in Ray.
Many of life's hard earned lessons were awarded to this rowdy and rough Mountainborn boy. But some of the coolest things was learned from those friends that lived in Sonora. We traded bologna and mayonaise sandwiches for buritos at lunch time and traded stories of our cultures during dusty school yard recesses.
Sonora and Ray are not there any more. But the memories remain.
A very large open pit copper mine has swallowed both towns. Every time I am in the area, without fail, I go look down into that deep pit, reflecting on the past. Take a look with me if you please:

Teapot Mountain in the distance, taken from the open pit mine overlook.

Teapot Mountain.

Ray open pit mine.

Sonora memorial plaque.

Shovel bucket, tire and wheel for a Haul Truck. Look how small our camper looks beside it !

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


One of the very oldest Missions in America, located on Mission Road between Tucson and Sahurita Arizona.