Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Gift from the past.

yesterday, out hiking to enjoy the setting sun and the cool temps (in the low 60's), stumbled across this :)  of course, had to share with you all.   Always a good thing to have the chance of finding something special when you walk!

to find one so small, was quite a surprise. I thought the first one I found was small, and it was twice this size.. but this is a great find in my humble opinion ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finding the dream again

I just like the title dont know that its all the informative for folks though...   

In the old days, the days Pre Truck.. I used to have a recurring dream... that of flight.. Not with a vehicle, not with any type of machinery or destination.. just the ability to fly.    At the time, I simply enjoyed the dreams, not trying to assign any meaning to them or reason behind them..  Those dreams are gone and I miss them!

I think they have left me because I did fly.. I left behind my old life and changed everything about how I was living, so that particular escape valve isn't needed anymore... but I miss the feelings i would get in those dreams.

Compared to the life I lived, I am free.. free from alot of the tensions and stress, free from the strife and striving that I used to carry with me like a stone on my back.. so I guess it's understandable that the dream has faded.. but since they are coming back into my memory.. perhaps there is more freedom ahead for me again!

I have been mostly off the road for the past year+.. I think it's what I needed to do, with family getting sick, and me needing to be able to respond as needed for them.  but that too is past at this point and I miss the road, Not the driving, but the frequent change of scenery, New areas to hike, finding forageable plants as I wander.  Lately, have been cleaning out the truck and trying to pare down what will go with me again.. since I havent been living in it, it's been storage space and has way to much stuff in it.. so thats the first job!  slowly I'm making inroads, with a tentative time of November/December to be mobile with it again.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Valley Loop, Superstition Mountains Az

The Garden Valley loop is a good trail for an early summer morning, or anytime during the cooler parts of the year,

to get there you head to the First Water Trailhead which is not far down a dirt road from Hwy 88, the Apache Trail, there are signs on the road to help you get there.

Latitude: 33.4778257
Longitude: -111.4398534

the trail winds it’s way along a predominately stone trail, so a flatter area with decent enough soil for there to be a good variety of desert plants, during the rainey season, and in the spring after a wet year, you may well see a bit of bloom from the desert plants.  Also, if you look closely you might just find pottery sherds and the ruins of a prehistoric stone house in the area.

The trail is pretty easy to follow, no supplemental maps need to be taken with in my opinion. round trip runs just under 5 miles.   IF you do try it when the heats on TAKE PLENTY OF WATER. I made the mistake once of not taking enough, and on top of that, did the Black Mesa loop(much longer) after getting to Garden Valley.. I was wiped out by the time I got back to the truck(so was Tori), and I wouldn’t wish anyone else to go through that!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lyman Lake State Park, Az.

Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico.
Because of its size, Lyman Lake is one of the few bodies of water in northeastern Arizona with no size restrictions on boats. The west end of the lake is buoyed off and restricted as a no wake area (5 mph) for the sake of the fisherman and those who like the quiet water (canoe, kayak) The fishery consists of walleye, channel catfish and largemouth bass.
Lyman Lake really comes into its own during the spring, summer, and fall. Summer days, with temperature highs in the 80's to low 90's, are perfect for fishing, swimming, leisure boating, water-skiing, hiking or just plain relaxing.
In addition to the water activities available, there are a few trails you can take in the area to Indian petroglyphs, and an old pueblo.
Getting to Lyman Lake is pretty straight forward, it’s on the east side of Highway 191 between the towns of St Johns, and Springerville Az.  the surrounding area is hilly, but not a lot of trees, so sometimes there's a bit of a wind rollin through the area.  The park is only open part of the year, and this year it will be opening up on June 15th to Sep 17th.
Now, the downside.. unfortunately, being a state park, there are fees involved.. I try to avoid those, but sometimes it’s worth a days fee to spend some time in a special area.. being that this is the largest lake along the cooler ‘rim’ area, sometimes it’s worth it..
the fees are based per vehicle, at 7$, or 3$ for a bike. 
Camping fees are as follows:
Camping Fees:
Cabin Rental: $55
Yurt Rental: $40
Electric, water, sewer site: $30
Electric/water site: $27
No Hookups: $20
Fee Schedule

Another great place to see on your Arizona Explorations 

Prehistory of the Area: Rattlesnake Point Pueblo & Petroglyph Trail

Lyman Lake re-opening May 24

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tombstone AZ

Tombstone, just one of many places you can discover in your Arizona Explorations!
(Contributed by Christina Ballee')

Today, Tombstone is the most well-known mining site in the state of Arizona. It was discovered in the late 1800s and established by Ed Schieffelin. It produced millions of dollars worth of profit in silver. As far as the size of Tombstone, it at one time had between 15,000-20,000 residents and was said to have been the fastet growing town between St. Louis and San Francisco! Interestingly enough there were 2 fires that almost destroyed the town, but it is still around and thriving today. It boasts a post office that was established at the town’s conception, that is still working today.
But just because it is a “ghost town”, doesn't mean that it is devoid of action! Tombstone now has many thriving businesses, restaurants, and hotels. Not only that...but many of the original buildings still stand. One such building is the Birdcage Theater, which was the most popular Honkey Tonk of it's day. It is still used, but by county and civic officials. 
You can find this town about 30 minutes Northeast of Sierra Vista.

So go visit this uniquely historic site that is a jewel in the cap of Arizona’s rich history!

Tombstone has alot of history behind it, you can find alot of details and further information at the Tombstone Web

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fruitless Exploration

Howdy folks Smile

was feeling restless the other day (heck, a lot of time lately), so decided to see just how accurate my mapping software was.. I use Delorme Topo 8.0, and overall I’m pretty happy with it.  using their netlink, can download digital aerial photos for both use in the software and in my Delorme GPS.

well, I made a route for it from my base to the town of Holbrook Az, and headed out…  Let me tell ya.. the ‘roads’ that I was going down probably hadnt seen a vehicle in many years.. made it 30 + miles before I turned around.. in the bottom of a very sandy deep wash.  it taught me to take what the maps tell me with a grain of salt <grin>  was a fun day though.

Events for May 19th!


131st Annual Pioneer Days

Today through July 24
St. Johns, Az
Dutch oven cooking lessons, basketball & golf tournaments, storytelling, dances, fishing derby, parade, campfire circle, rodeos, ice cream social, BBQ, 928-337-2000


2012 Ameri-CAN
Canned Craft Beer Festival
Date: May 19th, 2012
Time: noon-6pm

“Thanks for always thinking of The Brew Bros, I got your press release for the AmeriCan Canned Beer Festival and am stoked to promote the crap out of it.
Last year’s event was the best beer festival I have ever attended and really look forward to this year. Prost!”

– Patrick Schroeder
at the Brew Bros

Scottsdale Civic Center - 3939 North Drinkwater Boulevard Scottsdale, AZ 85251



Arizona Barbecue Festival



Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
May 19+20, 2012
11am-7pm, both days


The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Birdwalks!

  • Dates: Saturdays in May, June, and July
  • Time: 7:30–9:00 AM
  • Cost: Free



Lowell Observatory Daily tours

1400 West Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

  • Admission Info

  • Tickets: $6/Adult, $5/Seniors Students AAA Members, $3/Youth

    Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 5:30pm-9:30pm

  • Friday, May 18, 2012

    Cheap Shelter

    Howdy folks,

    have had a few folks request pics of the winter shelter I built for myself.. what I now refer to as my home base..

    happy to provide those to you now

    first, the basic site selected.  chosen because it was on a south facing slope on the property, at he top of the drainage, so I wouldn't have to worry about water running into the 'dig'.

     this is how I went about digging it out.. picked up the cart at Home Depot.  I made a mistake in it's purchase to be honest, I should have just picked up a wheel barrow instead.

    After digging out the interior area, small enough so that I didn't require a building permit, I purchased some 4X4's and used some concrete to install them as supports.  dug each hole down about 18" for stability, then ran boards around the outer edges for a frame for the roof.. also ran 2X4's across the roof with a 23" separation.  I should have gone with 16" as that seems to be more common for rolls of insulation.  Then I put up tar paper and metal sheets for runoff purposes.

    after that, to enclose the shelter I simply purchased OSB Sheathing, which was under 8$ a sheet and enclosed it!
    for a while, I simply used a spare sheet of OSB as a door, when I left I would screw it down over the opening.. the side walls (above dirt level) are simply cut and laid against the frame of the roof, not even nailed on.  the walls from the inside are primarily dirt, I haven't bothered to cover them up yet..  pretty much, that's how it sits today.  I did install a wood stove, and a window to make it easier to be inside during the winter (it got dark in there!)
    I have been through snow storms, high winds, 90 degree days, its working fine :)  still can do more to tweak it, but don't feel like there's a rush to get anything done, total cost including gas for the 120 mile round trip to Home Depot is under 1500, cost of the land about 3500... so for under 5k, I have a place I can be sheltered and undisturbed if I so choose :)

    Missin the Road!

    Howdy folks :)  now that I've been stationary for a while.. coming up on a year and a half!  I find that I'm restless again.. might be time to hit the road for a couple weeks in the little truck.

    only downside to that is that I wouldnt be taking my solar or have the luxury of 'unlimited' power with my battery bank... but since I upgraded it all to enable me to have as much juice as I want.. I find myself less and less interested in being on the computer or even listening to the radio... Thas a hard thing for me.. I have basically been a gaming addict since the early 80's, and it wasnt uncommon for me to spend 10 to 12 hours a day on it even when I worked for a living on my days off.

    Now.. I just dont find myself attracted to it anymore.. but what can I do to fill all those hours??  have wandered for miles in all direction of my base now, have taken some drives to explore areas farther away yet still local.. heck, now and then I'll go to lunch even though thats an hour drive each way, at the least!

    so considering packing the little truck and heading somewhere...

    and just for eye candy

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    The little things in life

    Finally.. after having thought of it for a couple years.. picked up a French Press for coffee in the morning.  Had tried using a conventional percolating coffee pot, and it took to long to get crankin to brew.. with the option to simply boil water and put it in the press for a bit, will help me save on fuel, and give me the option of NOT having to have instant coffee anymore!!!  Thank to Brian for introducing me to them a couple years ago in the mountains :)

    Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Battery Update

    I think I get to learn the other side of the 'overkill' equation...  before, I was running a small battery bank, and an overkill on the solar panels for that size bank.. frequently my batteries werent able to accept all that my controller could send them during the day.

    well, since the new bank installation, I have yet to see the 'Float' light on the controller come on!  they are getting a good charge, and pulling in the power at 14.4v, which is great, but they are taking all that it puts out.. when you look at the numbers, thats not suprising, but I never considered that.  8 batteries taking in 16amp at the end of the day is only 2 amps per battery, and with a charge of 2 amps coming in, it can take a long time before they will stop accepting that charge.  Slow charge is great for them, so not worried about that, but sure have to change my expectations :)

    At this point, my past power issues are gone.. I can kick on the pc and radio first thing in the morning, run all day and into the night if I choose, and never run low on power, in fact, I've not been able to drop them to even half at this point, and it should only get better as the sun continues to rise with the coming summer.  A well spent 400$

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    A thing of beauty :)

    to some of you it might not look like much.. but to me.. it's wonderful! ok.. ignore the mismarked terminals.. but I got it right in the long run!

    Not pulling power off them yet, gonna switch over the solar tonight after the sun goes down and isnt power in the circuit, then will give them a full days charge before they become my workhorses!  Right now, they havent recieved a charge in a couple weeks, and are still showing at 12.59 on the meter, thinking they be in good shape for used batteries

    Mornin folks :)

    well, it seems that bloggin isnt something that I do well   but gonna try to make myself more accountable to myself for a bit and at least put something up.. problem I run into, nothing in my life seems worthy of sharing at least at that moment, Or, it's not something that I'm ready to share with others.

    The past year has been filled with good and bad, I've gotten a bit more comfortable with who I am as a person, and am learning to accept a lifestyle that I feel is necessary for me to be content.  I also lost my Sister over the past year, and that was something that I was in no way prepared for.. so it's been a hard year if one with redeeming aspects.

    As to the land.  Over the past year I managed to dig a shelter into the side of a hill for winter protection.  Last winter, I had a string of days where my high was in single digits, and the truck just wasnt warm enough to hang out in all day with it that cold.. and Tori couldnt deal with that cold well when we went walking, so we pretty much sat in the truck and froze for a while.. my lowest night was 15 below... It's good to know I can handle it, but not something I wish to repeat often.  Sooo.. dug into the side of a hill, got some OSB sheathing at 8$ a sheet, and built a shelter!  thats been my primary focus when I was on the land, digging and creating, it's not pretty, but it works (will add a pic later).

    Managed to make it to the RTR this year down in Quartzsite, where I was honored to meet quite a few fellow travellers and rubber tramps :)(Shout out to Squire!)  I have missed being in touch, and I think I'm gonna find a way to return every year, even though I am mostly stationary. 

    for now, back in the shelter, and upgrading my battery bank to give myself a bit more computer time at night.  I was going to buy a bank of Trojans at Quartzsite, but they wanted to much for both the batteries and the core charge since I had no turn ins.. so said forget that!  On the way back to the property, made a few phone calls and found someone with some used Crown 305's that I could take for 60 each.... I picked up 8 of em   so my battery bank is going from 110ah usable to 610ah usable.. I think I'll not have a problem in the near future!  I havent used Crown batteries before, nor have I purchased used batteries, but at the price, even if they only last 2 years I made out like a bandit compared to a new set.  Have an email in to the Crown folks to get specifics on the charging and equalizing charge values.

    This morning, I'm building the bank itself, have the wires all cut and ends on, it's just carrying these beasts in and down the hill... heck of a workout!

    Thank you to all the folks I met at the RTR, showed me once again how wonderful the vandwelling family is!