Saturday, March 28, 2020

Back in Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge that is!

I've boondocked here before and this time the spot with the best view of Baboquivari Peak was open for my use.

Turns out, only one other camper in the immediate area, and he turned out to be one of the folks who've commented on my pictures on Facebook!  Small world.

I arrived around noon on Friday, March 27, but strong winds and a cool front kept me "sheltering in place" inside the URRV after I set up camp.

Saturday, March 28:

It would prove to be much warmer this afternoon than yesterday afternoon.  I did wake to slightly below freezing temperatures in the URRV though.  I'd enough blankets overnight to keep me warm but getting up in the morning proved "brisk" until I got the catalytic heater going!

Yagi and Baboquivari Peak

Once it had warmed up to about 50°F (10°C), I geared up with a couple of warming layers under the riding jacket and rode the 13 miles or so to the nearby town of Arivaca to get some AAA batteries for my inside thermometer.  I picked up some sundry supplies as well.

Before the grocery chore though, I rode east of town about three miles to pose Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with Keystone Peak and Cerro Colorado in the background:

Keystone Peak is right above Fiona, the rest is
the Cerro Colorado according to Peak Finder app.

Lunch and the first half of the afternoon was spent hanging about the URRV, doing some light chores.

Around 3PM, I rode out on Yagi, my 2006 Yamaha TW200 to explore some of the trails in the NWR that I'd not ridden before.

One of the trails led me to atop a small hill with this view of Baboquivari Peak:

I explored some more trails, always turning back when things got a bit too steep or rocky or both!

Then I went to ride the 297 Trail which is a loop that ends up at campsite #36 where I had boondocked before.  I found myself at what I will call a Rescue Beacon Tower.  It has a spinning set of cups on top which reflect the sun to catch the eye, and at night a police blue LED blinks to advertise it's location.

I'd seen this blue light blinking in the dark before when camped at site #36, but hadn't found it before today.

After taking the above pictures, I rode down a side trail marked as 296.  It ended for me at a steep downhill rock strewn goat trail so I turned around back to the beacon.

There I found a Border Patrol agent, apparently looking for me!  Although I'd not pushed the red button to call for help, the camera I saw above the box with the emergency phone had apparently captured my image and alerted the nearby agent.

He and I chatted, he had just come by to make sure all was well with me, which I appreciated.  I was a bit surprised the camera was monitored real time but perhaps it just generated an alert for the Border Patrol as part of the safety protocol/patrols they run.

Back at camp, I worked on sewing up some damage on my riding boots.  I'd been "making do" with Gorilla Tape for quite a while now, but now they're properly sewn up.  As I finished the repairs, it was time for sunset pictures:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Back to Boondocking, Uraling to Ajo, AZ and a Killer Sunset

Tuesday, March 24

I left my father-in-law's place in Sun City, AZ soon after breakfast and after gassing up, I headed south on AZ 85 towards the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range's Area B where I've boondocked before.

It was a warm sunny day and getting there proved to be pretty easy except for a couple of idiot truckers.

Regardless, soon I was back on the same spot I had used before:

Rest of the day was spent resting, relaxing and reading.  I did pootle around on Yagi, the Yamaha TW200 for a little bit but no pictures taken.

Wednesday, March 25

Lots of picture opportunities today!

First thing was a ride down to Ajo, AZ to get groceries, some engine oil for Yagi and to see if the open pit mine's viewing station was open. 

But first, the sunrise wasn't too shabby:

I rode Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol sidecar rig down as she can carry more cargo such as groceries.  The pickings were not bad but there was a limit of one of each item selected!  I was permitted to get two packs of Ramen Noodles after checking with the cashier first however. 

The viewing platform for the open pit mine remains closed; so here a picture I got while holding the camera above the wire fence that surrounds the mine area:

Then it was time to check out what turns out to be the town of Ajo's Artists Alley:

At the other end of the alley, one emerges near the town's shopping center.  I just liked the arches that border the center however.

I got back and put away the groceries and just worked on removing some of the oily grime from Fiona's engine.  She continues to leak from her pushrod tube seals and I am planning on doing a top end rebuild when I get her home next month.

Late afternoon, I rode Yagi to capture the blues I'd spotted from the RV's roof while looking around:

I didn't think today's sunset would amount to much as there was heavy cloud cover.  I was so wrong.

First I was just concentrating on a bit of color in the distant horizon, using the telephoto lens and thinking that this was going to be it:

And then, the sky just lit up!

And then, the sky slowly started darkening:

And I finished off the series with another telephoto shot of the distant horizon:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Back in Phoenix for an overnight stay.

Sunday, March 22

Didn't do any riding, just relaxed and enjoyed the warm weather.

I did go for an hour long hike into the sand dunes, 30 minutes out and 30 back to the URRV.

Figured you all are saturated with pictures of sand dunes, so none taken.

Sunset pics on the other hand, will continue to be inflicted:

Monday, March 23

Left the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and by 10 AM had dumped the gray and black tanks at the same gas station where I got the Dune Permit in the first place.

Then it was steady driving to my father-in-law's place in Sun City, part of the Phoenix Metro area.

Got a replacement M8 x 25 1.0 pitch bolt to replace the missing one for Fiona's headlight and replaced the remaining one so they match.  Will keep the old remaining one as a spare of course.

Spent the afternoon with my FIL and we ordered carryout dinner from Domino's.  Their pasta dishes are pretty good, considering.

One of the reasons I detoured to Phoenix was to pick up an Amazon delivery of my Garmin InReach Mini Personal Locator Beacon or PLB.  Recent mishaps on Yagi in rough terrain where no cell signal was present and no one around had reminded me that I should probably have something like this with me.

Pricey at $325 from Amazon but I guess it beats lying injured, unable to call for help.  Especially since I don't see me acquiring a riding partner any time soon and my penchant for exploring.

I went with the Freedom plan which allows me to start/stop plan service from Garmin on 30 day increments.  There's a $25 annual charge and I'm using the SOS plan when the device is active.  We'll see how that goes.

I plan to use it, besides life-threatening emergencies, to do a check-in with my loving wife when I pick a campsite where I don't have cell coverage using one of the three pre-defined messages which are unlimited under the SOS plan.

Sunset tonight was pretty mild, I was in the midst of activating the PLB so didn't really make an effort to get a good picture.

Tomorrow, I head south, either back to the Barry Goldwater Range boondocking spot or further south back to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

More T-Dubing in the Sand Dunes, Uraling to Indian Pass and even more dunes!

This morning's sunrise was pretty good:

I rode my TW200 (T-Dub) out to the dunes this morning shortly after breakfast in order to hopefully catch some nice shadows on the dunes.

I used the trail closest to the road and was able to access a couple of nice spots for posing Yagi:


After a late morning snack, I geared up and rode Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol north on Ogilby Road to Indian Pass Road.

Not a bad dirt road, it had its washboards, it's rocky spots and ruts here and there but not bad.  I was able to maintain about 25-30 MPH over most of it.

Made it to the summit of Indian Pass (from the south its easy):

 Indian Pass Summit, it plummets down into the valley
over on the left side of the pic.

Notice something weird about Fiona?

Yep, apparently I'd failed to notice the right side bolt holding the headlight had loosened and the bumpy ride had caused it to fall off!  I had a "close enough" bolt which I threaded in, and taped into place for now until I can get to a hardware store to buy a replacement.

After this minor repair, tried going down the north side of Indian Pass but gave up after going down perhaps 200 feet.  It got "gnarly" really fast, with deep ruts which precluded much maneuvering.  So I turned Fiona around, engaged 2WD, and motored on out of there and back to the summit!

I retraced my route and looked for a good spot to pose Fiona with Picacho Peak in the background:

As I neared the site of the town of Tumco, I posed Fiona with the rugged rock formations in the vicinity.

Yep, another flowering Ocotillo

Got back to camp around 3PM and relaxed till close to 5PM.  Then I got on Yagi once again for more dune pics, this time with the shadows on the opposite side!

This time I pretty much aimed Yagi at the tallest dune in the vicinity and got within one dune of it!  Of course, I had to walk up the last portion to stand on that dune but it turned out a good position for Yagi pics:

 The view from the tallest dune

That's the tallest dune

Got back to camp with no issues, I think I'm getting the hang of riding on these dunes...and perhaps a little more confident?

Sunset was pretty good as well:

 Tried for a sunset reflection in the URRV's windows