Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019, the year in pictures. Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year to you and yours!  May the year 2020 bring you happiness and joy, good health and good times, and in all things an enjoyment of life.

Here's the regular compilation of pictures, taken in 2019, for your enjoyment:

Got 10 gallons of water from the visitor center:

Rode Yagi to the end of Brown Canyon Road, seeking the trailhead for Baboquivari...not sure I found it but did find a trailhead.

The year's last sunset turned out pretty good:

 Shot from inside the URRV, while window still had rain drops 
from the light rain that had just stopped

 Rain drops in the atmosphere caused the above effect, unusual

Motorcycle mileages, yep, they continue the downward trend of past year.

Total mileage ridden in 2019: 4453 miles broken down by motorcycle:

Scarlett:  Ending odometer reading 65,081 61,056.  4025 Km or 2415 Miles

Brigitta ('87 BMW R80): Ending Odometer 100,879.  426 Miles (worse than last year)

Fiona: Ending odometer: 12,792   10,104 4674 (odometer replaced at 19777), 2688 km or 1612.8 miles.

Yagi: started with 7500 when I bought her and brought her home,  ended the year with 9463.  1963 Miles or 3140 Km

RV Stats:

We went glamping with Umarang, the URRV, for 143 days (39% of the year),
better than last year's 127 days (34.7% of the year).

URRV ending Mileage: 60,600.  Roughly 10k Miles for 2019.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Boondocking at the Buenos Aires NWR and Uraling to Kitt Peak Observatory

Set up camp yesterday at one of the dispersed camping sites along Highgate Road within the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

The wildlife concept must be working, I startled a large jack rabbit as I scouted for likely camping sites; the damn thing was the size of a medium sized dog!

Found the site that Uma, the URRV would fit in, barely, and set up camp under clear and sunny skies, it even felt warm!

 I can view Baboquivari Peak from my campsite,
it pretty much dominates the whole valley

This morning's sunrise was pretty good:

 Baboquivari Peak at dawn

 Kitt Peak Observatory's telescope structures
are visible from camp

After breakfast and once things had warmed up into the low 40s, I geared up warmly and motored out of the refuge on Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 Beemer Engine.  It was, according to google maps, 53 miles to the Kitt Peak Observatory and I wanted to check out the views from that height.

The ride there was "brisk", I could barely feel my finger tips when I finally got to the road that leads up Kitt Peak and could slow down a bit from highway speeds. 

As I climbed up the peak road, 12 miles of it, I was reminded how atmospheric conditions in Arizona can produce nice blue shades of distant mountains and hills:

 showing the road known as AZ 386 which leads to 
Kitt Peak Observatory

Soon after the above picture, I entered the snow line and found snow steadily accumulating along the side of the road.  There was plenty of snow and ice on the observatory grounds too.

The place was "open" for visitors but not the gift shop where tickets to stuff where sold.  Oh well, I doubted there was much activity going on for visitors, heck with the cloud cover, was pretty sure there wasn't much astronomical observation going on either!

 Looks very avant-garde the solar observatory, it was actually built
in the late 50s!

I parked Fiona and walked in to get a closer look at some of the telescopes:

 The east side of Baboquivari Peak

 Artwork on the side of the visitors center

 Mayan symbols for Astronomy?

Another set of blues from the scenic overlook on the way back down

Made it back to Robles Junction aka Three points, where AZ 86 and AZ 286 junction and gassed up along with picking up  a replacement thermometer system for the URRV.  The outside probe on the old system had given up the ghost.  The new system measures barometric pressure as well, we'll see how it works out.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Boondocking at the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, AZ

Friday, December 27

Another weather front moving through southern Arizona.

Woke to rain and a multitude of puddles in the WMA parking lot I'd overnighted in.  Got setup to move pretty quickly as I'd not unloaded either motorcycle last night.

Drove up to I-10 and experienced snowy driving conditions (luckily it wasn't sticking on the roads) until I got west of Benson.  Then it was just rain, on and off, throughout the rest of the day.

Found Martha's co-worker's parent's home in Vail, AZ and spent a few minutes chatting with them after picking up the box Martha had sent to me.

They mentioned that the Colossal Cave tour, which was nearby, was worth the entry fee of $18 so after saying my goodbyes, I headed over there to see how their campground was set up.

After a couple of bad turns (signage is minimal, turn left towards La Selvilla for the RV spots), I finally found the RV campsite with it's five spots.  All the spots were empty so I picked #2 since it seemed the most level.

During a brief period, I got geared up and rode Yagi, my Yamaha TW200 around the "rough roads" in the area.  There's signs stating "rough roads", basically formerly paved roads which have been allowed to decay into potholed pavement.  Not too bad.

Rain returned and it became cold and miserable while riding so I returned to camp and settled in for the evening.  Even with the cellular booster, I can't really do much surfing and definitely not able to upload pictures so far.  Maybe it'll be better when the weather clears sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, December 28

I arrived at the museum shortly after 8:25 AM after breakfast in the URRV.  I was placed into the 9AM
cave tour.  When time came, the guide (Jordan) came out and I was the only one in the tour group!  Nice.

 The original cave opening was a hole above the bar above 
the Colossal Cave sign.

View of distant peaks from the tour staging area next to gift shop

Lighting conditions were pretty dim except where lights had been strategically placed to showcase a particular section or rock formation.
 Note the broken off pieces of stalacite, caused
by uncaring cave explorers back in the day

 The Fang, the cavern's largest stalactite

 Looking at underside of "drape" stalactites
the spiny objects formed, in some cases defying
gravity, scientist still unsure how

 Do you see the head of a bird?

 The Sinkhole, aka Frank's shortcut....apparently Frank,
the cave's original discoverer after the native american tribe
which were the original finders of the cave; would rappel
down from here down to his working area.

 You can, as many other couples have before, get married in 
what is called "The Altar Room"

 Old mining hat which used chemicals to produce light

 Frank's Living Room, where he'd sleep during his
multi-day stays in the cave

 The Silent Waterfall

Some scenes outside the cave area:

 The cave entrance building and gift shop

 From an overlook point near the gift shop, can you see Uma?

 Memorial statue for the CCC workers who put in the infrastructure
to accomodate tourists easier, before you had to crawl on top of 
rocks covered in Bat Guano.

After the cave tour, I pootled over to the Posta Quemada (Burnt Post) Ranch where one can rent a horse to explore the trails I think.  There's also a museum but I didn't check it out.

There was an interesting item near the old railroad caboose though, a railroad telephone booth!  I'd not heard of them before, but apparently:

 I've my doubts the railroad put the phone booths inside concrete shells
like the one above; more likely its to preserve its contents

You can rent trail horses at the Posta Quemada Ranch


About four miles from the campsite where I rode with the laptop to
upload the above pics

Adding three pics from when I took Yagi over to the Saguaro National Park (Rincon Mountain District) in the afternoon.  Rain/overcast skies resulted in just one pic within the park's scenic loop:

Better pic, due to temporary sunlight shining through the clouds, outside the park entrance: