Archive for 2018


Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

First trip.

For over a year now I have pondered the idea of getting a little car to pull behind Minnie. Honda has served me well over the last three years and I learned how to accomplish many chores using the bike, but somethings are just more convenient and easier with a car. It would be great to have both but I couldn’t see a scenario where traveling with a car and motorcycle would be very practical.

There are advantages to traveling with a motorcycle. It would take me places I wouldn’t think of going in an auto, I could carry it on the back of the RV and never have to worry about backing up, and best of all I could ride for hours on a tiny bit of gasoline. I devised ways to ride for groceries, water, propane, laundry, and parts. I even rigged a tow behind trailer to haul my kayak down to the lake. Honda has been my workhorse, my escape to backroad adventure, and my travel companion for many miles over the last few years.

The decision to change my mode of transportation came about by several factors. When I rode for a few hours the old body would complain about the bouncing, the hard seat, and the vibration. The weather was always a factor and long distance on a small motorcycle is just too tiring and dangerous. I finally made up my mind that a small car to pull behind Minnie was the way to go.

A couple weeks ago I was looking at Craigslist and saw a Smart Car for sale a few miles east of Apache Junction. I always thought that even used Smart Cars would be out of my price range but this car was something I could afford. I was 100 miles away from Phoenix at the time so I asked Daryl and Donna to go take a look at it for me. The next day they drove out and checked it out.

It’s a 2009 Smart for two convertible with 69,000 miles. Daryl and Donna checked it out and drove it around a bit and texted me that it seemed in good shape. I told them to put a deposit on it and I would head back to town in the morning. Two days later I was the proud owner of my own toad!

The car only cost me $3300. Getting it licensed, insured, and set up to be towed cost another $2000. I cleaned up Honda, put a new tire on the back, changed the oil, fixed the headlight, and advertised it on Craigslist Sunday morning. By 1:30 I had it sold for $2100. I guess I made the transition from motorcycle to car with very little pain.

It’s not very fast. 0 – 60 mph takes about 16 seconds. It’s made by Mercedes so probably parts and labor will be expensive. It only seats two and there is not much luggage space. It will have limits but I think I can grow to love it just the same. Thanks to Daryl and Donna for running me all over town and helping me get things set up. Donna has experience with towing and helped me with tips and tricks on how to hook and unhook. Thanks again guys!

I need a backup camera to tell when something happens.


Thursday, November 8th, 2018

On the 7th of November, one day after the midterm elections, I left Tempe and drove to Quartzsite , AZ. and purchased an LTVA season pass. Even though I usually move around southern Arizona in the winter, I still like to buy the season pass for the Long Term Visitors Area. That way I have a home base so to speak.

Not as pretty as forest but nice sunshine.

Quartzsite is not awfully busy yet. The biggest migration of RV dwellers wait till after the holidays to descend here, consequently causing the population of the town and surrounding desert to swell to many times it’s normal size. I rode into town today and only a handful of booths were open. When the Big Tent Show is in swing, and rows of shops selling their wares are open and after your money, it is hard to find a parking spot within a quarter-mile of the main drag.

The temperature has been almost perfect. This next week is forecast to be in the mid 70’s everyday. The one thing that’s not pleasing in the open desert is wind and today is one of those days. You never want to leave for the day and forget to take down your awning. Wind can come up very quickly and rip away anything it can get a hold of.

I parked in the same place I did last year. It is across the wash from the nudist area. I like it because it is isolated from other campers. Other campers keep away for fear they will see something shocking.

Yeah I see… Last night I was setting up camp and there he comes…. walking down through the wash wearing nothing but a sombrero! I yelled, “Don’t look Ethel!” but it was too late. She’d already seen a desert bush.

Camping With Donna and Hanna

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Lots of cows in our camp.

More testing

After my doctors appointments in Tempe, I drove up to Payson for a couple weeks. It is almost time to head for southern Arizona and stake out a spot in the desert to ride out the winter.

I had three reasons to stay in the area for a few days: I still needed to wait for test results ( all ok), the election was coming in a couple weeks, and best of all, Donna and Hanna decided to come up in her motorhome and camp with me in the tall pines and cool weather.

It was chilly nights above Payson and it rained a few times that we were there, but Donna has a car she tows behind her motorhome and we could run around in comfort. We went to see some nearby boondocking sites on a few days, made a trip to places Donna remembered from her time with the Cancer Society, went into town for a movie, and made several trips to Walmart for odds and ends. I think we only stayed all day in camp on two occasions.

S’mores tonight!

We had a campfire on most nights. The nights got very chilly so it felt good to slide our chairs close to the flames and roast marshmallows. I very seldom have a fire when I’m camping alone but those s’mores sure tasted good. About 7:30 or so we would retire to our motorhomes and watch a little tv or read.

I won’t go into any more detail about our camping trip because Donna is going to write about it too.

S’mores tonight!

Right now I’m parked in Bulldog Canyon, just north of Mesa along the Salt River. When I was in Payson the tall pines blocked most of the sun during the day and my solar panels struggled to keep me charged. For the last two days my panels have really appreciated being here in the open desert to soak up sunshine and turn it into electricity; they are usually able to fully charge the batteries shortly after noon.

Tame wild horses.

My plan it to head for Quartzsite next week. Even though I make home base at one of the LTVAs, I still seem to wander abound southern Arizona all winter. Last year I was working my way over to Boot Hill when I made a detour back to Phoenix. I like to go back to places I know I went to when I was young because Ican’t remember them anymore. And my memory is getting so bad as I get older it seem like every place I go to is new – even if I was just there – Wonderful!

Testing a new phone.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Not much to tell about. I’m just hanging around Payson until my scheduled doctor appointments are taken care of. I’m testing out a new (to me) phone I received from Donna. It is an iPhone, so will involve relearning different system operations. It has been many years since I had an iPhone.

I can upload pictures in black and white. iPhone has no setting to lower camera resolution.

Over the last few years Don gave me a Samsung 4, Daryl gave me a Nexus Google Phone, and Donna has given me an iPhone 6+. It’s nice to have siblings that upgrade to the latest technology and give me perfectly good devices. Thanks again guys!

Picture Yourself…

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

… in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and… No, that’s something else altogether.

Ready to launch at the boat ramp.

Hard to tell where the water and cliff met.

I haven’t been able to get that song out of my head every since I decided to stop overnight at McHood City Park near Winslow, Arizona and paddle the pretty river of Clear Creek. McHood Park is a small campground and day use area on the shore of Clear Creek Reservoir. The campground is nothing more than a parking lot but it is free for 14 days.

The temperature in Winslow this time of year is still in the 90’s, so I got up early and put my kayak in the reservoir next to the campground. The dam at the reservoir backs up the water into Clear Creek for a few miles and makes a beautiful place to float through the canyon of steep rock walls.

These guys swam right over to my kayak.

The reservoir was not very pretty for 1/2 mile or so – reeds along the shore and seaweed that scraped the bottom of the boat – but then you cross under the bridge and start into the canyon.

Day use area.

The canyon, rock walls get steeper and steeper until they tower over you in your little boat, almost making it dark as the sun is blocked from the narrow gorge. The cliffs are favorites of some visitors that come here to jump from high ledges into the water.

It felt kind of spooky to be all alone in the depths of the canyon, miles from anyone. Once in the deep canyon I had no cell signal. The only blessing was that the shade from the rock walls blocked the sun and increasing heat of the day.


It’s about 3 miles one way.

I finally reached the end of the navigable water. I met a young man there that had paddled his canoe earlier than me and was fishing by the shore. I asked him if I could go any further and he said I could go a little further but would have to drag my boat over many shallow places.

These are ancient petroglyphs on the walls.

On the way back I met six more people in one-person kayaks going the opposite way. One woman had a paddle board with a dog riding with her. My shoulders started hurting on the way back and my butt got sore from sitting so long on an unpadded seat. The wind also came up and blew in my face, making forward progress even more difficult.

I had my phone in a plastic baggie in a fanny pack when I started out, but taking it out of the plastic every time I wanted to take a picture got to be too much of a hassle. Of course when I got back to the boat ramp, I would fall in the water.

I stepped out of the boat and grabbed hold of the front handle to pull the boat up on dry part of the ramp. I didn’t realize just how slippery the algae covered concrete was and I went down in an instant. I floundered around for a bit and succeeded in dunking myself even deeper. Finally, I got hold of the dock and stood up, immediately pulling my phone from the fanny pack and setting it in the sun to dry. It was somewhat protected in the zippered pouch so just a little water got to it. Seems like it is fine.

It was noon when I got the kayak loaded and strapped down. I drove south to a familiar camp near Blue Ridge Ranger Station. The weather here should be nice for a few days.