Saturday, December 10, 2011



 Jo and I led this Jeepers Creepers trip through high desert on the Bloody Basin road from I 17 southeast to the Camp Creek road and south to Seven Springs and Carefree/Cave Creek. We originally planned to take the “Back Way to Mt. Lemmon” on the Oracle Control Road, but winter storms just before the outing caused the Forest Service to close that road.

There were 4 Jeeps carrying 11 members and guests on this trip. We assembled at the Superstition Springs Dillards store, as usual, and our first comfort stop was the Chevron station on Anthem Way.


Our coffee stop was at the Sunset Point rest stop. The cold travelers, left to right, are Steve and Linda Robertson, Jo Strong,  Marv Jeck, Edna Julien, Marsha Jeck, Mike and Barb Williams, and Tom and Elsie Holz.


IMG_8864 The Bloody Basin road is well-graded in the northern part through the Agua Fria National Monument. There were remnants of snow in the sheltered areas as we wound down to the dry crossing of the Agua Fria River.



We had a fire at the lunch stop for cooking the tube steaks.


With our efficient crew, it takes little time to set up the serving tables and chairs for our lunch. The food was great!



We took the 3.5 mile side trip to the top of Humboldt Mtn, el. 5000, to the FAA control facility at its top.

IMG_8875 IMG_8876

FAA dome and warning sign at the very top of Humboldt Mtn.




We are looking down at what would be Horseshoe Lake on the Verde River if there was water behind the dam. Yes, that is snow on the peaks on the skyline.


The blue in the bottom of the canyon is the Verde River, with Four Peaks at the far right top



More rugged country lies southeast of the facility. Four Peaks is far left and Weavers Needle in the Superstitions is skylined at the far right.



The trail leaders – yes, I still have the facial hair begun in July on the Colorado River!



Our last stop was the Sears-Kay Hohokam ruins near Carefree. The hilltop village was inhabited from 1200 to 1350 and the rock walls have been restacked. This was a one room structure. Only Jo and I did the 1 mile round trip hike to see the ruins.



This is the remains of another one room structure adjacent to the one shown above.,


This was a central courtyard serving two rooms.

Although were  no really challenging  4 wheel drive roads on this trip, we all enjoyed the scenery on a clear winter day in Arizona. Most of us had not previously visited either of our stops.

We concluded the day with a glass of wine at the Williams home.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Eighteen members and guests in 7 vehicles made the first Jeepers Creepers run of the season on Nov. 10. We met at Dillards parking lot at Superstition Springs Mall and  after introductions set off for Miami for our coffee break in the city park. Our leader, Jerry Grout, claimed that he had arranged for some Gila County trusties to clean up the park for us, and they were hard at work when we arrived.


Thirteen of our our group at the Miami coffee break – Marv Fretwell. Marv’s cousin, Gregory Planting, Skeet and Roxanne White , Arda Fretwell, Jerry Grout, Barbara Williams, Mike Williams, Jo Strong, Nancy Grout, Edna Julien, Elsie Tennant (guest of Grouts) and Gary Mueller.


Look at all of the goodies! Austin and Mary Ellen Hulcher are in center and Rayma and Gary Mueller are at right.


IMG_8851Members are enjoying the great views of Lake Roosevelt and nearby mountains at the end of FR 488 off the Young road (AZ 288) . There is snow on Four Peaks at right. Is that Phil Goddard at right?


Here is our lunch spread, with Fretwells and Whites in foreground, Fretwells’ dually pickup and Sierra Ancha Mountains in the background



Barbara Williams, Jo Strong, Elsie Tennant and Mary Ellen Hulcher, with some our our vehicles and the Sierra Ancha Wilderness area in the background.



Roxanna White and Arda Fretwell while lunching had a great view of the upper reaches of Lake Roosevelt where the Salt River enters the lake are shown in center.


This rugged side canyon defined one side of our plateauIMG_8858

High desert scrub frames our view of the lake and Four Peaks.

 After lunch we drove north on the Young Road and turned east on the Malicious Gap Road, FR 609, to visit the cave close to the road. Unfortunately, although several of us had been there in the past (December 2005), we could not locate it. We headed back to Mesa the way we came. The Fretwell group detoured to Ma’s Kitchen in Roosevelt for fish and chips (highly recommended by Marv), while others ended up having supper at Uncle Bear’s in Mesa.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


We make a “drug run” to Algodones MX nearly every year to buy omyeprazol (Mexican Prilosec). A three month supply of the latter in the US costs about $75.00 if you take one a day. The Mexican version of the same drug for the same three month supply is $3.00. Both of us take it for acid reflux, as do several relatives. Other border cities do not sell the medication nearly as reasonably, and we feel comfortable walking around in the downtown area. While it has usual features of a Mexican tourist town with liquor stores, bars and a few strip joints, it is unique for having so many pharmacies and dentists. Here is the pictorial story of our visit on Nov. 3.


Jo and son Jeff next to our Jeep in the parking lot on the US side of the border, a short walk from  downtown Algodones


This is the first view as you walk across the border. The billboards advertise primarily dental services.Our favorite pharmacy (named Guadalajara) is on the far left.


Algodones is a little over 200 miles from Mesa, so our first order of business is lunch at Pueblo Viejo. From left, Tom Holz, Jeff Clyde, Monty Strong, Jo, Elsie Holz ,and Mike Williams. 


Here we are a at lunch. Barbara Williams at far right did not get in the picture of our group outside.


Our next order of business is to buy our medications. Experience has shown us that this store has the best prices!
The meds available over the the counter there include most generics here , some older antibiotics, and  exclude painkillers and those which may be habit-forming. Some specialized meds are not available, and non-generics are available but not with such dramatic savings as on omyrprazol.


One of many signs for dental services. Our acquaintances who have gone to dentists there are favorably impressed with the prices and have no complaints. On the other hand, I have heard third-hand stories of dental patients who are not happy with the work done by an Algodones dentist.


This dental office is adjacent to the Hawaii strip joint


Does your dentist offer all of these services?


Here is an all-purpose building – a pharmacy on the ground floor with many dental offices above, one specifically for Japanese!


Some of the many liquor stores.



There are also many optical stores there, some promising same day delivery of glasses


This display is in a shop specializing in colorful sheet metal sculptures.


A unique cottage industry, on a main street corner, is artists painting designs on pots, lanterns, mail boxes and whatever, using paint from aerosol paint containers, all without brushes!.


This artist, shown in the upper left of the above shot, shows the mailbox nearly completed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GRAND CANYON FROM THE TOP plus aerial views of two large lakes near Phoenix


The last part of our 9000 mile, 5 month trip was to meet Jo’s son Jeff,  sister Barbara, husband Mike, niece Laura and grandniece Katie at Grand Canyon for 3 days. I had not visited the South Rim for many years.


This is from the Desert View observation point, the easternmost in the Grand Canyon National Park. In the background is the stretch of the Colorado River from which we could see the south rim when rafting. It is just downstream from where the Little Colorado joins the Colorado.


IMG_8802hShadows cast by clouds help to give a better idea of the vastness of the canyon.



Jo at another observation point.



Here is part of the trail taken by those who prefer to ride the mules every day to the point overlooking the river. The wooded area  is Indian Gardens


Elk wander freely in the park. The bull keeping track of his harem is at the far left.



The thunderstorm is over the North Rim.



Here is most of our party at Hermit’s Rest, the westernmost observation point in the park: Jo, Jeff, Laura, Barbara and Mike.


Soft morning light also helps to show depth in the photos. Here the camera is pointed at the area where the two passenger jets went down which collided in midair over the canyon in 1956 .


Jo and I had a nice flight with Jerry and Nancy Grout on Oct. 15. Here is part of Lake Roosevelt from the air. The light area in the foreground is a reflection from the plane’s window.



Saguaro Lake, with the dam creating it in the middle left. Saguaro is the lake on the Salt River chain of lakes closest to the metropolitan area. Sorry about the reflections, but at 150 mph it is not safe to open the plane’s door for an unobstructed view!



From Breckenridge, we journeyed southwest to the San Juan Mountains, which I have visited 32 of the last 33 years.  This year we camped at Ridgway State Park as it was convenient for visiting friends. Beside, I  prefer to avoid driving the motor home up the Million Dollar Highway in Uncompaghre  Canyon and over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton.


The aspens were beginning to turn color at Silverton – the D&SNG tracks are in the foreground.


How is this for dramatic color?


Here is more beginnings of “color” at Silverton.



This is a “one of a kind” observation car used on the D&SNG we saw at Silverton.



We are near Ouray, on our way up Yankee Boy Basin road with Jerry and Jill Wedlake.


The aspens are just starting to turn in the lower part of Yankee Boy.


Mill and tailings from the Yankee Boy road.



If you look closely, here are the twin water falls shown on Coors beer labels.


Here we are around timberline on our beautiful day of  4 wheeling.


Yes, that is our road in the lower right!


This is the trailhead near the end of Yankee Boy, elevation 12,500 ft. Our Jeep climbed it without any problem. Jo Jill and Jerry are next to our Jeep.