Sunday, November 25, 2012

test blog on gateway computer


I recently got a small Gateway computer with a  10” screen for easy portability. I just finished installing blog software on it and this is a test  using sample pictures as I have not yet downloaded any photos to this machine.




Monument Valley AZ


Thursday, November 8, 2012


On November 8 five vehicles with 10 Jeepers Creepers members and two guests made the long trip south to Oracle and up the Oracle Control road to Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven in the Catalina Mountains about 30 miles from Tucson. The road has some maintenance and does not require four wheel drive, but it is a bit bumpy in two lower stretches and for the last few miles.

Our coffee break was at the Tom Mix Memorial rest stop. Do you remember western movies starring Tom Mix? He died near here in 1940 in a car accident.

Austin Hulcher told me that years ago the Jeepers Creepers attempted to take the Oracle Control road but found that it had been closed for the season after starting up it. As far as we know this is the first time the group has gone over this road.


Left to right in front of the monument, standing: Mike Williams, Tom Holz, guest Jerry Caldwell, Elsie Holz, and Mary Ellen Hulcher. 

Seated: Steve and Linda Robertson,  guest Candy Caldwell, Jeff Clyde and Jo Clyde  Strong.

Missing are Austin Hulcher and Bill Strong



Jo and Bill Strong, the group leaders for the outing.


Our road wound around foothills and valleys for many miles like this before getting serious about gaining elevation. In all we had  24 miles of unpaved road between Oracle and the paved Catalina Highway at the top. It led us down the mountain to Tucson.


Our lunch stop after we picked up everything , just a mile or so from the Catalina Highway. A fire burned the canyon in the background. There are homes at the top but it appeared that none were destroyed by the fire. If we were to take the trip again,  we should use one of several spots where the road gets into Ponderosa pines before reaching this windy site.


The last stop of our 2012 summer trip (almost 7500 miles in 5 months) was at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where we met Barb and Mike Williams, Barbara's daughter Laura McNurlen, Laura’s daughter Katie, and the newlyweds, Nathan and Mattia McNurlen, for a weekend. Our sightseeing was limited to the western part of the park served exclusively by the free shuttle bus system. We returned to Mesa on October 8.

There are so many great views of the Grand Canyon that it is hard to edit the pictures down to the better ones.


Here is a great view of the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim traversed by the mules through the trees at the bottom and to Plateau Point in the upper left. A branch from this trail goes to the river where hikers can cross on a pedestrian bridge to reach Phantom Ranch at the foot of Bright Angel Canyon coming down from the North Rim.



This shot gives a bit of the impression of the depth of the canyon. The inner gorge is at the bottom of the far right area of very dark rock.


This view is from Hermit’s Rest at the western end of the developed South Rim. It is one of he few places in the park from which the Colorado River may be seen. In June 2011 I travelled over 180 miles on a commercial rafting trip down the river, including the part shown here.



Here is our group – Nathan and Mattia McNurlen, Laura McNurlen, Jeff Clyde, Barbara Williams, Jo Clyde Strong and Mike Williams.


At the El Tovar Hotel gift shop, we found this display of china replicating the patterns used in the Santa Fe railroad dining cars. We rarely see pieces like these in antique stores in our travels. We now have our morning coffee in one of four Santa Fe cups!



Late in the day we visited Yaki Point a little east of the hotel complex area as the sun was going down. The shadows nicely highlight the formations in the canyon. Bright Angel Canyon is at the left.



And here is Bright Angel Canyon (in the upper part of the picture) the next day when the sun is nearly over head.


While on the trip I decided to part with the 1993 Nissan convertible I have driven for nearly 5 years, so here it is all spiffed up for sale. A young man from a nearby neighborhood had been admiring it during the summer, I found out, and as soon as he spotted it in the driveway he stopped to confirm that it was for sale. He bought it a few days later.


So on November 1 we replaced the convertible with this 2008 Prius in my favorite color. We are looking forward to learning how to get the 50 mpg of which it is capable.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


  On Oct. 1 we drove up Ouray Co. road 5 from Ridgway to the base of Mt. Sneffels for nice views of the aspens and San Juan Mountains. Snow capped peaks added to the great scenery. These pictures were taken in my Canon A1100 IS 12 mp camera.


The dry lake bed at the right is part of the Ridgway State Park where we are parked. Our destination for the day trip is at the foot of the mountains shown on the horizon.


As we started up Ouray Co. road 5 ,other species of trees showed us that they were not going to be outdone by the aspens.


As the road took us closer to the mountains they began to show the details of their ruggedness.


The road at the right in the valley probably is Dallas Creek Road.  The mosaic of color shows up nicely  here.


A grove of aspens shares a common root system, yet all of the trees do not turn yellow uniformly.


But this grove is of almost uniform color.


Views like this are awesome!


This is the view to the left of the last one.


What a peaceful scene!



And here are more multiple hues.

The road entered the Uncompahgre National Forest and continued for a few miles, but the aspens were less dramatic than those shown above, so we called it a day to return the way we came. A breeze then was causing yellow leaves to begin to drop. When we drove through the general area on Oct. 4 wind had blown leaves off all the aspens in many groves, moreso as we traveled farther south.


On October 2 we picked up Jerry Wedlake (an elementary school classmate of mine in Beloit WI) at his Ridgway “cabin”, and after a trip to Subway for sandwiches, we headed up Owl Creek Pass road to the high country for spectacular color and mountain scenery. The John Wayne movie True Grit was filmed in Ridgway and in the vicinity of the Owl Creek Pass road.

The pictures speak for themselves, so I will not put captions on all of them.




Cimarron Ridge is the backdrop for the fall color.


This one shows some of the different colors of aspens in the fall.


I think that this aspen gold color is now my favorite color1




More variable colors.


Here is a better view of the rugged Cimarron Ridge.


We took the West Fork Road from the Owl Creek Road to explore the country, It deteriorated to an easy 4 wd road and we continued to the area where the road forded the West Fork of  the Cimarron River for our lunch stop. There is an occupied beaver pond to the left of this shot. The elevation here is about 11,000 ft.




After crossing the creek the road continued for a mile or so to a trailhead for those wanting to go farther by foot or horseback.


A group of 5 ladies rode up here in a 2 door Wrangler and was having lunch at the trailhead. Jo is on the far right and Jerry is left of her.





Chimney rock peeks through the foliage.



We were greeted with this view as we  returned from the high country.

On the horizon is part of the San Juan range, and Hy 550 is in the foreground.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


On a  rainy day we traveled 50 miles south of our RV park on Blue Mesa Reservoir to visit Lake City deep in the San Juan mountains. It is a few miles east of Silverton via either Engineer or Cinnamon passes. The town was reached by a Denver & Rio Grande branch but the rails were torn out long ago.

One of Lake City’s dubious claims to fame is that the Alferd Packer cannibalism case began here. Mr. Packer has signed his first name both Alfred and Alferd, perhaps depending on his mood. Alfred is on this birth record, and Alferd was tattooed on his arm. I will use Alferd here.

He was born in 1842. In 1873 he agreed to guide 5 prospectors from Utah to Los Pintos Indian Agency in Colorado. Although warned by no less than Chief Ouray when his party was near Montrose CO not to enter the San Juan mountains in the winter, Alferd led them there anyway. They became lost near present day Lake City (which  not exist in 1874). The party experienced severe weather and ran out of supplies. Only Alferd Packer survived. In the spring the bodies of his companions were found, with signs of their having been murdered and eaten. Alferd was arrested and jailed in Saguache. Before he could be tried, he escaped and was on the loose for 9 years.


Alferd’s first jury trial was in this courthouse in Lake City. It is the oldest courthouse in use in Colorado. The courtroom is on the second floor. He was convicted of 5 murders and sentenced to hang.




This sign in the courthouse explains the story and has a time line of events of Alferd’s life.


This is the courtroom in which Alferd was tried the first time. It is still in use.


The courtroom had on display two nice Elk mounts (6 x 6).



This account appears at the site of the “massacre”. Alferd’s death sentence was set aside on appeal, and upon retrial in 1886 in Gunnison after a change of venue, he again was convicted  but this time of 5 manslaughters and sentenced to 40 years at the Canon City penitentiary. After serving 15 years he was paroled in 1901 and lived in the Denver area until he died in 1907.


This is the memorial site at the place of the camp about 5 miles outside Lake City. The bones of all of the victims are buried here. They were studied by forensic anthropologists in 1989, and other studies were made in 1994 and 2000. They concluded that the bodies indeed were cannibalized and that they had died violent deaths.. There was some evidence to support Alferd’s defense that another member of the group killed the remaining members while Alferd was away from camp and that upon his return Alferd shot him in self defense.


This plaque names the victims buried there.

Alferd is memorialized at the cafe on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. It is named Alferd Packer Grill  - Have a Friend For Lunch. Another sign was in the grill for a while reading The Alferd Packer Memorial Grill with a motto: “Serve All Mankind”. Another account was that the motto was Serving All Mankind Since 1874.

A book is available on Amazon titled Alferd Packer’s Wilderness Cookbook in which the author goes into detail abut Alferd and gives a few recipes.





Fall colors were nearing their height around Lake City.





This store is a popular stop for 4 wheelers driving the Alpine Loop from Silverton over Engineer or Cinnamon passes to Lake City.



How long has it been since you have seen a soda fountain like this? It is inside the store shown above.


Yes, a bank actually does business in this quaint building.


And here is a bar named for Alferd.


On the way back from Lake City we saw this area of changing colors ranging from green, to yellow green, to yellow, to nearly orange.