Thursday, December 19, 2013



 On Dec. 16 the Jeepers Creepers  took a trip led by the Grouts to the Coke Ovens, east of Florence AZ near an old mining area . Our route was through Florence, east on the Florence Kelvin Highway, left on Cochran road and down a wash to go under a railroad bridge and to a beach on the Gila River. We forded the river and wound through tamarisk and other trees in the river bottom until reaching the 5 Coke Ovens.

There are two other ways to get there, both are longer and more challenging.

Mike Carter introduced us to the petroglyphs shown  below, the route and led on the more challenging parts of the trail.IMG_5917

Some of our group clambering up to the petroglyphs.IMG_5918

Jerry Grout and the larger of the rock drawings.




Smaller drawings


More drawings


We stopped here just after turning onto the Cochran road for airing down, etc.  The vehicles in order from the left were driven by Mike Carter, Jay Olson. Jeff Clyde,  Keith Stone, and Duane Steen. Not shown are those driven by Jerry Grout and Bill Strong.


 We turned off the Cochran road here to travel down a wash. A better road might be in the next left turn.IMG_5928

This bridge still in in use by the Union Pacific. Our route took us under it.

IMG_5929 Keith Stone is guided up the cut in the bank by Mike Carter



Here  Jerry approaches the cut.  About here a plastic panel under his XL 7 fell off. It was recovered and the next day Jerry reinstalled it.


Three of the ovens and our lunch spread





This oven is shown from the higher road in back of the row.


On Nov 27 Jo and I attended a home game of the Phoenix Suns against the Portland Trail Blazers. Our firm had season tickets for many years. Now I buy tickets from a season ticket holder for three or four games a year. This was our first this year.

I recently got a used Canon 350 D digital single lens reflex camera with a 28 – 155 mm lens which I took to the game to combine interests – basketball pictures and watching a Suns game. While in college I relished taking publicity photos of Beloit College basketball games with then state of the art  equipment.

Below are  a few of the 22 shots I took at the game.  Our seats for Suns games are in row 8 behind the visiting team bench.

IMG_5871    Trailblazers warming up.

  IMG_5876 I used the sports setting on the camera for these natural light pictures.The automatic exposure selected a sufficiently high shutter speed to do quite well at stopping action.IMG_5882   Above the cheerleaders are in their first half costume, with second half costume below.IMG_5888 IMG_5891

Portland is about to catch a rebound.


IMG_5884   This shot went in! A lot of pushing goes on under the basket as players try to get a good position to catch a rebound.

  IMG_5893 IMG_5894  IMG_5896

More pushing. The Suns won 120 – 106.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


On Nov. 6 we had a two vehicle expedition to show visitors the Montana Mountain road east of Mesa. I drove our slightly modified 04 Grand Cherokee and Jeff drove his modified white 2012 Wrangler Unlimited with Jo’s sister Arla as his passenger.

The pictures are taken by a Canon 350 d digital camera.


Jeff could not resist taking  this extra credit side road up a ridge  to a lookout point. After admiring the view and turning around, he is coming back down here to make room for a quad to .reach the top.


We had a brief stop at the parking area next to a water tank just before the last hill to reach Montana Mountain. The road was nicely graded to the turnoff for the Rogers Trough trail head, but the road beyond has not seen a grader for years!


Or group was Lindsey and Rosa Ashby, Arla Olson, Jo Strong and Jeff Clyde, plus me.


Here is our lunch stop after circling Montana Mountain on its north side.


Jo, Rosa and Lindsey


View to the north of our lunch stop parking area. Two well-used fire rings show that it is popular with campers and hunters.



The road took us down  through 17 switchbacks to reach the bottom of Revis Canyon  Wash where the road followed the creek, sometimes in the creek itself.    From this spot it is an easy drive back to Highway 60 east of Superior.


I traded one of my banked timeshare weeks for a week in a two bedroom unit at  Mayan Palace, 22 miles outside Puerto Penasco, so we could introduce Jo’s sister Arla to a Mexican resort.The town popularly is called Rocky Point  by us Gringos! Some of our group of seven have visited there several times. This was the third visit for Jo and me. Jo and I drove there in our Prius, getting 50 mpg round trip per the car computer.  We were there  from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2.

These pictures  were taken by a recently-acquired used Canon 350 D 8 mp camera, a digital single lens reflex. It sure is nice to use that kind of a viewfinder again, despite its much greater bulk compared to my point and shoot Canon A1100 IS.


Mike and Barbara preferred to lounge and read on the beach.


They often were joined by Laura (Barbara’s daughter) and Jeff, Jo’s son.


Jo preferred sitting by the pool. This picture  was an experimental picture using the camera in its black and white mode.


I usually chose the lounge chair in the shade!


This day was so clear that an island several miles out in the Sea of Cortez was visible.   The body of water is relatively shallow, leaving a wide beach even at high tide.


Our three rooms were on the first floor behind the two palm trees. We had a short walk to the pool and beach.


Jeff could not resist the bungee jumping machine.


He quickly learned how to do back flips.


 IMG_5811               IMG_5813

The maid sometimes left little statues made out of folded  towels.


Here are several of our group having dinner at the restaurant at the resort. We drove the 22 miles into town for dinner three times.



Sundowns could be spectacular.



A large group, probably an extended family, brought kites with them. At left is one of the acrobatic kites. It takes a crew of two to run it, one to get it back in the air after frequent crashes. At right is a sedate pirate ship kite.


A group of dolphins swam by as we were having dinner in a downtown restaurant. Puerto Penasco supports a large shrimp fleet.IMG_5849

Here is our group at Manny’s restaurant on Wednesday when Jeff and Laura were on their way to return to Mesa. The rest of us stayed until the end of the week. From the left, Jeff Clyde,Jo Strong, Barbara and Mike Williams, Arla Olson and Laura McNurlen.


In Blanding UT we met Mike and Barbara with whom Jo’s other sister Arla Olson was traveling in their 5th wheel trailer, for sightseeing there instead of Grand Canyon, closed because of the US government shutdown.


On Oct. 3 we set out for Natural Bridges National Monument west of Blanding. We took a short side trip with a walk to these cliff dwellings. Many canyons in the area have similar cliff dwellings occupied in the era of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in CO.


These signs greeted us on our way to Natural Bridges National Monument.


So we turned south to drive down the Moqui Dugout road. The road literally was dug out of the side of cliffs for use by large trucks carrying uranium ore to the refinery at Mexican Hat in the valley below. While the unpaved road was wide, we still were surprised to see a Coca Cola semi truck coming down the road.


Here are two levels of the Dugway road.  A red vehicle is on the upper level.


We continued south to Gouldings Lodge in the Monument Valley area and visited its gift ship. There was a large inventory of fine Navajo rugs for sale. Across the highway was the entrance to the Monument Valley Park of the Navajo Nation leading to a large hotel. For the price of admission one may drive their own vehicle into the heart of the valley on the road in the background behind Jo and sister Arla. We did not have time to make the drive, but at least I learned that one may drive the road without a guide. Next time!


Heading north again, we took a side trip to look at the spectacular Goosenecks of the San Juan River.




Next on our itinerary was Valley of the Gods with geological features similar to those of Monument Valley.


On Oct. 4 we drove the Elk Ridge loop northwest of Blanding. Elk Ridge is on the horizon, with Bears Ears at the far left.


This is the best fall color we saw on the whole trip.


At the Causeway on the way to Elk Ridge we were treated to this great view of  a nearby mountain, probably La Sal.


While on the nostalgia run south on Elk Ridge we spotted these two mule deer. Later from the same road we saw two nice bucks, but they were photo shy!