Thursday, February 27, 2014

Roadrunner February 2014 Campout - Lake Pleasant


Roadrunners have had campouts at  Pleasant Marina campground on Lake Pleasant several times in recent years. On some Jeff Clyde has brought his boat and provided rides for interested members. Jeff could not come this time. Some of us found an appropriate spot nearby for target shooting and went  through a few rounds. As one of them, I must admit that I need a lot of work on my trigger squeeze!

The pictures this time all were taken in a Canon 350 D digital single lens reflex camera with a 28 – 135 zoom lens. I have a long learning curve to understand all of its features.

Near the lake is a small airport  from which sailplane rides are provided, as well as rides in seaplanes and an old biplane. We often see ultralights flying out of there.  Tom, Herb and I paid the airport a visit.


Here is a 1929 biplane. Its radial engine has 7 cylinders. We later saw it flying near the lake.


This single engine amphibian has room for several passengers.



And here is a twin engine amphibian we later saw flying over the lake.


The crop duster type plane at the left is taking off with a sailplane in tow.


And even this big amphibian took off during our visit.


This was the view from our campground looking at a small part of the marina. The land is owned by the Maricopa Water District. The 20 year lease to the builder and operator of the marina expired, and the District has taken over its operation. This a wide angle view of the scene.


Here is a telephoto shot from about the same camera station. The camera was not on a tripod, so its image stabilization seems to work well.


This view is from about the same spot but at a different  angle. The truck and two sailboats at the left can be seen in the wide angle shot above.


We did most of our visiting in the shade of a ramada in the grassy area around which RVs were parked. Tom Holz is at the left, then Mike and Barbara Williams with their new puppy named Boomer. They were hoping that Boomer would learn from the Fusts dog Emma some of her tricks. Boomer seemed interested in chewing on a ball but the retrieving part needs some work.


The marina at sundown on Friday night.


After many tries, I finally got a picture of Emma catching the ball. She usually caught it on the fly!


On Saturday morning we caught a ride on the little shuttle to the restaurant in the marina for breakfast. No, I didn’t drive – the shuttle drive took the picture.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Twelve members and friends in 5 vehicles took the Bulldog Canyon run on Feb.16. Three met at Dillards, and two more met at the trail head on Usury Pass Road. After introductions, we headed out at 9:30.

Duane Steen was the tail gunner and had with him guest Gene Meth; Austin and Mary Ellen Hulcher had guests Sam and Joy Schwartz; Jay and Diane Olson had guests Don and Eva Johnstone. Bill Strong was the trail leader and Jeff Clyde in his white Wrangler Unlimited rounded out the  group.IMG_5446

The spacious trailhead was a great place for gathering and introductions.IMG_5447

Duane is standing by as Jeff unlocked the gate for us. We all had the required forest service permit to run these roads. The free permit gives the combinations for each of six months for the locks on the gates.


With the gate open we ready to roll.


The road from the Usury Pass trailhead follows a wash for a few miles with fine views of the desert. It joins the road from Bush Highway in a wide wash. The road is so rocky in many places that the ride is much more comfortable with tires aired down.


Austin makes the climb up this obstacle with ease. I had a bit of trouble with it but made it after Jeff guided my  wheel placement. Two weeks ago on a pre run I climbed this one in two wheel drive with tires aired down.IMG_5452

This is the alternative route up the same hill. Three of our five vehicles climbed this one with no problem.


Of course, we found time for a coffee break. The run was so short (3 hours driving time) that we were off the trail by lunch time. It is a great run for winter visitors as it is so close to Mesa – just south of Saguaro Lake.



There are some fine views of the Goldfield Mountain .along the trail.





In some places the cholla was so lush one might call it a cholla forest. The mountain here is covered with yellow lichens.


As we neared the end, we had this view of Weaver’s Needle and Superstition Mountain. This run ended at Apache Trail north of the Goldfield mine. Several stopped at the Mammoth mine tourist attraction for lunch.


As usual, this was the Roadrunners largest turnout of the year with 27 members and friends present, plus several of the Machinist group. There were fewer RVs parking at Main Event than in prior years, and the Big White Tent was not crowded. The Quartzsite we knew is fading/

We had a nice fire both Friday and  Saturday nights.


As sundown approached on Sat. we began to set up  for the 5:00 hors d’oeuvres potluck.


From left to right: Elsie Holz, Mary and Herb Fust and Mike Williams.


Food has arrived! The LeGats’ motor home is in the background.



From left – Jo Strong, Barbara Williams and Lary LeGat


The serving line was popular ands the food delicious.




After the Indio rally is over, we like to go 175 miles more to Mojave CA to visit my granddaughter Samantha Gustin, husband Chris,and their family. Samantha home schools their 15 year old son, Luke and 6 year old Ivy. When we arrived Tabitha had just celebrated her 5th birthday.


Ivy is enjoying a home made ice cream cone


Tabitha playing with her mother.


Both girls (Ivy left) with father Chris.


More playing with Samantha,Tabitha on left



Tabitha is showing me her new doll. While Ivy is older, Tabitha is taller.


We visited a facility near Rosamond which keeps rescue felines of  endangered species. This is a black mountain lion, commonly called a cougar. African lions are not endangered, so they have none. Their animals originate all over the world, many in Asia.


Tabitha, Ivy in glasses, Samantha and Luke.


Ivy, Jo and Tabitha


The area around Mojave is literally bristling with wind turbines. Just a few of them are shown here. Many have been added since we last were there two years ago.


Twenty miles north of Mojave, up a long hill, is the town of Tehachapi and Tehachapi Loop, billed as one of the seven railroad wonders of the world, Trains go around the loop (really a spiral) having an elevation change of about 75 feet and northbound trains leave the loop, shown below, through a tunnel under part of the tracks.  The trains are so long that the northbound locomotives are exiting the tunnel while some of the cars are still above it.


Here (both above and below)  the northbound Union Pacific  locomotives are exiting the tunnel while the cars they are pulling are still in the circle over the tunnel. This is a mainline route between San Francisco and Los Angeles.




It is time to catch up on my blogging again!

January 2014 was my 14th year to attend the Family Motor Coach Association regional rally in Indio CA. This year about 1125 motorhomes were parked for the rally in the spacious fairgrounds. The rally is the occasion of the Golden Spike chapter having its own rally within a rally.To park together we assemble  the day before we enter the fairgrounds at a nearby closed Sams Club and caravan to the fairgrounds

IMG_5390 An early activity of the chapter is to set up a table  at a Chapter Fair to seek more members for our group.Our rallies feature railroads, some old, some new, railroad museums, and depots. Jo and I led a rally in Colorado in September to ride three railroads in a week.


Here  at the table are Dottie and Bob Poole and, back to the camera, Conductor (President) Kurt Simon.


The club cooks tri tip roasts for one of the group’s evening meals. Here is the lineup of the grills.


The theme of this year’s rally was Dogpatch Days. The rally parade floats featured interpretations of what the mythical town of “Lil Abner and Daisy May” and its citizens may have looked like.





Our chapter had a great turnout for the group picture. I am in the back row with a white hat and Jo is in the front row.IMG_5400

Our group volunteers to distribute the ice cream for an ice cream social on Friday and Saturday. Here is the operations center of our activity – the ice cream truck. The guys carry boxes of ice cream bars or cones to tables at each end of a walkway to be distributed by the ladies to the eager eaters.



One of four distribution tables.



During four days of the rally trams consisting of a small farm type tractor pulling a trailer carry attendees around the grounds. Here the tram is going through the area displaying coaches for sale. Twenty five were sold at the rally!


Food vendors with colorful booths provided meals and snacks for attendees.


These motorhomes of members are parked along the long tree- lined street of the grounds.