Friday, December 13, 2019

Back in Arizona... (for now)

Hello faithful followers of TalesFromTheHighway.
Sorry for the absence.
We left you in the Huckleberry Brambles of Western Montana and never 
circled back to bring you full circle from Alaska to Arizona.

Well we are here to correct that now.
Even if it is over 3 months late!

Glacier to Spokane

We left Glacier Montana on Sunday Sept 8th enroute to Spokane (Deer Park) Washington.
This drive is a pretty one that takes you thru Lolo National Forest, and across the
mountains into Coeur d Alene, Id.

MT 200  along the Clark Fork River

4 hours later we were settled in to the Spokane RV Resort which is actually
located in Deer Park about 20 miles north of town.
I've wanted to visit here for several years since friends of ours held a rally here.

View out the window at Spokane RV Resort

We spent 3 nights here and then decided it was time to put pedal to the metal and
hit the road to Az.    We had places to go and people to meet, so on weds the 11th
we continued our southward migration

Spokane to Arizona

Our first day we traveled south to Wells, Nevada.
Our route was thru Kenewick, Wa  then I84 to Twin Falls, Id where we picked up
our old friend US93 for the long trip south thru Nevada and Az.

The days tally was 685 miles

US 93 Just south of Jackpot, Nv
We spent the night boondocking in a large dirt parking area in Wells.

The next morning we were back at it doing the US 93 shuffle.

US 93 South of Wells, Nv
It's a long lonely drive down US 93 from Twin Falls to Las Vegas.
Several stretches are over 80 miles between services.
It's one of my favorite drives for just putting on the miles.

US 93 North of Ely Nv
Joining I-15 North of Las Vegas we followed this truck.
I wonder if it has something to do with advance logistics for Air Force 1?

Air Force 1 Semi
One of the roadbuilding projects that is in various stages is the new I-11 Corridor
that is slated to run between Nogales, Az and Reno, Nv.
It would create an interstate highway connection between Phoenix and Las Vegas
which are the two largest US cities that do not have an interstate highway connecting them.

It basically follows the US 93 corridor.
This trip - the section south of Las Vegas was complete and for the first time
we were able to transit the area without the slog up the hill thru Boulder City.

New Interstate 11 section by Boulder City / Lake Mead
510 miles later, our stop for the night was just east of Kingman, Az 
at the Blake Ranch RV Park & Horse Motel.

Blake Ranch
This left us 4 hrs from home.   Just a hop and a skip to the barn.
The full hookups allowed us to drain and flush tanks in
preparation for storage.

Remnants of the Monsoon

We arrived home on Friday the 13th. to 100° temperatures and found a whole new ecosystem
that had taken hold in our absence.

Some opportunistic Pack Rats had taken up housekeeping under our air conditioner
slab, and a local Great Horned Own had taken notice as well.

Needless to say job 1 was dealing with the Pack Rats.
It took me a week or so - but just like the Mounties...  I always get my rats!

We had not planned on getting home till October but due to the fires and smoke in
Seward we headed home a couple of weeks early.

One of the benefits of the September homecoming was that we were arriving on
the tail end of the summer monsoons.

We have never experienced the monsoon so we were eager to get a taste.
Unfortunately 2019 was a very weak monsoon season, but we still got a sneak preview
of things to come.

The moisture driven up from the south in the summer created a fantastic display of storms
and the view from our house location is a front row seat.

Storms at sunset

An afternoon storm passes thru

Dramatic Storm Clouds at sunset
The Monsoon runs June - Sept and just like clockwork, by the end of Sept
the humidity was gone and with it - the storms.

Fortunately we were able to catch the last two weeks and get a small taste.

A downpour travels up the valley
Meanwhile - I had loads of Huckleberries to deal with.
So it soon was Jam Making Time.

My first huckleberry jam was a 100% success!

Amazon Delivered a new grill which I hooked up to the house natural gas.

We also acquired a hawk in the neighborhood.

Visits from friends

And soon after our return home...  the visitors began to arrive.
Our extended family from Switzerland arrived for 2 weeks.
As usual we had a great time and the 14 days passed in a snap.

Catalina State Park

Mission Xavier del Bac
Shipmates buds Ken & Catherine from the QM2 came passing thru.
We'll be seeing them again in California this winter.

Catherine, Ken, & Bro Paul visit.

All told we had 4 or 5 groups come passing thru in a 6 week stretch.
Among them, our Sailing Buds Hayden & Radeen made a long 
overdue stop at the Cactus Ranch.

Every night is a new sunset.

And even the mornings are pretty.
Below is sunrise.
The sun is rising behind me.

Sunrise at the Cactus Ranch
I learned last minute that the Union Pacific "Big Boy" steam locomotive
4014 was making a stop in Tucson and so I just had to go down and check out this
magnificent hunk of equipment.

Big Boy was making a trip around the west and was pulling a bunch of
heritage rolling stock of 1940's vintage.

One of the most powerful locomotives ever to ride the rails the Big Boy is heavier than
a 747 and about 2/3 as long as that airplane. 

Union Pacific 4014 "Big Boy" in the U.P. Tucson Rail Yard.
A panorama of the train.

Well its now almost Christmas and soon it will be time to head to
the desert for our usual wintertime RVing antics.

We have plans to hit the beach in California, and the Casinos in Las Vegas.

Back to England this Spring

Then come early April we will be back on the road to NJ for a repeat trip to
England on the QM2 with the doodles.

We will be spending   April to August in England, and then upon our return to the states
we will be hooking up with friends Rob & Pat and their party bus for a trip
up to the Canadian Maritimes until October at which point we'll head back west to
complete the cycle again.

Lather rinse repeat.

As you can see - there is a full docket scheduled so be sure to stay tuned in!

Thanks for riding along.