At the Double E Ranch near Gila, New Mexico – Day 8 of our Road Trip

Today we didn’t get in the car. It was a nice change as we begin the second week of our road trip. We set out to do a hike from the front door of our cabin. First we walked down the creek for quite a ways. 

Then we decided to bushwhack our way back around the other side of the big bluff which overlooks the ranch. It was tough going and each of us got scraped a bit by thorns but the challenge was worth it. 

It was really good to get back to our cabin, shower and put our feet up!

Day 7 of our Southwest Road Trip – exploring around Silver City and Gila, New Mexico

Tuesday morning we hiked the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Back in the 1890s miners installed a water pipe through Whitewater Canyon for the nearby mine. A catwalk through the canyon was needed to maintain the pipe. The mines went away but in the 1930s a  trail was built on the old catwalk.  A recent fire and a big flood seriously damaged the catwalk but it has been rebuilt.  We hiked the catwalk and a bit further up the canyon.

After our hike we drove into Silver City. We stopped at the visitor center, had a snack at Dairy Queen, drove around the historic center and toured the museum.

From Silver City we went Back to our cabin on a ranch near Gila. About 4 pm we had a thunderstorm and the power went out. No power just made the evening more of an adventure. We had flashlights and candles. This cabin is a perfect spot to sit on the porch and read. We enjoyed dinner on the front porch too. The power came back on about 8 am this morning.

Day 6 of our Southwest Road Trip. Phoenix to near Gila New Mexico. 

This morning we left Phoenix and took the Apache Trail up into the Superstition Mountains. First we came to Canyon Lake.  The road turned to gravel and the scenery to stunning canyons.

After about 30 miles of gravel we came to Theadore Roosevelt Dam where we had lunch.

The bridge by the dam is the longest steel single span bridge in a the United States.

After getting back to pavement we drove into New Mexico to a cabin near Gila. Right now we are sitting on the porch drinking wine and enjoying the peace and quiet.

The view is lovely.

I wasn’t sure whether I would mention it… but on a remote road near the eastern Arizona border we were pulled over by a very polite Arizona Highway Patrol officer who issued us a citation for flagrantly wasting finite resources!

Phoenix – day 5 of our Southwest Road Trip

It was suppose to be over 100 in Phoenix today so we got an early start. We were at the Desert Botanical Garden at 7:30.

About half way through our explorations we ate a great brunch at Gertrude’s the Botanical Garden restaurant.

Next we went to the Arizona State Capital. Duke and I are working on visiting all fifty state capitals. A lot of them look very similar. I liked the Arizona capital. It is pretty and different.

We also wandered around the grounds and looked at many of the monuments in the park in front of the capital. This one is two guns. One gun is from the USS Arizona that was sunk at Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World Ear II. The other gun is from the USS Missouri the ship on which the Japanese surrender was signed.

And this memorial is dedicated to police dogs.

Day 4 of  our Southwest Road Trip – Sedona to Phoenix

This morning we drove south from Sedona and hiked the Bell trail. The trail goes up a canyon in the Mogollon Rim created by Beaver Creek. The Mogollon Rim is a 200 mile long escarpment that marks the south edge of the Colorado Plateau.

The trail is an out and back trail. We hiked a little over seven miles. It was a nice trail.

And at the end there was a big swimming hole called The Crack. Lots of kids were jumping off the cliffs into the water.

On the way back to the car we passed lots and lots of people hiking in. The swimming hole must have been packed.

After the hike we drove to Phoenix where we will be staying for the next couple of days.

Sedona – Day 3 of our Southwest U.S. Road Trip

This morning we got an early start on our hike. We went to Devil’s Arch.

Just before I walked out onto the arch to have my picture taken a young couple walked out onto the arch. As I watched, the guy pulled a box out of his pocket, got down on one knee and proposed to the young woman. She collapsed in tears of joy and everyone within sight broke out in cheers and applause. It was a wonderful moving moment.

The hike to the arch was lovely.

Next we drove to Montezuma Castle National Monument. To quote the brochure; “Southern Sinagua farmers built this five story, 20-room dwelling sometime between 1100 and 1300.”

Then we went to Tuzigoot National Monument. It is “the remnant of  a Southern Sinagua village built between 1000 and 1400. ”

We stopped in Jerome, an old mining town on the side of a mountain.

We went to our room to clean up and rest a bit then drove out of town to check out the red rock at sunset.

And had pizza for dinner.

Las Vegas to Sedona – day 2 of our Southwest U.S. road trip

We left Las Vegas at about 9 this morning and headed into Arizona.  Around lunch time we stopped in Flagstaff at the Museum of Northern Arizona. We had a picnic lunch and then toured the museum. They have a lot of artifacts and information about the different people who have lived in this area over the centuries, and about the geology and animals of the area.

Tonight we are in Sedona. We didn’t do the planned hike today but we did do a lovely stroll up to the top of the hill in the resort where we are staying. The sunset lit up the red rock surrounding us.

Beginning of our 2017 Southwest Road Trip

Duke and I left today on a two week road trip. You can see a map of our planned route here.

Today we drove from Reno to Las Vegas. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Tonapah.

Tonapah has a fancy Tessa charging station that seemed a bit out of place in this small town in the middle of the Nevada desert. I guess if you want to drive from Reno to Las Vegas in your Tesla you need a place to charge your batteries.

We decided that we would try to hike on most days of this trip. I spent some time during the last few weeks picking a hike for each day of the trip. I wasn’t sure we would be able to do the planned hike today. The temperature high for Las Vegas was predicted to be 102. When we turned off the highway towards the trailhead it was 99 but by the time we got to the trailhead up in the mountains it was 75, perfect hiking weather!  We hiked the Fletcher Canyon Trail in the Spring Mountains. It was a great hike. 3.2 miles was perfect after sitting in the car all day.

There may not be many food pictures on this trip.  We ate in the Italian restaurant at the Westgate Casino/Hotel where we are staying. We enjoyed watching the Italian scenery being scrolled across the screens next to our table.

Back Country Day trip from Reno

A couple of weeks ago Duke, Vicky and I spent a day checking out some of the backroads east of Reno. We had such a wet winter we wanted to see the water  in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, The Carson River and Lahontan Reservoir. We started out the day with a great breakfast at Cafe Adele’s in Carson City.  You can see the Google Map of our route here.

The major highlights of the trip were the birds and wildlife we saw. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the pronghorn antelope. In a few places in the wild life refuge there were swarms of mosquitos. You can see a couple of them on the window glass in the big picture below.

It was a beautiful day and a fun drive that I think we will do again.

Camping and Nevada Back Road exploring – Taquima Cave and Dianas Punchbowl

Duke and I love exploring the back roads and outback of Nevada. We just got back from a one night exploring camping trip. We had planned to be out two nights but the weather didn’t cooperate. We still managed to see a lot in just two days. We were pretty much in the geographical center of Nevada. Here is a map of our route.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at the shoe tree on highway 50. Highway 50 is so empty that  people have created their own roadside attraction.

A little east of Austin we left the pavement and then just before we got to our campground we had a flat tire! Luckily we carry two spares otherwise it would have been foolhardy to continue on roads where we rarely see another car.

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The Taquima Caves campground is just a quarter mile walk from the camp ground. The cave has rock art created more than 1500 year ago.

We were the only ones in the campground.

Monday morning we drove down into the Monitor Valley and went looking for Dianas Punch Bowl. We followed our map and seemed to be in the right place but there were no signs. We decided to drive to the top of this hill to look around.

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At the top we saw this.

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And then this!

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Down about 30 feet is a hot spring inside a tufa hill.

From Dianas Punch Bowl we headed west back over the mountains to check out the campground near Kingston where we had planned to camp. But it was rainy and cold so we decided to head home. It was a fun trip and inspired me to do another Nevada Outback camping trip again soon.