Thursday, December 18, 2014

Alamo Lake

Our newest adventure was at a location 38 miles north of Wenden AZ (on Army Corp of Engineering land) about a 2 hour drive from Phoenix.   We knew it was time to get back to the basics of why we travel the open road so we packed up everything and headed off the grid to do some boon docking.   The remote feeling of solitude that you can experience in this type of environment definitely makes you appreciate what you have in life and who you are making this journey with.  We are very thankful for each other and what we have.

When we first pulled into this area (at mile marker 28-29) after traveling some pretty questionable roads once we were off US 60, our normal plan is usually to unhook the Jeep and take a ride to see where we would like to set up home.


We were fortunate enough to have an ATV going down the road at the same time who stopped to ask if we needed any help.  How nice was that?   It was at this moment that we met Del, from Pinehurst, Idaho who was kind enough to inquire if we needed help.  He offered to take Jeff around to look at some sites while Kay stayed with the RV.  When they returned, we promised to hook up with him at some point to share a cool one.  It was now time to pick a site.

So many spots, which one can we maneuver the RV in?  Jeff picked out at a pretty level spot which had us sitting about 800 feet above the lake.  Beautiful! CIMG4357 

Mother Nature you did it again!!!  What an absolutely beautiful area.  Everything seems so majestic with the mountains surrounding us.  There aren’t too many other rigs here right now, but we are told that after Christmas this place will definitely experience the Snowbird invasion.  This land is nestled in the Buckskin Mountains and just adjacent to us is the area known as Alamo Lake State Park - for those that want a less rustic camping experience.

The Alamo Dam here at the river was completed in 1968 by the Army Corp of Engineers.  This earthen dam was originally designed for flood control.  During flood events, the lake has been known to record a rising of 11 vertical feet in one night.  Pretty amazing!  The rivers that feed the lake are the Big Sandy River and the Santa Maria River – both which form the Bill Williams River/NWR which is pretty large in this area of Arizona.  Articles say that this body of water is really a recreational reservoir for the Alamo Lake State Park.  A popular spot in the summer for mainly bass fishing tournaments the lake also yields other fine catches such as bluegills, channel catfish and black crappie. 

DSC02943  You can see to the far center left some of the dam.

CIMG4359  A hike to the lake revealed a shore line that people can launch their fishing boats in the lake for a try at catching some fish.


The landscape is pretty much low desert vegetation (aka Sonoran Desert scrub) with trees such as the Palo Verde, Ironwood, Valley Mesquite and various cacti.   We have heard in the distant the occasional feral burrows which they say are non-native to this area.  Maybe escaped from miners in the past and have now acclimated successfully to desert life.  We do see a lot of foot prints of all sizes in the washes and they pretty much leave us alone. 

DSC02952DSC02965 CIMG4368CIMG4394

CIMG4372  On one of our many hikes.  You can see the motorhome in the distant.


We put out the hummingbird feeder just in case and low and behold we have a family of Anna Hummingbirds coming to eat throughout the day.  It is quite the challenge to get their pictures though!  And today, we have 5 females trying to feed from the one feeder.  There sure is lots of squabbling for the choice spot.


We hope that we’re able to experience some warmer nights when the sun goes down for some star gazing as the nearest city is 40 miles away.  No light pollution around here.  But let me tell you about the sunsets that we’ve encountered.   So far in all of our travels we have not experienced color like we have here.


We continue to explore this area with our daily hikes after a leisurely breakfast.  Right now our plans are to hook up with a friend in Wickenburg, AZ (about 82 miles east of here.  Rebecca is from Steamboat Springs, Colorado and last year we met her in Congress at the Escapee North Ranch campgrounds.   After that, the weather will be the determining factor on our next location.  

CIMG4388     We’re on retirement time!

And, so are the cats, Chuck & Abby!!!

CIMG4386   CIMG4387  

HugsRed rose

Kay & Jeff


“For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends”

  --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Planes. . .Planes. . .and more Planes

A day trip to Tucson with our friends Bill & Michele to visit the Pima Air & Space Museum was very impressive.  This museum boasts 100 years of aviation history on 80 acres (150+ airplanes in 5 hangars and then another 150+ aircraft in one of the largest outdoor exhibits).  Plus, they have an exclusive “Aircraft Boneyard” tour that you can only visit during the week that has over 4000+ stored aircraft on 2600 acres.  What a trip this would be for an avid airplane enthusiast.


This entranced sign tells us what is on the grounds.  If you look closely at this sign, notice the three aircraft at the top of the sign above Pima Air.   The original fiberglass sculpture of the “flying fish” (as they are affectionately called around the museum grounds) is so much more dramatic in the display of three Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23’s - prototype single-seat twin engine fighters taking off in flight.  Maybe that’s why they call it, “The Beauty of Flight”.   Sorry we missed getting this picture for you, but we know that these next pictures should make up for it.  We hope that you enjoy the tour.


DSC02902     The Wright Flyer, December 17, 1903


Astronauts were trained for weightlessness in space on a Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker, “Vomet Comet” 1963-2004


CIMG4312     Rear machine gun turret off a B-29

CIMG4319     B-17 Bomber


Trainer – pulled out of Lake Michigan (currently being restored)

CIMG4346     “Guppy” used for transporting NASA equipment

DSC02903     Pratt & Whitney R-985 “Wasp Junior” radial engine, 9 cylinder 300-400 HP

DSC02904     Biplane, Waco ZK6, 285 HP 200 mile range with 3,250 lb. hauling capacity

DSC02907     Vietnam era helicopter with attached rocket launcher & machine guns

DSC02908     Fighter jet from the USS Kitty Hawk

DSC02909     Amphibious plane

DSC02910     SR-71 Blackbird capable of 2200+ mph 

DSC02916     B-17


B-29 Superfortress; the wing tips were removded in order to get the plane into the hangar.  1940’s plane used in Europe


Sabre Jet F-86E “Joyous Joyce” with a range over 1,000+ miles; one crew from Oklahoma – named “OKIE”!

DSC02924     Boeing B-17G “Flying Fortress” (used in Europe)


Aircraft markings and insignia are an endlessly fascinating subject for most aviation enthusiasts and historians.  They range from the official to the decidedly unofficial and often times unauthorized.  The official insignia are intended to raise morale and provide a sense of community and identify for the units whose aircraft display them.  The much more personal “nose art” expresses the wants, fears and hopes of the crew.

These are just some of the pictures of nose art - referred to as “beyond the girls” - that decorated American aircraft (specific to B17’s from 1943-1945) during the first century of powered flight.  Each piece is a part of a real aircraft, often the only piece to survive the scrapper.



The row of VIP planes in the outdoor exhibit area included JFK’s plane.  This plane had a history of transporting both Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson.  They say that JFK often had to be reminded to eat but that his taste buds craved New England Fish Chowder for lunch, according to the JFK Library. The story goes, a girl wrote Kennedy and asked what his favorite food was. Under the urging of his secretary, he revealed he had an appetite for chowder and sent her the recipe.

To see President Kennedy’s chowder recipe click on this link:



Another VIP plane followed for the Johnson family.  They would often fly to their home in Texas aboard this plane.  Johnson’s preferences for “barbequed spare ribs at a banquet with the ladies in which gloves” was appalling and unacceptable to the White House Chef, after catering to the upscale appetite of the JFK family. 


And one of the smallest plane that definitely puts a smile on your face (Kay took this picture).Winking smile


We know it doesn’t fly, but we couldn’t resist snapping this picture for a special gal in Texas.  You know who you are!  Jeff says, “get your guns”!



A special thank you to all of the volunteers at this museum who have put in hundreds of hours talking about what they know and love to the visitors that walk the hangars.  We sure had a great time talking to them – and they come from all over the US.  We salute you and all other veterans.  Thank you for your years of service.  God Bless America!

Hugs Red rose

Kay & Jeff