Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Month has Past

So when I left you last we had just come back from a visit to Catalina State Park down near Tucson. Lots of time has passed and we have done lots of stuff so maybe it is time to catch things up a little here.

Brenda had a bunch of medical issues that needed looking after and although she has a doctor here in Maricopa his advice was jump on a plane and get back to Canada. Things would get looked after quicker up there and as we know it is a lot cheaper also. He said that the medical system here really doesn't like folks like us that pay cash as they are able to charge the insurance companies much more than that. Tells me two things, Doctors do have a conscience when it comes to the ordinary Joe and although it looks like the insurance companies are being taken to the cleaners we all know they just pass the cost on to their customers. So back north of the Medicine Line it was for Brenda. She got back just in time for winter to set in and was there for some of the nastiest weather they have had in years, -40 degrees and tons of snow and howling winds. And you know she just loves driving that big old dually diesel around in that weather.

Meanwhile back at Dogpound South I joined some of our friends on a little expedition down to the Chiricahua National Monument and surroundings for a weekend of riding in that area.

My camp site near the Chiricahua's
We rode the National Monument one day and then off into another valley the next. The shot below was from the second day and was taken by my friend Tom Compton after we scrambled up to the hilltop to see what we could see.

I got home from this trip just in time to enjoy a little winter rainstorm here at Dogpound South. We got about an inch and half of rain over a couple of days so it actually had time to soak into the ground a little.

Meanwhile Brenda was still enjoying the comforts of home at Dogpound North.

But at least there was no wind, right Honey!
The following weekend the Rogers, Modahl's and I took a little drive up into north Scottsdale for a ride on the aptly named Brown's Ranch preserve. We left our trailers at the Granite Trailhead off of 136th Street and wandered all over the eastern part of this preserve.

Looking across Brown's Ranch from Cathedral Rock

Even though it was a little cloudy the temperature was good and no rain fell on us.
This a beautiful spot and very close to town. If you live on the north side of Phoenix it is shame not to get out and ride, bike or hike this area.

My riding companions
Well Brenda did eventually get back down to Dogpound South for a while anyways but soon after her return we got the sad news that the girls Grandmother, Mitzi Bryden, had passed away. Brenda decided that she should get home and be with her girls through this time. So with what seems to be a common theme she headed back to Calgary and the weather up there decided to treat her to yet another blizzard and cold temperatures for her entire stay.

Once she again returned to Dogpound South we packed our trailer and headed out this last weekend to ride near Picket Post Mountain east of Apache Junction near the town of Superior. This is a beautiful spot and should be on any trail riders bucket list. It is really the Sonoran Desert at its best. Lots of saguaro's and other vegetation to enjoy along with beautiful mountain scenery as the Arizona Trail winds it way across the State.

Brenda coming along the trail

Picket Post Mountain

Some of our riding companions
Stopping for a well deserved drink

Brenda and her canine crew
Not sure where we are off to next but I will endeavor to let you know when I do.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Where Have we Been

I really have to do this more often, it seems like every blog I write I have to use a different platform. A few months ago I switched from my old trusty PC to a new MAC and that meant I had to leave LiveWriter in the dustbin, and go back to blogger, and now it seems like blogger changes something each and every time I write a post.

When I left you last we were way back in early September and riding the West Country of Alberta with old and new friends up there. It was not to long after that that we loaded our new trailer and headed south. We missed our annual trek up the Boulder River south of Big Timber to visit our friends Mike and Janna. Seems that their calendar was a little out of wack and they were starting winter early there. So that meant we just pointed our rig south and set the cruise. The weather reports kept giving us encouragement to make some miles as snowy weather was following closely on our heels. That was no problem for me as those who know me know that I have a bad case of PDD (Paul Dahl Disorder), but it was not so great for Brenda and her bad knee. We stopped the first night out in Dillon, Montana and the next night we had given the cool weather the slip and slide down the Virgin River Gorge into Logandale, Nevada. Both new stopping places for us, but thanks to our friends we found places to stay with no problems.

Once we roared through the traffic in Phoenix we arrived here at Dogpound South. Much to Brenda's chagrin our house was decorated for Halloween and not with fake spider webs but with the work of a major colony of Black Widow spiders. After a day or so of sweeping, wiping and pressure washing from my very clean orientated wife the decorations were gone. While she was at that I was busy getting the horses settled in and putting some hay up for the winter. Well that and trying to keep the pressure washer from overheating and burning up.

But enough of the clean-up we came south to enjoy the warm weather and do a little riding. We are a little earlier than other years so the weather has been warm, maybe even a little to warm for us northerners but we are suffering through the heat, remember 75F is hot back home, and getting out into the hills for a little riding.

I had an opportunity to join our good friends K & Teresa Rogers, and Dave and Linda Modahl on a day ride in the Rainbow Valley SW of Phoenix. It was a great day ride and a wonderful place to do a little training work.

Making our way through the valley
 We wound our way around the mountain and stopped at a couple of tanks along the way to water our critters. And do a little treasure hunting. Below you can see Earl looking at Dave's treasure and probably thinking "You've got to be kidding me, I don't run on gas".

Our next adventure was up into the pine forests north of Phoenix, I promised not to reveal the location but I sure didn't say I wouldn't share some of the scenery.

Brenda hanging out under the apple tree

Linda and K at the falls
This last weekend we headed off with K and Teresa to Catalina State Park down near Tucson. We had been there before a couple of years ago but had not ridden the trails in the park very much so thought we should give them a try. They have a great Equestrian Campground there, and much to our surprise we had it all to ourselves. A few day riders slipped in and out on both Saturday and Sunday but we never saw another horse on the trails. There were lots of hikers and a bunch of bikers, but all were very courteous and appeared pleased to share the trails with us. K managed to make a couple of little girls days with rides on his beautiful Paint mare, Delta Dawn. We were happy to take some great photos and hopefully be included in some other folks pics also.

Some nice scenery in this part of the country, down along the Canyon Loop
This fellow was watching a Road Runner on the ground, who was probably watching a lizard
Of course no ride in the Tucson area is complete without a photo of some Saguaro's. There are a lot of them down here and they make for beautiful pictures, but something I have never seen before was this Crested Barrel Cactus.

Found along the cutoff from the 50 Year Trail to the Sutherland Trail

And what is a beautiful background without beautiful subjects.

Teresa Rogers and Brenda along the Sutherland Trail
Well that catches you up with our travels and adventures to date and I will try to keep things a little more current from now on.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to the Bighorn

Last week we once again headed west to the Yaha Tinda ranch. Unlike last time when we stayed at the Eagle Creek Campground this time we went right into the ranch and joined our friends, Ken and Verna Pohl, at the Bighorn Campground. It is situated alongside Bighorn Creek and the effects of last June's flooding were still evident, but still a beautiful spot.

The view from our campsite
The picture above not withstanding the first three days of our stay the weather was spectacular with warm temperatures and hardly a cloud in the sky. We got on the road early the first day so once we set up camp, said our hello's, we saddled up and headed across the Red Deer River and up to Hidden Falls. This is one of our favourite spots here in the valley and always a nice ride.

Always nice to have Big Ben along to scout the river crossings
For those who know Ken and Verna's ponies, Beauty didn't shrink, she is on vacation and Seeker is filling in.
Willow is thinking "Nope, not me, no way"

This is a good trail to remember your rubber soled boots on
Hidden Falls

Tomorrow's Ride

Wednesday we enjoyed a nice breakfast and a great campfire and then got ready to head up to the Sheep Cliffs. All the years we have been riding here we have never made the turn up towards the Cliffs. It is a long climb and the trail although not rocky has a fair amount of exposed roots that your mount has to negotiate.

Lots of up and lots of roots
Some of the rest stops come with spectacular views
Along this trail you climb out above tree line

And the views get better and better

And once you get to the top it is time to rest up for the ride down.

More and more beautiful views as we dropped back down the 3400 feet to our camp in the valley.

Fall is definitely in the air up here in the high country.

Day 3 we saved for one of my favourites rides on the ranch, the rest of the world call it Poplar Bluff, but we just call it the High Trail. It is not as high as Sheep Cliffs but it sure has some nice views along the way.

Beautiful ladies, fast horses and spectacular scenery

Brenda just had to let her go for bit!
Ken, Verna, and Penny enjoying the view from our lunchspot
The Pohl Gang
The next day a little rain came into the valley and the Pohl's headed for home. Later in the evening, well a lot later, actually early in the morning we got new neighbours, Mike and Shauuna Lewis. They, their horses and three dogs arrived in the wee hours and we spent the next day getting to know them and their dogs, Night, Ruger and Watson.

Mikes Yukon Candle

Here is a look at our rides on the ranch this year from Google

A couple of posts back I wrote about saying goodbye to our motorhome, well the deal went through and with a little horse trading our travelling style is changing but we are still travelling even though I think we need a little bigger turn around at both Dogpounds. We still have lots of room but with this rig we can take along a bunch of our four legged friends.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Loss of a Wonderful Woman

And a good friend. This morning we got a terrible shock when our friend Rod Ivers told us that Loyce, his wife of 45 years had passed suddenly yesterday.

Brenda called me just as I came out of the swimming pool in Sundre and I just sat in stunned disbelief in the parking lot for a while. There are no words to describe my thoughts.

We met Loyce and Rod back in 2009 at the Kerrville gathering and again later that same winter in Rockport, Texas. It didn't take more than a minute to discover what a warm loving person Loyce was and over the years we have both entertained and been entertained by the Ivers at our various wintering spots. We have gotten together to break bread together on a number of occasions and Loyce was always interested in trading stories about our respective grandchildren and even sent some of her crafts home with us to Canada for the little ones.

I wish I could think of some words that would help her family with the sorrow that I know will engulf them from the loss of this wonderful woman but there are no words, just memories of the good times and the knowledge that she loved them above all else.

Brenda and I want them to know that she had a positive impact on a lot of folks and we will be sending our thoughts and prayers from up here north of the Medicine Line to help comfort them in this time of loss.

Until we all cross that line and can share another campfire Loyce know that we will cherish the memories of our time together

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Times are a Changing - Our Rigs FOR SALE

We have decided to put our Motorhome up for sale. It is a 2009 Fleetwood Discovery 40X. That is the model that has a front kitchen and a mid-ship television. It has three slides and is a pretty roomy rig, I think down in Kerrville a few years back we had thirteen folks inside one rainy evening. Now we were all friends but it still had room for a few more.

We ordered this rig from the factory so it came with all the things we wanted and needed. Unlike many it has both a gas and convection oven, and heat pumps, and a washer/dryer combo. Also a factory installed Satellite Dish on the roof and seeing as how we like to get our Canadian channels we also installed a Motosat dish for Shaw/Star Choice also.

We like to get out where the places are less crowded and enjoy the quiet of the countryside so solar was a must, and we had four extra batteries installed. We had AM Solar install 400 watts of solar generating capacity on the roof along with all the necessary power management equipment. This system has served us well and we are able to do almost everything from computering to TV watching without having to use the onboard 8KW generator.

A couple of years ago we upgraded the blinds from the day/night shades to MCD roller blinds and shades.

The only reason this outfit is for sale is the fact that our needs have changed. Those who follow our blog know that we now have a place in Arizona, and spend a great deal of time traveling and trailriding with our horses, so the motorhome just was not getting used enough. Although we still get it out and about frequently in the summers here in Canada, it is just to nice to take into the back country where we do most of our riding.

Therefore some lucky person is going to be able to get the deal of a lifetime. We are looking to move it to a new home on a pretty short timeframe, so it won't be here long.

Here she is doing what she does best, enjoying time away from the crowds with her solar array making quiet power.
I will just put a bunch of shots here, keeping in mind that these were taken while we were fulltiming. This is an especially clean rig and we have taken good care of it. It just had a complete service and the generator has about 15 hours since its last service. Only about 23,000 miles on the clock also.


Drivers side

Ready to roll with a full-size pickup in tow

From the bedroom looking up the hall past the bathroom

Front looking back to the mid-ship TV

Passenger side

Once again in the desert enjoying the quiet