Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Tourista!”

Gratuitous Gunplay

A marauding pack of gun-totin’ crazies gathered in Yuma, Arizona over the weekend for a three-day competition. It was run by the Yuma Matchmasters, a local club which scores the time for each competitor in each category according to SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) rules. The main match consists of 12 stages, each of which varies slightly around the commonality of having to show proficiency with three very different kind of firearms, one right after the other: dual six-shot single-action revolvers, a carbine rifle, and a shotgun. The arms used can be new, but must conform to being replicas of early designs. This annual match is sold out, with a waiting list.

The garb? It’s required.

The serious competitive nature of firearm timed target or combat competitions pretty much evaporates here because of two requirements. The first is that Read more…

2017 in Review – Part 3

[Same old data warning. You know.]

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

White Rock, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Bar “S” RV Park, Grants New Mexico

Bar “S” RV Park, Grants New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

Bighorn Campground, Glenwood New Mexico

Southwest New Mexico

2017 In Review – Part 2

[Caution for those on data-restricted cellular accounts – BAIL OUT NOW. Don’t let this page continue to load, since it contains a hearty gob of photos.]

The return trip to Arizona begins with pulling a Captain “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz and heading northeast, then southeast.

Shelby, Michigan

Shelby, Michigan

Read more…

2017 in Review – Part 1

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge (Arizona)

[Caution for those on data-restricted cellular accounts – BAIL OUT NOW. Don’t let this page continue to load, since it contains a hearty gob of photos.]

I thought I would present here a kind of photo summary of many of the places I visited this year. Not all are represented, especially this section on the commute toward Illinois, when truck stops and rest stops were the norm in order to minimize travel time. This year’s trip eastward was unusual in that I first stalled for time waiting for the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. Apart from locations, no explanations are provided in the photos – I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already written. You may be able to get an explanation by entering the location in this site’s search box at the upper right, but the purpose of this photo presentation is sometimes “pretty pictures”, sometimes a simple reveal of what campsites were like, and now and then, memorable moments.

Please note that you can click on any one of these photos to see its detail in a larger format.

The photos in this post are not new to this blog, but in a way, they are. First, I’ve always left my photos Read more…

Pima Air & Space Museum

How’s this for obscure? This Columbia XJL-1 amphibious plane was developed and built from a Grumman design in 1946, then accepted for testing by the Navy in 1947. The 3rd of 3 built, it suffered repeated structural failures in 1948, and was dropped from the program in 1949. Two surviving examples were sold to a Martin Aircraft engineer for $450, and he worked at restoring them until his death in 1955. In 1957, his widow sold this one to a Chicago resident on the condition that he make the plane fly at least once, which he did later that same year.

If you like a goodly percentage of aircraft that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else, the Pima Air & Space museum is for you. It’s a private, non-profit museum in Tucson, Arizona. With 150 aircraft indoors and another 150 on the grounds spread out over 80 acres, this is an aircraft extravaganza not to be missed. They claim that you can see everything in 3-4 hours, but this is an optimized estimate based on fast-marching and tram-riding like there is no tomorrow. I suspect this timing assumes that the visitor take a stout dose of amphetamines, wear roller skates, and have an aversion to reading informational placards. If you want to stop and gawk or want to get up close, the additional minutes quickly add to the hour count.

This 1970 Pereira Osprey II amphibian was tested for use as a civil police observation plane in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. It successfully completed tests, but was dropped anyway. It became a home-built kit plane in 1975, with 200 sold. This one was wrecked in 1982 after an engine failure, then was rebuilt over the next 6 years. It can reach 130 MPH, which is not too shabby for an amphibious Short Takeoff and Landing craft (STOL).

There are 4 hangers, of which I toured one and listened to a volunteer docent do his thing on each craft. I got there about 9:15AM and gawked, then did the docent-guided tour at 10:30, which lasted until 11:20. That gave me just enough time to grab a reserved seat on the tram tour, which lasted almost an hour. By that time, I decided that Read more…

El Morro National Monument

But first – before leaving Milan, New Mexico, I took a few pleasant moments to Hoover up this seafood pasta salad at Wow Diner. They serve some eclectic dishes there, and a stop there is well worth the effort. Yum!

[This is a photo-heavy post, so if you’re scraping by on a tiny cellular account, you may want to abandon ship now, before too many of them have downloaded. They’re small files, but there are a lot of them.]

Yup, I’ve been well out of range of any cellular signals for the last week, blowing that time at a campground that can be found while heading for the Visitor’s Center at El Morro. It’s all paved roads and vault toilets here, so considering those and the provided trash bins, staying here is not exactly roughing it. The GPS coordinates for the camp are 35.036999, -108.335999. Elevation is 7,200’, providing daytime highs in the 60s in Late October. Maximum posted rig length is 27’, and this is a very pleasant camp that seems to be used mainly for overnights only.

Simply a view down the campground road.

Some of the campsites here are quite short in parking length, and some are able to take longer rigs. Most have some degree of slope to them. This campground is designed mainly for tenters, providing a level gravel square bordered by wood planks at each. There are tenters here, a few car campers, a small pickup with a shell over the bed, an occasional small truck camper, and a fair number of small van-based motorhomes – including a formidable one that seems to have made its way over from Germany. Picnic tables and grilles are provided, and surrounding trees provide Read more…

Departing Joe Skeen Campground

Guess where I am now?

Since my alloted 7 days were up at the Joe Skeen Campground in New Mexico, it was time to move on, but not before driving 10 or so miles south first, just to survey the scenery. The photos below do not do justice to what can be seen from the highway, since most times there is no place to pull over for a shot. Let’s just say that the drive south toward a large stone arch is not to be missed.

Read more…

The Price of Being Picky

The Furd looks better from a distance. Though merely filthy on the outside, the wheelwells and side steps looked like giant barnacles on a ship’s hull. I cleared away all I could by hand before this photo was taken.

Problematic campsites, like plane crashes, seem to run in threes. This one was called the Caja del Rio Plateau, miles west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The coordinates given were 35.691879, -106.21582. What I’m guessing was 15 miles of off-road adventure led me to open pasture with no sign of past camping activity, no promised magnificent vistas, and nothing to recommend it but solitude and solar. Then again, I couldn’t do the last several hundred feet because of vegetation and slope. I assume that the coordinates given are bogus, or perhaps I copied them incorrectly.

Once I arrived in that alleged camping area, two problems stuck in my mind: No cell service, and a peculiar silty “soil” that compressed underfoot and promised to create a sticky mud when the rains hit in a couple more days. The kind of mud that stays a half-inch thick on shoe soles and doesn’t want to come off. It was time for an executive decision, and I decided to seek better. Problem is, the selection of campsites in this overall area that are Read more…

Taos Junction Recreation Site

The Rio Grande at Taos Junction.

[This post is photo-heavy, so if you’re on a very limited cellular plan, exit right now and go to the home page or anywhere else.]

The drive down from Buena Vista, Colorado via Alamosa to Taos Junction, New Mexico was scenic, to say the least. Broad, sweeping valleys bordered by high, rugged mountains were the order of the day. Just don’t run off the highway staring at them. Alamosa, Colorado is a good-sized town with much to recommend it in the way of supplies. When 2 o’clock rolled around, I stopped at an improvised burger palace in a section of a repurposed city building, where I got a good hamburger, perfect onion rings, and perhaps the best chocolate shake I’ve had so far. The shake came with a straw large enough in diameter to pass as plumbing pipe, and it worked admirably. Due to their running a special and providing a 10% senior discount, I walked out with a loss of under $7. Yes, that’s no typo. Even the Safeway in town had unusually low prices on most food items, and with the fuel credit they give to regular customers, I was able to top off my tank at their station for just $2.29/gallon, which was a lot better than the $2.98 stations I’d passed on the way down. People in the Safeway parking lot greeted me with a friendly hello as we passed. My kind of town, Alamosa. Nirvana for cheapskates.

Here’s one view of camp, showing the shelters.

I had three sets of GPS coordinates for my next potential camp, all hopefully between 6,000’-7,000’ high. All are in extreme northern New Mexico. The first was Read more…

Peru Creek Climb

Out for a foot-drag at 10,000 feet elevation, this is the view!

This post is a follow-up to the initial one on the Peru Creek camping area near Dillon, Colorado. Because of a problematic cellular signal, the only way to do that was to leave there. Not a unique situation in Colorado. But ahhh, the scenery as you drive along!

This very rough trailhead is officially adaptable for vehicles as well as people and mountain bikes. As I walked past, this Toyota SUV that had money poured into it gave it a go. It returned maybe a half-hour later, while a stock Jeep that preceded it stayed in for quite a while. I could not handle the climb rate on foot, so I could not gauge the degree of mechanical challenge. Some big rocks at center maybe a hundred feet in promised some adventure, however.

A low temperature front about to move in just as supplies were starting to run low made it a Read more…

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