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It was time for Fiona, my '99 Bural Patrol to get some much needed exercise.

She'd not really been ridden for the whole time I was in NM/AZ you see; but today that was remedied.

We rode out of the neighborhood and stopped for an hour or so near the junction of Santa Fe Road and C-470.  There was some work to do at the Cyxtera Data Center there so I wouldn't have to do it on Monday.

After the task was complete, we rode onto Deer Creek Canyon Road which one accesses via Wadsworth Blvd exit off of the C-470 highway.

First a stop at the neighborhood which surrounds Deer Creek Canyon Park for the usual view of nearby rock formations:


We then started heading west back on Deer Creek Canyon Rd but didn't get very far into the canyon itself; ran out of gas you see at 169 km on the trip meter.

I usually start looking for gas around 160 and usually only required 4 gallons so I thought I had the range, but nope.  Luckily, had about a gallon of gas in the spare gas can and I headed back towards Santa Fe boulevard and the nearest gas station.

Topped off this time, we went back towards Deer Creek Canyon and rode it all the way to the end where it junctons with Turkey Creek Road.  We reversed course and rode back towards South Valley Park to check out its many scenic rock formations:




As we exited back towards the metro area, I stopped to take a picture of the power line towers....they reminded of the Free French Cross and the way one pair was painted light blue somehow caught my eye.


As you can see, no snow on the roads; even in the twistier bits of road in the canyon.  The shady areas of the canyon were perhaps 2-3 degrees cooler and you can feel it in your fingertips in spite of heavy gloves.

Took the back way, via Waterton Canyon road back to Santa Fe Road aka US85.  I then took County Line road eastward back to my home neighborhoods.  It was a pretty windy day for a ride with temperatures starting just below freezing and soaring to almost 37°F (2.7°C) under sunny conditions.
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It's been a v ery mild winter so far, that I've experienced anyways.  Spending a month down in NM/AZ didn't help of course. 

Yesterday it started to lightly snow but no real accumulations during the President's Day holiday.  It continued snowing overnight though and we woke to perhaps 2" of snow here in the SE portion of the Denver Metro area.

Rode out just before lunch after getting some work done and enjoyed cold temperatures that stayed mostly around 12°F (-11°C) the whole time I was out.  It would get 2 degrees cooler a bit further to the SE but it also produced good conditions for Hoar Frost on the trees there.

The only negative was low clouds to the west obscured the Front Range mountains completely!  Still, I think you'll agree it was good riding conditions.

 At the parking lots of Eaglecrest High School

 It was a bit colder here in the ranching neighborhood
I like to frequent for pictures








Got home with toes slightly chilled within my riding boots but otherwise no real problem with the cold conditions.  I know, for RichardM in AK, these conditions would have been balmy but for me, it was cold enough.  :)

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Sidecar-Traveller magazine's Martin Franitza asked me late last year to use one of my Thanksgiving Day pictures in the February 2018 issue.


It's the first double-page on the magazine:


This is the original photo:


There was no renumeration for this, but I figure, exposure is a good thing.


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This morning, it was a "brisk" 22°F (-5.5°C) in Capulin, New Mexico at the RV Park where I'd spent the night.

As I was waiting for temperatures at Raton Pass (at the border with Colorado) to be above freezing before I drove the pass; it was time for a visit to the Capulin Volcano National Monument.

It had been quite foggy as I rode to the volcano, in fact, so foggy you couldn't even see it as you approached it.  This fog or low flying clouds obscured things quite thoroughly at the summit as well.

I was the first one at the visitor center, and once they opened I paid the $10 for a motorcycle fee and waited a few more minutes while they "checked" the road before opening it up to the public.

You can ride all the way to a parking lot at the summit of the volcano's rim; but the road while paved is not replete with safe spots for stopping for pictures.

It was basically like being on the top of a hill, surrounded by fog and nothing but gray fog looking down from the path which circles the rim of the volcano.

 A fleeting glimpse of a nearby peak as the cloud
blew past me on the volcano rim

As I waited for the fog to burn off or the clouds to blow on through, I took some pictures of the bushes which were nicely covered with hoar frost.

 Telephoto shot of the trees on the opposite side of the rim


 For a few seconds, you could see the parking lot from 
the top, this should give you an idea of the height gained


Close to 9:00 AM the clouds cleared or the sun burned off the fog and I was able to see the surrounding landscape.

 Same viewpoint as the first pic, this time without clouds
hiding the intervening valley


 Above is the small town of Capulin, about three miles away

 I think the small volcano is called Baby Capulin

My photos of the volcano's crater or plug didn't turn out either due to the fog or it's lack of any real features besides the trail you can walk down to it's bottom.  It was "unremarkable" in my view.

 A view of the valley on the way back down

A pic of the volcano from the entrance....

That's it, not a bad stop if you're enroute to Raton, NM or points east in Texas.
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Long day on the road, woke to low overcast and rainy skies near Elephant Butte, NM where I'd spent the night boondocking.

The weather being gray and wet, I elected to keep going north instead of trying to find a BLM near the Very Large Array radio-telescope dish farm about an hour west of Socorro, NM.

So I ended up driving on I-25 till I got to Maxwell, NM and the Wildlife Refuge Area there that allstays.com listed as an all year facility.  No so, it's only open for camping from end of May to end of Oct according to the lady who answered their office phone.  Oh well.

Instead I displaced to nearby Capulin, New Mexico to spend the night at a modest RV Park.  Tomorrow morning, I'll be hitting the entrance to the Capulin Volcano National Monument and riding Scarlett as far up as I can up the volcano.  Should be interesting and I hope, photogenic.

In the meantime, once I settled into the RV park (of which I'm the sole occupant), I rode out with Scarlett to catch the sunset.  Sunsetwx had declared it to be a nogo but they were wrong, again.








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Making my way, slowly, back to Colorado.  Timing things to arrive after the forecasted snow on Thursday is gone.

Sunrise in Bowie proved to be quite nice:






Tonight's BLM campsite is the one I used on the way to Arizona back in January.  It's north of the town of Truth or Consequences, east of I-25 on the Mitchell Point exit.  I like it, no one around, but the weather was heavily overcast and cool.

Spent the day preparing for work this weekend, since that's when the maintenance windows are....

After work, I set out on Scarlett and decided to cruise over to the nearby town of Cuchillo.  The name means knife in Spanish so I was curious.  It's basically a settlement consisting of small homes, decaying RVs and delapidated structures...pretty much bypassed by time.  In fact, it's listed among New Mexico's ghost towns though I believe folks still live there.

I explored the roads leading out of Cuchillo, especially liked the one that climbed a ridge out of town.  The mountain peaks in the distance were too far for pictures though and tonight's sunset didn't occur as the rain clouds continue to darken the skies overhead.

I did find this overlook point on the ridge road, eased Scarlett near it's forward edge and got these pictures.




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Homeward bound, I wish I was, homeward bound....oh wait, I am!

Laura, my SIL, has officially relieved me as care provider to my FIL as he is now home from the hospital and on the road to full recovery.

Richard, my FIL and Laura, my SIL


Ready to enjoy an eggroll....

I left Sun City in the rear view mirror and headed east along I-10 towards Tucson.  Once past Tucson, it was a couple more hours till a BLM campsite located near the small town of Bowie, AZ.

It was about 5 miles of dirt road but I did find a nice spot to park Uma, the URRV for the night.  

There's good 4G coverage, about 5 other RVs located within a one mile circle, no one close to me, the way I like it.

 My campsite for the night.

I had camp set up shortly after 5PM so I unloaded Scarlett and decided to see where the road I used ended up.  FYI it ends at the gates for the JJ ranch.  I guess it borders the BLM land?  There's cows ranging free all over the BLM land too.

Turning around at the ranch's closed gate, I got the following pics for your viewing pleasure.



The place has several crumbling rock domes and piles of rocks providing interesting backgrounds for pics and perhaps some exploration tomorrow.  I'm trying to figure out if I want to go visit the Very Large Array near Socorro, NM as I make my way slowly back to Colorado.  

I am going slowly as snow is expected in the Denver metro area on Thursday I think and so I want to time my arrival with dry roads.

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Not much moto content.

Spent another week keeping my FIL company in the hospital as he slowly but steadily recovers from heart surgery. 

Scarlett did suffer from two flat tires though; the sidecar and pusher tires had to have their inner tubes replaced at the nearby powersports dealership. 

In the process, found that the threads on the bracket that holds the pusher's brake caliper had stripped and so I had to order a part from Ski at Triquest as he had it onhand.  It's not a part that's regularly stocked so I lucked out on that.

Also found issues with the mounting hole for the aft bolt for the sidecar wheel's brake support bracket but a run through with the right die (M10 x 1.25) from the local hardware store fixed the threads and a new similar bolt finished that repair.

$48, I may try to helicoil repair the old part
It's the upper right hole that had the stripped threads.

What I didn't luck out on was the time it took to ship the part from California to Arizona...one state over right?  Paid for two day delivery, got it in five.  Good old USPS, once again failing to meet expectations.

Because of a series of clear, cloudless days, not much in terms of sunset pictures since I wasn't going to ride Scarlett with an "iffy" brake assembly.  Probably doable but since there was no need.....

Instead, here's a couple of pics of a hummingbird looking for nectar in the Aloe Vera flowers located on my FIL's porch.



One evening as I was headed back to my FIL's condo, the sky was lit nicely in peach colors:


Friday's sunset was not bad, lots of pastel colors:



My sister-in-law, Laura, is scheduled to fly in tonight (assuming her flight isn't grounded by the current snow falling in the Detroit, MI area) and I'll be leaving Sun City soon after on my way back to Colorado.
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Superbowl Sunday, and since I'm not a football fan, it was time to check out what there in the curiously named location: Nothing, Arizona.

I'd seen this name on a motorcycle roads map I had found at the dealership where I had them swap the inner tube on my sidecar's tire.  For $15 plus cost of a new inner tube I really couldn't see doing it myself you see.

Such a curious name eh?  Nothing.  More info here on wikipedia:  LINK

I rode out of the Sun City area along Grand Avenue aka US 60.  Note, traffic on this road sucks 24x7 until you get clear of Surprise, AZ.  Just saying.

Took two hours to ride Scarlett, going at 55 MPH as usual and being passed by one clusterf*ck of cagers after another.  I've confirmed that the speed limit, to the folks in Arizona who aren't snow birds, means its the minimum speed to drive their cars.
It had been a while since I saw so many morons passing on double yellow lines....

Still, made it Nothing with minimal fuss and found this:

Nothing, Arizona

It's dirt parking lot is basically a parking/rest area for traffic on US Highway 93 and you can see what structures remain are abandoned.  There is infrastructure for a cell tower just outside the picture frame above by the way.

Nearby, there's an entrance to BLM Land though its not marked that way or for that matter, in any way.  I confirmed it with the allstays app, the area is all BLM.  The "primitive" road is marked as FR 7678 and is pretty good condition for the most part.

I saw several nice and wide areas that would fit my motorhome quite nicely within the two miles or so I rode till I came to a cattle guard.  I turned around at this point as time was short and the afternoon hot.

I liked this BLM area but cell data reception wasn't great even with the nearby presence of a cell tower.  Still, there were interesting looking rock formations near the road and camping sites and views of distant hills and mountains.



Getting back on US93, now heading back towards Phoenix.  I stopped briefly to take a picture of a Joshua Tree.  The road traverses and is known as the Joshua Forest Parkway of Arizona; nice and straight and full of speeding idiots.  

Scarlett and a Joshua Tree

Entering once again into the Surprise, AZ area and US60....traffic became crappy as expected.  As I assume I'm invisible, I spotted this idiot female cager moving into my lane, in spite of me being in the way and blaring the horn on Scarlett.

I dodged around her, pulled up next to her and used some choice words to explain her failure to drive safely.  She gave me a blank and cowlike "what did I do wrong" look....

I turned off soon after, avoiding further crap on Grand Avenue and went to check in on my FIL who remains in ICU at the hospital post-surgery.  Progress is being made but there's still some stuff that needs work.

So, not exactly nothing at Nothing, AZ but close enough.  Still, it's a spot for boondocking to remember for someday when I've cast off the chains of having to have Internet access for work.


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Friday, while my FIL was doing a very light workout at the Sundial Rec Center in Sun City, I wandered about outside to take pictures of the center's name sake.



Picture taken at 12:05PM
The Sun Dial is a bit off.  :)

Saturday mid-morning through 1:30PM, explored the area near the regional landfill which had looked promising in terms of trails and off road opportunities.  I encountered more fenced off areas than I hoped for so exploration was limited.

Still I did manage to explore what used to be the Wittman Army Air Corps Auxiliary Field back in WWII and is now the Luke AFB Auxiliary Airfield.  Per the following link, it's only used now for practicing approaches by light aircraft without actually landing as the surface conditions are pretty rough.  LINK

Source: Google Maps
The complex in the bottom right is the Ford Arizona 
Proving Ground.

 Posing Scarlett by the end of the airfield where one can
see old light fixtures? and a series of yellow painted arrows.

source: google maps



We rode on the air strip, very rough conditions even where pavement remains.  I did manage to spot what I assume are the remnants of a tower :


My location per google maps where I
took the last pic.

The rest of the area was fenced off or was part of the easement used by nearby giant power line towers which stretched out to the horizon on the west.

A dissapointing area, but then again, I am pretty near Surprise, AZ and the nearby Phoenix Metro area too.


 Shot in Auto mode




All but one of the sunset pics shot using "sunset mode" to bring out the reds and oranges.
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