Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bugs at McDowell

McDowell continues to be a superb place to ride.  The poppies and lupines and much of the yellow ground cover are turning a little brown, but it's still nice to be here.  The cactus bloom continues; it's kind of cool to be riding through a browning landscape and see a flash of color out of the corner of your eye.  The purples are just fluorescent they are so bright.


A pink buckhorn, we are still on the hunt for the less common fuscia.



Surrounded by all this beauty and all of these trails, there is a fly in the ointment.  Two nights ago we were invaded by this.  They're very small, and their goal in life seems to be to crawl up my nose or in my ears.  I ended up standing in the kitchen randomly swinging the Executioner,  listening to the pops as many of the bugs died.  Last night we did not open the door after dusk.



Today we are not riding.  My knees are feeling a little puffy after yesterday, which was a longer ride.  Also, today there is a cross country mountain bike race in the park.  They don't close any of the trails, so it's likely that racers and non-racers will be in proximity.  I am surprised that they are routing the racers up the steep part of the Bluff trail, which most people ride down.  Hopefully there will be no carnage.
We're going to make our way into the traffic hell that is Scottsdale this after noon to visit Jim's cousin.   It's amazing to me how dense the population is here.  My memories of the area are from 1972, and it's very different now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Riding Uphill at McDowell

Today we were up and out earlier than yesterday, and it became hotter earlier than yesterday, as well.  We rode Pemberton to Tonto Tank.  It's been years since we were on that trail and I have to say I did not remember that much climbing.  Here is Jim, waiting for me.  Thank you, Jim.


Then we rode up the Rock Knob trail towards the recently opened Sonoran Preserve.  I think this may be the knob.




We were in the Sonoran Preserve over New Years.  We had intended to go hiking, but it was too cold.  You can read about it here, and re-visit the pictures of snow on the cactus.  Today we didn't go all the way into the parking lot due to the large numbers of hikers coming up from the trail head. 
The rock formation almost center photo is a thumb.  They're formed from erosion working against dissimilar rock layers.  Going back to the RV was a blast, smooth trails and down hill. 


Tomorrow we're up and out for a short ride.  We have to be off this site at noon.  We'll drive down and dump.  Then we will loiter in the visitor's parking lot with the bus and wait for it to be 1:00 so we can check in to our new site.  One may not check in early, or one may incur the wrath of the camp hosts.
This park is still good, it remains beautiful with spectacular scenery.  However, it's not as friendly as it used to be.  Before the on-line reservation system, sites were first come first serve.  The camp hosts would see you come it, and they would drive the gator over and collect rent. They would talk, pass the time, and make conversation.  None of that occurs now.  We see them raking, but there's no interaction. I miss the good old days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tucson to McDowell Mountain Park

Today we drove up to McDowell Mountain Park.  It was a very aggravating drive.  Extremely aggravating.  Fountain Hills has an enormous paving project going on.  We found ourselves approaching a major intersection, with the cross road closed.  The road crew had placed barriers and lane markers forcing traffic turn turn either left or right.  We were in the right lane, and there was no way we could make that turn.  When you have a big RV, you have a wide swing when turning.  Jim was forced to turn into the oncoming traffic lane.  Half the road had been torn up, the remaining lane was serving both directions.  Fortunately, there were no cars coming toward us, and we had a break in the lane markers in time to move back in to our lane.  Four cars behind us followed us, apparently equally confused as to where we were supposed to be on the road.  Anyway, while making the turn, we dragged the truck along a barrier.  It creased the sheet metal.  Jim is very upset about this. 


We are now at McDowell.  It's a lovely park.  It's very quiet here; no sirens, no motorcycles, no helicopters.  We are having to be conscious about water and internet usage.  In Tucson we have sewer and DSL, unlimited resources as it were.  Here, we must practice conservation.
The buckhorn chollas are set for an epic bloom.  They've just started, and there are buds everywhere.  These are my second favorite cactus.  The trico cereus is my favorite.


See the green bug in the flower?  It was an iridescent green.


So we're here for seven nights.  We have to move sites mid week, which is kind of a bummer, but they're really full.  It will be hot, riding will have to be done early.  Sunday is forecast to be 93 degrees.  That's really hot.