Tour of Gila Bike Race Silver City NM

Silver City has been hosting the Tour of Gila since 1989. The 2019 race consists of 5 stages with stage 5 taken place on May 5. The stage 5 route took the racers past the KOA entrance off US 180 early this morning and Peg, Scout and I were there waiting for them. The first groups through were the amateurs.

These men and women are truly dedicated to the sport. These groups are lead by a single car with flashing lights and maybe a couple of chase cars. Mind you that the Men’s Cat 1,2 and UCI Men are racing about 100 miles across large rolling hills, then two Cat 2 climbs and a Cat 1. Peg and I drove the portion of the climbs and it was real work just driving the F350 up and down. It does give some perspective on the difficulty you see on TV when watching races such as the Tour De France where the racers will do a couple Cat 1’s and a Beyond Cat climb. These are really steep grades. Of course, big climbs lead to big downhill racing at speeds up to 60 mph. We were behind a racer training on the downhill section Thursday and she was flying along right up to the Cattle Guard. Full brakes on and creep over very slowly. I do not know how the men will deal with them.

It was impressive to see the UCI Men and Women who have the full support of the Tour. They get police motorcycle and car support and vans, trucks, and cars of all sorts following them. A lot of these racers will be going on the Amgen Tour of California which starts May 12. It was a great morning.

The pictures in the link below start with the first groups and end with the UCI participants.

Sjh

Tour of Gila 2019

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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Second side trip of the 2019 season. Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument via New Mexico 15. This is a pretty drive of about 44 miles one way up and over the Continental Divide at 7080 feet then back down to 5800 or so at the Monument. We were greeted by Park Service personnel who collected the fee and gave very good advice on walking the trail and information on what to see. The trail is a 1.1 mile loop that ascends approximately 300 feet. On the other side of the Gila River is the beginning and end of the trail, you can go either direction. The trail left is the “steep climb” through the narrow valley with a stream and lots of shade. The trail to the right is a switchback. low stairway climb in the sun. Peg and I chose to take the steep climb due to the shade. Note that dogs and chewing gum are not allowed across the Gila River, so Scout sat in the truck. The park does have kennels available; however, I chose the truck for Scout. Nice breeze blowing plenty of water and he is very comfortable in his truck.

This is a very nice moderate walk with bridges back and forth across the creek with plenty of places to sit. You can see the dwellings way up on the cliff and where the trail turns to climb the rock there is a nice view point. This is where Peg wisely turned back. From there, it is pretty much 18 stories up of rough rock stairs that take you to the caves. This is not for the faint of heart. In point of fact if you are not in at least average shape then either way up to the caves is a bit much.

The cave dwellings are interesting and just looking around at the lay of the land, available water and other resources it is to see why people chose this site. I left the dwellings via the wooden ladder, which creaked and groaned to the point that I was expecting to be a pile of human waste at the bottom of the cliff! However, I successfully transited the ladder. Following the “easy path” down began with some difficult stone steps with no hand holds or railings, difficult travel. Once past this stretch the trail was a moderate decline via switch backs through the forest fire area with wonderful views of the Gila River.

Gila Cliff dwellings is a nice place and we had a good time. When in the Silver City area, i recommend visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings. However, the traveler needs to be aware that NM 15 is a difficult mountain traverse that climbs up and down close to 2000 feet over the 44 miles of road. There is an 18 mile stretch of narrow road with full 180 degree switch backs with blind curves and few guard rails. This road provides an absolutely stunning view of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

A link to pictures of the trail is below. Enjoy.

Sjh

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

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Silver City New Mexico – Whitewater Canyon Cat Walk Trail

Our 2019 travels begin at Silver City, New Mexico with our first stop at the Silver City KOA. Silver City is about 6000 feet up with the cool mountain desert climate. This is where the Continental Divide trail begins (or ends, I guess) just a couple of miles outside town. This is Silver, Gold and Copper mining country. There are big open cut mines all around us and a rich history of mining going back to the 1880’s. Our first side trip takes us back to the “old” days of Whitewater Canyon about an hour north on US 180.

The weather was absolutely perfect today, sunny in the low 70’s with scattered clouds. Our journey followed US 180 to Glenwood where we turned onto the Cat Walk Road which took us to the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. The Apache Geronimo hid out here as did Butch Cassidy before the miners took over. This is a nice park with picnic tables, water, and easy access to the river. The trail is listed as 1.1 miles; however there is ongoing construction about halfway which is not passible by the casual hiker. I would rate the trail moderate as it does climb up some. The trail is asphalt and concrete for the most part and the catwalks are steel and easily walked on with multiple rest stops. We had a fine time and Scout was in Golden Retriever heaven with a fast flowing river to play in. If you are ever in the area, this is a must see and do.

Enjoy the pictures!

Sjh

Scout at Whitewater Canyon NM

Scout loves rivers!

Whitewater Canyon Cat Walks Album

 

 

 

 

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Scout at One Year

On October 31 Scout turned 1 year old. Scout joined our adventure just before Christmas 2017 and has been a great addition. Looking back at the pictures of the last year brings lots of memories to life.

Peg was so uncertain of having another dog until she got ahold of Scout. He melted her heart on the spot and they have been quite a pair ever since. From Monument Valley through Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Eastern Colorado to Banden by the Sea and beyond, Scout has traveled on with us.

Scout has developed normally, except, he is a little timid. He has grown from a 12 pond puppy to an 80 or so pound almost adult. Loud noises and things that move oddly definitely get his attention. He has a thing for the RV ceiling fan and finds he must check it every so often to be sure it is not after him. Windshield wipers are a real irritant, turn those things on and he better be in his harness seat belted in because he is going through the windshield to get to them raising cain all the way otherwise!

Water has become his favorite thing to be in. We were at Riverside RV in Oak Ridge, Oregon on the W. Willamette River when Scout found himself playing in the water with 4 other retrievers. It was really heartwarming to see him play and swim, having so much fun and developing confidence in his swimming skills. There has been no keeping him out of the rivers, lakes, and the ocean since.  The Pacific Ocean has become his favorite place to play and swim. 

The link that follows is to an album of pictures from our first meeting through to 10/31. Enjoy.

Sjh

Ps. Scout says he will be paying our his own story soon. Hmmm…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157703021814125

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Sequoia National Park

Tuesday Peg, Scout and I took a road trip up to Sequoia NP. This is about 120 miles from Bakersfield through Oil City, the vast orchards of nut and fruit trees and small towns to the western entrance. The approach is over very winding and twisting roads heading up from a couple of thousand feet to a maximum elevation of just over 7000 feet. The countryside is very dry from the prolonged drought in this part of the world and it shows in the dry lakes and creeks. We didn’t see the vast forests of dead trees like at Yosemite; however, it is obvious that a lot of the trees are under stress.

There are wonderful views of huge granite monoliths, canyons and valleys as we twisted up the mountains. At one point, the road was under construction and down to one lane where there was a flagger. We had to wait the better part of an hour there. Which was ok as Scout made some new California friends on the road. Of course the highlight of the trip was seeing General Sherman, the large Sequoia. The tree is about a half mile from the parking lot down a wide paved trail. It is amazing to see these huge old trees. The General is estimated to be some 2000 years old.

Due to the construction, we decided to take the road on through Kings Canyon to CA 245 back to Bakersfield. The day was getting late so we only drove by Kings Canyon. From the road you could see that here was a lot more dead trees and much fire damage, which is sad to see. We almost missed the turn off to 245 as it was not marked that clearly and that should have been a sign to us. CA 245 is 50 miles of switch backs, tight turns and seemingly endless curves. The Bronze Brute was lock to lock on the steering wheel on a great many of the switch backs and more than once I thought we might to do some back and forth to through. I love this kind of driving and thank goodness there was no one on the road with us (another sure clue) as I used all the road!

It was a fun and interesting day and I got a few pictures which can be seen from the link below. Thanks for reading.

Sjh

Sequoia NP

 

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Umpqua River Valley

Elkton, Oregon is a village on the Umpqua River in the heart of the Oregon wine country about half way between I5 and the ocean. The Elkton RV Park is a nice campground right on the river within easy walking distance of downtown. Elkton has 5 wineries with three having wine tasting rooms right downtown.

The wines here are excellent. I prefer the world class Pinot Noir and variants and Peg likes the sweeter white wines. According to the folks at the wineries the drought has changed the wine a little with one winery even hesitant to open any of the 2014 vintage for tasting unless you were buying a bottle. Anyway you could fool me, I thought they were all very good. If you like wine and are in the area, Elkton is highly recommended.

Scout and I have been exploring the river bottom and he loves to swim in it. The campground has two access paths down to a sandy beach like area and from there you can walk out on the basalt floor of the river. With the drought and this being the dry season, the river is a quite diminished in size breaking up into small streams that flow in and out of  cracks in the rock. The locals have told me that when you are standing on the basalt that is dry now it will be 30 feet deep in a few short months when the rainy season is in full swing. Hard to imagine that.

Elkton has a nice Labor Day Celebration at the Elkton Community Education Center. The parade was on the street the campground is on which made it easy walk up and take it in. The parade was small but most of the town turned out to watch the dozen or so floats and vehicles go by. Candy was thrown out in liberal quantities with the kids filling up hats, buckets and bags. Later we walked down to ECEC to browse among the vendors of various crafts, foods and wine. We had a great lunch while watching the Pie Auction.

Yes, the annual fund raiser for Ft. Umpqua and the ECEC is a pie auction. I have never been to a pie auction but I will never miss this one if I am anywhere close by. Lots of $100 to $200 pies and a few that were over $300. I kept my hands under the table! The camp host told me that pies have sold for $1000. Yikes! All for a good cause, I guess. Really nice, open, welcoming people made us feel right at home and we had a great time.

The links below are to pictures of our trip to Clear Water Falls, our tour of covered bridges, and the Elkton Labor Day Parade and Festival.

Sjh

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157672965651138

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157694968286500

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157698929726741

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Sea Ling Fan

Arf! Bark! Bark! Arf! Tail wag, swoosh, swoosh. Scout here my friends. Lick, lick oops where has this tung been? Hah, oh well go figure. Have I ever been barking busy growing up. The Big Dawg says I am timid around new things and does the LOL thing on me a lot. I beg (a lot and tail wag too) to differ with him, there are a lot of things to be cautious about when you are a puppy, even a big puppy. For example, take the sea ling fan.

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This monster four bladed piece of evil that sits quietly up there on the sea ling, staring down on me, sometimes moving…not sure why. Oh the torment. I keep an eye on it should one day it come after me. It will I know it will!!! Some times it moves around slowly, sometimes faster, sometimes it is still for hours. Always over my head. Tormenting me! Don’t know how the Big Dawg can stand it, just don’t. If I could just jump that high, that sea ling fan would be a chew toy for sure. Keeping an eye on it for sure.

This thing is almost as much a worry as those damned winn sealed wiffers on my truck (the Bronze Brute). If I could only get I could get out of that stupid safety harness those wiffers would be yesterday’s poop bag! Ahh, I wag on about these things. But you see there are a lot of things to worry about. Oh and now that I am watching the sea ling fan there are other things on the sea ling. Oh gawd how to waddle on? I think the Big Dawg is right I need a little sister to protect me.

Peg and the Big Dawg took me back to La Grande Hot Springs RV Park for a while cause of smoke and fire. I love it there. The big open field with my friend the garbage truck. What a wonderful thing to park in the dog field, how thoughtful. Dripping oil and grease and the occasional paper towel, what fun it is to sniff up and taste. It is really big so I worry about it some. Mostly use it to drive the Big Dawg nuts. He hates it when I find a greasy old paper towel and start eating it! Arf, arf, and roll over on it! Play keep away until I am tired of the smelly old thing. Cats are here too. They are a standoffish couple of fur balls. Not sure about cats. The only thing going for them is they killed a snake one morning and were dragging it all over the street. So proud of themselves they were. The cats went missing after that. Hmmm.

We went to a street fisitful in Union, Oregon. Lots of great people dropping little tidbits and morsels for me to eat. There was a fire truck spraying water all over the street, oh my. But wait, down by the library the Big Dawg found a spot to walk to the river! Flowing water, what a thing. He walked right out in it. I was not too sure about that, as he has these mintil lashes (Peg says so) every now and then. The river didn’t bite him so I walked right in like I owned it because I have found it is best to be bold. Oh, wow! This is a new thing I like. Bark, Bark, and tail wags. When I stuck my snout under the water and opened my mouth the current filled up my cheeks like a balloon! Oh, what fun. Gotta git my own river.

Now we are camping right on the bank of a river at Casey’s Riverfront RV Park. The Big Dawg and I wade into the rushing waters and I do my happy dance and happy dance and happy dance until I am soaked. I drink the river water and it tastes so good (but it seems to be a tummy upsetter 😩). The best news is that the next campground is on a river too! And then the ohshen. The Big Dawg says the ohshen water is different and I won’t like to drink it, we will see. Arf, arf for sure. Chasing sticks in the river, swimming. Life is wonderful.

Off to dinner now and teeth brushing time. Love my towth brush. I will be keeping a close eye on sea ling fan so no one has to worry about it getting loose.  Tail wag to you all!

Sah

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