Arizona

Remote Toroweap

Toroweap is on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but with more than 60 miles of dirt road to get there, it provides an uncrowded and remote experience, especially with 100º August daytime temperatures. The National Park Service describes the services available at Toroweap: “there is no water, gas, food, lodging, or phone service.” But the lack of crowds (there were none when we arrived) and the spectacular views of the Canyon made it well worth it.

We left Highway 389 west of Fredonia, AZ and drove County Road 109 across grasslands for 40 miles before entering the National Park. Recent rains had kept the grass and sage and piñons green and happy. The road was smooth, graded dirt which is negotiable with any truck or car. Of course if the road is wet, all bets are off.
We left Highway 389 west of Fredonia, AZ and drove County Road 109 across grasslands for 40 miles before entering the National Park. Recent rains had kept the grass and sage and piñons green and happy. The road was smooth, graded dirt which is negotiable with any truck or car. Of course if the road is wet, all bets are off.
After driving 20 miles within the Park, we passed the Tuweep Airstrip and Ranger Station. Soon after the ranger station, the road begins its slow degradation from smooth dirt to not-so-smooth dirt and rocks. The closer we got to the rim, the more plentiful the rock gardens. Bring your high-clearance vehicle.
After driving 20 miles within the Park, we passed the Tuweep Airstrip and Ranger Station. Soon after the ranger station, the road begins its slow degradation from smooth dirt to not-so-smooth dirt and rocks. The closer we got to the rim, the more plentiful the rock gardens. Bring your high-clearance vehicle.
Campsites at Toroweap come with a table and a nearby spotless pit toilet. There are no firepits since all fires (including charcoal) are prohibited. Steve does not make eye contact.
Campsites at Toroweap come with a table and a nearby spotless pit toilet. There are no firepits since all fires (including charcoal) are prohibited. Steve does not make eye contact.
Our campsite #8 was fairly well hidden, but with the lack of other humans, it mattered little.
Our campsite #8 was fairly well hidden, but with the lack of other humans, it mattered little.
The view to the east from our campsite. At night we saw an orange flickering glow, far to the east. A couple days later we found out that we were looking at the Stina Fire on the north rim of the Canyon, some 50 miles east of us, and 23 miles southwest of Jacob Lake. The fire was caused by a lightening strike on July 26.
The view to the east from our campsite. At night we saw an orange flickering glow, far to the east. A couple days later we found out that we were looking at the Stina Fire on the north rim of the Canyon, some 50 miles east of us, and 23 miles southwest of Jacob Lake. The fire was caused by a lightening strike on July 26.
Our campsite view looking south toward the Canyon in late-afternoon sun. Early evening temps had cooled off to around 90º, so we decided on a tasty cold chicken salad for dinner. We also had cold watermelon which remained chilled and non-consumed in the ice chest.
Our campsite view looking south toward the Canyon in late-afternoon sun. Early evening temps had cooled off to around 90º, so we decided on a tasty cold chicken salad for dinner. We also had cold watermelon which remained chilled and non-consumed in the ice chest.
Because we can.
Because we can.
Two river rafters approach Lava Falls in the early morning. The falls is rated a Class 10, meaning it is the highest degree of difficulty in the Grand Canyon, falling 37 feet in a few hundred feet. Rafters only pretend to be in control.
Two river rafters approach Lava Falls in the early morning. The falls is rated a Class 10, meaning it is the highest degree of difficulty in the Grand Canyon, falling 37 feet in a few hundred feet. Rafters only pretend to be in control.
Zooming back from the rafters, the view southwest toward Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
Zooming back from the rafters, the view southwest toward Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
Canyon visibility was hazy due to wildfire activity in California. This applied to Colorado and Utah visibility as well. And really, isn't it always California's fault?
Canyon visibility was hazy due to wildfire activity in California. This applied to Colorado and Utah visibility as well. And really, isn’t it always California’s fault?

Old Postcards

Uncovered from an archaeological dig in my grandmother’s old desk, this is a group of old postcards dating from the 1960s and ’70s — some even earlier. Beginning in the west then heading east.

On back: Although one of the older hotels in Waikiki, its unique architecture, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and famed Waikiki Beach at its back makes this Sheraton Hotel a favorite of many notables.
On back: Although one of the older hotels in Waikiki, its unique architecture, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and famed Waikiki Beach at its back makes this Sheraton Hotel a favorite of many notables.
On back: The Royal Hawaiian -- The Hotel on Waikiki Beach.
On back: The Royal Hawaiian — The Hotel on Waikiki Beach.
On back: The Golden Gate Bridge brings Northern California and the San Francisco Bay cities into closer and rapid contact. This imposing structure has the largest single span of any bridge in the world, 4200 feet. The total width of the bridge is 90 feet. It has two pedestrian walkways and six lanes for automobile traffic.
On back: The Golden Gate Bridge brings Northern California and the San Francisco Bay cities into closer and rapid contact. This imposing structure has the largest single span of any bridge in the world, 4200 feet. The total width of the bridge is 90 feet. It has two pedestrian walkways and six lanes for automobile traffic.
On front: Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California.
On front: Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California.
On front: Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California.
On front: Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California.
On Front: The Climb from Eaton's Canyon. Auto Road to Mt. Wilson, California.
On Front: The Climb from Eaton’s Canyon. Auto Road to Mt. Wilson, California.
On front: Arroyo Seco. Colorado Street Bridge. Pasadena, Cal.
On front: Arroyo Seco. Colorado Street Bridge. Pasadena, Cal.
On front: A shady nook in Laurel Canyon. Hollywood, California.
On front: A shady nook in Laurel Canyon. Hollywood, California.
On front: A modern Spanish Type home in California.
On front: A modern Spanish Type home in California.
On back: Bob Hope's beautiful Palm Springs, California home and swimming pool.
On back: Bob Hope’s beautiful Palm Springs, California home and swimming pool.
On back: This great Colorado River aqueduct carries the precious water that is the very life's blood of Southern California. This marvel of engineering crosses hundreds of miles of arid deserts and mountains before reaching Southern California. It passes across the desert a few miles north of Palm Springs.
On back: This great Colorado River aqueduct carries the precious water that is the very life’s blood of Southern California. This marvel of engineering crosses hundreds of miles of arid deserts and mountains before reaching Southern California. It passes across the desert a few miles north of Palm Springs.
On back: FUTURE LOOK ... Artist's rendering depicts the future look of the all new Desert Inn and Country Club. When completed, the resort will house a spacious new casino and lavish shops and luxurious restaurants. Completion scheduled for mid-1978.
On back: FUTURE LOOK … Artist’s rendering depicts the future look of the all new Desert Inn and Country Club. When completed, the resort will house a spacious new casino and lavish shops and luxurious restaurants. Completion scheduled for mid-1978.
On back: One of the most beautiful drives in the Southwest, is that going out North Central Avenue in Phoenix -- a palm-lined lane, flanked by stately residences and orchards.
On back: One of the most beautiful drives in the Southwest, is that going out North Central Avenue in Phoenix — a palm-lined lane, flanked by stately residences and orchards.
On front: A desert road, Arizona.
On front: A desert road, Arizona.
On front: Country Club Park, Phoenix, Arizona.
On front: Country Club Park, Phoenix, Arizona.
On back: MOTORCYCLE RACE, Daytona Beach, Florida, "Speed Capital of the World." World championships are decided annually in the 100-mile and 200-mile motorcycle races on the beach course.
On back: MOTORCYCLE RACE, Daytona Beach, Florida, “Speed Capital of the World.” World championships are decided annually in the 100-mile and 200-mile motorcycle races on the beach course.

Christmas Morning in Sedona

Normally we ride mountain bikes when in Sedona, but overnight on Christmas Eve the area received 4″ of fresh powder. Since there is nothing quite as spectacular as fresh white snow on red rocks, we abandoned the bikes for hiking boots and tennis shoes (as the case may be).

Bell Rock near the Village of Oak Creek is reputed to have strong Vortex energy all around it. In 1987 over 5,000 New Agers gathered here to be part of the worldwide Harmonic Convergence, waiting for Bell Rock's top to open and reveal a rising spaceship. This is perfectly normal behavior in Sedona, or any part of the world where groups of moonstruck people congregate.
Bell Rock near the Village of Oak Creek is reputed to have strong Vortex energy all around it. In 1987 over 5,000 New Agers gathered here to be part of the worldwide Harmonic Convergence, waiting for Bell Rock’s top to open and reveal a rising spaceship. This is perfectly normal behavior in Sedona, or any part of the world where groups of moonstruck people congregate.
High desert plants are very tolerant of the snow - any water is good water.
High desert plants are very tolerant of the snow – any water is good water.
Capital Butte towers to the north of Sedona.
Capital Butte towers to the north of Sedona.
A layer of cream-colored Coconino Sandstone lies on top of the reddish Schnebly Hill Sandstone near Boyton Pass Road.
A layer of cream-colored Coconino Sandstone lies on top of the reddish Schnebly Hill Sandstone near Boyton Pass Road.
Looking up at cloudy Bear Mountain from the Fay Canyon Trail.
Looking up at cloudy Bear Mountain from the Fay Canyon Trail.
The standard artsy-fartsy, Christmasy photo.
The standard artsy-fartsy, Christmasy photo.
The snow angel angel.
The snow angel angel.

Nineteen Photos of Roads

Lubken Canyon Road, Owens Valley.
Lubken Canyon Road, Owens Valley.
Huntington, Indiana
Huntington, Indiana
Beartooth Pass, Montana in July, a little over 11,000' elevation.
Beartooth Pass, Montana in July, a little over 11,000′ elevation.
Highway 5 near El Huerfanito, Baja California.
Highway 5 near El Huerfanito, Baja California.
Road sign, Rye, Colorado.
Road sign, Rye, Colorado.
California Poppies near Highway 138 in Neenach, California.
California Poppies near Highway 138 in Neenach, California.
Mexico Highway 1, Baja California Sur.
Mexico Highway 1, Baja California Sur.
A pole line in Antelope Valley, California.
A pole line in Antelope Valley, California.
Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.
Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.
Monument Valley, Arizona.
Monument Valley, Arizona.
Goat Ranch Cutoff, near Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras.
Goat Ranch Cutoff, near Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras.
Eastbound lanes of Mexico Highway 2 near La Rumorosa.
Eastbound lanes of Mexico Highway 2 near La Rumorosa.
A real, non-Photoshopped sign in the Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction.
A real, non-Photoshopped sign in the Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction.
Cows, in no particular hurry, crossing Mexico Highway 1 near Ciudad Constitución, Baja California Sur.
Cows, in no particular hurry, crossing Mexico Highway 1 near Ciudad Constitución, Baja California Sur.
Wind turbines towering over Oak Creek Road, near Mojave, California.
Wind turbines towering over Oak Creek Road, near Mojave, California.
Highway 12 passing through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.
Highway 12 passing through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.
Mexico Highway 1, near San Agustin, Baja California.
Mexico Highway 1, near San Agustin, Baja California.
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts.
Starting down the eastbound lanes of Mexico Highway 2 near La Rumorosa.
Starting down the eastbound lanes of Mexico Highway 2 near La Rumorosa.

COPS Racing at the Parker 400

COPS Racing at the 2012, Best in the Desert, Parker 400. The course consisted of four, 100-mile laps — Zak Langley would drive the COPS Class 1 car the first two laps of the race, then Dan Martin would get in half-way to finish the race. COPS had one pit at the main pit area, plus three remote pits.

Friday night crew meeting at the COPS' main pit.
Friday night crew meeting at the COPS’ main pit.
Night-before, last-minute car prep.
Night-before, last-minute car prep.
Front and center, it's Mike Rafter, premier COPS Fueler.
Front and center, it’s Mike Rafter, premier COPS Fueler.
The main pit preparing for the inbound Class 1. Zak Langley would step out of the car after two laps and Dan Martin would replace him for the final two laps.
The main pit preparing for the inbound Class 1. Zak Langley would step out of the car after two laps and Dan Martin would replace him for the final two laps.
Bryan Collins was in attendance shooting video for Langley Productions. High-end cameras perform best in the dust and heat of desert racing.
Bryan Collins was in attendance shooting video for Langley Productions. High-end cameras perform best in the dust and heat of desert racing.
Before the Class 1 car arrived, Joe Lombardo and Dan Martin posed for a photo with Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief.
Before the Class 1 car arrived, Joe Lombardo and Dan Martin posed for a photo with Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief.
Zak bringing the Class 1 home. He will stop when his front left tire touches Joe's hand, spotting the car for fueling and driver change.
Zak bringing the Class 1 home. He will stop when his front left tire touches Joe’s hand, spotting the car for fueling and driver change.
The car is fueled, drivers are changed and minor issues are addressed.
The car is fueled, drivers are changed and minor issues are addressed.
Joe and Dan in the car, ready to go ...
Joe and Dan in the car, ready to go …
... ready to go ...
… ready to go …
... gone!
… gone!

Toroweap: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Carol and I visited Toroweap on the way home from a summer trip to Colorado. Toroweap is on the north rim of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona Strip. The road to the rim of The Canyon is 50+ miles of dirt and silt, finished off with lots of rocks the last few miles. There’s only a few NPS campgrounds, which consists of a table and fire ring. From the rim at Toroweap, you can look straight down 3,000′ to the Colorado River without railings or other people.

IMG_1995

The drive to the rim of the canyon is generally easy and fast. Of course, weather can degrade road conditions making it impassible.
The drive to the rim of the canyon is generally easy and fast, at least until the last few miles which are rocky and slow-going. Of course, weather can degrade road conditions making it impassible. Start in Kanab, UT, then drive south to the Arizona Strip. Stop before you plummet into the canyon.
One day we were driving out to visit some nearby petroglyphs and ran into this guy in a little Suzuki car stuck in a deep siltbed.
One day we were driving away from the canyon to visit some nearby petroglyphs and ran into this guy in a little Suzuki car stuck in a deep silt bed. He kept saying “… but it’s four wheel drive!” Uh, yeah, right.
Looking upstream along the Rio Colorado from Toroweap.
Looking upstream along the Rio Colorado from Toroweap.

IMG_2003

The local residents at Toroweap weren't happy about sharing the neighborhood with the tourists.
The local residents at Toroweap weren’t happy about sharing the neighborhood with tourists.
The view from our campsite.
The view from our campsite.
Our campsite. That rip in the earth, about 1/4 mile behind us, is the Grand Canyon. You really can't see it until you get to the edge.
Our campsite. That rip in the earth, about 1/4 mile behind us, is the Grand Canyon. You really can’t see it until you get to the edge.
Summer temps were very warm, so we just left the ingredients in the sun to "cook" dinner.
Summer temps were very warm, so we just left the ingredients in the sun to “cook” dinner.
Toroweap is the only place in the Grand Canyon where you can look straight down, 3,000 feet, to the river.
Toroweap is the only place in the Grand Canyon where you can look straight down to the river, 3,000 feet below.
Finding the nearby petroglyphs required about 20 miles of driving on remote roads, and a 10 minute, cross-country hike. And some orienteering.
Finding the nearby Nampaweap Petroglyphs required about 20 miles of driving on remote roads, and a 10 minute, cross-country hike. And some orienteering.

Saguaro National Park

Carol and I were lucky enough to spend a few days hiking and wandering around Saguaro National Park, a park bisected by Tucson. The weather was great, but it was later in the season, so most of the tourists and snowbirds had retreated. After exploring the park, we headed south and visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac, an old Spanish Catholic mission built in 1699.

Morning sun backlights a stand of saguaros on the west side of Saguaro NP.
Morning sun backlights a stand of saguaros on the west side of Saguaro NP.
The growing, happy tip of a saguaro branch.
The growing, happy tip of a saguaro branch.
Admiring the colorful spring bloom of a hedgehog Cactus.
Admiring the colorful spring bloom of a hedgehog Cactus.
Hiking to Wasson Peak, the highest point in the Tucson Mountain Park.
Hiking to Wasson Peak, the highest point in the Tucson Mountain Park.
A young pad forming on a prickly pear cactus.
A young pad forming on a prickly pear cactus.
Relaxing at end-of-day, back at campsite.
Relaxing at end-of-day, back at campsite.
A mature saguaro grows between its two nurse plants, a couple palo verdes.
A mature saguaro grows between its two nurse plants, a couple palo verdes.
The subtle interplay of light and shadow.
The subtle interplay of light and shadow.
¿Dónde están Dos Titos? Dos Titos están aquí. Sé que uno  Tito.
¿Dónde están Dos Titos? Dos Titos están aquí. Sé que uno Tito.
A jackrabbit hunkers in the shade of a cholla cactus.
A jackrabbit hunkers in the shade of a cholla cactus.
Hiking in the east side of Saguaro NP.
Hiking in the east side of Saguaro NP.
Red blooms of an ocotillo.
Red blooms of an ocotillo.
Mission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located about 10 miles south of downtown Tucson.
After leaving Saguaro, we headed south to visit Mission San Xavier.

Wikipedia: “Mission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located about 10 miles south of downtown Tucson, on the Tohono O’odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. Named in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino for a pioneering Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order), the Mission is also known as the “place where the water appears,” as there were once natural springs in the area.”

Among the many legends surrounding the building is a popular myth suggesting that early taxation laws exempted buildings under construction, so the builders chose to leave one dome unfinished. Another legend is that the second tower is being left unfinished until the “Excellent Builder” will come to direct its completion. 

 

Inside the Mission, looking toward the alter. The Mission is still used for church services.
Inside the Mission, looking toward the alter. The Mission is still used for church services.
Catholic stuff with a few candles.
Catholic stuff with a few candles.
Catholic stuff with even more candles. So many candles in fact, that the room was very warm.
Catholic stuff with even more candles. So many candles in fact, that the room was very warm.
Globe Trekker extra photo: Highway 86 headed west toward Ajo.
Globe Trekker extra photo: Highway 86 headed west toward Ajo.