Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Harquahala Peak Smithsonian Solar Observatory

                         (Clicking on the pictures will open them larger in a new window.)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

This was the ride our friends mentioned and taking their advice off we went on Saturday. They had never actually taken the ride up but had heard it was a beautiful.  They were right the scenery both going up and coming back down is beautiful and the views when you reach the top are fantastic.

On our way we saw a sign saying Historical Marker so we stopped to read
it and take a picture.

We turned off of Salome Road onto Eagle Eye Road and 8.5 miles
later we found the road that would take us to our destination.
When we turned in we could see the a staging area for offloading vehicles and a small pavilion with information about the Harquahala Mountains and the ride up to the Observatory. The information is interesting and well worth the stop and the time it takes to read what is there.

The road we took up to the Harquahala Peak Smithsonian Solar Observatory is the nationally designated Harquahala Mountain Backcountry Byway.

After taking the time to read the above information we started up.
For the first few miles the road is not to bad. We drove through several
washes and there were some rocks.

We stopped at a ravine with a wash below to take
a couple of pictures.

One little brave purple flower all by itself.

We saw a lot of saguaros, ocotillos, chollas, and then prickly pears as
we got higher.

After driving up over 3,800 feet in 10.5 miles we reached our destination and parked to enjoy the view.  Harquahala Peak is 5681 feet above sea level and the highest mountain in southwestern Arizona. We both took several pictures as we walked around none of which really do justice to the view we saw. One thing for certain after the ride up as we stood there looking out we knew we where on top of a mountain.

This is the only original building left and in 1975 it was listed in the
National Register of Historical Places.
It is stabilized and supported by wood braces on the inside but is not
safe enough to allow visitors.

The information boards contain interesting information about the Harquahala Peak Smithsonian Solar Observatory. (The sun was behind us so there was no way to take the pictures without the shadows.)

We are at the top and have the picture to prove it.

If you read the information on the first board
It's All A Matter of Communication you will  find out what exactly
this is and what it does.

We met Jeanette and Howard at the top and spent a little time talking.
The are a very interesting couple presently living in Buckeye. Before that
they were full-time Rver's so they had a lot to say about the lifestyle. 

One last picture

and we headed back down.

On our way up between the rocks and being jostled I spent most of my time hanging on. Honestly, between the blind switch backs, rocks in the road (and we think there were more on the way down), and looking at where we were going I did not think of taking pictures.

There are a lot of loose rocks to ride over and around.
We saw a lot of  "fallen rocks" and at times wondered what was
keeping some others off the road.

On the way up as we came around a corner there was a large rock covering half the road. Tom got out to check and could see where others had driven around it. At this point we were fairly close to the summit and had not passed any pullouts for awhile. So, even though we were going to be close to the edge our best choice was to keep going versus backing up. (I took this picture, below, on the way back down and though between the dirty windshield and the glare it is hard to see I am including it.) On the way down looking out my window I could see we were about 4 or 5 inches away from the rock. This was better then my view on the way up when all I could see was air. 

When I mentioned rocks in the road I really meant rocks.

This is a stretch of about 100 feet or so of concrete.
 We wondered how they got it up there and why.

The views are spectacular and seem to go on forever.

The road is rugged with a few small smooth sections.

We are back on flat ground.

In a couple of blogs I posted the "Watch out for Cattle" signs, I won't
bore you with another one, well today we saw the cattle!

After we got back to Salome we took a ride over to Joyce and Jerry's 5th wheel and that is when we found out they had never taken the ride up to the peak. Tom and I are glad we took the ride, and we are glad they suggested it. It was a beautiful and the views at the top were well worth it.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

lyrics from "I Hope You Dance" written by Tia Sillers & Mark Sanders

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Happy Hour" with Friends

Friday, February 24, 2017

Today was a quite day and a fun day all rolled into one. I have been slowly doing all our accumulated wash and Tom walked over to do jeans at the park's laundromat. The washer/dryer we have is small and the jeans get pretty wrinkled. So every few weeks Tom takes whatever jeans he has that need washing and heads over to the laundromat.

The fun part was having Joyce and Jerry over for "Happy Hour". We met them last year when we stayed at the Saddle Mountain RV park in Tonopah.  They are such a nice couple. We are friends on Facebook and I was pretty sure when we had exchanged locations she had mentioned Salome. When Tom and I decided to spend a few days in the same area I messaged them to see if they were still here and as luck would have it they were.We spent a couple hours talking and catching up. The one thing we did not do was take a picture.

They do a lot of off roading so as they were leaving we asked them if they only had time for one ride what would it be. They both said the same thing. You will read about that adventure in our next post.

Time spent enjoying life
is time well spent.
                                          ~Gail Lynne Goodwin

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Little Roadside Chapel

(Clicking on the pictures will make them larger.)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tom had an appointment in Phoenix so we were up and on the road early this morning. It really was a nice ride on Salome Rd to connect with I-10. The desert floor is so green this year and with the sun just starting to warm things up everything was twinkling in the morning light. Unfortunately, I was so enjoying the view I failed to take even one picture. 

I took this just as we turned onto Salome Rd. on our way back.
Is it just Tom and I or does anyone else think the desert is a lot greener this year?
The floor of the desert looks like it is covered in a soft green carpet.

We took Salome Rd. both ways today saw this sign many times.
Still no cattle, not even way off in either direction.

I had spotted the sign for this chapel, in the dark, the night before on our way back from Buckeye so I was watching for it today so we could stop.
Interesting side note:  The chapel was dedicated on February 14, 2004 and Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912.
This little chapel would probably not be a destination stop but if you are riding by, turn off the road, park, go inside, and enjoy a quiet moment.

Founded by Paul and Lora Marks.

It is a small with a few places to sit and reflect. They have
reading material available and there is a note stating you are welcome
to take what you would like and there is no charge. If you would like to
leave a donation there is a place to do so.
There is also a guest book to sign, which Tom did, and browsing through it
found names from all over the US and Canada.

These small stained glass windows matched the size of the chapel.

The Little Roadside Chapel is a wonderful reminder of what is important in life.