Monday, December 13, 2010

HI-HO, HI-HO, IT’S A JEEPING WE DID GO:))

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WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH JEEPING

Jeanie from the ranch had emailed us Sunday morning wondering if we would be interested in a little Jeep tour Monday morning.  The obvious answer to that question was, “Yes:))”

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Hustled ourselves down into Elfrida at 10 this morning & met Jeanie & Ray at the Korner Gas Bar.  Topped our Jeep tanks & we were northbound out of town heading for the west side of the Chircahua Mountains.  Turned east off the highway onto a dust swilling dirt road towards the Rucker Canyon.

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We hadn’t gone far when Ray pulled over  pointing to something off in the distance to our left.  About half a mile away I could see 3 army tank looking vehicles in a single file column.  Ray said this was a practice range for the military’s A-10 aircraft commonly known as Warthogs.  The Warthogs flying out of the Davis-Monthan airbase in Tucson fly training missions into the area  & electronically target these tanks on simulated bombing runs.  No bombs are dropped or guns fired by the aircraft so Ray said we could easily drive over to have a closer look.  A few minutes later we were parking the Jeeps fairly close to the tanks. 

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From a distance these gun carriers look very real but as we walked closer it became clear these are typical decoy vehicles made of light tin plating over a thin steel frame.  I’m guessing the Warthogs do electronic strafing & bomb runs on these decoys in training new pilots.  We did see A-10’s in the air later but I sure would have liked to see them make a run on those tanks while we were standing right beside them.  Now, that would have been Neat-O:))

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THESE ROCK HOUNDS ARE PICKING UP GOLD NUGGETS

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We followed Jeanie & Ray’s little green Jeep Wrangler for a lot of miles today over many twisting & turning roads, through dry wash creek beds, up & down boulder strewn trails, across fields, through herds of cattle, clumps of oak trees & thorned mesquite thickets.  In other words, what a great day we had again.  I cannot even begin to describe the scenery we saw today.  Endless acres of waving yellow grass flecked with tall Agave, Desert Broom & Pinion Oak trees.  All this backed by mountain ridges on all horizons.  Chiricahuas to the east, Swisshelms to the south with the Dragoons across the valley to the West.   North of the Dragoons lies the Rincon range southeast of Tucson & over by Wilcox is the mighty twin peaks of Dos Cabezas.  Weathered fence posts & old watering tanks for the free range cattle & horses are sparingly scattered about open meadows with the occasional working corral & stockade just off the trail.

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Without our Jeep we would not have seen any of these things & without Jeanie & Ray’s excellent knowledge of the area & all these back roads into the mountains we would have missed a lot of beautiful scenery.  At the end of the trail when we could go no further we shut the Jeeps down, got out & just admired our ‘awesome’ surroundings.  We  talked about how fortunate we are in that we all share a love of nature & the quieter rural side of life.  I always feel comfortable & at home in these settings with the thoughts of civilization very, very, far away. 

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The Jeep did great again picking it’s way through clusters of rocks, straddling shallow washouts, nosing it’s way over embankments & climbing up & out of craggy creek beds.  With each bumpity mile we gain more knowledge, confidence & experience.  We took some pretty good bumps & grinds inside the Jeep today & that just adds to the Jeeping fun.  In one particularly rocky section today we felt like the rocking side to side motion was going to toss us out the doors into a pile on the ground.  Does life get any better than this:))

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LUNCH BREAK IN A SUNNY MEADOW

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Finally made our way back out of the forested foot hills to a main dirt road.  From there it was a few miles over to a paved highway.  We had been banging, rattling & scrambling our brains around in the Jeep for five & a half hours & when we pulled onto the smooth paved highway it felt like we were riding in a big old cushy Cadillac.  Smooooooth:))

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Shortly after 4 P.M. we rolled through the gates of our little hide-away spot in the lee of the Swisshelm mountains here near Elfrida Az.  Lots of wagging tails to greet us & it’s always nice to see the big doggy smiles on those furry little faces.  Another fine day on the trail in the great American Southwest………..10-4:))

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IS IT LOOKING LIKE  A SEASONED JEEP YET:))

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GROANER’S CORNER:((   Actual comments made by patients during colonoscopies:

  • "Take it easy, Doc, you're boldly going where no man has gone before."
  • "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"
  • "Can you hear me NOW?"
  • "Oh boy, that was sphincterrific!"
  • "Could you write me a note for my wife, saying that my head is not, in fact, up there?"
  • "You know, in some states, we're now legally married."
  • "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"
  • "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out. You do the Hokey Pokey...."
  • "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
  • "Hey, Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
  • "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"

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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

15 comments:

  1. there is 'gold in them thar hills'..what a great jeep day!!..so jealous!.. :)

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  2. Your going to have to get a power washer to clean that Jeep back up, or they won't let you back into Ontario!

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  3. loos like you had a grand time in the jeep...

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  4. So great to see this awesome scenery!

    Emjay

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  5. I grew up around Deming,NM but seeing that desert through your eyes gives me a new perspective.

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  6. Looks like a good time was had by all! And Mike figured out the other day by one of your photos that we did indeed look at land for sale last year right near where you are staying.

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  7. What an awesome day! I just love your photos!

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  8. What would we give to have been following you, at least as far as our Suzuki would take us, through that part of the country! The old Suzuki does all right for itself, but can't do what your beautifully dusty Jeep can do. And it's good to have a knowledgeable guide! Thanks for sharing your wonderful day.

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  9. Only one word I can think of...WOW!

    Andrée

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  10. It was great to go along with you and Kelly on your Jeep excursion. After seeing all those great pics and roads you traveled on I think I may even have a few bumps and bruises myself!

    The Jeep sure does expand your range and horizons for exploration.

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  11. What a great trip with you and Kelly and with all of those great photos of the trails I think I may even have a few bumps and bruises from the ride.

    The Jeep sure does expand your range and horizons for exploration.

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  12. Makes me wish I had a four wheel drive for a trip just like that.

    I might have been a bit nervous standing near the "tanks". Knowing the military, I would worry that today was the day they decided to go ahead and use live ammo on the targets.

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  13. I have been told Al, that a dirty Jeep is a "Happy Jeep". Great pictures. Last year we stayed in Tucson for a month and every day I saw the A10's head out for training missions... always wondered where they went! We feel the same as you do about having your Jeep with you this year. We go to places we never would have before. Rock on!

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  14. When we were at Hickiwan, as you well know, there were Warthogs going over lots of the time...I LOVE MILITARY AIRCRAFT!! We never made it into the Barry Goldwater Military Range, but if we go back we definitely will!!
    I actually almost wet myself laughing at the groaner!

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  15. Does your Jeep run through a creek and shake itself dry?
    No, then you will have to wash it! But not yet, as I am sure it is going on more dusty adventures.

    Lovely pictures. Thanks.

    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

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