Saturday, January 16, 2016
PHEEBS & I HEADED OFF TO CHECK OUT SADDLE MOUNTAIN & A NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION
THE PALO VERDE NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION MAKES CLOUDS FOR ARIZONA SKIES:))
After Friday’s super relaxing day I knew I had to kick it up a notch. Friends of Leslie & Peter’s were coming up from Peoria to take them out for the day & knowing Kelly would enjoy some nice quiet home time Pheebs & I loaded ourselves up & lit out of Dodge fairly early this morning.
HEADING OUT VULTURE MINE ROAD TOWARDS VULTURE PEAK
Wickenburg is like a magnate & it again drew us down that-a-way. Having discovered ‘The Pie Cabinet’ a couple days ago in the towns west end & knowing they bake muffins daily & have fresh coffee we weren’t long in rolling into their parking lot. With a coffee-cake muffin in hand plus a small coffee we rolled right back out heading west on highway 60 then south on Vulture Mine Road. Had it in mind to maybe slide down around the Tonopah area south of I-10.
CHECKING OUT A COUPLE JEEP ROADS ALONG THE WAY
Nice sunny Saturday morning for a drive stopping a couple times along the way to check out a few Jeep roads. We were in no rush as we ambled along taking in all the scenery we could. On the southern horizon I could see great clouds of steam rising from the Palo Verde power plant south of Tonopah & figured if we got down that far we had better drop around & have us a look at that Arizona cloud making plant.
ONE OF ARIZONA’S SEVERAL CLOUD MAKING PLANTS
Main reason for heading that way though was to have us look at the Saddle Mountain area South-west of Tonopah. I remember RV Sue & Her Canine Crew boondocking somewhere around there & Ivan has also boondocked in that area these past couple of winters as well.
SADDLE MOUNTAIN ON THE HORIZON THROUGH MY TELEPHOTO LENS
We made our way through Tonopah & crossed over Interstate 10. I remember getting off at this exit back in January of 2007 when we had our truck & fifth wheel. It had been our first year to Quartzsite & upon leaving there we decided to overnight at an RV Park south of I-10. Pheebs & i drove right past that same park twice today.
CROSSING OVER I-10 & LOOKING WEST TOWARDS QUARTZSITE WHERE WE JUST MIGHT BE A WEEK FROM TODAY
THIS IS THE RV PARK WE OVERNIGHTED AT BACK IN JANUARY 2007
I could see Saddle Back mountain to the southwest so we just followed a couple roads that lead in that direction. We had no idea which areas RV Sue or Ivan had camped in. Turned right on the Buckeye-Salome highway which led us pretty much right up to Saddle Mountain. Saw a paved highway saying Courthouse road so we turned left & headed down that-a-way for a couple miles before turning around.
I TOOK ME A LIKING TO SADDLE MOUNTAIN
IT WAS HERE WE TURNED AROUND ON COURTHOUSE ROAD & I BELIEVE THOSE TO BE THE GILA BEND MOUNTAINS AHEAD
Must say I took a liking to Saddle Mountain because of it’s high raggety peaks & steeply sloping ridgelines. Reminded me a bit of Superstition Mountain near Apache Junction only smaller. Also reminded me of the Ajo & Kofa Mountains as well. Because of it’s distinct lines this mountain definitely had some character to it. It’s easily seen on the south side of I-10 for anyone traveling along that Interstate.
PHOTO TAKEN NORTH-EAST OF SADDLE MOUNTAIN….CAMPFIRE STONES IN THE LEFT FOREGROUND
ALWAYS LOTS OF SMELLS FOR PHEEBS WHEREVER WE STOP
TONOPAH ON THE HORIZON & THAT’S THE WAY WE HEAD HOME
BUCKEYE & PHOENIX ARE THAT AWAY
LOOKING WEST TOWARDS QUARTZSITE WAY BEYOND THAT SMALL MOUNTAIN RANGE
THE ABOVE 2 PHOTOS ARE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF EITHER PRIORITIZING YOUR SKY OR YOUR FOREGROUND & IN THIS CASE EITHER ONE WORKS
Saw a bunch of cars gathered in the desert along Courthouse Road so pulled over & asked what was going on. Saw a lot of older folks carrying pails in what appeared to be a procession of people coming from & heading towards Saddle Mountain itself. A lady told me it was ‘Rock Hound’ group out for the day looking for & picking up different types of aggragates on the desert floor.
Made a right hand turn back onto the Salome Highway heading for Tonopah & spotted a Jeep road on the right heading off into the desert towards Saddle Mountain. We turned there & followed the road for maybe a mile. Saw lots of boondocking spots. The area was also very typically pitted with numerous mine shafts. I think there are more mine shafts in the South-west than there are craters on the Moon. Walked ourselves up a rocky hill taking a few photos along the way.
A VERY TYPICAL MINE SHAFT
AN OLD ABANDONED MINE SITE
CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS FROM LONG AGO MINING BUILDINGS
From atop the hill I could see traffic bustling along on I-10 about 2 or 3 miles to the North. Also had some good views of Saddle Mountain to the South-west. Could also see the community of Tonopah off to the North-east.
TRACTOR TRAILERS MOVING ALONG I-10 (300mm TELEPHOTO)
IT’S A RUGGED COUNTRY OUT HERE IN THE WEST
TONOPAH IN THE DISTANCE & THE WAY HOME IS WAY OVER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT DISTANT MOUNTAIN RANGE
LOTS OF BOON-DOCKING SPOTS HERE IN THE SHADOW OF SADDLE MOUNTAIN
Having just passed through Tonopah an hour before I new there was a Subway right up alongside the I-10 interchange. I didn’t tell Pheebs we were headed there but soon as I came up the road & she spotted the Subway sign she went bonkers. Minutes later we had ourselves all goobed up with a 6” Tuna Sub wallowing in sweet onion sauce. It was about this time I also noticed a solid cloud cover moving in from the West.
Back overtop I-10 we went again & headed east through Tonopah. South of us I could see big plumes of cloud making steam so we turned right onto Wintersburg Road which put those plumes directly ahead of us.
ON WINTER’SBURG ROAD HEADING STRAIGHT FOR THE CLOUD MAKING PLANT
Crossed over I-10 again & 10 minutes later we drove right into the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. So this is where Arizona’s clouds are made I thought. Well it wasn’t the first time I had seen one of these large power plants. While ranch sitting near McNeal Arizona years ago we would sometimes head north up through Cochise County & there was a large cloud making plant up that way as well & the highway ran right through it if I remember correctly. It was just south of I-10 as well.
NOW I KNOW WHERE ALL THOSE MARVELOUS CLOUDY SUNRISES & SUNSETS COME FROM:))
From the Palo Verde Power Plant I swung the Jeeps nose in a Northerly direction & we set a course for home once again crossing back over I-10. On the far distant horizon maybe 30 miles away we could see Wickenburg’s Vulture Peak & over the next half hour or so it drew steadily closer. With the cloud cover over us now we had to have our windows back up & just a little snap of heat on. Winter in Arizona with no sun means no solar heat source.
BACK OVERTOP I-10 FOR THE FOURTH & LAST TIME TODAY
PAST THIS CACTUS FARM WITH MANY OF IT’S PLANTS COVERED AGAINST THE COLD NIGHTS I SUSPECT
ACRES UPON ACRES OF SOLAR PANELS
LOOKING WEST ALONG THE ARIZONA CANAL ABOVE & LOOKING EAST BELOW
I think it was going on 3 o’clock when Pheebs & I finally got home & for sure it was our longest & farthest away day trip since being here this winter. I don’t know who was more tired, Pheebs or me. Think it was me because the little Smarty Pants had some big snoozes on the way home.
PASSING BY VULTURE PEAK ON OUR WAY TO CONGRESS
BOON-DOCKERS CAN BE SEEN RIGHT OF CENTER
All & all it was a another good daytrip for us & I again got to scout out some new territory. I like when that happens. It’s one of my favorite things to do & I’m sure in my past ancestory there must have been some pathfinders & adventuress explorers along the way. Well at least I darn well hope there was……………………
THESE POWER LINES ARE HEADED IN THE DIRECTION OF PHOENIX
GROANER’S CORNER:(( As migration approached, two elderly vultures doubted they could make the trip south, so they decided to go by airplane. When they checked their baggage, the attendant noticed that they were carrying two dead raccoons. "Do you wish to check the raccoons through as luggage?" she asked.
"No, thanks," replied the vultures. "They're carrion."