What Happened to You Picture of the Week

Arizona has a reputation for being hot—deservedly so. Especially here in the Sonoran Desert. We frequently make the weather news for hosting the highest temperature of the day—a contest in which Gila Bend and Bullhead City are always locked in battle. For some people, any press is good press.

But as I explore the back roads of our state, I’ve come to the conclusion that the heat here had to be way worse many millennia ago. I came to this conclusion because you can’t walk more than ten steps before you step in a puddle of cooled lava—basalt (cooled quickly on the surface), andesite (mixed cooling), and granite (cooled slowly beneath the surface). Not all of this volcanic activity happened at the same time of, course. Millions of years separated eras of activity. What I’m saying is that, at times, Arizona’s ground heat far exceeded our summer temperatures. It’s probably a good thing that we’re living in this era.

The reason I’m hopped-up on geology this morning is because of the next stop that Queen Anne and I made on our one lap of Harquahala Mountain trip. Near where the Eagle Eye Road intersects with the Salome Highway, a series of volcanic hills line the south side of the road. After getting out and clambering all over them, I decided that they didn’t have star power. They’re interesting, but not that interesting. During my investigation, however, I found this poor little weird saguaro. It had eight new arms growing around it’s lopped off the top—sort of like last month’s headless version. As I got closer, I saw that the new arms were growing from other truncated arms—at least a dozen of them. It was—much like a cat eats grass to settle its stomach—like a T-Rex chomped off its top, so the saguaro put out new shoots. I remember thinking, “What the hell happened to you?” Was this caused by freezing, disease, or repeated lightning strikes? I don’t know, I’ve never seen a saguaro like this.

What Happened to You-a poor little saguaro has arms growing out of damaged arms. What caused this to happen?
What Happened to You -A poor little saguaro has arms growing out of damaged arms. What caused this to happen?

I decided to capture its portrait, and, as I framed it, the hills came in play. I lined up my shot so that the sunlit saguaro was centered on the dark rocks on the outcrop. I was so impressed with how clever I was, I also shot a dead tree and palo verde in the same way, but they didn’t come out as well. I titled this shot What Happened to You, and it’s this week’s featured image.

You can see a larger version of What Happened to You on its Web Page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing it. Join us next week as we finish up our trip around the Harquahala Mountains.

Until next time — jw

BTW: Queen Anne and I wish you and your loved ones Bah Humbug—and similar salutations of the season.

Congress – Arizona

Here’s a final list of numbers from Fritz’s trip meter.

  • 12,079 total miles driven
  • 329.21 total hours the motor was running
  • 37 mph – the average road speed
  • 18.3 mpg – Fritz’s average miles per gallon for the trip

To put that in perspective, twelve thousand miles is just short of half way around the world. It’s about a third more that the 9,000 on Fred’s itinerary, but he based his number on point to point distances. We made a lot of side trips. My original budget proposal was only 7,000, based on a Google Maps trip to Fairbanks and back.

Yesterday’s drive went just as I imagined it. We left Bakersfield at 7:30 and stopped in Tehachapi for gas and coffee. We hit the I-40 Bridge over the Colorado River at 12:15, and then stopped for lunch in Kingman at 1:00. That’s how I called it in my earlier post.

Lunch Break in Kingman
We got to Kingman at 1:00, just as I thought we would.

We had a leisurely afternoon drive down US-93 and were home by 4:00. I wanted to brag that we made the trip without hitting a moose (there are none to hit), and that I came home without a cracked windshield. I also wanted to say we drove half way around the world without incident, but I can’t, because as we say around here, I just made the newsletter.

When we pulled up in front of the house, our neighbors, John and Reenie greeted us with waves from their front porch. Then I started to back The Ritz into the drive and around the house and deck. That’s a big u-turn pushing the trailer backwards. I did it on the first try, but it wasn’t lined up perfect, so I pulled forward to straighten it out . . . and ran over the plastic stanchion that holds the water and electricity for one of our hook-ups. Instantly we had a nice little fountain in the back yard.

The Ritz at Home
All we wanted to do was to park the trailer in a place to unload easily. To get it there, we had to back it around the house in a U-turn.

John went across the street and retrieved a water-valve shut-off wrench and we turned off the main. Since the temperature was near the century mark, we unloaded all the wine into the cooling house. Then I unhooked the trailer and made a mad rush to the hardware store to get a cap and some PVC glue, so that we could at least turn the water back on.

Broken Stanchion
The stanchion holding the water line and electrical outlet, lays shattered on the ground.

I made it before they closed and after getting home, I cleaned up the broken pipe and glued the cap on. Satisfied that the repair was good, we then turned the water back on, only to find that I broke the PVC pipe under the concrete base. The whole thing needs torn up  and replaced. So we’re waiting for the plumber to come this morning.

In the mean time, we’re living with water buckets from the John’s spigot, and bottles of drinking water we had stored in the freezer. It’s a challenge for sure, but it’s good to be home.

On another note, you’re probably interested to find out about the rest of the gang. You may remember that Fed, Deb and Sally wanted to spend more time in Canada. About ten days after we did, they crossed the border (without inspections). Then they recreated Patton’s March down the east side of the Cascades and Nevada and got home a couple of hours ahead of us.

So I guess this means, this chapter in our lives has come to a close. I have a newsletter to write sometime this weekend. If you’re a subscriber, I apologize. I guess I’ll do a follow-up of the trip. But this will be the last post about our trip to Denali. I’ve had fun writing these for you, but I’ve run out of topic and I don’t know what else to talk about.

What do you think? Have you had enough of us, or is there another subject to cover? I’d like to hear from you.