Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bartlett Lake

Camping again? Of course. This time, along side water.

The Beard's bought a new-to-them pop up camper and wanted to try it out. So why not spend the weekend at Bartlett Lake? Only a mere 1.5 hours from Casa Grande. They left Friday, but Mike and I had to work so we didn't leave til Saturday.

Which meant that we got lost. We made it to Carefree but missed our turn towards the lake. We drove about 10 miles down Seven Springs Road before we realized it. It was a happy accident though because we now know that we must return to take that road through the Tonto National Forest all the way to Bloody Basin. Why? Because its an excellent forest road through the mountains. So be on the lookout for a blog about that in the future.

Anyway, an hour or so later, we finally hit Bartlett Lake.

It was hot. Hotter than Casa Grande. And there were speed boats? It is probably the smallest lake I've ever seen and people were driving speed boats on it. Jerks they were, creating all sorts of wake for the smaller slower vessels. There were quite a few campers too.

The worst part about camping on a lake? Other people.

But being on water, meant Rommel was in HEAVEN.
Yep, my dog treads water while waiting for his ball to be thrown. We also managed to get Meeka in the water. She wasn't so graceful and it took her a while to get the hang of swimming.
Elly stayed relatively dry on Saturday. Meeka, did not.
Yes, proof that we camp with more than just dogs.
After a good romp in the water we went back to camp where the four legged campers relaxed.

Dinner was cooked. A fire was started and smores were enjoyed.
The kids were put down and the adults relaxed by the fire. Cooler air moved in, and the moon rose very late over the mountains. It was a good day.

The dogs actually put us to bed. They begged and pestered until we turned in.

Sleep. Hmmn. Hard to do when jerks are out and about in there speed boats before the sun rises. Like several hours before the sun rises. Again, people are the bane of my existence.

Mandy made us breakfast burritos and we opted for a walk before the heat arrived. Since it was Sunday, a lot of people had already gone, opening up quite a few beaches. We weren't exactly camped on a beach, more like a steep slope down to enough space to fish, or toss the dogs into the water.
Oh it was fun. And it got hot. We had a long walk back in the sun and the dogs were done. After lunch, it was time for the two legged campers to get into the cold water. This time we were able to get Elly into the water because both Mike and I were swimming. Meeka was pooped and didn't swim. Rommel enjoyed his last foray in the lake.

Unfortunately we had to leave. Time wasn't on our side. Pete had to work mids tonight, and many chores awaited us in Casa Grande.

The worst part about camping? Going home. Granted I loved the shower I took this evening, but being home means chores, work and responsibility. I've read several blogs and stories about people who packed up shop and traveled the country or the world and I'm jealous. We only had 24 hours of outside glory.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day Ride - Superior/Globe

11 hours, 260 miles (140 of those miles on dirt) and 168 pictures later and we're home....

At 6:00AM, Mike B. met us at our place and we headed out for another epic adventure to Superior. The weather has finally gone down into the 90's and the bikes are ready to go outside. After an excellent McDonald's breakfast, we motored our way through Coolidge and onto the Florence/Kelvin Highway towards Superior.

Today was all about winging it. Once the bikes were topped off in Superior, we jumped on US60 towards dirt road glory. A short ways down, we found what we believe was the old road - pre US60. It was a beat up, single lane road that wound its way around a mountain.

And then it stopped. Abruptly. The 60 consumed our road. The boys walked to the top of the hill to see if it continued after, but no luck. At this point, our road was within feet of the 60 and we could see traffic.  A helmetless Harley rider glanced up and gave us a quizzical look...a la, wtf are you doing up there in helmets?

We wound our way back to the 60 and found another turn off that promised a longer ride. A much longer ride. Mike has as tendency to just follow his GPS and hope that those little roads still exist.  Not too far into our next venture, we were again met with a dead end - ranch hell.

 Jerks. Back around, another turn, and another locked gate. Strike three.

Back around again, another turn and oh, this time we get to keep going!

We stopped to see an old mine. We'll the boys wanted to see the mine.

A potty break before taking off again consisted of Mike screaming like a girl when midstream he realized he was peeing on a rattlesnake. Poor snake.

Motoring on the road kept degrading. Full on road to two track, to jeep trail, to ATV trail to ....does the road still exist?

We wound our way to a wash.

Oh look, a rock filled wash. Joy. Mike just loves to wrestle the Space Shuttle through this crap. The road - if you can call it that - wound in and out of this mess until we ended up in someone's ranch. The woman seemed more surprised than annoyed that we were there and graciously gave us directions towards Globe.

At this point its noonish, hot and I'm getting tired. I know Mike is sore and done, and Mike B. has to work a midnight shift tonight. But no, lets detour up to Pinal Peak. Hell we rode this far, what's a five mile detour?

The temperature dropped and I got to smell the pine trees. 7900 feet is nice..

20 miles later, we made it back to the slab, hit Globe and got much needed lunch at Jerry's Restaurant.

A long and grueling ride back to Casa Grande put us home at 5:00 PM. My butt has seen better days, my head is pounding, but the ride was fantastic.

Fall is approaching, so I envision much more riding in our future..

Click here for the entire photographic journey on my SmugMug account.