Sunday, July 20, 2008

Botany, Battlefields, and Bolts of Lightning,

The Mr. G needs to get out this weekend. He and I are not spending 2 weekends in town in a row. Nick and I had talked earlier in the week about going out since his wife is in Europe for a little while longer this summer. But where to go?

Nick arrives at the house with McDonald's and we decide to head up to the Rim. That is it. The entire plan for this trip is “Lets go up to the Rim” So away we go.

Our Ride's Navigator, DJ, and man on the spot Nick.

We get to about 20 mile South of Payson and decide to turn off and explore a side road. The road is bordered by these amazing flowers that tower at least 10ft in the air on either side.

Very Cool

Navigator Nick has the Arizona Gazetteer out and before you know it he is saying that around the next big corner are Indian Ruins! Whoo hoo the adventure begins. Only thing is we can't find them. Nothing on this road except a local cemetery and a junk yard. Funny how those Indians built ruins in a area that was destined to be home of other dead stuff 400 years later. Reminds me of Florida but I agree to go explore the area some more. Pretty soon we come to a meadow with some cool flowers.

Nick of course didn't bring a camera since he figured ......I have no idea what he is thinking since he knows I usually ALWAYS have a camera with me. Taking pity I hand him my Nikon. He is off and takes a picture of me in the meadow

These flowers are amazing and I soon realize that I have no clue what I am taking pictures of. Note to self get a botany book.

I keep finding old fence posts in the West fascinating to photograph. They may be the closest thing to Zane Gray out here.

We better get a move on it since we have no where to go. We duck into the Payson Walmart for some nutritious snacks and some batteries. Here we meet Michele the unhappy checkout girl in the world. We offer to let us come with us on our adventure, but alas there are people with pop tarts behind us and her sense of duty prevails. I hope she gets happy soon.

We climb the rim on 87 and turn right at Forest Service 300 and venture into the back country. First on the list of must sees is Potato Lake. We have no idea what Potato Lake is even but it must be seen.

As we drive I spy a cool looking log in a meadow with some yellow flowers So much for the push to Potato Lake at all costs. There is Botany to look at!

The log with Yellow Flowers turns out to be a treasure chest

We find a whole hosts of little guys hanging out around the yellow flowers.

Very Worthy Stop

We press on and as we turn a corner we are missed by centimeters (almost Picometers) by a ATV riders who thought he was in the Baja 1000. The turn to the left is not really tight, but the hill side and the trees make the sight lines maybe 20 yards tops. The ATC is going about 40-50 miles an hour on a track about 10 feet wide covered in gravel that has more in common with marbles then sticky tarmac. Now I ride my motorcycle very fast. Some have called me insane, others even stupid. But even when I had the GS I never went flying down dirt roads where I couldn't see beyond where I could stop. This guy would have been dead, or worse Nick and I could have been hurt by him flying into the cabin of the Trooper. He slams on the brakes, I jam my foot on mine and try and get the Mr. G over to the side of the road. He only at the last possible instant guns the motor and power slides out of harms way. We shake it off, but both of us joke for several minutes to let the adrenaline subside.

We only linger at Potato Lake for a minute and then head back down to the East along the Rim. I stop the Mr. G in a dense part of the forest as some other flowers and undergrowth catch my eye. Taking pictures in dense woods is difficult. I want to get a sense of it here in Arizona before I set off for the Giant Redwoods of California later this year.

The Mr G. looks good in the woods.

Now I have a chemist friend in Utah that loves to take pictures of flowers. The big difference between Jan and I is he has a clue of what kind of flowers he is photographing.

They are worthy though

While waiting for Nick to get back from exploring the area I talk to a nice couple who tell me of a monument to a battle from the Apache Wars of the 1880's. It seems that if we go down Forest Road 123 we will come to it. This is something I have to go see! They tell me that if I get to the other monument on the main road we went to far. Nick is in the minute I tell him there is a battle field up here.

We drive through the area and only encounter the odd beast now and then. Nick and I discuss the possibilities that we tend to have less issue eating things that are dumber.

We find 123 and after a little exploring the end of the road we find the monument in the woods.

Not the best picture but it seems that some Apaches from the San Carlos Reservation tried to ambush some soldiers.

I am surprised by the number of soldiers who fought here. They don't name the Indians.

I need to do some more research on this.

Photo BY NICK PURZER (on my Nikon) \:\)
One of the Rock Nests

I don't think that the 3rd Calvary was wearing shorts during the battle either

We pull out of here thinking about what it would have been like back then. The guy told me that there is a headstone of one of the soldiers out here but we don't find it. Oh well we still have about 30 miles to go on dirt and I hear the first rumble of thunder in the distance.

The Rim Road goes along the edge of the Colorado Plateau. I won't bore every one with a geography lesson, Nick catches our hero taking a panorama of the vista made possible by a fire from several years back that cleared the forest.

Don't let the blue sky fool you from the shot above looking South. Turning around I see that we are in for some weather before going to much farther. In fact I am really a bit nervous that we could get stuck if the washes fill up.

Nick's sense of urgency is somewhat less then mine.

The sky gets darker but at the same time very beautiful.

But in just a few moments we are reminded that it is also not something we have any control of. I do like taking pictures of lightning though...worthy

We roll on down the road and into steady but not major rain. The Mr G slides a little but he is in 4High so nothing too bad.

Nick does manage to fix the GPS since we are bouncing around a bit. That MIT teaches a full course on bungees I bet.

As we drive out and back down to the pavement, the temperature has gone from 80 to 55 and we have a good rain all the way down the rim into Payson. We had noticed on the way up a big sign in Sunflower advertising a Topless Cabaret in Payson. This sign is new to me but I have been wanting to post a sign of the place for some time.

The owner really needs to get the Marketing for Dummies book if he hopes to make a go of it.

We decide to just push on back to the house and not have dinner in Payson. As we ride home the traffic is light and we reflect on a great day that took us nowhere.

What better way to top off the evening then with an all American Meal. Oh and now that Budweiser is owned by the same company as Spaten, I feel just as patriotic drinking it as Bud.

See ya all next time.

1 comment:

awotter said...

Loved the fence posts Tom, what an evocative shot. I'm more of a L'Amour aficionado than Grey, but only because Louis was pretty much the be all end all of cheap paper-back western writers when I was growing up.

The cavalry monument caught my eye right away, the name in the upper right corner is Adna Chaffee, he rose in the ranks from a Union private (1861) to Lieutenant General and Army Chief of Staff retiring in 1906.

His son Adna Chaffee Jr. would go on to be considered one of the founders of the US Army armored forces.

Chaffee Jr. died in 1941, how amazing to think that father and son's careers spanned almost the entire history of our modern cavalry (including the senior serving in the 9th cavalry Regiment, one of the original African-American Buffalo soldier units).

You are always enjoyable read my friend,