Thursday, June 20, 2019

Cloudcroft - Rio Penasco Bike Ride

A warmer day in southern New Mexico so we headed up to Cloudcroft to find cooler temperatures for riding. Cloudcroft sits at around 9,000 feet and offers several possible routes for scenic bike rides. No snowplows today!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Lincoln County Gravel Adventure

A little exploratory bike ride to the northern part of Lincoln County - perfect riding conditions for the majority of the ride, then we encountered a bit of rain and hail during the last nine (9) miles back to the town of Capitan...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Big Bonito, Crest, and Aspen Trail Hike

It was a perfect day for hiking so we decided on some trails that we had not done before because we'd need to start earlier to cover the longer distance. We left from Argentina Canyon Trailhead in the White Mountains Wilderness northwest of Ruidoso. Our trail guide said it would be close to 10 miles and we ended up with 11 miles.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Nogal Canyon - Crest Trail Hike

Today we went back to a trail (Nogal Canyon) that we had hiked before and added two other trails to make a nice six (6) mile loop. We started at the Nogal trailhead and hiked Nogal Canyon Trail to the Tortolita Trail and then to teh Crest Trail - making a loop around Nogal Peak.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Capitan Figure 8 Ride

Today's ride started in Capitan, New Mexico - home of Smokey the Bear! Our goal was to explore three different gravel roads that we had not ridden before - hopefully no gates to block our way. We parked at a nearby gas station in Capitan and then rode east on US 380 to get ourselves on to Capitan Gap Road, some really nice looking gravel.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area

Today I decided to do an exploratory ride on some gravel roads (fire roads) within the Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area just NE of Ruidoso. I am glad I was on a bike with wide tires and low gears as the road went from smooth gravel to rough (very quickly). Heather let me go out on my own - as I anticipated that the roads would not be to her liking - I was correct.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Capitan Mountains Mis-Adventure

I thought I had mapped a great bicycle route with some seldom traveled gravel roads  - hoping for a nice 34 mile loop in the foothills of the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico. We started out from Fort Stanton and rode State Highway 220 to US 380 about seven miles - then we turned on to Forest Service 57 to start our gravel portion of the ride.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Argentina Canyon - Turkey Canyon Hike

A chance for rain in the afternoon so we set out to the Argentina Trailhead north of Ruidoso to hike a loop of about eight (8) miles this morning. Cooler temperatures in the 60's made for a very comfortable hike as we would eventually climb to 9,200 feet.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Perk Canyon/Ridge Hike

Today's forecast: high of 81 degrees with 26% relative humidity - so we chose a morning hike on a trail just off the upper canyon area in Ruidoso. At the end of Perk Canyon Road is the trailhead for Trail #93 (Perk Canyon) and #92 (Perk Ridge). We hiked out on Perk Canyon, later this trail connects back to Perk Ridge for a nice loop.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Grindstone Mesa Ride - Ruidoso

All settled into Ruidoso, New Mexico and we chose to visit some trails that are only about two miles from the RV park. Heather went our for a hike and I decided to try a loop of trails that would take me to the top of Grindstone Mesa. The trails all start from the parking lot at Grindstone Lake and then branch out around the lake and up the mountains. The trails are fairly well maintained and do have a good variety of rocks to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Riding Singletrack

During the past several weeks while we have been in Silver City, New Mexico, I have had the opportunity to ride some great mountain biking trails. There are four main areas to ride: Little Walnut Trails, Fort Bayard Trail System, Boston Hill Open Space, and Signal Peak Trails. I found time to ride everything except the Signal Peak Trails.

Up and Down Ride

Our last day in Silver City today, so we decided on a ride from the RV park out past Pinos Altos to the trail head area for Signal Peak. A nice 15 miles out and 15 miles back with right at 3,000 feet of climbing!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Twin Sisters Hike on the CDT

Last week we got a recommendation for a hike on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) that would take us to a pair of mountains called the Twin Sisters. The photo above shows the Twin Sisters in the distance. These two mountains are easy to distinguish because of the white colored rock that appears to connect them together and they appear equal in height. We drove just past Pinos Altos, New Mexico and parked about 1/4 of a mile up a fire road.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eighty Mountain and Gomez Peak

A very windy Saturday so we decided on heading to the Gila National Forest for a hike. Just about five miles to the north of Silver City is the Gomez Peak/Little Walnut Trail System - very well maintained trails on the edge of the forest.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

City of Rocks State Park

Cool today with a chance of rain - so we drove over to City of Rocks State Park, just 26 miles southeast of Silver City. Plenty of choices for day hikes, so we made a 6.5 mile loop using the Hydra Trail, Observation Point Trail, Table Mountain Trail, and the Planet Walk.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Flying In Grant County New Mexico

I don't think we would have ever heard about the Silver City area if it wasn't for my former Plano Parks and Recreation co-worker, Lynn Welsch, who told us about this area of New Mexico. Lynn and her husband, Phillip, retired to this area several years ago. They both keep busy in retirement - Lynn is a very gifted art quilter (Mountain Spirits Studio) and Phillips flies his experimental airplane. Phillip offered me a ride in his plane to see some of the area from a better perspective.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

After recovering from volunteering at the Tour of the Gila, we visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings - a 44 mile drive north of Silver City. The drive takes about two hours as the roads twist and winds through the Gila National Forest - following the Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway. The view above was taken from NM Highway 15 as you get ready to drop into the Gila River Valley.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tour of the Gila - Mogollon Road Race

Our first time to visit Silver City, New Mexico and we started our first week out by attending the opening stage of the Tour of the Gila. The first stage was a 151.3 km (94 mile) road race from Silver City to the ghost town area of Mogollon. The highlight of this stage is an uphill finish in the Mogollon Mountains, with 2,100 feet of climbing in the last 6 miles.

We arrived early to the race finish area just as set-up was beginning for the day. I ended up helping setup the awards stage, finish stage, and P.A. system. All those years of working special events for Plano Parks and Recreation has paid off in retirement :) Heather is posing above just after we finished assembling the awards stage. I have volunteered to work the remainder of the event (four more days of racing) setting up and taking down the awards and finish areas - should be fun!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Palo Duro Canyon

It had only taken us about 39 years and we finally made it to Palo Duro Canyon State Park! Thanks to our friends Jim and Melody Yuhn who wanted to join us on an RV adventure to Palo Duro Canyon before we disappeared for the summer. We booked our campsites last December and ended up in the Juniper Camp Area for a three night stay. We drove up on Tuesday and had all day Wednesday and Thursday to explore what we could of the park.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dutch Mountain Ranch

It is almost a spring ritual for our friends Mike and Teresa to have us visit them when they are staying at Dutch Mountain Ranch. Dutch Mountain Ranch sits adjacent to Enchanted Rock State Park just to the north, encompassing over 1,200 acres in Llano County. This year our schedule was pretty busy but we did manage to spend almost a day and a half with them. It is pretty easy to get lost in the beauty of the area and we usually just hike and look at the birds, wildlife and scenery.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour, Day 6 - Hamilton to Clifton

Our last day of the gravel tour - still no rain and just a bit of wind from the south. Today's route was somewhat familiar as we had ridden most of the roads before.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour, Day 5 - Goldthwaite to Hamilton

Day five finds us with a very windy day leaving Goldthwaite, winds predominately from the south. Fortunately our first 20 miles was a tailwind heading north to Priddy, Texas.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour, Day 4 - Brownwood to Goldthwaite

Day four, winds picking up from the south and our route today is south and east. Plenty of headwind as we make our way from Brownwood south to the Colorado River Valley.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour, Day 3 - Comanche to Brownwood

Today was John's 55th birthday and he wanted to ride his age - 55 miles. Our original route was around 48 miles so we made some modifications to create a 55 mile route to Brownwood. Heather and I decided a shorter day of 43 miles would be nice so we took a different route out of Comanche to the south. We left about 30 minutes later and figured we would see everyone at the lunch stop in Zepher, Texas. The windmills in the distance above were a very common sight around Comanche.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour Day 2 - Hico to Comanche

Another nice spring day for some gravel riding - posing my bike at the Hico photo stop before we headed down the road. Yesterday's ride to Hico was on roads we had traveled before - today we ride new roads that we have not ventured before, plenty of gravel to discover.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Gravel Bike Tour, Day 1 - Clifton to Hico

​Springtime in Texas has usually meant a short self-contained bike tour on gravel roads somewhere near Clifton, Texas. This year Ronnie Bryant created a 6-day tour full of gravel at the top of the Texas Hill Country. We would start in Clifton and ride to Hico, Comanche, Brownwood, Goldthwaite, Hamilton, and back to Clifton. We do light-touring which means that we stay in hotels/motels - no camping or cooking. So we met the Bryant's and Pogue's in Clifton to park our vehicles and start our first day to Hico. Heather, Susan, and Nanette are pictured above at the start of our tour.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Twitching in Cozumel

Our sixth time to visit Cozumel and we booked a bird guide to take us around the island to look at local birds (I call this "Twitching"). Heather was excited to have Arturo (our guide) show us around Cozumel in search of birds for her life-list. (am I saying this right???)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Caye Caulker - Belize

A day of boat rides and learning to "Go Slow"  - We took a 30 minute boat ride to Caye Caulker, the second largest island in Belize. There are no cars here, just bicycles, golf carts, and walking... "Go Slow" is the motto for this very laid back island. Heather is posing by "The Split" - a gap in the island created by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Roatan Honduras - Maya Cay

We started our cruise this year at the island of Roatan in Honduras. Our day was spent on Maya Cay where I snorkeled the reef and Heather explored the small private island. When I finished snorkeling Heather took me around the island to see the many birds and sights.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Brewery Day...

Down in the Houston area visiting the kids this weekend - we decided to visit a couple of breweries that are close to them in Richmond. Our first stop was Braman Winery and Brewery. Heather and Kaitlyn had wine while Jared and I tried several of the beers.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

FM 170 Scenic Drive

Today was our road trip day from Lajitas to Presidio and back along the Texas Mountain Trail on FM 170. This road follows the Rio Grande River as it winds through some exceptional scenery along the Texas and Mexico border.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Big Bend Ranch State Park - Fresno Canyon

Today was a mountain bike trail day for us... Heather hikes the trail and I go and ride it! We started out from the East Contrabando trail-head near Lajitas, both setting out on the Dog Cholla Loop. The next loop for both of us was the Crystal Trail and then I continued out about 8.5 miles until I reached the start of the Fresno Canyon Trail. Last year I had made it out to the edge of the Fresno Canyon but did not have the time to explore it further - today I rode about three miles into Fresno Canyon and it was really scenic.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Big Bend - Lost Mine Peak

A warmer day (in the 70's) so we headed up to the Chisos Basin area for a hike up the Lost Mine Trail to the top of Lost Mine Peak. The photo above was taken at the top of Lost Mine Peak. We had never hiked this trail and heard that the views and vistas were incredible...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Big Bend - Bicycling the West Loop

Today was a perfect day to ride the west loop of Big Bend National Park. We started at Maverick Junction, rode clockwise to Castolon/Santa Elena Junction, then proceeded south on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the Santa Elena Canton Overlook, and finally took Old Maverick Road back to where we started. 53 miles of some of the best scenery you can find anywhere - I really love Big Bend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Big Bend - Boquillas

The sign above greets you as you pass through the U.S. Port of Entry at Boquillas Crossing in Big Bend National Park. The crossing which reopened in 2013, is a little simpler than most U.S.-Mexico border crossings... here you pay $5 per person (round-trip) for a rowboat ride across the Rio Grande River to Boquillas Del Carmen, Mexico.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Big Bend - Chimneys and Santa Elena

Our first day in the Big Bend area with the Bryant's (Ronnie and Nanette) we decided to hike The Chimney's Trail and then Santa Elena Canyon. Our weather was perfect and to our surprise the Bluebonnets were out in the park. We are staying outside Big Bend in Lajitas at Maverick Ranch RV Park - so a little bit of a drive into Big Bend, but still very close to the edge of nowhere...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Déjà vu

Today we did one of our favorite rides from Alpine, along Highway 118 to Fort Davis and Back. Heather the weather guru got it right as we had very little wind today and temps in the mid 60's. It just happens that we rode this exact same route exactly one year ago today - our version of ​Déjà vu!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hiking Day...

Well... planned to ride our bikes today but with sustained winds at 22 mph and gusts to 35 mph, we opted for a hiking day. Our first hike was the Outside Loop trail at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. There are a variety of trails to hike at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute and the Outer Loop covers the best scenery in the area. Located just four miles southeast of Fort Davis, Texas, the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute is a private non-profit organization with just over 500 acres dedicated to the study and preservation of the Chihuahuan Desert. (Heather is making her way down Modesta Canyon in the photo above)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Welcome to Alpine, Texas!

Goodbye to Tucson on Wednesday and off to West Texas! We drove to El Paso this past Wednesday and planned to stay a couple of days. Our resident weather expert (Heather) predicted very windy driving conditions for Friday, so we drove on to Alpine, Texas on Valentine's Day. We avoided excessive West Texas winds and got to drive through Valentine, Texas on Valentine's Day! Alpine, Texas is one of our favorite small towns to visit and we love staying at the Lost Alaskan RV Park on the north edge of town.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saguaro National Park - East

A nice Sunday afternoon was perfect today for an easy going hike at Saguaro National Park East. We had previously bicycled through the park so today's goal was to hike a few trails to see everything a little closer. We started with the Freeman Homestead trail loop and then parked at the Cactus Forest South trail-head to begin a seven mile loop to include the Cactus Forest trail with the Lime Falls Trail and then return on the Javelina Wash Trail back to our truck.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Arizona Trail - Las Cienegas (South)

A cool and cloudy day in Arizona brought us to hike and bike a southern section of the Arizona Trail. Our starting point was the trail-head located just 15 miles south of Tucson on Highway 83 going towards the Santa Rita Mountains. From the parking area we had a short half mile hike/bike to the intersection with the Arizona Trail on what is termed a "gravel road" - a very interesting road!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sabino Canyon

It only took seven (7) weeks but we finally made it to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area on the north side of Tucson. We chose a weekday to avoid the crowds and it worked out well for hiking. Our first time here and I chose the hardest trail - Blacketts Ridge :)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Arizona Trail (Loma Alta)

Warm and windy day in the Tucson area - so off to another section of the Arizona Trail! We started at the Loma Alta Trail head - this is on the southern edge of the Saguaro National Park just north of Vail, Arizona. Heather opted for a hike and I went off on my bike.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Arizona Trail (Las Cienegas)

Mountain biking and trail hiking on a nice Saturday... we left from the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon trail head for the Arizona Trail. Heather went for a hike and I rode my mountain bike. I started north on the 3 Bridges to Pistol Hill section of the trail and knew I'd be in for a challenge. This section is considered Intermediate 3-C (hilly, lots of climbs, and technical challenges) by the local MTB club. I survived the first 2.25 miles and decided that if I was to stay intact (no injuries), I'd better turn around and try the trail section to the south. Heather hiked on this section of the trail and enjoyed herself - very scenic.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Saguaro National Park & Dallas Folks

Travel to Tucson in the winter and we run into some fine folks from Dallas. Keri and Stuart from Dallas were visiting friends in Tucson and Phoenix - Keri reached out to us to see if we wanted to go ride bikes today. We coordinated a place to meet them and their friend Jere (she just moved to Tucson from Dallas in September) along The Loop. Jere led us out to Saguaro East National Park to ride the loop road through the park.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hohokam Trail - McKenzie Ranch

Today we decided to divide and conquer - Heather went for a trail hike on the Hohokam Trail and I rode the same trail to the McKenzie Ranch Trails to get in some off-road time on my Jones bike. A local had told me about this fairly new trail system but we got some additional insight to the trails from some folks from SOORTA (Self Organized Off Road Tandem Association) yesterday. So off we go...

Friday, January 11, 2019

More Tucson Breweries...

There are around 21 craft breweries in Tuscon and we visited a few more this past week. Some of our favorites have actually been some of the smaller ones - so size doesn't matter :)

Pima Air and Space Museum

Based on an overwhelming number of personal recommendations from friends - we made a visit to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. This was our first visit to the museum and we opted to go self-guided through the five display hangars and aircraft located outside on the grounds.

We were very fortunate that when we arrived after lunch that a Museum Docent, Tom Collins (yes - just like the drink), was starting a free walking tour of the main hangar buildings of the museum. Mr. Collins was a former military pilot and was very knowledgeable about all of the aircraft and shared some fascinating stories associated with each plane.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Patagonia, AZ - Gravel/Dirt

Sort of a cloudy day in the Tucson area today - so we headed south towards the border with Mexico to Patagonia, Arizona. Found that there are some really nice gravel (dirt) roads from Patagonia that take you into the surrounding mountains in the Coronado National Forest. Patagonia sits at 4,050 feet and is a small town of around 900 people - 18 miles north of the US - Mexico border. We opted for a simple loop of almost 30 miles that would give us a taste of the gravel-dirt roads of southern Arizona.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Oro Valley Ride

We ventured out today to a section of the Pima County Trail System that we had not been to yet - there are over 131 miles of paved trail to explore in the Tucson area. We started from the Ted Walker Park Trailhead just off of I-10 in NW Tucson and headed up the Christina Taylor Green Trailway (a part of "The Loop") up to the Town of Oro Valley.