Sunday, January 14, 2018

Silver mines, Gold Jazz, Hobbies, Cars and more cars, and a train. Busy, busy!

Another very long post......

January 11 (Thursday)
We went up to the Castle Dome Mining Town today. North on Hwy 95 to mile marker 55 then right on Castle Dome Road for ten miles to the museum.

For $15 each you get to poke around through some restored old buildings from the silver mining days of this area. The buildings are mostly original but many have been moved here form other locations and fixed up. Some are recreations of what the original building was probably like. Regardless, it's a great way to spend a day. Lots of artifacts from the era and area. Apparently the main museum building was actually ordered out of the Sears-Roebuck catalogue and delivered to the site. Good thing it was the right size and color. Can you imagine trying to exchange it!

Bed pan with a 'sample'.

Assayers office


One of five bars the old town had at one time.


Pump organ

Well drilling rig

The other half of the tour is a bit of walking around some sites including several of the mines. They are fenced off for the visitors protection. Some of these old mines are quite deep and the sides are caving in. Not a place I would want to fall into.

Old mine head frame

Bunk house

Old mine workings that are 450 feet deep. Not a shaft you would want to fall into!

Bottles cemented in place make a very nice window.


A DEEP hole!

Old mines extend in a line all the way to those hills.

The distinct shape of Castle Dome Mountain. You can easily see this from Yuma.

A beautiful area.

About half way to Castle Dome there is a military installation with a tethered balloon. You can see the cable holding it in place and the tender it would mate to when it was reeled in to the ground for service or weather conditions. As best as I can determine the blimps is one of three across the Arizona-Mexico border that are used to detect low flying, drug smuggling planes coming over the border into the US. I've heard it called the Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems (PGSS). Given its proximity to Yuma Proving Grounds it may have other military functions as well, but who knows for sure.

The antennae-looking assembly on the right is the tender for the blimp. The nose of the blimp is held in place.

If you look closely there are wires hanging down from the blimp.

Heading back to Yuma we decided to check out the free Jazz music at the Yuma Palms Shopping Center. Starting January 12 and running every Thursday night there is a free concert with various artists and bands performing. Tonight was the Yuma Big Band, with guest vocalists Jennifer Wayman. What a great show they put on. Two hours of jazz and swing-era music. Just bring your lawn chair, by some food from the various restaurants and vendors in the Shopping area and relax. Can't beat that! We'll be back!

January 12 (Friday)
A lot of folks spending extended time in one place have a hobby. They can spend as much time on their hobby as their conscious, and their spouse, will allow. So when I heard there was a woodworking show a few miles from here I had to check it out. There are some very talented craftsmen creating some amazing artwork. I'm more of an art appreciator rather than an art creator. My Dad on the other hand is very much an artistic craftsman. Here are some samples from the show, and some of my Dad's work.

Caricature carvings

Spirit carvings. These are done in Cottonwood bark.

Golf ball carvings.

Wood burning

Key chains

Pieces of gourds covered in foil.


Samples of wood carvings that my Dad has done over the years.

I did win one of the door prizes and got out of there without spending more than about $5 on some wood scraps I might mess with at some point.

The sunset was a nice one on Friday.....

January 13 (Saturday)
A car show is always a great way to spend an afternoon. Collector car owners are a passionate bunch and they love to show off their works of art. I'm guessing many of the fancy ones have well into six figures of tangible goodies, but likely as much again if the owners hours were somehow calculable.

There was a great oldies group playing tunes.

They had some 'hopper' cars that bounced up and down and some to the extent there were parts and oil flying out of them! Can you say 'expensive hobby'!

The front end of this car is 'hopping' about six feet in the air.

Smoke from the burnout.

The winner of the hopping. Crazy!

Another twist was the race car 'fire-up'. The cars started up and revved their engines. So cool to stand beside a car that puts out 1000+ horsepower and feel the rumble of the exhaust beat in your chest. One guy gave us a very good burnout to add some god old burnt rubber to the atmosphere. A very neat show!

Back in about 1974 I attended a dirt track race south of Winnipeg. It was pretty impressive how quickly those guys could get those cars around the dirt track. So when I heard the Cocopah Raceways was starting their new dirt racing series we decided we should go. This is a very impressive track, one of the best in the country. The facility is also first rate with the track actually built at the bottom of a hill and the seating is built into the hill which means you walk from the parking lot and arrive at the top of the grandstand. Very cool.

The racing was very good. Lots of close finishes and a few mishaps. Amazing the speeds these guys can get, especially the modified classes. We got a snoot full of methanol and couldn't hear so well for a couple of hours but we had a great time and would definitely got back. We sat beside a couple from BC and had a great visit with them between heats.

Inside front wheel well off the track.

Crunch, in the second turn.

Main event final.

January 14 (Sunday)
We had a few stops today. We started out at the Conservation Garden Trail beside the Fairgrounds. It is only open Saturday and Sunday and entry is by donation. They have a lot of cactus there, but unfortunately not a lot of signage to explain what it is you are looking at. After our previous visits to other gardens we are getting better at identifying them.

They also have some antique machinery on display.

Cement Mixer

A duck pond seems out of place in a cactus garden, but the kids love feeding them bread.

We stopped at that wonderful gift shop…..Cracker Barrel. The have a lot of unique gifts and an ever-changing inventory. Cheryl likes to look over the deals from time to time. Thankfully we got out of there with wallet intact and headed over to the Yuma Steamer Trains. We had been there at Christmas and this weekend they were open again. The whole thing is run by volunteers and most are retired railroad workers. They build or buy these small 7 1/2 inch gauge engines and run them around their track. They had a couple of new ones running this visit, but not the steam engine I was hoping to see. Regardless, I was allowed to go for a ride!

The ties are about 2" x 2".

....and a very nice sunset tonight.
That was Our View From Here!