Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Post by Henry

We recently visited the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge.

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Actually, we've been here twice in the last couple of weeks.  It's about an 85 mile drive from where we are staying in southwest Arizona, just east of the Colorado River.

We'd heard Cibola NWR was a big wintering spot for birds, and we haven't seen hundreds of birds in one locale since last winter in Florida.

We stopped at the Visitor Center to sign in, get the Blue Goose Passport stamped, and ask about what kind of birds we might see at the refuge.

Cibola NWR Visitor Center 

We were directed to the Goose Loop Road for the best viewing.

Goose Loop Road

The first thing you encounter on the auto tour is a lake just absolutely 'alive' with ducks and geese.

Lake on Goose Loop Road

We sat in our vehicle for quite a long time, observing wave after wave of Canada Geese flying in and landing on the lake, and listening to a symphony of quacking, squawking, and honking.

Canada Geese
Coming in for a Landing

Canada Geese Galore!

We've seen thousands of Canada Geese before, but seeing them out in the wild is a lot more thrilling than seeing them in parking lots and walking trails in Georgia and Alabama.  There were not only Canada Geese - there were hundreds of Snow Geese.

Snow Goose

Snow Geese
Coming in for a Landing

These we have also seen before, but not in such abundance.  Amongst the thousands of birds, Loretta spotted a few Greater White-Fronted Geese on the far shore of the lake.

Greater White-Fronted Goose
(with Orange Legs)

This was a new one for us and when Loretta reported it to the Visitor Center, she was the first to add it to their list of  Recent Sightings.

Along with the Geese, there were a pretty good assortment of ducks on the lake as well.  Pintail Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, American Wigeons, and of course, Coots. (Coots are EVERYWHERE!)


Northern Shoveler (male)

Further up the auto tour was a short nature trail that leads you to a bird blind overlooking another part of the lake for a more up close view of the goose and duck 'party'.

Bird Blind Ahead

Along the auto tour route - in various spots - were artificial underground dwellings to lure in Burrowing Owls and encourage nesting.  We were lucky enough to spot several of these cute, squatty, big-eyed critters.

Burrowing Owl

We spotted a few raptors, too.  We saw a few Northern Harriers swooping over the fields looking for lunch.  American Kestrals are fun to watch (and hard to photograph) as they hover, hummingbird-like, over the field before diving down to catch prey.  Some raptors are pretty hard for us to identify, but we're pretty sure we saw a Sharp-Shinned Hawk sitting on top of a pole, staring intently at the ground for a meal.

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Sandhill Cranes were standing and feeding in several of the large fields.  We never tire of listening to and observing them.

Sandhill Cranes
Yellow Headed Blackbirds
Red Winged Blackbirds

One field was apparently a favorite for Roadrunners as we saw more of them there than anywhere else before.

Roadrunner in Field


Toward the end of the auto tour route, we were able to park and observe a couple of coyotes.  Both were under some trees, picking something off the ground, and eating it.  We could not tell what they were chomping on, but they seemed to be enjoying it.

Coyote Having a Meal

Cibola NWR offers more than the auto tour, but both times we were there, that's where we spent the majority of our day.  That probably means we will need to go back again, hopefully before the birds take to the air for spring migration back to the north.

American Kestrel

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A YEAR on the Road!

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's already been a year since we pulled out of the driveway in Alabama headed for Florida to start our journey on the road.  One year later, we're on the opposite side of the country in Yuma, Arizona.

Historic Yuma,  Arizona

Yuma Desert Landscape

Yuma Desert Agriculture

Since that day, we've put 5,367 miles on the Rambler, traveled through 14 states, camped in 32 different places, and put up 36 blog posts.  Our stays ranged from three - one (1) night stays to 61 nights in Bushnell, Florida. We had at least a one month stay in 7 locations, in 4 different states.  Our general rule has been to drive 200 miles or less between destinations and then stay at least a week exploring the area.

The Teddy Bear Cactus

So far living on the road has been everything we could have hoped for and more.  We definitely made a great choice when we decided the Holiday Rambler Admiral (aka Rambler) would be our home on wheels.

Yahoo Ramblers
Home on Wheels

It has performed nearly flawlessly.  We see plenty of really nice RV's out there, but we're more than happy with the Rambler.  And it's really no problem living in less than 300 square feet of space.  It's actually much simpler living with what you need to survive without all that clutter from the stuff you've acquired over the years.  Three hundred square feet may not be much to live in, but our 'yard' has been spectacular most every place we've been.  Usually after we've set up somewhere new, I'll say "same house, different view".  And Loretta says "our million dollar view" - when appropriate.

One of our Western
"Million Dollar Views"

Full time living in an RV is definitely not uncommon, as we have met many folks that are doing it and some have been for 10-20 years!  And it's been affordable, too.  We've lived quite comfortably on the budget we set before the trip:)

We've made some new friends along the way that we'll get together with again further down the road and I'm sure there's more new friends ahead.  We've had a lot of fun this year doing the things we love to do while seeing and experiencing this beautiful country of ours.

The Tetons


Antelope Island



Ken's Lake Hidden Falls

Mesa Falls

Yes, we are 'Living the Dream'.

The Yahoo Ramblers

So, what lies ahead?

It's Pacific Time for the Yahoo Ramblers in 2016!  California, Oregon, and Washington are where our traveling experiences will be.  We'll probably be here in southwest Arizona until early spring before we start traveling north.  Just like last year, we'll put our journey together as we go.  You know, no real plan.  Just a 'general idea'. If it's half as fun as last year, its going to be fantastic!

Looking Ahead!