Happy 2018!!!!!!!!! I hope you have had an excellent beginning to the New Year even with the extremely cold temperatures we are experiencing around the nation. I came home from southern California to the winter chill.

Unless you have been buried under a rock for the last two weeks, you should know that tonight is the crème de la crème for college football, the College Football Playoff with an all-SEC championship game. The Georgia Bulldogs play the Alabama Crimson Tide for all the marbles. For most of you who know me, you know me as a Die-Hard Roll Tide Roll fan. What you may not know is I grew up as a barking fan of the “DAWGS” with my family and relatives all being from Athens, Georgia. There was not a birthday or holiday that I did not received something that had ties to the Dawgs. When I moved to Alabama, I was fortunate enough to photograph the last few years of Bear Bryant and the Tide on the sidelines and thus became Alabama fan. Since the two teams played in different divisions and seldom paly each other, I never really have had to the face the fact of whom I would have to root for. But tonight is one of those nights, “Can you say conflicted?” Who am I rooting for? I’ll let you know after the game! A small Hint – It just may be who my Granny Landers will be rooting for from heaven.

I closed the year out with my annual trip to Mesa, AZ to visit family for Christmas and on one of my free days I took a trip up on the back roads from I-17 and north through Bumble Bee, Az. It is one of those towns that you truly need to be lost to find it. The paved road turns into gravel and dust and you just pray that you do not get a flat tire. It is an extremely desolate route and a throwback to the day of stage coaches. Bumble Bee was once a flourishing town with a stage coach stop on the Phoenix-Prescott stage line. Established in 1863, the town was officially recognized after the Calvary was called in to the rid the area of “hostile indians” and a post office was established in 1879. Bumble Bee was “officially” open for business but unfortunately business never came and Bumble Bee became a ghost town with only a few residents remaining.

Bumble Bee is about 55 miles north of Phoenix and is situated in Horsethief Basin whose name was derived from a ranch in the area that was used by several notorious horse rustlers. The area is populated with Saguaro Cacti and surrounded by mountain ranges. You may go for a few miles without seeing anyone or on any given day you may see homesteaders, bicyclists and trail riders.

As you approach the town of Bumble Bee you get fair warning that you are about to enter the “heavily populated and very protected community”. There are no gas stations or convenient stores but what remains is a school that seconds as a church and a town hall, a few houses that may or may not be on wheels for a quick exit and a working guest ranch that hosts western adventures. I took notice of the number of mailboxes that had increased from my previous visits. Was the town actually growing?

Bumble Bee is a “road tripp’n” adventure that fills your fancy for the wild wild west. You might even want to participate in a few cowboy activities that are taking place at the Bumble Bee Ranch Adventures. Just call a head cause you do not want to end up on the wrong side of the street.