Monday, April 28, 2014

A Fairwell Visit with Friends

Friday our good friends, Jim and Sandie, came to our RV park.  We had a nice visit and shared our plans for the summer and fall.  Funny, they are going to Virginia this summer and this is one summer we won’t be there.  But since they return to Billings, Montana, before leaving for the East or the fall, we may just be able to visit them up north during our fall travels before we head back down south.   Jim and I are both originally from Virginia.  Small world that we met Jim and Sandie 4 years ago on the coast of Washington state and also met a fellow Virginian! 

For lunch we made a return trip to Tom’s BBQ.  It really is the best that we like in the entire U.S.!  We usually get the pulled pork and It was just as good as always! So we gave goodbye hugs and waves as we all are heading out for more adventures. Sandie and I are both just super anxious to be on the road again and out exploring! Good times, good food and, great friends…what a life!


Illustration of an Pig making BBQ Royalty Free Stock Images Driving on long road Stock Images

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Short Drive to South Mountain Park, Phoenix, AZ

Yesterday was a sunny but hazy day and we decided to head out to South Mountain Park.  We had been there 2 years ago when we wintered in Mesa.  The views from the top give an excellent view of Phoenix and the surrounding valley.  South Mountain park is the largest city run park in the United States.  The road to the top winds around small mountains with some switchbacks.  The hillsides also had lots of cacti with blooms on them.  But these particular mountains consisted of mostly dark brown and black rocks.  They simply are not as pretty as the mountains in Tucson or up in the Superstition Mountains around Mesa and Apache Junction. 

valley pan 3

It was going to be 95 degrees so we thought it might be just a bit cooler on top of South Mountain. Wrong! It was STILL hot!  The heat also had the flies and gnats out in full force! You could hardly hold the camera without having to keep swatting the flies away from your face.  I guess they are attracted to all the blooming yellow bushes that are so abundant on the South Mountain hillsides and at the overlook.  The only place they would not bother us was inside the shade of the brick walled and covered viewing open air building.  We had snacks with us but had to eat them in the truck because the flies were so bad.  In the third picture, you can see the tall buildings of downtown Phoenix.  I also got Doug to pull into the horseback riding rental area so I could pet the horses!

  So Mtn Mesa, AZ 2014 005  So Mtn Mesa, AZ 2014 001

Mesa South Mtn 030  Mesa South Mtn 065

It was just a way for us to pass the time as we wait to leave Mesa and head further north.  Sine we were in that part of town, we stopped at the large outlet stores mall to get a walk in for some exercise.   At least it is nice and cool inside and every little bit of exercise helps!  That way we can have ice cream, which we both love!!!! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday 2014 in Mesa, AZ

What a pleasant Easter Sunday we spent here at our RV park.  The park had a pot luck dinner and they furnished the ham.  We took Doug’s famous potato salad and tuna fish.  We also took a blueberry pudding pie made from a recipe that was given to us in our park in Tucson when we had a gathering.  It was so good so thought we would make it.  It was a hit! Not a crumb was left!  No low fat, no fat, sugar-free, low calorie ingredients in that pie!!  We met some really nice people and enjoyed meeting and talking with pleasant company and eating good food.  We were stuffed! It was a very nice afternoon.  Need lots of walking to work off all those calories!
Easter Sunrise Three Crosses Royalty Free Stock Photo

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just Being Lazy in Mesa, AZ, as the Desert Heats Up!

chipmunk PE test moving images without chipmunk final

It is obvious that we are just killing time until it is warmer up North!  You can see that I am still playing around with new things I have learned about Photoshop Elements 12, and I  am like a kid with a new toy!  I think I need some mental help!  I get ideas and they become huge projects that consume me!  The latest project is scanning all my favorite stickers and scrapbook papers onto my computer, several hundred!  I learned how to make my own “cut-outs” so I never have to buy stickers and paper anymore! Doug is glad about that because I can even lighten our RV  load some more!  I do have lots of my craft supplies on MY side of the RV!!!  My grand daughter is going to LOVE all my extras! 

It is indeed warming up.  We have already had a few days in the upper 90s!  Now it is hanging around the mid 80s to the mid 90s.  HOt!! HOT!! HOT!! But at least we don’t have high humidity.  I would like a little bit cooler weather, but that will come as we head north.  We do get to see the Superstition Mountains in the distance as we drive around town.  

Superstition Mtns. Mesa, AZ 016 

The legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine centers around the Superstition Mountains. According to the legend, a German immigrant named Jacob Waitz discovered a mother lode in the Superstition Wilderness and revealed its location on his deathbed in Phoenix in 1891 to Julia Thomas, a boarding-house owner who had taken care of him for many years. Several mines have been claimed to be the actual mine that Waitz discovered, but none of those claims have been verified. Some Apaches believe that the hole leading down into the lower world, or hell, is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole are supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the metropolitan region.  There is also an Indian legend about a flood, similar to our Bible flood, sent to destroy the Indians because they were behaving so badly and only one good couple was saved.  People have been killed or lost going up into the Superstition Mountains looking for the old gold mine.  Lots of mysteries make the mountains seem a bit scary!     

We had lunch a week ago with some new friends, John and Lora, we met at the RV park in Tucson.  They were here in Mesa buying a more permanent lot and we took them to Tom’s BBQ.  Yep, any excuse for that delicious BBQ!  It was really nice getting to know them better and hope to see more of them this summer and fall because they are headed in the same direction to the northwest that we are.  Then a few days ago, we met up with our other good friends in Apache Junction.  Jim and Sandie have a permanent lot in an RV park, so we visited and then went to dinner.  What a nice couple!  We met them 4 years ago while traveling up the Pacific coast to Washington.  We even visited them again in their home town of Billings  Montana, plus going to a fair and rodeo with them.  Then saw them again back in Mesa 2 years ago.  Sandie is the sweet lady that helped convince me to do this blog.  She was so helpful with getting me started.  We have made some really nice friends in our travels and manage to keep in touch.  It is also nice to add new friends to our list.  It is like the old Girl Scout motto:  Make new friends, but keep the old, One is silver and the other gold. 

We hit the big Mesa Swap Meet. That was one of the things on my list while here.  It is HUGE and takes a few hours to roam up and down the isles.  It is all covered, so you are not out in that hot desert sun.  I managed to pick up a few things I was looking for.  It is also nice that there is usually a band or singer to entertain while you shop.  I think it is mostly for the husbands while the wife spends his money because it is mostly the guys you see sitting at the tables listening to the music!

So we are still walking in the big mall and buying fresh food, which is a treat.  The Superstition Ranch Market has great prices.  We can get strawberries at 3 pounds for $1,  I got huge red grapefruit last week at 3 for $1, cabbage is only 15 cents a pound, and the list goes on…  I will miss those prices when we leave!  And I am ready to leave!  We had things to take care of here in Mesa, and will be here a couple more weeks, but I am ready to move on get back into the ‘Explore’ mode.  We are making plans, checking campgrounds, and planning routes.  We have been north several times and we still find the beautiful scenery just amazing!  

Friday, April 4, 2014

On the Move for Spring, Summer and Fall of 2014

Off we go into the wild, wild, west again!  We left Tucson Tuesday morning and just took a short 2 hour jaunt a little north to Mesa, AZ.   We had a nice send off by getting together with our group of neighbors before everyone started leaving until next year.

Mesa is mostly made up of suburbs and is about 20 miles east of Phoenix and is the 3rd largest city in AZ.  Guess most people want to be in the city or close to it rather then way out there in the wide open desert by themselves! We are at the Desert Vista RV Resort and far enough away from Phoenix that we don’t get into all the traffic that is part of the reputation of Phoenix.   So we are settled in for the next month and it is going to be HOT!  Next week takes us into the mid 90s.  I am going to miss those few cool days we had.  We took the same route to Mesa from Tucson that we took 2 years ago when we spent the winter here.  Below, I took the same picture of the same mountain through the windshield 2 years ago!

Mesa, AZ April 2014 013 Mesa, AZ April 2014 020 overlay of site

The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000  years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means "All Used Up" or "The Departed Ones", built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet  wide and ten feet deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles across the desert. By A.D. 1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres, transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D. 1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.  Amazing! After the disappearance of the Hohokam and before the arrival of the early settlers little is known, as explorers did not venture into this area. By the late 19th century near present-day Mesa, U.S. Army troops subdued the Apache, opening the way for settlement.  There is a scenic drive called the Apache Trail and the loop takes several hours to drive but takes you through some beautiful countryside of cacti and mountains, and past some really pretty lakes.  There are also some ancient Indian ruins you can hike up to.  These pictures were from 2 years ago and I will add new ones because we want to take part of the drive again.

Roosevelt Dam bridge Roosevelt Dam drive 098

 Roosevelt Lake pancactus 11_edited-1

Our first order of business after parking and setting up was a trip to Tom’s BBQ! Some the best BBQ there is !  Yep, it was still delicious! So we spent the first few days driving around town to the doctor for prescriptions, made dental appointment, shopped and walked at the local big enclosed mall, oil change on the truck, craft store, 2nd small mall and book store, breakfast at a local cafĂ© we liked, credit union, called a good friend to get together with who spent the winter here, sports store, Sprouts grocery (great fresh veggies), and, last but not least, Wal-Mart!  Do you think we are trying to do everything all at once?!?  Yikes, what will we do the rest of the month!?  Will keep you posted…….