Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11 - 17, 2016, AZ

Monday, April 11.  In celebration of my friend, Jan's birthday and a "time to get out of Dodge" feeling, Connie, Jan, and I took off this morning on a road trip to Wickenburg, a true western town.  On the road, we saw a sign telling us that the road was going to be closed due to an event, and while paying our admission at the Desert Caballero Museum of the West, we learned that over one hundred caballero's (Cowboys) would be riding through town on the 67th annual Desert Caballeros Ride - the last point-to-point ride of its nature in the country, the men spend five days riding incredible mountain and desert trails and camping out.  We found a table at an outdoor cafe, ordered Bloody Mary's, toasted Jan's birthday, and watched lots of cowboys ride past us on their way to their adventure.

The reason we went to Wickenburg was to see the Cowgirl Up exhibit - art from the other half of the west - the women artists.  I really liked the sculptures, but also enjoyed seeing the varied talents of many great painters.  The permanent gallery had some paintings by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin, gorgeous sculptures, a historic town and lots of other interesting things to see.

After a nice lunch, we took the short drive to Yarnell where Connie had heard years ago that there was a shrine that she should see.  We found it - the Shrine of St Joseph of the Mountains.  This quote taken from the description of their website. "The Shrine starts at the foot of St. Joseph, the patron saint of Happy Homes. The statue depicts Joseph returning home from his work. Still carrying some of his tools, he has lifted the Holy Child into his arms. Through his fine example of faithfulness and devotion to those in his care as head of the Holy Family in Nazareth, St. Joseph is the perfect model for all parents. The Shrine stands as an appeal to all people to promote spiritual peace, harmony and love in their own homes. Beyond the statue of St. Joseph, a beautiful rustic path beckons you to walk with Jesus through His last days on earth."

Wednesday, April 13.  What a pleasant day - I just sat down for a breather and it is 3:00.  I walked with Frisco 1.5 times around the community this morning and stopped to chat with Connie before heading have me.  She reminded me that we were going to walk with Rosemary this morning on the nature paths by Dreamland Villa, so I hurried he me, had a quick breakfast, and headed out to pick them up.

Our walk was very pleasant, Rosemary was thrilled to learn about the place - she has lived here for years and didn't know it even existed.  We saw a few critter, a squirrel - that was a surprise, 2 different kinds of lizards, and lots of birds.  Many of the cactus are in bloom right now, so I put some photos together in a collage.  Note the heart shaped Prickly Pear - a reminder that Mike is with me wherever I go.


So when we got back home, Rosemary, who is an artist, invited us to see her gallery and then she offered us each a painting to take with us.  I chose an abstract oil painting and Connie chose a watercolor. And then we both purchased a watercolor - the one that I chose was one that I had my eye on at our craft sale last November, but talked myself out of it because I didn't need to spend the money.  Now that I have come to know Rosemary better, I could justify the spending and will cherish them both and remember her when I see them.

And then, I did laundry and made a Costco run to stock up for myself, Arlene, and also the clubhouse - $182 worth - glad it's not all mine.  Getting ready for a weekend of camping at Usery Mountain.

Friday, April 15.  Camping weekend, yay!  We had high winds all day, but for the most part, it made it very comfortable.  I got to the Usery Park campground and got settled right in - only 3 attempts to back in this time.  Jan and Jim showed up a little later and had to change sites - the way it was set up, the connections wouldn't work.  We were waiting for Chuck and Kathy to show up so we could celebrate her birthday but unfortunately, Chuck wasn't feeling well and they never did make it.  Chuck recently had a tumor removed from the top of his head and is facing a long summer of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  We are all praying that our dear friend comes out of this all right.

What a view!

The winds were gusting, sometimes at 40-50 mph.  Jan and I sat out for a while but it just got to be too much, so we ate our dinner and spent the evening indoors - not what we came here for.  The stew recipe I used was one of those "never again" ones - most of the Martha Stewart recipes I've housed have been keepers.  Jeannie came out after work and we sat around and played Pass the Pigs after dinner, retired for a cool night of sleep.

Before I turned in for the night, I sat and enjoyed the stars and the view of a distant campfire up near the top of Usery Mountain, I think probably at Wind Cave.  Those folks had a gorgeous view of the lights of the valley.

Saturday, April 16.  We're still here - the wind didn't carry us away.  The night was cool and very comfortable sleeping and I probably got the best nights sleep that I've had in a while.  Might have had something to do with the nightcap, though.

I walked with Frisco before I even had coffee this morning, it was so nice out.  Connie showed up and we had breakfast with Jan, Jim, and Jeannie. Jody and Montana (Jim and Jans daughter) came out and hung out and played some word rummy and when they left, we played 500 rummy.  The combination of Bloody Mary's, sun, wind, and the concrete picnic table forced us all into some much needed quiet and R and R time.

Connie, Me, Jan, Montana, Jeannie, and Jody - poor Jim was stuck with all of us women - again.

Some of Jeannie's friends, out for an afternoon motorcycle ride, stopped by for a short visit and a beer.  Jan's dinner of chili with cheese, sour cream, and Fritos was delicious and really hit the spot.  A campfire kept us up until about 9:00 and then it was time to retire for the night.

Sunday, April 17.  Connie made us all breakfast burritos this morning. Food tastes so good when you are camping.  She and Jeannie went to the shooting range and Jan and I took a walk and then 
went to the gift shop.  I wanted to see if they had any of the cute little girl's ball caps like the one that I bought for Charlotte ot year, all 3 girls like it and want to wear it.  Unfortunately, there were no girlie hats in stock.

It was a quiet afternoon and the McD's decided to leave this afternoon instead of staying another night.  Connie and I played cards and just relaxed, enjoying the birds and breezes.  The temps have been perfect this weekend, expected to increase over the next few days again.  We didn't even have dinner tonight, but a light snack in the evening.  I only got PBS channels on my TV, so that's what we watched.