Monday, February 28, 2022

Monday, February 28, 2022, AZ

What a nice weekend we have just had. On Saturday, we had plans to go to the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo here in AJ with Chaney, Lakin, and Nikkel. They picked us up and we headed to the fairgrounds, only to find that cars were parked along both sides of the road about a mile before even getting to the gate. Also, people were lined up at the entrance in another long, long line - out there in the hot sun along the dusty road.  We nixed the plan for the rodeo and headed to a gun store (they like to shoot at targets out in the desert) and then to The Trough for a very nice lunch.  It was lots of fun and good conversation.

Lakin, Nikkel, Tom and Chaney

As you can see in the photo, Lakin’s left arm is in a sling because he fractured it while snowboarding up in Flagstaff.  When we saw him two weeks ago, his left wrist was in a cast from a skateboarding fall and he had just gotten the cast off before the shoulder injury. He is a sweet guy.

Happy 73rd Birthday to Tom on Sunday.  We decided to head back to the fairgrounds to see what kind of food vendors were there and to have breakfast.  We chose Mean Maggie’s food truck and had a delicious egg, ham, and cheese wrap - a very good choice.  

There were not a lot of people around, so we checked out the various vendors and walked around the carnival - leaving just as traffic was starting to pick up.  

In chats with some of the vendors, we learned that the gates were closed at 3:00 pm and the people were packed in and shoulder to shoulder on the grounds.  We also heard that there were many angry people who came for the rodeo and weren’t allowed in. That just doesn’t sound like a fun experience.

We had a nice steak dinner to celebrate Tom’s birthday to top off the day.

Since today is my final full day here in Arizona, we decided that another desert walk was a good thing to do this morning.  We started on the Meridian Trail heading west, then went south on the County Line Trail, then took the Ruidoso Trail to the west and intersected with the Spillway Trail north until we intersected with the Meridian Trail again.  It was an enjoyable hike on a warm but breezy day - 3.5 miles in about 2 hours.

I love the looks of the Cholla forest, but wouldn’t risk a walk through it.

I thought this was a nice view of the trail and the Superstition Mountains off to the east.

The Desert Poppies are starting to bloom.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Friday, February 25, 2022, AZ

Winter came back to Apache Junction this week. It rained most of the day on Wednesday and never got warmer than 47° all day and the rain totals for the day were .4”.  This always amazed me as there were puddles in the road that were close to that deep but several hours of steady rain only yielded less an half an inch.  Yesterday, we saw the snow on the Superstitions while we were out walking. Even though the temps never got above 60° yesterday, the clouds lifted and the sun came out - making for a nice afternoon sitting outside on the patio and reading.

This afternoon, I met Arlene and Sharla at First Watch Restaurant at 1:00 and we spent 3 hours on the patio enjoying a nice meal and lots of great conversation, even though the restaurant closed at 2:00. There were still kitchen staff and cleanup staff on duty, nobody bothered us or asked us to leave.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tuesday, February 22, 2022, AZ

We decided that today would be a good day to go for a hike - neither of us wanted any steep climbs or seriously rocky terrain, as we are out of practice.  We drove north on Meridian Rd toward the Goldfield Mountains and parked the car in a lot at the end of the road. Our hike started out on the Pass Mountain Trail and we hiked west until we intersected with the Cat Peaks Trail in Usery Mountain Park, then headed south to the juncture with the Meridian Trail and back east to Meridian Road. We then had a quarter mile jaunt on the roadside back to where the truck was parked. It ended up being a 3.3 mile hike - a little more than intended with a bit of climbing and a few rocky areas, but we both did just fine.

This giant Saguaro marked the beginning of our hike.

Of course I had to take pictures of the desert flora along the way. There is not a lot in bloom but there was evidence of new growth from the recent rains and it seemed like there was a lot of green out there.  The day was partly cloudy and when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, the Cholla just sparkled.  We stopped and chatted with a man from South Dakota for a while - he told us of the trouble he had in finding a place to park his rig this winter.

Lovely Desert Flowers

Monday, February 21, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022, AZ, CA (for about 20 minutes)

Yesterday, after a fairly early rise and a continental breakfast at the hotel, we set off for a walk. We drove to a neighborhood that looked like a good spot to walk along the river on the map but turned out to be a private community. Back to the hotel, we headed out from there. There is not much to offer in Parker, so the streets were basically lined with construction type businesses until we got back to the main road that goes through the town and crosses the river into California.  

Between checkout and the time that we were meeting up with Tom’s sister Geri, we took a little drive to Big River to see if we could find the house that his parents lived in way back when. No luck, as it had been too long since he was there and he had only visited them a few times.  

Geri drove up from Blythe and met us at the Crossroads Cafe and we had a very nice visit with her and a tasty breakfast. It is the only full service restaurant in town and we had a bit of a wait that was worth it. 

Neither of us had ever been in Quartzite, although we have both driven through there many times, so we decided to take that route home and stop at the flea market - one of their claims to fame.  The other is the BLM land where RV people squat (boondock) in the desert during the winter months as a permit can be purchased for only about $90 for the entire year.  We walked out without buying anything and made it back ‘home’ to AJ by about 6:00pm. It was a very nice getaway.

This is a typical scene on our morning walks through the neighborhoods of AJ.

We finished our sign project today and we’re both quite happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Saturday, February 19, 2022, AZ

Road trip day! We are off to Parker, AZ - a 4-hour drive to the west where we will check out the Desert Bar - a local landmark since 1983 that is on property that was once a copper mine.  About 5 miles outside of Parker, a 5-mile drive on a rough and crusty desert dirt road through the Buckskin Mountain range takes you to a solar powered oasis that is the Desert Bar. From the parking lot, you walk past a church building constructed of all steel, then through a steel covered bridge that leads to a sprawling grounds filled with areas to purchase food and drinks, patios to sit and eat, the Nellie E Saloon, and a lower level stage where bands play music on weekends. Speaking of weekends, the place is only open October through April and only on Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. Most of the structures are built of concrete and steel.

We waited in a long line for an hour to get burgers that were ok - nothing spectacular - that cost $32 for 2 burgers and an order of onion rings.  Oh well, we were there for the experience - had a couple of beers and listened to a very lively and good band before heading to the Best Western for the night.

The route to Parker and the road to the Desert Bar

The grounds of the Desert Bar

Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday, February 18, 2022, AZ

We have both been working on a wooden name sign that includes both of our names.  When completed, it will hang on the front of the trailer. If you are familiar with RV parks, many have a sign that shows names and where they are from.  Tom had searched for vendors in the area and wasn’t able to find any, so I decided to come up with a design. I searched for examples of fonts and drew up a few designs and we finally settled on a design that mimics the decal on the trailer. I drew it up and traced it on the board and Tom has been working on highlighting the letter with a wood burning tool. It’s looking great and will be posted in a day or two when it is finished.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022, AZ

We went on a really nice desert walk this morning, the first since I arrived. My Fitbit tells me that I walked 8,989 steps on a 3.6 mile walk (just under a mile to get to the trail).  Dang, it felt good!

The Superstition Mountains to the East.

Four Peaks to the Northeast

The path we walked through the desert.

A Very Large Saguaro That Fell Recently

Monday, February 14, 2022

Monday, February 14, 2022, AZ

The mobile home park across the street from us had their patio sales on Saturday, so we stopped there on our morning walk. Afterwards, we walked along the residential streets in hopes of getting a mile or so in. Well, clutzy me hit an elevated rough spot on the blacktop and went tumbling down, catching myself with the right knee, elbow, and palm. Of course, I got road rash and tore my jeans and had to turn around and go back home.  No other injuries, so I’m happy about that but it messed me up for the day.

I heard this week that my classmate, Steve Sproul passed away on the 9th.  Too bad - he was a good guy and I feel bad for his wife and family.  Rest In Peace, Steve.

Happy Valentines Day!  I spotted this heart shaped scar on a walk around Shiprock RV Park a few years back.  Today, the tree has grown enough that the scar is no longer heart shaped.

I got a Valentine’s Day wish from Ben by phone this morning and a sweet card from Tom. We will have a nice steak dinner tonight.

Yesterday, after coffee, we walked to the gas station to get a newspaper and spent the day relaxing and reading until we got ready to go to Chaney’s house for the Super Bowl game. Neither of us were actually interested in the game, but the food and company were great. It was nice to see Chaney, Nikkel, and Lakin and to meet some of their friends.  Chaney smoked ribs and chicken wings and we had lots of other goodies too.  We headed back home about half time (probably the worst half time show I have ever seen). It was great to see Tom’s family again!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday, February 11, 2022, AZ

This week is going way too fast. Daily temperatures have eased up to the 80s and it feels like summertime.  Tom had an appointment on Wednesday, so I had him drop me off for a visit with Arlene and it was so nice to see her again.  She has aged and her vision is even worse since I last saw her, but is still sharp mentally and witty as can be. We sat out in their lovely back yard talking and talking and watching the birds flit around.  I was excited to see the Gambel Quail, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher and even a couple of hummingbirds in their beautiful back yard sanctuary, but I was unable to get a decent photo. Sharla joined us for a while but wanted to leave us to catch up and then when Tom got there to pick me up, we all talked for a while.  I have always said that it is so sad that Arlene lost her sight to Macular Degeneration, as it has grounded her and she would be such a fun person to travel with and have adventures.

Yesterday was busy from morning to night, starting with the monthly resident’s meeting at the clubhouse with free coffee and donuts provided by the managers. It was an informative meeting and I was able to see some of the folks I had met on previous stays here.  There are two upcoming events that we thought we would go to - Chili Cookoff and Valentine’s Dinner and Dance, but we forgot to sign up immediately after the meeting and they had already taken the signup sheets down when we got there about a half hour later.  

After our walk, I headed out to Monica’s house. She lives in Peoria which is almost 50 miles away and an hour’s drive. We both had tears in our eyes when we saw each other and her 3-month old son, Logan is as precious as a baby can be.  He has recently started to smile, have eye contact, and coo.  We were joined by Nan, Dale, and Karen (Monica’s Grandma) - had some lunch while Logan napped and then Nan and Dale left to run errands.  I held and fed Logan and had a wonderful visit with Monica and we were joined by Loren when he got off work.  Monica and Loren will be wonderful parents and Logan will have a good life filled with love.

Four Generations of the Marsh Family

I left there by 3:00, hoping to avoid some of the rush hour traffic but it took me an additional half-hour to get back to Apache Junction with a few backups along the way.  Tom and I had dinner at Panda Express - it as fresh but flavorless.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Monday, February 7, 2022, AZ

It has been a nice few days with decent walks and the days getting warmer.  We did some shopping on Saturday, as Tom has a couple of projects that he would like my help on.  First is to recover the leather-like material on the frame of the dinette.  Hobby Lobby had just the material for it and after many calculations, we figured out how much we would need and purchased that and some fasteners to anchor it.  We started that project yesterday and worked for a couple of hours out on the patio and got one section done.  It sure looks nice!

We took a nice, long walk through the neighborhood this morning and came across this great driftwood sculpture. It took some talent to put it together.

Later in the afternoon, we met up with Tom’s friends and former co-workers at Garcia’s for a tasty Mexican meal and it was nice to see them all again.  

Friday, February 4, 2022

Friday, February 4, 2022, AZ

It has been a very pleasant week, although we have had cool winter temps that haven’t even reached 60°, it has felt good to get outdoors for walks with a little bundling and to see the sunshine and views of the surrounding mountains.  Tom had some appointments on Wednesday and I even sat on the patio with my back to the wind and enjoyed the sunshine. As soon as it starts to set, it cools off quickly and we have to close up and try to trap the heat. Tom and I have fallen right into our ‘together’ patterns and have found much to talk about.  

The beautiful Superstition Mountains

Flowering JacarandaTree on Patio at Shiprock RV Resort

Pat and Roger had some appointments in Mesa (they are in Casa Grande for the winter) yesterday, so we met up at JJ Madison’s for dinner and my dear friend Connie joined us there.  We had a very happy and enjoyable reunion with great hugs, lots of laughs and good conversation. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Monday, January 31, 2022, enroute to AZ

I spent the weekend at Ben’s house with Yoshi, as they decided to go to Lutsen for a weekend of skiing - the girls had no school on Friday and Ben and Jill had the day off.  Unfortunately, my apartment complex doesn’t allow guest dogs or I would have had Yoshi at my apartment.  It’s not really a problem, as I had the big house all to myself and I’ve spent enough time there that it feels like home. I took advantage of the time and did some of my heavy laundry like bedding and blankets.  

I managed to get all of my errands taken care of so I was ready to travel today.  I’ve been dreading this day, only because I’m not really fond of air travel but the day has been calm, I was able to take a short nap, and all of my travel experiences have been good.  Serge the Uber driver arrived at exactly the scheduled time, my checkin at the airport was fast and efficient, getting through security went smoothly, my flight was on time, and the pilot just said that it was perfect weather for travel and we would arrive in Phoenix about 15 minutes early. Yes…I’m typing this while flying through the air at 38,000 feet.  Unreal! 

We actually arrived about 40 minutes early. When I texted Tom to say that we had landed, he was just walking out the door for the 30 minute drive and it took me that long to get my checked bag and to take the short ride on the sky train to the 44th Street Light Rail Station. I no longer texted him that I had arrived there and he turned the corner to pick me up.  It’s so nice to see him again! We were talking so much that he missed the exit off the freeway.