Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Desert Beauty

Although we actually left Mesa a week ago on our summer travels, I wanted to post some pictures of the desert at its best.  As a former Easterner, I had imagined the desert southwest to look like the Sahara.  The reality is quite different, especially in the spring when the cacti bloom.

On our block, we have a saguaro that is always one of the first of its kind to put on its beautiful, if inaccessible, show.  We can count on it to bloom by the end of March while the ones out in the wild are at least a month later.

A few years ago, I carried a ladder down the street and got a closeup of one of the flowers on a slightly shorter saguaro.

One day, we took a hike with Diana and John and Carol and admired all the cactus flowers along the way.



My favorite cactus is one I found in our neighborhood which I thought was a night bloomer because, for days, it looked like this.

But one day it burst into a 7-inch gorgeous flower which opened for three days.

And for those of you who think it never rains in the desert, well, it might not happen often, but it does.

Funny story - We finally decided that we really didn't need two cars and decided to sell our Saturn.  It had a few minor problems, but ran well.  I posted it on Craigslist on a Saturday afternoon.

Within a few minutes, Ron was getting so many phone calls he couldn't keep up.  And texts!  He had six in 13 minutes, which he just ignored because he was on the phone.  The first person who came bought it and he seemed very happy.  Humm, maybe we should have asked for more.  LOL

So where are we now?  That's for the next post.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Special Visitors

I know I haven't posted in awhile (okay, a long while), but that's pretty typical for our winters in Mesa.  We have taken some hikes and Ron has had some projects, but I'm not posting on them.  We've also had lots of fun company and I can't resist posting pictures from when Ron's daughter Kelli came with her family.

Here she is with husband Sean, 4-year-old Harper (where does the time go?), and 1 1/2-year-old Elsie.

We did so many fun things, like swimming in the community pool,

And hitting the local playground.

Harper picked a lemon right off the tree for lemonade.

And helped Grandpa pick oranges.

While Elsie played on the car we borrowed from our neighborhood Help Services for their visit.  (We also got a high chair, Big Wheel for Harper, and a play pen for Elsie to sleep in.)

Grandpa buried some quarters in the yard and showed Harper how to use the metal detector to find them.


I don't know how much he liked the process, but he sure appreciated the quarters!

We went to Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction where Harper and Grandpa spent time in jail.

I just had to laugh when Harper kicked the tire on this old truck.

We rode the train.


And watched a shootout on Main Street.

Hum, not sure how much Harper liked that.

We also went to Organ Stop Pizza which Elsie seemed to really enjoy as she bopped along with the music.

But I think Harper's favorite thing was finally getting to sleep in the RV.  One of the reasons we bought this particular house was because we can store it in our yard.  Harper and one of his parents stayed out there two nights while they were here.  He was very excited.

It's hard to get them to sit still, but I did manage to get one picture of Grandpa Ron with Elsie and Harper.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

'Q'

Once again, we packed up the RV and trekked to Quartzsite, Arizona, for the RV Show, Sell-a-Rama, and Rock and Gem annual events.  For such a tiny town, they certainly have a lot going on.

We parked closer to town this year in an area which the campground host called South Dome Rock.  Funny how they refer to the check-in personnel as campground hosts since there's no campground - just spots in the desert.  Here is our lovely home for two weeks.  Later on we had neighbors but they weren't too close.

I'm glad we weren't near these people - just look at the trailer full of wood!

All of which they used building their massive fires.  Those are whole logs in there!

We made many trips to town to check out the RV show,

Good places to eat,

And, my favorite, the grocery tent filled with barely expired food.

But Ron has a new interest this year.  Quartzsite is the site of lots and lots of quartz, hence the clever name.


And where there's quartz, there could be gold!  Ron had recently joined a prospecting club near our home in Mesa which has some claims around Quartzsite.

First he broke out the metal detector,

Then the gold pans,

Then he bought a sluice and, with the addition of a small pump and some parts, created a system that recirculates the water for desert usage.

Pretty ingenious, huh?  So far he hasn't found any gold, but it does keep him off the streets.  ;-D

And what's a post about Quartzsite without a sunset picture?  They sure have some amazing ones.


Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year in Review

Although we have done a few hikes and Ron has so many projects he had to make a list, winter is my downtime for blogging.  However, I do want to post my 2015 year-in-review, using pictures from the calendar I always create.  If there's too big of a gap, I might add a picture or two.

Before we left Mesa in early April, I took a late afternoon picture of the Superstition Mountains just to the east of our metropolitan area..

Our plan was to slowly make our way up the west coast beginning in San Diego.  We explored several of the Spanish missions, including the beautifully restored  San Luis de Francia.

I'm always distracted by the flora and fauna.

The famous town of Capistrano had pretty water lilies, but no swallows.

We spent two months hugging the coast on our way through California, enjoying the spectacular views of places like Crescent Bay,

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park,

And the gorgeous coastline of Big Sur.

We paid the $10 fee to drive the private road through swanky Pebble Beach and saw the iconic Lone Cypress.  At over 250 years old, it's barely hanging on.

The West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz was pretty.

Eventually, the coastal route 1 turns inland to US 101 where the redwoods are the splendid attraction.

Although we spent a month driving up the coast of Oregon, my next calendar picture is two months later in Washington, so I'll have to add a couple.

We had quite a bit of fog along the Oregon coast, but we saw a lot of lighthouses.

And didn't see others.

And enjoyed seeing all the unique bridges including this one north of Coos Bay.

After three weeks along the Washington coast, we made it to the northwestern point in the continental United States, Cape Flattery.  Here we are with Karen, Ernie and Wanda who we met up with for several days.

(Alright, I guess little Tatoosh Island over our shoulders is really the northwestern point, but we refused to swim.)

Back to the calendar pictures.  When we left the coast, we headed inland to route 20 through the North Cascades National Park.  I've wanted to go this route for years and was really excited.  At first, it was everything I had imagined.  Mount Baker was splendid.

But then the smoke took over when Washington and Oregon were inundated with wildfires.  At that point, we hurried through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to Colorado where we visited with Ron's family in the Denver area.

On our way back to Arizona, we stopped in Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument where the campgrounds are right along the rim.

We arrived back in Mesa in late September, but weren't done traveling yet.  In early October, we flew to Pennsylvania to visit my father, then drove to the Catskill Mountains in New York.  We met up with Diana and Phil for some touring and sister time.  Here's Stone Arch Bridge, built in 1880.

That's it for 2015.  I hope you had fun following along on our travels.  See you in 2016!