Saturday, 16 February 2008

A Quiet and Beautiful Day

Today was a wind down kind of day. The day started off cloudy but by noon the sun had come out and all traces of yesterday's rain gone except for a few puddles here and there.

I walked, I ran and didn't do much else except read and surf.

This afternoon I made another pot of stew so dinners are looked after for the next couple of days. While it was simmering away, I went for a walk in the desert around 5 p.m. I met a couple from Susanville, CA who hadn't walked in the desert before so were asking if there was anything they should be afraid of. I told them at this time of year probably the most dangerous was the teddy bear cholla. While out we saw this cute little jackrabbit. (on the right). We walked together for a while then I went farther into the desert while they took another route that I pointed out to them back to the RV park.

I was out for about 45 minutes in the golden light of sunset. Note the snow on the top of the mountain in the distance.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Rain .... and Dinner by Ellie & Jim

I was greeted this morning with sounds of pouring rain on the roof. Welcome to Tucson 2007-8! So, no walk this morning. Instead after breakfast we got ready and went out to Walmart. Gordon needed some DVDs and I needed a few things. I decided not to get my full grocery order today. Just didn't feel like it!

Just before we left I thought I saw Doug and JoAnn (parents of Fillmore the standard poodle) drive by so we stopped by to say "Hi" on our way out to Walmart.

On our way back both tops of Cats Mountain and Golden Gate Mountain were in cloud so we stopped to take photos.

Then back to the RV for a nap, reading and to get ready for a night out with our fellow RVers.

Ellie & Jim had invited eight of us for dinner that they were preparing and serving at the campground's clubhouse for 5 p.m. Jim was at the door of the clubhouse to greet us as Ellie was cooking at her RV. JoAnn & Doug, Laurie & Odel & Gordon & I all got together at the clubhouse around 5 p.m., then Jim picked up Ellie and the food and it was time to eat! Ellie spent a lot of time and work on the meal and it was delicious. Here's a photo of all of us filling our faces around the table.

She even went to Wild Oats and bought 2 different breads for Gordon and a carrot cake!

Laurie & Odel had brought their computer with photos of the places in Mexico that Jim, Ellie, Doug, JoAnn and Fred & Jo Wishnie are going on Sunday and she did a little slide show. They will have a great time!

It managed to rain quite hard most of the day today and our high got to 44F (7C), hopefully we'll have a better day tomorrow!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

When I got up at 7:00 a.m. it was already 55F (13C). I managed to do a couple of short runs this morning but I wasn't out long since we were leaving for Tucson this morning.

Just as we were leaving Hickiwan Trails RV Park, the manager came around and was giving each person a chocolate cupcake with a Hershey's kiss on top and each of the ladies a carnation for Valentine's Day. What a nice gesture! Since Gordon can't eat cupcakes, I got two!

We packed up and pulled out of Hickiwan Trails RV Park just before 10:00 a.m. after stopping at the convenience store to get ice to put down the toilet to hopefully get our readout panel working again. The drive was uneventful although we did have a crosswind. It was windy at Why last night but not bad this morning until we reached Justin's Diamond J around noon. The wind here seemed like gale force. Forget trying to wear a hat! We got set up except for the TV by about 1:30 p.m. It was too windy to set it up. It's touchy at the best of times.

Here's our site:

Here's part of our row. You can pick out our Titanium.

I missed this view while we were gone!

Doc Justin had told me when we were here in December that when we came back our price for the month would be $427 inclusive of taxes. When we arrived his wife, Christine, knocked $10 off that so $13.40/day (30 days) and no electric bill this time! Considering our expenses are already high this month due to truck service on the 1st, this will help! It's great to be back in Tucson!

After we got set up I walked over to see Ellie & Jim & the puppies and chatted with them for a while.

Then I came back and Gordon had to repoint the TV satellite as the wind had knocked it out. While I was out I found out that Nick & Nellie are here. They are the couple that had us over for drinks and food just before Christmas. They are leaving tomorrow so we walked across the golf course are to see them for a few minutes.

I was sitting here in the recliner on the computer and I could feel the desert calling to me so out we went for a walk, wind or no wind! Gordon took a couple of photos of me beside an old saguaro, probably 75-80 yrs old and a young one, probably 25-30 yrs old.

It was great to be back amongst all the cactus. It looked like there was going to be a nice sunset tonight so Gordon took off into the desert. I only went out a little way but got a nice photo.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Just A Regular Day and Dinner Out!

Today is the day before we leave to head back to Tucson. I called Doc Justin's Diamond J RV Park this morning and left a message that we'll be arriving tomorrow and to save us a mountain view spot or desert view as second choice. Our plan is to be there for a month.

The day started out bright and sunny but shortly after lunch it clouded up. We may have some rain for our trip tomorrow. Gordon was hoping for some dramatic skies for photography but unfortunately, it's just cloudy!

After walking this morning and breakfast and such I cleaned out my books taking a few up to the library in the laundry room. Of course I couldn't come away empty-handed. Anyway from checking out my book supply it doesn't look like I'll run out of reading material any time soon. I've also put together a bag of books for the library at Justin's Diamond J in Tucson. I have magazines for them too. While I was sorting books, I also looked through my cookbooks. I don't use them too often and I was thinking that I should look at them and try something new. I used to use them far more often in the sticks and bricks house.

The flowers are starting to come out in the desert. The bush below has little red flowers just starting. The next one has white flowers and of course the bottom one has yellow flowers. It's so nice to see them!

I also put a recipe on the site for the rv-dreams cookbook that Linda and Howard of are planning for their first rally in Branson, MO in June this year. We won't be able to attend as we have to be in Canada for six months. I've now contributed two recipes and I'm allowed another one. Too bad that most of my recipes are usually in my head and not necessarily measured ingredients. For those of you that have never visited their site, there's a wealth of information there as well as a forum and a chatroom. They also post budgets and financials, recipes and items that they have for sale in their on the road businesses including Linda's jewelry and hummingbird feeders.

This evening we set out for Ajo stopping at the Ajo Scenic Loop to take some sunset photos. We finally got some clouds today.

Then we got our fuel for tomorrow's trip and arrived at the restuarant, Marcela's Cafe & Bakery. We had enchiladas, his beef, mine chicken. They were mediocre at best. Oh well, at least I didn't have to cook! Lots of noisy young men in the restaurant tonight! Here we are at the restaurant.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Checking out Boondocking

This morning was about 5 degrees cooler than yesterday. You can sure tell the difference! But it was still sunny and clear. I walked out in the desert then back and over to the casino (photo below) where I took a photo from the front. It's the part sticking up on the roof that you can see from the desert to orient yourself.

This pretty little flower was growing out of the pavement beside the casino.

I spent the rest of the morning on the internet and reading.

This afternoon we had made arrangements with Al and Kelly of The Bayfield Bunch to go out and visit them in their boondocking site just outside of Why. Al met us at the road on Hwy 85 and took us in to where they are parked. They just got 2-125w solar panels installed this year in California with an inverter, extra batteries and a new propane heater so they're well set up for boondocking. We had a nice chat with them for a couple of hours and met their canine population, Max, Checkers and Cora. Cora is a little sweetie. I wanted to bring her home with me. Unfortunately I didn't get photos of the other dogs. Max hurt his leg so he was in his bed and Checkers was outside watching the world go by.

Al, Kelly & Cora in front of their motorhome with their internet/TV satellite dish. We got ours at the same place in Lindsay, Ontario.

This is Cora AKA Motormouse. Isn't she a cutie!

We came home then and Gordon cooked a couple of chicken breasts for dinner while it was still light out.

Then we headed east on the Ajo Highway. Usually when we stop somewhere we kick ourselves for not continuing on to see what's there but this time we weren't missing anything so we went back to Ajo and drove the Ajo Scenic Loop again. We stopped to take some photos of some of the buildings in Ajo. They have some really pretty churches, the prettiest being the Catholic church.

The Catholic Church.

This is a view of Ajo coming from the Ajo Scenic Loop

We found this very strange looking house driving around Ajo tonight.

This guy was riding his horse through Ajo, not something you see every day (or at all) where we come from.

We then drove around looking for a Mexican restaurant to go out for dinner tomorrow night and found Marcela's Bakery & Cafe. There's not a lot of choice in Ajo!

Then back home for dinner and to spend our evening watching TV and doing computer stuff.

Monday, 11 February 2008

General Stuff & Alamo Canyon Drive

What a glorious morning. It was already 48F (9C) when I started out into the desert. Instead of my usual 30 minutes I was gone for at least 50 minutes. I started out on the ATV trail and when it ended set out toward the foothills of the mountains. I came across fresh burro tracks and droppings and could even smell them however still couldn't see them. I decided I had walked far enough and started back. I did get slightly off track however it's not possible to get lost here as I know the sun rises behind our RV and if you get to a high spot you can see the top of the Golden Ha:san Casino which is right next to the RV park. Sometimes with all the palo verde trees around you can't see the RV park though. There is also both highways (85 & 86) which can be heard quite easily as they are quite busy.

After breakfast I sat outside in the sun for a while under my canopied chair, read my book and worked on a word puzzle. The sun down here is so bright it's hard to look at! I had my lunch outside having moved into the shade on the patio and had a walk around the RV park picking up a couple of books from the library in the laundry room. I must remember to take some down there to replenish the small stock they have.

This afternoon we needed to go out to get propane. We stopped at both stations in Why. No propane so we went into Ajo and Gordon dropped me at Olesen's IGA which is the only supermarket in the area. Surprisingly their prices were pretty good and they had quite a good selection of meats and vegetables. I got my groceries, Gordon got the propane at the local Shell station. They do, however, gouge you for propane. We paid as much here as we did last year in Canada although I have no doubt our prices will have gone up by the time we get back.

On the way back to the campground we stopped in to the Casino. As I've said before all they have are slots are they all appear to be 2 cent slots. Not big time spenders here! Their 'restaurant' is a counter with a few items, none of which Gordon could eat but they do have tables! I'm thinking we should eat out one night but I think we'll have to go in to Ajo. The only restaurant in Why only serves breakfast and lunch.

Late this afternoon we headed into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to do the Alamo Canyon Drive. The road was again a dirt road but in much better condition than the one yesterday. We drove to the Ajo Mountains and took lots of photos. The Ajos are actually quite beautiful and the red rocks reminded me of Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. We spent about an hour there. Photo to the right is a teddy bear cholla I saw this afternoon. Looks all soft and fuzzy, doesn't it?

I had made a gluten-free macaroni salad for dinner and we had it with hot dogs. Good hot weather food. Our high today was 77F (25C), no humidity and bright sunny skies all day!

Part of the Ajo Mountain Range.

More of the Ajo Range with the organ pipe cactus in the foreground.

An organ pipe cactus long past its prime

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Ajo Mountain Loop and .......Lukeville?

This morning I set off across the desert instead of on a trail. The desert here doesn't have as many rocks as in Mesa and Tucson. It also doesn't have many cactus till you get closer to the mountain and barrell or cholla cactus are rare finds. The vegetation is mostly mesquite bushes and as you get closer to the mountain there are some saguaro and even some organ pipe near the foothills. As I walked I saw a lot of horse footprints as well as donkey footprints and droppings. There are some wild donkeys around and they apparently sometimes come into the campground although we haven't seen them yet.

After breakfast I vacuumed (without stepping on the vacuum hose again) and washed the floors. That's my housework done for today!

Gordon went out to the Ajo Scenic loop for sunrise and his photo for today can be seen by clicking here.

I saw this morning that the website for Hickiwan Trails is now up and accessible. One thing the site definitely needs is directions. It's fairly easy to find as it's at mile post 54 1/2 if you're coming from Gila Bend on Hwy 86. Take the Goldon Ha San casino entrance. It's behind and to the right of the casino.

It looks like our week here until Thursday will be sunny and warm with some possible rain forecast for Thursday. If that's the case we will be staying here longer as Gordon wants to get some photos with some cloud in the sky. Lucky I hadn't called Doc at Justin's Diamond J RV Park in Tucson yet to tell him we were coming on Thursday! As I've said before, our plans are written in jello!

We had an early lunch and set out for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We stopped at the Visitor Center and then drove around the campground. It's a really nice campground with concrete pads but no hookups! Go figure. Why put in concrete pads and no hookups.

This sick saguaro was at the Visitor Center. According to the ranger, the downturned arms on a saguaro is caused by stress possibly from weather. They can recover however and the arms will then turn upwards again.

We started out on the Ajo Mountain Loop at about 1:30 p.m. It's a very scenic drive however the road is less than wonderful and it's one way once you're on the loop so once you've committed yourself, there's no turning back. We spent three hours on the loop taking lots of photos. I thought there would be a lot more people there since it was Sunday and although we did see some other vehicles there weren't that many to interfere with us stopping on the road to take photos.

This is the road through the Ajo mountains.

This little bird posed for me at one of the picnic areas on the Loop road.

There aren't many arches in the area but they do have this one!

The desert floor is really green because of all the rain they've had and the Mexican poppies are out in abundance.

There are lots of saguaro in the monument as well as organ pipe cactus.

If anyone is going to do the loop, be sure to take lots of water! We didn't have much and even with driving you get thirsty in the desert. It was 79F (26C) today, just a beautiful day with a slight breeze.

We stopped at the Visitor Center and filled up our water bottles and then proceeded south to Lukeville which is on the Mexican border. There is an RV park there where we were originally going to stay until we found out it had closed. The park itself is still open in that you can drive in. It's a huge, very nice looking park. Too bad it's not in operation any more. It's called Los Gringos RV Park. There were orange trees and lots of palm trees around. (I didn't take any photos in Lukeville.)

From there we headed back home again. It was a long drive and the first day in ages that we've turned on the air conditioner in the truck and I've actually sweat!