Sunday 30 December 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone from Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, AZl

First of all Happy Anniversary to my sister, Betty and brother-in-law, Garth! They were married 10 years ago today in St. Lucia. I'm sure they'll be living it up tonight in Toronto. Here's a photo that I took of them at the cottage in October.

My goal for this year had been to reach 10,000 hits by today on my blog. Since I only set up my blog counter in June of this year I was amazed that I got even close to 10,000 but to hit over 11,500! Thanks to all who have contributed to this and thanks for reading my blog. Just today I've had visitors from Brazil, India, France and Sweden as well as all over Canada and the U.S. I'm averaging over 80 hits a day.

I was up about 1/2 hour early this morning. The radio predicted that we'd reach 70F (21C) today and when I got up it was already 42F (6C) instead of the usual 30F (-1C) that it's been the last little while. We're not out of the cold spell yet however, more to come later this week along with some rain predicted.

Today hit a sunny high of 68F (20C). Late this morning we drove into Scottsdale to Whole Foods so I could get some flax cereal. For some reason the stores don't seem to have it here like they did in Tucson. Even Whole Foods didn't have the exact one I wanted. Our plan today had been to drive to McDowell Mountain Regional Park to check out their campground and see if we want to go there after we leave here on January 10th. I packed a picnic lunch for us.

We saw this house on our way to McDowell. I remember it from last time we were here. Just love it!
We arrived around noon, drove around one part of the campground then on to the visitor center where we were told there probably won't be a problem getting in on the 10th. None of the Regional Parks take reservations so you takes your chances. We drove to the end of the park and had our picnic lunch amid the palo verdes and cacti with a view of the mountains.

On our way to the picnic area we saw the devastation created by a fire in the park in 1995.

We then stopped at the other campground loop, decided we liked the first one better then set out for home unfortunately going in the wrong direction but did see this upscale neighborhood with nice landscaping along the road.

My computer had come along for the ride in case we needed GPS and when we came to the end of the paved roadway decided now was the time to get it out. We got back going the right way and drove home via the back way thinking this is the way we will come on the 10th when we bring the RV back to McDowell Mountain however Gordon hadn't remembered the steep roadway in one part of the Bush Highway so we might decide to go through the city instead.

This is Weaver's Needle as seen from the Bush Highway.

These are the Bulldog Cliffs also seen from the Bush Highway.

On our way back we stopped at one part of the Bush Highway where there's a cholla forest with the mountains in the background. We had stopped here when we were in Mesa two years ago.

Tonight we are staying at home. We've rarely been ones to go out on New Year's Eve. I'd had enough of that in a previous life to last me a lifetime! So it will be a quiet night at home. I usually stay up till midnight but at 10:00 p.m. it's midnight in the east so I can go to bed then having brought in the New Year in the east. Gordon usually goes to bed at his usual time. I expect I will spend another evening in the chatroom!

Shopping, a Visit and a Sunset Drive

Still at Usery Mountain Regional Park, AZ

Today I struck out on my own to get groceries and generally have a 'girlie' day. I stopped at a new market claiming to have organic produce. I wasn't overly impressed with it as I was looking for gluten free food and flax cereal, neither of which they had on to a couple of Dollar Stores looking for cases for Gordon's DVDs, no luck there but I did pick up some kitchen garbage bags. I also stopped at Big Lots but still no cases for DVDs. On to Walmart where I got groceries. I was gone about four hours, most of it walking time. I think my foot fared rather well today.

I caught some little quail running around the campground today. They run really fast!

The ocotillo is starting to get new leaves here in the campground.

Just as I got back and got the groceries put away, JoAnn and Doug stopped by for information and directions on getting to Justin's Diamond J RV Park at Tucson. I tried for a photo with Fillmore giving me a kiss but he wasn't having any of it. Here's what we did get.

We then proceeded to go out for a sunset drive. We drove up the Apache Trail to Lost Dutchman State Park and took this photo of the Superstition Mountains from there.

We continued on to Goldfield, a ghost town which has been revitalized and took some photos there including this photo of the Superstition Mountains at sunset.

The little house behind the big house (as my Father used to say).

The little trainOne of the shops with the Superstition Mountains in the background

Does this remind you of Petticoat Junction?

The Good News and the Bad News in the Old West

The Good News
Not So Good News

The Really Bad News

And so ends another lovely day here at Usery Mountain Regional Park.

Saturday 29 December 2007

Campground Searching and A Long Nap

From Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, AZ

Superstition Mountains at sunrise.

I had planned to leave early this morning to go and get groceries at Walmart. I was going to drive myself. I haven't been driving because it was my right foot that I sprained so this would be my first time out in over two weeks. However at the last minute, Gordon decided to go and we thought we'd go to Gold Canyon and check out some places to stay after we leave here on January 10th.

Our first stop was Canyon Vistas, a really perfect 55+ park, with perfect little sites a with a perfect little concrete patio. The landscaping was perfect, it had perfect little craft rooms and so forth and we can use Passport America for the first week. The people were all very friendly. I talked to a lady in the laundry room and a lady that was in the stained glass/pottery room and 2 ladies in the library and they were all very nice. I'm looking for a place where I can get laundry done and get some books when we leave here. This place had both a nice laundry room and a big library.

Our next stop was Gold Canyon RV & Golf. Another perfect RV/park model 55+ park but I asked for a spot for a couple of weeks and the lady said they were booked. We decided that this probably wasn't a place for short term stays.

The problem with these parks is the lack of nature and natural settings. We've gotten spoiled lately with the parks that we've found, most of them being out in nature.

There was another park on my list called Budget RV Park (no website) that claimed to be close to Lost Dutchman State Park. It's not and we happened across it by accident. This is indeed a budget park with people crammed together like sardines. No thanks.

We then started to go to Walmart, realized it was Saturday around noon and decided to go home and come back tomorrow as there was nothing that I needed urgently.

This afternoon was a complete waste. I lay down to read while Gordon was taking a nap at woke up at 3:45 p.m. I kept dreaming that I was awake! We had planned to go out for a drive this afternoon so now I don't have much in the way of photos for the blog. Consequently I'm doing something I haven't done for a long time and borrowing some from Gordon.

Bulldog CliffsThe flower of the ocotillo
I didn't wrap my foot today and it seems none the worse for it. I'm wondering if the bone on the side of my foot is just bruised now.......

Friday 28 December 2007

Results of "I've Been Tagged"

From Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, AZ.

Yesterday I mentioned that I had been tagged by Froggi Donna but didn't have time to think about it yesterday so I've finally gotten it done today.

So, here are the rules again:
  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  3. Share the 5 top places on your "want to see or want to see again" list.
  4. Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Here are my lists.

Random/Weird facts about me:
  1. I met my husband through an ad in the newspaper.
  2. I don’t like crossing bridges especially in the dark.
  3. I don’t like mountain roads with switchbacks and sheer drop offs.
  4. I have a fear of heights so you won't find me in a cable car any time soon.
  5. I, like Froggi. won't put my head underwater when swimming or what I call swimming as I never really learned to swim very well.
Top 5 Seen/See Again list - there are so many beautiful places it's hard to choose:
  1. Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX - This is an awesome place to spend some time in nature. Beware the 10% grade in and out of the park.
  2. Oregon Coast - A very beautiful part of the western U.S.
  3. Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta - We didn't make it to Jasper but would like to go back.
  4. Texas Coastal Bend north of Corpus Christi, TX - We've been here a few times but always enjoy returning.
  5. The eastern and southern shores of Lake Superior in Ontario, hopefully we'll be back to photograph them this summer.
The following are those I've tagged:

  1. Carolyn & John - Travels in our Airstream ( a fellow Canadian)
  2. Doug & JoAnn - Our Dream
  3. Rod & Jean - Our Adventure
  4. Kev & Angie - Kev's Blog
  5. Pepper - Little House on Wheels
Hope those I've tagged are up to the challenge! This is a fun and interesting way to review yourself and where you've been.

We weren't very ambitious today so we lazed around all morning. Around noon we went for a brief walk, then I sat outside for a while but it was till pretty cool outside. Here are some photos taken on our walk and some from my lawn chair. Late in the afternoon we made it out to get propane, quite a difference in price from Tucson, from $17.50 to $23.27 to fill a 30 lb tank.

This is a phainopepla - he has the same crest as a cardinal or a Northern bluejay.

View from my lawnchair.

Photo taken on our way back from getting propane.

Here's a photo that Doug posted on their blog last night of Gordon and I with Fillmore. I borrowed it.

Wednesday 26 December 2007

Tucson to Mesa, AZ

I've been tagged by Froggi Donna. Below are the rules. But since today is travel day, I'll have to delay this for another day or so. I also have to think about what's weird about me. I can't think of a thing! LOL

So, here are the rules:
  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  3. Share the 5 top places on your "want to see or want to see again" list.
  4. Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
On to our travel day:

I couldn’t help Gordon pack up much this morning because of the probability of twisting my foot on the rocks that were all over our site at Justin’s Diamond J RV Park so it took longer than usual to get packed up.

We didn’t leave Tucson till around 10:30 a.m. We took a backroad way to I-10 to avoid the construction through Tucson and wound up north of the construction area. We thought we were home free till we were about 6 miles south of the 202 loop at Phoenix when the traffic started to back up. It took forever to go three miles. There was an accident but it was all in the median area so no reason for the backup other than rubbernecking. The new 202 loop is a very nice road. Here’s the overpass that was being built when we were in Mesa two years ago. This construction was very close to the SilverRidge RV park where we were staying, and we could see and hear them working on it.

The 202 loop road.
Pretty overpass.

The overpass that was being built two years ago.

I’m really not sure what time we arrived at Usery Mountain Regional Park but it was definitely after 1:30 p.m. There was a note for us at the check in booth saying we were invited for late lunch/early dinner with Doug and JoAnn who are friends of Howard and Linda of Their standard poodle, Fillmore is the official mascot of Here is a photo that I took of Fillmore as we were leaving. Fillmore is a big, friendly playful dog.

Here’s the Phoenix sign that is clearly visible from Usery Mountain Regional Park.

I was able to help Gordon set up as the gravel on our site is the small pea gravel type so I wasn’t afraid that I was going to twist my ankle on it. Here’s a photo of our site. We’re not backing on the desert but it’s a pretty spot all the same and called a pull through although I would call it a pullout.

We finally arrived at Doug and JoAnn’s RV sometime around 4:00 p.m. We still weren’t completely set up but the rest can wait until tomorrow and we had kept these folks waiting far too long.

JoAnne made a delicious vegetable stew with quinoa and gluten free crackers. It was very yummy! I ate two bowls! Here’s a photo of our hosts.

Tuesday 25 December 2007

Our Last Trip to the Desert Museum (for a while)

Even though yesterday was Christmas Day, I got a lot accomplished. I hadn't vacuumed since my unfortunate accident with my foot (except for the dustbuster) so I did a vacuum job, we changed the sheets on the bed to the new red/burgundy stripe and I made the stuffing, turnips and turkey cutlets.

I called my sister's house in Ottawa mid afternoon to be sure everyone was there and talked to everyone on speaker. Here are some photos that my niece sent from their Christmas yesterday.

My niece, Danica (who sent me the photos) and my sister, Betty.

My sister Margie and her husband, John.

My nephew and godson, Nick and his wife, Becky.

My foot has been steadily getting better over the last few days probably thanks to my husband who suggested I should keep it wrapped which I've been doing during the day taking the wrap off at night.

This morning I got the laundry done as we'll be in a Regional Park for probably two weeks that won't have any laundry facilities and this afternoon we went to the Desert Museum. We didn't walk far and mostly stayed on the paved areas but saw a lot of birds today so that's the gist of the photos for today although I do have a couple of others of cactus and plants.

I had seen Santa on a bicycle the other night but it was too dark for a photo so here he is:

My guess on this one is a female cardinal.

I think this is a pigeon of some sort.

This is a common moorhen. I don't know why they're called common. They're actually kind of pretty.

A black-necked stilt.
A parrot of some sort.
More black-necked stilts.
Another female cardinal.

A little hummingbird, not sure what kind but appeared mostly green.

A little fox happily sleeping.

Yucca plants.
A pretty little desert scene with red rocks.

An agava plant.
A deformed saguaro cactus.That's it for today. Tomorrow we'll be leaving this lovely spot and heading for Usery Mountain Regional Park near Mesa, AZ.