Saturday 19 January 2008

More Regional Parks, A Long Drive and a Trail

Today, Gordon felt he was up to a drive. First I had to get my beef roast in the crockpot so I peeled some veggies and got that going.

Then off we went to visit the San Tan Regional Park, one of the Maricopa County parks as is Usery. It's not far from where we are located. We followed Ellsworth south and found our way there with no problem. It has no roads within the park and also has no camping. It is mostly for horseback riding and I photographed these people enjoying their Saturday on horseback. There were also lots of horses in the staging area. Since he didn't feel like walking a trail, we continued on.

We drove west through the city mostly on Riggs Road crossing I-10 and continuing west toward the mountains. You go through Gila River Indian Reservation on the west side of I-10 and eventually wind up back in the city around Avondale (a suburb of Phoenix). On our way there was some water around a golf course and we saw our first egrets of the winter!

Our destination was Estrella Mountain Regional Park which we managed to find without too much trouble. Again we drove through the park but although there were lots of tents, the only RVs we saw again were in the horse staging area. There was what looked like Renaissance Festival going on.

We just drove through the park and again left. We are definitely at the best park as far as we're concerned. Gordon had his eye on some mountains that he wanted to shoot but we couldn't get close to them. We went by the Phoenix International Raceway, again saw some egrets which I did photograph as we were driving by along the Salt River, the backtracked and drove along the Estrella Parkway thinking that might take us to the mountains. Wrong! It took us into very upscale neighborhoods with all new houses. I wonder where they think they will be getting water in the future? All along the way we saw all kinds of new buildings and new building going on. Also within the city we saw lots of cotton fields and orange groves.

Our departure for home was via I-10 but Gordon did get off on Jefferson Street downtown where I managed again take some photos from the truck. So, forgive me if they're not great photos. I took some photos of the downtown skyline. After driving along Jefferson for a while we got back on I-10, then Hwy 60, then the 202 loop and arrived home around 3 p.m.

The city if Phoenix is huge with a good amount of traffic for a Saturday. It took us about an hour to get from the San Tan park to the Estrella park.

Since we had been sitting all day when I got back I decided to go for a walk. Then Gordon said he'd come with me as he hadn't taken his 'photo of the day' for his photography site.

As we went out the door the moon was just above our saguaro. I took a photo of it but liked this one better. We decided to walk partway on the Blevins trail within the park so I took this photo of the moon just dotting the top of the saguaro.

This is part of the trail.

This is the inside structure of a cholla tree.

Our roast beef dinner was delicious. We spent the evening watching Runaway Jury and then I spent some time in the rv-dreams chatroom as usual.

Friday 18 January 2008

A Tangle with a Cholla

I had planned to go back to the Mesa Fleamarket this morning but decided I was too lazy today and since we're staying an extra week, I can always go next week. I try to stay away from it on the weekend but there's probably no more people there on the weekend than there is on Fridays.

So after breakfast and such, I set out for a walk. I noticed this Hi Lo trailer in the low position.

I wound up walking in the desert where there are no scheduled paths. Don't plan to do this unless you have on sturdy shoes. As you can see from the photos below, teddy bear cholla look cute and soft but they aren't and they stick like glue. Luckily I had my gloves on as I tried taking these out by just pulling them, then they stuck to my gloves. You have to pull right at the root to get them out. Nasty little things!

Stuck to my shoe

When trying to pull it out of my shoe, it stuck to my glove and even pierced a leather glove!

I was walking in the desert off the trail

This morning I input into my Excel spreadsheet all my receipts so far for the month of January, got some things printed out that I've been wanting to do but couldn't get my labels printed for Bookcrossing as I've totally forgotten how to do that. I'll have to read the help file.

Gordon browned half of the roast that I bought yesterday at Bashas. The other half I froze. Tomorrow I'll put it in the crockpot with some vegetables. Gordon's still eating soft foods today because of his tooth extraction.

I also managed to get the place vacuumed and a little cleaning done, although when I was vacuuming I stepped on the vacuum hose and twisted my foot again. It's not nearly as bad as last time though. Hopefully it won't set me back!

I wandered around outside this afternoon trying to get close enough to one of our hummingbirds to get a good photo. With my camera you have to get really, really close. Even with cropping the photo, they still look far away!

Here he is, isn't he cute!

TV and chat tonight!

Thursday 17 January 2008

Extraction and Beads

I was up before sunrise this morning so I could have breakfast and get ready to go to the dentist with Gordon. We were there about 10 minutes early as there had been construction on Ellsworth yesterday. They had been patching the road but this morning it was all done and the construction workers were gone. Good job!

Gordon got his tooth pulled, I made an appointment to get my teeth cleaned on January 30th so we'll be here an extra week. Couldn't resist the price and my periodontist does want me to have my teeth cleaned while we're away in the winter. This is the first winter I'll have accomplished it though.

It was really cold when we left to go to the dentist. It was sunny but windy. I wore my fleece jacket and gloves!

It was warming up by the time we came home. I read for a while and had a nap as I never sleep well when I have to get up for a certain time. I'm always afraid I'll sleep in.

I asked Gordon if he'd be okay if I went out for a while so I stopped at Target and as usual found nothing that I wanted or needed. Can't remember the last time I bought something at Target. Then I stopped at Michaels. This Michaels had more beads than the one in Tucson so I wound up buying some (of course). I then drove around the city a bit to see if I could find the craft store that I found two years ago but didn't find it.

I took a photo while stopped at a stop light of this orange grove right in Mesa at the corner of Greenfield and McKellips.

I needed a few groceries so stopped at a different Bashas than usual and got a $20.00 roast of beef for $7.84. Bashas have really good sales but their regular prices are pretty expensive. You need a Bashas card to get the discounts but I just tell them I'm from Canada and they have a store card that they use. I can never understand why they have these store cards, they're free and if you don't have one, they swipe the store card. Why not just have the sale and forget the card?

Here's a few photos of the houses along McDowell Road on my way back to the RV park. There are some really beautiful ones and again, I love the architecture here!

When I drove into the park the moon was just coming up over Pass Mountain.

Another nap this afternoon when I returned, a uneventful sunset and on to the chat room!

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Dentist Appointment & A Drive

Gordon has been having problems with a tooth so today he made an appointment at a local dentist's office and went and had x-rays done. The x-rays show the tooth has an abscess which is what he thought so tomorrow out it comes. I made a bunch of phone calls to Nortel Human Resources and SunLife Insurance this morning to see what my Nortel extended health care covers when out of country and it looks like it is 80% of the dental work will be covered. The charges at this dentist are extremely reasonable. While there I asked what it would cost to get my teeth cleaned and she told me $74 or $68 with a coupon from the local paper. Such a deal! Unfortunately they don't have an opening before January 24th so tomorrow while Gordon's getting his tooth pulled I'm going to find out when they have an appointment and if we have to stay a week longer, we can do that.

That was the most exciting part of our day. I did go for a walk around the park this morning staying on the paved road but didn't see anything new to take a photo of.

The rest of the day I spent surfing the internet, making bracelets and reading.

Just before sunset we went for a drive and took some photos of the Goldfield Mountains in the golden light just before sunset and Red Mountain. By the time we got to Red Mountain the su had mostly gone away so Red Mountain isn't so red.

Goldfield MountainsNote how the greenery only goes part way up the mountain

Red Mountain with the Salt River in the foreground

Our restroom/shower house looks like a UFO! (Thanks to my husband for the photo!)

This morning started out sunny but this afternoon was only partly sunny and by the time sunset arrived it had clouded over but after the sunset, the sky turned red at the horizon. By that time the card was out of my camera so no photos!

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Walmart and Merkle Trail

Today I had to go and pick up some groceries and I had decided I was going to the SuperWalmart that I saw on Signal Butte last Friday to see what it was like. I had told Gordon about the large outdoor big box mall so he decided to go too. We drove around the outdoor mall, didn't see anything that we particularly wanted to stop for so I went to Walmart and picked up what I needed and we were on our way home.

It was another nice day today, very sunny until early afternoon when it clouded up for a bit but was soon sunny again. This morning mentioned that I'd like to do the .9 mile Merkle trail that's within Usery Mountain Regional Park. It's a flat loop trail that runs around the Merkle hills that Gordon had climbed numerous times.

After unpacking groceries, reading a bit and having a nap we set out to do the Merkle trail around 3:00 p.m. It was an easy walk and I didn't have any trouble walking it.

Interesting rock on the Merkle Hills

This is what the path looked like all the way around the Merkle Hills

Merkle Hills
While we were out Gordon suggested that we drive the Apache Trail for sunset. I declined on this one as I don't really like the twisty road with all the dropoffs and didn't want to be on it at night. Just call me chicken! Instead I elected to stay home and go and have a nice hot shower at the shower house.

Just around sunset I took a little walk around our immediate area and took a few photos. This little hummingbird (a Costas Hummingbird, I think) just sat in our tree and let me get quite close for a photo.

Tree and green ground cover at sunset

Holes in the ground from various little animals that make the desert their home

Our RV at sunset from the desert

Pass Mountain at sunset

We apparently have a cold spell coming in tomorrow for a couple of days. I was hoping that was all over with!

Monday 14 January 2008

Campbells Soup and Torilla Flat

On Friday I wrote to Campbells asking them why when 1 in 122 people have a gluten intolerance they still put wheat flour in mostly all of their soups. I received this reply this morning:

We received your message and appreciate your taking the time to contact Campbell Soup Company.
At Campbell, our number one priority is to delight our consumers. We try to develop products that are pleasing to most consumers. A significant amount of research and testing is conducted before any product improvement or change is introduced into the marketplace.

Thank you for sharing your comments. I have forwarded them to our
development teams so they too may benefit from your insight.

Thank you for visiting the Campbell Soup Company website.

I wonder if this means there is a possibility that changes will be made? Doesn't hurt to try!

This morning was bright and sunny again but quite windy. We decided today was the day we'd take the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat so we were on our way by around 10:00 a.m. Our first stop was for fuel. Then we stopped at the Superstition Museum.

Note the sign on the outhouse - Don't squat with your spurs on".

The hangin' tree

On our way north on the trail I snapped a lot of photos to show the scenery and the twisty, windy roadway although it is paved for about 5 miles or so beyond Tortilla Flat, then it becomes a sandy washboard road and eventually becomes one lane till you hit the Roosevelt Dam area. We weren't going that far but we did drive on the washboard road. Our tires are inflated for towing so that's why we feel every bump in the road. On the way up to Tortilla Flat I noticed that the speed signs were for 15 or 20 mph for almost the whole way.

Scenic views and winding roads.

Canyon Lake

Coming in to Tortilla Flat

This is Tortilla Flat

Continuing north on Apache Trail out of town we had to go through this wash. We've never seen water here before.

We turned around after a short distance and drove back to Tortilla Flat where we had lunch at the local restaurant, the Superstition Saloon. It was a very popular place today considering it was Monday but we managed to walk in and get a table right away. I had a shredded beef sandwich with fries and Gordon had a burger without the bun with fries. He had asked for an enchilada but this is the first place we've been where their enchiladas aren't made with corn tortillas. Lucky he asked! It was difficult for me to come up with something that didn't have tomatoes or cheese in it too!

Gordon at the restaurant.

Sandra at the restaurant

The waiters will put your card on the wall with a dollar bill. They are all over the walls throughout the store and restaurant.

The ones at our table. Some just put up the dollar bill.

Saddle butts

We looked around the town but I didn't find anything I liked better than my money so we moseyed on down toward Apache Junction stopping every few hundred yards so Gordon could take photos. This is a good thing because he's been selling a lot lately and has a few requests that he's waiting to hear from as well.

On the way back. My battery was running low so I didn't take many photos.

We arrived home just before 3:00 p.m. The wind had died down and it was pretty still so I sat in my recliner with my computer and listened to the woodpeckers squawking. They sure sounded angry with someone!

Sunset wasn't particularly pretty tonight and I had enough photos today!