Saturday 9 February 2008

This 'n That

Today was another beautiful 70F (22C) sunny day. I walked a different ATV trail in the desert this morning. It is so quiet and peaceful back in the desert, no traffic noises and this morning, no fighter jets. I have to say that I haven't heard any fighter jets since we've been here but I did see one when we were on our way here on Thursday.

View of our RV from the desert - it's the one in the middle on the left.

Gila Woodpecker on top of a saguaro.

I didn't get much accomplished today other than getting my hair colored. That's one job out of the way. The rest of the day was either spent inside or outside, napping and reading.

View from my lawnchair.

Gordon got one of the bikes out and went for a ride in the desert this afternoon. We have some organ pipe cactus here but you have to go to the foothills to see it and it's easier to get there by bike. We have those fold up bikes so that's why the bike looks so small.

Hickiwan Trails RV Park is on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, therefore there's no tax here so we paid $85/wk all inclusive for our site. However, diesel at the gas station in front of the casino (where the entrance to the park is located) is 3.63 per gallon while in Ajo, it's 3.40. Still not a bargain but definitely better. So we just have to remember to fill up when we're in Ajo. The casino only has slots, haven't tried that out yet. There's also a convenience store located in the same building as the casino. We need to get propane too. Should we buy it here or will it be less expensive if we go off the reservation and go to Why?

Friday 8 February 2008

Our First Full Day at Why, AZ

And a beautiful day it was! Today was probably the warmest day we've seen in some time. We had the door and windows open. So what did I do today? Laundry as well as most of the other people in the park. There are four washers and dryers and I needed all of them so I was in the laundry room for what seemed like forever since I wasn't able to get all four at one time! On our way out, we met Kelly and had a chat with her about things to see and do in the area.

I saw these contrails when I started out on my walk this morning. They must be from the fighter jets that fly over now and then from the Barry M Goldwater Bombing Range.

I had a nice walk this morning. First I did a walk around the park so I could run on the pavement and then I picked up my walking stick at the RV and hiked into the desert. I didn't see much but it was a nice walk. I took some photos of the scenery along the way.

While I was doing laundry Gordon went to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument's Visitor Center and drove to Lukeville on the Mexican border.

Our high today was 70F (21C). After getting the bed made, the clothes put away and lunch we headed off to the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. When we arrived we watched their film which told you what to be prepared for, what you should have with you, what you shouldn't do etc. The Wildlife Refuge is part of the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range so as well as being a dirt unmaintained road, you also have to look out for unexploded ordnance that has been dropped in the desert and lots of other things that we weren't particularly interested in so we decided to forego the Wildlife Refuge.

Someone in Why has a sense of humor. This 'air mail' box is way up in the air!

Here's an odd looking little house in Ajo. We also stopped at one of the stores in Ajo called Sue's Souvenirs. It was mostly artificial flowers. It seems she makes up crosses and things to put in graveyards. She also had some T-shirts and postcards and the like but nothing we couldn't live without!

Instead we stopped at the copper mine in Ajo. It hasn't been in operation since 1985 but you see piles of tailings and rocks everywhere as well as the unused mine pit pictured here. We saw another one a couple of years ago in Bisbee, AZ. These mines were closed due to the unions. The workers were asked if they would take a drop in salary to keep the mines open. Since they're closed, you know what the answer was. The quarry at the bottom is 40 feet deep!

The man at the Visitor Center at the mine told Gordon about a scenic road that goes around Ajo (outside of town) called the Ajo Scenic Loop. It too is a dirt road but well maintained. We saw lots of dry campers (photo below) out there on BLM (Bureau of Land Management land). It was very scenic. We saw lots of organ pipe cactus there!

Pretty rocks against the bright blue sky

After that we drove into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, not as far as the Visitor Center as it was closed by then but saw the Ajo Mountains which are very pretty, not as pretty as the Superstitions in Mesa but pretty anyway.

This is the part of the Ajo Mountain range as seen from one of the waysides in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Tonight I was trying to get my photos ready to upload to my blog while I was on the rv-dreams chat and I got a message that said my hard drive was nearly full. It wouldn't allow me to transfer my photo files to my blog folder that I keep on my desktop for easy uploading to my blog so I had to cut my chat visit short. Gordon then took over and backed up my computer with much difficulty however it got done overnight. This morning I deleted my 2007 photos as they are now backed up in 3 different ways and I have 22.32 gb free again! Thanks to my wonderful husband!

It was a long, busy day today. I'm ready to have a rest!

For Gordon's blog, click here.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Now at Hickiwan Trails, Why, AZ

Today we finally moved from Usery Mountain Regional Park. We loved it there! But today we were off to Hickiwan Trails RV Park near Why, AZ which near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and we've signed up for a week.

We left Usery at 9:50 a.m. and arrived here shortly after 1:00 p.m. after an uneventful trip. It took a long time to get set up, first of all trying to find a site that we could get into easily and then, of course, all the setup items. We were met when we drove in by Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch . Kelly and Al are also from Ontario, Canada. The people we've met here so far are really friendly.

Tomorrow I have some housekeeping items to get done so will probably be hanging around the RV.

Here's a photo of our site - doesn't look great with our truck parked where it is but here's the view from our rear window - it's not bad at all!

We went for a short walk in the desert after we were finished setting up. It's pretty but different from the area around Usery. I thought there would be some Organ Pipe Cactus here but apparently it only grows naturally within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Our Last Day at Usery Mountain Regional Park

Today again was bright and sunny and we reached a temperature of 55F (13C) and I did my usual morning exercise.

The plan today was to visit Carefree and Cave Creek, two artsy towns north of Scottsdale. We arrived at Carefree around noon. The downtown of Carefree is built in a sort of a circle around the town square where the sundial is located. It's a very pretty square with fountains (photo below) and ponds and this very cute gila monster slide (photo below). The sundial claims to be America's largest and most accurate.

Easy Street

Sandra with sundial in the background

The English Rose Tea Room

We had decided to look for a restaurant that served all day breakfast and we found one in the shops along "Easy Street" which is the name of the main street. Called the Saguaro Cafe, this is an excellent place for breakfast, the 12 grain bread was really good as were the ham and eggs and the price was fairly reasonable as well. We walked around the downtown and I went in to some of the shops. Lots of cute things but no place to put them! We also stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and picked up some books and maps.

After that we headed the short distance to Cave Creek. I walked around Frontier Town which is a little shopping area, again lots to buy, no room though. There was a guy on his horse ( photo below) soliciting business for a local ranch that take people on desert tours on horseback.

Part of Frontier Town

Since we were so close we drove to another one of the Maricopa County parks, this one called Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. This is another great place for horseback riding or hiking. I didn't feel like doing any hiking so Gordon went for a bit of a hike on his own for 1/2 hour or so. While he was gone I saw these people out on the trails with the horses.

The road to Spur Cross Ranch

Horses on the trail

Another type of 'feeding frenzy'. The man came in the truck with bales of hay in the back and the horses started to run to get fed.

Cave Creek on the way to Spur Cross Ranch, very pretty.

It was almost 4 p.m. at that point so we took the scenic route home via the Beeline Highway and the Bush Highway so we could stay off the freeways. We got home just before sunset. We sure will miss it here! I saw the sign at the right on our way home. It struck me as funny. It's not something we'd see at home.

Four Peaks Mountain on the way back to the RV park.

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Around the Park

The desert in the morning sun

This is better! I woke up to bright sunshine this morning although the outside temperature was only 34F (1C). There was no wind so it felt warmer but there was still frost on the ground. I had a nice walk and a couple of short runs.

It wasn't quick to warm up and only got to about 51F (11C). I got ready and went out to the Superwalmart on McKellips for groceries. Since we hadn't decided where we were going from Mesa on Thursday I decided to buy groceries as if we were going to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. So I stocked up on stuff that I figure you probably can't buy in a small town like Lactaid milk.

Clouds over the Superstitions this afternoon

When I got back to the RV and unpacked the groceries, we decided that we will go to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument so I phoned them to find out about campgrounds. I was told that the one within the park has no hookups. That's out for us. I asked for close RV parks to them and she gave me Coyote Howls. Apparently the RV Park in Lukeville is no longer in operation. I called to make sure and their number is no longer working. I've been reading the blog of another couple from Ontario, the Bayfield Bunch. Al and Kelly Bossence are near Organ Pipe now and are setting up a website for Hickiwan Trails RV Park. I called the park and they have room for us so I guess we'll be spending a week - at $85 for the week it's probably the cheapest place we've stayed since Texas with the exception of the little park that we stayed one night at in Oklahoma that was $10/night (Lake El Reno). I expect there's tax and whatnot on top of the $85. RV parks tend not to tell you about taxes and such when you ask them and only spring it on you when it's time to pay!

The photo on the right is the sun behind a saguaro.

Gordon went out in the late afternoon to take some photos. I elected to stay behind and do my own thing. I looked out and saw shadows on the Superstitions so away I went to the Buckhorn Trail for some photos. They looked so beautiful and still have a little bit of snow on them. I went out again at sunset. The sunset itself was pretty blah but the sun on the Superstitions was pretty. I'll really miss these mountains when we leave here on Thursday. We've really enjoyed being here but it will be nice to have sewer again. My hair badly needs a dye job!

This is a better photo of Wind Cave than I had the other day.

Sunset on the Superstition Mountains

Monday 4 February 2008

Cold and Rainy!

Today was just an awful day weatherwise. It rained all night and was still raining when I got up. It rained on and off all day and the temperature hovered around 41F (5C). They had forecast 54F (12C) but it never got anywhere near that.

Around noon we took a short drive around the park and got some photos of Pass Mountain in the clouds.

See how green the desert is after all the rain

We had quite a few birds around, our little piggy, the gila woodpecker as well as one of our little hummingbirds was at the hummingbird feeder on and off today. We didn't see much inside the park so went out of the park for a bit and were just coming north on Usery Pass Road when these two javelina crossed the road right in front of us. We haven't seen many of these in the wild since we've been on the road so it was nice to see them.

I watched some TV this afternoon and did some online jigsaw puzzles.

Around 4:30 p.m. Gordon noticed that our favorite mountains, the Superstitions had SNOW on them. Not surprising considering how cold and wet it's been today so away we went to take photos. His other favorites, Four Peaks were in the clouds. We went over to Apache Trail and took some close ups of the Superstitions and stayed there for sunset. On our way out of the park there was a little coyote running around but he was too fast for us! Gordon also said that when he was sitting in his recliner before I got up this morning two coyotes ran by on the road, one so close to the RV that he couldn't even see his feet as he passed by. Guess they were looking for somewhere warm today too!

Red Mountain in clouds

Snow on the Superstition Mountains

A close up of the Superstition Mountains

Superstition Mountains at sunset

Tonight's sunset taken from the ghost town (turned tourist trap) of Goldfield on the Apache Trail

Sunday 3 February 2008

Not Much Except the Super Bowl!

The sky near sunsetIt was cloudy most of the day today. Rain was forecast for this afternoon but it didn't happen so the Super Bowl didn't get rained on. However over night it rained a lot and was still raining this morning!

I walked and ran this morning but I don't think my foot is happy with running yet. It doesn't hurt when I'm running but it does hurt after.

Napping and reading was the order of the day. I finished "Kill Me" and started another Stephen White book called "Privileged Information". It's an old one that I hadn't read yet. My older sister called and we chatted for a while. They are on their way to Florida next weekend.

Gordon put the headphones on and watched some of the pre-game show and then the Super Bowl.

Nice sunrays tonight!