Boojum Tree

Monday, November 5, 2018

Settling in for the winter...Time to enjoy the desert

Well we got set up here at Canyon Vistas RV Resort for the next few the motorhome washed and waxed. Survived a hail storm except for the car. It's in the body shop getting paintless dent removal and standard body work done. Hoping to get it back this Friday. And we started exploring again.

Our first adventure was to Boyce Thompson Arboretum just outside Superior, AZ at the foot of Picketpost mountain. This is a place we've been to before with friends and by ourselves. We bought a yearly pass last season and it expires January 1. The Arboretum is a desert paradise. So many varieties of cactus, trees and desert foliage. We really enjoy our visits there. I know I've posted photos of this place before but each time I feel like I see something new or at least a different perspective.

Picketpost Mountain in the distance

The variety

Ayer Lake

Castle Rock....that's what I call it

Bridge to the High Trail

Red Gum Eucalyptus

Golden Barrel Cactus

We had a snack sitting by this tranquility fountain

The wildlife at the Arboretum

We had a great hike on the main trail and the High Trail there. They also have a hummingbird area and butterfly garden. So much to see and enjoy.

Then yesterday we took a short hike around Silly Mountain. It's a smallish foothill that has several trails with great views of the Superstition Mountains. We enjoyed getting our hiking legs back into shape.

Superstition Mountain in the distance

A cactus bloom

Creosote Bush

5057 peak in the distance

The sun is shining and the temps are excuse not to get out and enjoy. 

Today was another perfect opportunity to enjoy the moderating weather. We headed to a trail that we've been to several times in the last 4 years. We like to hike the Hieroglyphs Trail but today was the Lost Gold Mine Trail. Not much elevation gain but great views of the surrounding landscape. 

We even got a glimpse of a rock structure that reminds us of a Gargoyle. He has a great profile and a bid hump back. You see so many things in the desert....except we haven't seen a rattle snake in the past 4 years coming here. I guess we'll have to keep looking. 

Glenda and I have a plan to hike at least 2 times a week and hike a different trail each time. I think we can do that since there are so many trails to explore. Great challenge. 

We continue to enjoy the activities in the park like Pickleball and Line Dancing and seeing our son, Chris and his fiancée, Kendra. Oh and they just opened up the new Cactus Grill for lunches and happy hours. The grill is now located in the new ballroom they just finished a couple weeks ago. 

Hope to get some golf in soon with Chris and continue to explore more areas. Thanks for following along. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Moving on to Gold Canyon and meeting up with friends...What the Hail?

After leaving our friends, Faye and Dave at Cochiti Lake we headed to Percha Dam SP near Truth or Consequences. NM

We've been through this area before and stayed in Elephant Butte Lake Resort and also the State Park. Each time we've been in the area we've stopped at  the Casa Taco for a meal. The food is good but can be a little more spicy than we like. All in all a good meal. 

Nice little hole in the wall restaurant

We only stopped for 2 nights at Percha Dam SP. We got the only pull through with FHU's. Just off I-25. A little run down but it worked for our stop and it was only $20/night. Our site probably was a host site at one time.

After that stop we headed to Rusty's RV Ranch near Rodeo, NM. This place is about 24 mile off I-10 in the middle of no where. It boasts it self as an Astronomers paradise because it is in the middle of no where and there is no light pollution from nearby cities. We were told not to keep our porch light on at night and to be sure and close our curtains. We did sit out one night and you could certainly see about every star there is to see in the sky. It was enjoyable. The only drawback was the wind.

We had a day where the wind was blowing so hard we pulled our slides in. We have slide awning now and didn't want to chance any damage to the fabric and with the wind it was VERY dusty.

Being in the middle of now where we got no cell reception but they had decent Wi-Fi. We also stopped our Direct TV account so we had not TV. Fortunately the office had a DVD library so we rented a couple movies. Funny thing was they had the movie RV with Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels. We had just seen the actual bus that was in the movie when we were in Oklahoma City.

Well with the slides pulled in and the TV right in our faces we enjoyed our first viewing of the RV movie. This is a classic for sure.

Our last day in the area we stopped at the Desert Museum with a display of Geronimo's bow and arrow and several artifacts of the old west and the history of the area. Very interesting learning about the advancement of the early train route across the west and the Apache Indians that inhabited this area in New Mexico.

We continued our journey westward toward Tucson, AZ and stopped at Catalina SP in Oro Valley. 

We had been in contact with friends from Bloomington/Normal that now live in Mesa, AZ. They have a 5th wheel and it just so happened they were bringing it back from Show Low to Mesa about the time we were coming into the area. Neither of us had been to Catalina SP and heard a lot about the park from other RV friends. We had a nice back in site with Electric and Water and the dump station was right down the road. We planned to be there for 5 nights but our friends, Todd and Corrine were only coming for the weekend. Todd still works but Corrine has just recently retired so they were able to make it a long weekend. 

Glenda and I got out a couple times before they arrived and scouted out the trails around the park. We were definitely back in the land of the Saguaros.

We had a day of rain while there so we planned a drive up Mt. Lemmon. It's a beautiful drive up the mountain but a little foggy and rainy at first.

The skies did clear some on the way back down and we were able to pick up a few geocaches along the route.

We also stopped for a visit to Sabino Canyon in Tucson. Unfortunately the tram that takes you up the canyon was out of order due to them loosing their permit. They're in the process of getting it renewed though. We took a walk around the Desert Garden trail and saw a beautiful Crested Saguaro.

 No one really knows why this happens to the Saguaro cactus. An amazing variation of the cactus.

While we were together we enjoyed some Beef Fajitas that Corrine made and grilled our some chicken. We also checked out a nearby Olive Garden and saw the movie First Man. The account of Neil Armstrong and the Race to the Moon. I remember this time period since it was between 1962 and 1969. My junior high and high school years.

We really enjoy this part of our RV lifestyle. Meeting friends in different parts of the country and traveling with friends though different parts of the country.

We're looking forward to hanging out with Todd and Corrine again while in the Phoenix/ Mesa area for our winter stay.

Shameless Selfie

We're now in Gold Canyon at Canyon Vistas RV Resort for our 5th winter. We plan to stay a little longer this year as our son, Chris and his fiancée, Kendra are getting married next April in Mesa. We're very excited for them to start a new life together.

Well I've been working on the motorhome...we had it washed and I just recently got it waxed. We've done some organizing of our things and converted our half bath into a much needed closet.

We're getting back into our activities of pickle ball for me and line dancing for Glenda. Unfortunately our Canadian friends Ron and Patsy won't be coming down to the park any more. They decided to sell their place here and stay in Canada for the winters. We have some decisions to make as to our stays here at Canyon Vistas in the future. A number of factors to consider. We really do miss them.

Finally we had a freak micro burst come through the other day with huge HAIL. Our beautiful newly repaired car(from the California accident) got some hail damage. Now we're back to having more body work and another deductible. Could have been much worse....the motorhome sustained no damage.

Just getting set up

Here comes the hail

Our rainbow after the storm

The weather is moderating now and we're enjoying the type of weather now that we came here for.

We will be making a trip back in December to the Midwest to celebrate Christmas with family. Until then let the fun begin.

I'll update the blog soon once we get all set up and fully into the activities here. 

Thanks for following along. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rolling with the Wandering Camels....MO to NM

After our nephews wedding we headed to Bloomington/Normal for a quick stop to visit with friends and my brother. We made reservations at Comlara County Park near Hudson, IL. Our friends Richard and Brenda got some of our friends together at Moe's Mexican Grill in Bloomington. We had a good visit and it was great catching up with friends from the Midwest.

We also had an opportunity to hang out with my brother and his girlfriend. They bought a house together and we hadn't seen it yet. Nice place with a fantastic backyard and patio. It just happens to be two doors down from the house he lived in. We had a relaxing visit and look forward to seeing them again in December when we visit family for Christmas. 

Which now brings us to meeting up with the Wandering Camels.....Faye and Dave Malouf. Everyone knows that Faye and I first got to know each other from our blogs. The Wandering Camels is her (their) blog. It just so happened that they were traveling back to Texas for a while this winter and had finished up a workamping job in IA. We had visited them there as we traveled back to IL and IN to see family. While visiting them we made plans to travel part of the way back to respective winter destinations. First stop was in Missouri and Ray Behrens COE. Faye and Dave were already there and set up when we arrived. We had dinner and a fire that evening but the mosquitoes started biting. 

The next day we took a 2.5 mile hike on a trail in the park. We saw several types of mushrooms and a lot of spider webs and a couple of pretty big spiders in those webs. Of course, it was hot and humid which is expected in the Midwest that time of year. All in all a nice walk in the woods. 

Dave is quite the photographer and loves to get the best angle for a picture. 

Since we were near Hannibal, MO, Glenda suggested we take a boat ride on the Mississippi. We found a boat line on the riverfront and got our tickets. The captain of the boat had some good stories about the river and the Land of Mark Twain. 

After our boat ride we headed to the downtown and found a chocolate shop with gelato. Then it was off to a brewery for some refreshment. They had an incredible Russian Imperial Stout and I bought a couple extra bottles to take with. Oh and the food was good too.

As we walked along the downtown Faye and I looked at our geocaching apps and found a cache nearby a statute. Dave was so happy to wait for us as we looked. 

This is not the statute where the cache was at but the girls look really cute

After our couple of days there we headed to Lake of the Ozarks and Osage Beach RV Park. Nice clean park and we were lucky to get in do to the Bike Fest going on in the area. Motorcycles everywhere. 

And as luck would have it some friends Gary and Pat Bonnell, from Bloomington/Normal, that we hadn't seen in ages(many years)contacted us on FB. They saw that we were going to be in Osage Beach and they had moved from B/N to Osage Beach. So we asked them to meet us at our RV Park to see how we live now and then they drove us to their home after we had lunch a one of their favorite restaurants. 

They have a home on a bluff with a great view of the lake. A nice secluded area that's quiet and nicely wooded. It was so good to catch up with them. Such a small world. 

Well, being this close to a lake you can't pass up an opportunity to rent a pontoon and cruise on the water. We did this with Faye and Dave a couple years ago when we met up in Parker, AZ at River Island SP. We rented a pontoon and cruised the Colorado River. Some how I was the captain on that cruise so I ended up being the captain again. I now have the nick name Captain Curt. 

Some big home on the lake

I did have to give up my captains seat for a while so Glenda could man the helm

We had a fantastic time an everyone got plenty of sun that day. No one had any problem sleeping that night. 

Dave an I had no problem trying some new beers as we traveled. my son in law, Paul, sent me some beer overnight to the RV Park. He found a great NE IPA and really wanted me to try it. I'm sure glad he did, it was fantastic. Dave and I thank you. 

We enjoyed our time in the Ozarks but then it was time to go and move further west into Kansas. Our next stop was Cherryvale COE near Cherryvale, KS. 

Again Faye and Dave got there before us and had set up on their site. When we got there we got a little lost so Faye had to come direct us to our site. WE ended up having to move since the site had so much slope front to back. It would be impossible to get level. We move to the other side of them and all worked out. 

Dave thought their truck had some lean to it and wondered it there was some thing wrong with the the next morning they took the truck into town and had it checked. Fortunately, nothing wrong. After then got back we decided to drive to see the original site of the Little House on The Prairie. The structures aren’t original but it is where the Ingalls family settled for a few years.

We didn't stay long due to the heat and humidity but it was interesting seeing where the Ingalls family had lived for a while. 

After our visit there we headed back to the campground. We had a wonderful dinner of smoked ribs that Dave had done in his smoker that day. We even got a geocache while at the campground. 

We were supposed to stay 3 nights but we saw that a lot of rain was on the way so we packed up a day early and moved on to Oklahoma and Red Rock Canyon SP. 

Turned out this was a good thing. The first day there it rained all day. Glad we didn't have to drive in that and set up too. 

Red Rock Canyon State Park is actually at the bottom of the canyon and a steep narrow road leads down into the canyon and the campground.

We were a little worried about the steepness and narrowness of the road down but it actually wasn't that bad. We kept thinking about how would we get out.

Our pull through sites that we had to back into since they were so angled and narrow. It all worked out. Being in the bottom of a canyon we had no over the air channels on our antenna. So Dave uses two portable satellite antennas to pick up all the channels they like to watch. Faye was gracious enough to let us use the one that gets her channels so we could have some TV. 

The day after the rain we set off to find a geocache and hike around the canyon.....well a 1 hour caching and campground hike turned into a 3 hour adventure. We were on the top of the canyon and couldn't find a way down. We wandered around the canyon until we finally found a way down. Really got our steps in that day.

We decided to take a trip into OK City and started at a Bass Pro Shop downtown. Dave found a good deal on a couple of fishing poles. Then it was off again to find a geocache and a brewery or two or three. 
We weren't too successful on the cache but we did find breweries. We walked to the Bricktown Brewery and had a bit to eat. The beer wasn't quite what we liked so we continued on to Stonecloud Brewery. We really liked their beers and even bought a 4 pack...Dave got an IPA and I got a stout.

It was quite a walk to that brewery so we headed back to Bass Pro. On the way to the first brewery we walked along the riverwalk there and saw some folks leading some miniature ponies that are like service dogs for veterans.

While in OK City we decided to go to see the OK City bombing Memorial. Such ad tragedy for the sity and the people. It was on April 14, 1995 that the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building was the scene of the largest domestic act of terrorism, at that time.  At 9:02 168+ people were killed and 680 others were injured, 1/3 of the building was destroyed. The blast caused damage to a 16 block radius, there was shattered glass in 258 buildings nearby causing $658 million worth of damage. A very  moving national memorial has been built where the Murrah building stood to pay tribute to those who not only lost their lives that day but to the survivors and the search and rescue teams that were involved.

We navigated our way out of the canyon up the steep and winding road and headed to Palo Duro SP near Amarillo, TX. We read about the road leading down into the canyon, that it was a 3 mile 10% grade but like Red Rock Canyon it turned out to be very navigable. They recommended a a 15 mph limit down to the bottom. No problem. We had spacious back in sites with electric and water. 

There is no cell service, at least not Verizon. We heard that some folks with ATT could get service. After we got our bearings at the park we took in some tourist activity. First stop was Cadillac Ranch. This is where 10 Cadillacs are buried nose down in the ground. Glenda and I have been by this site a couple times as we traveled back and forth to AZ and the Midwest. We even got to put our own spray paint on one of the cars. 

After our visit to the Ranch we headed to the Sizemore RV Museum. It's located behind a local RV dealership. This museum has a very unique collection and the actual bus used in the movie RV with Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels. 

The bus from the RV movie

After our visit there we checked out a local brewery called Long Wooden Spoon. They had some nice beer but not any we could buy. 

Well while in Amarillo you have to check out the Big Texan Restaurant. The Home of the FREE 72 oz steak. That is if you can eat it and all the sides that come with it like baked potato, salad, rolls and drink. And it has to be done in 1 hour. We didn't try it but we did end up trying some Rocky Mountain Oysters or Bull Testicles that are deep fried. Everyone tried some and actually liked them. 

After doing all the tourist things in Amarillo we had to do some geocaching and hiking around the park. It must be the time of the year because we saw several tarantulas crossing the roads in the park. It was fun trying to get different angles of the them. 

We had a lot of fun finding a few caches and checking out the wildlife. Even a Road Runner in the park and some young male turkeys. 

We had a fun time at Palo Duro and even got in some card playing each evening. 

Our next stop is one we had all been waiting for since starting to travel back west. Our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road had stayed at Cochiti Lake COE in New Mexico and they got a site with a great lake view that was NO Hook ups or as we call it Dry Camping. This is where we needed to use our generator and solar panel for power and fill our water tank for, well, water. No sewer connection either. And with our Senior Pass for the National Parks we only paid $7/night. We had reserved site 77 and Faye and Dave had reserved 78 where Steve and Debbie had stayed before. They had some trouble getting situated in the site due to a fence around the site that kind of blocked the slides and entry. They finally got in to their site however we could not get into ours. So it just so happened a site just down a little from them had opened up and not one could reserve it so we jumped on it before someone else could. It turned out to be a better site for the views too. 

Again we did the tourist thing and drove into Santa Fe. There's a great old downtown area with high end shops. We even found a jewelry store that very likely has some association with Dave's family. 

Some of the Indians in the area sell their jewelry on the square

Not sure Dave has found HIS people but he's getting close....maybe

Glenda found a line dancing vest...only $300

Really cool boots

And a cowboy hat to match

We , of course, got wind of a geocache in a local hotel so Faye and I headed there and all you had to do was ask the desk person for the cache and they get it for you. Easy. 

After that we were thirsty so we found a local brewery and had some appetizers and beer. Oh and we found another cache nearby. 

I know what I like in beer but Dave enjoys trying many different beers so he typically get a flight. 

After our visit to Santa Fe and the tourist thing we only had a couple more days with our friends and along with wanting to stop at Cochiti Lake COE, we also were very excited to stop at Kasha-Katuwe National Monument and hike through the tent rocks and slot canyon there.

We know many other RV friends have been there so it was on the list and had to be done. We were not disappointed. This was the first slot canyon we had ever hiked and the majestic look of the tent rocks was awesome. We hiked up the Slot Canyon Trail to a peak over looking the canyon and the surrounding landscape. Multiple opportunities for photo ops.

Dave had to lift this tree for us to pass through...Thanks Buddy

Shameless Selfie

I know....Photo Overload but I just couldn't help it. Everywhere you look it's another opportunity and another vantage point to see something new. Just like our visit a couple years ago to Bryce Canyon NP the rock formations are magical.

Something like this is always better when shared with good friends. 

One of our last days at the park I told Faye and Dave I wanted to smoke some chicken wings for them. Dave had been so great at providing us with some delicious ribs and pork earlier in our travel. 

I used a chicken rub that was new to me so they turned out a little saltier than we all liked but overall they turned out well. This was an interesting experiment since we had to use the generator to power the smoker. We had never run the generator that long in the prior dry camping we had done. It worked very well for future reference.

Finally we had the opportunity to pick up a geocache a few miles away from the campground that Steve and Debbie had actually hid when they were camping in the area a couple years ago.

Well we knew that day would come when we would be parting ways from our travel across the country. That day came with tears and hugs as we said our "see you later's" Faye and Dave headed to other parts of New Mexico on their way to Texas and we continued on west and south as we move toward our winter home again this year in Gold Canyon, AZ. There is no doubt that we will be traveling with these friends again. It was certainly an adventure with wonderful memories.