Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Superstition Mountain Fail....Wave Cave Redemption

The hiking club here at the RV park has 6 different CHALLENGE hikes of trails that are to say the least CHALLENGING. This past week was the Superstition Mountain hike which is also called 5057. 5057 refers to the elevation at the peak. This hike requires a vigorous climb up on one part of the mountain, down into the valley and back up to the peak of Superstition Mountain. I was of the opinion that I would be able to do this hike after doing the Fremont Saddle/Weavers Needle hike a few weeks ago. However I did not hike for the last 2 weeks due to visitors from Iowa and having a cold last week. The hike started just off Peralta Rd and began a gentle  incline.

Once we got to the base of the mountain the climb became almost straight up. We scrambled over huge boulders and narrow trails as we climbed up the canyon. Unfortunately just after about a 1/2 mile or so of climbing I became very winded and my legs were burning. I informed the group that I would not be able to continue. If I did I knew I would be holding everyone else back and make it more difficult for them to finish before sunset. I had ridden with a friend that was doing well on the hike so he gave me the keys to his truck and was getting a ride back after the hike with another person in the group. This was much appreciated. After the group continued their climb and was out of sight I began my decent after my failed attempt. The climb down was even more rigorous with the steepness of the trail.

The group at the parking lot

View from the bottom 

Only half way up the first climb---I stopped

The group continued above me
 
Being somewhat disappointed in my failure I made it back to the parking lot and was preparing to drive back to the RV park. As I was putting my things in my friends truck I started to talk to a couple that were going to hike up to the Wave Cave which was a trail just adjacent to the Superstition Mountain trail. This trail was only about 3 miles round trip instead of the 9 miles that I was going to attempt. I found out that they were in AZ for a couple of months and had a motorhome in an RV park closer to Apache Junction. I explained my failure and they graciously invited me to join them on their hike to the Wave Cave. There is some pretty steep incline with this hike too but as I said it was much shorter so I gathered my pride and equipment and joined them. We took a nice easy pace and enjoyed getting to know one another. Bruce and Paula are from Kansas City, MO but don't full time RV. They like to come to this area after the holidays until the weather warms up again in MO in April. We continued our climb until we were about a 1/2 mile from the cave. Paula decided that she didn't want to continue with the steepness of this portion of the hike. She sat near a large rock which gave her some shade and Bruce and I went on to the cave.
 
Wave Cave in the upper middle of photo

Close up view of cave from below

The "Wave" Rock hence "Wave Cave"

View of mountain and cave from the bottom 

Bruce and Paula
 

Interesting cactus remnants
 
We took our time with a few rest stops on the way up even though it was only a 1/2 mile to go it was very steep. Bruce and I enjoyed the coolness of the cave inside and the view of the valley below. After a few photos and a little nourishment we started back down to where Paula was waiting. She said that it took us about 30 minutes to climb up and only 15 minutes to come back down. Once we got onto some flatter terrain I got ahead of them and took their photo. All in all I salvaged a disappointing venture in hiking. The Wave Cave was very cool and I even had Bruce take a photo of me "Riding" the Wave.
 
 
It really turned out to be a great day of hiking and making new friends. Just goes to show, you can turn lemons into lemonade. Thank you Bruce and Paula.
 
P.S...... the group started the hike at 8:30 am and didn't get back to the RV park until after 5:30 pm. I was back by 2:30 pm. I think I made the right choice for me. 



Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Time for a Cure" Cancer Awareness Week at Canyon Vistas

Every year Canyon Vistas RV Resort hosts a Cancer Awareness week filled with different events including a Pickleball tournament, Softball Toss, Luncheons, dinners, Golf putting contest, two auctions - one silent, one bidding and a Cancer Walk. Last year the RV resort donations totaled over $22,000. Of course we couldn't participate in every event but we did go to the bidding auction. The resort had a professional auctioneer and folks showing the different baskets that groups in the resort had donated. There was a basket from the Canadian group, the East Coast, Minnesota, Pickleball club and South Dakota group. All together there were 30 baskets and 2 quilts up for auction. One quilt went for $1700.  I was interested in the South Dakota basket since we are now residents of that state. Bidding was wild(there was a happy hour prior to the auction) and baskets were going for some high bids. So when the South Dakota basket came up I wasn't sure if I could go high enough.

Fortunately not too many people were that interested in that basket so I ended up with the highest bid and won it. There were a number of different items in the basket like BBQ sauce, Lakota popcorn, a bun/bread warmer, taffy, a quilted bag, some jelly, A Mount Rushmore magnet and patch, South Dakota map and vacation guide, Bread and butter pickles, pickled Okra, Cheese dip, peppermint pretzels, chocolate, a 6 pack of Crow Peak Canyon Crème Ale and Sturgis Good, Bad and Ugly wine. Not worth the price I paid but it was for a great cause. Both of Glenda's parents died of cancer and my Mom had cancer so we felt good about helping the cause. The auction bidding brought in over $11,000. Events continue tonight and we should know the total on Monday morning at the Coffee and Donuts weekly informational meeting.

The theme of Cancer Week

Great decorations

The South Dakota basket
 
 
The evening before the auction there was a luminary display for those who had survived cancer or succumbed to it and a moment of silence.
 
Our luminaries for family

Luminary display

Luminary "Pink Ribbon" display
 
 
Today we participated in the Cancer Walk. Registration started at 9 am in the parking lot in front of the Resort office. A course had been mapped out with one loop of 2 1/2 miles with an option to do two loops at 5 miles total. Glenda and I did the two loops. It was a great turn out for the event.
 
Starting line

Walkers begin to gather

Registration

Cancer survivors photo
 
We had planned on going to a social tonight but Glenda is coming down with a cold and not feeling her best so we are at home, watched a movie and some TV.
 
It has been a great week for cancer awareness and we're glad we had the opportunity to help make a difference. The weather was perfect and I think the total will be higher than last year. I'll let you know next time. 

 

 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Screen door handle install

The screen door for RV's is really difficult to close from the inside since there really is no handle to pull on when closing it.

 
 
The handle is the circular plastic disc you see on the right side of the door. Now there is a handle to pull on when the outer door and the screen are closed together however if you are coming into the RV when the outer door is open and trying to close the screen door it's hard to get a grip on the plastic disc to close the door.
 
I had seen an RV screen door cross bar that our fiends Debbie and Steve from Down the Road had on their screen door so I decided it would be a good project to install one on our screen door. We bought one at the local Camping World store and unfortunately it did not have the screws and template in the box so we had to make another trip to exchange it. I finally did that on Monday. It had all the parts and I quickly set up to do the install. First I measured the width of the door where the cross bar was to be installed. Then I drilled holes in the door to anchor the crossbar. Glenda helped by placing the level on the crossbar as I drilled the holes. This project actually was done without some issue like most of my projects. The finished product is very secure, looks great and works well.


 
You can't play all the time.  Ha-ha
 
Next week we have a mobile RV Tech coming to take the spare tire off the RV that I had put on in Tucson when we thought we had a slow leak in the tire and it turned out to be a defect in the rim. I contacted the supplier of the wheels to Heartland and filed a claim. After sending photos in they sent the new rim and I took it to a local tire service center where they switched out the wheels. Now the RV tech will put the new wheel on and get the spare back under the RV for use if we have a  blow out or damage due to road debris. Getting ready to move on in about 5 short weeks. Time sure flies when you're having fun. And we are. 
 


 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Visitors from Iowa

This last Monday we had friends from Iowa come for a visit. My friend Darrell and his wife Sue told us when we started full timing and came to AZ for the winter that they would like to come for a visit. So we put a plan into action. Originally they were going to fly down and rent a car to drive around but airline prices took them in another direction. They bought a newer used car(which they needed) and drove to AZ. Darrell also has a friend that spends a couple of months each winter in Apache Junction. He has a mobile home in an RV park near where we are. We told Darrell and Sue that they could spend the nights in our RV and we would go to our son's home in Mesa and drive back in the mornings. They also brought Max their little Maltese/poodle mix with them. That way they would be able take Max out in the evening and first thing in the morning. It actually worked out great...we got to spend some time with our son and they could see what living in an RV is like and make it easier to take care of their dog. They arrived Monday afternoon so we just hung out at the rig and got Max used to the surroundings. On Tuesday Darrell and I went over to the Pickleball courts and played.

Darrell has played on indoor courts at his YMCA so playing outside was a real treat. Unfortunately about 11 am it started to lightly rain and this continued the rest of the afternoon into the early evening. They contacted their fiend Mark and we decided to get together at a local Mexican restaurant in Apache Junction. The food was typical Mexican fare but good. We again hung out at the rig for a while and then we headed off to our son's. On Wednesday, we made plans to meet Mark at the trailhead for the Hieroglyphics Trail near the RV park. It was a nice sunny but cool morning. The trail was busy but we had a great time and some good exercise.

Glenda, Sue, Darrell and Mark
 
 
We rested up some after the hike and got our showers in preparation for meeting Mark again and going to a local Bar and Grill in Apache Junction called Dirtwater Springs. The restaurant is supposed to be haunted ad you can read how that came to be HERE. One of their specials is Alaskan Fried Cod. That's what Darrell and I had and we had the ALL YOU CAN EAT version. We ended up having just two extra helping but got our monies worth. The service was somewhat slow but that gave us plenty of time to talk, get caught up and get to know Mark better.
 
Darrell and I decided to play Pickleball again Thursday morning and Glenda and Sue wanted to go horseback riding. So Wednesday afternoon we called Donnelly's D Spur Riding Stables just about 5 miles from our park on Peralta Rd and they reserved a time. Glenda and Sue did a one hour ride and even saw some longhorn steers. They had a great time and we did too. After we all got showers and a change of clothes we hung out at the rig until about 4:30 pm. We had made plans to meet Mark at Organ Stop Pizza. Glenda and I had gone there before with a group form the RV park. We thought this would be a good way to end the visit since Darrell and Sue would be leaving Friday morning. It was very busy but the pizza was delicious and the music and sight of the organ playing really made our evening.
 

We headed to our son's house and they headed back to the rig. It was a great visit but certainly not long enough. Darrell had worked in AZ years ago when he was a lineman for the telephone company in Iowa and loved the area an the weather. He would like to spend some time in AZ in the winters but his wife is a little reluctant to do that due to grandkids and she actually likes cold weather. Go figure. So they are talking abut it at this point. Quick story....Darrell and I have been friends since we were 4 years old. I actually ran away to his house which was across the street from my house. We were not supposed to cross the street but I did. When we went into his house his mom asked my name, since she had never seen me before, so I told her my name was Mike. However shortly after my mom came looking for me and found me and I don't remember but I'm sure I got a good spanking. Anyway our families grew vey close and we even ended up sharing a cabin with them on an island north of Burlington, IA on the Mississippi River. Darrell and I went to school together and even worked together in a restaurant as busboys and pizza cooks. After I went to college and moved to IL we lost contact for many years. But from time to time we would get together and never lost that friendship.

So there you have it. Great fun with Iowa friends. Time sure flies when you're having fun. Looking forward to seeing them again this spring when we are back north. Hoping they can come to an agreement on spending some time next winter here in AZ. Which means that we have reserved our site here in Canyon Vistas RV Resort from November to March next winter. If you are looking for a great RV park to spend some time at next winter let me know. We love it here.
 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mesa LDS Temple Christmas Light Display

We didn't have any plans for New Year's Eve and we heard that the LDS(Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) Mesa Temple had an amazing Christmas light display that was open to the public. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons(as they are also called) has a large population of members in the Phoenix area so it's natural that they would have some recognition of the birth of Christ. New Year's Eve was the last night that the lights would be up for the public to view so we took a ride from Gold Canyon to Mesa to check it out ourselves. It was right at dusk and it had been raining off and on all day however the rain stopped long enough for us to walk the temple grounds and enjoy the light display. We were not disappointed. Here is a sampling.






I can't imagine the number of man/woman hours it took to create a display of this magnitude. It was really a marvel. A renewal of faith and a feeling of the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.


John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas 2014...Wishing all a Happy New Year

As I mentioned in my last post, we traveled to Streamwood, IL to celebrate Christmas with Heather, Paul and Aiden(our youngest grandson). The weather continued to cooperate with our visit in the north country. We had a great visit and a nice exchange of gifts. Aiden kept us busy and enjoyed his new toys. However while we were there Aiden came down with Pink Eye so Paul and I took him to the Urgent Care and got a prescription for his eye. He was doing much better when we left after the weekend. While we were there we got Aiden to start calling us Me Ma and PaPa. Heather said he still asks where Me Ma and PaPa are.      Click on the photos to enlarge

Aiden's not sure about opening presents

Aiden liked his new fire truck

Grandma had to help with some presents

Still playing with his fire truck
 
We could only stay for the weekend so we planned an evening out at Heather and Paul's favorite restaurant....Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant in South Barrington, IL. We had a great dinner and Aiden was a perfect little gentleman.
 
Aiden and the double thumbs up

Paul and Heather

Glenda and myself
 
 
Paul and Heather are members of the wine club there so we got a discount on a bottle of wine for my brother to thank him for putting us up while we were in IL.
 
Then it was off to Indiana to visit the rest of the grandkids and celebrate Christmas with them. Brooklyne gave up her room while we were there. We had a nice exchange of presents and everyone was happy with their gifts. Todd and Sommer got us a gift card to Chili's Restaurant and Dick's Sporting Goods. We love both places.
 
Ryleigh in front of the tree

Brooklyne

Caden

Jasmyne

Todd

Sommer

Ryleigh with a Barbie camping set
 
 
We had our Christmas the day before Christmas eve due to Sommer working on Christmas eve day and our needing to travel back to IL to spend Christmas day with my Dad, brother(Kent) and family.
 
It was such a good time to spend with the grandkids. They really are growing up fast. Again weather continued to cooperate however there was a forecast of rain/snow possible. Fortunately it never happened. We got a call from Heather while we were in IN and she said that the gifts she had ordered for us that had not arrived when we were there, had now arrived. So we drove to their home before heading back to Central IL. This is what they got for us. (Our son, Chris, gave them the idea) Thank you to Chris too.
 
Exactly what we wanted
 
They also got us a set of Weather Tech mats for the truck. They are specifically engineered for a specific make and model of vehicle to fit perfectly and they do.  

The drivers side

The passenger side
 
 
We got back to Central IL late on Christmas Eve and again stayed at my brother's home. We got up late on Christmas day and his son, Logan, and his Ex Wife, Kay, came over for a brunch. We then Skyped with their son, Parker, in Colorado. They opened presents together and we enjoyed visiting. Christmas afternoon we made a trip over to the nursing home to see Dad and give him a present. He likes to read so we got him the book "Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly. Since Dad was in WW II, he enjoys historical books of that time period.
 
Glenda, Dad and I

Me, Dad and Kent

Brothers, Wives and Dad

Kent, Dad and Logan
 
 
After about 3-4 hours we said our goodbyes. Glenda and I would be leaving the next morning. It was bittersweet but Dad is a trooper and doesn't want us to worry about him. It helps a lot to know that Kent will be there. He really has done so much for Dad. I can't begin to express my appreciation for his efforts. We had a quiet evening at Kent's house and got up bright and early to begin the trek back to AZ. We had good driving weather and actually made it back to Gold Canyon in 2 LONG driving days. I was ready to sleep in my own bed. It felt good too. So we are back home and apparently brought the cold weather with us. Night time temps will be hovering around freezing and day time temps only in the 40-50 range for a couple more days. I even had a touch of a cold /flu the last couple of days but feeling much better tonight. Ready to start the new year. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and safe travels. Planning begins for next year.