Fall in Colorado

Fall in Colorado
Fall in Colorado

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas Show

Before we came to AZ for the winter we were in contact with our friends Faye and Dave from The Wandering Camels and Faye asked if we would be interested in attending the Christmas show of the Trans Siberian Orchestra in Glendale, AZ on Dec 6th. We had never seen one of their shows but had heard about them so we jumped at the chance. Faye Made all the arrangements with tickets and all we had to do was show up. And that we did last Sunday. We met them, their son and wife, Paul and Carol(Faye and Dave's friends) at the Gila River Arena. The place was packed and we had to park a couple blocks away to avoid some crazy parking fees(like $15 - 20). Glenda and I found our seats and introduced ourselves to everyone else. Faye was able to get seats in the 8th row on the floor. Nice and close. TSO has been around for several years and travels around the world performing. Most of the crowd had been to several of their shows in the past....kind of like groupies. At the beginning of the show they announced that $1.00 from every ticket sold at that performance was donated to the local ASPCA which totaled $6,850. You can get more background information about TSO at their official website HERE. The show is a cross between 80's rock band and theatre with an incredible lightshow twist. The first half of the show was a Christmas theme and they played some classic Christmas tunes....of course in their style.

Huge stage

The arena filled behind us

The show begins

Most of the musicians had the typical long hair and beautiful guitars. There was a young woman playing a violin, one playing a keyboard and several women singing and dancing throughout the show.
Click on the photos to enlarge for better viewing







After the Christmas program they played several songs from their new album and finished with a couple guitarists and the violinist up in the air on crane extensions. Very dramatic. The musicians were very talented and the singers had beautiful voices. We had a great time and would attend another performance in the future. It's a little difficult to really show you what the stage was like in these photos due to the low light but I assure you it is a great show. If you get the opportunity it is well worth your time.

Thank you Faye and Dave for inviting us and scoring those great seats.
 
As we were fling out of the arena there was a guy in this sport coat. He really likes Christmas.
 
Enlarge the photo
 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hiking, Javelina and meeting IL friend

We've been busy the last couple of weeks. It's so great to be in AZ with some many of our friends. Some we've met on the road and some in the RV park here. Hiking is one of the things I came to AZ last winter for and we're doing it again with our friends this winter.

Last week we got together with Dave and Faye from The Wandering Camels at their new home at Cave Creek Regional Park. They originally were going to try workamping at a Mega RV Resort in Mesa, AZ but the expectations didn't meet the need so they were able to leave that job and found one with Cave Creek Regional Park. They work at the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Maricopa County. They get to take entry fees and sell water and souvenirs three days a week. For this they get a FHU, propane and laundry use for free. Well not exactly for free. They do have to do some work but what a great job. Anyway, they invited us to come to Cave Creek and go hiking on the Spur Cross Ranch trail. The trail has a wash or Riparian area with lush foliage and some desert with Saguaro, Cholla, Jojoba and Palo Verde. We found a cave that Dave thought his people might have inhabited but none of us would go in to find out. He said he's going to keep looking. (this is Dave's quest in life) We had a great hike and then they took us to their favorite pizza place in AZ. Gio's Pizza in Anthem, AZ.

 

Riparian Area

The Cave


Love the landscape
 
We went back to their rig and had some refreshments and conversation until the sun started to set and Dave wanted to get some sunset photos. However we did get invited back to a couple days later to meet some other bloggers and enjoy some great Philipino food, smoked ribs, chicken and desserts. I'll try to write another post soon on that wonderful evening and great new friendships that were made. Or you can go to Faye and Dave's blog and get a fantastic account from them. Faye is much better at this than me. (I want to be like her) :-)
 
Then over the weekend we had the opportunity to hike with our Canadian friends, Ron and Patsy, to The Wave Cave. Take Highway 60 East toward Gold Canyon. Turn left on to FS77 which is Peralta Road.  Follow FS77 5.6 miles to a left and up turnoff.  Continue 0.6 miles to Carney Springs Trailhead.  No Water and No Restrooms. The hike is an in and out hike of about 3 miles with elevation gain of 800 feet. The trail is marked by cairns and moves steadily upward. The last 1/4 mile is the steepest and rather rocky with some climbing over boulders. But the reward is the great cave and the wave rock. It's an iconic view out of the cave once you're in there.


We're going up to the mountain in the distance

The cave from below

Rocky trail

The Wave
 
I did this hike last year when I failed to complete the 5057 hike that starts at the same trailhead. The 5057 hike is a challenge hike of extreme difficulty. I came back down and decided to go to the Wave Cave with a couple I met in the parking lot. I wrote about this fail in a blog post Superstition Mountain Fail....Wave Cave Redemption

Glenda had never been on a hike of this difficulty so this was a great challenge for her. We took our time and moved up the mountain. After about an hour or so we arrived at the cave. There was a nice young couple there enjoying the view.
 
 
So we joined them. After a while they got up to go but offered to take our photo on the wave. So we did the typical "Riding the Wave" pose all together on the wave. 

Hooray we made it

Riding the Wave
 
We had some lunch in the cave and rested up for the return trip to the parking lot.
 
Looking out

The cave
 
Everyone made it back down the mountain safely. I slept very well that night. What a fun day and a nice challenge. Glenda did such a great job. She was very happy to have made the effort.
 
We were standing in the street at the park near the desert side the other day and as we were talking I looked up and a Javelina came running out from between a couple of park model homes and headed toward the desert. So I followed as quickly as I could but cautiously to get some pictures.
 

It became obvious right away the reason for the Javelina to head to the desert. You see this was a male Javelina and just around the corner was a female Javelina and he had something on his mind.



We're all adults here and nothing X rated just two pigs doing what pigs do.
 
So we let them go about their business after we snapped a few quick pictures. We have been looking for an opportunity to see a Javelina but not exactly that much. Who would have thought we would see them IN the park.
 
The other day I was on Facebook and noticed that a friend from IL was in Sedona, AZ and would be traveling to Sun City, AZ to see her mother. So I sent her a message and we were able to set up a lunch date yesterday. I looked at the map and saw that The Tempe Market Place Mall was about half way between us and our son had taken us to The Thirsty Loin Pub and Grill so I asked her to meet us there. Beth Lamb is a good friend that was a member of a running group I joined back in the days of my running races and trails. It was such a pleasure catching up on what she was up to these days and what our lifestyle is like. The food and conversation was perfect. It was nice meeting her mom and Gene. We talked about getting together before Christmas when we drive back to IL to visit family for the holidays.
 
Glenda, me and Beth
 
I'm a lucky guy to be associated with these two lovely ladies.
 
Looking forward to getting the gang back together for some catching up.
Thanks for following along.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Horse Racing Winnings.....Beginners Luck

Last weekend we were invited to go with some friends from back in Illinois that now live in AZ and our son to go to the horse race track in Glendale, AZ. The track name is Turf Paradise. It's north of the Phoenix area and off the 101. We met our friends and got a program of the races to be run that day. I know nothing about horse race betting but our son had been at the track in the past and had a unorthodox betting system. Just bet on some of the higher odds horses and place a bet for the horse to show. That way if they come in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd you at least get paid at the show bet level.

Slightly higher odds to win some money but not big money if they won. I tried it a couple times with $2 and $3 bets and it worked. I made a little sum of money on the first 2 races with only an initial outlay of cash of $5. Well I tried my own version of this system and place a couple of bets on horses to show but after looking at the life time history of one of the horses I put a $3 bet down to win. What an incredible shock it was that the horse actually won. I don't remember the exact odds but I won $70 on that bet. The next few races didn't go as well but after the last 2-3 races I ended up with winnings of $104.00 Enough to take Glenda to dinner for some great pizza at Oregano's and buy some groceries the next day. We had a great time watching the races, talking with our friends and some beginners luck. I'm sure we'll be back some day. Not sure my luck will hold out like that though. Guess we'll see. Even if we hadn't won, it was a great time at the races.


 
What else can we try while we're here?  Guess we'll see.
Thanks for following along.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Saguaro Lake Hike with friends

Doing a little catching up on the blog today. This hike is one I did with the hiking club here at the RV park last winter. This year we decided to do it again with our friends Ron and Patsy. We also used this opportunity to scout out a place to launch our kayaks sometime this winter. None of us like to get up and going real early in the morning so we headed out about 9am and drove about 30 minutes to the lake. The trail we hiked is the Butcher Jones trail which winds around the west side of the lake. I have the Senior Pass for the National Parks which is like the America the Beautiful Pass for NON Seniors. The trailhead is within the Tonto National Forest which requires a Tonto Pass of $6.00 to park in the parking lot. My Senior Pass allowed us to park for free. One of the perks for getting old. :-) Anyway, we parked Ron's truck and took photos of the pass on the dash in case the ranger didn't see it and gave us a ticket.

We checked out the beach and saw other folks launching their kayaks and canoes there so it looks like a good place to come to when we get ready to take them out. After that we headed to the trailhead right off the parking lot.

The beach
 
As we started out we noticed a number of American Coots along the shoreline. They make a lot of noise as they grunt and chase each other around claiming territory and mates.
 



The trail winds nicely around the inlets and had great views of the lake as we moved along the trail.


Panoramic view(click on the photo to enlarge)


Another Panoramic view(click to enlarge)
 
The trail is about 2.5 miles to the other side of the lake. We took a detour to a water access area along the way. We were able to take a few sots of the greenery near the lake. This year has been rainier in this area than usual so there is a lot of greenery.
 
Very lush foliage

Cattails along the lake

 
After a few photos and some nourishment we headed back to the parking lot. The trail was actually very busy with the Thanksgiving weekend. It seems that everyone has a dog to bring on the trail. I just hope that they are responsible enough to clean up after their pets. It looked like everyone was having a great time and glad to be outdoors. That's what's so great about being here in AZ again this winter. We can continue to get outdoors and enjoy our surroundings......and
 
Got a photo of Ron taking a photo

Love the sun glistening off the water

Ron, Patsy, Glenda and you know who
 
 
our great friends to share our time and experiences with.
 
Tomorrow we get the opportunity to visit with some fellow bloggers and RV'ers.
 
Can't wait.  



P.S.....More hiking experiences to come with our friends Faye and Dave of  The Wandering Camels
 
They have an awesome Workamping job at Cave Creek Regional Park with trails galore to explore.
(I know it rhymes)


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Footworks Percussive Dance Show

Our friends, Ron and Patsy told us that the local Art Council had a series of events happening over the winter. The first one was by the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. If you click on the link, there is a great explanation of what Footworks is, how long they have been around and what Percussive Dance is. So we bought tickets and went to the show about 2 weeks ago. The show was very entertaining and we marveled at the footwork(pun intended) the members were able to perform. This type of dance, to me, resembled a cross between clogging and Celtic dance. We had a lot of fun and we had pretty good seats to get an up close view of the dance steps.

The dancers

The director

The music group
 
This is a show we would definitely go to again in the future. A group that has been performing since 1979 has staying power and must be doing something right. I think it's their enthusiasm and their love of what they do that makes this show work so well. If you has a chance to go to one of their shows, don't pass it up.