Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Hike

You're probably getting tired of reading about hikes through the desert, but here we go again. The good news is we'll be leaving Mesa next week and 'on the road again.'

We started near the confluence of the Verdi and Salt Rivers. Since this was last week after a day of rain, the water was pretty high.

But not as high as it must have been to bury this picnic table. Yes, this is a picnic table. I scraped away some sand to uncover one of the benches.

And we were pretty impressed with this many-armed saguaro.

However we moved the car to a parking area back the road a bit to hike some more interesting hills. I didn't take a picture of the ascent, but once on top the trail wandered along the ridge.

Most of the cacti weren't blooming yet, but this one was pretty colorful. I'm not sure if these are blooms or buds.

We had nice views of the surrounding desert, including Red Mountain seen here.

There were some wildflowers along the way including poppies . . .

And lupine.

I was thinking this was some kind of paintbrush, but maybe not. I'm just so happy when the camera focuses where I want it to focus.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

San Tan Mountain Park

One day we met Carol and John for a hike around San Tan Mountain Park, a regional park about 20 miles south of our house here in Mesa.

Not that you can see it in the picture, but I got a kick out of our various t-shirts. Maybe it's because we're RVers, but our shirts represented places all over North America. John's was a state park in Texas, Carol's was Utah, mine was Key West, Florida, and Ron's was Jasper, Alberta, Canada. We just needed one from Mexico to be complete.

Partway up the hill, we turned back to admire the view. This is so typical of the Phoenix area - basically flat land, with hills that seem to pop up willy-nilly.

I know everybody has been saying this, but the desert is amazingly green this year.

The sight of these beautiful animals got me thinking about my one and only trail ride.

While visiting British Columbia during the summer of '06, Vicki organized a ride for the WINs. I dug through my photo archives to share this 'Hi Yo, Silver' moment.

Can't you just see this poor horse thinking, "Why do I always get the idiots?"

That's something I crossed off my life list - did it once, don't have to do it again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What do you think?

I realize that art is subjective, but when I was asked to post some antique collectibles on Craigslist, I wasn't expecting anything like this. I had to stop myself from exclaiming, "They're the ugliest things I've seen in a long time." Or, "Did somebody actually pay money for them?"

What do you think?

Let's zoom in. They have names. This is St. George on Charger . . .

Lady Rowena on Charger . . .

And Archibald the Dragon.

I did some research on the internet and I have to confess they started to look more interesting to me when I discovered they're worth some money. Not to mention that they are 60 years old with not a mark on them. How many of us can say that? But I guess the economy has hurt the antique business because I didn't get any calls and nobody bid on another set that was for sale on Ebay. I was successful selling them to a dealer at an antique mall, but certainly for less than they should be worth. He loved them so much that he said he would probably keep them for himself. I'm glad they went to a good home.

However I think we can all agree that these irises are pretty. Our friend Pat picked them for me out of her garden. Spring has arrived in Mesa!

One last thought. We have found that having fruit trees means constantly trying to give away the fruit. This winter we were lucky and had relatively little production since I trimmed off all the new growth last year. This year I cut them back earlier and now all four trees are covered in blossoms. What ever will we do next year when all that fruit ripens?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This and That

So what have we done lately, you ask? Well, hold on to your hats, this is exciting.

It's been colder than normal this winter, not to mention wetter. Even the birds are all puffed up and looking angry.

Ron's son sent us this picture that he took at one of the evening soccer games we attended in February. If the birds had coats and blankets, they would look happy too.

Ron will never run out of projects. He replaced all the 1970's receptacles in the kitchen . . .

With these nifty GFI ones.

One day we picked the rest of the oranges off the two trees and I decided to use the juicer I insisted we had to have when we moved in. It only took eight oranges to make a glass. No wonder it costs so much in a restaurant!

To add insult to injury (as they say), I must have had a bad orange. My hard-earned juice smelled and tasted weird.

With all the rain, we've had some nice rainbows.

Ron's latest project was to bury the sprinkler system deeper in the ground. It was barely in the dirt and in some places just covered by stones. He moved it down about six inches. What a job!

I continue to take the easy job - spraying the weeds with vinegar. It works better than weed killer and the only drawback is that I smell like a salad.

And in case you think we don't have any fun, here's a shot of our neighbor Sue (on the right) demonstrating the 'YMCA' dance. I guess she's the cowboy. As I remember, the Village People had an Indian (that was before they were native Americans), construction worker, policeman, and cowboy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Catching Up

Just east of Apache Junction, and right on the north side of US 60, we noticed there are always lots of vehicles parked at the base of a hill. We thought it must be a good hiking spot and decided to check it out.

We discovered it's called Silly Mountain Park and is run by Apache Junction and very well maintained. There are several trails that wander over the hills. We studied the map and picked the longest route. Don't be too impressed though, it was only about 2.3 miles in all.

I think these cholla cactus are just so pretty. Here I was proving that they don't really 'jump' out and snag you - that's just a myth.

It's interesting to see a saguaro cactus that is still standing, but down to 'bare bones' or ribs, as they are known.

At the top was a lot of bare rock, seemingly pushed up sideways from below. No volcanic action here.

Although we didn't see many, the California poppies are beginning to bloom.

The view that day was a little hazy, but still a nice one of the Superstition Mountains.

Then today, we took Mike and Mary to Casa Grande National Monument where we had a chance to see our friends John and Carol in their official capacity as volunteers. John posed for me by the sign (how did I manage to cut it off?) and gave us a personal tour of the ruins. You can just see the top of the four-story ruin in the background with its protective canopy.

And here's Carol working in the gift shop. Don't they just look spiffy in their uniforms?

I was so fascinated listening to John, that I didn't take many pictures, but here is a peek into the interior.

But I have to confess that I was most fascinated by the owls nesting in the rafters of the canopy. I managed to get this lovely shot of one of the pair.

Okay, so there's only so much my little point and shoot camera can do. Here's a much better shot of Carol's that I shamelessly stole off her blog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tortilla Flat

Last weekend we had a visit from Ron's brother Mike and his wife Mary. Actually they're coming back this weekend, just went to Tucson for a few days. We thought they would enjoy a trip to Tortilla Flat, a cute tourist attraction northeast out of Apache Junction on route 88.

Weather wise it might not have been the best day for a drive, but they did get to see the desert all green and healthy from all the rain we've been having.

But wait! What's that down in the ditch? That truck looks way too nice to have been there long. Almost everyone who went by stopped to see if somebody needed help, but the vehicle was empty.

On our way past Canyon Lake, Mary noticed the nice mirror quality of the water.

And we even found an inukshuk. If you haven't heard of these structures, you didn't watch enough of the Olympics.

After an inch of rain the day before, I was hoping to see some washes running. Here we are going through one of them. Mike was driving and doesn't believe in slowing down.

But when we reached Tortilla Flat, Tortilla Wash was a rushing river across the road, complete with a waterfall off the edge.

This guy thought he could avoid the long detour around (and it really is a long way - 108 miles to Apache Junction instead of the 17 we came) and cautiously started in. Most people were yelling for him to continue, but we thought he was crazy.

He backed out and I thought he had changed his mind, but after a couple of false starts, he did drive across. Yikes!!!

As you can see, he accumulated quite an audience. We're not sure where the tow truck was going.

Meanwhile, we decided to get some lunch at the Superstition Saloon.

Mike and Mary appreciated the decor. He even volunteered to remove the wallpaper for them.

The ladies room has to be the most photographed in the world. Here I am posing behind one of the stall doors. (I think my head needs to grow a bit.)

When we left the saloon, we noticed the emergency crews had officially closed the crossing. My favorite was the 'rough road' sign that they added.

Then on our way home, we just missed the show when they flipped over the truck we had seen earlier. We got the story. It had happened the night before when the driver took a dirt track off the main road and somehow flipped into the ditch alongside. We were glad they hadn't taken a flying leap off the road and that nobody was hurt.