"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Showing posts with label Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arizona. Show all posts

Saturday, March 31, 2018

We're baaaack...

On the road again!

The temperatures were rising to the 90s, making it a good time to make our exit from Mesa, AZ. We were finally able to find a campground on short notice with so many snowbirds leaving the area. We found one in Camp Verde for 3 nights. Finishing our jobs a few days before we had planned was fine with our bosses.  Besides, it was my birthday week, or as I call it, a holiday!

We said our good byes and could not forget Oliver. He is one cool dog that rules the roost next door.

Mike had ordered a small black forest cake for my big 60 day. The bakery made a large, which gave us more than enough to share with friends.
Birthdays often make me reflective, making me look back at this life. I am so thankful for every birthday I get to have.  Our lives are made up of the choices we make both good and bad. I feel lucky those choices brought me here and that we are strong and healthy. Too many people we have known didn't get this many.

 Tyler and Kyle had time for a visit and bocce ball during their visit for Spring Training. It is  a joy to spend time with them. They are growing up so much.
While in Mesa, we  had been riding our bikes on mostly flats with some hills this winter. We sure felt it on the hills when we arrived in Oak Creek. It was so good to be back out enjoying some new scenery.

I wasn't sure if I was feeling the Chapel Vortex or just the hill that we had just climbed.

It had been a long time since we had last visited Montezuma's Castle. We stopped on our way back from a hike and geocaching.
Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved dwellings located in Camp Verde, Arizona from between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. 

 The sycamore trees are so interesting with their varied color of bark.

Montezuma's Well
The constant supply of warm, 74 degree water was the life-blood of the people who made their home here. Over 1.5 million gallons of water flows into the Well every day, a rate that has not fluctuated measurably despite recent droughts throughout the state of Arizona.
It is good to be on the road and we have some great plans ahead for this spring and summer. Just slower this year than last.

Until next year friend!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Hiking with friends in AZ

Doing time in the desert

Last summer was a whirl wind of travel across the country to see friends, family and do a little work. All of those miles left us ready to settle down for a while as we returned to Arizona. Six months is a long time for us to be in one place which led us to venture out a couple of times to keep the "Itch" at bay.

We had driven by the Goldfield Gold mine several times but had never stopped. This time we made the stop since I was still recovering from a virus that was sweeping through the area and not quite ready for a hike.

This was an interesting geocache.

 Getting ready for their shoot out.
I returned to the hospital for my four shifts a month. The flu hit pretty hard and a virus got me down for 10 days causing me to miss my trip to Denver to see my grandsons. So many nurses were missing work and the hospital was so full that they were offering
some nice bonuses for extra shifts or going to a different hospital. I only picked up one shift for a bonus as people were returning to work about the same time that I got better.
Mike is giving workamping a go here at  Cal-Am Resorts. He was working 24 hours per week for 3 months delivering food, beer and wine to different resorts which covered our space rent and utilities. Most couples share the job and each work 12 hours.
The 24 hours a week kept stretching out to many more 4 days a week. After the first month, we sat down for a talk and decided that things weren't working out as we had been led to believe they would. When he let his boss know that he was done, they came to an agreement that  12 hours a week for half of the rent would be a better plan. Mike likes the idea of working Mondays and Fridays 6 hour days. This is supposed to be a retirement job. Now he can enjoy the bike riding and hiking that we came here for.
Our resort has plenty to keep us busy and have enjoyed the hiking groups and met some fun people. We have a habit of hiking the same trails and this gave us the opportunity to see some different trails
and areas.  The comedy show and Tribute bands were a good time along with some of the classes that were offered. My Spanish is coming along.
 We took a few hikes with the local hiking group to checkout some new trails and enjoyed the people very much.
Why is he standing on the protective grate over the mine hole?
South Mountain's Fatman's Pas

The first time I locked myself out of our trailer was shortly after we sold our home. We were in Manitou Springs and Mike was working at the bike shop downtown. I couldn't figure out how I could have locked the door but I was stranded outside without my phone. I walked over to the office and used their phone. Mike came home and unlocked it for me. This was a wakeup call for us. Fortunately, we weren't in the toolies without a way in, other than breaking a window. We purchased a heavy duty lockbox to place on our hitch for a key, just in case.
Fast forward to Mike's first day work camping here in AZ. Once he went to work, I went outside without my phone or keys. I turned around to open the door and it was locked. I called Mike from the office for the combo to the box which I couldn't remember and opened the door. I was beginning to question my neediness when the door locked again and he was at work. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. The door will not close once the switch is in the lock position.  

Once I explained it to him that I notice the upper lock was turned to the lock position, a light went on. Every time this happened, he had locked the upper door lock as he left since I was sleeping in. I would unlock the lower lock from the inside without realizing he had locked the top.  We tested out his theory and he was right.
We had a good time visiting with Mike's sister, Susan and Rick on their visit from Vermont to see the Barrett Jackson Car Auction. They enjoyed the sunshine after a cold winter in the northeast.

We still have a little more time before heading out for the spring. But, it is sure nice to have Mike out cycling with me once again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lake Havasu

A Christmas Getaway

It was a chilly 55 degrees when we arrived in Lake Havasu City. Add that to the fact that it was Christmas weekend and there were very few people out and about.
I had my camera on the wrong setting, hence the blur.

In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. Built in 1831, the bridge couldn't handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, Founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.
The bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered. Everything was shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City. Reconstruction began on September 23, 1968, with a ceremony including the Lord Mayor of London, who laid the cornerstone.

A canal was dug separating the peninsula, creating an island for the bridge to go across.

We started the morning with hot coffee, tea and "The Christmas Story" before heading out on our bikes on Christmas morning once it warmed up to 50 degrees.

We rarely consider a landlocked, desert state such as Arizona for a lighthouse location, but it just so happens that Lake Havasu City is home to more lighthouses than any other city in the entire country. These scaled-down replicas are actual functioning navigational aids built to the specifications of famous lighthouses on East Coast, West Coast and Great Lakes. More than eighteen can be seen on the shores of the lake. Most can be hiked to while some are only accessible by boat. The lighthouses we visited were with our own little feet.

This massive collection of lighthouses was originally started for safety purposes. The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club wanted to make the lake a safe place for night boating and fishing. They took pride in their development and chose to pay homage to the famous lighthouses in the U.S. by making smaller replica lighthouses. All lighthouses are fully-functional replicas of famous lighthouses make a boating experience even more beautiful and unique.

All of the lighthouses on the west side of Lake Havasu are replicas of famous lighthouses on the West Coast, while the east side consists of East Coast replicas. The lighthouses around the island are all replicas of lighthouses from the Great Lakes. As per the coast guard's navigational regulations, lighthouses on the west coast use a green beacon, while east coast lighthouses use a red beacon. Lighthouses with a flashing amber beacon signify safe harbor lights for emergency use only.

I loved the leg lamp on this sailboat as we took an evening walk along the canal pathway.

On Christmas Eve, we took a hike in Sara Park which is 4 miles south of our condo. We took a wrong trail as we entered the wash to the slot canyon going right instead of left. We didn't see any yellow trail markers for 3/4 mile and turned around. We had taken the wrong wash.

It was tough walking 5 miles in the sand. Minimal precipitation over the past year made the sand very loose. So we watched for parallel trails along the ridge and took them as much as we could.

It was further down using the rope than it looks. After lowering ourselves with the rope there was a ladder to climb down the rest of the way.I was hoping no one would feel ornery and move the rope before we returned. I am not sure I would have made it out even with Mike boosting my butt.

Sara Park has many single track trails that would be great for mountain biking.
 Lake Havasu Beach
It was a nice way to spend Christmas.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Adaptive Cyclists

So many places to ride!

One of the reasons we enjoy spending the winter in the desert is cycling. McDowell Regional park is a favorite for mountain biking. Just a 25 minute drive puts us on some sweet single track.
Beer bones Jones on the newly rebuilt shelter along the Pemberton Trail.
The Valley of the Sun has done a great job of adding multi use paths across the valley. We took this path from the Cubs Stadium in Mesa by Tempe Town Lake into Scottsdale.
There are different bike routes we like to take while here in Mesa. One we like goes to Usery
Regional Park which is a moderate 30 mile ride with climbing to the park. Many cyclists use the park as a rest stop for the restrooms, refilling the waterbottles or having a snack. We have met people from around the US and world when we would stop here. Last year, we met a couple from Minnnesota that invited us to ride with their snowbird group which we enjoyed very much.

This week, my right knee was hurting. I told Mike to go ahead and ride faster and further if he would like and meet me at the park. There were three cyclists on recumbent bikes at the stop. One lady asked Mike to help her get her foot unclipped from the pedal. Then Dan
walked over and handed us a postcard with his information. His speech was slow and his right arm and leg weak. I mentioned that there was an adaptive cycling program in Colorado Springs and he happens to be involved with (Hi to our friend Alan Severn who has been involved with
the adaptive program in Colorado Springs for quite sometime).
Dan and the other riders had strokes or other neurologic conditions that had been a huge insult in their lives. When I told them I was a nurse, they were happy to sit and share their stories and tribulations. Cycling has brought back so much to their lives. They emphasize abilities not disabilities and boy do they do that with their rides around town and across the US. I could go on and on explaining how they had to relearn so much including speaking and overcoming their isolation
but you can look at his website at www.spokesfightingstrokes.org. He does a much better job of telling their stories.
As we were leaving, we all celebrated the downhill ahead of us and the fact that we made it to the top of the hill. Riding down hill with the wind in my face, I thinking about how my knee wasn't aching quite so much after our visit. We appreciate
our health and try to do something to keep these bodies strong everyday. We never know when it will be our turn to get wacked upside the head by something out there lurking in the unknown.
Boy I ended that on a downer.... ;)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oak Creek Valley

Up in the valley

Not ready to return to the heat of the city, we were able to book some days at the Cave Springs a USFS campground north of Sedona along Oak Creek for the week. Sedona is a
beautiful but congested area even during the week.  Once through town, the traffic really did not improve as the road narrowed and became more winding.
Of course, a picture of Bell Rock is required as we enter the canyon from the south. The north route has hairpin turns and steep ledges from the south is the way to go for us.

View from our campsite
 The temperatures were 10 degrees cooler in the canyon. Sedona was also experiencing higher than normal temps. The leaves were at their peak fall colors. Nothing to compare to New England but very nice for Arizona. It was good to hear the crunch of the fallen leaves as we walked along the cliffs.

  West Oak Creek Trail is said to be one of the most visited trails in Arizona. As we drove by the trailhead, the parking lot was full and cars were parked along both sides of the road for 1/4 of a mile. The gate opens at 8am and the cost is $10 a car. The next morning we happened to be up early and decided check out the trail. A camp host had mentioned that there were three parking spots outside of the gate that allowed access before the gates opened. We arrived at 7:15, got the third parking spot and paid our $10 to hike.

Approximately 11 miles from Uptown, the West Fork Trail parking lot is on the left. There’s a Call of the Canyon sign post evoking memories of Zane Grey’s famous western of the same name and the time of a different era. Grey is said to have written the novel in one of the historic cabins that eventually evolved into the Mayhew Oak Creek Lodge and the 1923 movie was filmed here.

 The  fall leaves were past peak but still quite nice. The trail is an 6 mile round trip of rolling hills along the creek. The temps were in the low 50s as we started out with only an occasional person on the trail. As we were returning, the closer to the end we got, the more people we came across. On our return, we met a very nice couple from North Carolina that walked with us and had a nice to visit that made the miles pass quickly. Hi Jim and Susan!
The trail is three fairly flat miles one way with 13 creek crossings.

Most of the pictures were taken pointing up at the walls of the canyon.

Most of the pictures were taken pointing up at the walls of the canyon.

 I am not sure if we would hike this trail again with so many trails to choose but were glad to spend a morning in the canyon. It was good to sit in our recliners after the hike and read as the wind blew leaves from the trees. We would wake after dozing off and be covered with leaves. You have to admit, a good book and a nap after a hike is just a great day.

We were dry camping this week, using our solar panels, which are not very big, to keep our batteries charged. It worked great in Prescott since we had sunshine all day. In Oak Valley, the sun was not shining on our site until after 9 am and down by 4 pm in a very shaded spot also. We woke one morning to the sound of our furnace sounding funky and realized the batteries were dying. Using the truck for a charge, we managed to get the slide in. Mike used a ratchet to lift the hitch so we could load up and return to Mesa a day early. It would have been good to stay one more day. With temps in the 30s at night, our charge probably wouldn't make it until midnight. Yes, I am a wimp and like at least a few amenities like electricity and heat.

After a month in one place, it was good to get away for a week in some places we haven't visited before.  We are enjoying our friends and new acquaintances at Val Vista Resort and think it is a pretty good place to stay for a while.