Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 25 to 29, 2009

We've been out on a couple of bicycle rides since the last posting. We need to keep somewhat active as things are sure a lot quieter lately. Today we took a short ride toward Gold Canyon, east of Apache Junction. It was just the two of us and we took our time and enjoyed just being outside. The weather was warm enough, about 80 degrees farenheit, and the route was a mix of pavement and gravel on streets adjacent to the Superstition Mountains. Here are a couple of pictures from today:
cactus in bloom
Superstition Mountains in the background

There are starting to be a lot of flowers on the cactus. We should go out specifically to get some pictures before we leave the sunny south for the summer. You'll notice I use a lot of pictures of Lise as her pictures somehow always turn out better; not sure why that is :-)

We may be going on a hike next week. We'll see. It is supposed to be in the high hills and therefore not likely to involve interaction with snakes. Time to get our hiking boots back out, I guess.

The Mesa Market that has been open on weekends all winter is closing for the season. Today was the last day. There were a large number of people walking around the tents looking for bargains, us included. I just like going to people watch. We don't usually spend much money there.

There have been a couple of happy hours this week which we have attended. We basically decided not to go to too many this year as we end up eating too much and the ingredients are not always the healthiest. That doesn't mean it doesn't taste good, it's just that the food is inconsistent with our current dietary habits. But this week we have decided to attend them as it may be the last opportunity to see some of the friends we've made while we've been here. I think many others felt the same way as a lot of people showed up.

We've been tweaking our trip map a little bit and may decide to take a route that stays off the Interstate highways a bit more. We compare notes with friends in the park that travel in the same general direction as us and get ideas that way. Looks like we might be going through Dodge City, Kansas now. That should be fun. Hopefully we can stop long enough to look around a bit.

Got to sit down now and watch the rest of the Juno Awards (Canadian Music Awards). Will post again soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 17 to 24, 2009

Life is starting to slow down for us again. People are starting to leave the park and head home, at various speeds, to their summer locations. It's still pretty cold in some parts of the country. Two couples that we spent a lot of time with this winter have hit the road today and are heading back to their Canadian homes.

With everyone leaving, there are not as many organized activities to participate in. There is still lots to keep us busy, however. We attended a Chicago Cubs baseball game on Friday. It was very hot and our seats didn't have any shade. Then on Saturday we experienced the opposite end of the spectrum by attending a Phoenix Coyotes/Vancouver Canucks hockey game. We wore warm clothing and it was still cold! Some people actually went wearing shorts. Not this guy. The game was exciting though - if you like onesided games. Vancouver showed up on paper but that's all. Phoenix played very well and executed some pretty good playmaking. Plus, we saw that shot that's probably on all the highlight reels this week - when Phoenix was getting a penalty and Vancouver put the goal in their own net, from the blue line; and the goal scorer was the same person that got the penalty for Phoenix.

We've stopped hiking as there are too many snakes around; the weather this year has been anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees warmer than average, and as a result the snakes are out earlier. We will still bike though, and will find other things to keep us busy.

We've been planning our route home. So far it looks like we'll travel along the I-40 to Oklahoma City and then up I-44 and I-70 to Indianapolis, then northward towards Sarnia where we expect to cross into Canada. We'll visit Sicard in Hamilton (where we bought our motorhome) for some maintenance, and Tech Mobile in Lindsay to check out our satellite dish. After that we'll visit family in the Toronto area and then head to Ottawa for the summer. We'll be staying at Recreationland just outside of Rockland, Ontario. We'll finally get to meet Sandra and Gordon whose blog we've been following for a couple of years now. Sandra's blog is .

A dear friend of ours, who we met and got to know in Whitehorse, Yukon, passed last week. Joyce Hayden was a remarkable woman, a strong women's rights activist, and a great person. She'll be missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to Earle and family members.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 8 to 16, 2009

This is like a 'set-aside some time to do necessary stuff ' day. Lise has been working on our taxes and on those of family members. It is amazing how we can do this while travelling far from our home base. The technical tools available make it so easy - as long as we get all our mail on time!
Lise and I golfed on Sunday, March 8th. I enjoy being able to golf together. It is certainly fun with my regular golfing buddies as well, but it's nice to see that Lise seems to be picking the game up and enjoying it. On Monday, I backed out of an impromptu hike up the Dutchman Trail, off the Peralta trailhead. I had a scheduled golf game with our group from the park and I didn't want to miss that. So, Lise enjoyed the hike - and provided some pictures, while I knocked that old ball around once again :-)
Tuesday was spent running from one thing to another. I golfed, Lise practiced her violin, and then went to her lesson, and after dinner we participated in a 'Canada/USA darts tournament made up of people in our park. That was a lot of fun! There were 12 people for each side so we made 3 groups of four per side and had a round-robin tournament. Canada ended up winning by capturing the last game to break a tie (3/3). Everyone enjoyed it and it's another example of the things we do here in the park to generate some fun!
Wednesday and Saturday we went for a bike ride along our usual bike path. It takes over half an hour to get there but it's well worth it. Our total for the two days was 52 miles. One thing is for sure, it helps you sleep well at night. We need the recovery time.
Thursday was another day of conflicting activities. I had golf, of course, and there was a hike scheduled along the Arizona Trail. Lise went on the hike, I golfed, and then drove the hour out to the trail and caught up with the hikers at the spot they stopped to have lunch. It's a little more nerve racking at this time of year, with the weather being so hot, as we have to watch out for rattle snakes. Lise and I had brought our walkie talkies so I was able to find out how far ahead they were and keep in touch since it's not a great idea to be out hiking by yourself. Some of our group did see a five foot diamond back rattlesnake on the way back. It was less than 3 feet from the trail when they noticed it (heard it's rattle), but it slithered away. Unfortunately (or fortunately :-) ) we didn't get to see it as we had already passed by that area and were quite a ways ahead. If it was up to Lise we wouldn't have any interest in getting anywhere near any snake, let alone a rattlesnake!
Nice view - Dutchman trail picture
The (Ocotillo)cactus is starting to bloom and the flowers are coming out
The Happy Hikers :-)
Taken from the base of the cactus (Saguaro)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

February 21st to March 7, 2009

Wow! I can hardly believe two weeks have passed already. Who has time to blog nowadays :-)

Our friends have concluded their visit in sunny, warm Arizona and returned to the cold climate of the far north. Did I mention 'warm'? I can't remember the last time it rained. It seems every day has been sunny and warm - but who's complaining? Not me!

I never did get a picture of them while they were here to prove to folks back home that they really were enjoying the sunny south. But, I'll bet that Alma's suntan will be proof enough, right Alma? I think overall that they had a good holiday and were able to experience firsthand what winter down here is like, and the vast array (that's for Kathy to look up in the Wickepedia) of things to do here. Lise and I can both vouch for how busy we can become. With all due regard to all you people still working and stressed about how time consuming and stressful your jobs are, we can truthfully say that we are busier now than when we were working.

We've both had our fair share of golf in the last two weeks. In fact, I think it's time to slow down a bit and just golf our regular rounds. Naturally we have been out hiking - Massacre grounds last week and South Mountain (Mormon Trail) this week. Both hikes were fun and just moderately challenging which, for us, was a bit of a relief after some of our recent hikes.

We also went to see the Dutton's one evening. They are a musical family and are known for being on America's Got Talent. I believe they made it into the top ten. It was a fun evening. We went with our friends from the Yukon - actually we were their guests as a bit of a thankyou for helping them with their arrangements at this end.

We've been out biking a little more frequently lately. You can't just live on one hike a week and expect to stay in shape - or lose weight. We also went to the Cubs/Dodgers game yesterday - love watching baseball but I'd rather it was the Blue Jays :-) We also went to the annual rodeo held in Apache Junction. It was impressive, and I think the pictures captured the flavour a little bit.

Today Lise played slowpitch baseball; a fun game set up as Canadians vs Americans. We won 17 to 3. Sounds like Lise was one of the stars of the game. Some women approached her afterward and were asking if she would play baseball for them next year. Who'd have thought it!

That's it for now. Sorry I was so late in getting this out. I'll just attach some photos from our last two weeks. Cheers.

This is one of the scenic stops on our bike route

He stayed on for the full 8 seconds!
I like this one!

Lise trying to decide whether she'll get claustrophobic or not

Guess not!

This is a " enough pictures of me already" look :-)

natural tunnel about 30 feet long, caused by these fallen rocks