Monday, May 3, 2010

May 2, 2010

I think we were both pretty anxious to get home. We were on the road by 7:30. There was a slight drizzle to start off but it remained pretty clear otherwise. We found a Tim Hortons for our morning coffee stop and this time no problems - I found a good place to park; it helps when it is a Sunday and a lot of roadside businesses are closed.

We sure weren't impressed with the quality of Hwy. 17 - it's supposed to be the Trans-Canada Hwy but it was probably the worst road we travelled on in the last six months!

We arrived in Rockland by noon and proceeded to fill up with fuel and we were fortunate to find a propane dealer open to top that off as well. It's easy to find propane tanks for your bbq at fuel stops but not so easy to have a big tank that has to be filled using different fittings. So now we are all set for our summer at Recreationland tent and trailer park.

We get the same feeling arriving here as when we arrive in our Apache Junction RV park; all our friends come by to say hello and we all get up to date on how our respective winters were spent. It's great.

We went over to our daughter Renee's last night for supper and I had my first chance to see my newest grandson - Kaelan. At 5 months he's growing big already and he looks to have the same outgoing personality as his brother Liam.

It's raining quite hard this morning and I decided to go out and wash the rig in the rain - it makes a perfect rinser. Put a good rainsuit on and wear sandals and you're all set. I must have motivated Lise 'cause she's out there right now, with my rainsuit on, washing our car. How about that :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010

I was a little tardy in downloading my pictures onto the computer. Here's a few to look at.

Adam, Leah, Lise and the grandchildren as we're getting ready to leave Chilliwack
local artist at the campground in St. Regis, Montana carved these at various sites through the campground. Nice touch!
little bear doesn't seem too anxious being close to a human!
Today was our day to cross back into Canada so we were anxious to get an early start. We were packed and driving out of our camping spot by 7:30 am. We stopped to fill up with diesel before we crossed the border. The crossing was pretty uneventful - which is always a blessing. No lineup and two minutes after speaking to the customs official we were on our way - first stop Tim Horton's (of course).
Last night we had decided on a destination and possible campground for our end of day stopover. Morning Mist Campground near Deep River was scheduled to open on May 1st so that was our goal. The traffic on Hwy 17 was pretty light and everybody was keeping reasonably within the speed limits.
At lunch time we decided to look for a Tim Horton's in Sudbury. The GPS provided directions but the one it found for us was just a car drive-through and we wanted to sit down and have soup and sandwich. We found another one but there was no place to park the rig nearby. We turned down a side road thinking we could go around the block and find a place to park. Wrong!! It was a dead end. We had to unhook the toad, find a place to turn the rig around, rehook and head back up the road. After all that we decided it wasn't worth trying to get to Timmy's anymore and had a home made sandwich in the rig instead - which we probably should have done in the first place. As well, Sudbury has always been a nuisance place to drive through regardless of what vehicle we're driving. I should know better by now. Next time I'm staying on the bypass!
Anyway the campground we wanted was open and we had no trouble getting in and hooking up and getting our satellite dish up and running. One more day of travel and we will be home. Yaay.. I think it is about 300 kilometres (about 175 miles). We'll sure be glad to stay in one place for a while - at least until we start getting the itch to travel again :-)

Friday, April 30, 2010

April 29 to 30, 2010

Thursday turned out to be a better day than the last few of wind-driven days - it rained most of the day :-). The good news in that is there was no wind to speak of. We trucked along at a fairly steady pace up to Fargo, ND and then took Hwy. 10 and 210 up to Duluth and ended up at Ashland, Wisconsin where we hoped to spend the night. Unfortunately there were no campgrounds open and the local Wal-Mart had a no overnight parking sign posted. Rather than take a chance with that we continued on Hwy. 2 to Salem where we found a campground that was open. It wasn't much but it got us off the road and I needed a break. We had too much tree coverage and couldn't deploy our satellite so couldn't get on the internet or watch tv. But we did get to spend a quiet evening reading, which we had gotten out of the habit of lately.

Today we made it all the way to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, arriving around 3:30 and found a nice campground on the river connecting Lake Huron with Lake Superior. We have a spot right on the edge of the river and have been able to sit and watch the big ships go by as they travel through the locks between the lakes.

Tomorrow we'll be back in Canada. And, it is only 500 miles remaining to our campground near Ottawa. I thought it would be farther than that. In any event, we'll travel to Deep River to a campground we found there and then take a leisurely drive into Ottawa on Sunday. We're really looking forward to getting back and seeing all the rest of the family. This trip has been a great opportunity to drop in on our spread out family. Well, that's one reason why we adopted this lifestyle. I'm sure we'll be getting another early start tomorrow, now that we're on the last leg.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 14 to 28, 2010

We golfed with our grandson David on the 14th. The weather was pretty wet and David's shoes and socks got soaked. We almost took him home to change his footwear but the weather improved a bit so we all toughed it out.

We babysat the kids from Friday to Sunday while Adam and Leah went to Vegas and everything went fine (for Adam and Leah, and for us :-) ). I don't know what we were expecting but it's always nice when there are no problems.

On Tuesday we decided to go golfing with David again and this time he slept over in the motorhome. Unfortunately the weather was crappy again so we put the golf off 'til the next day. He got the chance to sleep over two nights in a row. He was happy about that. This time we managed to keep his feet dry!

We left Chilliwack on Sunday the 25th and travelled to Kelowna to visit with our daughter Kathy and her boyfriend, Mark. There was still water on the Coquihalla Hwy. through the pass and there was a residue of salt which found its way onto the rig and the car. I think there is a cleanup in my future! We had a great visit with Kath and met her boyfriend. They seem to be a good match and Kath seems happy. They made dinner and we spent a few hours afterwards socializing and getting up to date.

We crossed over into Washington state on Monday the 26th and we've been travelling east ever since. Yesterday we stayed at a Wal-Mart (in Miles City, Montana). It was so windy that the grocery carts were being blown around the parking lot and at least one hit our rig (no damage that I could see). We are currently at a campground on Highway I-94 at Jamestown, North Dakota. We would have gone farther today but it was so windy we had to find a place early and get off the road before we were blown off!! Here's hoping tomorrow brings more normal weather.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

March 19 to April 13, 2010

We spent our last two weeks in Arizona as usual, playing golf, hiking and bike riding. Since we were leaving on Friday April 2nd, we also had to get the rig and car ready for travel. That always makes the last couple three days very hectic.

The week before, on our last group hike, we finally saw our first Diamondback rattlesnake. We knew there was a chance of seeing one because the weather had warmed up. It was 4 to 5 feet long and we got pretty close to it as it crossed the ATV trail we were following. He's actually very pretty with its sand coloured diamond shapes and notice the black and white rings of his 'rattle'. We were as close as about 10 feet from him (or it could be a her). I don't know how you can tell the difference... I can't image you just lift up the tail like you would for a cat or dog. LOL Seriously though, I wouldn't want to make a habit of crossing snakes. We have some friends who have come across them on a hike and almost stepped on them. With their colour, they blend into the landscape.

We left the resort on Friday after saying our goodbyes to friends the night before. Leaving is always bittersweet though. We look forward to being on the road again and seeing our family but we always leave behind the great weather. Anyway, I don't think we could handle the hot weather experienced during the summers around Phoenix.

But we were not heading home yet. We were coming to British Columbia to spend time with our children who live in the western part of the country. So we travelled west until we got to Bakersfield California and then headed north along I-5, driving through northern California, Oregon then Washington. From Bellingham, Washington we followed a secondary highway to Sumas where we crossed the border into Abbotsford, only 20 miles from Chilliwack. The whole trip took only 4 days (3 nights). We spent 2 nights in Flying J Travel Plaza parking lots and the last night at an RV Park as the Flying J close by was too small to accommodate overnight parking for motorhomes. It helps the budget when we can stay in Flying J.

It was very interesting travelling through Grants Pass on the I-5 between California and Oregon. As we reached higher elevations it was snowing and it was white everywhere. The ground and trees were covered but luckily the accummulation of snow on the road was not bad... maybe a couple of inches of slush. This was our first time driving in snow with the motorhome. It's not bad by itself but while driving through the mountains where the downhill grades are 6 or 7 percent for 5 to 7 miles. Yikes! Traffic slowed down to about 35 mph; everyone was being careful - and traffic was light. After about three hours we were out of the mountain passes and back on reasonably level ground.

All of our trip planning was done with the help of our Microsoft Streets mapping, our Garmin GPS, our Rand-McNally travel map, and we downloaded Flying J locations onto our Microsoft Street maps. We didn't really need to use Woodall's website for camping ideas this time as we didn't really use any - the one campground we did find was recommended by the staff at the Flying J.

So we've been here now for a week and it has rained most of the days. And it's still cold enough to have to keep the heat on in the RV. We expected warmer weather here but no such luck.

We've been enjoying ourselves mostly by visiting with our son Adam and his wife Leah, and our adorable grandchildren David and Dylan. David definitely remembers us, but then he is old enough being 4 yrs old. Dylan is 18 months old so he didn't remember us but he warmed up to us pretty quick and we've settled right in here. Both boys have been coughing and now I have a pretty bad cold that I'm trying to shake. Adam and I managed to play 18 holes on Sunday at The Falls. It's a very nice but challenging golf course just outside of Chilliwack on the Trans-Canada Hwy.

We have baby sitting duties this weekend as Adam and Leah head to Las Vegas for a little R & R. We look forward to spending some quality time with the grandkids.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 6 to 18, 2010

Lise and I have been taking golf lessons here in the park and we're starting to see some improvements in our game. The lessons are done now but we'll have to incorporate the new stances and dynamics into our regular game so that we can be consistent with it. Seems like a worthwhile expense anyway.
Our friend Earle, from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada arrived in Phoenix last week for a one week visit. He stayed with our friends Art and Linda, also from Whitehorse. Lise and I hadn't seen him since we left the Yukon in 2001. He looked just the same to us. We played a couple of games of golf with him. Most of the time Art and I found ourselves playing out of the left side or right side of the fairways (usually among the trees) while Earle was straight down the middle pretty well every time! At 83 he still does very well. It was great to spend time with him and we look forward to getting together again soon - maybe he'll spend some time here in the winters ?
Lise was in a softball tournament last weekend. They played 7 games over 2 days. Each game was about an hour long. Her team won 6 of the 7 games, losing only the last one, and came away with the silver medal. I saw the last two games and thought they played some pretty good baseball.
We finally got out on our bicycles yesterday and managed a 28 mile round trip. I now have so many sore muscles I can't keep track of them all. The temperature reached a high of 84 F so it was a beautiful day for riding. Earlier in the week we hiked the Peralta Trail again. Everyone likes to hike this trail and the view at the top is super. Here are some pictures.
Rest area before pushing onward and upward
View from the saddle - Weaver's Needle in the background
A beautiful oasis in the sky

Friday, March 5, 2010

February 21 to March 5, 2010

We've had a great two weeks. Busy as usual - I won't bore you with the details but I did want to mention that I volunteered at the Waste Management Phoenix Open again this year and enjoyed that very much. This is the third year in a row for me; it's lots of fun and I get to see some great golf! I'm not sure that I'll do it next year though - maybe get an entry pass and watch the golf as a spectator instead.
We've finally reached that stage of the year when we have to think about returning home - which way we're going to go, when, what reservations we have to make, what RV maintenance issues we have to see to - the list goes on. In a way it's a bit depressing, that we have to temporarily give up this life style as we head back north and into the colder weather. Last year it was abysmal in Ottawa (pretty well anywhere in the northeast) and we were wearing long pants and coats right into July. But, the flip side is we get to see family again and that is always a real positive. This year we'll be heading to Chilliwack, B.C. to visit family there and, hopefully, visit with our daughter in Kelowna and son in Grande Prairie. We will have to work out the logistics of how we're going to get that all in.
When we're ready to leave B.C. we'll probably drop back down into the States and travel east and cross back into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie.
We don't have to leave here until near the end of the first week in April so lots more time to enjoy our various activities yet. Yesterday we hiked Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains. We thought we had lost out on that opportunity this year as our hiking group did that hike on a day that Lise and I were both busy with other things that had been pre-booked. Fortunately a friend in the Resort was looking for someone to accompany them to the same destination so we jumped at the chance. Lise hadn't done this one before so she was pretty pumped about it. It went really well. We left at 8:00 in the morning and arrived back home at 4:00 pm. A very exhilerating climb (and tiring - we dragged our limp bodies to bed at 9:00, which is a bit early for us). This hike is considered moderately difficult and, in the upper elevations, the trail is steep and difficult to follow. Total elevation change is about 2,800 feet as we went to the top of the mountain which is above Flat Iron. Hope you enjoy the pictures.
stopped for a rest along the trail - what trail!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February 11 to 20, 2010

I don't know if I can do this without taking up too much space but, this is what we've been up to over the last 10 days:
11th - visit to Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson; with friends Art and Linda
12th - We hiked the West Pinto Trail with friends from the Resort (lots of water!)
13th - Lise and I both got haircuts; we joined Art in a 9 hole golf game at Apache Sun
14th - I had my first golf lesson to work on some of my problem areas; we have a golf instructor that has just moved into the Resort and was offering lessons; We attended the Valentine Dinner put on by Meridian ($28.00 for 2 - included performance by a rock and roll band (pretty good band too)
15th - Lise had a double header with her softball team and I went to watch and offer fan enthusiasm :-)
16th - we both had our usual Tuesday golf (9 holes), and followed that up with darts from 6:00 to 8:00 that evening
17th - Lise had a softball game and I went on a hike to Picket Post mountain along the Arizona Trail
18th - I organized a foursome for golf at Toka Sticks (18 holes); Lise stayed home and did laundry
19th - Lise had another double header softball day and I went to cheer her on again; she's doing real well and enjoys playing even more now than in the past; later we bought a new GPS to play with - the old one was becoming outdated and it was cheaper to buy a new one than download new maps
20th - Lise went to Curves today and did some shopping after; I went out golfing - it started to rain but some of us persevered and put in our 9 holes; by the time we finished the skies had cleared and we decided to play another 9 - why not :-)
In amongst all that we have still found time to watch the Olympics and have enjoyed watching our athletes perform.
So that is it in a nutshell. Every day has been great and we are enjoying this life immensely.

Lockheed SR71-A Blackbird
example of some of the planes in the graveyard - some of these can be refurbished and fly again
I think this is a B-17 Bomber - Flying Fortress
This is our West Pinto Trail hike - we crossed this stream 5 times!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb 5 to 10,2010

Friday, Feb. 5 we were up early for a 7:00 departure to Picacho Peak which is about 100 miles from Apache Junction. This is a special hike set up for Friday for the hike enthusiasts that like a real challenge. The hike was certainly more challenging than I remembered - or maybe I'm older - and it was a very fun day. Some of the hikers hadn't climbed here before and were very excited to be challenging themselves this way. By the time we got back in mid afternoon I was ready for a quick nap. Lise must have quicker recovery skills :-)
We're at the first saddle - now it gets interesting

some cable climbing

lots of cable work near the top
Who said it was easier going down?

The Phoenix area puts on a Renaissance Festival each year east of Apache Junction. It takes place in a medieval town set up just like a movie set. There are lots of performers and events taking place and it is open Fridays Saturdays and Sundays for six weeks each year. The first day was Saturday, February 6 and we decided to go with friends from the park. What a rush. It was great!! and we were just blown away by the pageantry. The real stars were the people who came to the show all dressed up as though they were in a real medieval setting. Their costumes were very authentic - what an enjoyable day!
costumed locals waiting to get in

There's a person inside that tree!
Very realistic costumes!
two potential knights or squires?

Lise had two softball games on Monday that I attended and one today (I went hiking). She has been battling tight muscles in here thighs and had to have someone run for her in the second game on Monday. Today was a bit better and we're hopeful that she'll be feeling better by the next double header on Monday. She's still enjoying it though.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

January 25 to February 4, 2010

Time just flies when you're having fun and certainly the last 10 or 11 days have been that. We are pretty busy every day and by the time we settle down in the evenings I don't always feel like updating our blog. The weather has been great and we have been doing all the usual things and trying not to think that we only have two months left before we have to leave this beautiful area. Of course we do get to see family and the grandkids again. It's all good! Perhaps I'll let some pictures tell the story this week.
First off I thought I'd take a picture of part of our living area to give you a sense of where we spend most of our time - when we're not out having fun. With the two slides out we probably have about 13 to 14 feet of width here, and it's about 20 feet from the bathroom area to the driver and passenger chairs at the front. It has always seemed large enough for us.
Here are a couple of hot rods framing our motorhome in the background. The owner of the silver hot rod (who is staying in our park) got some of his friends together and showed off the vehicles they had purchased at the recent auctions around the Phoenix area. It brought out many of the residents of the park - as you can see.

I was out for a hike with a friend last week and we mainly bushwacked our way through the desert. This is a shot of the Superstition Mountains from a different view.
Same hike, different view. This type of hike is fun because it's more exploratory and not so much getting to a destination and returning.
Some young ladies out for a ride were kind enough to pose for us in front of the Superstition Mountains. Some of these trails are multi-use and it is not unusual to see riders out enjoying the scenery from horseback.
A few weeks ago I got to go on a great hike with our hiking group but Lise had to go to a softball game and couldn't make it. This hike is popular for many of the local residents, particularly the younger crowd, and is a short, steep climb to the top of Piestewa Peak It is 2.4 miles to the summit and back (1200 ft vertical gain). Piestewa Peak is named in honor of Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa , the first Native American woman to die in combat in the US military. Since Lise wasn't able to go on the hike earlier she and I decided to do it by ourselves last Friday. Normally we don't go hiking by ourselves but this route is well marked and with all those people on the hill we figured we'd do just fine. This picture should give you some idea of how steep this climb is.
Lise is resting here after a very aggressive push to the top. We used this hike as a test of our stamina and climbed this hill at a very good pace. Phoenix residential and industrial areas laid out below.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 21 to 24, 2010

After a few days of heavy rain and flooding in many parts of the greater Phoenix area the weather let up and people started to peak their heads out their doors. With the wind pushing the rain around and carrying all the sand with it our car and motorhome looked pretty dirty. It's not likely we'll get any rain anytime soon to clean it up a bit so I guess I'll be out there doing it myself one of these days. It's not high on my list of priorities though.

We went to a dinner and show in the Resort on Wednesday. The show was so - so but the dinner was great. I got George, the Activity Director, to wish Lise a happy birthday and everyone sang the birthday song. She doesn't care for the attention but it was fun anyway.

We've finally been able to get a bit of reading in and spent Thursday and Friday just relaxing. Saturday we went to see a movie at the theatre - Leap Year. We both enjoyed it.

When we got back we noticed this truck and trailer in the parking lot in front of the office and the driver offloaded a hand built vehicle. It looks like it was purchased by one of the people here in the Resort from the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction which is held here in the Phoenix area every year.

We went out for breakfast this morning. We're trying not to eat out too much but it is hard. I had sausage and eggs and Lise had toast with our coffee and she shared my multi-grain pancakes which they offer with the meal instead of toast. It was plenty for both of us and didn't break the piggy bank :-)

I booked a tee time for us for this afternoon at the Sunland Springs Golf Course and then some of our friends came by to see if we wanted to go hiking out in the hills. While I like hiking I like golf better and Lise was ok with my decision to stick with the golf game. Next week though I think I'll check with our friends early on so as not to conflict with another hiking opportunity.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 17 to 20, 2010

The forecast for this week was rain right through to the next weekend. We were wondering what we were going to do to keep busy. Lots of reading probably. Wrong! The weather has been wet, particularly last evening and into the night, but otherwise the days have been fine. Lise's baseball games for Monday were cancelled but we're pretty sure they could have gone ahead as there hadn't been enough rain to affect the field. On Sunday Lise and I decided to go golfing since it didn't look like our usual Tuesday game would be happening. Wrong again! Tuesday was quite nice out and most of us from the Resort decided to go ahead and golf anyway. So, I got an extra round of golf in :-)
We thought today would be too wet to go hiking - shall I say it - Wrong! But, we slept in and missed the hiking group's departure. Once we were able to confirm that Lise wouldn't be playing ball today we headed out on our own little hike. We located our friend's cars but didn't run across them. Regardless, we had a great hike and once the sun came out it was warm enough. It's only 59 F right now (3:00 pm) but it seems warm enough for us.

So, the moral of the story for this week is - to keep your options open and don't spend so much time worrying about the weather.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 15 to 16, 2010

It was our 33rd anniversary yesterday. Busy times continue so we were pretty much doing separate things for most of the day. I went on an impromptu hike with some of our friends for the day - and Lise played two games at her weekend ball tournament. But the evening was ours and once we got back together - after 5:00 pm, we headed out to Carrabba's Grill, our favourite italian eatery. We had to wait an hour for seating but the meal was fine and we were finally able to sit and talk and enjoy each others' company. We toasted for 33 more and, in this day and age, who knows, anything is possible.
The Desert Stars had one win and one loss, and most importantly, Lise's thigh was a little less tight and she was able to play her regular game. It's all for fun but it's always better when you think you're contributing somewhat. This morning she is off again - left about 7:15 for a game at 8:00 am and another one at 9:10 and then the tournament is over for them. After she gets back maybe we'll go out for a nice cup of coffee at Paradise Bakery or Kokobelli's cafe :-)
Yesterday's hike was on the Arizona Trail. The Arizona Trail goes all the way from Mexico to Utah and traverses the State of Arizona in a north/south direction. It's about 93% complete as of mid-2007, and is planned to be about 800 miles (1,300 km) long when completed. It is designed as a primitive trail for hiking, equestrians, mountain biking, and even cross country skiing. It showcases the wide variety of mountain ranges and ecosystems of Arizona. The idea for the trail was originally developed and promoted by Dale Shewalter, a Flagstaff, Arizona teacher in 1985. The portion of the trail we travelled yesterday took us to the foot of Montana mountain. We saw a few white-tailed deer and we could smell what may have been a lair for Javelina (a kind of wild pig). You don't want to get near them as they can be quite dangerous. Someone hiking on South Mountain last week was bitten twice by one and it was later determined that the animal had rabies - so, best to keep away.
The trail we were on required us to go in by jeep for about 6 miles off Highway 60. That was fun; most of the road was easy to traverse but the last mile or so was somewhat more difficult and is not something I would have attempted with my car.
nice valley near the start of the hike - Sycamore trees
This would be rattlesnake territory in warmer weather
more examples of indian archeology - corn was often ground into corn meal, using wooden mortars and pestles. The mortars were made of short logs which were turned upright and hollowed out on the top end. The corn was put into hollows in rocks and ground by pounding up and down with a long piece of wood which was rounded on both ends.
Agave Tree and Prickly Pear Cactus

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 9 to 14, 2010

Lise played two softball games this week and her thighs are screaming for a break. She's been using ice packs to soothe her legs and can hardly run any more. I remember days like that when I was a teenager - who'd have thought people our age would be able to play so hard as to tie up muscles like that. We're not alone; I remember one of our friends playing softball last year and having the same problem. We all seem to have a hard time remembering we're not as young as we used to be :) They are doing well as a team though. They have 3 wins and 1 loss so far this season. Friday and Saturday is their first tournament - 4 games over 2 days; and then a double header on Monday :-( I'll probably have more to say next time :)

Batter Up!!
Another win in the books!!
We finally got around to booking our 5 month stay here for next winter. We'll be at the same Resort. There are so many people interested in getting into this Park that people that wanted to reserve their sites had to do so before February 1st. Because we are staying for at least 5 months we are able to keep our same site and we do like where we are so now we're confirmed.
Wednesday was a hike day and I joined our hiking group while Lise had to stick around for her softball as it wasn't likely we'd be back in time.
indian site used to mash corn into flour - found on our hike into the hills
Looking back at the canyon we walked through

There was a brilliant lightning storm last night and a fair amount of rain - only the second rainfall since we've been here. I wish I'd thought to get some pictures!

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 4 to 8, 2010

In case you think we're not too busy here - here's a synopsis of the last 5 days: On Monday we both went out for our separate exercise routines, Lise had softball in the afternoon and, after an enjoyable coffee at Paradise Bakery we went over to the golf range so I could try out my new irons (yes, I bought a set of Pings); Tuesday we attended the Resort's weekly meeting, went out for coffee, and then went out for our weekly golf game with the resort; On Wednesday I went on a really great hike (for me - challenging, steep, and views at the summit) which Lise couldn't go on as she had baseball (2nd game - 2nd win :) ); we ate at home Wednesday night and went to bed early in preparation for our trip on Thursday; on Thursday we picked up Art and Linda at 7:00 am (alarm set for 6:15 am :-( ) and headed for Tucson; we had breakfast in Casa Grande (about halfway) and then continued on to Old Tucson which is the site of many old western movies (a little pricey for us - $17.00 each), after which we drove a half hour further south to see the Titan 2 Missile still standing in its silo; arrived home about 8:00 after stopping for supper at Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande on the way back; on Friday we had to set our alarm for 7:00 am so we could be ready for another hike into the wilderness north of the Sonoran Desert Valley - hikers headed out at 8:30 into the Four Peaks Wilderness. All this to say that we do seem to be fairly busy these days. I don't mind but I think we do want to have days off once in a while to recuperate and do nothing, or just read some good books.

some current and former Yukoners enjoying life in the 'Old West'

Movie Set in Old Tucson Four Peaks in the background - another favourite hiking destination

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 2 to 3, 2010

We were up early for the omelette breakfast put on by the Resort. It is my favourite meal and they only charge $5.00 for omelette with your choice of ingredients, sausage, hash browns, orange juice and coffee. I don't think you can do any better anywhere else - except perhaps at home. Others must have felt the same way as us as there was a very large turnout for the breakfast and all the tables were full - of course it was outside, where else.

The weather forecast was for 70* F so shorts and t-shirt were definitely the order of the day. After breakfast I went hiking with five other friends on the Dutchman Trail. It is about 15 miles east of Apache Junction and then 7 miles up a very dusty, washboardy gravel road. Being a Saturday there were many hikers out and about and lots of families with children of all ages. The hike wasn't hard at all but it was almost 3 miles to the turnaround spot. On a previous visit to this area we had visited an old mine portal that mined turquoise. When I thought we were close to that spot I went climbing up the hill looking for the opening. It was the wrong spot so I started my descent back to the trail - I slipped and put my hand back to brace my fall and placed my hand right on a barrel cactus. Ouch!! Only about 10 or 12 of the needles stayed in my hand and I was able to pull them out pretty easily but it was definitely painful. You would think after the episode I reported in my last blog that I'd be a little more careful. Guess not :-) It didn't take long for the bleeding to stop and, even though my hand swelled up, I was able to continue the hike without much discomfort.

the view from the start of the hike after we reached the 'saddle' - the rock formation in the distance right in the middle of the picture, was our destination.
snack time - formation is called "Three Bears"
This is called Miner's Needle because of the hole in the rock - I'm not sure why
Picture as proof we made it
Lise wasn't on the hike as she was at softball practice. Her games start this coming week and some of them are on hike days so she won't be able to make many of them if it doesn't look like we wouldn't get back on time. If it is a good hike (and they all are) I am supposed to go out again on another day, with Lise, so she can experience it for herself. I hope my legs hold out!

Friday, January 1, 2010

December 30, 2009 to January 1, 2010

If I thought things were slowing down during the holidays, boy was I mistaken. On Wednesday we went out for our usual hike, this week to the Broadway Cave. It is not far from the resort, maybe five miles to the trailhead but it is a stiff climb up once we get to the side of the mountain. There was a good turnout and the weather was comfortable, although some of us donned gloves on the way up as it was still pretty cool. Everyone had been reminded to bring flashlights so we could see into the cave - it didn't go in very far though. There was lots of evidence of it being used by bats, but not recently. On the way back down one of our hikers brushed against a Cholla cactus. A ball of the cactus stuck to her hand with a number of spikes, and another ball stuck to her leg. Fortunately one of our group had an 'afro comb' and was able to remove them. He just put the comb in between her hand and the cactus and gave a quick yank! It was obviously quite painful but there was no other way and once removed the pain subsided fairly quickly (or so I'm told). From now on I'm going to make sure I have one of those combs in my back pack. At any rate she was able to continue back to the trailhead without too much discomfort and we all made it back safely. This is a great reminder of how one has to be careful at all times when out in the wilderness hiking. Sometimes we get too complacent to our own detriment.

When we got back from the hike Lise had to head out right away for her two hour softball practice. While she was doing that I was emptying the gray and black water tanks and recharging the water softener.
After an early supper we joined out friends and hiking buddies - Dick and Jan - and drove over to the Mormon Temple to see the Christmas lights. We had heard about this since we first arrived in Arizona 3 years ago. Certainly the outside lights were spectacular. We took pictures but none of them turned out as they were too shaky so I had to settle for an inside picture of some nativity scenes in their Visitor Centre. The best part of the evening was when Dick and Jan treated us to some yogurt ice cream at the Golden Spoon, a local frozen yogurt store. Yumm!
the cave entrance is near the middle of the hill
cave entrance and snack break
trailhead parking area - next to some pretty expensive houses
nativity scenes from countries around the world
Christmas Eve morning was spent running around to various grocery stores to restock our larders. After lunch Lise and I decided to go golfing at our favourite course. It was quite windy and really effected our game. That is not to say we were looking for an excuse as we enjoyed ourselves and had good hits and missed hits, about a typical day for us.
That got us back in time for a quick snack in advance of the New Year's Eve Party. The Resort put on a great party with live musical entertainment and we stayed out until 1:00 am, very unusual for us!
We had talked about going bicycling on the 1st but decided against and spent a quiet day at home instead.