Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Apache Trail and Superstition Mountains

We are in a full blown Dust Storm, with 50ph wind gusts.
Not fun, can't even see the hills. So glad I took the mid week forcast to heart and went for our sightseeing trip up the Apache Trail and into the Superstition Mountains on Monday.
The desert is in bloom now and it's nice to see all the wild flowers, lush greenery and full fat Saguaro Cacti.
We drove Hwy 79 Northeast to Hwy 60 and then back North West to the Apache Trail. Lots of Indian lore and history in this day trip and many things to see and do.
Our first stop was at the Goldfield Ghost Town, where we took a narrow guage train ride around the town to learn about the area Mines and early inhabitants.
It's the only operating Narrow Gauge Railroad in Arizona, and the town once had three saloons, a Bordello and a hotel. Most of the residents earned a living mining in the 1890s. Now days pretty much tourist shops, where I had to sample their prickly pear cactus fudge, buy some authentic hand made Navajo Jewelry,DH munched popcorn as we strolled the streets and explored the town.
We observed an interesting reptile display and DH tried on hats in a shop, looking for headwear suitable for his trip to Mexico, where he wants to "fit in."
We continued on up the trail, very narrow,winding paved road up to Canyon Lake where we stopped to observe a couple of boats out fishing and looked at the available campground. Not an option for our big rig, but comfortable for weekend campers and fishermen. We made our way on up the trail, over two one lane bridges.
We arrived at Tortilla Flat, once a thriving stagecoach stop, and now a modern day postal stop, saloon and restaurant. Once this town had a population of over 125 with the construction workers for the dam, now a population of 6.
We had heard of the wildly advertised burgers and fun atmosphere, having the walls papered with dollar bills and old mining memorabilia.
The burgers were good, DH sampled once of the adult beverages offered and we sampled prickly pear ice cream for desert. A very busy place, we only had about a 10 minute wait, not bad for lunch. Since the road narrows even more and 5 miles past the stop it turns to gravel, we decided to turn around and head back. We topped off the day at the Camping World in Mesa and the wonderful new Walmart at Apache Junction.
We made it back to home sweet home about 8:30 p.m. The next venture will be on Saturday to Gilbert to visit friends and DH will play golf. It's hard to believe that things are winding down, the traffic is lighter and lots of folks are gone. We will pull out next Thursday and head west to El Centro California. That is if we make it through this dust storm!lol

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friends, Fridays and Memories of John Wayne

We had a wonderful day yesterday visiting with old friends from Phoenix that took the hour + drive down here mid day. We had fun showing them our "Home on Wheels" and catching up having not seen them for a year. It was worth all that rubbing and scrubbings after all to get the desert winter dirt off of Betsy! She looked good and they were pretty impressed. Last year we traveled to their place. Around noon we went into Casa and took them to lunch at "Mimi's", a french cafe and restaurant. After really good turkey baguette sammies and sides, we said goodbye and let them head back through Crazy-ville (Phoenix freeways) before the friday traffic got heavy. I went up through there last year early on a Friday afternoon to go shop at Cabela's and I'll NEVER do that again! Bumper to bumper Friday crabby afternoon thanks. I just got an email from her and they made it home fine. We just got back here and some of our park friends were going out for dinner at the Francisco Grande Golf Resort.
DH has been wanting to go back out there as he plays golf there once in a while, so we went. I didn't realize that the place was so full of history! As an old Hotelier, I am fascinated about lodging properties, especially old ones that have been renovated and are doing well. This property debuted in 1961, with much much more than just a hotel! It was the era of the Rat Pack, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Together with a hotel, it was a state of the art baseball training facility with 4 fields. The architect that designed the golf course gave it the longest layout in Arizona and one of the longest in the U.S.
He wanted to accomodate the big homerun hitters like Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, who enjoyed playing golf there. The San Francisco Giants trained there from 1962 to 1981 and the CA Angels used the facility from 1982 to 1984. It was the training headquarters for the USFL Arizona Wrangler's and the Denver Gold. The hotel is 9 stories and the north face resembles a baseball helmet, the swimming pool resembles a bat! From the balconies, you can observe the 4 fields, a small stadium and an observation tower.
Today, the "Legends" lounge is decorated with memorabilia from the days that John Wayne spent time there, and celebrities like George Clooney enjoy the resort while shooting feature films or just relaxing.
We didn't see him last night, but since I was with the activities director from our resort, after our dinner we took a tour and went up to the eighth floor where John Wayne and Pat Boone used to entertain at the suites, and the Eagle's Nest room atop the hotel. We were gazing out into the desert night sky, looking over Casa Grande.
I will go back out there before we leave in the daylight and get some daytime pictures. It was awesome. The whole property was completely restored and renovated into a luxury, upscale boutique hotel with a world class, European Style service level. It fully reopened in 2003. We had reservations for 8 at 6 p.m. and since we arrived a little early, we started out in the Legends lounge.
Promptly at 6 p.m. we were taken to our "Private" dining room, over looking the courtyard with swaying palm trees and pristinely groomed grounds. The wait staff was superb, and the food was delicious.
We all had a variety of entrees, I had chicken, DH and several others had the fish special, and several others tried the steaks. We topped it off with desert and coffee. I had creme brulee and DH stuck to the old standby of Choc. fudge cake. They were excellent. We had a great time at dinner, followed by the tour of the hotel and once again, I wish it was still daylight. I love it when I learn about something by accident! Today it was back to the gym and tonight it's to the Arizona Country Club to listen to Bunky. We support our Nebraska friend. He's getting ready to play at the Arizona's equivelent to Country Stampede. The week of the 14th he'll be up there rubbing elbows with Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Kid Rock. We're all really excited for him. I'm kinda bummed because I would like to go see it! We will be in California by then, so will have to wait for the blow by blow from him later.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting Ready for Company

Some friends from Phoenix are coming by tomorrow for a visit. They have never seen the coach, so I took this opportunity to start the spring cleaning process. We spent the last couple of days doing the rub down with "Dri Wash n Guard" It looks 99.9% better. Had to get up at the butt crack of dawn to get the south side done before the sun got too high. I definitely don't want to see it rain now! DH even got into the picture and cleaned awnings and the roof. I'm still cleaning inside, doing laundry and baking a loaf of Banana Bread. There's still odds and ends to finish up before they get here. We will go out for lunch at Olive Garden in Casa Grande before they go home. The weather is gorgeous today,80 feels great! Forcasts look good through the weekend and the first of the week. We will try again on Monday to make the trip north to the Apache Trail.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday Monday, Rain on Tuesday

We had a beautiful day on Monday. The three of us headed to Tucson for some exploring and shopping. We spent a couple of hours at Camping World. It is time to renew our Presidents Club and I bought a new 2010 edition of "The Next Exit" a guide to Food, Gas, Lodging and Camping on all the exits off the Interstates. I had several things that I wanted to pick up getting ready for the Summer Travel Season. I meandered next door to Beaudry RV's Parts Dept. and they fixed me up with a replacement hub cover. I don't want to lose one of those very often and 50 bucks a pop. Comparing the RVers Atlas and the newest Motor Carrier's Atlas, I opted for the latter, because the other falls apart rather easily. The new one seems to be easier to read and the roads are all highlighted. After Cracker Barrel for lunch and a trip through the new Walmart off of exit 246 we made our way back up to home sweet coach. We had planned on driving up North West of Phoenix today and seeing the sights on the Apache Trail, but I was rudely awakened at 6:30 by the sounds of wind and rain! Scratched that plan for today. Probably will wait to do that trip next Monday. It's still not an overly warm spring time. Enough rain....enough. Today was my youngest's 30th birthday! Now I feel a little older. We celebrated for him tonight with Sonic burgers and Cold Stone Ice Cream. The pain I'm feeling today has nothing to do with labor! Just Arthritis.....yuk!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gilbert Visit

We traveled north through Chandler to Gilbert AZ on Thursday to visit with a hunting friend that comes to Nebraska to hunt in the fall.
He is originally from Grand Island NE. and an avid Big Game Hunter also, as is reflected by the interior decorating of his house!
Very nice house on a golf course and overlooking a small lake that was complete with Geese and ducks walking about. Our host feed us appetizers and drinks on the patio by the pool while we waited for another couple to arrive to go to dinner with us. We had a good visit and enjoyed listening to some of the stories that he told about the many hunting expeditions that he has been on, and some yet to come. I quite honestly would be scared if I wandered in there in the dark!
A grey wolf stands guard right by the front entryway, a massive Kodiak brown bear stands in one corner of the living room and in the center as a coffe table center piece, there's a huge brown bear on rocks. Another grey wolf pelt covers a couch like an afghan and there's heads of deer, stuffed geese and a turkey in the family room.
He is waiting on a stuffed water buffalo, and I can't imagine where that will go! DH is not getting any ideas or longing for this, as I have nixed the wall space already! KayCee loved it there. She made herself to home as she was allowed in the house. She was afraid of the bears and wouldn't stray far from our sides, and I was proud that she didn't try to grab the birds off the tables! She's such a good girl! She didn't know what to think about the wolf, but the way she looked at it, she expected it to walk off! He also has a dog that was away at training.
She really enjoyed watching the geese and ducks on the lake while she pointed by the pool. Our host drove us to a steakhouse in Queens Creek called Trophy's for dinner. You guessed it! It was full of all sorts of mounts also! A fellow big game hunter originally from South Dakota owns the restaurant. At last we found a place out here for a good steak! We will go back up there when he gets back from Cabo San Lucas next week. We had a good visit with the other couple also, the gentleman took DH Quail hunting last month in the Coronado Forest down by Tucson. Meanwhile on to today. I have watched the happenings and events encompassing the Health Care Bill vote that will happen tomorrow. I am apprehensive at best, and fear it will pass. I talked to some people today, other retirees that are full time RVers...they are older and we can learn from the way they think of this. It's clearly something that now at this time we can't do anything about, so we must let it go and dwelling on this will not help. Later on maybe by voting them out, but the damage will be done. It's frustrating and I think no good will come from it. Not doing much this weekend. Will be tripping down to Tucson on Monday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Great Friends, Great Time

It's hard to believe that some of the stuff we used to do when we were a few sheets to the wind, we still do stone cold sober!
We had a really good time last night at our parks St. Patricks Day Celebration. I took the whole day as a holiday and was really lazy. Went to the pool and read a book for most of the day. We had a dinner of Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes and carrots in a roaster.
Cheese cake and cookies for Dessert. It was an intimate crowd of about 25 people. Kinda fun having our "One Man Band" for such a group. He has such great stories of the days when he played and hung out with many great artists. Stories of Willie Nelson, Moe Bandy, Waylon Jennings and they never get old. He still has a great voice and excellent act for one man.
Thank you Bunky. The "hat" made the rounds. Everybody had a good time with that. It wasn't my idea, but the DH decided before we ever left Nebraska that the hat was going along. He packed it, and sure enough didn't forget it! A couple of friends and I ended up wearing the table decorations!
I looked around at one point and took a double take. You know, everyone has a twin they say, and one of our new couples showed up last night. The gentleman is a spitting image of Tom Osborne, the University of Nebraska's Athletic Director and famous former football coach. I wonder if he realizes he's has a noteable lookalike? Hot again today and we already have broken down and are running the a/c. We are leaving in a bit to head to Phoenix. You can barely see the mountains in the distance. I hope the dust doesn't blow and cause problems for us too bad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happpy St. Patty's Day!

I finally feel like Spring is going to appear! The trees here at Desert Valley are budding and the bushes are blooming. Today is going to be a fun day. We have to say good bye to some friends this morning heading home to Caspar WY. They are going because of a funeral, so not really because they want to leave early. It's still snowing up in that country. We wish them a safe trip. We will be stopping to see them this summer and then the guys can get a couple of rounds of golf in to make up for not going now. Our weekly park meeting is this morning, and things are winding down so rapidly here that I can't imagine many announcements. Tonight will be the last party of the season. I am going up to see if I can help with the food prep. One minor thing I seem to know a little about! I have a couple more road trips planned to finish up this area, and am getting excited about seeing the desert in ful bloom. Right now, we've had so much rain this winter that all the huge Saguaro Cacti are just fat! They look awesome. Heading in to LA Fitness after that and then back to get ready for the dinner. It got up over 80 yesterday, and we sat outside a while. I got a little red. It snuck up on me, so will lay off that even though it's gonna be at least that nice today and the wind doesn't seem to be blowing today either. Maybe will get the chance to put the big awning out and rest a little this afternoon. Again, have a safe and wonderful St. Patty's Day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, Monday!

Not much new and different here. Still pretty chilly. Was windy today but calmed down and turned out pretty nice late this afternoon. Turns out it's going to be a pretty busy week. DH golfing tomorrow, we have a St. Pattys Dinner and Dance here on Wednesday. We're heading in to Phoenix on Thursday night for dinner with a friend. That pretty well shoots this week. Lots more folks leaving here. Another one of DH's golf buddies is leaving for Casper WY. this weekend. I am calling El Centro CA in the morning to reserve a spot for the 9th of April. Hope it warms up enough pretty soon for us to get out and work on the coach. I want to leave here with it clean. It's time for the Semi Annual Rub Down. I finally got to start a new book tonight. Takes forever when the only time you read is doing laundry! I really like being here in the winter when it comes time to turn the clocks ahead. We don't do that here! I'm still tired tonight so might as well have. Night for now...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Caught Up

Let me just begin by saying that it is not a normal Arizona winter! I woke up in the night to rain and wind again! This time no measurable amount but enough to wet everything down again. It's cold. 50 degrees. Am I crabby? Not really. I think that I'm just about back to normal after our vacation. Got out the seashells I picked up at the beach and am cleaning them up today. I went back to the gym yesterday and will go the rest of the week. Our view of the mountains is blocked off this morning. I don't mind so much if its a rig that looks like this. This big bad boy pulled in after dark last night.
A Enduromax Front Puller with two slides. They probably have a car in that trailer, but didn't unload it.
I had DH go take a couple of pictures of it. I just still don't want a rig this big, but they are awesome to look at and I'm sure very comfortable. I will have my view back soon, they are just overnighters.
No real news happening here this week. DH is off golfing today, peace and quiet...and I am looking for a replacement hub cover for a front wheel. It's pretty frustrating at this point in looking for parts for an older Coach such as ours and the parent company is not building coaches.
I'm calling some dealerships today for suggestions. I think we will take off and go to Tucson for some other things at Camping World. We will haul the other hub cover around incase we come across a dealership or place we may find one. DH even tried the truck stop here with no luck, I think ours is in a Texas ditch :(. I'm also trying to replace the windshield drapes this year. Still looking at RV resorts where we will park in April while DH is gone to Mexico for 5 days, someplace where I can be self sufficient in case he becomes incapacitated racing the Baja!The only thing on my bucket list right now is to learn how to Kayak! I will conclude by saying that even if it was really colder than usual at the beach last week, we had a great time and here are some more pics of our trip.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back to Motor Home Sweet Home

We had a great weekend, even though the weather was droopy and cold the whole time. Internet service wasn't very good. I am convinced my favorite place is on the beach in the early mornings, but would even be better if it was sunny and warm!
We left Chula Vista and meandered slowly up the 101..Pacific Coast Highway on Friday after looking at several RV Resorts where we will be spending a month or so in April. Some by San Diego Bay and others on up the coast in Oceanside. Upon checking into our hotel, I discovered that our room was pretty small, so as an old Hotel lady, and since it was DH's birthday weekend, I traded our room up for a suite! Awesome. We spent some time in the afternoon exploring the area and looking at the ocean. The rain started and we went for supper not far from the hotel.
Saturday we met up with Drag Race Girl and her two awesome Aussies...Blue Merle Brodie Jae and the new puppy, 11 week old red Bentley James.
Her favorite thing to do when she's not racing cars, is to spend quality time with her dogs. We spent most of the day exercising the dogs on the beach and at a dog park....and then the rain came again. DH had Steak and Lobster at the Claim Jumper Restaurant in Carlsbad for his birthday supper.?
Sunday we walked on the beach early in the morning, I had to test the water. Oh yes, and did I mention the rain was coming?
Then we drove up to Newport Beach and hung out in my Fantasy Land for a while, driving around and looking at the Bentley, Farrari and Porsche Dealerships,
the Yacht Clubs and Fantastic Houses.
We had a fantastic lunch at Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, and then watched the boats in the ocean and the dogs some more. Fog was rolling in about dark, and I made it back down the five in more rain. It was sad to leave such a fantastic place today. We truly enjoy it out there and visiting with friends.
There will always be something new to discover and explore when we return there the next time in about another month. Bought a lottery ticket on the way out, so there's our chance at owning one of the many Oceanside Properties for sale. The rain came down as we made our way back across the mountains today.
It looks like we had quite a bit of rain here too. We got to Yuma and the sun felt really good. It was 74 degrees. Now I'll need a couple days to play catch up. I'm pretty tired from all the 5 lane traffic driving and rain. I will post more pics's night night time!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chula Vista California

Greetings this morning from beautiful Chula Vista California! We traveled Interstate 8 yesterday, left the motorhome in AZ., stopping off at Yuma Arizona and El Centro California, looking at the area to visit and stay in April when DH races the Baja. We stopped at one of the only rest areas left open on the road between Phoenix and Yuma.
The great State Government has decided to close most of them and the State Parks to recoup funds. I think they're nuts. The snakes and scorpions don't care I'm sure. We like the El Centro area. Lots of green areas,more farming than desert.
We headed up through the Imperial Sand Dunes 11 miles into the state of California and through the Coyote Mountains and Cleveland National Forest.
We climbed to Altitudes above 4000 feet, and before dark the thermometer registered 42 degrees. Coming down wasn't too bad for all 6% Grade, I did it after dark! Right into city traffic and we navigated right to our hotel here in Chula Vista on the first try! Now I remember this traffic. We didn't use a GPS either! Today we will take a drive around the San Diego Bay. Check out some RV Resorts and head north to Oceanside and we will stay in Carlsbad....on the beach for a few days. Happy Birthday DH on Saturday. Too Bad it's forcast to be 60s and rainy all weekend. Will run and take advantage of the sunny day today! Here we go!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Woo Hoo! Road Trip!

Packed and ready to go. Will travel without the coach this time. Hopefully I should have some pictures in the next few days. For now it'll have to be a secret! I'm excited, traveling to places we have never been before. Should be a fun weekend. I'm ready to go, kinda have hitch itch and this may be a short cure! Stay Tuned!