Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wednesday at McDowell

We haven't gone or done much since arriving here at McDowell, but we have accomplished much.   When we arrived we  discovered that Beluga's windshield had a developed a nasty crack so calling our insurance company was the first order of business.    Dave measured and ordered Magna Shades for said windshield and a side window, I made reservations for the rest of our winter travels, ordered and picked up mail, refilled some supplies, caught up with a few friends we've missed and a took care of a multitude of other electronic and physical errands.   Feels good to get relatively caught up!

We've been enjoying the birds as we sit outside in the very warm sunshine.   They make second cup and happy hour most interesting.

I think they enjoy watching us as much as we like watching them, especially the Phainopepla.

We've taken advantage of the lovely weather to grill our dinners.   Dave was overjoyed to find that the Phoenix grocery stores carry his favorite Buffalo, New York brand hot dogs....Sahlens.    Guess what we've been eating.

Tomorrow is moving day, again.    Just next door, but it's another very uneven site so I'll have to see if Mr. David's Professional Global Positioning rep. is still in the area.   I'm sure he is, this loop of McDowell Mtn. Regional Park must keep him very busy, most every site is either up or down hill.  

Beautiful sunset tonight in all directions.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday - moving day

We left the Ponds at White Tank Regional Park this morning and moved directly east across sprawling Phoenix to McDowell Mountain Regional Park.    We'll be here, in various sites, until the end of the month.   Cindy P, Walter and Geneva will join us in a few days.  

our new backyard

Our first site (for three days - #19) has presented a bit of a challenge.   While it is quite private and spacious with beautiful, wide open views, its driveway is almost on two levels.    This presents a problem for a Beluga sized motorhome, a big problem.   My heart sunk when I pulled up in the jeep and saw where Beluga was supposed to park.    This park is full - always, so simply moving to another spot was not an option.  

Luckily Mr. David's Professional Global Positioning Service had a representative in the area and he slowly and carefully showed us how we could position Beluga diagonally across the site, and over the cement tire barriers in such a way as to be level and comfortable.....Thanks Mr. David.

So, going back to the weekend.....Saturday we took an auto hike up to Wickenburg.   We've never seen that part of Arizona and a very busy Saturday at White Tank park made our decision a good one.

On the way out of Surprise, we drove past large, lush fields of red radishes.   They made Dave's mouth water....

It was a pleasant drive on route 60 into the center of old Wickenburg where we found a great Mexican restaurant for lunch.  El Ranchero restaurant was mentioned in Arizona Highways and we found the atmosphere to be bright and cheerful, the food to be delicious.

 To kill two birds with one stone we dropped 3 loads of laundry off at the Wash Tub laundromat while we ate and explored the city.   A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

After lunch and with a jeep full of clean and folded laundry, we  followed a hand lettered sign - Rodeo today, 1 p.m. - pointing up Constellation Road.

We're not generally rodeo fans.  I do enjoy watching barrel racing, and trick riding but its difficult to watch the rough, "cavalier" handling of stock at these events.    Having said that, we did pull up to the fence to see what was going on.

Since the ring was running Team Roping, we left and followed Constellation Road until the pavement stopped.    We drove a few miles on the well graded road, passing a number of OHVs before turning around and heading back to White Tank.    The jeep roads looked very inviting, we'll be back next time.

Another place we didn't have enough time to explore properly was the Hassayampa River Preserve.  We crossed over the wide, dry river bed as we entered Wickenburg.   We were surprised to learn that for most of its 100 miles, this river flows underground but emerges and flows year round through the Preserve.      The lush stream side habitat is home to over 280 resident and migratory bird species.    Definitely on the list for next time.

Next time we'll also find out the backstory of this intriguing little grave inside the Preserve's gates.  

Sunday afternoon the Pond's came over to watch the Super Bowl.   Some of us were very interested in the game.

Sasha watches the Super Bowl in her own way

One of us went home early to read, and one of us went into the bedroom to watch Downtown Abbey.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday at White Tank

We've been spending our time here taking short hikes, enjoying happy hour and second cup outside with the Pond's, watching the birds, and exploring this side of Phoenix a bit.

We've been celebrating a bit also.     Happy hour last night and second cup this morning (with freshly baked almond croissants) were dedicated to toasting the Pond's good news.....

They received and accepted an offer on their farm so it's on to a new and exciting chapter for them all!  

As you can see, it is quite cool in the late afternoon and early morning around here but that doesn't stop us all from enjoying the sun.

Even little Glory is positively upside down with joy at the news!

Oh, and Mr. David's Most Excellent Drapery and Shade Specialists (Arizona branch) sent Mr. David, himself, to help with the restringing of our broken bedroom night/day shades.

His house call fee is quite high, so we took advantage of this visit and had him install new shades on our door and bathroom windows.   He does very good work and he's a neat worker.   A joy to have around is Mr. David.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday on the Waterfall Trail

We're enjoying our time here in White Tank.   The birds coming to our feeders are fun to watch through the windshield (still pretty cold this morning).

We took a 2+ mile hike on the Waterfall Trail this afternoon with Cindy P and Walter.   The first half is flat and wide, winding slowly up to the base of a beautiful cliff over which water cascades during the rainy season.    Even though there was quite a bit of rain recently, there was only a slow drip sliding into the pool at the base of the dry fall.    No matter, the setting was fantastic and we passed through many petroglyphs on the surrounding boulders.    

We were treated to peeks at the valley below as we walked along.   The day was sunny and warm in the sun but a brisk wind reminded us it is still winter.

Ocotillo are beginning to leaf out

do you see Cindy P taking a break on the trail?

a new crested Saguaro

Walter and Dave at the base of the waterfall

stains on the rocks above show the water's path

reflection in the pool below

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday in White Tank

Sunday's drive to White Tank took just a few hours and the weather was a little windy but no problems.     The Pond's had arrived a bit before us and were pretty much settled in as we arrived.

Our site (#31) is beautiful and spacious with no one behind, in front, or on one side.  A small wash winds along in the rear.   Large Saguaro dot our view.  This park is a real gem.

Even with the White Tank Mountains so close, we get many over the air tv channels,  good verizon signal and a strong internet connection.    The site itself, however, is pretty uneven.   Our driver's side is much lower than we like it and our  jacks aren't able to bring us up to any semblance of level.

After we got organized and settled in our site, Cindy P, Walter and Geneva walked over and we enjoyed happy hour outside in the sun.     No sign of the storm that was brewing.

buildings in downtown Phoenix catch the sun's last rays

We have a beautiful view of downtown Phoenix especially at sunset and after dark its lights shimmer in the distance.

By about 8 p.m. our storm arrived in earnest.   The wind started to blow seriously, lightning flashed and the rain came in sheets.   We went to bed with the slide toppers banging and flapping.    In hindsight, we probably should have brought the slides in before retiring, but we didn't.   By about midnight poor Lewis crawled into bed between us and heaved a big sigh.   He was scared and trembling.  

We got up to bring the slides in and quickly found out that the uneven position we were in made the motor on the living room slide work just a bit harder than it wanted clicked and hummed and wouldn't come in.     Long story short, we removed some of the weight in the slide to counteract the bad angle and it retracted,  finally.     We decided we'd try to re position Beluga in the morning.

It was cold this morning, cold all day as a matter of fact, but the wind was gone so after second cup (inside) we unhooked and Dave turned Beluga around backward in the site......Perfect solution to our problem.    We hooked back up, moved our bird feeders to where we could see them again and now we can start to enjoy our stay.

lots of birds were waiting for our offerings of nectar, oranges, seeds
and water.

We even found a crested Saguaro not too far away at the beginning of the Bajada trail.    Many of us are fascinated by their grotesque (or are they beautiful....) shapes and, I suppose, by their relative rarity.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday - last day in Catalina

Today is our last day in Catalina State Park.    We were scheduled to stay another day but have decided to make the short trip up to White Tank Regional Park, west of Phoenix, tomorrow instead of Monday.  We're due for a weather change Sunday late afternoon, one that will bring strong winds and heavy rain (if the weather guessors can be believed) through the night and well into Monday.  Since time and rigid schedules are no longer an issue for us, we opted to drive on a nice day instead of fighting weather.    We'll miss it here.  We never seem to have enough time to simply enjoy the park, much less see all there is to see.   We'll just have to come back!

This morning was spent, as usual, outside in the sun watching the birds.  We've had 4 different kinds of hummingbirds visit and yesterday a pair of Pyrrhuloxias
dropped by.

Mr. Pyrrhuloxia waiting patiently for his turn at the seeds

They are as shy as their cousins, the Northern Cardinals, but are fascinating to watch  flit from tree to tree, homing in on the feeders and water.

Later today we're taking Carm out for lunch and then finishing a few shopping stops before we leave.

Thursday afternoon we took chairs and drinks and an experimental jalapeno popper dip to Jodee and Bill's site for a visit of friends.   It was another lovely warm day and we all enjoyed sitting in the sun, eating an array of delicious goodies and getting to know each other better.   Not all of us knew everyone, so it was an afternoon of laughs and discovery.

enjoying hiking tips I expect

the famous Cindy P and little Luke

Cindy P, Geneva and Walter in front of Jodee and Bill's home

John acting out Alter Boy duties....or is he
telling stories about his new 310?

Mona Liza brought Dave and I a small container of her fabulous Pancit and we could hardly wait to get home to finish it off!   I had all intentions of taking a photograph of it before we dove in, but.....

By the time I remembered I wanted to take a picture I had eaten half of it so I turned the camera on Dave's plate.  (pardon the paper plate, we don't usually eat off them but we're in a site with no sewer hookup so water conservation is important)

He evidently eats faster than I do......    At any rate, thanks again MonaLiza.   We surely enjoyed it!

Beautiful, gentle sunsets last night, in all directions.