Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

tired bunny, on his way home.....

It was a quiet day here at Beluga.  We shared our normal morning routine, we read, we watched the birds, we looked over some legal paperwork and we got ready to drive into Phoenix for our Easter dinner appointment.

Gilded Flicker on our bird spa snag

Our hosts for dinner today were Dr. Bob and his wife Kay.  They live in a beautiful home at the foot of iconic Camelback Mountain in Phoenix.  I erred when I told you he was Dave's brother in law's nephew....he's not.  More like the brother in law's cousin.  These relationships really throw me off, so I apologize.  JoAnn has a sure fire formula for keeping track of complex family positions, but it doesn't help me one little bit!   All I know is that Bob and Kay are lovely, welcoming people and we were honored to be asked to share the holiday with them.
on our way

the Praying Monk on Camelback Mtn.

Monk as seen from Dr. Bob's back yard

Dave and Dr. Bob traveling down memory lane in the comfort of  his beautiful back yard
I hope you all had a good day, the kind of day that made you happy.   We did.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday - another BCA

Saturday was cloudy and quite warm.  Its a weekend, and a holiday weekend no less, so more kiddies around than normal.  Quite a number of them walked by this morning carrying Easter baskets...I've noticed an increase in the number of bunnies hopping around also.....Hmmmm

Dave worked on making some changes to our communication systems via some information from a friend, ordered a booster for our TV antenna and tried to fix our kitchen faucet.   The water barely dribbles out and it makes doing dishes a frustrating chore.    I stood by, encouragingly, and then sat down in the shade to read.

JoAnn wanted to know how the birds were able to land on  Saguaro thorns.....doesn't look like this Thrasher is having a problem!

Below are some of the beautiful colors you can see when you just sit in one place and notice your surroundings.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday - BCA

Nothing much happening around Beluga today. Its a good thing.

 I slept in a bit this morning while Dave got up early and made a few phone calls.

It was a lovely day, 85 and sunny, ho hum....   We tried to do a  bit of on-line shopping, set up the bird spa, drove into Mesa to do a few errands  (Camping World's customer service leaves much to be desired - Grrrr) and ended up at AJ's to buy some fresh Ahi Tuna for the grill tonight.  Mmmmm

Thursday, March 28, 2013


We left Catalina State Park just after lunch and drove north on AZ routes 77, 79, 60 and 87 through beautifully blooming deserts.   I still haven't seen a Saguaro in flower yet, but the Ocotillo are tipped with vivid scarlet flowers and the roadsides are awash in color.

We're back at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, just over the McDowell Mountains from Phoenix and Scottsdale.   We enjoyed our stay here so much last time that we were happy to be able to get a site  for 10 days or so.
We're looking forward to just relaxing and "smelling the roses" this time.  We've been invited to Dave's brother-in-law's nephew's home for Easter dinner (it took us a long time to figure out the relationship and I think we've got it right....) and we'll try to touch base with Linda and Dave again.

I love our site, its wide open to the spectacular mountain views, yet nestled down in the green desert.  Just right for relaxing.

looking right

looking left
We haven't set up our bird feeders yet, but already we've noticed lots of birds around us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday - last day in Tucson

Packed a lunch, loaded up the dogs and headed up Mt. Lemmon for a picnic.  It was another hot day, forecast to be in the high 80's again.    Distances are deceiving out here, we can see Mt. Lemmon, seems like we're camping right below it,  but we drove almost an hour to get to the road that leads  to the top!   Our campground is about 2600 feet above sea level and by the time we reached Ski Valley (atop Mt. Lemmon) we were at 9157 feet.  

We stopped at a picnic area at about 4000 ft. where it was still relatively warm - 72 degrees.  

We ate our mesquite smoked turkey sandwiches and Carm's homemade cookies and enjoyed the expansive views of the valley below.  Then we got back in the jeep and continued our ascent.  We wondered if there would be any snow at the top, its only March after all.  

We drove through "forests" of Saguaro cactus, then hillsides of yucca and creosote bushes and up into fabulous rock formations and hoodoos as we gained altitude.   

some rocks were the most beautiful colors

The road eventually took us through deep pine forests with bear warning signs every few miles. The air was cool and clean and clear.   Delightful.

We parked off the side of a seasonal road (Bear Wallow Road), still closed, and got out to see where it led, to stretch our legs and give the dogs a good long walk.   We grabbed our sweatshirts (the temp. was down to 50 degrees) and set off down the dirt road.  Lewis raced back and forth, up and down the slopes, while Sasha followed her nose with great enthusiasm.  We walked about  half a mile until we encountered quite a bit of snow!

Catch it Lewis!

digging Lewis

Flying Lewis
As you can see, Lewis enjoyed the snow.  Sasha carefully skirted it and continued into the woods, following untold scents.  I wonder how far she'd go if we didn't keep an eye on her and call her back every so often?

We walked back down Bear Wallow Rd. to the jeep.  Two very tired doggies slept the rest of the way to the top and back down to Tucson.    

Back down the same road, stopped at AJ's for some dinner fixings and home by 5:30.  We sat outside with our evening cocktail and watched the birds filling their bellies for the long night ahead.     I had a good phone conversation with Jesse as the sun set on another full day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


No Monday post, sorry.  The day got really busy doing nothing of any consequence, or rather, nothing interesting.    We had dinner with Carm at her favorite restaurant and then went back to her house to do a load of laundry and watch DWTS (no ABC here at Catalina SP).   By the time we got back I was way too full and sleepy to sit at the computer.

Ah well, I lied.  We did see ONE interesting thing yesterday.....

For you, Pam

So, today...We did a little more bird-scaping at our bird spa tree.  Dave put more oranges up for the Woodpeckers and flickers.   They appreciated the sweet juicy flesh.

Later in the day he went outside to talk with a fellow camper, he had on a red shirt then.  Lesson learned, don't wear a red shirt in an area heavily used by hummingbirds!   They nearly knocked his head off checking out that red tee shirt!  Before our little hike, he changed back into the blue one, no sense tempting fate!

It was very hot here today, closing in on 87 degrees.  We decided to take a short hike anyway, only about a mile round trip.   It was lovely and we saw so many tiny colorful flowers.  We've yet to see a Saguaro blossom yet, but we're watching them closely.

I love the clouds that form over the mountains

Another dinner with Carm tonight, its probably the last one we'll have with her for awhile.  We'll really miss seeing her and being on the receiving end of that wonderful smile.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

We were out of our SKP's site this morning, precisely at 11 a.m., check out time.  We were parked on the road, hooking up the jeep (at 11:08) when a gentleman in a golf cart raced up and handed Dave a little piece of paper telling us that check out was at 11 a.m. and since we hadn't checked out yet, we should, at our earliest convenience, either do check out or make plans to extend our stay!   I was really shocked by this, and we drove away with a bad taste in our mouths.   Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to us on both our visits to this park, I know they run a tight ship, but I felt that this little note was over the line.    The park was not full, there were not people waiting in line for our site.    Tarnished my feelings about this park - and we're escapee's members!

Ah well, put it in a balloon and let it go into the sky....

We parked at the Benson Rail Station (think small, dirt parking lot adjacent to the tracks) and ate our lunch before getting on I-10.   An enormous freight train thundered by, horns blazing, and we both smiled huge smiles.   We love to hear trains, feel the wind whirling around them.   It takes us both back to our week tethered to a flatbed car (Beluga was tethered, not Dave and I personally!) winding down into the Copper Canyon.  We could just feel the sway of the car as it lumbered along past incredible scenery and poor towns, kids racing to the tracks to wave at us.   Fond memories indeed.

 The blaring horn brought back stressful memories, however.  We remember being in bed, at around 5:30 a.m. and hearing an engine fly past us, on the next track, heading for the front of our line of cars.   We had to leap out of bed in the cold, pull on some clothes and get the dogs off the train, do their business, and get them back up on to the train car before the engine hooked on  and began to slowly move our train away!   Some days were closer calls than we  wanted.   We laugh now when we look back, but then it wasn't so funny.

From memory lane to I-10....

Arizona has beautiful artwork on their bridges and overpasses

We're back at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson - same site as before.  We really like it here, we feel isolated, really out in nature with beautiful views all around and lots of birds and wildlife,  yet close to every modern convenience.   Nice.

now we're back to those crazy cactus

Shhhh    Dave is dozing in the sun

this tree is right outside our door and is the hub of much bird activity
As soon as we put up our seed feeder and hummingbird feeder we had birds of all kinds dropping in.  We swear that they sit in nearby trees and watch as each new camper sets up, then check out what will be offered by the new folks!   We had three different types of hummingbirds feeding and arguing about who should eat on what schedule!   Male and female Vermillion flycatchers flitted around and a Gila Woodpecker helped himself to the orange halves I stuffed into the base of the tree.  I picked the oranges from the trees at Lazy Days RV Resort and ended up carrying them around in the jeep all this time!  Too many things in that car, its hard to keep track of what is really in there!

isn't this little Broadbilled magnificent?

this tree attracts not just birds.   can you see him?