Thursday, March 30, 2023

Friends, family, and flowers

 Before Pam and John left Wickenburg we enjoyed dinner at El Ranchero with them and MonaLiza and Steve.    No pictures...

Later that week "long time no see" rv friends Vic and Pam arrived for a short visit.   They braved our very washed out road in their small motorhome and parked next to Beluga's house.    

Since it was the day before St. Patricks Day I  invited Steve and MonaLiza over for a dinner of Guiness Stew and Whiskey Cake.    They had met Vic and Pam, briefly, in Florida many years ago, 2014 I think.

We first met these two in Florida also but were able to share many good times together there - enjoying Vic's delicous Chai tea for second cup at the beautiful Holiday Cove RV Resort, visiting Southeastern Guide Dog School and playing with the dear little puppies, happy hours, eating out with other rv friends, etc.     

happy hour in April 2014

in Bend 2016

As usual, we were all too busy talking and enjoying each other's conversations to take any pictures.    Dave did manage to get one shot of Pam constructing her delicous green salad while I looked on.   Thanks Dave.

The next day we continued catching up as we watched their two Portugese Water dogs (Rui and Cash) enjoy total freedom in the back yard.

Cash sleeps, Rui watches - just in case something fun happens.....

It was a great visit and over too soon.  We're so glad they reached out when they were in our area, so nice to be able to see old friends on the road.    Saturday morning they braved the road once again and headed for their next stop in Palm Springs.

The following Friday we drove into Phoenix Sky Harbor to pick up Jesse and Erin!    Our Christmas visit didn't work out so we were really looking forward to having them here with us.    Their lives are busy with work and preparing for the birth of their daughter so we all enjoyed a quiet and low key visit.

father/son second cup conversation in the sun

The weather cooperated and we were able to soak up some sun and warmth, eat, pursue some family stuff on, and just relax together.

MonaLiza gave us some just picked citrus and Jesse spent way too much time juicing the oranges and grapefruit.    The resulting nectar was wonderful, fresh and sweet, but the process was pretty time consuming for the volume achieved!    Especially when someone we love dearly drinks an enormous glass each morning, 6 oranges worth!

Erin drank her grapefruit juice at second cup beside the chiminea

is she short, is she tall?

We took one afternoon to drive up to Prescott for lunch at Gato Azul.    One night we enjoyed dinner at nearby Rancho de los Caballeros but other than that we just hung out at home.

a morning taken up with searches - Fun!

the lizards

here they are!

Tuesday we drove them into Scottsdale's Andaz Resort for some babymoon, alone time.    We stayed for dinner outside before saying goodbye until July.

That's about all that's new around here.   We're getting Beluga and ourselves ready for our summer trek east and enjoying the desert's beautiful flowers.    I guess there is something to be said for this winter's above average rainfall in the desert.    


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Two weeks away

 Now that we're back home again I can show you the rest of our short Benson based adventure.    The snow didn't last very long so we were off exploring the area again the next day.    

unusual parallel contrails in the blue blue sky

We took Cascabel Road north from Benson on a quest for crested Saguaros.   I read somewhere, don't remember exactly where, that there were a few in the vicinity so off we went.     The road was paved for 10 miles or so and then was a relatively wide, graded road that followed the path of the San Pedro River and across it's various washes.     The sky alternated between brilliantly blue and a threatening gray but no rain or snow appeared.   Phew.

San Pedro

please don't rain.....

The further we drove the more giant Saguaros we saw, probably the biggest ones we've ever encountered.    

It was a great drive and we found what we were ultimately looking for!    We saw 7 cresteds in about 30 miles of driving!    Some were near the road, some in the distance on private land, some small and early in development and some huge and old.





three (ish)





Another day we (in John and Pam's Jeep) drove down to Tombstone to see all the work done at Jodee and Bill's house after a car crashed into their livingroom a few years ago!    Beautiful new fireplace and bathroom, lovely colors and views - all in all the perfect home for them.     When we were done oohing and ahhing we followed them in their Jeep into new to us areas to visit some ghost towns Pam had on her agenda.  Pearce, Gleeson, Fairbank.....

a Jodee sized door

John and Tessa wait for us to catch up

Tessa follows to make sure Pam doesn't fall into an abandoned mine

the school complete with entry columns (and two heads....)

the jail

Since this post was not done in a timely manner, and since we drove so many places in such a short time I can't (actually WE can't) seem to put everything into the proper order, which days we went where and saw what so forgive me.    I'll just show you the pictures and that will be that!

These next shots are from Bisbee, I know they are....It's a favorite place to wander and enjoy the quirky art and, as always, eat!

beautiful tailings color

four amigos keeping busy while waiting for lunch

We also made sure we got out in nature for some explorations.   One day we headed to Cochise Stronghold for a short nature hike with Pam and John.     We were a little nervous about this destination as we got closer because  we saw smoke coming from the entrance.....

As we approached we saw large signs informing us of a prescribed burn in the Stronghold, but the road was open so we decided to see how far we could go before the smoke became too thick and hindered our sight.    We all hated the thought of turning around.....       

cough cough

It was being well managed and we eventually drove out of the heavy smoke so we're glad we didn't abort our exploration.

We parked at the end of the road and followed the short nature trail.   The sky was blue and the area beautiful.

Pam and John continued on to the interpretive trail but we opted to sit beside the running creek and eat our lunch.....accompanied by a family of noisy Mexican Jay's.

We made two other excursions on our own a few days later.    One to White Water Draw Wildlife Area and the other to the Chiricahua National Monument, about 75 miles to our east.

We've been to White Water Draw before, the first time with Nina and Paul.    We always enjoy finding water and the birds it attracts, so we were happy to stroll around the ponds again, seeing what we could see.

Beluga and The Beast in 2013

old friends, years ago at White Water

This visit the famous Sandhill Cranes were in a field on the other side of the muddy pond.   We could hear them and see them in the distance.   Hundreds of Snow Geese were in residence at the far side of the water.    Near shore, the shallow water was muddy from the large numbers of Northern Shoveler ducks crusing around with their bills down, stiring up plant matter for lunch.   It was a challenge to photograph them with their heads up!

at last he comes up for air!

Mrs. Shoveler was much more photogenic

We were disappointed that the old barn that housed a grand Great Horned Owl was no longer standing.  We missed seeing him......


Our last adventure was at the Chiricahua National Monument.    It was a long drive but well worth the effort.     After arriving at the Visitor's Center - yes, I did go to the VC first - we wandered down to nearby Bonita Creek and sat on a huge, sun warmed rock to eat our lunch.    Once again, we were joined by several beautiful Mexican Jays.

After lunch we took the Bonita Canyon Scenic Drive into the fantastic rock formations.   

I bet that rock made noise when it fell!

can you see Cochise Head?  He's lying back, looking at the heavens

We stopped several times to wonder at the views.    I wanted to get out into those rocks and boulders very badly.    Seeing them from the car is wonderful, but I really wanted to get closer so when we reached the end of the loop drive we decided to do a bit of a hike.

The trail started out smooth enough so I didn't take my hiking poles.   In retrospect, that was probably not a good decision as the footing became increasingly rocky.   Ah well, hindsight you know.    I had Dave's strong arm to help me over a few spots and I'm quite proficient at butt crawling down rocks so it was no problem to see the balanced rocks and grottos.

Satisfied and happy we returned to the Jeep and made the long drive back home to Beluga.    Late afternoon sun on the Dragoons made me smile as we approached Benson.

That pretty much wraps up our two week getaway.    It was a much needed break and we thank Pam and John for suggesting it.     The drive back to Wickenburg revealed that much happens in two weeks.....the desert landscape a few weeks ago was very different from the riot of wild flowers that greeted us on our way home.     Pictures couldn't do it justice, nor did I want to take my eyes off the riot of orange, yellow, blue and purple flashing by my window to try and focus a camera.     Here's one quick shot of lupines et al lining the interstate.   Spring is here!