Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Friday, January 29, 2016

Enjoying Life in Arizona

Of course another month has almost passed since my last post, while in the moment nothing much seems to be happening when you look at the month as a whole quite a bit has taken place. We've enjoyed dinners with friends and our son and daughter-in-law and when not doing something else we've been busy working on our travel plans to Great Falls MT where we'll meet up with our Alaska caravan.

Our year started of with Dave pulling his back out on New Years Eve while setting up our work table, a week of light exertion and he was much better. Thankfully he'd gotten most of the work done on the battery install and could sit back and rest.

Friends from Gulf Waters RV Resort in Port Aransas TX stopped in over night to say hi. It was great to have some one on one time with them as we got to know Linda and Patrick much better. Thanks guys for stopping, see you next winter in TX.

On the 11th we headed to Quartzsite, a short 3 hour ride from Cave Creek. We were there for an Grand Design Owners Rally, it was great to finally put faces to names. As one of the admins for the Grand Design Owners Facebook page it was rewarding to meet so many of the great people that make up our group, the group is relatively drama free and full of friendly helpful people...such a pleasure to be part of the group. Lots of good food and new friends made for a delightful experience.

For 5 nights we dry camped at Quartzsite and learned quite a bit. I doubt we'll ever go with solar as Dave doesn't want to mount anything on the roof but we do need to get another generator, one Yamaha 2000 isn't enough. We did make it to the Big Show, I was surprised that there were so many vendors that were not RV related. So after visiting the show and looking at all of the Grand Designs we came away still pleased with our choice in floorplans and a small gas fireplace for when we can't have real campfires.

On our days off Dave and I have been trying to walk or hike, trying to get in better shape before we leave here. If we're not hiking we try to power walk 4 or 5 miles, something we did on a regular basis about 4 years ago before we became rv'ers. Since buying our first rv we've gotten out of the habit and with Dave now being retired there is no excuse. We've hiked all the trails here at Cave Creek and had only one left at Spur Cross, Elephant Mountain a 7+ mile hike.

The Elephant Mountain is comprised of two peaks with the trail going through the saddle.We approached the saddle from the "back" side which has a short but steep climb to the saddle.

One of the "perks" of the working at Spur Cross is we can take the closed to public trails with out a ranger. One such trail exists at the saddle, it takes you up one last steep climb to a fortress area, while I needed rest Dave didn't want to sit for very long so headed up to the fortress. He still has tendinitis issues so if he stops for too long it flares up.

On top of the shorter of Elephant Mountains two peaks is what is left of what was once an Apache Fortress. The Tonto Apaches were the fiercest local Native American tribes and from their fortress they could see any enemy coming. The walls to the right and below are a few of the walls left of the fortress.

During out time in the higher elevations we were treated to the site of some early wildflower. The recent rains bode well for a wonderful wildflower display over the next few months. 

On our hike down was through a forest of Saguaro Cactus.

One of our goals while here is to visit the other regional parks around the Phoenix area. Last week we headed to White Tanks to check it out. The campground was not impressive but we did enjoy the one trail we hiked. Waterfall trail is a two mile trail (in and out) which has a number of petroglyphs along it.

One day our walk turned into a walk/hike/tour, as we prepared for our walk we noticed that there was going to be a tour of Clay Mine going on also. The tour is an "open house" where the ranger waits at the Clay Mine and takes groups in and explains the history.

Ranger Mark
Because of all the quartz in the area early prospectors returning from California thought there would be gold here. Alas there was very little but there was a clay chalky substance that one very enterprising women decided to market. This was during the days of dysentery and the women added a little of the chalk to water and soon folks were not spending as much time near the outhouse. This product was the forerunner of Kaopectate. So while no gold was found there was value in the old mine. 

We are still enjoying the sunrises and sunsets most days

Life is good, especially with friends with fire
Until next time...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Wrapping Up 2015

Seems we've been busy or working, I've had good intentions of catching up the blog but then something comes along and I don't get to it. So here's the highlights from December 2015.

One evening we headed into Phoenix with Mary and Michael who also volunteer here and live next door to us. After a wonderful Thai dinner we headed to the Desert Botanical Garden to enjoy the Las Noches de las Luminarias. An evening of strolling along garden paths lit by thousand of luminaries, which were lit with actual candles, volunteers  go out and change the candles every day then light them then they have to light them all.

One of the sculptures in the Bruce Munro Sonoran Light Display.

Our friends MonaLiza and Steve of  The Lowe's RV Adventures went one evening, you can read more about the displays and see more pictures at their blog here, you can also read about our visit with them at McDowell Regional Park when MonaLiza and Steve invited us for a delicious ham dinner...once again no camera but Mona had hers going.

These last two displays were made with recycled 1liter water bottles, fiber optics were inserted into the bottles and supported by wooden shelves between each layer, the displays continually changed colors.

We've been out hiking quite a bit, enjoying all the desert has to offer. We are enjoying our day hosting volunteer job and even head there on our days off to hike a bit. Our Christmas Day hike was wonderful, so much nicer than spending Christmas in snow and cold.


One of the benefits of our job is being able to hike with our ranger Kevin and other volunteers as they prepped a new trail. The following petroglyphs are not on a main trail. We've been given the privilege of knowing their location.



One of the hikes offered at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is the moonlight hike, usually on the night of the full moon but since that was Christmas it was held a few days later. Lots of people this month probably because of the holidays...we're planning on going again.

Our bird feeders are emptied frequently by the numerous visitors.

New friends Mark & Janell invited us to a Christmas party. We always have so much fun with them, they will be at Quartzsite and we are talking about going to Mexico with our RV's for a few days. Great new friends :)

We enjoyed a Christmas dinner at our son David and daughter-in-law Laura's home, how nice to have dinner prepared for us...again forgot the camera :(. Needless to say it was a wonderful meal and an enjoyable evening.

Dave has been busy working on improving our battery capacity. In a week we are headed to Quartzsite AZ (think Sturgis but for RV's) where
 we will be dry camping for 5 days. Of course I was too busy helping to take pictures but needless to say we are in a much better position for this than we were. Dave added some batteries, ran wires and generally upgraded our capabilities. We are attending a Grand Design Owners Rally prior to the start of The Quartzsite RV Show.

A few of the sites here at Cave Creek Regional Park have a corral.

 The sunsets here continue to be spectacular.

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and we'd like to wish all a Happy New Year.
Now to catch up on my blog reading.

Until next time...