Of course the fun times continue, how could it not when you've got family and friends spread all around the area. Grab a drink, we've been busy so this will be a long post.
We met up with MonaLiza and Steve of Lowes Travels while they were staying just up the road for few days. We enjoy hiking with them, MonaLiza and Dave do the photography stuff and Steve and I graciously pose when they want us to, or we keep hiking knowing they will catch up to us. Less than 2 miles from their park is part of the Black Canyon Trail, which we've done other parts of this winter. A great hike with good friends, Dave and MonaLiza enjoyed playing with their cameras, Steve and I indulged them.
Of course every good hike is followed by an even better meal. MonaLiza made us some delicious Filipino pork bbq skewers.
We first heard about the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail from friends Steve and Debbie. On June 28, 2013 a wildfire started near Yarnell AZ, by June 30 it overran and killed a group of 19 city of Prescott firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The Yarnell Hill Fire as it's become known was the deadliest fire involving firefighters since 9/11. In late 2016 AZ State Parks opened a memorial hike to the fatality site, The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail. Along the 7+ mile hike are 19 plaques, dedicated to the each one of the fallen Hotshots. A well done poignant tribute to fallen heroes.
We asked our friends Curt and Glenda to share this hike with us,on a windy March day we tackled the 1700' elevation gain 7+ mile round trip hike.
We met this hotshot firefighter on the trail as he was returning from ground zero. He had been with the Granite Mountain Hotshots just days beforehand on another fire. He was out that day, hiking in memory of his fallen friends, carrying all the things they would have carried on that fatal day.
A sobering hike where evidence still shows from the fire that fateful day.
But after every hike, no matter how sobering, we need to refuel. El Ranchero in Wickenburg AZ has some great Mexican food, we had been there 2 years ago and it was still as good this year.
|No we didn't let him drink them all|
Our next hike took us back to Wickenburg where we found Sophie's Flat Trail. While it was a great hike that was suppose to be about 6 miles we ended up hiking 9+ miles. Lack of signage was the culprit but we made it and that's what counts. We had the trail to ourselves, never met another hiker, only saw 2 folks on ATV's on one of the off road stretches.
To say I was beat at the end of the hike is an understatement. Lots of steps, miles and elevation helped with my weekly goal of 49 miles but once home I sure didn't move too much.
Lunch at El Ranchero certainly helped to revive my energy.
With our friends DuWayne and Jackie in town there were a few tourist things that needed to done.
DuWayne's cousin is a vendor at the Aloha Festival in Tempe AZ so bright and early one Saturday morning we picked DuWayne and Jackie up. We had heard the parking garages would fill up early, we wanted to get in the one closest to the festival which we did. Lots of food vendors and of course there were all things Hawaiian, the only thing I never saw were macadamia nuts which was the one thing I really wanted. We watched a few of the shows, ate some of the food and when it got really crowded it was time to go.
Our daughter in law Laura sister and nephew came for a visit, while in the area they were interested meeting us and seeing how we lived. Think we may have future rv'ers in the making as they were pleasantly surprised out how spacious our home is.
Authentic Lebanese/Mediterranean Cuisine give Zeta's Grill a try.
Our last visit with David and Laura was to celebrate our "other" son Jim's birthday. We've know Jim since he was in 3rd grade, he and his folks are part of our extended family. We all met up at the Cornish Pasty in Scottsdale. No pictures of the main course but then the desserts came out, between the 5 of us we polished them all off.
|David, Laura, Faye, Dave & Jim|
We've certainly enjoyed some great food in the Phoenix area, so for lunch on our last day in town we headed back to Chino Bandido. We were last here the first evening we arrived here in Phoenix, we thought it appropriate to go there as an end to our stay. It sure doesn't look like much from the outside but they do have some really good Mexican Chinese dishes.
By happenstance another Grand Design RV couple stayed in our park recently. We had met Andrea and Charlie twice in the past few years but had never had the opportunity to get to know them. When we found out they were here in our park we made plans for a rib dinner. What a great time it was getting to know them better. During the course of conversation we got talking about pizza, what else do those from areas that were influenced by pizzerias near New York city do but compare notes on where we can find good pizza. We grew up on thin crust pizza that when folded the grease dripped off, can't find pizza like that anymore. We mentioned our favorite pizza place, Gio's in Anthem, was just up the road. Besides great pizza they have the best cannoli's, filled to order so the shell is still crisp. After a great rib dinner we headed up to Gio's for cannoli's. They were all we expected them to be, I think Andrea and Charlie enjoyed theirs.
Small World Moment
One of the blogs I've followed over the years is Gone By RV, after a few comments on their blog Karen reached out to me. Turns out she's from where I grew up in NY and has cousins in Dave's hometown. But what really made it interesting is she attended my senior prom. She was a guest of one of my classmates, while I didn't know him, our class size was over 500, it's such a coincidence that we were at the same place almost 40 years ago. They winter in Casa Grande and tried to meet them when we were here a few years ago. That didn't happen but recently we had the pleasure of sharing lunch with them in Chandler. Lots of laughter and great conversation, too soon it was time for us to head our separate ways. We had a great time getting to know Karen and Steve, I'm sure one day our paths will cross again.
The reservation process for FL has begun in earnest: we've secured sites at Topsail State Park, a Broward County Park near Ft Lauderdale, a city of Orlando park and Hillsborough State Park. When we have them all in place I'll post where and when we'll be next winter.
The Arizona sunsets never cease to amaze us with their beauty. We won't be west next winter so we're soaking in the beauty of the AZ sunsets as much as we can.
Tomorrow morning we head north to Page AZ where we'll spend 2 nights at Wahweap Campground on Lake Powell before heading to boondock near Lone Rock with friends Ingrid and Al. Weather will dictate how long we stay there, we'll be in Durango CO by 4/15 to start our summer host jobs at Alpen Rose RV Park.
Until next time....
Until next time....