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!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April...It's Been A Grand Month

It's been with great anticipation that we looked forward to April and camping with our friends Curt and Glenda of the blog Camp Lowry. Over the winter we've gotten together with them at various times for a variety of activities and while we've been in the same campground before we've never camped with them. When they mentioned that their first stop after leaving the Phoenix area would be in Parker at River Island State Park about 3 hours away we jumped on the chance to explore a new area while spending time with good friends.

River Island State Park is a small beautiful park nestled between mountains on the shore of the Colorado River. We chose site 2, a back in site just across the road from Curt and Glenda. Water and electric with good internet (with booster) and satellite reception, what more could we need for 4 nights. Our only complaint about the park is the configuration of the dump station, it's tight and from the many black marks it's rough on tires. After a few days of pondering Glenda suggested since we were so close why not back down the road to the dump station...brilliant.
A delicious travel day dinner given by Curt and Glenda followed by a game of cards and lots of laughter was the start to an enjoyable few days.

Parker is about 20 or so miles south of Lake Havasu City where the original London Bridge was moved to, it reopened in 1971. If you want more info on who and how they did all this click here.
We had an enjoyable morning walking around the area and eventually ended up at a Barley Brothers Brewery where the boys enjoyed some beer samples and we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch riverside.

These two lighthouses were at the channel entrance, don't know if they do much but it was fun seeing lighthouses in the desert.

The next day we spent half the day on the Colorado River on a rented pontoon boat. We had an enjoyable ride up with Captain Curt at the helm. We passed many rv parks along the river, they were on both the AZ and CA sides. After checking prices once home we found they were reasonably priced. We also toured a neighborhood that had waterfront channels.

Captain Curt at the helm

Guess we weren't going any further up river

Dave just had to get a swim in

For you a few dollars (600K) one of these canal side homes could be yours.

On our final day at River Island State Park we decided to get some paddling in, I can't remember when we were last out in the canoe. Curt and Glenda have an inflatable kayak, which takes up much less space than our hard sided canoe, while one would save space I'm much happier having a hard sided vessel. Curt and Glenda had scoped out the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge prior to our arrival so off we went.

 We had a wonderful few days with Curt and Glenda, good friend, good food and lots of laughter made the time go by much too fast. It was with great sadness that we went our separate ways, it will be way too long before we see them since our travels take us in different directions for the next year. Oh and by the way Curt, Glenda and I let you win those last few games of spades. 

Upon returning to Cave Creek Regional Park we took up residence in a covered site that had been vacated by hosts with many more years here than us. While we miss our old site it is nice to be under cover and out of the direct sun. Our day ended with another beautiful AZ sunset.

We were lucky enough to get our son Tom out for a visit, all winter long our daughter in law has been saying she doesn't believe he exists, she now knows better. This would be the first time our boys had seen each other since May of 2011.

Tom and Dave spent one morning hiking Elephant Mountain, while the blooms have passed us by they still enjoyed the morning being outdoors.

There are horseback riding stables on the Cave Creek property here and once Tom saw them he expressed a desire to play cowboy for a few hours.

When we picked Tom up at the small local airport we asked him what he wanted to see while in AZ, he replied "The Grand Canyon".  Since it's just 3 hours north of us we made that happen, the skies were crystal clear for our visit and once we got away from the visitors centers the crowds thinned out. For this visit we stuck to the rim trail.

Our time with Tom was way to short but we look forward to him visiting us again sometime somewhere down the road.

One of the greatest things about life on the road is reconnecting with friends from our past lives. Recently our friend Larry came for a day visit, I've known Larry since we both were in high school...we spent 9 hours talking and catching up. He's recently retired and is on an auto trip for a few weeks.

The desert wildflowers and cacti blooms are just about over but we got one last showing during April. The blooms this year are about 3-4 weeks early, which meant we have been fortunate to see the Saguaros bloom which usually bloom in May.

 Our time here at Cave Creek Regional Park and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is almost up, we leave here in 5 days. This has been a wonderful workamping experience and we look forward to returning in a few years. The park supervisor, her assistant, Rangers Mark and Kevin and our other workampers have been great, we will miss them all. If you are ever in this area Cave Creek RP is one of the best places to stay.
Until next time...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

March-A Busy Second Half

It's been a month since my last posting and boy have we been busy. Computer issues, a few camping trips, many tourist things and of course volunteering has made the time fly by. With my computer issues I've lost Picasa...not a happy camper, time to purchase my own software so we're not dependent on an someone else.

 When I last blogged we were about to go camping in Cottonwood AZ for a long weekend.Our friends Janell and Mark invited us to join them and some of their friends at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood AZ. Cottonwood AZ was settled in the late 1800's along the Verde River, with a population of approx 11,000 it's a wonderful small city with all the conveniences you need. With mild winters and maybe 4" of snow a year I can see where it's popularity has come from. With Sedona to the north, Jerome and Prescott to it's south you have access to a wide variety of activities. Definitely a place I'd like to go back and spend more time exploring. We were there during spring break which meant that many places we wanted to visit were too crowded for our taste.

We were in site 24, so as to be near our friends, which was a little tight for us with a tree overhanging the back part of the drive. When we go back there is a another section where the sites are a bit larger.

Since the touristy places were crowded we decided to visit a few of the national monuments in the area. Our first stop was at Tuzigoot National Monument where the pueblo remains are of the Sinagua people who once inhabited this area. Their village was near the Verde River where they farmed and thrived for many years.

Montezuma Castle was our next National Monument, this park is located closer to Camp Verde and was inhabited by the same Sinagua people, they though built their homes into the cliff side instead of on the valley floor.

 While staying in Cottonwood one of the things we found to do was the Verde Valley Railroad, we didn't have time to do the tour while camped in Cottonwood but as it was just a ninety minute ride from Cave Creek I knew we could do it another time. When we got back to Cave Creek we asked our neighbors Marv and Alice if they'd be interested in joining us...they were and what a fun day we had.The railroad was originally built to haul good and workers to Clarkdale where a large smelting plant was located, here you can read the history of the Verde Canyon Railroad.

We opted to go first class which turned out to be a great experience. Champagne toast as soon as we were underway, appetizers, fruit and light desert were also served. 4 hours later we were all saying what a great experience it had been.  

 The train had to slow to a crawl while waiting for the local free range cattle to get off the tracks.

While our desert cacti were blooming profusely we decided to pay Desert Botanical Gardens a visit, what a display they had there.

Our friends Cindy and Paul invited us to join them on a sunset cruise around Saguaro Lake on the Desert Belle. Saguaro Lake is named after the Saguaro Cactus and is the last of a series of lakes made by the damning of the Salt River.

There is a primitive campground on the lake, the only access is by boat...guess we won't be camping there.

Dinner lakeside outside, a great way to end a great evening with good friends.

Our son's best friend from VT moved to Phoenix in March, we've known James since he was in 4th grade...he used to come to our home after school and on school holidays. His folks moved out of VT last December and he has been anxious to get out of there too. So great to see him again.

Dave of course has been taking lots of pictures around the park here and at Spur Cross, sunsets, flowers, wildlife and the full moon have been fodder for his camera.

We packed more than usual in the second half of March, the beginning of April has been just as crazy but we'll leave April for another posts. It's time to catch up with other blogs.

Until next time...