Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Visiting friends in Arizona This is the1/25-2/13/2016

On the road again Monday Jan. 25 to Riverside Adventure Trails RV Resort, Fort Mohave.
We camped next to our friends, Mike and Sue Lynaugh for the next two weeks.  We have kept up our friendship with Mike and Sue since we lived in Marquette, MI 1972 - 1974.  We joined them for these weekly activities at the clubhouse:  card bingo, Bridge, hamburger lunch and Bingo.  We also went to a Casino on Tuesday morning.  They gave us a tour of Laughlin, NV.  Sue and I went for a good walk along the Colorado River.

On both Thursdays we went to Laughlin Senior Center to play Bridge.  It was interesting to play Bridge with people we hadn't played with before.  We shared our bidding techniques so we'd understand each other.  There were 9 tables of Bridge.  A really friendly group.  We went to a Casino for a buffet dinner.

Both Fridays we went to Connie's (a friend of Mike and Sue's) for Bridge and lunch.  There were 12 players.  Once again we shared our bidding techniques.  We had a good time.

Both Saturdays we went to Mass at Riverside Casino.  Rev. Charlie Urnick of St. John the Baptist Church gave a meaningful homily asking us to substitute our name when reciting 1 Corinthians Ch 13. patient .... is kind, ....etc.  It is a homily that has stayed with me longer than most.  There were over 600 in attendance each Saturday.  This large conference/entertainment venue is crowded for Mass with snowbirds and local people.  We talked to people next to us and found they were from the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan).

Every night we played Bridge with Mike and Sue in their RV.  We got a lot of Bridge in. Near the end my cards turned sour.  Getting poor cards made me easier for us to hit the road.  We also watched the Super Bowl with them. Were glad Denver won.  But as soon as the game was over we were back playing Bridge.  What a great 2 weeks we had.

On the road Monday Jan. 31 to Lake Havusau to have lunch with John and Lu Lokeman.  He's from Phil's hometown of Merrill.  John often took Phil hunting and fishing as a kid.  John and Lu have been coming to this area for 20 years.  They live in Jamestown, ND.
We had lunch overlooking the famous London Bridge.  The bridge was purchased Robert McCulloch for $2,460,000 on April 18, 1968.  It was dismantled and numbered.  After being shipped through the Panama Canal it was erected in Lake Havusau.  It was rededicated on October 10, 1971. 
On Tuesday Feb. 1 Phil and I had lunch with Evelyn Miller.  She was the Activity Director when I worked as one of her Assistants at a nursing home in Palatine, IL.  How great to visit with her in person.  She's been coming to this area in the winter for over 10 years.

On the road again Monday Feb. 8 to Flagstaff, AZ to have lunch with our Roadtrek friends, Barb and Richard.  We traveled through Newfoundland with them in Aug. 2012.  Again great to visit in person.  We stayed overnight at Cliff Castle Casino near Camp Verde.  Flagstaff is higher elevation so we had to be somewhere we wouldn't have freezing temperatures.  We don't want any frozen pipes in the RV.  We registered at the casino and played on their free $5.00.  I won $1.75 but Phil won $16.  We're not into gambling so took the our winnings and left.

On the road again Tuesday Feb. 9.  After a stop at a rest area as Phil accelerated varoom!!! What a lot of noise. We were heading to Bev and Bob's our friends in Sun Lakes.  Long story short we had the muffler replaced.  Our vehicle has over 133,000 miles.  Guess we can't complain too much.  Replacing the muffler meant making 4 bends of the connecting the pipes to go around the plumbing.

On the road again Wednesday Feb 10 Bev and I went to the Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix.  

Wow, what a fantastic place.  Wish we had gotten there earlier in the day.  This is the introduction area with ancient and unique instruments.  There are instruments and information from over 200 countries.  There are sections of different types of ethnic, folk and tribal music.
Explanation of the step in making player piano music was so interesting.
The printing or cutting of the music rolls for the player piano music.
There was a Hands on Room.
Playing a theremin.  An early electronic instrument.  The music is controlled by movement of the hands near but not touching the theremin.

What a great time we had.
Instruments on display and flat screen video showing the musicians playing.

Video about making steel drums and the musicians playing.  The entire Museum was so interesting.

On the road again Thursday Feb. 11.  I went to Yoga class with Bev.  Interesting.
We met our friends Judy and Hank for lunch.  We call them our RV parents.  They are full timer RV'ers.  They visited us after I retired and said now we can RV. They said  look at a Roadtrek.  Well.  It's been a great adventure of almost 117,000 miles since July 2010.  And we are still finding so many new places to discover.

After the RV muffler was finished we arrived at our friends, Ron and Anita.  We knew them when we all lived in n apartment in Madison, WI in 1970.  They have visited us in Illinois and this is our second time visiting them.  Lots of memories shared.

And we all are Packer fans.

On the road again Saturday Feb. 13.

We had lunch with Dick and Dawn in Oro Valley, AZ.

We attended Mass at Immaculate Conception in Benson, AZ.

We are staying overnight at Saguaro SKP- Benson.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Organ Pipe Cactus 1/17-24/2016

On the road again Sunday Jan. 17 to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
What a spectacular place.  The landscape is amazing to a Midwestern gal.
We arrived at the Visitors Center in time to hear a Ranger talk about the Arizona sun.  Very interesting about the latitude of the earth and the intense sun rays in this Sonoran desert.  It was a treat to look through the telescope at the sun.
The early visitors named them organ pipe cactus because they looked like organ pipes.
Setting sun at our campsite with our own saguaro cactus.

Interesting fact at Organ Pipe National Monument Campground.  Campers leave the hood of their vehicle up.  Packrats are attracted to the soy in the wiring of the engines and will eat away the lining destroying the wiring.  We left our engine hood up.

On the road again Monday Jan. 18 for the 28 mile Ajo Mountain Drive Ranger led tour.  The Park van picked us up at the campground at 8:45.  A great benefit of this Park is the van picking us campers at the campground to go on hikes or Ranger led tours.
This organ pipe cactus has a Cristate.
A Cristate is an abnormality in the cactus.  

The skeleton of a dead organ pipe cactus.

 The packrats have made their nest underneath this cactus.  They moved these cholla cactus near the base of this cactus to deter predators.  
 Ramada made using saguaros to give shade in this full sun desert.
The cholla cactus look so inviting to touch but no.  Each spike is really thousands of needles.  People are encouraged to carry a comb to aid in brushing it off if they get attached to skin or clothing.  

 In the afternoon we hiked to the Visitor Center (2 1/2 miles) for the Ranger Patio Talk on Desert Adaptations.  These are the only flowers I saw blooming in the park.  Saguaro cactus can grow 50 feet tall, weigh several tons and live 200 years.
This is a skeleton of a saguaro cactus.  
Cross cut of organ pipe cactus (left) and saguaro cactus (right).
 At the campground the remnants of a saguaro cactus.  The ribs are like wood.

On the road again Tuesday Jan. 19 to the Gachado Wells Line Camp.  The Ranger picked a  group of us up at the campground at 1 pm.
 Ranching was done in this area into the 1970's.
 Memorial for a Park Ranger who was killed on duty chasing Mexican drug smugglers.
 Standing by the fence separating us from Mexico
 The fence is 33 miles along.  We felt safe at the Park.

On the road again Wednesday Jan. 20 to Quitobaquito Springs. for a Ranger led hike and talk.
An oasis in the desert.
   Huge cottonwood tree.There's a legend about keeping the tree alive So the Park has put rubber diaper on it. Can you see it?
Endangered Pupfish.

Yesterday we saw the 33 mile long 15 foot high metal fence along the U. S. - Mexican border.  This fence after the 33 mile is made of railroad rails.  It can stop cars from crossing but not walkers.

On the road again Thursday Jan. 21 by van to the Senita Basin.
We didn't see any Senita cactus on our hike but saw some yesterday on our trip to the oasis.  This is one as the Visitors Center.
 Saguaro cactus may grow 90 years before it grows an arm.  Arms naturally grow upward but when the weather is too cold the arms droop.  Eventually the arms want to return to growing upward.

Cactus wren often build a nest in the cholla.  

Mexican burning trash across the border.Ruins of the old store at the Victoria Mine.

The Senita Basin hike is 4.6 but we did the extra .5 mile to the Victoria Mine area.  Total hike 5.4 miles.  Lots of chollas, saguaros, ocotillos, ceresote bushes and so  much more.  It was great.  Ready for a shower.  They are solar showers.  Don't get very warm at this time of the year.  But refreshing!

A gila woodpecker working on making another hole for another nest.

On the road again Friday Jan. 22  picked up by van for Folklore Ranger led hike in Alamo Canyon. 

To me the rock formation above looks like a sphinx.
Gate from the time of ranching.
The Sonoran Desert is unlike the other deserts in the U. S.  It has 5 seasons:spring, summer monsoon, fall, winter rain and winter.  The Sonoran Desert is called the green desert because it receives two seasons of rain unlike the other seders that only have the harsh summer monsoon.  
It is never tiring to hike and seen the amazing landscape.
I though that rock formation looked like St. Peter.
In this area the organ pipe cactus are thick!
And tall and with interesting arms.
The desert is HARSH. The Park knows that hikers or Mexicans can get lost or run out of water or need assistance for some reason.  These Assist Stations have been erected around the Park.  Help would arrive in 20 minutes.

Saturday morning Jan. 23 I tried to get up early to take photos in the early light.

Just love these teddy bear cholla.

 Prickly pear

We visited with several campers and got tours of their rigs.  One an A-frame pop up and the other a Casita like trailer.  We went to the Visitor Center and handed in our "Not so Young Ranger" books and earned out "Not so Young Ranger" Badges.  This has been a fantastic stay.
We and 40 other joined two Rangers of a full moon hike up a hill.  What a great experience.  The Ranger starting the hike said he'd say"step up" or "down" when he did so.  Each of us was to do the same.  It got to be hilarious, step up, step up, step up, step over, step down, etc.  Actually the full moon gave us plenty of light to see.

Sue and Ron joined us around our campfire for socializing and a nightcap.

On the road again Sunday Jan. 24
 The Camp host told us of a morning when the sky was pink all over.  Well.  We finally had an astounding sunrise.

I couldn't get my camera fast enough.  But if you look real close.  
You can see the moon going down on the slope of the hill.
On the highway out of the park we watched for another Cristate saguaro.
 Interesting, right!

We attended Mass at Immaculate Conception in Ajo, AZ.

We stayed overnight at Flying J, Ehrenburg, AZ