Thursday, February 04, 2016

Apache Trail Scenic Byway

We have driven to the touristy Tortilla Flats several times.  It is paved and scenic.  But the road beyond has always been a mystery.  We heard it should only be driven with 4-wheel drive and was single lane.

When Bob & Terry invited us to ride with them on the Trail, they told us there were driving their street car, not their Jeep.  The road from Roosevelt Dam to Tortilla Flats is not paved, but was well maintain.  And, we appreciated the car because it handled the washboard areas smooothly. It would not be a good idea to take a vehicle like our camper van on the ride—just too narrow and rough.   

Roosevelt Dan is nearly 60 miles from Mesa and 40 from the mining town of Globe.  Before construction began, a road was constructed.  As it turned out, the best and most skilled workers in laying the dry laid stone retaining walls that were required to make a road along the sheer sides of the mountians were Apache men living nearby.  Many of these walls are still holding the road today.

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This picture was taken near the top of Fish Creek Hill.  At the bottom of this steep and narrow hill is a high bridge over Fish Creek.  The road approaching the hill is in the picture to the left.

The story is that it became a challenge to see how fast the early 1900 cars could manage this portion of the Trail.  The Federal Government finally put a 15 mph speed limit on the hill.  It was not because a car had shot off the side of the mountain killing the driver, but rather to protect the mule teams from the speeding cars.

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A forest of Saguaro. 

 

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Along this retaining fence was a small plaque that stated a name, birth and death date.  We specualated that someone requested ashing thrown off the top of the maintain.

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Canyon Lake is beautiful in the setting sun at the end of our day long tour

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Theodore Roosevelt Dam

Our long time friends Bob and Terry Roseberry are now residing in Mesa, AZ.  They invited us to spend the day driving to Globe and then around to Roosevelt Dam and then back to our campground over the Apache Trail Scenic Byway.  Most drive the road from Apache Junction to Globe and on back to the valley, but Bob wanted us to be on the outside so we could fully appreciate the drive.  Which we did!

First, here are Bob and Terry. 

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Roosevelt Dam was built between 1905 and 1911 just below the confluence of the Tonto Creek and Salt River at a narrow canyon location where Natives and early settlers crossed.  It was the largest masonry dam in the world at the time with a height of 280 feet.  It is thought that the dam contributed more than any other project to the settlement of Central Arizona.  In 1989 a expansion and renovation project encased the original “rubble-massonry” dam  in concrete and raised the dam from 280 to 357 feet.  A bridge was also built at that time so that cars would not drive over the top of the dam.  At the completion of this project a drought kept the lake from reaching its full capacity until 2009. 

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The Visitor’s center had a informative video about the construction of the dam.  Materials used in construction were brought up the Apache trail by mule and wagon.  Families lived in makeshift housing in the area as told by a woman who was a young girl at the time.  She told of personally witnessing the start of an entire mule team, teamster and wagon go off a cliff before she covered her eyes and ran.  

It also told how early developers recognized the need for water for the Arizona valley.  This led to three additional dams and lakes below Roosevelt as well as other projects in the area.  This water feeds the canels that provide water in the Phoenix area.  As I mentioned earlier,  Dan and I rode our bikes along the Highline Canal. 

A side note about the canals:  The park ranger at Lost Dutchman gave  a short history of the canals on a moonlight hike (that’s another story).  Archaeologists believe the Hohokam Indians were peaceful farmers who inhabited the valley  from AD 300 to 1450.  They were known for digging ditches to irrigate their crops.  The modern canals follow these same routes.

I have a few more pictures of our drive from the dam along the Apache Trail Scenic Byway, but that would put too many pictures on one post.  I’ll continue with those tomorrow.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pie Town Arizona

On our way down here on Route 60, we traveled through Pie Town.  It is a small town along the road—not even a stop light.   But, the town is proud of their name.  Surprise, they even have a Pie Festival in the summer.  They have an impressive display of windmills.

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Just as we left the “city limits,” we encountered this vehicle

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Dan caught the name and alerted me, but it was too late for me to get a picture.  So, I borrowed this one from their web site.  I doubt if they care.  Here’s another picture

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Just dropping the kids off at the stool, I guess.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Pigs—well javelinas

We returned to our campsite at Lost Dutchman tonight around 10:00 pm after playing cards with Kay and Lynn.  Dan decided to look around outside before bed. 

Here is what he saw

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Well, not exactly what we used to have around home although they sure sounded like it.  They are javelina which are not members of wild pig family but of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America.  According to the Arizona Wildlife and Parks web site, they have only recently arrived in Arizona.

Anyone who knows Dan will know that this crazy visit made his day.  Obviously, they have made a visit to the campground before because they moved on from our site to a trash can which they tipped over.  Probably not a good way to impress the camp hosts. 

Here is another clue they aren’t too afraid of humans

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Water Ranch

Today we visited the Water Ranch and Raparian Preserve located in Gilbert Arizona, which is also a suburb of Phoenix.  In my attempt to find bicycle trails other than on busy streets and along the canals, this area came up.  It turned out to be a great one.

What is a “Water Ranch?”  In the 80s and 90s, the town of Gilbert decided to set aside 110 acres, 70 of which make up seven basins that are filled in a rotating basis.  Not only has this made an excellent habitat for 298 species of birds counted since the Ranch was established, but it is a place where water is allowed to perculate down to be recycled in to the subterranean reservoir for future use.

There are over four miles of trails within the Ranch and Preserve and bikes are allowed.  We spent three hours riding and viewing humingbirds, honey bees, herons, quail, songbirds and various species of ducks and geese. We spotted an owl which, according to the pamphlet, is rare.   Seeing all of our summer birds in January was just so fascinating to us.  The real attention stealers were the bunnies.  They were peeking out all over.

This is the only picture I took since I opted not to carry my heavy camera. 

IMG_3011 The high temperature today was 70 degrees.  We thought of our friends at church on the snow removal detail.  And, for a short time, felt a little guilty.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Friends, Canal Trail & Geocaching

It was good to see Kay and Lynn.  They are friends from before we were married so feel like they are family.  We are looking forward to spending time with them while we are here.  Actually we know at least four couples total who either live or are spending time through the winter. 

We have already enjoyed four of these off Kay & Lynn’s tree.  The trees are loaded with oranges all over.IMG_3005

We love our camp spot at Lost Dutchman State Park.  We have a  beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains with no homes or other campers obstructing.  There is one small drawback—there are no hookups on the sites.  We find this to be no big deal because staying off the grid is how we like to roll.  However, since we do have a generator on board, we would like to use it now and then.  Most of the time it fires up at the touch of a button.  Sometimes not.  After studying the manual and forums online, we are sure what part we need.  So, today it was off to Tempe where we were told the part would be available. Well, it wasn’t, but they ordered & it will be here in a couple days.

Since we were out with the bikes, we decided to ride one of the canal trails that are all around the area. 

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This was the entrance to the Highland Canal Trail.  We rode the entire trail which was a total of ten miles.  It was an interesting ride because we rode by two parks, upper end homes down and even a little part had a rural feel.  There was a little too much gang writing on part of it, but it was a bright sunny day and we didn’t feel threatened.  There were lots of geocaches along the route.  Dan and I decided to try to use the GPS and learn how it works.  It was fun to have him help me and enjoy it.  Finding geocaches aren’t high on his list, but today we worked together successfully! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lost Dutchman State Park Arizona

Yes, we are here. Maybe this time we’ll find that treasure on Superstition Mountain. 

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We arrived late Friday afternoon after a day of sleet, snow, rain, drastic altitude change and finally sunshine and 60 degrees.

As usual, we never leave as planned.  So, instead of Wednesday morning, we locked and rolled around 2:00 pm.  Dan had a shop he wanted to visit near Winfield.  Thinking of Grandpa Hanney and his Cherokee Strip adventure, we headed to Perry Oklahoma to spend the night.  We should know by now that trying to find a campground after dark is never a good thing.  But, after going about five miles the wrong way, we pulled into a nice spot with electricity to plug in our little heater to brave the lower 40’s.

Thursday’s drive was mostly uneventful as we moved through Oklahoma, northwest Texas and on into Albuquerque.  I had a rail to trail along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque that interested me.  It had high reviews.    Once again, we didn’t arrive until after dark so we were trying to figure out where we would spend the night instead of riding bikes.  The Sandia Resort and Casino had food so we headed there, ate and just made up the bed and slept.  I might have slept a little better because I put $20 into the Flaming Seven slot and walked away with $22.  Dan sat and watched basketball with a bottle of water.  There were lots of dollars rolling there but not from us. 

We elected to go south out of Albuquerque and across New Mexico on Hwy 60.  As it turns out it was a wise decision because the Holbrook route would have taken us through a big snow storm. 

Route 60 did not disappoint.  First there was this:

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These dishes were huge—which is just what I Googled to find out what it was.  Here is the result.  Turns out we could have done a little walk about.  They say they are listening for black holes, but I think they are listening for aliens…

Then, all of a sudden, Dan screeched to a halt and we did a turnaround  because he said he saw an eagle.  Turns out, he did!

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And, do you think this sign was for or against wolves.

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The drive between SloLow and Globe Arizona is beautiful.  Here is a picture, but it is so much more than this.  For sheer drop offs, hairpin curves and mountain vistas, it rivals Colorado. 

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So, like I said, here we are.  Today is Sunday as I write this.  We attended the beautiful Gold Canyon UMC, grilled burgers and finally caught up on a little sleep and this  journal.  We’re here for a while.  Tune in!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where is that beer made?

The North Carolina family only had one restaurant request while here—well actually two.

Free State Brewery in Lawrence was mutually agreed on as a destination for both the NC and Colorado parents.  Dan and I opted to stay home with Carly and Evan.  The older boys were staying with friends.   We were playing post office by writing and receiving letters and the kids were stamping and delivering them.  So, we invited the “post office employees” for lunch.  I think the more Dan and I laughed the more Carly and Evan got into their parts.  What a memory.

A J’s Pizza in Topeka serves the best pizza bar none.  That is according to the North Carolina boys.  So, we all went there for lunch.  I will agree that it is good pizza.  The beer is served in glasses that are obviously acquired from places throughout the United States.  I ordered Boulevard Wheat and it was in this glass.  I almost asked if I could buy it. 

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Spreader Removal

The activity that seemed to please our kids the most was when Dan hooked tractor on to the front cedar spreaders.  Everyone, especially Kim, has been after us for a long time to do this.  And in fairness, they were overgrown and unattractive.  Probably the only good thing about those big bushes is they were the home for lots of birds—summer and winter.  It took a while for the little finches to relocate.

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The Rose of Sharon and pampas grass survived, but their eventual fate is still under discussion.  At any rate, our work is cut out for us this spring.

Finally, I didn’t get a good family picture.  Here are the grandkids, though.

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It was a great Christmas!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration this year.  Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan traveled 1100 miles without stopping from the Raleigh area of North Carolina and Doug, Drue, Trent & Carly came 550 miles from the Colorado Springs area.    Not surprisingly, we started out more than a little tired.   Everyone caught up and I think had a good time.

Christmas Day dinner menu looked like this

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and this

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The weather was nice most of the time so we played outside

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We had a beautiful full moon on Christmas Eve

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Tomorrow, a few more surprising activities.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Sunset

It seems like pictures of the sun rising and setting are all over the internet, specifically Facebook.  I  enjoy the beauty in the pictures, but I’ve pretty much quit taking pictures of those beautiful occastions unless I can capture some one or some thing with it to give it a little more meaning. 

Having said all of that, I did take a picture of a sunset several weeks ago that was great.  So, here it is. 

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Mismatched but I like it

I checked “mismatched” to make sure I spelled it right and the sentence they used to illustrate the meaning was, "funky mismatched chairs and tables.”  Perfect.

Normally, I wouldn’t be posting pictures or writing about our bedroom furniture. Since it spent over two weeks in our livingroom where anyone coming to visit had full view, it seems a little less personal.

Two pieces in our bedroom are my Mom’s.  I think she told me her age when she received the furniture, but I can’t remember.  She was born in 1915, so if she was 10 years old, the manufacture date would be around 1925. 

It is walnut, not solid but veneer. 

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I think it has an interesting look.  We have never used the headboard and footboard because they are made for a double size bed rather than queen. 

Then we have a piece of furniture Dan made in high school.  It is solid walnut.  It doesn’t fit with mom’s furniture at all.  But, I like it.  And, it is functional.

To round out our “funky mismatched bedroom” is a bed frame from Ikea.  It is black so doesn’t look too bad in a room with 1920’s and 1960’s furniture.  We do not have enough storage in our bedroom for off season clothes.  We have packed those clothes in totes and stored them in the basement for years.  This bed frame has four drawers which allows all clothes to be stored in our room. 

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There you go, more than anyone would ever want to know about our bedroom furniture. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Remodel

That’s my excuse in one word for not putting anything on here for a while.

Dan and I decided we needed to work on the house before Christmas.  There were several things that needed attention outside, such as painting the garage door, treating the deck,  just regular maintenance which we were able to do during the late fall.

The one room in the house that we haven’t addressed for years is our bedroom. I know we  aren’t the only ones who have remodeled a bedroom—we have before ourselves.  Maybe because we weren’t as organized going into it, but this project seemed to disrupt our lives for way too long.

Everything in the bedroom had to be moved to the living room.  All carpet torn out, closets remodeled (which meant clothes removed), ceiling and walls cleaned and painted, clean and oil furniture, put together a new bed frame….  We also learned  we aren’t as young as we used to be.  No ten hour days like back in the day.  Still, it was fun and I am so pleased with the outcome.

Then there was Christmas and all our family came home. 

So, writing my blog just seemed to be put on the bottom of the to-do list.  I am back, though.  And, I’ve got lots to write about—actually I’ve kept a list of topics.  Of course a few pictures too.  So, please stay with me.  I have two weeks to cover everything in the past and then there might be a little travel coming.

Tomorrow—my awesome new bed frame!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Remember the time we were driving down I 70 and passed a horse in the back seat of a car?

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We traveled to Abilene today for Dan’s cousin’s farm sale.  Somewhere around the rest stop at Maple Hill, we passed a car and Dan said, “Did you see that horse in that car?”

I said that I did not, but we had to stop and let the car pass so I could see for myself. 

Sure enough!!

Here are two more to get a better perspective. 

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Friday, November 13, 2015

And the leaves come tumbling down

This morning is was something like low thirties here.  The thermometer  is nailed on a tree outside the bedroom window but it’s hard to read  when I first get up.  The reason its hard to read is because I usually haven’t located my glasses.  It would help if I put them in the same place each night, but I don’t and that probably tells a bunch about my personality but that reflection is for another time…. 

Anyway, the hard freeze started the leaf rain as soon as the sun warmed the air, especially from the silver maples in the front yard.  Amazingly, this year we were ready for the cold.  Dan tilled the garden the other day and, as I said earlier, we’ve already winterized the camper.  There’s plenty of wood for the stove at the back door as well.

We ran some errands today and parked under a tree.  When I returned to the truck, I couldn’t help but snap a picture of the little leaf.  I have no idea how it got stuck there.  I picture it drifting slowly down and landing just so.  FullSizeRender

I hope this picture makes you smile, because there are a lot of sad happenings in the world today.