Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saguaro Lake

This morning Loyce had more of her quilt group – class – or what ever their daily activities were for today. I lazed around the RV working on computer stuff and getting ready to go to the Country Store event in the Activity Center.

We both went for Vegetable Beef soup, but the line was so long, that we got into the short hot dog line and that was our lunch. We didn’t buy any raffle tickets or stuff from the flea market, so we were out of there rapidly.

Later in the afternoon, we went out on the Bush Scenic Highway and drove to Saguaro Lake. The water seemed so blue. We parked and took it all in for a long while.


We drove around to the South and found the access road to go and look at the dam. There were some workers and an end loader, moving large rock, and we got the evil eye, so I took the picture and left.


The Bush Highway is very scenic as we pulled out to snap this picture.


At this point the sandy floor gives way to almost boulders, with the desert vegetation growing in between.


After the rains from last week, and now the warm up of yesterday and especially today at 76 degrees, the desert has become a grass carpet where only gravelly sand was before. It looks almost like pasture ground. But the plants still all have sticker barbs on them.

Even creosote bushes and mesquite trees can be pretty when watered and in bloom. I am told that in March everything will be in bloom.

As the sun set, we were back here at the RV. The night became cool quickly, and my short pants were suddenly inside wear. As it usually goes, we will need the heater before morning.

We will still be in the mid 40’s at night for another two weeks, and by then perhaps we can eliminate the heater bit all together.

Retired Rod

Friday, January 30, 2009

Down Time.

Loyce spent the day doing laundry, and I stayed back at the trailer making my cowboy bean chili.  The chili is just a matter of dumping several kinds of beans and rotel tomatoes into a pound of browned ground beef.  Oh and a bunch of barbeque sauce to add more flavor.

I like this concoction, and so do my sons, but Loyce eats it sparingly, since she doesn’t like the sugar in the sauce.  I used sugar free sauce today, so as not to aggravate the diabetes, or Loyce too much.

In mid afternoon, we decided to make the obligatory Wal Mart run.  We needed bread and paper plates.  And liquid laundry soap since she had washed everything in the trailer this morning.

Once back home, I got caught up in the Fox News reporting, on the Rod Blogo trial in Illinois.  The news folks were having a hey day.  Sad, that we need to impeach one of our state governors.  Next the feds go after him, and if they are successful he will do time in jail.  Like the three former Illinois governors have???  Can that be right?

Tonight we went over to Target looking for a small vacuum, but ended up with a shark sweeper gizmo that will sweep the carpets and the bare floor.  Has to charge before we can use it much, so the decision is still out on whether this is a good purchase.  I ran it a bit before the batteries died, and it seemed to get a bunch of dog hair right off the bat, so it should be a good thing.

A boring day, but a relaxing day for sure.

Retired Rod

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The last day!

Today was the last day we were with Larry and Jean for this winter’s tour.  So because it was the last day, we had to go and see everything we missed!  Well, some of them anyway.

First we went to an Olive Farm!


This is a nice place that had a peaceful outdoor garden among olive trees.  The inside was a restaurant, and gift shop.  Well perhaps a snack bar, or soup and sandwich bar.  The wines and olive oil are quite high priced, but they claim to be high quality.


We signed up for a tour, for five dollars, but it turned out to be sitting outside and listening to one of their employees tell us about the farm’s history and why we should buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Kind of by scare tactics.  Lots of emphasis on the unclean or nasty practices of other olive producers.  And any other form of oil such as Canola, is all hydrogenated and bad for you.  Well so it is, and the olive has the least of this bad stuff.

After the lesson on the olive, we went into the press room where the machines that press the oil out of the olives resided.  She described the process that makes the olives into oil, and that was the end of the tour.


Exit to the gift shop, where the rah rah rah speech will make you want to buy all the pure olive oil products.  OK  We didn’t buy anything.

From there we went and had lunch at a Subway, and had sandwiches made with Mayo, a hydrogenated soybean oil.  Oh well, they are quite tasty you know.

Then we went on to the town of Florence.  This was billed as a historic town, but we found it to just be really old and of little interest.  The court house was somewhat neat, but I didn’t get a picture, since we didn’t stop anywhere.

From there, we went over to Casa Grande ruins at Coolidge, Az.  We were here a couple of weeks ago, and helped our friends see the most interesting parts of the displays there.


We were able to reinforce our knowledge of the facts of the ruins, and increase our understanding of the information presented.  I enjoyed the return visit.

Tonight, we went back again to Fuddrucker’s for some more sweet potato fries.  More bad vegetable oil, I am sure.  Since Larry and Jean will not have an opportunity to have the fries again, we went back for one last time.  Loyce and I changed up our orders for completely different menu items, so it wasn’t a repeat of the meal from yesterday.

With that, we bid our friends goodbye for now, as we will see each other again in several months time.  For sure, in May as we attend the Dayton Hamvention.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Package from the 3 G Store


This is after it is all unboxed and set up running. The air card is plugged into the side of the Cradlepoint Router. The router has three antennas on the back, and I bought a little magnetic mount car antenna for the air card.

I started reading all of the paperwork when I was waiting in the car for Loyce back at a quilt shop in North Phoenix. She gets ideas from these shops and then needs to go back and look again at the finished quilt. So we drove back to the store we were at last Saturday.

This afternoon, we were both famished about 3 in the afternoon, and on the way home from the quilt shop, we found another Fuddruckers in downtown Scottsdale. So we pulled in. We ordered the smallest burger, and there is no small fry. You get a whole tray full. So we had no supper tonight. I pieced on some left overs long about 9:30.

But this evening, I got the air card signed on and running in the laptop. Just had to load the software from a CD and sign into the Verizon system. It worked, and it was faster than I have had for a month since leaving KC. Yeaaaaaa!

Then I configured the router with security, for the RV park. I set it out on the chair and plugged it in without the air card in the side. By the time I had connected to it with this laptop, two other folks had connected and tried to log onto various web sites. We are internet starved here at Mesa Spirit.

Once I had the security running, I then plugged in the aircard, and it registered without any further programming on my part. I never did run any of the programs on the CD that came with the router. They are provided by 3GStore, and are not part of the router itself. Perhaps they had some shortcuts to configure the router. Since I have had all kinds of experience in this area, I got thru it without any other help.

I am hoping that I can post this by pushing the publish button just once. Last night took about an hour and a half to get the Arboretum photos all up on Blogger.

Retired Rod

As a post script, this published in about 5 seconds on the air card.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is on Highway 60 East of Apache Junction near the town of Superior. It was a little over 30 miles out to the canyon site.

It was a cool morning in the 50’s but the sun was out as we left. The protection of the town of Mesa didn’t prepare us for the brisk wind and the cooler temperatures of the 2500 foot elevation of the gardens.


It was totally overcast as we got there and we had only brief periods of sun during the day. The main path from the visitors center.


In the humming bird sanctuary, we met this little fellow in a tree. It was cool and breezy, so he was sitting quietly.


Loyce at a bridge over the wash. She has her hood up, and still we went back to the car for more coats.


An old cabin where wool was sheared.


An antique Dodge truck.


An education pavilion. There was a desert legume garden in the background.


A small dam created this lake in the top of the canyon.


Sitting peacefully by the side of the lake on a secluded park bench.


This old guy guards the entrance.


We spent quite a bit of time in the gardens, and would go back on a moments notice, perhaps on a warmer day.

There are paths all around the park, and my sore ankle was limiting the distance we could hike. But at the slow pace we were taking, I could have gone farther.

Lunch was calling out our name, as it was after 2 PM and we were some distance from town. We did go into Superior and eat at a cafe and bar that turned out to be tasty. We had chimichangas. Mine with enchalada sauce. MMMM!

Tonight, we went back to the Organ Stop Pizza and had Sausage, Mushroom and Pepperoni pizza. We sat thru two sets of organ music, which as I have reported before, is beyond words to describe. The most notable piece that was played tonight, was “Phantom of the Opera.”

I think Larry and Jean really enjoyed the theater organ. I know I always enjoy listening. We had a different fellow performing tonight, and we think he did a better job than when we were last there.

Tomorrow I am to receive the air card from Fed Ex. I had it shipped to a local Kinkos since it needs to be signed for, and we would not be here all day waiting for the package. I can’t wait to get it, as this will take the rest of the night to post with all the pictures.

Retired Rod

Monday, January 26, 2009

Flea Market and a Stressing Buffet Meal

The Mesa Flea Market was our destination today. I’m not sure what we wanted there, or what we bought that was necessary, but we spent several hours doing it.

We went with Larry and Jean at about 10:30 and parked midway down the east side. Remember this place is big, like about a half a mile long, times four corridors. They have added on building after building, making at least two miles of stores on both sides of the walkways.

This was quite fun, except my ankle has been giving me the fits since we went to Quartzite. Seems that we overdid ourselves in that big tent extravaganza, and we never have let it heal up since. Walking into Mexico didn’t help much. And so on.

So today, I purchased a wooden walking stick like cane. This allowed me to transfer some of my weight to my shoulders, and not continue to injure the same old problem.

We made it all around the outside aisles which would be more than a mile of shopping. I found some really long shock cords, to help hold the awning in the wind. And the gals had many little packages too.

Much of this stuff is the same stuff as the big tent in Quartzite. But still different, as the rock or gem jewelry is all unique to the person making it. Ah the Southwest!

After the swap meet, we decided to go to the Old Country Buffet for some Sunday dinner. This proved to be a bad decision for me. At first, I thought I was having a low blood sugar style attack. But after we got home, I think I know what really happened.

One of the foods that I had selected, was a sweet potato dish, and the potato in question had a rather large black spot in the middle. I scraped at the spot removing most of the black stuff and then ate the potato.

Moments later, I felt as though my mouth was on fire, and numb at the same time. Like the dentist visit only a lot worse. Disoriented, I began to perspire and wondered if I would pass out. Some diet pepsi and then some regular sugar pepsi, as we thought I needed sugar from all the walking, and I seemed to get things under control once more.

I ate some other foods, and finished the meal and left. We got our own car, back at the motel and left Larry and Jean go to see other friends. I couldn’t get home fast enough!

The problem, I assume, bug, that was the black spot in the potato, decided that I should pass the contents on out of my system.

Now this is not a subject for a pleasant blog, so lets just say that I spent my time in the park’s bathroom, for the rest of the day. Never did have any supper, except for an Imodium tablet.

It may be quite a while before I go back to the Old Country Buffet!

Retired Rod

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quilts and more quilts, stores that is.

Today was the great quilt store tour. Our friends Larry and Jean were here to enjoy this activity. We went down to Chandler and went to Zoe’s Trunk. This was the store that sponsored the bus trip that Loyce went on two weeks ago. She hadn’t been there since the early morning of the trip to Tucson.


This time, there were a normal number of patrons in the store, so it was possible to get to the cash register to purchase things. During the bus trip, the place was overwhelmed.

Next we went to a store up in the North part of Phoenix. This was the Ham Radio store for us boys. Remember, I had scoped this place out the day before the Hamfest earlier in the month. We kind of buzzed thru this store purchasing only a small book and a magazine. We lost the gals into a thrift store down the block.

This strip mall had a Subway, and lunch was in order. I had Roast Beef 6". It really hit the spot. Everyone had the sandwich of their liking, just to make sure we didn’t loose our strength, you know.

Next we went to the biggest quilt store we have been to here in Arizona. This was called Quiltz. It was up in the Northeast part of the city, almost out to the 101 loop, and North of Scottsdale. The GPS had the address and led us there from the Ham Radio store. We followed its instructions and drove right to the place.

Quiltz kept the gals busy for quite some time. Purchases were packed away in the trunk of the car, without review by the guys. In fact we sat in the car and played with the radios and the computer for the entire time we were there. We could have done that back at home, but the gals were inside looking at all the wares.

Returning back to Mesa, we went to the Mexican statuary place on the corner of Val Vista and Main. This is a clay pot and metal yard art joint that is inside of a fence on a vacant lot. He did have some tent like structures up to cover things that shouldn’t get wet, like his desk. But the whole place is a gravel parking lot. Prices were quite high, and nothing was purchased.


This big tin man and a tin giraffe are out on the corner to attract patrons to the yard art.

Finally this evening, we went back to Fuddruckers for a burger and the famous sweet potato fries. Turns out that Jean really likes these and was waiting to try some when she got here. I guess I am a better salesman on this blog than I realize. They didn’t disappoint, that is if you like sweet potatoes.

A really big day, and I am falling asleep trying to recap it here in this journal.

Retired Rod

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Country Store / Friends Arrive

Its amazing, these places are so quick to ship a product to you.  The 3 G store, is somewhere around Chicago, and the router and access card I ordered, were shipped late last night.  The box arrived in California this morning. Fed Ex.

Since I only asked for three day expedited shipping, I think it will be ground from California over here to Phoenix.  But we have a tracking number, and the internet invoice.  The shipping process stops for the weekend, so if I am lucky, it will be here by Tuesday.

I  am cautious, not to get my hopes up too much, but since most all of the blog folks that I read, use Verizon, it should be a good product.  At least they all use theirs out in the desert, and all we need for it to do, is work mostly in town.  Time will tell.

Today was the activities around the park day, as Loyce did some laundry in the morning, interspersed with trips to the quilters activity room.  At noon, we had the “County Store”  which is the Bazaar in the Activity Center. The luncheon today was Corn Chowder Soup, with the Hot Dogs, Ice Cream and Pop Corn.

Not diet kind of food to be sure. 

Late in the day, we had friends from Iowa arrive in town, and assisted while they got situated with housing. 

Tonight we went over to Garcia’s Mexican restaurant, a chain, but it started here in Scottsdale.  The restaurant here in Mesa is a dead ringer of the original, and is quite good.  Too much food, for late at night, but dang that was good!

I say late at night, but that is tongue in cheek, as it was just after 5 PM when we went out, and we were done by 6:30.  The restaurant was crowded with senior grey hair folks, but seemed to thin out about 6.  But as we were leaving, the second round of much younger folks were standing in the lobby waiting for us oldsters to clear on out a there.  A retirement community at its best.

So tonight, we are reading the internet and talking on Skype,  it is working for the most part, but boy can it be slow with 1200 families signed up to use it all at once.  It will take 10 times or more to post this, as it will error out the first 9.  So I had better get after it.

Retired Rod

Friday, January 23, 2009

A quilt started, and 3G

Some days I don’t have anything to write about because we didn’t go anywhere or do anything all day. That would be today. After our 400 mile trek yesterday, we both hung out today not even suggesting going anywhere or doing anything.

The day of recovery was calm and welcome. Loyce worked on her donation quilt for most of the day. The quilt group makes quilts for the local charities here in Mesa, and they ask that each gal make one during their stay here in the winter. The fabric is donated, and then you donate the time.

Seems that the batting for the interior of the quilt may be something we will have to buy. So today the squares were all cut out and then laid out on the floor in the pattern they will be assembled. Tonight she was sewing the panels into rows.

Now for myself, I had to go out on the internet and check into the various utilities that service our houses, and see how much we owe them. This doesn’t seem too hard, except that our Tengo Internet connection was noticeably slow to non existent today. I worked and worked to get connected to the necessary web sites. Send in the passwords, and then have the connection time out before I could go farther.

This went on for hours. Then when I checked into the financial institution, to actually pay some of these, the password requirements would log us out every time.

By about 3 PM, I had had enough, and called the 3G Store out of frustration, ordering a new USB 3G card and a wireless router, that will change the card into wifi for the camper. The card costs $50 with activation of $35 more, and $60 a month for 2 years. You send in for a $50 rebate, that makes the card free with activation. The router and additional outside antenna and shipping to a Fed Ex service center, came to $260 or so. This is not a cheap solution, but will be usable at the Lake place as well as when we are on the road.

I have been arguing with myself whether to do this for months, and now the deed is done. My problem has been the 5Gb monthly limit. We will see how near to that we come. But by the time you figure out that that is a problem, you are beyond the 30 day trial period. Nice hey!

Retired Rod

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nogales, Mx

We got up today and decided it was a road trip day.  Why not go down and look into Mexico?  We had been to Nogales 26 years ago with my parents, when they were alive.  I didn’t recognize a thing today.

It always seems like you are going to a prison, when you approach one of these boarder crossings.


About half way thru you find a government office building.


You go thru a turn style type gate that only allows going one direction, and then into the bared corridor that comes out on the Mexican side.  This picture is when you are officially welcomed to Mexico.


The first two blocks is the chaotic scene that is all border towns, with folks hawking everything that they can think of.  I didn’t take any pictures of that as I find it unpleasant to say the least.

But after about a block and a half the streets return to an almost normal business type town.  Still there are ten pharmacies in every block, and more doctors and dentists than can be counted.


These folks make their living off of us Gringos that cross the border to pick up some drugs, or dental services or doctor visits on the Cheap!

We wandered around, buying some prescription medicine, and an art item, that we didn’t need.  Everything seemed quite high priced compared to what we had encountered in the town of Nuevo Progresso across the river from South Texas.

We tried to bargain things down, but did not have much luck.  They knew what they had to have and would not go down to the prices we were familiar with from last year.

The business fellows seemed more persistent than before, following us down the street, after we had said no!  Not wanting to take no as an answer.  Loyce was looking for some simple plastic shopping bags that we normally get when we go to Mexico.  They wanted $5 and then came back to 2 for $5.  But no lower.  We bought them last year for a $1 each.  At one point, one of the fellows told Loyce that this was Mexico, not China.

That was it.  She was done.  We went directly back to customs, and crossed into the US.  They ran our passports thru the reader, and we were good to go.

We stopped in a 5 and dime on the US side of the boarder, and the bags were ????  You guessed it, 99 cents.

So much for our Mexico tour.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day

Inauguration for me was listening to the speeches from  the relaxed, leaned way back position with the laughing gas over my nose. Yah, the dentist’s chair. The somewhat ironic part was that we were listening to the coverage on the Rush Limbaugh radio network.  Of course he wasn’t always happy about the content of the folks at the podium.  The radio station was the Dentist’s choice.  This is McCain’s home state.

So that was the late morning here.  Since we are 2 hours behind Washington, DC, 11 AM was 1PM there.  I had an old crown cut off, that had been on a tooth for 15 years, and it was metal.   The grinder that split that thing seemed to buzz me right down to my soul.  I heard him telling the assistant that he was using the carbide wheel to cut the steel crown.  I started to concentrate more on Rush!

So after this wonderful experience, I spent the afternoon convalescing.  Hanging around the trailer, and going with Loyce to Wal Mart by the way of the What a Burger stand.  Once I had some taste back in my tongue.

Tonight we watched the balls, and listened to the various speeches, at each.  Between tylenol pills, that is.  Oh the joy!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dinner Theater!

I have gone to some great things by going along when folks suggest something that I know totally nothing about.

One of the gals that is in the quilting group, is in a trailer behind us here at the park. They get together as “the B street group” for happy hour at 4 in the afternoon. Usually at one of the patios over on B street. We live on A street, and have not been pushy to bust our way into this group. They have been together for several years, with folks coming and going from the group. An ongoing block party that resumes every winter.

They planned to get together and go to see the Arizona Opry, a dinner theater over in Apache Junction. Since Loyce had gone to the quilting show with Wanda, we got invited to go along with the B streeters to the show. It seemed a little pricey at $28 a head but included a roast beef dinner, so hey we’re in.

What a surprise! This show was great! The show is owned and operated by the Barleen twins Brenda and Barbara, along with Barbara’s husband George Staerkel. Another brother Ben Barleen is also an owner, but doesn’t perform.

George Staerkel was the lead singer from the band “The Tokens” that sang the song “The Lion Sleepes Tonight” You know the lyrics, “In the jungle the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.” the chorus goes “I wing ma way, I wing ma way.”

George has a five octave voice that goes quite high, and he did Frankie Valli’s Sherry Baby hitting every note like the original. WOW! The show is a bargain at $28 and would cost much more if it was in a fancier setting. It is in a smaller one story dinner theater on the outskirts of town, and is unassuming.

There were 8 couples in four cars, with most of the people from North Dakota, and Iowa. Well hey by golly, we were from Iowa too, before we moved to Kansas. We had a good evening and were glad to be included.

George was the show’s main attraction, and plays more than 30 instruments, at one point playing 18 different horns and keyboards in one set of songs.

They had every type of music represented, as another of the musicians did and Elvis rendition, and at another point they came out as Waylon and Willie, and did Luckenbach, Texas.

Tonight was much fun with another great group of RV friends, that we only met in the last three weeks. But then that’s how this RV thing works. And we are blessed to be a part of it.

Retired Rod

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quartzite, Az.

We decided last night that we were going over to quartzite today. The show started yesterday, and we were trying to decide when we would go. So sooner was better than later.

We were up and on the road with our breakfast eaten at home, before 8 AM. We arrived about 9:45, and quickly filled with gas because we learned last time that the gas stations were beyond a zoo, when folks start to leave the show.

We snuck into a nearby parking lot that we later decided was for vendors, but hey they didn’t say anything so……

On the way into the fenced in tent area, they make you walk thru the used rigs that are for sale.


Are you tired of losing your bedroom area to your toy hauler toys? How about a loft? You had a ladder up the wall to the bedroom above. Not for us 60 some things LOL.


The tent is huge, with over 20 support poles that hold it up. There are three isles with vendors on both sides. They hawk everything imaginable. The dark fooled my focus on the little pocket camera, but I include the picture, because this tent is the show.


It took us about 2 hours to go around all the booths, and we had the pleasure of running into Doug and JoAnn. This was just a coincidence as we had not spoken or planned for this in any way. We have read their blog for over a year now and met them in the Tucson area in November. They are super nice folks, but didn’t have Fillmore the standard poodle with them today.

Evidently Fillmore decided he should stay home today because of all the people at the show. I’m sure he would have been really excited to see everyone, since he was there yesterday. So no “Fillmore Fix” today. Oh D & J did have new name badges that said Fillmore’s Mom, (Dad) on them. What a hoot!

Then we went to see the outside vendors all around the big tent.


They had the 1KW Yamaha generator for $669 which is about $200 better than the Honda. It was so quiet, that I didn’t recognize that is was running, when I first walked up to it. Want, want, want but somehow I passed.


There is every conceivable option for the RV lifestyle here. You just have to study every booth or stand.

Home made Ice Cream anyone?


These old farm engines were actively turning the freezers. Pop, chuga, chuga, chuga. chug, Pop. They seem to fire erratically, and coast forever before they fire again. They were really neat, and old too.

We went to the concession stand to have a sandwich, where I ordered a sausage with grilled onions and bell peppers on it. The dog was bigger than a braught worst. The bun, was more of a roll, and it had all the fixins. But it jumped into my stomach before the camera could photo it. Kinda pricey thou at $6.50.

My feet and ankles had given up by then, so we decided to head on home. We would have liked to see more, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

We arrived back in Phoenix in time to see the fourth quarter of the NFL playoff game. As you probably know, the Cardinals won the game and are in the Super Bowl. The jubilation is everywhere here in the RV park tonight, as the whole place erupted in a cheer as they scored their last touchdown.

When we went to the pizza place tonight, we drove over the superstition freeway, and it was bumper to bumper, and at a complete standstill. We are 25 miles away from the stadium, but wonder if the traffic is caused by folks all out at once celebrating the outcome. Hey we won, lets go get some supper!

No plans yet for tomorrow, perhaps we will know what we are doing when we do it.

Retired Rod

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Checking out the RV parks!

We were sitting here this morning, discussing RV parks and rental versus deeded lot ownership. Wondering which is the best way to have it all. Nirvana, you know, where we would all like to be but can never get there.

I read Froggi and Stu and they are in McAllen, Tx, in a deeded lot park that we visited last year, and liked a lot. Except for the wind, it is quite nice. McAllen is the nicest town on the border, and so on and so forth.

Our builder at our lake place owns one of the lots down there and has quite encouraged us to think about it strongly. But we like it out here too, so I started to look into deeded lots here. We came up with Sunscape RV Resort, down in Casa Grande and looked at some of the units for sale. Look under classifieds on their web page.

So in a flash, we decided to go to the town of Casa Grande again. Armed with the GPS to find the place, we set off on another adventure. About an hour later, we found the place.

We left interstate 10 and headed East out into the country/desert, for about 6 or 7 miles and turned down a lane that led into some homes. After passing thru the homes, and back into the rural farm area, we came to the park at the end of a dead end road.

It looked to be a bit rustic from outside the walls, but we blasted past the gate, without checking into the office. Being Saturday afternoon and all we assumed that there would be no one around to care. And we were right.

This place was more than rustic, with some properties being quite nice, and the next being almost abandoned. Everyone is responsible to landscape their own lot, and every form of ground cover was present. Often not coming even close to matching the neighbors. We now know what happens without any guidelines or many rules. Casitas ranged from hand built metal sheds, to almost small homes, with everything but a bed. We did see one construction project for an extended Arizona room, that must have been many thousands.

There were some opportunities to purchase lots and park models at reasonable prices, but the overall image of the place was not to be overcome. Many way too old trailers from bygone eras. Made the place seem something less than property to be proud of. We finally just left, without looking further. I never thought to get the camera out. Maybe disappointment is the word I am looking for.

From there, we went over to the Escapee’s park on the West side of town. I didn’t have too high of hopes for this place, from reading the blogs. And again, it was quite old. Nothing like the park down in Benson, Az. We drove thru looking for the nice part. There wasn’t any nice part. Kind of like a parking lot with junky casitas in the back.

So we were two for two on places we didn’t want to stay. But if you don’t go exploring, how will you know?

Retired Rod

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Loyce to the Quilt Show!

This was an exciting day for Loyce, as she went to a quilting show in Tucson.  She went with several of the other quilters here in the park.  Together, they joined about 50 women at Zoe’s quilt shop in Chandler, and all took a bus.

She didn’t get home until 7 tonight, and is very bushed.  But she had fun, and has yet another experience in the quilt world in her memories. I can not begin to report all that she learned, so I will not attempt it.

As for my day, I was the stay behind spouse, doggy sitting, and enjoying a sunny and wonderful day.  At noon, I went to the “Country Store”, here in the park.

This is a luncheon that takes place in the Activity Center of the park’s main building.DSCN0671

While quite empty when this picture was taken, every Friday the room is filled with bazaar tables with many crafts and items for sale.  They sell soup and hot dogs at the opposite end of the room, where there is a small kitchen.  Oh and Pop Corn and Ice Cream Sundaes as well.

Today was Chili as the soup, and it was so hot that I burned the roof of my mouth.   But it hit the spot.  They have a roller type hot dog cooker like Quick Trip has in their convenience stores.  So the dogs are browned and in a fresh soft bun.  I stayed out of the pop corn this week, unlike last week.

I did buy a fabric bag for Loyce that she needed to give back to a neighbor lady, that loaned the same bag to her for today.  She will get a new one in return. 

This afternoon, I enjoyed sitting out under the awning, and it was hot enough, that I had to go get my shorts on.  The blue jeans, were way too warm.  I didn’t turn on the AC, but would have if I had stayed inside.

Today we learned that we have another Grand Daughter on they way for next June.  We are ecstatic with the news.  Seems that older sister Claire, knew all along that she was having a sister.  She has been insisting that the new baby was her sister, and has been referring to her as such for some time.  Too funny!

At one point in the afternoon, I noticed that it was 78 here and 24 in KC, that’s 54 degrees difference.  I mention that not to gloat that the weather here is really nice, but to rationalize why we come here during the winter.  Seems that our decision was well founded.

Retired Rod

Friday, January 16, 2009

Casa Grande

Officially we had 78 here today at 4 PM. Not a cloud in the sky and winds were almost calm. The car dash thermometer said 81, as we were returning from Casa Grande Ruins.


It was later in the afternoon and the sun was off in the West and being January, it was low, making shadows long.


This is the ruin of Casa Grande, or large house in English. It was built by Indian natives in approximately 1300 CE. The protective roof over the Adobe structure was first built in 1903 but was rebuilt in 1932. The original house, built by the Hohokam Indians, is the largest of many houses that have been excavated and stabilized in this area.

This site contains many ruins, and most were just shells of foundations that formed pit houses.


The large house is the main attraction, and I took pictures from all sides.

This is really larger than it looks, note Loyce walking along the lower right hand corner.

This is the back side from the museum, and the West side where the sun was setting. This wall is mostly still intact.


And the North side in the shade of afternoon.


The Hohokam, meaning those who are gone, in their direct Indian descendants language, were irrigation canal folks that dug long channels to transport the Gila River’s water for many miles to irrigate their crops.


This picture from the South shows the size of the structure that protects the ruins.



I’m not sure that these are readable, but it is thought that floods up river wiped out the access points where the canals connected to the river around 1400. Then a few short years later they had drought. The Hohokam’s never recovered.

The Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Kino was the first European to visit the ruins in 1694. He gave them the name of Casa Grande. The site became a famous landmark in the desert, but that also was a problem, as visitors removed artifacts, and even pieces of the buildings themselves. Also people scratched names and initials into the ancient walls, defacing the historic site.

Congress took action to protect the ruins in 1889 by providing funds to repair the badly eroded walls and foundations. Bracing, wooden beams and metal rods were added to stabilize the structure. In 1892 the site was designated as a federal preserve and a custodian was engaged to safeguard the ruins.

A few miles West of this site, there is now a modern town named Casa Grande, that is the intersection of I-10 and I-8. From that intersection, you select whether you are going to Los Angeles or San Diego.

This is an interesting tour, if you are only a little bit interested in archeology.

Retired Rod

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Carport remodel / Nap

Today I spent the morning, and part of the afternoon helping my neighbor from Decorah, Iowa on his park model. Today the project was to cut off 18 inches of the car port.

The problem in this is that the supports are at the outside edge where the 18 inches needed to be removed. He had built a support from wood studs and some furniture moving dollies. When we moved the trailer, the dollies rolled on their wheels forward with the trailer.

But today the support frame needed to be removed and the roof sawed off and the support re installed. Since the frame is about 30 feet long, it took many hands to hold everything up while the cutting and re attaching took place.

While not too glamorous, my job was to be one of the holders of the uprights during the 4 or so hours that it took to get the job done. We had great comradery, and the time passed quickly.

With the project back to a point where two guys could complete the rest of the work, I quietly slipped away and returned to my trailer.

After a shower, and lunch, I started to do the internet thing. Loyce left to go on one of her all day shopping trips, so I stayed home. I hadn’t slept too well from the night before, with the dentist pain, so a nap was high on the agenda.

That became the rest of the day, as tonight we have made supper and stayed home to have the quiet evening.

Of course now it is the middle of the night, and I am not sleepy at all. Tomorrow we will get out of here for sure.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A nice day / Dentist

For those of you that are freezing your back side off, you have our sympathy.  And I sit here and know that is exactly why we left the Midwest for warmer places.

If it didn’t get so darned cold back there, we would have no excuse to come down here.  So that validates our reason for doing this winter RV thing.

With that said, it is up to the mid 70’s today, and I saw 80 on the dash of the car, but the sun causes it to read higher than it actually or officially is.

We woke to the awning flopping in the wind this morning.  I thought about putting it up in the middle of the night, but somehow going out at the well past midnight hour, and retracting the thing wasn’t appealing.  So this morning, we had enough wind from the East to make it rock the trailer.  Murphy was here. LOL.  Luckily nothing seemed to be damaged.

Our day was gorgeous, but right in the middle, I had to go to the dentist.  They are going to remove an old crown and order new replacements.  So there will be several of these visits.  Weekly while we are here. 

Still I had the gas and some novacaine, so my mouth was all numb.  Not pleasant.  Oh well, we will live on. 

Tonight we went to an Old Country buffet once my mouth came out of the numb mode.  It was quite pricey at 11.95 each but included the drink.  They had every kind of food that is normal and ordinary at a buffet.  I stayed away from the steak, as I didn’t think I could chew it very well.

We both ate more than we should, but it was good for a buffet.  We both liked the feature item tonight of Orange Chicken.  This was Chinese style, with the orange sauce and the wok ed vegies.  I’m sitting here stuffed to the gills.

My internet connection with Tengo internet here in the park is poor at best, and will not sustain a very good connection over skype.  We did get to talk to our oldest son Chris last night, without dropping, but tonight, it dropped constantly when we were talking to a friend in Des Moines.  We finally gave up and quit.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moving a Park Model / Organ Stop Pizza

This was the morning that the neighbors park model was moved. All the local men showed up to get in on the act. To the point that the owner was almost not in control of the project anymore.

The guys broke into groups and took on specific jobs. This picture is before the blocks were taken out. The truck wasn’t hooked up yet, but was parked in place ready to go.


Does it really take that many guys to hook up a trailer hitch. The ball wouldn’t latch and had to be jacked into the coupler.


Ok here we go, several of the men were on each support of the carport. They were on dollies to roll forward with the trailer.


It only needed to move four feet, and it was moving as I took this. The rear truck wheel in now out in the street.


The move forward is really evident at the back. That’s our trailer on the right.


The move was complete by 10 AM, but the leveling and hookup of the utilities took the rest of the afternoon. The water is in hard copper, and needed to be lengthened. The sewer was re piped. The cable TV wire was too short, which I corrected since wiring is my specialty. By late afternoon, the household was back ready to live in. They were much relieved that everyone worked to help them get the job done.

I think the point here is that the RV community is much like the old rural farm community, where a neighbor that needs help, gets help, no questions asked. No strings attached.

Supplies came from many different families, and were donated to the project without cost. I had the connectors and wire on board to lengthen the cable for example.

They did have to go buy some copper pipe, but the torch, solder, flux and many other supplies arrived from many tool boxes. They were sorting out what tools belonged where, at the end.

Tonight we went to Organ Stop Pizza here in Mesa. This is a pizza parlor that happens to have the worlds largest Wurlitzer Theatrical Pipe Organ installed in its dining room. Or maybe they let you eat pizza in the organ theater.


I tried to take this picture when they had the lights up, but it is available light and doesn’t show the entire organ, as it is installed all around the room. Some of the pipes and instruments are in the balconies.

The music is so overwhelming to your senses, that it almost makes you emotionally over react. It is beyond your ability to absorb, that this sound is coming from just one performer.


This instrument has 78 ranks, 17 tuned percussions, and innumerable traps and effects. This gal is not one of their headliners, but still she made the organ really shine. We will be back again, even if the pizza isn’t the very greatest. It wasn’t bad, but I like other places better, you know how that goes.

I will have trouble posting all these pictures, so I will stop for now and get this posted.

Retired Rod

Monday, January 12, 2009

Warmer Yet and the Playoffs are Coming!

We saw 69 this afternoon on the car dash thermometer!  That is the warmest we have been in about a week, or more.  Last week at this time, it was raining, and in the 50’s so perhaps we have turned a corner toward spring in the desert.

This was another stay at home day, with a total kick back, relaxed mode. 

I did go over to Home Depot in the morning to get some little hardware to install a screen over a muffin fan.  I purchased the screen yesterday at the hamfest, for a dollar.  Two little sacks of tiny bolts and nuts to install the screen was two dollars today.  That was twice what the screen cost.  That’s how things seem to go.

I’m not sure what occupied the early afternoon, but as the day progressed, I went over to the TV room in the unit I clubhouse, and watched the NY Giants loose to the Philadelphia folks.  That was a good game to start with, but the Giants could do nothing right by the end of the game.

So everyone here in the Phoenix area is very excited to have the next playoff game here at the new Cardinal Stadium, West of Glendale.  Tickets will be on sale for out of staters on Tuesday.  That would be fun!  They are pricey though.

Tonight, we have been on the phone, and skype for most of the evening, talking to folks back in Des Moines, and our kids back in KC.  Good to hear from everyone.

Des Moines is slated to get some more snow, and high winds according to one of my ham friends there.  Boy we wish the folks there, the best of luck with that, and will try to pipe some of the desert weather their way real soon.

This has become somewhat of a ramble with nothing new to report, so we will sign off for now.

Retired Rod

Sunday, January 11, 2009

WestFest 2009 Glendale, Az

Thunderbird Amateur Radio Club

Thunderbird School of Global Management Activity Center

7:00 AM Saturday January 10, 2009


There must have been more than 300 folks in here at any one time.


Tables of new parts and cables, and accessories.


This was largely light emitting diodes, and products that use them.


These folks had all the Anderson Power Poles products from West Mountain.


There were trays and trays of new connectors.


I could have taken pictures of all the tables and the wares displayed, but then you get the idea without all of that.

The fest did have radios, both new and used, but did not have a mainline radio dealer present to sell brand new equipment.  This surprised me since there is a dealer right here in town.  Even if they couldn’t discount equipment due to the economy, you would thing they would want to promote their store just the same.

So we were up at 5:30 and drove the hour thru the city to attend this show, and stayed for over 2 hours.  After the drive back, I was home to attend the RV park flea market at everyone’s site by 10 AM.

I didn’t buy anything from my fellow RVer’s and only purchased very small items at the hamfest.  Things that would fit into my pocket.  We do not need any more big items that weigh a lot, to haul around.

I say that, but at 4PM we went over to Camping World, and purchased a small plastic table that folds up flat, for Loyce to put her sewing machine on here in the trailer.  It doesn’t weigh very much, and will not take up a lot of space either.

Tonight, we went back to Fuddruckers for another small hamburger.  Not the half pounder, that I am always tempted with.  I do order their sweet potato fries, as they are better for me with the diabetes.  It is always good.

It is now 11:30, and I have been up since 5:30,  so I need to zzzzzzzz…………….

Retired Rod