Friday, February 25, 2011

Phoenix, Pinnacle Peak, Company and a Back Ache.

By the time we left Apache Junction we felt we had covered it off pretty well. We only missed one major hiking trail and that one apparently requires rock scaling at the end so, probably just as well. It was sunny and cool when we hit the road for Phoenix, just thirty miles up the road.

Janice made a boo-boo when she put the wrong RV resort in the GPS and it wasn’t until we were paid and already set up, reading the literature, that she realized we were booked into the North Phoenix RV Park. We’re about ten minutes further up the road than we’d intended to be and we're directly under the flight path of a small aircraft flight school. See, sometimes women make mistakes too.

We drove to the Pinnacle Peak Trail in Scottsdale in order to scout it out and see if it might be an appropriate place to take Rhelda and Jenny for a hike. It’s listed as easy in the guide but it’s actually a lot of switchbacks up some very steep terrain so, even though the trail is smooth and well used, it might prove a little steep for them. On then other hand, I guess anybody could do it at their own pace. We’ll see.

Pictured are some views from Pinnacle Peak, and a Hacienda, like many others here, that demonstrate how some of the poor folks have to get by in the desert at Scottsdale.

Back at the park we spotted four balloons overhead. One is pictured here.

Janice has been planning for a week to go to Chino Bandito’s for dinner. Yes, Chino means Chinese in Spanish. Yes, the place is famous. A Chinese woman and her Latin American husband own it and the food is a true mix of Chinese and Mexican. I had a Chili Relleno and Jade Red Pork with Chicken Fried Rice and Black Beans, with a Tsu-Sang Chinese Beer. Janice had Egg Foo-Yung, Jen Red Chicken Quesadilla, Jerk Fried Rice and Refried Beans, with a Dos Equix Mexican Beer. Both orders came with a big old SnickerDoodle Cookie. Guy Fierri, of Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives - yes again - puts it on his top five places to chow down. It was no frills but really good food - filling and inexpensive.

Pictured is Janice with our Chinese-Mexican food orders in front of a Guy Fierri poster.

I put my back out the other day while folding up the bikes. It’s gotten really bad since and I think I may be at a chiropractors later in the day. Could hardly sleep last night because of it.

On Tuesday morning I made a Chiropractor appointment and then spent 45 minutes there getting worked over by a new-age Chiropractor who wanted to do x-rays, which I talked her out of, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing her again. She was great with the massage part and showed me some good new stretching exercises but wasn’t quite big enough to give me a proper cracking and, although the decompression unit felt really good, my back was still really sore when we got out of there.

We picked up Rhelda and Jenny at the Sky Harbor Airport and drove them to pick up their rental car, which was half the price of what it would have cost at the airport. We lead them back to their resort using our GPS, Susan. I had mentioned to Jenny that she might want to upgrade to a car with GPS, because of the size of the city. Both her and Rhelda were skeptical about GPS and, while Rhelda drove, following us back to the resort, I could see Jenny in my rearview mirror, checking her map.

Janice had prepared a Broccoli and Grape Salad ahead of time and we picked up some French Bread and Roasted Chicken from the grocery store, as well as a big bottle of Pinot Grigio, to share with them at their resort condo. We took our leave about 9:00 and headed back to the RV park.

There was no room in the trailer to do the exercises the Chiropractor had shown me so we went back there in the morning and she gave me a couple of alternate ones. We picked up a Yoga mat for me and then went to join Rhelda and Jenny for a little sight seeing. We took them to Pinnacle Peak so they could walk up to see the view. It turned out to be me who couldn’t walk with them because of my back so I sat and read We Were The Mulvaney’s, while they hiked high enough up the peak to get some pictures.

Pictured are Janice, Rhelda and Jenny before they hit the trail at Pinnacle Peak. After worrying if the women were going to be able to make the walk, it ended up being me, hobbled up with a sore back, unable to ascend the hill.

Our tour of Phoenix was sunny but hazy - there are now almost five million people in Greater Phoenix which might help explain the milky atmosphere. We drove across town, thirty-five miles, to Dobbin’s Look-out at South Phoenix Mountain, using the GPS all the way. By the time we got there I could see that Rhelda and Jenny were definitely warming up to Susan.

Pictured is a hazy view of Phoenix, with some old ramparts from earlier days in the foreground. Views from the mountain would have been forever, except for the haze.

We dropped Rhelda and Jenny off at the resort while I went to lay down and rest my back for an hour. They were pretty well sold on Susan by then, wondering how they were going to get by with their good old fashioned map. Susan tells you which lane to be in, (on the eight-lane-each-way-freeways in Phoenix), how far ahead your turn is, how much time and distance to your destination, etc. She also says it all out loud, while showing the route in easy to follow diagrams. I’m betting Rhelda will have one before we get home.

Janice and I rejoined the women at their resort for a wine tasting, enjoying some really good and different wines and cheeses before barbequing steaks that Rhelda had bought for dinner. Rhelda, being the wiser elder, correctly figured we’d had enough wine at the tasting. We said our goodbyes about 9:00 - Rhelda and Jenny will be here for a few more days and are then driving to Sedona for a week.

Thursday morning Janice and I headed south, away from the Big Smoke, ending up back at Indian Skies RV Resort in Coolidge. We knew we liked the pool facilities here and figured I could do some convalescing for my bad back in the pool and hot tub, pictured below.

Some French Canadians we met at the pool highly recommended the Museum in Florence, ten miles up the road, so we drove there Friday morning. It was a cool little town with some very nicely preserved historical buildings and the museum, although not very large, was packed through with a lot of chronological history. For example: One Sherriff, a few years after retirement, killed his former deputy in a gunfight at the local saloon. The Sherriff was seriously injured himself. It was a dispute over politics and careers. Arizona has always had the death penalty so there was also some pretty sinister, and strangely crude, instruments of death. Of course lots of hanging rope - a steel trap door for those to be hanged - a two-by four loveseat with a leather belt strap to hold the condemned while they were gassed, sometimes in two’s?

Pictured is downtown Florence and a neat old kid's toy hanging inside the hardware store.

Pictured are: At the Florence Museum: Some Apache Playing Cards and some all-cactus furniture made by a former local store.

Across the street was the LB Mexican Restaurant, (I know, crappy name) with an outdoor patio, and lots of cars around, so we got a seat outside where I had a Chili/Beef Tomale and a Guacamole Taco, while Janice had a sampler with Beef Tacitos, Mini Beef Chimi’s, Chicken Tenders and Guacamole. It made Janice humm…

Pictured is Janice at the LB Mexican Restaurant.

Back at the park we spent another couple of hours in and out of the pool and hot tub with the idea that this will be the last day of nursing a sore back.

Thinking of heading a little more southward tomorrow...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lost Dutchman, Mountain Men and a Sand Storm

On Wednesday morning we returned to the Peralta Trailhead and took the Lost Dutchman’s Trail to Miner’s Needle. It had been recommended to us by the hiking club leader here at the park as one of the prettiest trails around. It was a much easier hike than Weaver’s Needle, about seven miles round trip, but not nearly as steep.

Before the hike, in the parking lot, we met two mountain men from Michigan, Dave and Roy, who were looking for some information about the Weaver’s Needle Trail - the one we did last week. We ended up talking with them for a while, had a few good laughs and, as we parted company, as I often do with people we chat with, I gave them my business card.

Pictured below is the Miner’s Needle - I guess because it has a hole in it.

Later in the day we went for a dip in the pool where Janice met a woman whom was born and raised in Kamloops. She knew Janice’s boss, Bonnie, and she’s good friends with another acquaintance of ours from Kaledon, Anne Murray. No, not the famous one.

Two couples joined us for Happy Hour - one from Alberta and one from Saskatchewan. The woman from Alberta turned out to be fifty-nine years old, quite brash, and she could really knock them back. She had just retired, while her husband, who is twelve years her junior and a military guy, has another ten years to work. She ordered him to get her drinks, on command. He hopped to it too. Poor guy.

It was supposed to cool off on Thursday and, as we rode our bikes uptown for breakfast, it was fairly cool and cloudy, with the odd raindrop. By the time we got back home though, the clouds had cleared, so we decided to take a ride around the town and have a better look.

We managed to find a few of the seamier sides of Apache Junction. Nothing bad or anything - just what you might find in any town where you don’t stick to the main routes - you know, the tourist facade. There are no lawns here, because of water shortages, so a lot of properties tend to look unfinished. A typical house in some of these neighbourhoods can be purchased for sixty or seventy thousand dollars.

In the afternoon I gave the truck a much needed going over, inside and out, while Janice did her nails and stuff like that.

After dinner the phone rang and, surprisingly, it was our new friends, Dave and Roy, from Michigan. They stopped over and, when Janice offered them a beer the response was, “No, we don’t drink. Well, not when we’re driving anyway.” They are both about fifty years old, both have long hair and beards, and neither looks anything like what you’d expect of people who winter in Arizona. They do though, at the cheapest park in town, where they share a two-bedroom mobile. Dave is on permanent disability due to Scoliosis (sp?) while Roy works odd jobs now and then. They keep fifth wheels back in Michigan for the summer. They stayed for an hour or so and we had some more belly laughs. Wish I had taken a picture. It was reminiscent of the early days at East Barriere Lake.


When we want to watch movies we have to pull the TV down from it’s shelf near the ceiling, to hook it up to the computer. While I was out, Janice was standing on the dinette seat putting the TV back when she lost her balance and fell backwards onto the couch, hip first. She has a nasty bruise.

On Friday it had clouded over. Janice packed a lunch and we drove the Apache Trail again to Canyon Lake where we hiked the Boulder Canyon Trail. It’s a steady but fairly gradual uphill climb. As soon as we reached the first lookout I went to take a picture and my camera was drained again. Not only is that frustrating, but now I’d be packing it up the mountain for nothing. Luckily Janice had hers.

I’d have to say the Boulder Canyon Trail was my favourite yet, with 360 degree vistas at the top. Part of the view was Weaver’s Needle from the opposite side, and further away, then we’d seen it from before.

Pictured below are some shots from the Boulder Canyon trail. Also pictured is cowboy, Dave, from Arkansas. When we spotted the horses and riders traversing a mountain several miles from us, we noticed that one rider was way ahead of the rest of the pack. When he got to within a quarter mile or so away, I asked Janice to hustle back up the trail so she could get a picture of him passing the most scenic terrain, with Weaver’s Needle in the background. Man, does a walking horse ever cover ground faster than a human, even in that rock strewn trail. We only had to get a hundred or so yards back up the trail and we had a good head start but we could hear the horse clip-clopping on the rocks behind us, steadily gaining. By the end we were literally running, getting where we wanted just in time to get the photo. Now I know what it might feel like to be on the outdoor TV show, Man Tracker.

Saturday morning was cloudy and spitting rain here and there, so, rather than sitting around, we figured we’d take a short hike to the water tower at the end of Idaho Road, not far from here. There were curious looking rock formations right from the start but, within a half mile or so, the trail petered out, completely. We couldn’t pick it up again so we returned to the truck just as the wind picked up. The horizon was blurred almost immediately. By the time we got back to the park there was a full blown dust storm obliterating the view in all directions.

Pictured is the beginning of the dust/sand storm over Apache Junction.

We’d heard about a huge flea market not far from us so, with the wind and rain happening, we decided that, if we were going to see it all, this would be the time. The flea market was enormous. More like a gigantic tent covered mall. Disappointingly, almost all the merchandise was new, imported and cheap. A lot of hats, sunglasses, lawn ornaments, t-shirts and other dollar store kind of stuff. Just what the world needs - a whole bunch more dollar stores, all under one roof.

The flea market being a bust, we decided to head for Gold Field and the scheduled Chili Cook-off. As we pulled into the parking lot the dust and sand storm had picked up even more momentum. We got out of the truck to a scene of complete mayhem. All of the chili cook-off contestants were trying desperately to hang onto pieces of their tarps or tents, attempting to pack up before everything got blown to smithereens. We heard one contestant complain that he’d tied his tent down to the tables and, as a result, everything got blown over, including the chili.

We stopped at Filly’s bar and grill where LIVE MUSIC was advertised every Saturday from 1-4pm. As we entered the darkened bar, sure enough, there was a decent country band playing. Cowboys in big hats, with bigger buckles and even bigger moustaches idled around the bar, staring at us in our t-shirts and shorts as we entered. We could see more cowboy hats line dancing behind the boys at the bar while even more cowboys and cowgirls mingled around another twenty tables. We had a beer and soaked in the authentic Arizona vibe for half an hour before making our exit - backs to the door.

As I write this Janice is watching Spanish TV. It’s 4:30 and pouring rain outside.

In the evening we watched a couple of movies and then woke to drizzle again on Sunday morning.
We drove to the First Water Trailhead again, going further up the road to the opposite end of the Dutchman’s Trail that we were on the other day. We took the Second Water Trail at first but it got too soggy, so we turned around and took The Lost Dutchman’s Trail again. The trail goes for eighteen miles but we just did a couple before it started to rain again and sent us back to the truck.

Pictured are a couple of shots on the Dutchman Trail. Also Janice, just to prove that she doesn’t only have that one green top that she seems to be wearing every time I take a picture and, a brother and sister from Mesa who found a genuine arrow head, serrated edges and all.

The fact is that, although it seems like we’re always wearing the same thing, I have three pairs of Khaki and two pair of green shorts while Janice has several sets of brown Capri pants, different shades as well as a couple pairs of denim Capri’s so, even though we may be boring, we’re not wearing dirty laundry.

Tomorrow we’re moving closer to Phoenix so we can spend a little time with Rhelda and Jenny…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hieroglyphics, Brits and 40,000 kilometers…

On Sunday morning we took a hike on the Hieroglyphic Trail. It was a nice hot day, eventually reaching 80 degrees, but we were back from the 4.5 mile trail by that time.

Pictured below are some of the many Hieroglyphics at the culmination of the trail. There were some stagnant pools below the rocks, which obviously form a creek during wetter weather. Also, right near the pools, Janice sits in what was probably used as a shelter by the natives. Also pictured is the uncanny balancing act of a boulder on a pinnacle of rock.

Until today we hadn’t been able to find lamb in any of the stores down here but, on the way home from the hike, we stopped for a few groceries and Janice spotted a couple of lamb shanks. She put them in the crock pot with some garlic and Rosemary, to slow cook, while we went to scout out a couple of other RV parks.

We had decided to stay in the area for another week for a couple of reasons: Because there’s lots to do around here and because Janice’s mom, Rhelda, and her friend Jenny, are flying into Phoenix for a week, next week, before driving to Sedona for another week. We’ll move closer to Phoenix when they’re there and spend a day or two with them.

We didn‘t find an RV park that was better than what we had so we booked another week here, though we did have to move because our spot had been booked previously. We went for a dip in the pool before having a cocktail with our neighbours from Ontario, Cathy and Russ.

Pictured below is the sunset at cocktail hour.

By the way, the lamb shanks with Greek salad and garlic toast were excellent - tender lamb drumsticks.

Our new neighbours are four elderly Brits that are traveling together in a large motor home. The host couple now lives in Florida but, for his brother and his wife, this is their first time in America. They’re all very funny and visitor, Doug, (pronounced Doog of course) is already sporting a white ten gallon cowboy hat that he can wear with his Lawn Bowling Whites when he gets home.

Doog loves a good curry and is more open-minded about such things than his somewhat Americanized brother, Gary, who won’t touch the stuff, muttering, “ I wouldn’t touch that Goddam Pakkie rot.” Seeing as Janice was making us some Papadons for an appie, she decided to treat Doog to a few. Papadons are those very thin, large, slightly spicy chip-kind-of-things they always start you off with in an Indian restaurant. We dropped them off before we went for a short bike ride. When we returned Doog thanked Janice effusively while Gary grumbled, “Tastes like they have Goddam fish in them or something.”

On Valentine’s Day we thought we’d go for breakfast at the Waffle House, right next to the park. It was crowded, with a lineup though, so we drove uptown instead for bacon and eggs.

I had researched the internet for the Best Restaurant in Apache Junction, which turned out to be Elvira’s Mexican Restaurant. We had planned to go there for dinner but, after touring the old mining town of Gold Field on the Apache Trail, and then stopping for a Margarita at a bar near there, we decided instead to get some beef tenderloin, romaine lettuce, (so I could make Tim’s famous Caesar Salad) and a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins. We had dinner at home instead.

Pictured is the mining town of Goldfield. I always use a polarizing filter on my camera because it reduces glare, takes the reflections off of water, gives clouds more contrast against the sky and gives colours more saturation. Still, there can be no bluer skies than those in Arizona.

Tuesday was sunny and hot again so we set out for the Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake, just north of Mesa. The trail was about six or seven miles round trip and offered some nice vistas of the lake, the best being at Burro Cove, where we turned around.

Pictured are a couple of shots of Saguaro Lake and Tim at Burro Cove.

We stopped at the Saguaro Lake Marina and split some fish & chips before heading for home, where we hung at the pool while the laundry went round.

There are now three months left in our Intermission. We’ve put on roughly 40,000 kilometers - about the equivalent to driving around the circumference of the earth.

The one disappointment is that it’s not looking like we’re going to get to Mexico. We have several sets of friends that are now or, have been, vacationing there and my sister, Lisa, is going to be in Tulum in a couple of weeks. We had hoped to drive in but, because of recent events in the border towns of Mexico, that idea has been nixed. In lieu of that, we’d hoped to be able to fly in and meet people but, unbelievably, flights from Phoenix to Mexico are a lot more expensive than flights from Vancouver. Frustrating, and a little disappointing but, hey, it’s still all good here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Silly Mountain, Weaver’s Needle and a Funny Friend…

On Thursday morning I wrote my rant about the sorry state of the music scene in the RV parks, generally, while Janice walked and took care of some emails.

About 11:00 we thought we’d get in a quick hike before lunch and then drive to Mesa to check the lay of the land. Having seen a sign for the Peralta Trailhead on the way back from the loop drive we took the other day, we headed for there. It turned out the trail turnoff was a little further down the highway then we had remembered and then the trailhead itself was seven miles up a dirt road.

Our feet never hit the trail until about 12:15, but right from the beginning the rock formations were astounding, and got more interesting with just about every step. We climbed gradually, around massive boulders that obviously come from the surrounding cliffs, and were an hour into the hike when we decided we were getting hungry. Another couple was coming down the trail at that point and we asked how much farther the trail went. They said, “Oh, about fifty miles.” They also explained that there was an awesome view of the Weaver’s Needle another hour or so up the trail. With only a mouthful of water left in the bottle we turned back down the trail.

Pictured below are some shots from the way up the Peralta Trail.

After lunch we drove to Mesa, which is like driving to Burnaby from east Vancouver - cross a road and you’re there. We didn’t find much to see in Mesa but we did stop in at the tourist bureau and got a map of local hikes. Looking it over, we discovered that a number of trails culminate with spectacular views of Weaver’s Needle.

The weather has been sunny but brisk since we got here, but today, Friday, it started to warm significantly. We went for a short but fairly steep hike at Silly Mountain, pictured below.

After lunch we went for a dip in the pool and hung around there reading our books while doing laundry.

Following my tirade about the old folks music at the last jam session, my friend, who else? Bill Lyle, responded by email. I print it here without his permission, only slightly edited. this being man-to-man talk I've deleted the first expletive for Rhelda, Lois, and anybody else who might have sensitive ears, so that you can fill in the blanks with something more dainty.


What the _ _ _ _ is wrong with you? Ever since you stopped chronicling the price of crab cakes and red onions around the four corners of America you have gotten steadily bitchyer. Lets take a minute and review the situation. You are a guest in the country. You're burning up fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow, traipsing around the US of A. Never a thought of my poor little grandhild Hanna's future. According to your blogs you have consumed enough food to supply a third world country, you have little or no regard for the laws of the land. Now you take a shot at America the beautiful.

When Korea started acting up didn't they go and kick some ass? Ditto Vietnam. When they found oil in the Middle East didn't they step up and insure your right to drive a gas guzzler? Are they not in Iraq trying to make the world a better place to drive in? Incidentally, it's my opinion that the true American genius in the automotive industry was Fred Flintstone. May he rest in peace.

I long ago predicted dire consequenses resulting from your prolonged stay in the trailer parks of America. I can only imagine what Janice is like. She has probably gone back to settling her problems by fighting. It might be time to come home Tim. As a rookie musican I am wondering if my melodic plunking of Eagles and John Fogerty songs are going to find a place in you music utopia. Too much exposure to trailer parks could leave you a bitter plus-60 sitting on a box. Get back up here and find a nice 9 to 5 gig, eat some fried foods and get your life back on track.

Through it all though, your pictures have been nice.

I hope you're not grumbling around the park kicking beer cans and yelling at kids Tim. Oh yeah, thats right, no kids allowed in the park.

I was in the hospital this morning and knocked out. Minor procedure and nothing to worry about...and my boobs are really perky now. Barb brought me home and I staggered up the back stairs under the glare of the neighbor a few doors down. My rep is going to take another hit.

God Bless America,



A more reasonable response came from Gary Neilsen, a singer/songwriter I play with in Kamloops...

. . . your "rant" on the jam at the RV park made me laugh out loud when I read it and still has me grinning from ear to ear. Yeah, I know what you mean and totally agree . . . I'm 65 but not about ready to rest on my musical laurels and live in the past. Remember though Tim, you are in the U.S. of A. where old folks can get pretty sappy . . . glad I wasn't there for America the Beautiful . . . wouldn't have know whether to laugh or throw up.

BTW, had a similar experience in Salt Lake City a few years back when my brother-in-law and I were at a Utah Jazz basketball game . . . before the game they brought up a guy who was headed off to Iraq, gave him a standing "O" and proceeded to sing the the Star Spangled Banner, hands over hearts and gazing up at a big American flag . . . totally surreal. I'm so glad I live in Canada.


Ok Bill, let me try once more to prove my point about these old RV people. Then I'll let it rest...

There was a free concert scheduled for 4:15 yesterday afternoon - Bobby Brooks Hamilton, son of the legendary Jackie Wilson, who was doing a tribute show to R&B greats Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, and others. It turned out to be a teaser concert for his $20 show at a partner RV park next week. Understood.

So, Bobby Brooks Hamilton walks in, the spitting image of his dad, with the tall pompadour hair style, a royal blue suit with stove-pipe pants, highly polished boots and a yellow shirt with yellow and white striped tie - very slick. By the way, Michael Jackson readily and openly admitted that the two biggest influences on his dance moves were: James Brown and Jackie Wilson. In a documentary we saw soon after Michael’s death they overlaid some of his moves on Jackie Wilson’s, leaving no doubt where they had come from.

There was seating for three hundred people, but only twenty or thirty people filed in and took seats at the back, fifty feet or so from the stage. Bobby undoubtedly had to be disappointed in the turn out, but worse, as he attempted to warm to the crowd with his intro, he asked if anybody was familiar with Jackie Wilson. Janice, me and two other people held up their hands. Oh-oh.

As the people stared back with blank expressions, he explained he sometimes plays Vegas and has played the Apollo Theatre, among other places. He then gave a very brief history of his dad before launching into Lonely Teardrops. Ah ha! Some slight recognition and a smattering of applause. He was doing a great job, especially considering he was singing to about four-and-a-half decibels of back-up music on his I-pod. It was hooked up to the P.A. but I guess he didn’t want to turn it any louder for fear he might scare the few of us that were there, away.

Next he asked if anybody had heard of Sam Cooke. Janice and mine were the only hands that went up! Janice reminded me later that not everybody remembers the artist’s names kike I do. Okay, I know I’m an old R&B fan - I can understand that people might not be familiar with Jackie Wilson, but come on - Sam Cooke?! Bobby was starting to look around slightly aghast at this point, but bravely started crooning You Send Me. Another smattering of applause as faces registered that, indeed, they were familiar with the song.

We had met his promoter, and probably his wife, outside before the show. I had mentioned what a great showman and dancer Jackie Wilson had been and asked if there was much film of him. She replied that, “Yes, there is quite a bit of film and there will be a movie released soon abut him.” Adding, “Wait until you see Bobby dance.” Of course Bobby never did dance at all because he got such a weak and cool response. Too bad.

Clearly getting a little exasperated, he asked if anybody had heard of Elvis Presley. When most faces lit up and people applauded a little he broke into an obscure old Gospel song of Elvis’ that nobody knew. He absolutely killed it, belting it out and showing just what kind of pipes he really possessed. It was beautiful. Perfect. He quickly thanked everybody for coming and shut it down.


Janice and I had decided to attend the $3 pancakes, eggs sausages and coffee breakfast at the clubhouse in the morning, in order to carb up for our hike up the Peralta Trail.

No sooner had we sat down at the breakfast then one of the geezers that had been at The Show the previous afternoon asked his buddy if he’d been there. His buddy said, “Ya, what’d you think?” The first geezer held his hands over his ears and shook his head.

See, it’s not just me, Bill.

I know it’s all a matter of taste but, those people just don’t have any. You see, it’s my blog and I get to have the last word on this matter! But, yes John Fogerty and The Eagles will do just fine…


We were told by our neighbour that it was going to be a three-hour hike up to The Saddle on the Peralta Trail. Some Park Rangers standing at the bottom disagreed. They said, “You guys look like you’re in pretty good shape. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour-and-a-half.“ We signed in at the trail head at 9:45 and were standing, looking at Weaver’s Needle at 10:45. It was only two-and-a-half miles up but the elevation gain was 4,100 feet. We had already stopped to take pictures and look around more on our first trip the other day, that took us two-thirds of the way up. I must admit I was pretty red-faced by the time we got to the top. It was great though. We sat and ate some fruit before hiking The Saddle to get a closer look at the Needle.

The pictures below show Weaver’s Needle and then views south as we descended the trail.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rockin‘ RV, Good Hikes and Cliff Dwellers…

Well, we never held good to our promise not to get in the truck on Tuesday. More on that later.

Here's another view of Superstition Mountain that I neglected to post, just to get you started.

We did go for a bike ride to get groceries before I attended the weekly jam session, here at the park. The jam session is a big deal, with twenty or more musicians in attendance. There were: piano, two electric guitars, electric bass, stand-up bass, banjo, three saxes, two trumpets, two trombones,
Harmonica, three accordions, a drum kit and my Cajon. The jam is so popular that the park provides valet parking, a sign-up sheet for musicians and a hundred or more chairs lined up in neat rows.

All of those musicians together at one time sounds a little scary, I know. Thankfully though, not everybody was always playing at once. The sound and the overall pace of events was surprisingly professional for so many players - but unbelievably boring.

The hundred or more grey-haired folks in the audience turned out to be eager to dance, make requests for, and show a lot of outward appreciation for all those same, tired, boring old songs.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m a grey haired senior myself, but it’s not about age, it’s about attitude. I was brought up on sixties and seventies material but I couldn’t stand a steady diet of it. Give me something new already. Most of the people in that audience were probably in their late sixties or seventies - why are they stuck in such an old time warp? I mean, who has a jam session at one in the afternoon anyway? Who waltzes at that time of day? People in RV parks do, that’s who.

You might be able to tell I was pretty disappointed. I had expected, after seeing all of the instruments, a bit of a rousing good time. Instead, after a dozen numbers of the same droll, fifty, sixty or seventy-year-old material, I was almost asleep. It was hard to believe. I half expected to see Gene Autry or Lawrence Welk step out from behind the curtain and tell me I’d been punk’d. Come on already, my mom’s eighty-eight years old and she rarely listens to that sappy old stuff anymore. Sure, it has it’s place, but not every time, everywhere.

One more two-step, waltz or polka, and I swear, I‘m gonna’ bust into a heavy back beat.

The last straw was when every person in the audience stood up, hands over hearts, when one of the elderly guitar player started into America The Beautiful. I couldn’t handle any more - I left.

Readers might be able to tell that I’m really starting to miss jamming with people who play with some energy, some soul, some creativity, some gusto, some balls!

You guys and girls at home know who you are.

I suggested to Janice today that maybe we should start The Rockin’ RV Resort. Musicians can’t play more than one-in-ten old-time country songs - or any other old standard that makes people get all nostalgic and waxy eyed. At the Rockin’ RV Resort: Quiet time would start at midnight. Nobody is welcome to make an appearance before 7:00am. Everyone has to have a campfire at least twice a week. There’s no going to bed before 10:00pm. Having your TV on in the afternoon is a misdemeanor. You might even be required to eat some spicy food once in a while.

I think there must be enough Boomers out there that are about ready for something like this. Don’t you? There are sixteen acres for sale on the Apache Trail. Anybody want to partner up?


Anyway, back to the promise. Because I left the jam early, and we had no other plans, we decided to hop in the truck, drive to the Apache Trail, and hike the First Water Trail. As we started the gradual climb it was sunny but windy, and dusty. The trail got steeper as we approached the enormous sheer cliffs of Superstition Mountain. The closer we got to the cliff face the more the wind picked up - it served to keep us cool though.

Pictured below is Superstition Mountain and Janice appreciating the somewhat dusty view.

On Wednesday morning we went back to the Apache Trail and hiked the Bulldog Canyon Trail. I have no idea why it’s called that. We never saw any bulldogs or any topography that looked anything like a bulldog. I did take my walking stick along though, just in case. It was a nice five-mile hike, winding through a narrow canyon, and then to the top of a hill that afforded three hundred-and-sixty degree views of glorious scenery.

Pictured are some shots form the Bulldog Trail.

When we finished the Bulldog Trail we drove east toward Tortilla Flat, where we stopped for lunch at the Lost Dutchman’s eatery. There’s a Lost Dutchman state park here too. Apparently he was an eccentric old prospector and miner, who made it rich. There was a live band playing, what else, old time country music, where we sat outside. I had chili while Janice had a hot dog.

Pictured is Janice in the washroom at Tortilla Flat. She really balloons up after a hot dog.

We took the spectacular loop drive past Apache and Roosevelt Lakes, stopping to gawk at all the unbelievable topography along the way.

Pictured is the canyon formed by the once mighty Salt River, which is now dammed at Roosevelt lake, leaving a mere trickle of a river down below.

Leaving the rim of the canyon, we proceeded down a very scary, narrow, winding dirt road, clinging to the cliff face. It was so narrow that there were just a few pullouts to pass vehicles approaching in the other direction. As we approached the canyon floor we had to let another vehicle pass. There was so little room I had to pull in my side mirror and we noticed the woman in the passenger seat of the other vehicle had her hands over her eyes.

Pictured is a shot at the canyon floor, another along the dirt road to Apache lake and Apache lake itself.

The road truns to pavement again at Roosevelt Dam. Finally we ventured into Tonto National Monument, where we took the half-mile hike to see the cliff dwellings of the Salado Indians.

Pictured is a shot from the trail up to the dwellings and what remains of the dwellings themselves. The dwellings date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The Salado cultivated the banks of the Salt River, which is now Roosevelt Lake, in the distance.


Our friend, Charlie (Charlene Jenneson) passed away on Tuesday afternoon. Our heartfelt thank you to ‘Charlie’s Angels’ as Janice calls them, for being there for her. Some of you were there over the long haul, others showed up for these final weeks. Again, you know who you are. It gave us a lot of solace to know that she had so many people who cared so much for her while we were thousands of miles away.

Charlie was one of a kind - a good friend - we’re going to miss her a lot…