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...

1 comment:

  1. Hope you are more comfortable now...what a pain to have that happen! Great Rhelda and Jenny have had a visit. They will enjoy Sedona. Take it easy and know your blog is enjoyed. cheers, cuz.