Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apache Trail and Scenic Route 88

Our day started on Highway 60 east towards Gold Canyon
Another fine Maricopa County day and ideal motorcycling weather.  We were heading east to meet our friends, and Canadian snowbirds from Montreal, who winter in Gold Canyon.
Beautiful countryside at the foot of Superstition Mountain

Nice housing development in Gold Canyon
This area is home to some great topography, attractive and challenging golf courses, and modern RV resorts.  The biggest draw is this wonderful mountain.
Large Saguaro cactus in the foreground of Superstition Mountain.

So, we rode around Gold Canyon enjoying the vistas, the golf courses and getting acquainted with the area.

Great layout
We rode around their RV resort and we were quite impressed with its layout.

We arrived at noon sharp and we're met by great friends.  We had not seen them since their cross Canada 5th wheel trek to the west coast several years ago.
Gerry and Pauline in front of their park model home.

Beautiful place - located next to a green belt.
We shared some good RV hugs, got caught up on our respective lives, took a quick tour of their abode then headed out for lunch.  Gerry and Pauline offered to take us on a drive along the legendary Apache Trail.  For the uninitiated, this is one of Arizona's best scenic drives.  The road winds through the Tonto National Forest to the west and the Superstition Wilderness to the east.

The ghost town of Goldfield.
The Tonto National Forest is the 5th largest in the United States. It's also the most visited 'urban forest' in the country. Saguaro cactus are everywhere.  They are also protected.  Driving north east on Highway 88 took us to a viewpoint overlooking Canyon Lake.  Beautiful countryside.
Too early in the season for rattle Jeanette walks freely in the countryside.  You would not catch her doing that in the heat of spring or summer.  She is kind of shy around snakes....if you get my drift.

This Sonora desert is so green with its many varieties of cacti, trees and lichens.

Truly breathtaking. Jeanette thought this photo of Gerry and I standing on the edge of the canyon would make for a good shot.  I wonder why she kept asking us to move a bit more backwards?  I heard her intimate something about a valid life insurance policy....!

Early bloom....but the desert comes into full bloom in the spring.  We'll miss it this season.
Our gracious hosts then suggested continuing our drive to Tortilla Flat Saloon and Settlement.  We were up for that and more.
Posing for a photo in one of their favourite hiking spots in the area.

Questions, questions and more questions!  Kind of looks like an 'Open Mike' like finger pointing session.
Apologies to our readers:  The reference to 'Open Mike' relates to our Sunday morning coffee group chairman's finger pointing when at home back in White Rock, BC.
A tall tale......or a real one?  You be the judge (double click to zoom in on the photo).
So, a 25 minute drive up the road from Mesa and we had arrived at Tortilla Flats.  This authentic old west stagecoach stop, along scenic Apache Trail, conjured images from scenes out of old John Wayne movies.

We chose to stop in for coffee and we were surrounded by dollars - thousands and thousands of dollars.  Every wall, nook and pillar is covered with authentic US dollar bills and the odd coloured sections with  $$ bills from all corners of the globe; Canada included.

Yep, all dollar bills....and this is just one small area of the entire building.

Foreign bills.

Money, money, money....!

Even an old Calgary Stampede poster.
Well we soaked in the scenery, marvelled at the topographic colours, and - with sunset approaching - started our drive back toward Mesa.
Back country road - best driven with a 4X4....or slowly with a conventional vehicle.

The sun and shade effect.
Oh yes, Tortilla Flat is in desperate need of a plumber to fix this!  It was seriously out of order!

So it was back to Gold Canyon, our motorcycle and our good byes.
Gearing up for the ride back to Mesa - about 13-15 miles west from Gold Canyon.
So, a big thank you to Gerry and Pauline for a wonderful day.  We enjoyed our Sunday lunch too.  See you next winter.

Tomorrow sees Jeanette head out with Ione and Annalia to Fountain Hills while I head toward a local golf course.  Odd as it may seem, the weather girl is predicting possible rain for the rush hour drive on Monday morning.  Once that clears up is when I'll hit the links.

Nice of you to stop by.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Visiting with Friends in the Mesa, AZ area.

Gotta get that desert dust off.
Started yesterday morning with a good washing and detailing of the Nomad after better than two weeks on the road.
Meeting for lunch with good friends from back home.

Phil and Diane own a nice Park Model in this nice Mesa RV resort.
So we arrived promptly near 11:30 am.  Phil was busy with the vacuum cleaner and didn't hear us pull up.  Nice of him to vacuum the driveway for a freshly cleaned motorcycle.  That was a very nice gesture Phil!  Thanks.

They purchased in this park one year ago and have been enjoying their time making friends,golfing, and generally relaxing in the Arizona sunshine.

Quick tour of their park model.
Not sure what this 'bad boy' is up to......!!!
But it was obviously worth a laugh.
After a quick tour of their park model, we tootled off on a walk around their RV resort.  This is a smaller RV park with less than 1,000 spots.  It felt much better than the resort we are in that boasts better than 2,000 spots.

Their activity centre.  Nice and modern.
How about this for a dog park!!!
Overlooking the dog park area....and Phil contemplating all the reasons why he doesn't want a dog. Cutting into his golfing could be one very good reason?
Swimming pool.....and a huge crowd out for a lunch of sauerkraut and hot dogs.  Mmmmm....sure smelled good....and this crowd was really into this.
So after walking around the park and getting the two bit tour ....ah,.... I mean the 10 buck tour.....we headed back to Phil and Diane's place for a nice lunch out in the sunshine.
Front of their place.
A couple of Corona's with lunch......after all,..... it was long past 4:00 pm in Newfoundland.  Happy hour could start we did just that.

After a great lunch and a lot of kibitzing (talking a lot), we left for our short term home RV resort to attend a dinner put on by our other good friends, Ione and Annalia - also from our home area of White Rock and Langley, BC.

What a great day this was.  Lunch with Phil and Diane - dinner with Ione and Annalia - and all we had to just was just show up.  How nice is that???

Ione - in the kitchen -  and Annalia - working up the table setting - put on a 5 star dinner......!  WOW!

Although they were humble about the amount of work involved, we know they spent a good number of hours getting this five course meal prepared.  We really felt spoiled by them.
Two green girls with a blue bird in the middle.  I think Jeanette felt right a home.
So we dove into this scrumptious meal, savouring every bite, while enjoying the wine and interesting conversation.  It was a feast to remember.
So after a great day of motorcycling, having lunch with good friends, sharing dinner with other good friends, Jeanette and I walked back to our rig and exhausted the rest of the day with some reading.

A big thank you to Phil and Diane and to Ione and Annalia.

Tomorrow:  A blog about our wonderful day spent with our good friends from Montréal who winter in Gold Canyon.

SPECIAL THANKS: To  Hector and Diane (our RV friends from Nanaimo)
Prior to parting company in Moabi Regional Park in California,  Diane presented us with a wonderful gift for our 5th wheel.  While on the road, and during the seven days spent with them in Moabi and the Needles area, Diane knitted these beautiful dish cloths and oven pot holder.  Look at the colour this brought to our rig.  We love them.....and cherish the thought and effort in your work to create and complete them for us.  Looking forward to seeing you soon in the Yuma, AZ area.
Great colours for the interior decor of our rig.
Beautiful work.... We appreciate these more and more with every passing day.
That's all for today.  Thanks for stopping by.