Monday, January 27, 2014

Mesa (Phoenix) Arizona 2014

This was a driving day. I left Quartzsite at 7:30 AM and arrived in Mesa at 10:30 AM. I had to stop at a gas station in Mesa and buy a Tonto Pass for the area we are staying. It is actually a pass for every day. The hour of arrival and the date can be scratched out. I wish we could arrive at the Phon D. Sutton camping area, set up the motorhome and then buy the pass. The Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area is in the Tonto National Forest, seven miles outside of Mesa.

The parking lot near the gas station was so small that I had a difficult time finding a spot to park the motorhome and car. While turning, the car actually went over a curb.
Before the circle meeting we were invited to inspect Bertie’s new motorhome. It is 36 feet long and has several slide-outs. The bedroom is very large and has a desk and large closets.
The living room has a beautiful wood floor.

This evening we went to a pizza restaurant. I have never seen a pizza place like this before. It seats 600 and most seats were taken, and this on a Monday. The restaurant is the Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.
They have a giant pipe organ. The organist played oldies and modern melodies.

We had reserved seats ahead of time and it was the smart thing to do. There were twenty WINs. I had the top of the line pizza and it was very good. Tomorrow I have some more at home. 

This morning we drove to Usery Mountain Regional Park and hiked up to Wind Cave. It is a 3.2 mile round trip with an elevation change of 800 feet. It is a moderate to difficult hike.

On one of the mountains is written in big white letters with an arrow “Phoenix”. It is not easy to see on the picture. 

Phoenix can be seen in the distance. The scenery is just beautiful, with the saguaros and other cacti.

 Unfortunately there is air pollution over this region.

A small group has arrived at the Wind Cave and we had lunch there.

The group grew after a while. The slow hikers had arrived.

The lichen on the side of the mountain gave it a spectacular appearance. 

Coming down was easier. 

In the afternoon we were invited to Barbara and Ron’s house for pot luck. In the winter Barbara and Ron live in their house in Mesa. They travel in the summer. There was plenty of food. 

It was another fine day to sit outside.

After we ate, Bertie the host of this outing gave us an outline for tomorrow’s activities.

Barbara and Sally cut the birthday cake for the members who had their birthday in January. 

My car is the only one without a kayak on top.   

On my morning walk I enjoyed the view of Red Mountain and a saguaro with many arms.

At 2:00 PM we left for the Pueblo Grande Museum and archaeological park in Phoenix. 

We started with watching the ten minute orientation video. It offers an overview of the Hohokam and the Pueblo Grande Museum. The site is a Platform Mound. It is believed that platform mounds were probably ceremonial and administrative centers. 

On top of the mount are building outlines and pits.

Replica pithouses are also in the park.

Pictures show how archaeologists envision the Indian village. 

The Hohokam had a ballcourt for playing games.

We also found pleasure in checking out the displays in the museum. The Hohokam built a large canal system for irrigating their fields. At that time the Salt River was still flowing freely. Now it is only a small river because of all the dams upstream.
Our next stop was South Mountain Park. We drove up to Dobbins Lookout and enjoyed the sunset above Phoenix.

The whole valley is filled with towns and cities. 

Mary Jane and Tom brought a table, chairs and snacks. 

It was getting close to sunset.

The sunset was spectacular. This is the time when I miss a companion. It is more fun to be with somebody on an occasion like this. A group of friends is not the same. I had two strange experiences while we were in Borrego Springs. A lady in a small motorhome parked next to me. She was here to join the WINs and celebrate Thanksgiving with us. I was getting ready to go up the mountain to buy some bear claws at the bakery. I invited her to come along. We were not five minutes on the road when she told me that she took care of her husband until he died and she never wants to have another relationship.
I was surprised since we had not talked much.
A few days later a woman, who I know a few years, asked me where she can find out where she can buy the Chinese Lantern which fly over our camping area in the evening. I told her that I can take her across the highway to campers who ignite them and let them fly across the area. The campers come from the San Diego area and I know several of them. While walking across the desert I heard the same story woman number one told me. I must bring out anti relationship feelings in women. What puzzles me, I never made any remarks about this subject. 
This was a busy day. At 10:00 AM we left in five four wheel drive vehicles for Bulldog Canyon. 

We were twenty WINs.

The drive was a real four wheel drive. There were some interesting spots to maneuver. 

The cholla cacti are wonderful to look at, but coming too close can create a problem. 

The scenery in Tonto National Forest is breath taking. Everything is green. There is even grass growing. It must have rained before we arrived. 

We had to climb over rocks with the jeeps, but it was worth going through Bulldog Canyon.

We made several stops to enjoy the landscape.

In the evening we drove to San Tan Flats in Queen Creek. This restaurant is very large and located in the middle of nowhere. 

Most of the seating is outside. Heat is provided by wood burning, open containers. The customers add as much wood as needed. 

The WINs occupied several tables.

They have a stage and a dance floor.

The musician played, and sang popular country songs. I danced a few times. 

It took one hour to order the food and thirty minutes for pick-up. I did not stand in line that long. It was not worth it for me.
When it got dark it was impossible to see the food while eating. The atmosphere was great though. 

In the morning a rafting company brought rubber rafts and inflatable kayaks to our camping area. They were preparing for a corporate rafting trip on the Salt River. A large bank gave some of their employees a chance to spend time on the water. I saw the four large buses arrive but had to go into town. Later, I heard it was a lot of fun watching the boaters take off. The people in the rafts were safe, but some of the kayakers ended up in the cold water. There were lost telephones and other articles.

I climbed up the hill to take a picture of our motorhomes. We are parked next to the river. On the other side of the river is an Indian Reservation. Wild horses cross the river to feed on our side. Every morning, on my walk, I look out for them. So far I have not been lucky. Last year I saw a mustang with about seven females. The only thing I see is fresh horse manure.

In the evening several members of the group went to the Mesa Elks Lodge for Fish Fry and dancing. The food was very good. They served a large piece of fish. I had it with mixed vegetables, baked potato and coleslaw. The band was outstanding and we danced almost every dance. 

This was another busy day. It started with a bang. A young man, who was sleeping in his car last night at the camping area, started his car engine and raced through the parking lot before 7:00 AM. He went on the road in a high speed and just made it to the first curve. I had just started my morning walk and when I came around the bend in the road I saw the guy retrieving stuff from his overturned car. He had no scratch on him. 

When asked why he was speeding he said that he was angry. He still was angry and kicking the tires and swearing. I kept on walking and later, on my way back I saw him coming toward me. He left the scene of an accident. He had a backpack on his back and a small dog was sticking his head out. I changed to the other side of the street.
I went back to the motorhome and opened the front curtains. Red Mountain is visible for miles around here.

At 10:00 AM I went to the library and from there to the Mesa Market Place. It is larger than the market place in Yuma. I was looking for sticky pads to hold the GPS on the dash board of the car. I found two, and also found a bag of kettle corn, two large bags of oranges, and a leather billfold. One vendor had beautiful embroidered tee shirts for $ 10.00. I have too many already and did not buy one, but they were really nice.

At 3:00 PM I left for the Chinese Lantern and Folk Festival in Fountain Hills. The town was founded by McCulloch, the developer of Lake Havasu. A fountain, as a drawing card, was cheaper than the London Bridge. The fountain is the landmark of this community and can be seen from miles away. It comes on at the full hour for about ten minutes.

The Chinese Gate is visible from the outside.

The large displays are made from special silk material depicting animals, characters, gods, angels, flora and structures. Some displays are up to sixty feet long and forty feet wide. At night they are lit.

At the stage cultural dancing, Tai Chi and Kung Fu was featured.

When it started to rain for a few moments we went to a BBQ restaurant and had dinner. Bertie, Walter, Charlotte, Donna and I chose this restaurant. Other members of the group ate at a sandwich restaurant. When we were done eating it was dark outside and the lanterns where even more beautiful.  

We decided to have a “burn your own meat” before the football game. There was hamburger meat and steaks on four grills. We brought also a side dish or dessert. Everybody was waiting for the eating to begin.

The men and Sally were taking care of the burning.

We ate just at the right time. As soon as the sun disappeared it cooled off.

In the morning and during the day most members of the group did their own thing. I went to Walmart to do some shopping and took it easy the rest of the day.

This was our last day at Phon D Sutton. In the morning I went shopping, did laundry, and went to the library. In the afternoon I cooked red cabbage and mashed potatoes, and heated up the spare ribs I brought home from the BBQ restaurant in Fountain Hills. I had ordered a full rack and ate half of it in the restaurant.
At 4:00 PM we started dancing at the large clubhouse of a 3,000 house gated community. The music was very good. They played music of the sixties. The dance was over at 6:00 PM and most of the WINs went to the Elks Lodge for $ 3.00 hamburgers. I went home.