Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sedona - Arizona 2014

Yesterday evening they served cake and ice cream at the clubhouse to celebrate April birthdays and anniversaries. Since most of the people will be gone soon, the refrigerators and freezers have to be empty. The servers encouraged everybody to eat a lot of ice cream. I behaved and ate only one serving.
This morning I left Casa Grande at 5:30 AM and arrived in Cottonwood at 9:00 AM. I had gone to the parking place which is half way between Sedona and Cottonwood. Since I do not have a smart phone I did not know that the location was changed. Diana informed me and gave me the coordinates of the new location. She and Phil will be staying at this place.
I have a beautiful, private parking place. Before the motorhome and at one side is a canyon. I can see Cottonwood and the valley through the windshield. We are staying at the National Forest.

At 4:00 PM we had the circle meeting. Marian, the host of this outing, has something planned for each day we are here. We are twenty WINs so far. 

After the meeting I went to see Jon’s new camper. He changes his mode of camping frequently. This time he hit the jackpot. He converted a small airplane and had a trailer built for it. There is not much room in it but he is happy.  

It is a lot cooler up here in Cottonwood. The temperature is perfect.

Thirteen of us went to Tlaquepaque, Sedona’s Arts and Crafts Village. It is named after a suburb of Guadalajara, Mexico. I have been in Sedona several times and did not know that this place exists.
The architecture is typical Mexican.

There are more than forty shops, studios, and galleries. Some of the galleries are very large and have beautiful paintings and sculptures.

There are small courtyards. 

Just walking around is fun. 

We had lunch at the El Rincon Mexican Restaurant. I believe everybody was enjoying their meal. 

I walked outside the wall of the little Village and one has a great view of the red hills and the creek. 

Sedona has five Vortexes. We tried to go to several of them. I was more interested in the colorful hills. 

We saw a giant house with five garages, a fountain and a giant front yard. I wonder who lives there. 

Another Vortex is near the airport. From there the view of the city and the hills is out of this world. Sedona is a beautiful city. 

Today some of the group spent most of the day at the “Out of Africa” Wildlife Park. Chuck and Les took the hikers on a four wheel drive with a long hike. They were also gone all day.

We took the shuttle through the park. We were able to feed the giraffes. 

One of the giraffes helped himself getting goodies out of the bucket. 

Young zebras are brown and white when they are young. When they get older they change to black and white. 

Ostriches can be mean and kick. Our young guide was raising this big bird and only got love bites.

Later, we changed to a safari ride. Our driver and guide had little pieces of meat and would stop and feed the big cats and other animals through the fence. The white tiger was waiting for us. 

The hyenas were making sounds like they were laughing when our guide was teasing them and not giving them the meat right away. 

The feeding of the lemurs from Madagascar was really cute.

The tiger was pacing up and down. He was waiting to be part of the Tiger Splash Show. 

When he was entering the swimming pool area he went in the pool right away.

When the show started and the trainers tried to coax him, with the aid of toys, to get in the water, he would not get into the water, the humans ended up in the pool. They used broom handles with strings attached, and on the end of the string were balls, balloons and other objects. The tiger caught the objects on the end of the strings and destroyed them. Only at the end of the show, when there was a show on the string, the tiger caught the shoe in mid air and ended up in the water.

There was also an Anaconda show. It took several people to carry this giant snake.

At 3:00 PM started the Predator Feed. We followed the meat wagon. The handlers tossed turkeys to the lions.

The two hyenas made a laughing noise again when they were teased and fed large pieces of turkey.

Some tigers carried the turkey to a place where they could not be seen. Other tigers laid right there and started tearing apart the carcass.

The large male lion will not eat turkey and had to be fed a large chunk of horse meat. Here the meat goes over the fence. The lion has no tail. It had to be removed because of an infection.

This was an interesting day. 

The last two days were long days and our host suggested we have a free day.
While I ate breakfast I heard a noise which sounded like somebody tried to start their motorhome furnace. When I stepped outside I saw a hot air balloon gaining altitude. It had flown very low over our rigs.

We are parked off Thousand Trails Road. On the end of the asphalt road is the Thousand Trails RV Park. I walked there this morning. I walked only to the guard house. To get to the motorhomes I would have to walk downhill another mile. I have to try again when I am real early, before it gets warm. 

On the side of the road are yellow flowers. 

Our motorhomes and trailers are in the distance. Cottonwood is about four miles further. 

Some of the group went in town for breakfast. Les and I went to town together. I dropped him off at the Cottonwood Recreation Center where he took a shower, and I went to the library. Later we went to Pizza Hut and bought pizzas and then went to the grocery store.

On my morning walk I walked down to the Verde River.

Beautiful white flowers are blooming on the banks of the river. 

After Hugs and Mugs we drove to the Fort Verde State Historic Park. Fort Verde is one of the many Forts which were established in the 1880’s to keep the Indians under control. In the little museum are displays of utensils and equipment used by the settlers and Indians.

On the side of the parade grounds are three houses which were officer quarters. They were built with adobe and survived. The wooden enlisted men quarters were built with wood. They were auctioned off when they fort was decommissioned. Ranchers and settlers tore the houses down and used the wood to build their houses. 

The houses are open and furnished with items when the fort was used by the army. 

Our next stop was Montezuma Castle National Monument. 

Next to the castle are alcoves where more people lived. The place was deserted by the 1400’s. There is no explanation why the people, who had settled here, left. 

Early American explorers named the dwelling after the Aztec emperor Montezuma, who never set foot of what is now the United States. 

After we ate our lunch, at the picnic area, we drove on a dirt road to Montezuma Well. 

The well delivers over one million gallons of water a day to the pond. From the pond the water goes to hundreds of years old irrigation canals built by the Indians. While we were walking on the rim of the pond we heard a lady scream and run up the steps from the pond. A rattle snake had scared her. The snake slowly slithered up the steps. People could go not down or up the steps until the snake disappeared. 

On the side of the pond are cliff dwellings. 

Flowers were blooming along the trail. 

Our last stop was the V-Bar-V Heritage Site. It is a former working ranch. At the site are a large number of petroglyphs. 

The ranchers received land at another site. From the ranch house is only the chimney left. 

The petroglyphs are on a smooth wall. The lower petroglyphs are barely visible because cattle rubbed their bodies against the wall. 

Volunteers assist the visitors and answer questions. 

I made a mistake and listened to my back seat drivers, and took a wrong turn on our way back. We drove on another dirt road for many miles. The Saturn survived the rough road though.
This was another interesting day.  

The hot air balloon came again over our motorhomes this morning. This time we could talk to the people on board.

At 10:00 AM we left for the bowling alley at the casino. Lu and Arlene are getting ready to do some serious bowling. The price of bowling included shoes and a bowling ball. Phil had his own ball. 

My team is also ready. Lynn bowls with us but does not belong to my team. We had thirteen WINs and formed three teams of four. 

I did a lot of gutter balls at the beginning. 

There is some waiting involved. 

Arlene got really excited when she had her first strike. 

Next to the bowling alley is a small restaurant. There are no walls so we could see what was happening there. The waitresses performed a line dance for the customers. 

This was my second bowling experience and it was a lot of fun nineteen years ago and it was another fun experience today. My team had the highest score, even with me being the lowest overall scorer.
My first game was lousy. At the second game I had three strikes but that did not help.
At 6:00 PM we started dancing at the Thousand Trails RV Park. We had a good size group. Some came early to have dinner there.

A 92 year old man had his birthday celebration at the dance. His large family was there and they had cake and ice cream. I talked to the man and asked him when he drove the last time a motorhome. It was last year when he drove it to Phoenix, where it was sold. 

Randy and his friend were also at the dance. He is staying at the same area where we are. He was there first. 

The music was excellent and we had a good time.

Today was Easter Sunday. After Hugs and Mugs we had an Easter egg hunt. We looked for seventy plastic eggs loaded with jelly beans and chocolates. I found fifteen of them. I think that was the record. I am good at finding sweets but not so good at bowling.
Some members of the group went to church. Everybody did his own thing this morning. I went to a cheap car wash and cleaned the Saturn. It needed it from driving on that dirt road yesterday. Then I went to have the propane bottle filled up. From there I went to Cottonwood Old Town. Since this is a small town there was not much of an Old Town.
At 4:00 PM we had our Easter Pot Luck. We also had a birthday cake for Joanne and Ted.

We like to eat. Food tastes better in the fresh air. The main dish was ham.

We were almost finished eating when a dark cloud decided to give us some cooling off. Everybody ran for cover. The light shower did not last very long. After dinner we sat and talked.

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