Saturday, December 23, 2017

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, December 23, 2017 - Mormon Temple Lights

The first thing I want to say is MERRY CHRISTMAS!! To our family and friends.  Even though we may be far away our thoughts are still with you this season.  God bless each of you and those you love, hope you have a wonderful holiday.

We visited this beautiful light display last year.  We asked our friends Bill and Cindy Carson from Colorado to visit with us this year, it was still just as amazing.  In addition to the unbelievable light display there is musical entertainment nightly and it is all free.

We wanted to be sure to see the display this year because it is supposed to be down for the next two years for construction at the Temple.  We started out the evening last night with dinner at Garcia’s, a local Mexican restaurant that is a favorite of ours.  Just as we got out of the car headed for the display we saw what we (and everyone else) thought had to be a UFO – no other explanation seemed feasible.  I know my night and lights photography lacks something to be desired but you can see what we were looking at in the center of this picture, click on the picture to enlarge it..  You can see the three wise men to the left and that is definitely not the North Star in the center of the picture, it appeared to be moving rather slowly in a semi-circle pattern.  We found out this morning that a lot of people in California and Arizona also witnessed this strange light.  Turns out it was a rocket that was launched from Santa Barbara, CA that was transporting satellites for an update to a system that helps in tracking planes for the airline industry.

I think every surface in the Temple’s garden is covered with lights, some that must be custom made.  This arch leads into the garden.

The trees are covered entirely in lights and have various kinds of lights in the branches.

Even the flower beds beneath the trees have lights that look like flowers.  I have to figure out how to photograph these better, I’m just not doing them justice.

All of the lights reflecting in the pool in front of the Temple are just amazing.

The nativity scene is a favorite stopping point for everyone.  There is a continuous narration of the story of Christ’s birth.  This is definitely a great place to take the family, it helps us all to remember the reason for the season.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, November 2, 2017 - We've Arrived in Mesa

When we left Holbrook, AZ we went through Winslow to stop at the Flying J Truck Stop to fill up with fuel before we settled in for the winter in Mesa.  From Winslow we took AZ 87 south.  There is beautiful scenery along most of this route, but sometimes the road looks like it goes on forever going nowhere.  This area is actually the beginning of the Coconino National Forest even though there are no actual trees to be seen.

Further along the trees become evident.

Although this is a beautiful drive, I have to admit it bothers me because of all the steep declines and long, long inclines.  This particular decline was 6% with a curve at the end for added apprehension on my part.  I might note, Greg doesn’t have the same apprehensions as I do, he’s just driving along doing his thing and I’m worrying enough for both of us.

I liked the way the sun was shining through the trees and adding some interesting shadows.

More of the scenery through Coconino.

Just as we come out of Coconino National Forest we enter Tonto National Forest.  This area seems to have even more curves.

This one is particularly interesting.  Luckily we’ve never met anyone in the middle of this curve.

The Tonto National Forest seems to be more mountainous with a dense covering of trees.

In spite of what this sign and others like it say, we still haven’t seen any wildlife on our trips out here – I don’t think the little lizard we saw last year really counts.  I guess we can count our lucky stars we haven’t had to face a collision with an elk, I hear it can be pretty bad.

This is one of the downgrades.  Even though this drive makes me nervous we hear from people who have done it that the route down through Show Low is even worse.

And, this is one of the inclines showing up on the right.  Makes me nervous just looking at the picture.

The saguaro cactus are starting to show up, means we are almost to our winter home.

We arrived Sunday afternoon and it’s been a busy week so far.  Greg has been cleaning the coach, the outside windows and the Jeep.  The Kansas dust storms left us with a lot of cleaning to do.  I worked today on the inside of some of the cabinets, ran the sweeper and mopped.  We’ve managed to square dance twice so far this week and will be going again tomorrow.  We are back on our low-calorie, low sodium diet with considerations added for kidney health (Greg would prefer no more kidney stones).  So, I’m spending quite a bit of time working on our meal plans and keeping track of what we eat – so far so good but it’s only been four days.

Yesterday we went to the grocery across the street for a restock, it was Senior Citizens Day and we get 10% off.  There is an Osco pharmacy in the store so we decided we would get our flu shots which also gives us each a coupon for 10% off on future grocery purchases.  The pharmacist talked to us about the new pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar 13 so we decided to get that also, this also gave us two more 10% off coupons (this is easier than clipping coupons and Medicare covers it all).  Greg suggested while we were in the waiting area that since we already had our coupons why not just leave.  I made him stay, we got one shot in each arm so last night both of us were kind of hurting, especially from the Prevnar shot.  Today we are fine.  The pharmacist said people over 65 should now have two pneumonia shots, the one we got right after we turned 65 and now the Prevnar 13 shot.  The Prevnar shot is a once in a lifetime event so I encourage all of our friends over 65 to get theirs.

We start work on Monday.  We think our schedule will be Monday and Tuesday, five hours each per day.  Our mail still goes to our South Dakota address and we get it once a month.  But, if anyone needs to get anything to us quicker they can use our Arizona address until April – 233 N. Val Vista Drive, Site 796 V, Mesa, AZ 85213.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Arizona, Holbrook - Saturday, October 28, 2017 - Journey Back to Arizona

We got together with all of our Kansas family for supper on Tuesday night.  This was the last night to spend with the grandkids.  On Wednesday night we attended the Ducks Unlimited fundraiser with David and Lisa.  David was the auctioneer for the night – love to hear him in “auction mode”.  Lots of money was raised for a good cause.  Thursday morning we were ready to head out bright and early.  No matter how many times we have done this I still find it hard to say good bye.  I did manage to keep back the tears when we left Indiana and again when we left Kansas this year.

The wind was brutal leaving Kansas and going through Oklahoma.  This is not a blurry picture that is dust blowing across the highway.  Note the slant to the red semi.  David was in the field drilling wheat that day so he was really aware of the strength of the wind, he called to make sure we were doing okay.

This tumbleweed is just waiting to roll right out in front of us.  We collided with a couple of them, it doesn’t look like they did any damage, and they kind of splintered into pieces on contact.  We saw several semis and a police car with tumbleweeds stuck in the grill.

Hooker, OK was a good place to stop for a Subway sandwich.  We spotted a pull through parking spot so we decided to go inside to eat.  The wind was blowing so hard I almost didn’t make it – you know that was some big wind!!  Since we are towing the Jeep we can’t maneuver into parking spaces like we used to be able to do when we had the Harley on the lift.  When you are towing a vehicle backing is limited.

We spotted lots of cotton fields as we left Kansas, this one just outside of Hooker, OK had almost all of the bolls open.

A lot of the Oklahoma scenery along US 54 looked a lot like this.  I think these are creosote bushes.

New Mexico has some of the prettiest bridges.

Last night we stayed at a place we hadn’t stayed at before, but we will be going back as we make our annual trek to Arizona.  Route 66 RV Resort at the Route 66 Casino is at exit 140 off of I-40 west.

The RV Resort is just over a year old and is really well kept.  There are 100 full service sites with picnic tables and fire rings.  This is us on site 1229.  They have a free shuttle service to the casino.  If you sign up for the casino’s free Rewards Club you will get a coupon for $5.00 off any of their meal venues and a chance to win free play.  We used our meal coupons on their great lunch buffet, it is usually $9.99 per person but with our coupon it was $4.99 plus tax.  We both got $5.00 free play, I think that is probably the standard amount.  We (Greg) did end up having really good luck so we went home winners. 

The pool was beautiful but it was a little chilly to even walk over and get a good look at it.  I took this picture from the coach as we were checking in.

All of the buildings and grounds here are very attractive.  This is the Amenity Center, showers, laundry, etc.

The weather was great for traveling again today, we’ve seen the New Mexico scenery along I-40 several times but it never fails to impress.

The lava rock beds look like somebody just piled up big piles of asphalt.

I don’t know what these yellow trees are, but they certainly stand out.

We’ve reached Arizona.  We are staying at OK RV Park in Holbrook, AZ this evening.  We’ve stayed here before and it’s a nice place to spend a day or so.  We will be moving on in the morning so we can get checked in at Val Vista Villages in Mesa.