Sunday, February 28, 2016

Arizona, Saguaro Lake - Saturday, February 27, 2016 - Road Trip

We made a day of it yesterday, left home at 10:00 in the morning and didn’t get back until around 7:00 that evening.  This shot is us on the Desert Belle cruise boat as we were touring Lake Saguaro, what a great way to spend a couple of hours in the sunshine.  More on our tour below.  The weather here remains in the high 70’s, low 80’s perfect for riding in shorts and t-shirts.  The only problem right now is that all of the citrus trees in the resort are in full bloom – a little orange blossom smell is nice, a lot is a little too much!
Since our last post we’ve kept busy.  We drove to Scottsdale to an RV show last week.  It was at the University of Phoenix stadium.  Greg was hoping to get a good look at the inside of the stadium.  Unfortunately, the show was held outside in the parking lot so this was as close as we came to the stadium.  We still didn’t see anything we would rather have than what we have currently.

Last Friday we worked at the Canadian party here at the resort.  Great crowd.

Last week we decided to go to Apache Junction to a square dance clothing store to get a skirt for me.  We knew we had a special dance to go to this Friday and I wanted something a little nicer than my western shirt and blue jeans (the ones that don’t fit).  Most of the women wear skirts at the dances.  The only skirt I have with me is a black wool one I call my “funeral skirt” because that is the only time I wear it – not really something fun to wear.

When we find the clothing store it turns out to be a large pole building down a questionable looking driveway right next to the owner’s home.  When you open the door you can barely get in there is so much stuff packed into this building.  It looks like square dance clothes exploded in there.  It was almost overwhelming, no particular order to anything, but we had a fun time searching through it all.  Greg found a skirt for me that we both really liked since it had a southwest design – mission accomplished, right? 
Nope, as I was trying on the skirt he found a shirt that had the same colors as the skirt.

Then when I came out of the dressing room to show him the skirt he noted that my tennis shoes looked “dorky” with the skirt so he went in search of shoes.  We had gone this far into a whole new outfit might as well finish it off with a big fluffy crinoline and a top.

If you have ever bought square dance clothes you know this was not a cheap shopping trip, but we were very pleased with the quality of the clothes.  I had to totally rearrange the closet to find room for that darned crinoline.  It is smashed into a zippered plastic bag that could explode at any time.

Here we are all put together.  It was a fun night, over 160 dancers were in attendance.  We were the first ones there since we had to arrive in time for me to try to put all this flouncy stuff on in the confines of a restroom cubicle.  Can you imagine the looks we would get if I tried to wear it on the motorcycle?
Before we boarded for our tour of Saguaro Lake we enjoyed lunch on the patio of the restaurant.

I forgot to get a picture of our seafood salad wrapped in a warm pita bread.  This was the view from our seats.

The Desert Belle is on the left waiting to take off for the 12:30 cruise.

Those of you who know me well know why our seats were to the left of this big box.  I’ll go on the water but since I can’t swim, need to be near the life preservers.  I don’t know why I get worried when I am in water like this that is over 100 feet deep, I could drown in 5 feet of water!

The ducks know that passengers on the boat are probably going to be enjoying some popcorn and will no doubt share with them.

The scenery around the lake was spectacular.


Four Peaks Mountains in the distance are the site of an amethyst mine that has provided crown jewels for four countries (they didn’t mention which countries).  They did say that the miners had to be flown in by helicopter.

This is Elephant Rock – give it a minute and you can see it.

The Four Peaks Mountains again with marshy grass in the foreground.  The grassy area is a draw for bass fishermen.  The boat captain said a 39 pound bass had been pulled out of there.

Large Saguaro cactus are all over around the lake.  This “fisted” Saguaro that looks like Gumby waving to us is a rarity.  Instead of growing straight up every once in a while the cactus will knot up into a fist.

More scenery.  Believe it or not the pictures I’m putting in the post are only a few of the ones I took.

This is a popular teen gathering area.  Some of them were jumping off the rocks into the water.
This guy on his ski chair was putting on a show for the passengers on the cruise boat.

Heading back into the dock, the restaurant is on the hill in front of us.

When we left Saguaro Lake we rode up through the mountains.  We pulled over for a short break to walk around, have a snack and to make sure we were still heading in the right direction.  I snapped a picture of a bush just starting to come into bloom.  We want to run at least part of this route again in a couple of weeks when the desert blooms ought to be out, they are just starting to show up now.

Our drive took us into the Tonto National Forest past Roosevelt Lake.  It’s a huge lake but since we didn’t stop this time there are no pictures.  We all know I don’t take good pictures when I’m going down the road on the back of the bike.

We did pull off at an observation point to see Roosevelt Dam which was built to tame the Salt River.  You might have heard of the Salt River ponies that run wild in this area.  I saw one of them wading in the river or at least it was a pony in the river, I just assume it was one of the wild ones.
The Roosevelt Lake Bridge was built from 1987 to 1990 to redirect traffic so dam modifications could be made.  It is the longest two-lane, single span, steel arch bridge in North America.  It spans 1080 feet across Roosevelt Lake and is painted blue to blend in.  It was named one of the top 12 outstanding bridges in the nation in November of 1995.  Others named were the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges.  The roadway of the bridge is arched slightly because it would have given the perception of sagging if it had been left level.  They didn’t think that would be a very good feeling as you crossed it.
We took a side road after we crossed the bridge to get to the lookout point.  We thought we would continue on this road into Apache Junction and then into Mesa.  One large sign stated “mountain passes and curves ahead”, usually nice for a bike ride so we were good with that.  And then another large sign said “pavement ends in one mile” – not nice for a bike ride.  We turned around and got back on the highway we had just left, it made for a little longer trip but at least we were pretty sure we would get home in one piece this way.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, February 14, 2016 - Parties, Cooking and Classes


I saw a post on Pinterest today that said “when you are in the right relationship every day is Valentine’s Day” – so true.

I fixed shrimp scampi linguini (the skinny low-sodium version) and steamed broccoli for our Valentine’s Day supper.  Greg is cleaning up the kitchen while I write this.
I know some of you who read this are dealing with record cold weather, we are sorry and so glad we aren’t there.  Our area of Arizona has finally warmed up and we are dealing with record heat – into the high 80’s every day, we are loving it.

We’ve been pretty busy since I posted a couple of weeks ago.  Most of it has been the mundane stuff – working, napping, cleaning, cooking, laundry and maybe napping again.  We are still square dancing three times a week.  We might add one more day this week in order to dance to a different square dance caller.  We will be working an extra day this week.  This park has a large Canadian population and they have an annual party.  We’ve been asked to work that party on Friday night.

Last week we and over 300 other square dancers met at Organ Stop Pizza for lunch.
This place is amazing.  It has the largest pipe/theater organ in the world.  The control for the organ has over 1000 keys.  The organ was made in 1927 for a theater in Colorado, it was moved to Mesa in the 1970’s.  In addition to what a normal pipe organ does it makes all of the sounds familiar in the silent films (horse hooves, police siren, bells ringing, someone knocking at the door, etc.).  Around the building there are various other instruments controlled by the organ master – drums, xylophone, accordion, trumpets, etc.  The effect is that of a full orchestra – I could have listened all afternoon.  When the restaurant is closed to accommodate large groups such as ours the organ master takes the time to do a lot of explanation about the organ and what it does. 
We had to leave Organ Stop a little early in order to be home when the repairman came to look at our hot water system which is currently not working.  We are still waiting for an inspector from our extended warranty company to come out and look at it before we can have it fixed.  Luckily we aren’t far from one of the shower facilities here at the resort and the facilities are very nice.  The inspector should be here on Tuesday but then we still need to get parts ordered and installed after that.

We’ve been to a couple of other parties also.  One was all of the folks who are workkampers at the resort.  We shared information about some of our favorite campgrounds and other workkamper positions available for the summer for those who work in the summer (not us).  The street where we live also had a pitch in so everyone could get to know their neighbors.  There are several other RVs on the street and some of those folks took the opportunity to tap into Greg’s knowledge of RV living.

I took another class to learn the techniques of appliqueing.  I am really not good at this, but maybe with practice.  This piece isn’t finished yet, it takes so long and I got tired (and frustrated) before I was able to get it done.  I’m glad to know the technique and can practice on my own from now on.  I’m thinking this might be nice for those cute little flags everyone puts in front of their RVs.  Right now we are buying them, but I could make them a little more personal with applique.
Last weekend we rode to Scottsdale to the Harley Davidson dealership there.  It is supposed to be the largest Harley dealership.  It includes a theater, lingerie store, tattoo parlor and chapel in addition to what you would find at the usual Harley store.  There was also a lot of patio and balcony space for entertaining.

We are losing weight again, had a bit of time when we were on a plateau.  We have our blood pressure tested every two weeks and the readings have been going down steadily.  My reading this past week was 90/52 – that may be getting a little too low, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering me except when I look at the top shelf in the grocery store I get dizzy.  Will have to have a medication review when we get back to Indiana I am sure.

Every two weeks there is a “Country Store” in the resort ballroom where various vendors bring in their wares.  We have to look for belts tomorrow.  I had an awkward experience last week.  You know how your jeans fit tighter just after you have washed them and then loosen up as you wear them?  Well, my jeans no longer fit tight in the first place.  I was working carrying a large tray of food across the patio when I felt my jean shorts start to slide down, I was just hoping my hips were going to keep them from going too far.  Luckily, my shirt was long enough to hide my dilemma until I could get it fixed.

I didn’t do too much cooking last weekend because we were finishing up some leftovers.  So, this weekend was another cooking frenzy to restock the fridge.  In addition to the shrimp scampi linguini we fixed smoked pork roast, meatloaf, roast chicken that was used for chicken and noodles and chicken noodle soup, Mexican bean salad, potato salad, freezer slaw, baked tortilla chips, cheeseburger stuffed portabellas, crumb topped tilapia, stuffed mushrooms, barbeque sauce, mashed potatoes and raspberry bars – good to go for another week or so of good and good-for-us eating.