January 20

January 20

A Little Something For The Ducks

Since it was Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday, we decided to spend the day at the resort. Jeannine spent a few hours quilting with some other ladies, while I did some computer work and read. At noon, we went to the clubhouse for a $5.00 burger and fries lunch. Later in the afternoon, we spent some time at the pool, then went to the little lake right across from us, and fed the ducks Cheerios, since we didn’t have any bread. They didn’t seem to mind. One of them had lost an eye, so we had to throw the Cheerios where he could see them. We dubbed him Long John Quacker. To top off a day full of frenzied activity, we went to the Bingo night, but didn’t win anything. We did meet some very nice people however. We have made an appointment for tomorrow to have a mobile service come and wash Lucy, who desperately needs it, so that should be exciting.

January 19

January 19

3:10 To Yuma

Actually, we arrived at Yuma Lakes before 3:10, but it seemed an appropriate title. After breakfast, we went into Ajo to go to the 10:00 Mass at the lovely Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church:

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Very traditional, with the guitarist/singer behind a wooden screen behind the altar, and the servers in soutanes (robes for you non-Catholics). The servers and readers were all Hispanic or native children, and the priest was African, who spoke with great passion; unfortunately, we could only understand about 1 word in 7.

After Mass, we fuelled up for the uneventful 2-hour drive to Yuma, with one stop at another Border Patrol facility. After getting settled in, we went walkabout, then spent a couple of hours at the pool. This was a nice way to end the day:

Yuma sunset.

Yuma sunset.

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January 17-18

January 17-18

The Road Less Travelled, or To Boldly Go Where No Tourist Has Gone Before

Yesterday (the 17th), we went over to the theatre to see “12 Years A Slave”. Powerful movie, but we each felt a bit differently about it. Vive la difference. We then headed for Ajo, arriving mid-afternoon, and spent the rest of the day relaxing.

This morning, we took the highway south to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We stopped in at the Visitor Centre for a look around, then decided to drive the 21-mile Loop Road through the park. We had been advised at the Visitor Centre that the road was gravel and rough; they can only grade it when it rains, and since there has been no rain for two years…

It took us 3 hours, including stops, to finish the loop, so that gives you some idea. In that 3 hours, we saw 3 vehicles (all parked while their occupants were hiking), and one actual human being, a runner we came across in the last mile or so of road. It is certainly a unique place, as I hope the pictures show:

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The Arches.

The Arches.

A telephoto view (did you spot the second smaller arch in the previous picture?)

A telephoto view (did you spot the second smaller arch in the previous picture?)

Mount Ajo in the background.

Mount Ajo in the background.

Saguaro cactus behind; Organ Pipe cactus in foreground. Saguaros live to be 200 years old, but do not produce an "arm" until they are 60 years old.

Saguaro cactus behind; Organ Pipe cactus in foreground. Saguaros live to be 200 years old, but do not produce an “arm” until they are 60 years old.

Prickly Pear Cactus.

Prickly Pear Cactus.

We headed back to Ajo, but had to stop along the way at a Border Patrol Inspection Station (we are very close to the Mexican border here). They checked our passports, but didn’t ask to search Lucy. They told us that at least 100 illegral migrants/drug mules are spotted by surveillance cameras every day, crossing through the 325,000 acres of the park, but with only an average of one ranger per 55,000 acres, it’s pretty hard to make a dent in the traffic. On the other hand, one of the guys told us that they had already apprehended 5 vehicles at the checkpoint containg illegals, drugs or both. The vehicles were impounded and the occupants sent off to jail.

We continued on to Ajo, passing this along the way;

Why not?

Why not?

We had a couple of excellent burgers at a local watering hole, then went over to the high school to watch 3 one-act plays put on by the local theatre company. They starred both adults and students, and were…interesting. The first two were quite entertaining; the third turned into a “God, please make it stop” about 2/3 of the way through. However, this is a small community and they are doing a creditable job of keeping the arts alive, and bless them for that. We are planning to attend Mass at 10:00 tomorrow in the beautiful little church they have here, then hit the road to Yuma, a little over 2 hours from here.

January 16

January 16

Eddie Didn’t Lack, But The Rest Of The Canucks Sucked

After breakfast, we walked over to the Outlet Mall, but only bought a few items of clothing and some books. A huge multiplex theatre was right next door, and we were just in time for a showing of “Her”, a strangely thought-provoking film. but well worth seeing, especially for $5.00 a ticket! We may go back tomorrow morning and watch another, as we only have a 2-hour drive to Ajo.

After returning to the hotel, we spent some time reading by the pool, then came back to the room, donned our Canuck jerseys, and made the 20-minute walk over to the arena in time to catch the warm-up. Turned out that was the biggest effort the Canucks put in all night. Eddie Lack, the Canucks goaltender, played his heart out; the rest of the Canucks, despite being beaten 9-1 the night before, seemed to feel no desire to redeem themselves. Maybe next year…

Pre-game Canucks fan.

Pre-game Canucks fan.

Another pre-game Canucks fan.

Another pre-game Canucks fan.

The view from our seats.

The view from our seats.

The warm-up: the most offence the Canucks generated all night.

The warm-up: the most offence the Canucks generated all night.

The tricycle race was almost the best part of the game.

The tricycle race was almost the best part of the game.

 

Lest we sound embittered, we did have a wonderful time, and enjoyed bantering with Coyotes fans surrounding us, and commiserating with other Canucks fans, who were plentiful. As mentioned, we are off to Ajo tomorrow for a couple of nights, with plans to visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Park.

 

 

 

January 15

January 15

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

But a free dinner can be had for the asking. To backtrack; we did little yesterday but hang around the campsite, only making a quick trip in to MacDonald’s to post the blog entry for the 13th and to check e-mail. We left at about 9:30 this morning and headed for Phoenix, with stops at Camping World, Best Buy and Costco, before finding a multiplex theatre showing “August: Osage County”. Although it is a tough movie to watch because of the emotional intensity, it features two performances for the ages by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. Highly recommended. We then made our way to the Holiday Inn in Glendale, where we will be until Friday.

Oh yes, the free dinner. There is a sister hotel next door which offers free laundry, so we decided to take advantage. Turns out there was a free dinner buffet (more of a Happy Hour buffet really), but free is free, so we boldly helped ourselves. Not sure what is on the agenda for tomorrow, but will likely involve a visit to the huge outlet mall across the road and some pool time. The temperature here is in the mid-70’s Fahrenheit (22/23 Celsius?), and it will be a change having the temperature not dip below freezing, as it did last night at Camp Verde.

 

January 13

January 13
Lunch, Dinner And A Movie

We drove to Sedona in the morning under a bright blue sky. As we came into West Sedona, Jeannine spotted a quilting store, which appeared small from the outside, but contained an overwhelming amount of material and quilting supplies. Outside the store, there was an announcement of a quilt display at the Sedona Library, just a couple of blocks away. The library itself is a beautiful building, set among trees and built with local materials. I particularly liked this sculpture outside the main entrance:
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We spent some time looking at the quilts hanging from the ceiling, then noticed an announcement that there would be a free showing of a film that evening in the community room of the library at 6:00. The film was “albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close, nominated for 3 Academy Awards, so we decided to come back and see it.
We continued on into Sedona proper, and spent the rest of the afternoon re-acquainting ourselves with this lovely town. We both love it here, not just because of its physical setting, but because it is one of those places that has some indefineable quality that makes us feel quite at home; it’s hard to explain. We walked down one side of the mainstreet, the stopped for a light lunch:
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We then walked up the other side of the street, made a few purchases, then stopped at the Taos Cantina for a Happy Hour dinner:
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On our way back to pick up Lucy, we spotted this:

Only in Sedona?

Only in Sedona?

Sedona sunset:

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We headed back to the Library and watched the movie, which was excellent, and arrived back at the campground around 8:30. One interesting thing we noted as we left town was that the local MacDonald’s is built of the local red stone and sports a green “M” instead of the usual yellow one.

 

January 11

January 11
Montezuma Was (not) Here

This morning, we stopped at a hardware store to pick up a portable heater (the propane furnace works fine, but someone pointed out that since we are plugged in to 110 at most campsites, why not use their power instead of our propane?). Shows that we are still learning at this RV’ing game. The temperatures here at night drop down to 3 degrees Celsius, but rise to 16-18 during the day, so we are comfortable in t-shirts.

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Cliff Swallow nests

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Cliff Swallow nests

We then decided to go and see a National Historic Landmark called “Montezuma’s Castle”. It is the remains of a series of cliff dwellings, or Pueblos, built by the Sinagua Indians around 1300 AD, who lived there for a few hundred years before moving on for reasons unknown. Two misnomers here: Montezuma wasn’t born until after the Sinagua moved on, thus was never here; “Sinagua” means “without water”, but they settled in this valley precisely because there was an abundant water supply. It is believed that soldiers who had fought in Mexico during the Mexican/American War had seen the remains of Aztec buildings and thought that these looked similar, hence the name “Montezuma”. Here is a quick tour:
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Cliff Swallow nests

Cliff Swallow nests

Arizona Sycamore, used for floor and roof supports, many of which are still intact after 700 years. See picture below.

Arizona Sycamore, used for floor and roof supports, many of which are still intact after 700 years. See picture below.

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The diorama below shows what the “castle” might have looked like:
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Following an interpretive talk by a Park Ranger, we drove a few minutes up the highway to a related Historic Site called “Montezuma’s Well”; Montezuma was never here either. The water in this well has been forced to the surface by a vertical basalt wall deep below the surface, and fills the well at the rate of 1.5 million gallons daily. Water leaves the well through a fissure into Beaver Creek. Since the water contains high levels of arsenic and carbon dioxide, no fish live here. The aquatic species that do live here are not found anywhere else in the world. Again, here is a quick tour:

Montezuma's Well

Montezuma’s Well

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Original cliff dwellings. They have not been restored, just maintained enough to preserve building integrity.

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Original cliff dwellings. They have not been restored, just maintained enough to preserve building integrity.

Original cliff dwellings. They have not been restored, just maintained enough to preserve building integrity.

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We found these both intriguing places to visit, and are glad we spent the time. We stopped at MacDonald’s long enough to eat and post the blog entries for the previous two days, then returned to the campsite at around 5:00. We plan to hang around tomorrow, then, weather depending, we will head for Sedona on Monday.