Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coronado Trail

Tuesday's drive was short, on purpose, to get us into SE Arizona near US191.  Safford is a pleasant and quiet town where we have enjoyed a 2 night stay at Lexington Pines.  Wednesday's motocycle ride on the Coronado Trail did not disappoint.  Here is a sign from my lunch stop
This shows I was only 98 miles from Safford, but it took 3 hrs to get there.  Keep in mind the first half was through open country with a 65 mph legal limit, and you could see for 8 miles in any direction.  The last 50 miles, from Morenci, took 2 hours.  Here is why:

I stopped about 11:30 to consider lunch.  Here are the choices my GPS suggested:

At the speeds I was going, lunch came out of a saddlebag.  Going further would have been selfish, since I was having so much fun, but I was concerned that brain-fade might set in later in the afternoon, so I made a U-turn and enjoyed it all over again.  Here is another view of my break area:
At the same time the Phoenix area was experiencing 90+ degrees, I had snow alongside the road above 8000 ft elevation.  There was a lot to like about this ride, but the best was having it all to myself.  On the way north, I met fewer than 10 vehicles coming the other way, and even less on my way back, plus nearly half of them were other motorcyclists.  Although it is a public US highway, there is a length limit of 40 ft which keeps bigger trucks an RVs away.

By the way, Paige reported having a nice relaxing day without Bob being around.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leaving Mesa

The detail work on our new TV cabinetry was completed this morning – not by 9 but we left shortly after 10. The TV was installed yesterday and we were able to watch Dancing With The Stars and Castle last night. Yippee! Here is what it looks like now:

We came here because of the testimonials we read on blogs from other RVers - Nick and Terry were here earlier this year, as well as Laurie and Odel (both are bloggers we've been following for awhile).  Then, on Monday, Dennis and Carol from RV Driving School came in and parked next to us.  This is like a "Who's Who of RVers.  We took a class from them at the Escapade we attended in 2009. We talked with them a bit and found that they are also going to Alaska this summer – their 4th trip there. They gave us some advice for that trip. Staying at RV Renovators wasn’t bad at all, but it is nice to start our travels again.
Leaving Mesa, we had a fairly short drive to Safford which is in SouthWestern AZ, taking US60 to US70. This took us out of the valley before the 90 degree temps come in later this week. It was an easy, scenic drive.

We got in Safford around 3PM and had time to do some much needed carpet cleaning and then relaxing. Nice quiet evening also. Tomorrow Bob is going for a motorcycle ride on the Coronado Trail.
Saturday’s ride to Tortilla Flats was quite scenic, but short (maybe 40 miles) and quite choppy. Tomorrow’s ride will take most of the day. Quoting National Geographic’s “Scenic Highways and Byways”: “427 curves between Clifton and Alpine” and “climbs 5,000 ft” in the first 60 miles. Looking forward to this one!!
Paige is going to stay in town. It will be a good day to do laundry and some shopping too. The weather here is great (82 forecasted) so we’ll be enjoying that with our activities.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend in a "Gated" Community in Mesa

This weekend was spent in a "gated community" - aka RV Renovators.  There are about 4 other RV's with their owners living here also.  We all have a key for the gate around the business so we can come and go as needed. It's been quiet and has forced us to have a little downtime. 

On Friday we had Billy and his team take out the old TV and measure and build new cabinets for the new LED TV.  Those cabinets won't be installed until Monday.  They anticipate the work will be done by noon; but we're flexible.  Here is how the front of the motorhome currently looks:
Not a pretty site!

Friday afternoon we spent back at Paula's where we delivered the old TV for her re-use in Mexico.

On Saturday morning we met Doug and Estelle for a motorcycle ride to Tortilla Flats.  The weather was perfect and so was the ride.  We left early so that we could beat the crowds for breakfast.  The roads there are nice and curvy for a great motorcycle ride.  Tortilla Flats has a population of 6.  They have a restaurant, gift shop, and museum.  Just after we arrived, we watched a large group of Corvette's come into the parking lot also.  It's a popular place!

Bob, Doug, and Estelle in the restaurant.
Bob and Paige at a rest stop
This was a beautiful view of the lake and mountains.

Saturday afternoon we again went to Paula's and had a great dinner with Phil, Elsie, Tom, Paula, Cathie, and Danny.  It was great to say goodbye to everyone one last time.  We'll be seeing Phil and Elsie this summer in Alaska so we have that visit to look forward to.  We had a wonderful time with everyone there this winter!

Sunday morning we walked to a Methodist Church about 1/2 mile away from our "gated community".  We were warmly greeted and enjoyed a nice service, coffee hour, and were given a loaf of banana bread.  As we waited in line for coffee, a gentleman behind us mentioned being from Minnesota.  Upon further discussion, we found that he is from Mankato and knows many of the people from the Lake Crystal area.  In fact, he works with some of Bob's brother, Denny's, friends.  Very small world!

We're looking forward to tomorrow and the completion of the work on the RV.  If all goes as planned (does it ever?), we'll head east to Globe AZ,  on our way to Tennessee.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winding Down in Phoenix

We've had a great time in Phoenix the past 2 months. We're ending our stay with the visit from our friends KJ and Rob who were here for a week and left on Tuesday. We were busy with so many activities during their time with us! On Monday night we went out for dinner with the group staying at the compound (aka Paula and Tom's house).

We spent Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday doing laundry, cleaning, and preparing to leave Paula's. This morning we came to RV Renovators in Mesa to have a new TV put in the front of the motorhome. An LED TV will replace the big aqnalog TV currently there and will be mounted on a door which will in turn give us additional storage space. We've seen a couple of other blogs document this same update with good results with this company. The work will probably be completed on Monday. They have a place to park with electricity in a secured area so we'll stay in the motorhome here. We'll spend some time up at Paula's this weekend. Our motorhome is the 3rd from the end in this picture.

Our friends from the motorcycle club in MN, Estelle and Doug, live about 1 mile away. They came over and picked us up for dinner at a restaurant in Chandler. It was great to see them again! We're going to do a motorcycle ride with them on Saturday morning to Tortilla Flats, which we last saw when we were here for Paula's wedding about 24 years ago!

The Nomads service project in Iowa that we were scheduled for in April has been cancelled. This means that we'll be spending time in MN from Easter through Memorial Day. We're anxious to spend some granddaughter/family/friend time! We'll connect with another Nomads project in the fall or winter again as we did enjoy the first project here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Busy life with our visitors!

How time does fly!! Last Monday, KJ and Rob (co-workers from Paige's former "working" life) came to AZ for a vacation.  We have been hosting them and keeping all of us quite busy.

Tuesday we went to and Scottsdale climbed a mountain: Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale has a hiking trail about 3 1/2 miles round trip (mostly up and down).  Bob made it all the way with KJ close behind.  It was a gueling walk and a good way to start the day.  We spent time in Old Downtown Scottsdale window shopping.

Wednesday was anther trip to Scottsdale, this time to wander their Desert Botanical Gardens and the nearby Zoo.  Another warm day.  We ended the day at the Heart Attack Cafe in Chandler which was entertaining!  The waitresses are "nurses" and you must wear a hospital gown.  There is no "diet" food; not even diet pop.  Very high calorie!  They treat you like patients.  Good hamburgers.

This picture reminded us of Anna's trip to Disneyworld and looking for "hidden Mickey's".

Thursday we used Paula's H2 for a road trip to Sedona and Jerome.  Rob was taking a picture of the beautiful view on our way out of Jerome.  This stop caused a lot of fright for KJ and Paige! 

Friday was another road trip: this time to Casa Grande where we met Pam (another former co-worker) and her husband Dan for lunch.  In the afternoon we toured the Casa Grand National Monument.

Saturday morning we went to a Glendale Swap meet and shopping.  We spent the afternoon at Paula's and Rob was able to help Paula sort out some connectivity issues with her computer system.  Paula is a very happy camper now!

It's been a busy and fun week!  Today we're going to a mall and then to Pipe Organ Pizza which we visited before with our co-workers from the service project.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Road Trip to Lake Pleasant

Tomie came home from college last night for Spring break and this morning she and Paula left for their vacation home in Mexico.  Tom has spent this week at some off-road races in Baja and will return Sunday night.  That left Phil and Elsie along with Bob and I at the "compound".

Phil and Elsie planned to visit some friends at Lake Pleasant today and invited us to come along since we'd not been there.  It was a beautiful day again and a nice day for a drive.  Upon leaving the city, we drove through the desert and saw all shapes and sizes of Saguaro cactus.  This cactus is commonly seen in desert pictures.
The average saguaro has about 5 arms and is about 30 feet tall.  They usually grow arms after they are 15 feet tall which is at about 75 years old.  The biggest saguaro's are 50 feet tall with 50 arms and are 200 years old! I wonder how old the saguaro is above?

We stopped at the visitor's center also.  Here are some saguaro's with no arms yet - they must be young ones!

We returned home and Bob and Phil played cribbage while Elsie and I talked and enjoyed the wonderful weather.  Such a relaxing day; let's have some more of these!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Done With the Project; Back to Retirement

Where does the time go?  We are afraid that our lack of posting for awhile might cause some followers to possibly wonder where we've been.  So here is a whole week's recap:

Last Sunday, the congregation of the church where we are working held a big potluck lunch to thank the Nomads for our work.  We met many of our hosts, and they got to know our diverse group better.  We kept plugging away at our various jobs, and checked out local restaurants on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  Wednesday afternoon it was getting pretty hot on the roofing job, so we planned to start early and finish early on Thursday (our last day here).  We left the RVs at 5:30AM on Thursday and were on the roof by 6:00.  We were done and back on the ground by 2:00PM, shortly after this view:

Since the temps hit 89 both days, with very little cloud cover, we were glad to be done early.  Meanwhile, on the shady side of the property, brick pavers were replacing a flower bed:

By the end of our workday, the pavers were all in place and 8 bags of sacrete were mixed and poured along the left edge.  Since it was our last workday, we just had to go out for dinner again to celebrate the successful completion of the project, this time to Mimi's, a family-type chain.

Meeting the participants in the project was great!  Working at the church was very rewarding and the members consistently voiced their appreciation.  It was, however, very hard work and we are ready for the break.  I'm sure that we'll be crossing paths with some of our new friends again!

Now it is Friday, and we have moved back to Paula and Tom's backyard.  We are ready to get back to our former "retired life" of lazy mornings, and taking casual walks after morning coffee.  We have 6 weeks off before our next scheduled project in Iowa.  We have a quiet weekend on tap, followed by a week of hosting friends from MN who are coming down here on vacation.

Friday, March 4, 2011

More Dining Out

As mentioned yesterday, we don't work on Fridays, but that doesn't mean we can't do other things as a group.  About 6 blocks from our project site is a local candy factory, Cerreta's, and they give tours twice per day on weekdays.  Half of our group made the trip this afternoon.  Here is Mr. Cerreta (on the right, behind the machine) telling us a joke while he made a unique treat
And here we are enjoying a sample of a marshmallow-on-a-stick, coated with white chocolate and rolled in peppermint crumbs:
Later in the day, more of our group again got together for a trip across the valley for a pizza and ice cream dinner, while being entertained by a mighty Wurlitzer Theater organ.  This restaurant was similar to the Cicero's restaurant in Har Mar (which closed many years ago) where the blind organist played this same kind of organ with other instruments mounted around the restaurant.
All of this sightseeing and eating is hard on the waistlines.  I guess that means more physical labor next week finishing the re-roofing job.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Time Flies When Having Fun

We must be having a lot of fun, because the time is sure flying by.  Our work week is Mon-Thurs and a lot of days have gone by since we last posted.  This painting crew
has just finished painting the very large office/storage room for the church secretary.  You might be able to see lots of trim and corners in this room, which made for days worth of labor.
Meanwhile the guys have finished up a number of smaller carpentry projects, allowing us to tackle a roof replacement on a storage building.
The original roof was wooden shingles over 12" boards.  The dry climate has caused the shingles to decay to dust (which is very slippery, even on a low pitch).  This dust also makes for extremely dirty clothes, and a huge laundry project for this weekend.

It is not "All work, and No Play" around here however.  We also get to eat a lot.  The local congregation provides us with homemade lunch every day, and we've gone out to dinner a couple of other times.  Tuesday night was at a highly recommended local Mexican restaurant, with leftovers for Wednesday.  Tonight we got together with maybe 40 other Nomads who are working other projects nearby and had a huge potluck dinner.  This was a way to mingle with others who are doing similar work.

On our way back to our "home on wheels", we found an e-mail from MN mentioning the snow that is forecast back there, so I guess I'd better not mention the wonderful evening weather here (without jackets), and the fact that we left the furnace and heaters off totally last night.

It will be nice to sleep late tomorrow (on a FRIDAY!!).  We need to do the laundry tomorrow but also have plans to tour the local candy factory/store (Cerreta's) and then go to a restaurant called the Pipe Organ Pizza (similar to the Cicero's at Har Mar from many years ago).  Not sure we'll be able to visit all the restaurants that we want before this project ends!!

As for Sassy's question after our last blog, take a look at:
     About the 5th choice shows you how to create your own map and copy it into your blog.