Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bar in the Desert

Last year we missed the trip to the Bar in the Desert, so we made sure we were able to go. We carpooled and caravaned out to Parker, AZ, and then drove about 5 miles on a graded gravel road to reach the bar. Officially it's called the Nellie E. Saloon, but considering the location everyone refers to it as the bar in the desert. It's only open on Sat. & Sun. from noon to sunset. Everything runs on batteries that are charged by solar panels on the roof of the bar. There's no cell service either. It's as bad as the campground we worked at in the Olympic National Park!

The bar was opened in 1983 in a small 3 sided structure. As it's popularity grew, the bar developed a little at a time. All of the materials were brought in by truck, including the water that was transported in an old fire engine. They later drilled a well, hitting water at 360 feet. The tall towers you see are a cooling system, similar to a swamp cooler.

The view from the back of the bar is great, and you can see some of the road we used to get here.

This is the patio below the entertainment stage close to the grill area. There's a limited menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, and veggie burgers. They serve mostly beer, but also carry limited liquor and box wine. Oh, and they don't serve cheese, ever! You can learn more about the saloon by clicking on this link.

Here's a picture of our table and group. We had about 14 people. We got there early to make sure we had enough chairs.

Here's a picture of the women's restroom. The men's restroom isn't as nice, more of a porta potty.
We were very glad we made the trip. The band was good, the beer was cold, the chili was OK, and the conversations first rate. If you want to see all of the pictures we took that day, click on this link:
We're definitely coming back next year!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quartzsite, AZ-2009

On Tuesday, 1/20, we brought the MoHo out of our lot at Happy Trails for the first time for the short 2 1/2 hour drive to the legendary Quartzsite. We caravaned with our friends Allan & Shari and Bob & Maggie. We met with other Monaco owners at the same spot as last year, about 5 miles out of town on BLM land. This area allows 14 days of dispersed camping for free out in the middle of the desert. Click here to view last years blog entries.

This is camping with no hookups at all. It's called boondocking by RVer's or dry camping. We have to rely on only the water we carry with us in our tank, and keep track our usage of water to make sure that we don't fill up our black & gray water drain tanks. We use our batteries for electricity, and we run our generator to recharge the batteries a couple of times a day. We're really into green living! We can last 7-9 days like this before we have to dump our tanks and fill up with water again.

The Monaco group has been coming to the same area for 8 years. Some of the other groups gather in a circle like a wagon train, but we like to line up next to each other.

In case you're wondering why, here's the view from our living room out the front window.

As you can see, it's spectacular. And it changes with the time of day.
Unlike last year, the weather has been great. Cold nights, but warm days, with lots of sunshine. This allowed us to have a long Happy Hour every day! We would drag our chairs over into a circle, and enjoy a beverage and some snacks with our friends.

It always seems that no matter how we start out sitting, the ladies figure out a way to get together for their own conversation.

The men generally stand or sit, and talk about their motorhomes and places they've been. We don't know what the women talk about, but maybe that's a good thing.
While we're here we visit the big tent where the RV show is, and we try not to buy very much. We also visit the other sales areas. It's like a big swap meet, with everything from jewelry to tools to rocks. There's something for every interest.
We also visited the Bar in the Desert. That was interesting enough to warrant a separate blog entry to follow.
We also had a potluck where everyone grilled their own meat entree, and sampled all of the different sides that were shared. It was quite a spread, and everyone really enjoyed it.

All to soon, on Sunday, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Happy Trails so that John could continue his Physical Therapy and Linda could attend a Doctor's appointment. It was a great week. If you would like to see all of the pictures from the week please click on the following link:
Stay tuned for the Bar in the Desert

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carefree Wine & Art Festival

On Jan. 18 we went to the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. Carefree is a town about 45 minutes from Surprise and north of Phoenix. It's rural enough to have its own character, and it has a western theme. For more information, click on the Carefree Web link. One of it's claim to fame is that Carefree is the home of the world's largest sundial. We guess every town needs something to make it unique.

Our good friends, Bob & Maggie Lawlor, accompanied us on this excursion. Here we are enjoying the art.

This is a juried art festival, so all of the exhibitors have won awards at other art competitions. This raised the level on the quality of the art and sculpture exhibited, but also raised the price tags. We were there to enjoy the art and taste some of the wine, so price was no object! The wine tasting consisted of a small glass and 5 tickets to exchange for a taste. We decided after tasting some of the wine that Arizona has a long ways to go to produce great wine.

The art was outstanding though. We were not allowed to take a lot of pictures, but John couldn't resist these images, which he knew that Jeni and other cat lovers would love.

John knew there was a reason he preferred wine and dogs over cats. Dogs would never waste good vino!

There was a few other vendors, including a New Mexico farm that produced great goat cheese spreads. The name of the farm is Coon Ridge, which we felt was more appropriate for a TN farm that one from NM. There was many samples, and we choose two, one with Italian Herbs, and the other one natural. They only produce organic cheese, and they do ship, so if you want so really great cheese spread for crackers or bread check out their website at:

It isn't inexpensive, but it is unique, and a little goes a long way.

It was a beautiful day, and we had a great lunch on the Carefree Station Grill. We were lucky to get a table on the patio so that we could continue to enjoy the day. The food was fantastic, and it was nice to sit down and relax after walking around the festival.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our Birthdays-We Continue to Age

Linda & John have birthdays in January, two days apart. As we have gotten older, we tend no to want to celebrate them. This year was no exception.

We started off with a nice dinner party here at our lot. There was a total of 5 couples from the Northwest, each bringing their own meat and a side dish. After some appetizers and adult beverages, John started the grill. With the help of the other men the meats were cooked to perfection. The ladies assembled all of the side dishes and we dug in. It was a great evening with a beautiful sunset. The only thing better than the food was the company.

On John's actual birthday, we went to physical therapy. What a way to celebrate. After the torture we stopped at Sonic Drive In so that John could get a cherry limeade. They have a special of a large drink for 99 cents. After the workout we get thirsty. We had lunch at the MoHo, then Linda went off to beading class and John went to the library and ran errands.

John decided he wanted some Chinese food for his birthday so we tried a new restaurant called Pei Wei Asian Diner. This is a diner owned by P.F. Changs. The food is cooked to order in big woks behind the counter and the menu contains many of the same dishes as it's parent. We shared some spring rolls, John enjoyed some crab wontons, and then we shared sweet & sour chicken. It was a good meal, but not as good as the original P.F. Changs. We then had some left over chocolate raspberry cake from the dinner. A good day.

Linda's Birthday started out the same as John's. An hour and a half in the torture chamber. But before we left the MoHo, John started on Linda's special dinner. We found a slow cooker at the garage sale and John used it to cook a pot roast. We cooked it for 10 hours, but it didn't turn out very tender. John must have picked the wrong cut of meat. But the flavor was good and the gravy was very tasty. John is going to try another recipe soon.

We really appreciated all of the cards, emails, and calls on our birthdays. It made all of you a part of our celebration. We only wish we could all be together for a big party. Maybe another birthday in the future!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Welcome to 2009

We're back at our Winter home, Happy Trails RV Resort. We arrived back on Monday, 12-29, in the evening. We had a few stops to make on our way back, and we stopped for dinner at Silly Al's in Quartzite.

We had an appointment with Physical Therapy (PT) on Tuesday. We're both going to PT, John for his hip, and Linda for her back. When we got down we were both very sore. John likes to call PT the torture chamber! But we need to work hard to get better. We'll have sessions twice a week for awhile.

We had a great New Year's Eve. One of our group of friends is renting a house in Sun City Grand, which is right next door to Happy Trails. It's a beautiful home with a big patio overlooking one of the golf courses. We shared pizza, salad, and of course libations! We watched the motorcycle jump from Las Vegas, and then the ball drop in New York. Then we went home. It's tough to stay up late for us old timers.

On New Year's Day we watched to Rose Parade from our bedroom. Because we're in the Mountain time zone, it started at 9:00am, so we were awake for it. And we got to watch it on the local L.A. station without commericals. In the afternoon we got together with our friends and went to the movies. We saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It was a different film with great special effects, and it left us with some things to think about. But the message was a little murky. But it was fun to get out to a movie. We plan to do more outings like this all year. John had Tivo'ed the Rose Bowl(USC won), so he watched that while Linda caught up on some chores. The weather has been good, but not warm enough to sit outside in the evening. Over the weekend John continued to watch football, while Linda spent time with her friends.

Back to PT on Monday & Wednesday. It sure makes John walk like an old man. And next week will be birthdays for both John & Linda. It makes you really feel your age. John wants to take the Jack Benny approach, staying at 39 years old. Linda just wants to forget all about birthdays. We think that most of our friends our age agree with Linda's philosophy.

We're making a list of places we want to visit and things we want to do while we're here. That way we won't forget them. Old age you know. Next week we'll let you know how we celebrated.