Friday, February 26, 2010

Farewell to Happy Trails

It’s hard to believe that our 3 month stay at Happy Trails is coming to a close.  Time just seems to fly when we’re hear with our friends in the Phoenix area.

We did have one last outing with Ron & Ethyl, Don & Max, and Bob & Maggie.  We headed out towards Apache Junction to travel the Apache Trail Scenic Drive.  This heads back into the Superstition Mountains to dams that were built in the early 1900s.  Our goal was to have lunch in Tortilla Flats.  And we achieved our goal!

Tortilla Flats was a stagecoach stop back in the early 1900s.  There was a restaurant, livery stable, inn, and saloon.IMG_1729The town has a population of 6.  And a Post Office.  No wonder our stamps keep going up in price.IMG_1730 There’s an indoor and outdoor restaurant, a gift shop, and a small museum.  Here’s our travelers coming out of the gift shop.IMG_1731This is a Thursday, but the town was jammed.  There was very few parking places and we had to wait an hour to eat lunch.IMG_1733  There has been a lot of rain this year, as you can tell by the overflowing river here in town.IMG_1739On our way back to Surprise, we stopped in the ghost town of Goldfield.  It was made up of gift shops, restaurants, and western attractions such as horseback riding.IMG_1757  It’s at the base of the Superstition Mountains.IMG_1745 We really enjoyed our day with a good lunch and good friends.  It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to Happy Trails

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jeni’s Birthday Weekend

Jeni’s birthday is Feb. 19, which this year was on a Friday, near the President’s Day celebration.  Matt & Suzanne was able to come over on Thursday to spend the weekend with Jeni.

Thursday night we went to Red, White & Brew for dinner and a catching up conversation.  The food was good, but the service left a lot to be desired.  Matt & Suzanne went back to the Wild Horse Pass Casino where they are staying during their visit, and we headed back to the MoHo.

On Friday, Jeni’s birthday, we met at Jeni’s condo.  She wanted to go to the show, so we went and saw Valentine’s Day.  It was a good movie, more of a chick flick but not to bad for us men.  Then instead of going out to dinner, Jeni wanted me to cook my homemade spaghetti, of course made with ground turkey.  Everyone must have liked as there was no leftovers.

On Saturday we met at the Mesa Marketplace, which was jammed even thought it was raining.  We only bought a garden flag, but it’ll look nice in front of Jeni’s Condo welcoming visitors.  Then we had a light dinner at Pei Wei and then on to a comedy show.IMG_0147

The show was called “Dogs Gone Wild” starring Todd Oliver.  It started with a magic show, which wasn’t that good.  But then Todd Oliver came on after intermission with his dogs.  He’s a ventriloquist that uses dogs instead of dummies.  Here’s a video on him appearing on David Letterman.  You’ll get a flavor of the show.  It was very funny.  After the show the dogs and Todd were in the lobby so you could meet them and buy videos.  Linda ignored Todd, but really held up the line for the dogsIMG_0150IMG_0155 It was a great weekend having the whole family together.  And everyone had a good time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Phoenix Art Museum

I know what you’re thinking.  John & Linda at an Art Museum??? Well, we went and enjoyed ourselves.IMG_0144IMG_0146 I read that there was a special exhibit of Ansel Adams photographs at the museum.  That probably explains a lot.  He’s one of our favorite artists, and seeing original photographs that he created and printed himself was very special.  They also had some videos of Ansel working in his darkroom printing some of his pictures.

They had over 200 unique pictures in a very large area that was well lit and spacious.  And there wasn’t a very big crowd when we got there around 4:00pm.  Wednesday, between 3 and 9, admission to the museum is available for a donation.  So we were able to get close to the pictures without crowds and take our time in viewing pictures from different places, taken at different times. 

One of his most famous pictures is Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1948).  moonrise-over-hernandezIt sold at auction for $609,600 in 2006.  We got to see 3 different versions of the print, created at different times, along with an video of Ansel explaining how he took the picture.

They also had my personal favorite photo, naturally taken in Yosemite.Ansel Meced River

This copy doesn’t do the picture justice.  It’s called Tanaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain.  If you’re visiting Yosemite, make sure you stop in the Ansel Adams Gallery to see this picture in person.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine’s Day-2010

As most of you know, I’m a romantic guy.  But this holiday doesn’t thrill me.  I like to make sure my beautiful bride knows that I love her everyday.  But I did buy some pink(her favorite color) roses for her to liven up the MoHo.  But I didn’t get a card(bad boy).  Since we only have one car when we travel, it’s sometimes tough to get those little errands done.  Of course Linda got me a very special card.  I don’t know how she can be so well organized.

We did celebrate the day with our friends, Bob & Maggie.  Maggie’s sister and brother-in-law, Debbie & Wes.  They drove down from Eastern Canada to spend a week with Bob & Maggie.  So everyone came over to our lot (we had the outdoor heater).  We cooked au gratin potatoes, and a salad, and Bob provided the beef, 2” thick filet mignons!

I heated up the Weber Q Barbeque and cooked those steaks with just some Montreal Seasoning.  Bob likes his steak barely warm while the rest of us liked them medium, so he got the thickest steak.  I had just watched an online video about letting your steaks rest after grilling, so we followed the directions and they were very juicy, with little juice flowing out after cutting into them.  You can watch the video here:

Of course we had to have some good wine with the dinner, Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.  Linda topped off the dinner with fresh strawberry shortcake for desert.

The evening concluded with a robust game of Mexican Train under the heater.  It was a fun evening and a great pleasure meeting one of Maggie’s five sisters and her husband.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Phoenix Zoo

We have read a lot about the Phoenix Zoo, all very positive.  In fact we wanted to go there last year, but ran out of time (where does the time go when you’re retired).  So Bob & Maggie and Linda & I decided we had better go or we would miss it again this year.

We weren’t disappointed.  It’s a very nice zoo, with large enclosures and good sight lines to see the animals.  They had a section on AZ inhabitants, an African section, and a mixture of tropical animals.  It’s the only zoo we’ve been to that offers many different ways to get around from walking(our choice), a guided tram, and bicycle rentals.  Everyone was having a good time.IMG_1604 IMG_1627 IMG_1630 This was one of the first times we have been to a zoo when the big cats were active.IMG_1652 IMG_1658 IMG_1646IMG_16871 We ended the day with a late lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Tempe.  An exotic day, with a lot of fun with good friends.

For more information on the zoo, click on this link:

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Outing-Lake Pleasant

I think staying in one spot for the Winter causes you to get into a routine like owning a house.  Up in the morning, read the paper and have some breakfast, meet with your friends, run some errands, go to the grocery store, cook meals, & get together for happy hour.  So that’s why there’s been a lack of new postings.  But we do some exploring with our friends.

On this trip we decided to go out to Lake Pleasant.  I mean it got to be pretty special if it’s named Lake Pleasant! And it pretty nice.IMG_1583First, though, we had to stop for lunch.  Ron & Ethyl recommended the Wild Horse Saloon, which is on the way.  It was an old beer joint serving burgers, hot dogs, and chili.  I had the Chili Burger, which was very good.  No credit cards, cash only.  And the building has been used in some movies, so they had interesting photos.  Good lunch spot.  Thanks, Ron & Ethyl.

Next stop was Lake Pleasant itself.  It’s a Maricopa regional park, with a small entrance fee.  They have camping areas, picnic pavilions, and a small visitor center. 

We went down to the boat docks to admire the fleet.  They had some nice rentals available, and the personal boats were very nice.IMG_1592 It was a very nice day with some beautiful venues.  We’re even considering camping out here next year.IMG_1590IMG_1595  Here’s a link to read more about Lake Pleasant:

Hope your week was special.