Monday, March 29, 2010

Signature Motorhome Resort

On Monday we met with our friends at Ron & Dona Davis’s lot in the Signature Motorhome Resort.  This is the finest RV Resort that Linda & I have ever visited.IMG_2476There is a 9 hole executive golf course with lakes and canals.  All of the lots have views of the mountains or canals, and have grass surrounding them.  One of the Davis’s friends has an electric boat and took all of us on a tour of the resort.IMG_2450 The view of the lots from the canal gives you a different perspective.  Many of the lots have extensive improvements.  The only limitation is that you can’t add a room, only a small shed.  Here’s some of the fancier remodels.IMG_2466IMG_2469IMG_2481   There’s also some beautiful waterfalls and bridges.IMG_2455 Back at the Davis lot, Ron was putting the finishing touches on some smoked ribs done on his Traeger Grill.  It’s a special grill that uses hardwood pellets for fuel.  Ron had smoked the ribs about 6 hours so they were very tender and delicious. IMG_2488IMG_2486 It was a wonderful finale to a great Winter with our friends from the Northwest.  Tomorrow we’re heading back to Laguna Woods Village, and the rest of the group are starting to pack up to head up the beautiful Oregon & Washington.

For more pictures of the resort and our friends, check out our Picasa Album at:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back to CA, & Ardyn’s Baptism

Our time is AZ this Winter has come to an end.  It’s been a great time spent with friends and enjoying nice resorts.  But all good things must come to an end.

We left on Saturday to head to Indio, CA, to stay at the nicest Western Horizons park, Indian Waters.  We wanted to attend our Michael & Katie’s new daughter’s baptism on Sunday.  But we couldn’t bring our MoHo back to Laguna Woods Village until Tuesday.  Indio is a good stopping point which allows us to attend the baptism and visit our friends staying in Indio.  A perfect solution.

We made good time going from Camp Verde, AZ, down I-17 to Loop 101, then a straight shot down I-10 to Indio, about 370 miles.  We arrived at the resort about 3:00pm, and we got lucky with a 50 amp site with grass around it.  Sometimes arriving on Saturday limits the good sites.  The weather was a balmy 80 degrees, warmer than we’ve been all Winter in AZ.  It’s been a cool year there.

Sunday morning we got going early to drive to Murrieta for the 10:30 service.  It was about a 1 1/2 hour drive, and with light traffic we made good time.  Everybody was there and the service was a real celebration for Palm Sunday.  Oh, and also for the Baptism!IMG_2395 Ardyn really took to the ceremony, not crying once.



After church we all headed over to Michael & Katie’s new house for lunch.  Everyone had to take turns holding Ardyn.




IMG_2409 After a delicious lunch we all gathered in the front yard for group pictures.  Here’s one of all the young kids and parents.IMG_2433 And here’s one of both sides of Michael & Katie’s family.  IMG_2449 If you want to see more pictures, check our Picasa web album at:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oak Creek Canyon & Sedona, AZ

We wanted to visit Sedona before we left, and in my infinite wisdom decided to go North on I-17 to 89-A and go down Oak Creek Canyon.  It was a nice sunny day, but as we drove North we started to see snow on the side of the road.  And the temperature outside was a warm 42 degrees.  I guess we’re a little early this year.

We made it to the 89-A junction and started down from about 7000 ft. attitude down to 3500 ft. at Sedona following Oak Creek.IMG_2280  It wasn’t as pretty as it could have been because all of the oak trees haven’t leafed out yet.  But the Ponderosa Pines were a stark contrast.  And with all of the snow the creek was flowing very fast.IMG_2313 IMG_2340








It’s hard to believe that that creek created this beautiful canyon and all of the red rock serrations.  It was a twisty road but it had beautiful views, and the closer we got to Sedona the more red rocks we saw.IMG_2347The town of Sedona is mostly art galleries, tourist shops, restaurants, and new age shops.  But they’re still interesting to browse.  We had a forgettable lunch at Orchards Inn.  You would think a restaurant with that name would serve fresh foods and salads, not burgers and mexican food.

All of the rock outcroppings have names, and the one I liked was Snoopy. You can see Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse in the center of the picture.  Can’t you?? IMG_2382

We enjoyed our time in the canyon and plan to come back here later in the year to enjoy the oak trees in full bloom.  There’s some great hiking trails along the creek when my hip gets better.

We did get one great picture of the four of us.Oak Creek Canyon - Sonoma, AZ 011 We’ve really enjoyed out time with Bob & Maggie and we’re going to miss them when they head back home to Washington.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Out of Africa-In Arizona

Since we enjoy zoos and animal parks (except for Sea World-ask Linda about details) we decided to visit the local attraction, Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

Bob & Maggie drove, and as we entered we know it was going to be a different experience.  It was built on two different levels, the African Plains, and the upper level where all of the predators were displayed.  We took a bus ride around the lower level to view the different animals.  There were a lot of different IMG_2197antelopes.


And we got to feed the Giraffes.IMG_2211Linda even got a sloppy kiss, but I wasn’t able to get a picture, darn.

After the bus ride we took a tram to the upper level, where we got to see the big cats.IMG_2251IMG_2243

It was hard to get good pictures because of all of the chain link fences.  But then again, we didn’t want to face any of the cats without the fence.

There was a show in the afternoon call Tiger Splash.  They had a large swimming pool, and the trainers interacted with the tigers in the pool and on the grass around the pool.  It was amazing that the tigers would try the same actions on the trainers and not harm them, but on balls and inflatable toys they were very  aggressive with all of the teeth bared.IMG_2230 IMG_2224 If you look closely you can see the trainers legs under the tiger.

At the end of the day, they had a special event, the Predator Feed.  They had a truck with a trailer behind it that contained food.  They only feed the cats 3 times a week, and they hadn’t been fed since Sunday, so they were hungry.  They threw large turkeys, chickens, and some beef ribs to the different animals.  And they were very hungry.IMG_2273 It was a little gross.  It was amazing that many of the animals in the same enclosures didn’t try to fight over the food.  I guess they knew that everyone would get their share.

It was a very enjoyable day observing the animals in the warm AZ sunshine.  We were glad we went.  If you want to see more pictures, click on the following link:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jerome, AZ

We practiced what we preach by going to Jerome on Monday, rather than a crowded weekend day.  It was my turn to drive so we picked up Bob & Maggie and went up the hill.  The campground is at 3300’, and Jerome is at 5500’. 

Jerome is part ghost town, part art colony, and part tourist trap.  It was founded in 1876 based on the copper that was discovered.  By the 1920’s, the population was about 15,000, making it the fourth largest town in Arizona.  The mines continued until 1953, when the price of copper plunged and the mines were closed.  The population dropped to 50 hardy souls trying to keep the town intact.  By the mid 60’s some artists moved in and the new era of Jerome was born.  Today the town has about 450 citizens, and many shops, galleries, and restaurants.  It a great place to visit and explore the past and the present.



Jerome is perched on the side of Cleopatra Hill.  In fact over the years, some of the buildings including the jail have slipped down a street.IMG_2160 IMG_2143 There’s a couple of iconic buildings.  One building was the hotel used by the miners that’s now a private residence.  Lot of room for friends.IMG_2108 The other house is the Douglas Mansion, now an Arizona State Park.  We’re were sorry that it was closed for renovations.  Another good reason to visit the area.IMG_2156 We got hungry walking around and got real lucky when we found Grapes restaurant.  The sign motivated me.  Wine Burgers.  Linda had the special, a homemade meatball sandwich, and I had a flight of wine tasting and a roast beef sandwich with a wedge blue cheese salad.  Needless to say there was no dinner tonight.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Montezuma Castle & Montezuma Well

On Sunday Bob & Maggie picked us up to explore the area.  We first went to Montezuma Castle, just outside of Camp Verde.  It is a five-story, 20 room dwelling built high above Beaver Creek in a recess or cave in the mountain.IMG_2055 It was built by the same Sinagua Indians who built the Tuaigoot.  There was valley  at the base of the cliff that the Indians farmed using the reliable water source of the year round Beaver Creek.IMG_2050 Here’s a model of how the rooms might have looked when it was occupied.IMG_2056 These Indians disappeared at the same time as the Indians that occupied Tuzigoot and other locations in the Verde Valley.  And no one understands why.

As we were hiking the path around the area we saw a beautiful red tail hawk.IMG_2038

Our next site on the agenda was Montezuma Well.  You might wonder where the name Montezuma fits in.  Well, when the first Spanish explorers discovered these ruins, they  thought they were built by the Aztec Indians of Mexico, so they named them after their chief Montezuma, and the name stuck.

Montezuma Well is a lake filled by a spring that delivers 1.5 million gallons of 74 degree water everyday.  It’s located in a collapsed limestone underground cavern.  You walk up a hill in the middle of the desert with lots of cactus around and then “boom” its there.IMG_2073 There was signs of Indians living here also.IMG_2059 After a lot of hiking and reading about these sites, we were ready for lunch. We decided to try the Castle Cliff Casino which was nearby.  It’s unusual in that it has a large area for families with video games and a bowling alley.  We ate at The Gallery which was the 24 hour restaurant.  Linda had the NY Steak Sandwich, while I had the special, an Asian Salmon Salad.  The salad was very good, no foo-foo lettuce, but Linda’s steak was a little tough and grizzly. 

So that was our educational day.  If you want to see all 120 pictures of the 2 days, click on the following link:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Getting to Know the Camp Verde Area

Today is our first day in a new to us area, so we did what we normally do, driving the different areas and checking out the visitor information centers.  I picked up brochures and maps at the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce.  As we were leaving Camp Verde, we decided to get an ice cream cone at the DQ.  While we were in the drive thru a car parked in front of us, and out popped Jeni.  She was visiting the area with friends.  We were both shocked that we met each other spontaneously. We had a nice visit and met her friends.  Then we drove to Cottonwood, where we found some grocery stores.  One of the first thing you need to know is where the food is to replenish the frig.  Then we drove to the next town which is Clarksdale. 

On the way we discovered the Tuzigoot National Monument.  We never did learn how to pronounce it.  Here’s a view of the ruins. IMG_1996 The village was built on the top of ridge by the Sinagua Indians and was populated by about 50 people.IMG_2022

The village was occupied from about 1125 to 1400.  And then there is the great mystery-where did everyone go.  There was ample water from the Verde River, and there were other settlements about every 2 miles along the river.  We’ll see the other monuments on another day.

Clarkdale is the former home of a major copper mine.  It started out as a company town where all of the houses and stores were owned by the mine.  Today it’s main claim to fame is the Verde Valley Railroad which offers tourist trains rides along the river. 

From Clarkdale we drove up the hill to Jerome, which was so crowded we decided to come back on Monday.

So now we know our way around a little bit, and we have some ideas of what we want to see during our stay here.  We finished the day with a nice Happy Hour with Bob & Maggie at our site.IMG_2024 IMG_2023 We have a nice site in the A loop which is at the bottom of the campground, about 3 miles from the entrance.  We & Pearl like the grass area next to the site, but at 10 MPH in the campground it does take a while to get to the front gate.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Monaco Pre-Rally, Tucson, AZ

I know, what’s a pre-rally? In motorhome life there are 2 big rally's a year in the Spring and the Fall.  The organization who runs these rally’s is the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).  A lot of specialized clubs, like Monaco International, holds a rally the week before the big FMCA.  This year the FMCA Spring rally is in Albuquerque, NM.  The closest large site for a pre-rally is at Beaudry RV in Tucson, AZ.  That’s why we’re in Tucson. 

The rally starts on Monday afternoon, so we’re enjoying our first visit to the Tucson area.  After visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on Saturday, we went out to dinner with our good friends Ron & Dona Davis and Joe & Phyllis Beebe.  Originally we wanted to go to a Mexican restaurant, but we couldn’t get a reservation, so we decided on Italian.  Mama Louisa’s has been a Tucson favorite since 1956, with good old fashion southern Italian cuisine.  I had Pork Parmigiana with tortellini alfredo.  Linda had Chicken Marsala.  Both were excellent and the breadsticks were to die for.  We left there with doggy bags and full stomachs.

Since we couldn’t have Mexican food Saturday night,  we decided to meet for lunch at the El Carro Cafe in historic old Tucson.  It was opened in 1922 and is still at the same location.  Again the food was great, although the service was very slow.  Linda had the Dos Tacos Supremas with shredded dry beef and chicken.  I had two handmade tamales, one red beef and one chicken tomatillo.  Both were very tasty, especially the chicken.

Some of the highlights of the rally were special times with our Monaco friends, an interesting seminar explaining the future of Monaco since Navistar purchased the company, Linda was chosen to be on the Audit committee and attended a beading class where she created a beautiful bracelet.  And I gave my second wine seminar in two weeks to about 85 attendees.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the seminar and tasting.  They had great questions and good comments and emails.

The rally ended Friday morning and we moved the MoHo to the Thousand Trails campground in the Verde Valley.  It’s in Northern Arizona close to the Sedona area.  We’ll be here a week visiting all of the historic sites and cities.  More on that later.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Arizona-Sonora Museum

This is someplace that we have wanted to visit since we started coming to Arizona for the Winters.  We had heard many good comments from friends about this museum, and it didn’t disappoint.

We decided to go on Saturday, which breaks the retiree’s rule.  You know what that is? Never go to an attraction on a weekend when you can go during the less crowded weekday.  But Jeni was able to join us so that made it worthwhile for us to brave the crowds.  And there were crowds.  It was a beautiful 75 degree day with no winds.  So everyone decided to go to the museum.IMG_1950

It’s a very large park, which spread the crowd out.  We got there around lunchtime, so we went to the cafe which was very nice with a lot of different choices from salads to Mexican food.  Then we rushed to the Raptor Free Flight Demonstration.  This is a free flight of Harris’ Hawks that fly over the spectators just about their heads.  First one is brought out, then it’s joined by an additional hawk, then a third, and finally the fourth, which is a female.  It’s unusual that the female is about at third larger than the males.  I took a lot of pictures, and here’s some examples.IMG_1833


IMG_1831It was a great show.  Don’t miss it if you go to the museum.

The museum covers all of the areas of the Arizona areas including a Desert Loop, Desert Grasslands, Mountain Woodlands, a Riparian Corridor, plus a walk in aviary and a hummingbird enclosure.

It included many animal exhibits including Big Horn Sheep, Mexican Wolves, Black Bears, Mountain Lions, and Linda’s favorite snakes.IMG_1887IMG_1902IMG_1911 One of our favorites was the Hummingbird Aviary.IMG_1960 There was a special art exhibit featuring, are you ready, Canines! They didn’t allow picture inside of the exhibit, but I was able to take some pictures of the outside sculptures.IMG_1953IMG_1954

This one was our favorite.  What was amazing was there was one picture of a yellow lab laying on quilt on a bed that we have in storage.  It shows what good taste we have!

We had a great day and closed down the place.  The only one not happy was Pearl because her dinner was a little late.

To visit the website of the museum, click here:

If you want to see all of the pictures I took that day,about 175 pictures, please click here: