Thursday, March 31, 2011


Last night was our last big activity of our trip.  We attended the Arizona Opry with Ernie's brother Neil and his wife Karen.  We had a wonderful time!  It is a dinner show and the food was plentiful and good.
Nothing fancy about the setup.  Just long church basement tables, and chairs, plastic glassware and plain dishes.  But the staff served the whole room in about twenty minutes.  And believe it or not, they have a gluten free substitution for the regular meal!  The meal was roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed veggies, some apple dish, a roll and chocolate cake.  I was given gravy made with cornstarch, a bean salad in place of the roll, and a gluten free pudding in place of the chocolate cake.  And my meal was just fine.  And Ernie enjoyed two pieces of chocolate cake.
John Denver was there.
As was Willie Nelson.  Elvis also made an appearance, but he was not worth taking a picture of! 
It was a good show, many different instruments, a little comedy, and plenty of energy!  We enjoyed it very much.

Tonight we're going to a steak house close to Neil and Karen's place, for one last get together out in the Arizona sun.  Tomorrow we hit the road.  I suppose soon I'll have to trade in the capris for my jeans, the short sleeved T shirts for sweat shirts, and my sandals for real shoes and socks.  I'll probably even lose my funky tan!
Ugly feet, I know.  Lack of pedicure, I know.  But a bunch of funny brown spots, which are the result of the sunshine on my Keen sandal clad feet.  I look like I have some disease!
And this is what we are leaving behind.  The desert is in bloom, and the cacti are very beautiful with their colorful flower accessories.  We are leaving in the morning.  I will try to update on the road.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Ernie made his decision this morning.  We were listening to the weather report for the coming week and as we heard the numbers, he said maybe we should just leave.  Our rent time isn't up until next week Wednesday or Thursday, but sitting in a small metal trailer when the temperatures hit a stifling 95 degrees is not my idea of fun, I don't care if it's a dry heat!  So, we'll pack up and head north.  And I am ready.  I realize that it's not very warm in Minnesota yet, there is still snow, ice, and the temperature reads nothing even close to the 90's!  But I am ready to go home.  Two months is too long to be gone.

So today Ernie and his brother are getting in one last round of golf.  My SIL and I will go to lunch at the Olive Mill  and maybe do a little shopping.  Tomorrow we have reservations at the Arizona Opery which is a dinner theater and where I can request my meal gluten free!  Yay!   Then Thursday we'll break up camp and get the truck packed with the things that may freeze if left in the trailer as we head north, you know, the laundry soap, shampoo, lotions, canned goods, olive oil, chicken broth, etc.  That all goes in a laundry basket in the back seat, and if the temps are going below freezing at night, we bring it into the motel room with us.  We should be able to stay in the trailer the first night, and possible the second night, but then we need to be aware of the temps and will probably get a motel the last night or two.

So, Minnesota here we come!  Right back where we started from!  I can't wait!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Good morning.  We are sitting at Starbucks again because the signal power at our RV park is nil.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nothing.

Yesterday we spent the day with my sister and BIL.  We drove up to their place, about 22 miles from here, and parked our big huge monster truck, and took their car down to the parking lot of the light rail.  We bought an all day pass, and hopped on to go to downtown Phoenix and the Heard Museum.
 The museum houses a large collection of contemporary Native American art.
I thought these glass and ceramic things looked like torches, although I don't know what they were actually representing.  Maybe they were just glass and ceramic things!
I liked this sculpture of a family group, eating their meal together.
The jewelry was beautiful, but you would never see me wearing those heavy turquoise squash blossom necklaces!  Wow, they looked heavy!
This collection of dolls came from Barry Goldwater.
And then came the part I hated.  It made me sick.  The second floor housed an exhibit focusing on the forced removal of children from their homes to place them in schools to "civilize" them.  This took place all over the United States, in the name of Christianity and of taming the savages.  It makes me physically ill.
This photo is of the boarding school at Fort Totten, North Dakota.  It resembles a military fort to me.  WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! 
This was a very pleasant spot at the train stop to wait for our train to head back to Mesa.  Aren't these flowers pretty?
And I believe someone is totally pooped out and ready to call it a day!  But I think we're pretty even now.......he's done his golfing and I've seen my museums.  Gotta be fair, you know!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I am at a Starbuck's that actually has posting power which the RV park is lacking in!  So I plan to cover a lot of categories, hence the title!
 Casa Grande ruins just south of where we are staying.  This is another home of the Hohokam peoples.  I find it interesting that some were living in cliff homes, some in the stonewalled ruins I showed previously, and now some right smack in the middle of the desert in this adobe type of structure.  This big building was probably a
community building of some kind.  Maybe sort of a temple?  They did have the holes on the top of the structure that sunlight shone through on the equinox and solstice.  And that amazes me, too.  How did they figure those things out?  An early version of Google?
Then we went to a monastery.  Also right smack dab in the middle of the desert.  This place, in contrast to the ancient ruins, is brand new.  The Greek Orthodox head sent out several groups of 6 monks to build monasteries in different parts of the world in the early 1990's.  Six men arrived in 1995 and built this beautiful oasis in the desert outside of Florence, AZ.  There are several beautiful chapels, lovely fountains and gazebos, and beautiful, and very productive gardens in this compound.
The grapefruit are about the size of a softball and a half!
The chapels are beautiful, ornate, and very peaceful.  Visitors are allowed except when services are going on.  There is no entrance fee, but everyone needs to be tastefully dressed, and as they are dealing with not very tastefully dressed tourists for the most part, they have clothing there for you to wear during your visit.  Ruth and I had to don long, ankle length skirts, long sleeved shirts or jackets, and head scarves.  Ernie and Ike had to dress in long pants and long sleeved shirts.  And it was a warm day!  Thank goodness the chapels were cooler than the outside, and there is a lot of shade as you walk through the gardens.
The furnishings are sparse, but what is there is very ornate, like this lighting fixture in the largest chapel.
And as we left the grounds, there on the top of a little hill sits this beautiful chapel and cross, sparkling white in the afternoon sun, just as I imagine the buildings in Greece look.  This was a very pleasant day.

On Tuesday we again joined Ruth and Ike and we went to the botanical gardens.  The temps had dropped so the afternoon temps were only in the 70's, as opposed to the earlier 90's that we had been blessed with. a lovely day to spend outdoors and to ponder these words of Luther Burbank: Flowers are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.
These chartreuse colored "plants" are glass sculptures by the glass artist, Chihuly.  Very interesting, I thought!
This cactus is starting to bloom.  The desert should become much more colorful after everything is blooming.
I don't know the name of this tree, but it was lovely!
I absolutely love this photo.
And this one.
The whole tree was this sunshiny yellow color and was just lovely!
Another blooming cactus.
The butterflies are lovely, as is the glass dish they are feeding out of!
Isn't our God an awesome God?  Such beauty He made for us!
We stopped at the gardens of the LDS Visitor Center and found this fountain and these flowers.
And this lovely red tree that was covered with these flowers hanging against the blue sky.  Beautiful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Yesterday morning we left our place just a bit after seven to drive to Mesa and meet up with my sister and BIL to take a road trip.  We headed up into the mountains to Sedona, the famous spot of vortexes, crystals, and red rocks.  Along the way we stopped at this National Monument, Montezuma's Castle, another cliff home of the Hokoham peoples back in the 1000's through the 1400's.  Again, by the time Columbus "discovered" America, these people had moved on.  I find these homes of our early American people so fascinating.  But everytime I see a home like this, my first thought is 'Oh mamas!  I hope you are watching your babies!'  Can you imagine raising kids in a place like this?
The scenery around Sedona is beautiful.  I love the red rocks, especially against the blue skies.
We stopped at this chapel.  And yes, we had to climb up to it.  There is a steep winding road on the right side, and we hiked up to the chapel.
This is the view of the interior.  I believe the windows behind the altar and the outstanding scenery outside would be very distracting!  But oh, so beautiful!
It seems that every view of the red rocks and blue skies included the contrail of a jet.
Ernie and BIL Ike, resting.  See the tiny cars below?  We are parked even further down the hill!
And this was our lunch view.  I don't know who the silhouetted folks are, but I can't help it they were in the way of my photo op!
Then it was on to Tuzigoot, prounced Two-see-whoodt, another home of our first peoples.  This was different.  It was a series of stone walls forming rooms, situated on the top of a small hill.  These rooms were originally covered, with an opening in the roof and a ladder leading into the room.  Each room was the home of a family.  No doors to the outside, no windows, only the opening in the roof with a ladder.  I cannot imagine the stale air inside, can you? 
But at least your babies wouldn't fall off the cliff!  They would be totally enclosed in four walls!
These peoples were also gone by the early 1400's. 
I also could not imagine living in a small one room cabin, all alone on thousands of acres of land.  There is nothing.  No trees.  Nothing!  Just a few bushes or cactus.  I guess it's a good thing I wasn't one of the first people in this part of the country.  I've always thought it would be great fun to be back in the Little House on the Prairie days, but I know for sure I wouldn't like living in the little house on the desert!

Monday, March 14, 2011


If you can make out the fuzzy picture, you will have some sort of clue as to why it took 5 hours to go 127 miles.

We took the Apache Trail which starts out east of Apache Junction on a nice paved road, then quickly turns to washboardy dirt one lane road, and then on the other side, back to paved again.  It was fun!  Here, come along on a little ride on the mountain road.......
Ready?  Start singing:  Ernie and Marge went over the mountain, Ernie and Marge went over the mountain, Ernie and Marge went over the mountain, to see what they could see!
There were many spots where our big Ford 350 diesel had to pull way to the side to let other vehicles pass.  And corners like this one were quite interesting!
You can see by the dust in the photo below that there was a car not too far in front of us.
Overhanging rocks also make things challenging!
In the photo below, notice the guard rails......a little plowed up pile of dirt!
The lake was formed by Roosevelt Dam, built in the early 1900's.
 Still singing?  And all that they could see was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain, the other side etc........

But on the other side, when the road turned back to pavement, we found the Tonto National Monument.  This cliff dwelling was occupied prior to the 1400's by the Hohokam or Salada peoples who came up from way southern Arizona area.  By 1400 they had disappeared.  Before Columbus "discovered" America, these people had been here and gone.
Had we not just taken off after we had gone to church, we would have hiked up to the dwelling, but a mile uphill walk in church shoes didn't appeal to me!  Next time I'll come prepared!

This was a very pleasant afternoon.  Do you see why it took five hours to go 127 miles?