Thursday, November 16, 2017

San Tan Mountains Hiking

Tuesday we took a hike in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek. It isn't our favorite park in the Phoenix area but it has lots of trails and most of them are fairly flat.  We hiked 6 miles that day.

I just love the saguaro cactus.

The trails are popular with runners (didn't get any pictures of them), bikers and horse-back riders.

In 2009 we went full-time in our RV. On New Year's Day 2010, during our first winter in Arizona rather than Colorado, we hiked in San Tan Regional Park. That was a new experience for us--very different from spending New Year's Day in Colorado.

We are still enjoying spending the winter months in Arizona.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cooking on the Trail

History and good food come together each fall when competitors gather for the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off at Tumbleweed Park. We have gone several years in the past and wanted to check it out again this last weekend.

The competition includes both authentic recreations of the chuck wagons that traveled with cattle drives in the old West and typical trail meals.  The contestants put a lot of effort into recreating the complete kitchens that fed the cow hands. Notice the tipi to the left rear where the cook would sleep.

A lot of time and effort is put into finding authentic containers and cooking equipment. Antique dealers must love to see these folks come in the door. Cooking without running water takes a lot of work. Look at the bucket of water this woman is carrying. And imagine how hot her clothing must be. I was glad to be in chorts.

I hope these red long-johns weren't washed in the water that was then used for cooking.

This miniature cook wagon attracted the young visitors. It's important to get children interested in cooking and history at a young age.

You can click here or here if you want to learn more by looking at my blogs from previous contests.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

An Annual Hike

Almost every winter one of our first hikes is in Usury Mountain Park to Wind Cave. It is a very popular trail and a little under 2 miles one way. We went there last week. The desert in that area is beautiful.

Although the trail isn't too long, it is steep. This is an awful picture John took of me. I really wasn't struggling as much as it looks like here but it does take some work to get to the "cave."

But the view over the valley is worth it, even if we had to share it with quite a few other hikers.

Although it is called a cave, it is really an overhang. At Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado  overhangs like this and those a lot deeper were used for cliff dwellings. Wind cave would provide some protection from rain. It often hosts large numbers of bees and some chipmunks as well as hikers.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

A Good First Hike

Each day we try to walk 10,000 steps.  Thursday we wanted a change in scenery from what we see walking around our resort.  The trailhead for the hieroglyphic trail isn't very far from our home and we have hiked this trail a number of times so we knew it would be a good place to start this winter.

At the end of the trail there are a number of hieroglyphics or petroglyphs on the stone wall.

Phoenix is really dry after the past summer.  This pond usually has water higher than the white lichen on these rocks.  Most of the lichen in the Superstition Mountains is usually fluorescent green so I was surprised to see this white growth.

The weather in southern Arizona has been spectacular for the past couple of weeks so we didn't leave for the hike until about 8 am.  We didn't have to get out earlier to avoid the heat but we could still wear shorts.

If you click this photo John took of me to enlarge it, you will see that there were a bunch of people sitting around on the hill.  In fact, I counted 14 people I could see from where we were sitting.  We learned they were from a college science class.  We must be hiking too early in the season or on the wrong day or something.  This trail is popular but we have never seen this many people in one place.

The flora on this trail includes prickly pear cactus, ocotillo, and cholla cactus.

We even found a bush with pink/magenta and orange bougainvillea flowers.

We enjoyed the hike, which is about 2 miles each way (8,000 steps or so total). We intend to try hiking once every week this winter. We went on very few hikes last year.

Friday, November 03, 2017

This Is Better

Soon after we returned to our winter home in Gold Canyon , we took our Airstream trailer to the Mesa Airstream dealer, Desert Autoplex on Oct. 2, to get a window awning installed on the off-door side of the trailer and for some warranty repairs.  We made the appointment weeks ahead of time, thinking they would be able to start on the issues right away.

That left a big empty area on our patio.

Even with the appointment for repairs on that date, apparently that meant we were in the line behind all the RVs already checked in for repairs. At least we didn't have plans for any travel during October. It was mid-month before the work began. Finally, on Halloween, the trailer was ready! We went to get it, checked each item to be sure repairs had been made, and brought it back to our lot.

This looks right, now. This is what our space is supposed to look like.

Monday, October 30, 2017

What is this mess all about?

Why on earth would I pull all this stuff out from the cabinet under the bathroom sink?  It's a lot of work.

The story begins when we found the faucet had a slow leak.  There was continually a slow drip into the sink.  John removed the cylinder in the center of the cold water faucet and drove to Ace Hardware to get the necessary parts--hopefully just a washer or two.  Unfortunately, though they had a whole wall of faucet parts, they didn't have anything like what came from our sink.

Next, I called Cavco, the company that built our manufactured home.  When I finally got in touch with Art, he explained they had stopped installing that kind of faucet because the company didn't even stock parts for it!  That meant we had to install a new faucet.

We were off to Lowe's for a new faucet.  Next, John crawled under the sink.  Is there a more difficult place to work than under a sink cabinet?

Job complete! We really like the new one.

But it hasn't been all work around here. We have both been spending time in our shop, making pens. And John has been copying a document to include in the genealogy book he is writing. In addition, we have been able to get together with two couples we always enjoy. We met Ron and Barbara for lunch at Kneaders. We try to get together with them often when we are in Arizona. Hopefully the weather will be cool enough as we head into November that we can go for a hike the next time we see them. No picture from that visit.

Colorado friends Larry and Betty were in the Phoenix valley to attend a wedding and visit friends. We were glad they included us on that list. It was good to see them before they moved on to another engagement.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Haven't done this in a long time

I can't remember the last time I made anything with yeast dough. Growing up, I learned to bake bread in 4-H and when I was a stay-at-home mom I made almost all of our bread. When the boys grew up and left home and then we began our RV travels that baking came to an end. I just checked my past blogs and discovered that over Labor Day weekend in 2012 I baked a loaf of bread and some hamburger buns. That was a looong time ago!

Today I decided to make some rolls.   I mixed the dough and let it rise.

After dividing it into thirds, I rolled out circles and cut 12 wedges out of each circle.

The first batch on the baking sheet.

Because yeast dough rises slowly, there is always a lot of waiting involved in baking.

But finally--here is the first batch out of the oven!  We had to sample one and I did a good job, if I do say so myself.  There will be more of this during our time here in Arizona where I have a good-sized oven.