We have had a few cool days and cold nights, even a couple below freezing but now it is in the 70s and once in a while in the 80s. Nights are usually in the 50s. Very comfortable.
Visits and Visitors
We went to see our friends John and Kathy Juelfs. They are full timers and have been spending the winters in an RV park in Apache Junction for the last few years. On the way over we stopped at B&B Farms and bought a couple dozen ready to eat Navel oranges and a couple grapefruits. We met them about five years ago in Nacogdoches. They were just retiring and buying a coach. No real prior RV history. They found a nice coach and were ready to set off. We (and others) thought they looked scared to death. They found their own way and are now happy campers. Somehow I forget to take any pictures.
We went over to Frank and Pattie‘s home in Rio Verde for dinner and laundry. Frank is Susan’s brother. They spend half of their time in AZ and half in MN. Soon maybe a bit more in AZ. Frank and I were busy talking about Verizon vs AT&T. Susan and Pattie were busy chatting about dinner things.
We had a nice dinner, thanks Pattie. Frank and I made plans to visit an AT&T store a couple days later.
We drove over to Surprise, AZ to see our friend Jennifer who moved down here last fall. Going from one side of Phoenix to the other is a long way. She has a very nice house in among lots of other seniors. Even with neighbors all around her back yard seemed pretty private. We brought oranges for her but she has a big productive orange tree herself so we ended up bringing home more oranges than we came with. OK with us. I am sorry, I went photo dead again here.
Another day we drove into downtown Phoenix, just a block or so from the Opera and the Heard Museum to see Richard and Susan Peck. They had just bought their Foretravel about four years ago when we met them at the Foretravel GrandVention in Columbus, Indiana. They were heading off into the undiscovered world of fulltiming in the RV and still working. Susan is still working full time now and they decided to plant their flag for a while in Phoenix, sell their coach and be landlubbers again. They were involved in a serious car crash in January which left both of them injured, Richard more seriously. After several orthopedic surgeries, a long time in the hospital and specialized care they are back at home with many months of rehab ahead.
There is a family owned Italian restaurant in their apartment building. We had a very nice lunch there and a gelato for dessert at the place next to the restaurant. Truly urban living. It was so nice to see them; see them smiling knowing what they have been through and have ahead. They are another part of our extended Foretravel community who have become good friends as well.
And Roger and Vicki Henry stopped over one day for a couple hours. They are from St Paul, down here on what seems to us a high speed multi-stop road trip. More their style than ours but nice to see them as well and for them to get a small taste of our life elsewhere.
My cousin and her husband Sandy and Claus came for a visit as well. They wanted to see where we live when we are elsewhere and what McDowell Mountain Park looks like. We had a great lunch that Susan prepared. They moved down here a year ago and managed to get through their first summer. It was really fun to see them. The Senior Cousins get together a couple times in MN for a brunch or lunch each year and through the extraordinary amount of chatting it is often hard to just get some one on one time. So this was a good time to just focus on the four of us. We appreciated the time we shared. (And no, Claus is not sleeping).
And finally Susan went over to see Jane, a long time Book Club friend who is down this way for the winter.
We laughed about all the people we have seen here. Next time we are telling no one we are coming. Except those we want to see. The list is above.
Being in the desert
Susan and I like being in the desert. It does not look like Minnesota or East Texas or West Texas (no place we have ever been looks like West Texas). It does not look like the Pacific NW. The desert in Tucson is different from the desert at McDowell Mountain and they are much different from the high desert of Santa Fe, NM.
This year at McDowell we have seen the plant life become more invigorated and green. The desert here actually looks green right now. The grasses and bushes are green. The cacti are full and plump with water. All along the road sides are blue lupine plants that remind us of the Texas Hill Country Blue Bonnets. And a week and a half ago just a few hundred feet higher elevation the gold-yellow poppies burst out.
This spot is about 4 miles from the campground heading NW toward the Pemberton Trail which is a big loop all around the park. I have been riding the trails out in the desert almost every day. It is lots of fun, lots of work going uphill in this direction. At this point in the picture I am about 400 ft higher than the campground. The good part is that it is mostly downhill on the way back. Lots of washes to ride through. The technical part of riding some of these challenges is a lot of fun to figure out.
There are now four distinct yellow flowering plants nearby. And just in the last day a magenta colored flower has popped up.
And in some areas some of the grasses are changing to much more reddish colors. Probably drying out.
The clouds come in and out, usually sunny during the day but there is always something to see if you are looking.
And another visitor, I wonder if they are just here in the winter too.
There is a pair of cardinals here that show up every day. They have a very distinct song compared to all the others here.
We would come back here anytime, next time probably a month.
Next heading – north to Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood, AZ
More later, Much Love,
Roger and Susan