Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bus Trip to Casino in Prescott, AZ

For $10 we boarded a motorcoach (one of 3) that carried folks 2 hours to Prescott to Bucky's Casino.  We received $10 in play money, lunch, a ride down town to Whiskey Row and of course the ride home with a stop at the Valley of Lights in Fain Park, Prescott.

Sorry to say we were not Winners, so we wandered around waiting for the bus to carry us downtown.  The casino had the largest Gingerbread House display that I ever saw, you just gained pounds looking at it.

                                                     South Montezuma Street - Whiskey Row

Prescott was founded in 1864 when gold was discovered. It grew quickly as miners came in droves to discover their share of riches. Settlers came as did cowboys, gamblers and bawdy girls.  Whiskey Row once had over 40 saloons.  Most of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places including "The Palace Saloon" which is the same place that served libations to Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp.

While wandering around trying to decide where to have a drink and some grub we can across some signs...

       If I still had a house I would have bought this one.

All of the establishments on Whiskey Row didn't seem to fit the bill so we checked out a side street and found the

It was just what we were looking for.  Happy Hour which was 2 for 1, homemade pulled pork sandwiches and red beans and rice.  Good prices, good food, great company!  So after 4 beers and 2 shots of Jim Beam it was time to head back to the bus. 

The town square was just beautiful in all it's Christmas Glory.

Fain Park, Prescott
This is a mile long drive-through holiday light display featuring millions of lights and more than 30 animated displays, very cool.  I have never seen anything like it.

We had a great time seeing new things and making new friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving-A Happy & Sad Time

The one thing about this lifestyle is missing family and friends during the holidays.  It seems strange to us to not be in the sticks and bricks having the house smell of turkey and all the family with us enjoying the day.  If Mark had to work we would have the holiday the following day and I would spend the day with friends.  This year even if we were still in the sticks and bricks it would not be the same as family situations have changed which makes us sad.  So we remember the past with smiles on our faces...

and look to the future to create new memories.


We got a free turkey and had planned on cooking it in a real oven in one of the clubhouses a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  I got the bird prepared, stuffed, in the bag and we loaded it in the golf cart.  Off we go to the clubhouses to discover that they had removed the ovens, they were there last week!  What to do...well we had no choice but to cook it in the caravan and I am happy to report that it turned out great, all 14 lbs of it. We have found the secret to a great turkey-take it for a ride before you pop it in the oven.  So you see we have already created a new memory!

So to all of our followers we hope you had something to smile about and that a memory was made.

Happy Day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doing Some Exploring

Time to get the Harley out and doing some exploring. 

It seems no matter what direction you look, you will see mountains.  Looking to the East it will be Superstition Mountains which are beautiful.  So come along on the ride with us and enjoy the sites...

Heading East on Main St you pick up 88 know as Apache Trail which is a 2 lane road that twists and turns, just perfect on a motorcycle.  First you will come to Goldfield...

Situated atop a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mounts, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when low grade gold ore was found in the area. Low-grade or not, a town soon sprang up and on October 7, 1893 it received its first official post office.  New miners came to the area and in no time, the town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. For five years the town boomed until some 4,000 souls were residing in the burgeoning city. 
But like other gold camps, Goldfield’s bustling days were quickly dashed when the vein of gold ore started to play out and the grade of the ore dropped even more. Just five years after it began, the town found itself quickly dying. The miners moved on, the post office was discontinued on November 2, 1898, and Goldfield became a ghost town.  In 1921 the town had a rebirth but again died in 1926. 

Robert F. "Bob” Schoose moved to Mesa in 1970 and soon began to dream of owning his own ghost town. He had heard of the old site of Goldfield, but upon inspection, how found little left other than a few foundations and rambling shacks. He and his wife, Lou Ann, then located another five-acre site that was once the location of the Goldfield Mill and decided with to rebuild the old town. Purchasing the old mill site in 1984, they first reconstructed a mining tunnel, which included a snack bar and opened for business in 1988. Next came a photo shop, the Blue Nugget, a General Store, the Mammoth Saloon and the Goldfield Museum.

                                                                The ceiling in the Saloon

                                                              Complete with a gun fight.

                                                                    Leaving Goldfield

Superstition Mountains

                           and a mile up the road on your right is The Lost Dutchman State Park.

We had packed a lunch and decided to enjoy it at the park while looking at Superstition Mtn.

Arizona's Superstition Mountain has long been the source of stories and tales about lost gold and legends of the Dutchman's Lost Gold Mine. 
What is the origin of the name Superstition Mountain? The best answer to this question centers around the early farmers of the Salt River Valley who grew and cut hay for the Army at Fort McDowell during the late 1860's. These farmers constantly heard stories from the Pima Indians how they feared this mountain. The farmers thought the Pimas were superstitious about the mountain hence the name Superstition Mountain.

The Lost Dutchman Mine is reportedly a very rich gold mine located in Superstition Mountain.  The mine is named after German immigrant Jacob Waltz who is said to have found the mine.  He would disappear for months and then show up in town buying drinks for everyone and paying in gold nuggets.  Waltz died carrying the exact location of the mine to his grave.  Several men and women have risked everything in search of the mine and ended up with nothing.  Does it really exist?  Depends on who you talk to.

The park has camping sites with electric and is well maintained.  They also have hiking trips that sound interesting.

                                               Back on the bike and headed to Canyon Lake.

The Apache Trail, aka Arizona 88 cuts through the desert, but before long, it begins to turn sharply, then turn again, hugging cliffs, and rising and falling with the hills and valleys of the landscape.

This picture doesn't really do justice as the mountain looks yellow because of a yellow moss that grows on it.

You come around a curve and see Canyon Lake, one of the salt river lakes accessed by the Apache Trail.

We turned around here and headed back home as it was getting late.  But just a bit up the road will be Tortilla Flat but after that it is 20 miles of dirt road not suitable for the bike.  We will come back with the truck for the 20 mile stretch.  Round trip is 175 miles so when we head out on the bike again we will take 60 to 88 which will take us to the Roosevelt Dam.

                                  Back at Gypsy Camp Mark has turned into a real Arizonian.

                                                               Rake those rocks honey.
                                                    My garden has expanded but that's it!!!
As for work things are good.  Our days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday delivering the party wagon, setting up for events and decorating for the holidays.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Val Vista Village, Mesa AZ

Headed South and leaving the snow behind!  The trip was a pleasant one with yet another change in scenery.

                                                                         Lava Tubes

On 93 South (Joshua Forest Parkway) The Aquarius Mountains are on your left and you are at an elevation of 5,000 ft. 

We start to see Saguaro cactus as we descend to 3,500 ft.

The saguaro is a large, tree sized cactus. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Mexican state of Sonora, a small part of Baja CA in the San Felpie Desert and an extremely small area of CA. The saguaro blossom is the State Wildflower of Arizona which blooms in June.

The Saguaro Cactus can absorb a lot of water because the ribs on the plant can expand, a mature cactus can weigh several tons.  The root system is very shallow for such a tall, heavy plant. The Saguaro Cactus has one tap root that is only about three feet long. It also has two sets of radial roots.  One is a thick root system, which is only about one foot long, and there is also a thinner root system that grows to a length equal to it's height wrapping around rocks for support.  Downward pointing spines make it easier to direct rainwater into the depressions of the cactus. The spines help to cool the outer skin, help redirect the wind and insulate the plant. Gila woodpeckers, purple martins, house finches, and gilded flickers like the interior of the Saguaro Cactus because it is the only plant it can hollow out for their nest in the desert. The nest cavity is deep, the parents and young entirely hidden from view. The saguaro creates callus tissue on the wound. When the saguaro dies, and soft flesh rots the callus remains behind, a so called "saguaro boot," which was used by natives for storage.

The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old.   It can take 75 years to develop a side arm. 
Harming a saguaro in any manner is illegal, and when houses or highways are built, special permits must be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected.

OK, now that you know all about the Saguaro cactus let's move on...

We had to drive around Phoenix to get to Mesa on 60, 6 lanes of traffic that moves very fast, a little nerving, but what I thought was cool was on the over passes there was designs made from different colored stones.

                                    This picture doesn't do justice but remember I was driving!

Our new home til the end of March.

We arrived around 3pm, checked in, got set up in our site and reported the next day at 10 for duty.  Our job is working in activities setting up for events and take down afterwards.  We both work 12.5 hours a week for our site with full hookup and trash removal.  The garage wouldn't fit on the site with 2 vehicles so they gave us another site 3 doors down and we will work a few extra hours for it.  That gives us the whole patio for living space! 

We had an appointment for Thursday to get the Caravan's slide fixed so by 9 we were at the Robert Crist RV and back home by 4, they did a great job and all is well.  Now we can really get set up.

Check out our orange tree!

Note the table and chairs...$24 at the local thrift store, we will sell them when we leave.

Still a gardener just on a smaller scale.

The extra lot.

Sixteenth Street, we are down on the left.

Val Vista Village is a 55+ community with tons of amenities and yes we are probably the youngest people here.  If you are bored here it is your own fault.  There are around 95 things to do in one week!

Tennis and Pickle Ball courts.  We never heard of Pickle Ball before, it is a mix of tennis, badminton and ping pong, lots of fun!

One of 3 pools.

This is the courtyard where they have bands 4-5 times a week.  To the left is the Cactus bar and grill (not in photo).  On Fridays we open up all the umbrellas, bring out 2 racks of chairs and then when the band is done we straighten up everything, wipe the tables clean, and close the's a tough job but somebody has to do it.  They have a dance every Friday night in the ballroom which is another event we set up for.  We also work the Party Wagon (right up our alley) taking tables and chairs to sites for private parties.  The Canadians arrive after Christmas and from what we are told things really get cranked up.  At present the park is only half full.

                                                                     Bird of Paradise. 
This area is pretty close to paradise.  70-80's during the days and 50's at night, it would be paradise if it stayed light out til say 7pm but it starts getting dark at 5pm.
                                                         We have our own Post Office.

Shuffle Board courts.

Helpful Hint:

The kick stands on our bikes weren't long enough and the bikes wanted to fall over so the Gypsy King fixed the problem with a golf ball.
We had 4 of these teak lounge chairs on our front porch which of course I sold.  When we went Thrift Storing (the thrift stores here are great) for the table and chairs we found these for $6.98!  OMG, we paid $150 each 10 years ago.  They needed to be cleaned and stained so we bought them.  We kept the cushions I had made for our chairs so I recovered them.  The following week the park had a patio sale (not a yard sale as no one has a yard) so I got busy cleaning, staining and sewing.  Above is the finished product and I am happy to report that I sold them for a sweet profit.  Always looking to supplement to retirement fund!
All is well at Gypsy Camp.