Archive for the ‘Spring 2010’ Category

Apache Junction – Just waiting in the heat

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Arizona

Apache Junction

June 9, 2010

We are waiting in Apache Junction for my total hip surgery which is scheduled for July 12.  This week, high temperatures have ranged from 101 to 108.  In the late afternoon, I take my umbrella to the pool and sit in the hot tub (which is only heated by the sun), under my umbrella, and read.  It’s a nice life.

One day we did some geocaching and found this historic “Welcome to Apache Junction” sign.  It was sort of hidden away behind the modern stuff.

Welcome to Apache Junction

There was a historical hotel called the Grand Hotel that was the place to stay in Apache Junction for years.  Elvis, Gene Autry and John Wayne were among the famous people who stayed there.  Back in the day, there was a movie set here called Apacheland where they filmed westerns.  It burned down.  They tore the motel down but left the sign up, which I thought was cool.

Grand Motel sign

We also stopped at the Harley Davidson place.  They have a huge inventory of motorcycles for sale and also have motorcycles for rent.  They give lessons to the snowbirds and then rent them motorcycles.  Bob is seriously considering taking lessons and renting a three-wheeler.  They have the place set up in a very friendly way with lots of places to sit down both inside and outside.  There is a coffee bar where it appears that some of the old-timers meet every morning for coffee.

Harley Davidson Dealership

A gathering place

Our next door neighbor works as  a reserve for the police department here in Apache Junction.  He drives this 1951 Patrol Car for parades and when he’s on duty.  He says when he pulls somebody over in this car, they sometimes think he’s kidding. 

We enjoyed the Organ Stop restaurant so much that we went back.  This time, Bob and I put requests in for Baby Elephant Walk and Malaguana.  The organist played them both.  It was great fun.  The puppets danced when he played Baby Elephant Walk.

Organ Stop

A beautiful organ with a talented organist

Puppets dance to Baby Elephant Walk

When it’s not too hot to sit outside, I continue to work on my baskets.

Finished basket numbers 2 and 3

Working on basket number 4

Nearly finished

When it’s too hot to sit outside during the day, we enjoy the evenings outside.

Patty and K.C. relax in the cooler evenings

K.C. and Patty

 The hot weather was just too much for me with my long, thick hair.  Yesterday I had it cut into a shorter, layered cut.  It feels so much better.

New haircut side view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob spent this morning repairing the connection from our antenna on the roof to our tv’s.  He was able to fix it and we can now get local television off of our antenna.  That allows us to switch from Direct TV to local stations.  He is so amazing.

We found that there are two RV parks in Apache Junction that are affiliated with Thousand Trails.  We will be moving to one of them called Countryside RV Park where we can stay for the next five weeks for a total of about $200.  That is more than $500 less than where we are staying now.  Our Thousand Trails membership has been great for us!

More later!

Apache Junction Anecdotes and Arts

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Arizona

Apache Junction

May 24, 2010

I have been working on making my gourd baskets.  Here’s one I’m working on now.

At the start of a new gourd basket

Before I began

Unfinished inside

Inside painted

First coat of ink dye on outside

Okay, now for today’s anecdote.

We were in an RV supply store.  Bob needed to buy some double sided tape.  The lady at the checkout counter kindly helped him locate the tape and he asked to buy ten feet of it.  She took it back to the counter and got out her tape measure. 

Then she told him, “I can’t sell you ten feet of this because my tape measure only goes to five feet.” 

So Bob said, “Well, just measure out five feet and multiply by two.” 

 She said, “I don’t know how to do that.” 

Bob said, “Measure out five feet; then I will hold that, then measure out five more.  That will make ten feet.” 

“Oh, okay,” she says. 

With Bob’s help she did that.  Then she couldn’t figure out the price. 

Bob said, “Ten feet at 48 cents a foot is $4.80.” 

 “Wow, you’re quick!” she says.  Still, she couldn’t figure out how to get the cash register/computer to calculate it so she had to go to the back room to get help. 

The man behind Bob says, “You are a very patient man.” 

“You’ll need to be also,” says Bob. 

“Well, ” says the man, “I’ve got all day.” 

“You might need tomorrow too,” says Bob. 

The lady comes back with help, rings up the purchase, struggles to count the change from a $20 bill back to Bob, and then Bob is on his way.  Poor lady.  She was about my age, so I can only assume maybe she had a stroke that affects her math skills or something.  After all, 5 + 5 = 10 is about first grade knowledge.

After that, we had to hit Dairy Queen on the way home for a chocolate malt and a butterfinger blizzard.

Apache Junction, Arizona

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Arizona

Apache Junction

May 22, 2010

We have been enjoying our stay at the Happy Days RV Park in Apache Junction, Arizona.  Apache Junction is just east of the Phoenix/Mesa area.

Our campsite at Happy Days RV Park

We went out for pizza the other night at the Organ Stop Pizza Parlor.  The Organ Stop has a big, beautiful, awesome pipe organ.  They play it while you eat your pizza.  The organ and all of its pipes, drums, bellows, strings, and other parts and pieces could fill a room of its own. 

Pipe organ at Organ Stop Pizza Parlor

We left Apache Junction to take a drive along the historic Apache Trail. 

Information about the Apache Trail

A thousand or more years ago, the Apache Trail existed as a footpath for Indian Tribes who used the trail to go between the lower desert and the mountains.  The Apaches and the Yavapai also used it in their raids against the Pima Indians.  In the early 1900’s, the road was improved so that it could be used as a supply road for the construction of the Roosevelt Dam.  After the Roosevelt Dam was finished, the Apache Trail was used as a stagecoach route between Phoenix and Roosevelt Dam.  Now the road is a scenic roadway and also supplies access to several beautiful lakes and campgrounds located along its route.

As we left Apache Junction, we headed northeast along a canyon with a stunning view of the surrounding Sonoran Desert.  The Apache Trail, also known as Arizona Highway 88, passes the Superstition Mountain Museum.  We didn’t stop today, but have plans to return to tour it at a later date.

A few miles further down the road, we stopped at the Goldfield Ghost Town.  Goldfield had its start when gold was discovered in the area in 1892.  The town grew rapidly but died out almost as fast.  By 1898, the town had become a ghost town.  Today’s Goldfield features guided mine tours, an operating narrow gauge railroad, jeep tours of the Supersitition Mountains, horseback adventures, wagon and carriage rides and the usual tourist shops and eateries.  Lodging and camping are available in Goldfield, and Sunday services and weddings are held at the Church on the Mount.

Downtown Goldfield

Goldfield Mercantile

Bob visits the bathhouse

Goldfield's bordello

Bob enjoying Goldfield

Goldfield's Church on the Mount

Old mining equipment

Goldfield

Goldfield train station

Tracks to the mine entrance

Goldfield train

K.C. enjoying Goldfield

Old mining cart

Bob, Goldfield and awesome scenery

After a brief stop at Goldfield, another place we will visit again another day, we continued on the Apache Trail as it wound into the mountains around Canyon Lake. 

Canyon Lake

 The road has many curves and single-lane bridges.  The speed limit is about 25 miles per hour as the Trail drops down into the ghost town of Tortilla Flat.  Tortilla Flat has a museum in an old school house, a country store, a restaurant covered wall-to-wall in dollar bills, and a saloon. Some of the seats in the bar are made from saddles.  We didn’t stay long at Tortilla Flat.  When you pull into town, there is a stench that is not to be believed.  I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to its source, but can only hope it is caused by rotting vegetation from spring floods.

Tortilla Flat

Just past Tortilla Flat, we were surprised to learn that the next 22 miles would be dirt – much of it one lane only and most of it washboard.  I turned the driving over to Bob, thankfully, as we soon began to drive down  the side of a canyon called Fish Creek Hill.  It is very steep and very narrow.  There are portions of the road that have hairpin turns and only one vehicle will fit at a time.  Yet, we met people pulling their fifth wheels and double pontoon party boats up the hill!  Ahead of us we even saw a motorhome traveling this hair-raising road.

If you look closely, you can see the one-lane road we drove down this steep-sided canyon.

After passing amazing scenery, Apache Lake and campground, and fantastic saguaro fields, we arrived at Roosevelt Dam. 

Granddaddy Saguaro

Saguaros everywhere

Roosevelt Dam

Roosevelt Lake

 

At the rest area there, I spoke with the lady who traveled the Apache Trail in the motorhome.  She said everything shook loose.  “Even the coffee pot fell on the floor.” 

 The Roosevelt Dam was built between 1903 and 1911.  At the time it was considered the world’s tallest masonry dam. Roosevelt lake measures about 22 miles in length and is about 188 feet deep.  It has 128 miles of shoreline with extensive recreational facilities.  It’s a beautiful sight to see in the high mountains of Arizona.

 

At Roosevelt Dam, the Apache Trail hooks up with Highway 288.  We drove into Globe, Arizona for lunch.  Bob used to have mining trucks in the mines around Globe.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant there that was authentic Mexican food and highly overpriced. 

Globe, Arizona

Old mine in downtown Globe

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 From Globe, we drove HIghway 60 through Claypool, Miami, and Superior, and back into Apache Junction on the Old West Highway.

 

We arrived back home about 3:30 p.m.  It was a six-hour trip with the 22-mile stretch of dirt road taking up four of the six hours of travel.  It was an adventure though, and we’re glad we went.

Tucson, Arizona

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Arizona

Tucson

May 17, 2010

Bob used to live in Tucson years ago.  His company sold trucks to the local copper mines, and Bob was in charge of troubleshooting any problems that arose.  While we were here we had a nice visit with his friends, Larry and Amber.  Bob worked with Larry all of those years ago.

Yesterday we had breakfast at the Casino of the Sun buffet.  Outside was a beautiful tall saguaro that is blooming.

Tall blooming saguaro

Blooms on top of saguaro

Today we took a tour of the Titan Missile Museum located south of Tucson. This huge Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile, America’s premier Cold War weapon for nearly 20 years, is still in its original silo. During the Cold War there were 52 Titan missile silos across America with 18 of them located near Tucson. Now only this one is left. The missile silo was built in 1963. In an agreement made with the USSR during Reagan’s administration in the 1980’s, all of the Titan Missile Silos were dismantled except this one. We were allowed to keep this one for its historical value, but the entire missile complex was modified so that it can’t work. Modifications were made that could be verified by the Russian’s via satellite observation. For example, the concrete cover over the missile is half open and blocked there so that it can never be opened all of the way again.

 

Silo Door which is now blocked halfway open

The tour consisted of an interesting ten-minute movie explaining the “Strength as a Deterrent” program.  It also provided information about the missile and the crews who maintained it. After the movie, we took a tour of the grounds where we were able to see the first and second stage engines, two large tanks that contained the liquid fuel, and two oxydizers that supplied the oxygen to the fuel causing it to burn. 

We were also shown several towers that were part of the communications system, and the motion sensor devises that, along with a perimeter fence, were the only security used.

Antenna is part of communications system

More antennas are part of backup communication system

Another antenna - redundancy built in to communication system

Motion sensors

Four crew members were stationed in the silo 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in readiness to launch their 102 foot Titan II into space. Thankfully in the 20 years that it was operational, the Titan II was never launched.

The tour takes you down into the control room where there are buttons to push, switches to switch, gauges to read, and lights that blink. Important launch instructions were kept in a safe that had two combination padlocks on it. The commander and his assistant each had the combination to a lock, but they didn’t know the other person’s combination. Not exactly high tech stuff, but the locks along with a required “launch code,” the decoding of a “launch message,” and the simultaneous turning of two keys were enough safeguards to make it impossible for anyone to “accidentally” set off a missile launch. The missile was programmed to hit one of three targets. The crew would not know what or where the target was. They only knew, from orders, to aim for Target One, Target Two, or Target Three.

Control room with our tour guide, John

Control room - notice red safe where launch codes were stored

Bob turns the launch key

During their shifts, no crew member could be alone except when he/she was in the crew quarters. At all times, while working in the control room or on or in any other part of the silo, crew members were expected to watch one another. If any crew member began to act suspiciously or psychotically, a crew member was expected to report the behavior immediately.

The silo is more than 100 feet deep.

The Titan II Missile

Its sides have sound absorbers so that during a launch the roar wouldn’t shake the missile to death. A 100,000 gallon water tank is also underground. Its water would be released during a blast-off to cool things so the Titan wouldn’t melt during launch.

Everything important – the floors, the ceilings, the radio systems, control panels, generators – are on springs. If the enemy had landed a nuke nearby, the missile, crew and control equipment would have just bounced harmlessly on springs.

 

Springs

 

Entrance to stairwell down to control room. Crew identification had to be verified four times on their way down.

 

Filter for supplying clean air during and after a nuclear attack

 

Hallway connecting control room to missile silo

 

Protective suits that had to be worn when working around the missile fuel

This Titan II Missile was deactivated in 1983. The Titan II Missile Museum is now part of the Pima Air and Space Museum.  Both are, incidentally, managed by a woman who was actually one of the crew members who worked in the silo during the Cold War Years.

The tour of this silo was very interesting, especially because it was located adjacent to one of the mines where Bob worked.  He was amazed to learn it was/is there.  He used to pass it every day going to and from the mine and had no clue of its existence. 

 

Gage, New Mexico to Tucson, Arizona

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

New Mexico to Arizona

Gage to Tucson

May 15, 2010

We left our rest area just west of Gage, New Mexico and drove 40 miles or so to Lordsburg where we filled up at the Flying J and ate breakfast in their restaurant.  Just west of Lordsburg, we entered Arizona.

Entering Arizona

Due to budget constraints, most of the rest areas on I 10 in Arizona are closed.   Happily, the one at Texas Canyon was open.

Kram-A-Lott Inn at Texas Canyon Rest Area

Our motorhome at Texas Canyon Rest Area

The geology at this rest area is amazing. 

Texas Canyon Rest Area

Bob at Texas Canyon Rest Area

K.C. takes advantage of shade

Looking across the valley from Texas Canyon Rest Area

After leaving Texas Canyon Rest Area, we drove on into Tucson arriving at Desert Trails RV Park around noon.  That’s because Arizona doesn’t do daylight savings time.  In the past two days, we lost an hour when we drove into the Mountain Time Zone and another hour when we drove into Arizona. 

Desert Trails RV Park is a very reasonably priced RV Park that is somewhat rustic but well maintained.  In the winter, it is full of snowbirds.  This time of year, not so.  There are only about ten of us in here. 

Our campsite at Desert Trails

The park has cactus gardens, a pool, a hot tub (not running at the moment), a dog run with a good fence so Patty can run free, and a dog washing station.  The cactus are all in bloom and are beautiful.

Our own personal cactus garden

One of Desert Trail's cactus gardens

Bob in camp

Blossom on a prickly pear cactus

Notice bloom right on top of this Saguaro

I think  we will really enjoy this park for the few days we are here.  We’ll be moving to Phoenix on Tuesday.

 

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