Archive for the ‘Winter 2011-2012’ Category

North Mountain Park near Casa Grande, Arizona

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012


Casa Grande

December 4, 2012

Yesterday and today, while we were out geocaching, Bob and I found North Mountain Park near Casa Grande, Arizona.  As it happens, the park is less than seven miles from where we are living at Foothills West RV Resort.  There is a geocache located under this sign.

The entrance sign to North Mountain Park.

This park has very beautiful desert scenery. There are mesquite trees, creosote bushes, rabbit bushes, catclaw acacia bushes, turpentine bushes and the ubiquitos saguaro and barrel cactus. The road loops around in a circle passing numerous picnic sites with restrooms.  There are also three group-size shelters and some nature trails.

Although the gates are locked at dusk, they do allow overnight camping here.  This will be a great location for camping with our Casita Travel Trailer.

This is one of the group-sized shelters

Another of the large shelters

Picnic area

I love this desert scenery!

Love those saguaros!

Saguaros grow slowly and may live for as long as 200 years. When fully grown, they are generally about thirty feet high. The saguaro has a perfect mechanism for storing water in its accordion-fold structure. During dry periods the folds pucker up into ridges giving it a ribbed look. When it rains, a mature plant may soak up as much as 200 gallons of water during a storm. The cactus absorbs water until its ribs almost disappear and it becomes plumb and round. A wide-spreading network of shallow roots harvests the desert rains.  Since the saguaro is composed mainly of water, it is very sensitive to freezing temperatures. The saguaro thrives here in the Sonoran Desert because temperatures seldom fall below freezing for long.

Young saguaros are tall with only an arm or two.  Mature ones have several arms.  The granddaddys of the saguaro have a lot of arms; then they begin to droop with age.  Finally, after centuries in the sun, the arms fall off exposing the central ribs and supporting structure.


Grown up…



Getting tired…



Gone…..with internal skeleton exposed

In the park, Bob and I went geocaching.  We passed a tree that my Uncle Dale would have named the “Crazy Mixed Up Tree.” 

A crazy mixed up tree

This tree was at the location of a geocache called the “Double Ugly Tree.”  The geocache hint said that the pill bottle geocache was located in the “heart of the tree,” but I never did find it.  Of course, I am not willing to reach into the guts of an old tree and dig for a pill bottle!  I’m not sure I agree with the name.  I find this tree to be beautiful.

Double Ugly Tree


The Double Ugly Tree – closer view

At a few points, you can see Casa Grande in the distance.

Casa Grande in the distance

We plan to go back to North Mountain Park often.  If you come to visit us, we’ll be sure to take you up there!



Casa Grande to Lyle, Spring 2012

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Arizona to Washington

Casa Grande to Lyle

March of 2012

We left Casa Grande on Friday, March 9, 2012 and drove northwest out of Phoenix on Highway 93 to Las Vegas.  After a relaxing few days in Vegas, we decided to avoid the snowy weather by traveling southwest on I 15 to Barstow, and then headed west on Highway 58 through Boron and across the Tehachapi Pass to Bakersfield.  We crossed over to I 5 and spent the night in a rest area north of Bakersfield.

Heading southwest out of Las Vegas on I 15

Crossing the Sierra Nevadas

Dropping down out of the Sierra Nevadas into the floor of California

The next day we were up early and on our way north on I 5.  We noticed a lot of signs stating things like “Stop the Congress Created Dust Bowl.”  Many orchards and vineyards were dead and fields left unplowed or planted because of lack of water.  This while we traveled along the canal system full of water.  I haven’t studied up, but the signs indicate that farmers in central California have had their allocation of water cut by 50 percent.

Sign says, "Stop the Congress Created Dust Bowl"

Canals carrying water from the Colorado River to California

We spent the night at a rest area just north of Red Bluff, California. 

Overnight in a rest area

 In the morning, we made it up, over and around Mt. Shasta in rain and thought we were free and clear as far as the weather goes.  Nope! 

Driving up and around Mt. Shasta

 Going over Mt. Ashland in the Siskiyou’s is actually a thousand feet higher than the pass around Mt. Shasta.  We drove through a couple of inches of snow there, but not for long.  We hit snow at the top of the pass and immediately began a 17-mile 6% downgrade that took us out of the snow and back into the rain.

Near Mt. Ashland on Siskiyou Pass in southern Oregon along I 5

We spent the night at a rest area north of Eugene, Oregon and headed on home the next day.  We are camped at Bridge RV Park in Bingen, Wasington for the next month.

Bridge RV Park - Home for the next month

This reach of land stretching out into the Columbia River is where K.C.’s hometown of Lyle, Washington is located.  As children, we hiked all over those hills.


K.C.'s hometown of Lyle, Washington on the Columbia River

We’ll be seeing our children and our grandson today; and, hopefully, often while we are home.

Abel waiting for the booster seat so that he can eat


I'm thirsty.


Catch that cup!


Abel and Uncle Bodi


We’ll be enjoying a chance to visit with friends too!

K.C. with our friends, Russ and Rox

Once the weather warms up, we’ll really be enjoying ourselves!


Fly-In at Casa Grande

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012


Casa Grande

March 3, 2012

Today we went to the Fly-In at Casa Grande with our friend, Al.  It was a nice day although there was a cold wind blowing.  They had a tractor-drawn shuttle for us to sit on and ride around among all of the planes. 

Bob’s Mom worked for Spartan Aviation in the years before the USA joined WWII training English RAF fighter pilots.  This Corsair is like the one that she trained the advanced English RAF pilots to fly.




She also ferried B25’s over to England. This B25 is similar to what she flew.  Bob says he thinks she made the flight at least twice – maybe more.

B 25

B25 too

B25 also

This Fairchild 24 is similar to the one that Bob was given to fly when he was 16.  Bob says he thought they were very poor, but now looking back he thinks  maybe they weren’t so poor after all!  He had to work for the privilege to fly, however.

Fairchild 24 with Bob; Al under the wing

There were a lot of interesting airplanes there.

A fly by

Taxiing in


Getting in place to tie down






The front wheel on these airplanes fold up and the nose sits in the wheel on the ground.  When they want to take off, they lift the nose up, pop the wheel down and climb on in.

A Modern Aircraft

It was a fun day.


Andy and Chris visit Casa Grande

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Casa Grande

February 24 – 27, 2012

My brother, Andy, and his friend, Chris, came to visit.  We enjoyed having them, and the weather definitely cooperated.  One day, we went to Casa Grande Ruins.

Andy and Chris

Three among the saguaros

Touring the ruins


Another day we had our Foothills West friends over for a barbecue.


Chris, Earl and Alex

Alex and Jenny

Paula, Steve and Al

Steve, Al, and Bob

The last day was really sunny and warm and we spent the day in the pool.  Andy’s friend Earl came by and stayed in the Park for the night so hopefully everybody had a good time.    Thanks for coming, Andy!

Old Tucson Studios – Tucson, Arizona

Saturday, February 11th, 2012



February 10, 2012

Today our friends Ray and Evelyn joined us in a visit to Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona. 

Bob and K.C. at Old Tucson Studios


Evelyn and Ray


Exploring Main Street

Old Tucson was built in 1939 as a filming location for the movie Arizona starring William Holden and Jean Arthur.  After Arizona, Old Tucson lay dormant under the desert sun until it was revived briefly in 1945 for the film, The Bells of St. Mary’s starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.  In the late 1940’s, Old Tucson Studios came to life.  Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart and Ronald Reagan were a few of the actors who starred in movies filmed there.  The 1950’s found the western movie era in full swing.  Such classics as the Gunfight at Ok Corral starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas; and The Lone Ranger, The Lost City of Gold, and Cimarron starring Glenn Ford were filmed at Old Tucson.

Since 1940, well over 200 movies and television shows have been filmed at Old Tucson including Gunfight at the OK Corral (several different versions over the years), Lone Ranger, the Lost City of Gold, Rio Bravo, Have Gun Will Travel, El Dorado, Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Mark of Zorro, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Harlem Globetrotters, Little House on the Prairie, The New Mavorick, Buffalo Soldiers, Calamity Jane, Highway to Heaven, Revenge of the Nerds, Cowboy Up, and The Three Amigos just to name a few. 

At Old Tucson Studios we strolled along the dirt streets and wooden boardwalks of Main Street.

Evelyn, Ray and Bob on Main Street

Main Street


The Toltec Mine


Main Street

OK Corral Freight Depot

The Old School Room

Main Street




You never knew when you might run into saloon girls and cowboys,

Pretty Saloon Girl


Saloon Girls and Cowboys

or some old horse thief,

Justice for a horse thief

or make friends with one of the natives,

Ray makes a friend

or have dust kicked in your face by one of those dad-blamed horseless buggies!

Motorized buggy

or find somebody skipping school again.

K.C. is skipping school again!

There are the usual tourist attractions such as sweets shops, old-style mercantiles selling souvenirs, and old-style bars and saloons.  You can also take a ride on a horse, a train, or a child-size model T car.  We took a ride on the train,

The Train

and passed the road to High Chaparral.

Road to High Chaparral

Throughout the day, skits are enacted at different locations about the town.  I was very impressed by the talented actors in the skits.  The skits were quite well done.

We listened to the stagecoach driver warning us about the inconveniences of traveling on a stagecoach.

Describing to the passengers what to expecton a stagecoach trip

Since February of this year is the centennial of Arizona’s statehood, there was a presentation at the courthouse reliving the speech given by the first Governor of the state. 

The Governor’s speech was interrupted by a parade of women demanding the right to vote and prohibition,

Women for the vote and prohibition

followed by a parade of men protesting against prohibition.

Men against prohibition

We enjoyed watching a short play solving the mystery of The Secret of Santa Maria.  At some point in this play, every actor fell off the roof!

The Sheriff and the deputy

The sheriff takes a break

What is the secret of Santa Maria?


Breaking her brother out of jail


She just wants them to listen to her!


Chasing the bad guys


Taking the fight to the roof


Shot right off the roof!

After a fun afternoon, we bought some fudge and headed for the gate.

Evelyn, I want one of these horseless buggies!

The Old Tucson Studios is worth a visit.  Plan to arrive at opening in order to see all of the skits and talks scheduled throughout the day.

We enjoyed our day and our time with our friends Ray and Evelyn.