Arizona Family, Friends & New Friends

We drove from Winslow to Tonapah the next day. We stayed with my husband’s cousin and his wife for a couple of nights. It was great to exchange the snow, ice and wind for the warmth and family in the Arizona Desert! We met one of their friends which care takes over the summer months, and found him to be a wonderful story teller. Having spend time in Vietnam during the war I had many questions, that were answered with    “ he’s been there” opinions, and was just mesmerized by his stories of the not only the war, but his life in the Arizona Desert!   Our second day in Tonopah was not hot by any means, but warmer than home. The rain sprinkled, so they said, but I felt maybe two drops! Watching the goats and chickens were great, just basically free range, and they do get into some predicaments. We did take a drive out in the desert and saw some wonderful places to build, and/or purchase, but I think it’s just a little too “Wild West” for me, although, we really did enjoy dinner at the pub up the road…”Tin Roof” which proved to have awesome food, great Karaoke, and cold cold beer on tap! Always so good to spend time with family, and friends. Makes it extra special when they are great cooks too!

March 11th we were back on the road again on a short drive to visit our long time friends, and our travel companions (on more than one trip) in Casa Grande Arizona. They were not at home when we arrived, but made sure we could get into the house, to enjoy the warmth and view from the patio. We drank a few ice cold brewski’s and were entertained by golfers hacking their way down the 17th fairway as the sun set.

It was a great evening spent reminiscing and planning the next few days. Unfortunately, time just didn’t permit us to wait a week to travel to Mexico with them, but I think that may get serious consideration on our next road trip to the south.  The 12th had us traveling down the highway, out to Montana Mountain near Superior, with another couple to side X sides. We found the staging area, which was an adventure in itself, and that is always the fun of it!   The desert is hard to navigate in, after awhile, it begins to all look the same.   After unloading we headed up into the hills. My Garmin said we clocked over 60 km that day, and the views were spectacular around every turn, and over every hill. We went through such different vegetation as we continued our ascent.

We found a lookout near the top, where we stopped, unloaded and had our picnic lunch overlooking the valley. The views do not get any better than this!

montana mountain

The next day, our friends had plans, so we had a day of leisure, which was wonderful. Sometimes the go, go, go of traveling can be exhausting. We decided that our tires were wearing a little quicker than we liked, and after having seen a fellow changing a tire, on the driver’s side, with vehicle, at 70 miles an hour driving past him we decided to put new boots on the truck and did some laundry. I made it an early night, and got a wonderfully long, comfortable sleep and was ready for our next adventure. Maureen had plans to hike Picachu the next morning, and having done the hike a few years earlier, I elected not to join her and her friends. The day was pretty relaxing, and had Derek, Gary and I going to the Thirsty Donkey for lunch, (we thought about Maureen on her climb with the tarantula wasps, that live on Picachu for only a minute before we started pouring beer into ice cold glasses. It is such an interesting pub/bar. One could actually try about 70 different kinds of beer on tap, which of course you picked and chose which beer, and how much you wanted by holding a paid token up to the beer you choose, and putting only as much as you wanted into your glass. Needless to say, we didn’t try the Peanut Butter Beer!  The food was pretty spectacular as well, If in the area, I would suggest checking the Thirsty Donkey!

Sitting around, and checking out things to do, it was apparent I should cross one more thing off my bucket list with a tandem Sky Dive in Eloy, just minutes down the freeway from Casa Grande – so I phoned and booked a jump for 10 a.m! Gary and Derek thought it would be a wonderful idea, and texting Maureen to see if she wanted me to book a spot for her, it was only seconds before the NO was text back! Looks like I was going it alone.

Once Maureen returned home, and showered up from her hike up the mountain we headed out to some outlet malls in search of Children’s cowboy boots. We didn’t find any boots, but we did find a Dairy Queen, which is always a great stop and rest in the Arizona heat!   On our way back we did find another store that we pulled into, and they did sell boots, exactly what we were looking for, although the price (60 American) was a little steep for this grandma to purchase 3 pairs, which the kids would outgrow after one season of rodeo’s and stampedes!   Needless to say, they did not have any size 5 or 6 anyways, so we shall continue to search, possibly going across the border into Algodones Mexico as we arrive in that area. Although a little windy, it was warm and we sat on the patio to watch the sunset again, had some laughs, and then went in for a wonderful barbequed steak dinner! Derek has got to be one of the best chefs at the barbeque that I know…..

I have to admit, first thought on my mind when I woke in the morning was the thought of jumping out of an airplane. However, I did get myself calmed down and got ready for the day, which I thought pants and t-shirt would be a better choice than a sun dress or shorts. It may be a little chilly, and windy, leaving the airplane at 13000 feet, and free falling for 60 seconds before pulling the chute! So long story short, we arrived at the site, I did the short course, which was a video, and filled in all the paper work to say my family, or really anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life, would be content not pursuing a lawsuit if I splattered on the ground. There was a lot of reading, initials and signing! Then we sat and waited, and waited and waited. It was pretty interesting watching all the jumpers, some coming down as quickly as they went up, others floating around, taking in the views. Long story short, there were some clouds in the sky, and the wind came up, and at 2:30 they cancelled the tandem jumps. I was not angry as I know it was for the safety of all, however, I was very disappointed.

We did say goodbye to our friends in the parking lot, and we were on our way on Interstate 8 to Yuma to meet up with more friends that winter in an RV park there. Arriving in Yuma, we pulled onto a side road to contact our friends. As it turned out, we just needed to drive down the road another ½ mile, and pull into their park! We got a site across the street from them, and went to get a few groceries before coming back, setting up and joining them for a wonderfully home cooked meal of stew and homemade buns! I love homemade buns! It was a wonderful evening visiting and catching up. These snowbird parks don’t look so bad, and have all the amenities that anyone could ask for, including the warm weather, desert plants and views.   We said goodbye on the 17th, and moved a little southwest of there to Somerton where Gary’s cousin and wife from Tonapha were camped out. After setting up in the yard of their friends, we got in Kelly’s truck and headed to over the border into Algodones Mexico.
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What a crazy little place this is. Thousands of Canadians and Americans alike come across the border here to get teeth fixed or replaced, eyeglasses, prescription drugs etc. There appears to be hundreds of outlets for all sorts of these things. The worst part is people on the street, about every 5 feet, try to give you cards to get new teeth! Just the the guys in Vegas giving out cards for the escorts!  But alas, we were in search of kids cowboy boots this time! I found a great deal of art to purchase, however, as usual, didn’t buy any of it. We did however find some boots. Again, a little more than what I anticipated spending, but, we have them, and the search can cease! Real leather, and awesome looking boots.   Hopefully they will be able to wear them at least a season and a half, although at 2 and 3 years old, I don’t expect that will happen.  I was not the only one to spend money. Others were wanting to spend money south of the border as well.

IMG_3192 With our shopping done, we sit down at an outside pub/restaurant for a couple of cold cervesas. Before we even order, I hear what seems to be an ice cream truck, but only seconds later, I realize its “Scotland the Brave” on bagpipes! As they come out onto the main street I see it’s a parade of Canadians in kilts, playing bagpipes, and banging on their drums – just not what I expected to see in Mexico!

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Arriving back at Danny and Mindy’s we go around into the back yard and enjoy a pleasant evening with the hosts and others that had gathered for a few cocktails, around the glass fire pit, and finished off with hotdogs, and a few more cold ones.   It’s a beautiful house and yard, and trees of almost every description, including grapefruit, which were in full fruit, and ripe for the picking, which Gary did for breakfast!

The next morning we went a short distance to visit Pat and Liz.  Again, cannot believe the hospitality we are shown. Always good to be able to visit with those we don’t see enough of at home!   Just as we were leaving there, the jets started on their warm up missions for the Air Show. I thought we would stay a few more hours in the area to partake in that event, but Gary was anxious to move down the highway a few more miles.  Pacific Coast here we come!

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