Tuesday, March 28, 2017


March 14th thru the 26th.
Lost Dutchman State Park and Canyon Lake.

While still at McDowell Mountain there was this bird that had a habit of flying up 3-4 feet then diving back to the perch. We have seen Phainopepla do this when eating bugs, but this looked more like a mating ritual.

March 15th had us moving from McDowell Mountain to Lost Dutchman State Park.

This is the view as you enter Lost Dutchman State Park.

Sandy took this picture from inside the LD to show the view we have from the Motorhome. We were here once before, and by luck got a site with a good view of the mountains. This time we made reservations 6 months ago and this was one of only two sites available, we lucked out again.

Enjoying the view of the Superstition Mountains.

Even though the Superstition Mountains are great to see during the day, it’s at sunset that the MAGIC appears.

These are pinnacles along the top of the mountain.

On our way to Canyon Lake for a boat ride. The land is now made up of green and yellows. This turned out to be a perfect day to be on the water as the temperature was 81 degrees with a slight breeze.

Ocotillo in full bloom.

This was the boat we rented for a half day (5 hours). They also rent fishing boats and pontoons. All can be rented by the hour, half day or full day.

We are moving across the main lake for a 10-mile ride through the canyons to the Apache Lake Dam. We never got to see the dam as it was around the corner from where the buoys stopped us from going further upstream. This is an interesting boat ride because of the different rock formations and vegetation along the way.

There also were a few kayakers on the water.

There were a few spots where it narrowed down to 100 to 150 feet wide. All the rock hazards were well marked.

Dave hard at work navigating the treacherous narrows…..

and Sandy enjoying the beautiful day on the water. Sandy must be feeling real comfortable with boat skills today, as she usually wears a life vest when in the bath tub. Just kidding.

Can you see the pink blooms of the hedgehog cactus?

Again, thank goodness for telephoto lenses.

Back out on the main lake there were several groups of grebe on the water.

While eating at the restaurant it was interesting to watch this couple paddle boarding with their dog. When we first saw them, the dog was on the man’s board. They brought their boards together and the dog smoothly crossed from one board to the other, and no one ended up in the water.

Canyon Lake from a lookout as we headed home.

On March 23rd , the weather finally broke. We woke up to a 50  degree morning and we had .22 inches of rain last night. The high today was 65 degrees. Other than yesterday, this is the first day since March 9th that the high hasn’t been between 90 to 95 degrees. In the morning, there were some clouds covering part of the Superstition Mountains giving it a different look with all the yellows in front.

The next day, we met Vern and Ruthie and went to supper at the Organ Stop Pizza. This is a 5 million dollar instrument that has 6 thousand pipes, numerous percussions and countless traps. It is the largest Wurlitzer organ in the world. What looks like TV screens around the organ are actually glass louvers that open to let out the sound of the pipes playing at any particular time. It was an amazing experience to watch and listen. The pizza was pretty good too!

Ruthie, Sandy, Dave and Vern.

The next day was another beautiful day so we took an opportunity to take a ride up to Payson and stopped at the Saguaro Lake Marina for lunch. Very good food, and Sandy took a chance on the fish which she said was excellent. Our friends, Pat and John, can attest to our bad luck ordering fish.

Until next time,
Dave and Sandy

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Feb 28th thru March 14th

We are at McDowell Mountain Regional Park and checked in at site #36. This park is 4 miles north of Fountain Hills, AZ and after spending a couple weeks here we have definitely decided to come back.

One of the camp hosts has a small rock art collection., a roadrunner, scorpion and Gila monster.

As we passed thru the Phoenix area we stopped in Glendale at B&M Bumper and Hitch to order a new tow bar and set up an appointment to check out the SMI Brake system. (I had called three places in San Diego and they said they would check to see if they could get what I needed. Not a one called back.) B&M said they would have the tow bar and necessary adaptor brackets the next day and could check out the SMI at that time. I have been having a problem with the tow brake system, after I adjust the brake module and drive a few miles they would stop working. We have an indicator light in the RV that lights up when the towed brakes come on and they were not coming on. Mike, the tech, checked it out and said it seemed to be working fine. Now I will take it out on the road and check it out.

We spent half the day driving around in the RV towing the car, trying out the brakes and finding we have the same problem of them working for a few miles and then not working again. After a while it seemed that they would stop working after 5-10 miles. Then I got to wondering if it could be a time issue. Sure enough, I reset the brake, drove a couple hundred feet to be sure the brakes worked and pulled alongside the road and waited 15 minutes. When I started up again and applied the brakes they were not working. So, it’s my guess it’s a time related problem. While talking with Mark at SMI, he asked what vehicle I was driving, after I told him, he said he thought he knew what the problem is. Most of the cars circuitry shuts down 10 minutes after the door is closed, but is reactivated when you open the door. He said the original installer probably has the indicator light hooked up to the wrong circuit. So, we took the car back to B&M and had them check it out again knowing what we thought is wrong. They rewired the indicator light and all is good now. They did not find the problem the first time because they never closed the door and let it set for ten minutes. At least I’m glad that the brakes have always been working and it was just the light that was a problem.

We knew that Jim and Gayle, whose blog we have followed for quite a while, were in the campground so we set out to find them. We stopped at their site but they were out on a hike, so we left a card. The next day we went by again and they were home. While we visited some, they said they had sent us a message about coming over for Happy Hour later that afternoon. Another couple, Alex and Ellen, were there and later another couple, Pat and Maya.

Jim and Gayle

They showed us a Hummingbird nest next to their camp site. The nest is about the size of a large egg. You can make out her bright green on the back of her head.
When we stopped by a couple days later to get a better picture we all discovered that the nest was gone. We figure a crow or raven must have gotten her and the nest. So sad as Jim and Gayle were so looking forward to seeing the eggs hatch.

One day Dan and Paula invited us to Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek for a ranger guided flower hike. We were a little early in the season for lots of bloom, but we did get to see most of the species in the area, especially the “belly flowers”, so called because you have to get on your belly to see them. Thanks, Keith, for the guided hike. There are at least 8 trails, 2 of which parallel Cave Creek which have very lush vegetation, especially this year, and huge saguaro cacti.

 Paula, Dan, Dave and Keith, our guide.

Dan is listening to Keith explain about the Ruins that we stopped at. Here Keith was showing the layout of the walls of the buildings. This site had already been excavated by a team from the University of Arizona, but a few small pottery shards still can be found. Just be sure to leave them there. The Native Americans inhabited this site between 1,000 and 1,200 A.D.


After the hike, we stopped by Janey’s in Cave Creek for music and lunch, both were good. You have to know where this place is to find it. Then we drove to Carefree to walk the Carefree Desert Gardens and some snooping in the shops surrounding it. After that, we went to Dan and Paula’s to visit. Later Karl and Deb came over and Dan grilled Chicken, Sausage and Asparagus for a delicious dinner.
Deb, Karl, Dave, Paula and Dan. It was a great day with friends.

The sunsets are still amazing here, but we also get some beautiful sunrises.
Sunset behind the McDowell Mountains.

Sunrise behind Four Peaks.

For dinner one night, we tried a place called The Hill’s Pizza and Desserts in Fountain Hills. The pizza was great and we happened to come on their Monday night special, half price pizza, domestic beer was $1 and other beer was $2. We walked out spending $17, plus a generous tip, for a large pizza and 3 beers.

There are a couple things that Sandy and I miss from our large motorhomes, Sandy misses the washer and dryer and I miss having a recliner. The recliner is somewhat taken care of with a swivel base I purchased from Sportsmobile in Fresno, CA. Now, I just have to figure out a washer/dryer for Sandy. Any suggestions, Ron. And I don’t think a wash board and tub is going to cut it.



One day when in town to do laundry in Mesa, we got a text from friends Vern and Ruthie that they were at the McDowell Mountain Casino. We gave them a call and decided to meet them there and have them follow us back to the campground. It was nice to spend a couple hours visiting and catching up on what’s been happening in our lives. We plan to get together again after we move down to Lost Dutchman State Park later this month.

We have not been doing a lot of hiking, but we did the Scenic Trail hike here in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. It is a 4.2-mile hike of moderate difficulty. Here again things are just starting to bloom.

Mexican Poppies

Hedgehog about to bloom.

This was taken up on top of the Scenic Trail. The Fountain Hills Fountain is about 4 miles from where I took the picture.

One of the "World's Highest Fountains" sends a snow-white jet stream of water 560 feet into the blue desert sky. It is the Centerpiece and landmark of Fountain Hills, a community of rolling hills and spectacular mountain views located just east of Scottsdale, Arizona, thirty miles from downtown Phoenix.
The performance of The Fountain exceeds its nearest rivals. At Canberra, Australia, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet attains an operating height of 450 feet, while in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Le Jet D'Eau has a maximum height of 435 feet, New York City's Delacourte Fountain Rises 400 feet, and Pittsburg's new Point Fountain, 500 feet.
At 560 Feet, being one of the "World's Highest Fountains" it is 5 feet taller than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It reaches 110 feet higher than the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt, and is more than 3 times as high as Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone Park.

A view of the Campground from the Scenic Trail.

Towards the end of our hike, we spotted our first Western Diamondback Rattlesnake of the season. It was getting pretty agitated with all the hikers and bikers on HIS trail. It won’t hurt our feelings if it’s the last rattlesnake we see.

Until next time,
Dave and Sandy