Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BACK IN PHOENIX AREA. McDOWELL MOUNTAIN REGIONAL PARK


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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

INDIO, CA AND JOSHUA TREE NP

Feb 24th - 26th


On Friday the 24th we drove to Indio, CA to spend three days before heading back to the Phoenix area. When we got to town the first thing we did was wash the car, then got something to eat and lastly buy groceries as we were out of some staples of life, like cereal and ICE CREAM!!! We also had to stop at the Shields Date Garden for some dates.

Saturday, we took a day trip to Joshua Tree NP. Whenever we are in the area we try to go there even if we are not camped in the park. It has such beautiful scenery with the rounded rocks and Joshua trees. Our advice is to avoid the weekends if possible. There were more people than ants on an ant hill. We left Indio which is about sea level and when we got to Keys View we were at 5185 elevation. It was breezy and cool.

The JTNP is unique in that it has 2 distinctly different eco zones. The southern half is part of the Colorado Desert and the northern half is Mojave Desert where the huge rock formations and Joshua trees exist.


The Pinto mountains and Colorado Desert.


We have this picture in our January 2015 blog from a slightly different angle, but we think you can still see a porpoise, killer whale and a barn owl.


 That’s me on top of the rock, just kidding, I get a sick feeling just looking over the railing on the second floor at Mall of America.


How about a Ninja Turtle face?


 A nice campsite in Jumbo Rock campground.


 The Joshua trees are thick on the road to Keys View.





We wondered  if this rock will still be perched here in 10 years.




 Until next time,
Dave and Sandy

Sunday, February 26, 2017

ANZA-BORREGO STATE PARK (PART 3)

ANZA-BORREGO STATE PARK (PART 3)

Feb 20rd to the 23rd.

On February 20th we came back to the state park for 4 more days. Because we were too early to check in we stopped at the visitors’ center and happened to park next to another Lazy Daze. 







When we came back out they were in their RV so we knocked on the door and introduced ourselves. Brian and Renee have a 2006 red RB Lazy Daze. We got a call from them later in the afternoon to see if we wanted to stop by after dinner for some wine and visit. We did and had a great time visiting.

The next afternoon we invited Brian, Renee and Eric and Helma (Who we had met earlier and who own a 2011 teal RB Lazy Daze) to join us for a 4 o’clock happy hour. It was a lot of fun to visit and hear everyone’s opinions on their LD’s and RV’ing in general. We sat and visited until 6 o’clock.

Dave, Helma, Brain, Eric and Renee.


After hearing reports of people seeing the Bighorn Desert Sheep we decided to take the 3 mile round trip hike back to the Palm Canyon Oasis. There are only about 200 of these sheep left in the world.

The following pictures are from our hike to Palm Canyon Oasis. There were a few plants blooming here in the desert but it will take a little more heat for the blooming to really get going.


A Beaver Tail Cactus just getting ready to bloom.




Another desert beauty next to an Ocotillo.



Our goal in the distance is Palm Canyon Oasis and it’s still about one-half mile away.



Someone walking by offered to take our picture while we were resting in the shade. She saw us sitting there and just offered which was very nice of her.


Bullock's Oriole, we could hear it but could not see it.



We finally made it to the Oasis.


A small waterfall at the Oasis.


Landscaping by Mother Nature is always the best.



We saw about a dozen rams in this group. A little further away we saw some ewes and lambs but they were too far away to get any decent pictures.






Thursday the 23rd was our last day here and Eric and Helma joined us in a drive to the Borrego Bad Lands. Some interesting landscapes.









Until next time,
Dave and Sandy