Thursday, April 24, 2014

Last Week in Mesa

It's our last week here at Mesa Spirit RV Resort.  This was the last time on this trip that we will stay for a prolonged period of time in any one place - from here on out we are on the move, a week here, a few days there, its go, go, go from now until August, when we will arrive back in Dayton.

The week has been pretty uneventful.  I was sick for a few days so I made some comfort food....chicken and dumplings....

and one afternoon Noel took me out for ice cream...

Ice cream!!
One afternoon we hit a few garage sales and estate sales in the area, and lucked upon a native storyteller figurine.  These figurines are handcrafted by several different native american tribes and depict the importance of passing down the stories of their ancestors.  Noel really liked the one our friends Ron and Chris have, but the ones we have seen in Santa Fe and around here have been pretty expensive.  We lucked out and found this one, signed by the artist, for only $15!  It reminds Noel of the children's librarians when he worked at outreach, so its kind of a two-for-one memory!

The storyteller we bought at an estate sale

We saw an ad for a farmers market, so we thought we would go to pick up some fresh produce, etc.  It was a farm alright, but not much of a market.  It was more of a wedding venue and restaurants, with some organic produce being grown for use by the restaurants.  But it was pretty and we bought some fresh bread and had fun watching families have some easter egg hunts.

Its amazing that oranges and grapefruits grow everywhere around here - I always think of citrus as being a Florida thing....

Grapefruit just growing at a street corner

I stayed up late to see the eclipse one night....

The "blood moon"

And since I wasn't feeling good, I spent my down time making jewelry and working on my cross-stitch project and reading a lot...

The jewelry is for sale....inquiries welcome!

The cross stitch project I've been working on for 5 years now....

Noel's mom and dad had a trailer and camped a lot in their retirement, and one of the things we brought with us was the sign they used to put out at their campsites.  It sometimes confuses the neighbors when we introduce ourselves as Noel and Anna when the sign clearly says Bob and Loretta, but its a little piece of mom and dad Noel likes to have with him.

Noel's parents' sign that we take with us for luck/nostalgia

We've picked up a few gifts for folks along the way, and we thought of our friend Randy when we saw these hot sauces (hope he doesn't read the blog before he gets the package!) - 

We've driven 14,000 miles already, so it was time to take the diesel in for an oil change, tire rotation, etc.  Found out the truck had a cracked tie rod (we knew we heard a strange clunking sound).  It was an unexpected expense, but we are sure glad we found out now, and not while pulling the trailer down a steep mountain side!  Those prayers for our safety and well being are working, so keep em coming!

We checked out a few of the other RV resorts in the area in case we come back next year, and even a few open houses and park models in case we decide to purchase.  I really like it here.  The weather is awesome, and unlike Florida, there are no mosquitoes, sand fleas, flies, love bugs, etc. to bother you, and no humidity.  I hope to become a snowbird for sure, but moving here could be a possibility if living two places is cost prohibitive.

And of course I had to take some more sunset pictures, and the saguaro cactus are all in bloom so had to get pictures of those!  Actually, all of Mesa is in bloom - there are flowers everywhere!

Sunset between two cactus arms

Saguaro cactus blossoms

So we've battened down the hatches and will head to Sedona on Saturday, then Flagstaff the week after, then Page the week after that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Arizona is Not Just for Snowbirds

This week we learned that a world-renowned birding area is just south of Tucson and is home to thousands of different kinds of birds as they begin their Spring migration.  We figured since we may never be here again, we should take advantage of the opportunity.  The area is called Madera Canyon and its located in the Santa Rita Mountains, close to the Mexican border.

We found a Groupon for the Sonoran Desert Museum, so we made a weekend of it.  The Desert Museum is located in Tucson and was worth the trip.  Not only does it showcase the many types of plants found in the desert on its 2 acre grounds, but it has a "cave" to explore and live animal exhibits.

The cave entrance

Museum Cave

My what big bat ears you have Anna!

Examples of the many minerals and gemstones
found in the Sonoran Desert

Petrified sloth poop, but to the untrained eye, it
looks more like Wooly Mammoth poop, right Jean? :)

Lots of cactus and desert plants are in bloom right now....

And the scenery was beautiful....It was VERY hot that day (the desert is hot! Who knew?), so they have free sunscreen dispensers in the bathrooms and stations to refill your water bottles!

We saw some live animals, some as part of the museum, and some just visiting.

Prairie dogs live in the desert too!

This guy is just a visitor

Look familiar?

A Harris Hawk

No, two Harris Hawks! Cool

Bye bye Harris Hawk!  Thanks for posing for pictures!

There were lots of hummingbirds!

I took 10 photos of this one before the red showed up in the sun.  
Otherwise he looks kind of dull

A baby in the nest - not even two inches tall and about
as big a round as a 50 cent piece!  Old eagle eye spotted this one!
Good eye Noel!

This lizard reminds me of Simba, overlooking his domain

I hope to see one of these in the wild before we leave Arizona

Trivia Question:  What song mentions the "White Winged Dove"?

We spent the night at a Comfort Inn in Tucson, and the next morning got up before 6 am to head to Madera Canyon to do some bird watching.  

Heading up the trail, water packs on.

It wasn't long before we stopped to drink!

We saw lots of birds and there dozens of other people on the trails that helped us identify some of the birds we were seeing.  I guess we were really lucky to see this Elegant Trogon!  Not only had we never seen it before, Noel had never even heard of it before (and he knows everything!).  It wasn't even in our North American Bird guide.

We also saw dozens of warblers and tiny, flitting birds!  Now before you go and think, wow, she is such a good photographer, most of my pictures were like this:

Out of focus....

See that tiny bird?  No?  That's because its already gone!  I have a
lot of these shots!  Those little suckers are fast!

Or lots of butt shots.  I swear they wouldn't turn around on purpose!

Someone told us this is a Red Start.  It doesn't look like the ones
in our book, so not sure what it is.

A thrush

Click on pics to make them bigger.  This is a pretty warbler of some type

I liked the Mexican Blue Jays.  They are big and practically posed while I tried to find them in the viewfinder, zoom in, focus and then shoot.

We saw people taking pictures of something on the ground.  It was a Gila Monster!  A big fat one!

After our morning hike, we drove to Tubac, Arizona for some lunch and some art browsing.  Tubac is a cute little historic mining town with a large artist community.  Because it is so close to the border with Mexico, there is a large influence of Mexican art as well, which is so colorful!

Now that's a bird I can photograph!

I bought some Chili Chocolate Honey Caramel.  OMG!  You must try it!

So colorful

Hey!  Who's THAT guy?

So today is laundry, rest, read and make jewelry day!  Enjoy your week!