Wow! I’m way behind in blogging! It’s been 2 weeks since my last post (sounds like a confession!)
We finished up our stay in Casa Grande on the fifteenth and made our way 90 miles south to the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson where we attended the 59th Escapade…a convergence of Escapee’s members (830 rigs in attendance).
We manned a booth Sunday through Wednesday and were crazy busy…not just because of this rally but also because we had a rally going on in Las Vegas (Grand Design owners) that we had a rep and installers at. And of course…we had all of our regular non-rally business going on. Let’s put it this way…we made our monthly sales goal by the 20th of the month!
The Escapade has an opening and closing ceremony plus entertainment most nights. We attended the opening ceremony and the entertainment that evening (an Irish band) and had plans to try and attend a few of the other nights but by the time we were done at the booth each day, visited customers trailers afterward, got home, cooked dinner, etc…we just wanted to relax at home.
Great dinner partners!
The day after we arrived there was a dinner for the vendors which we attended (as we did last year). We sat with two other couples and had a really enjoyable time getting to know them. It’s a small world when 3 couples sit at the same table (never met before) and all happen to have ties to another couple.
During our discussions we figured out that we all knew Dave & Tracy one way or another. We happen to house their RV Water Filter Store product in our warehouse, Jim & Kim happen to ‘base’ out of the same Escapees park in Jojoba Hills, CA and the other couple purchased their old trailer last year. Small world!
PTB was one of the official sponsors of the Escapade this year and I think it turned out well for us. We sponsored the rally app which is used by hundreds during the rally to determine what events to attend, who to contact about what, what time and location events we at, etc. Our logo was on banners displayed around the rally hall as well as on the ‘big’ screen during slide shows. A very good opportunity for us.
Michael doing what he does best…
The Escapade officially ended on Friday but many people pulled out starting on Thursday…we stuck around until Saturday the 23rd.
We played catch up all day on Thursday and Friday morning. Friday Michael insisted that we run away and go see a movie (I didn’t fight too hard). We saw ‘Greta’…wow…eerie and kept us engrossed the whole time. Worth a watch.
Being Friday (Lent) we also stopped at Hana Tokyo (right outside the movie theater doors) for dinner. Michael ordered hibachi salmon and I had the hibachi shrimp and scallops. It was a great way to end a very busy week.
The following day was ‘moving day’. However…we only had 60ish miles to travel. Since we’d been in a 30 amp and water site for the previous 8 days we needed to dump before heading out. We were a bit worried that there would be a super long line at the dump station but we lucked out and there was only 1 vehicle ahead of us.
We waited about 10 minutes or so and then got our turn. In total it took us about 30 minutes and we were on our way….destination: Stronghold Ranch, Cochise, Arizona.
And that’s where I’ll stop…you’ll just have to wait for the next excerpt! 🙂
Last week was quiet week personally but we were quite busy with PTB stuff…we’re almost mid-way to this months sales goal…and we’re not even half way through the month! Woohoo! Now lets just hope we keep up that momentum.
Michael continued working on his basement project (he’s got three now…so this will be an on-going project for a while. He’s still work on the front basement and has the new wall framed in, his air compressed secured in place, a switch in place so he can turn the compressor on and off and of course all the wiring bundled nicely. He’s hoping to have this completed before we leave her on Friday…I’m not so hopeful. :-/
The movie this week was ‘The Kid’. We went thinking it was a movie about Billy the Kid. It was, to a degree but was more so about a ‘kid’ named Rio, who witnesses an encounter between Billy and his arch rival Pat Garrett. I have no idea if the movie is based on true events or not…but I enjoyed it a lot.
Eric about to hit a homer!
We also went to another Brewers game in Phoenix on Wednesday and they did not disappoint. The played the Diamondbacks and ended up pulling off a win of 5/4! It was a fun game to watch with Eric Thames knocking one WAY out of the field. We have just one more game to go to (this Thursday) and I bought a new shirt just for the occasion!
SO thrilled to be wearing a bib…but I needed it! LOL
On the way home we stopped at Joe’s Crab Shack for some seafood since it was Ash Wednesday. Michael ordered fish and chips but I went ‘all in’ and ordered one of their steam pots…oh my…never had one before…but I will again!
Delicious! MY DIL, Amanda, is gonna go to a Joe’s with me at some point…she just is finding that out as she read this!
It came with snow crab lets, Dungeness crab legs, shrimp, sausage (saved for later), red potatoes and corn on the cob. Oh yeah….and of course the pre-requisite BIB! So, so very good. I will definitely be reordering the next time we’re at a Joe’s…which isn’t very often. (twice in 34 years of marriage!)
Sunday morning we went up to the clubhouse for brunch again (have to sign up and pay in advance) and were surprised with an even big assortment of foods to choose from: fried eggs, pancakes, potatoes, biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, etc.
We sat with a couple who had their 6-year-old grand-daughter with them and a father/daughter (80/60?) duo. One couple was from Wyoming…the other from Minnesota and we all agreed that the cold here in Arizona is a different kind of cold as it seems to penetrate deeper down. Yeah…I know my northern friends and family will scoff at that idea…but it’s true…honest! LOL
We’ve actually had some beautiful weather lately…lows in the 40s and 50s which makes for great sleeping conditions and highs in the mid 70s…gorgeous. Soon we’ll be leaving Arizona (around 3/26 or so) and be making a trek east and north to visit the warehouse, Mike’s mom and of course our babies! So we’re going to enjoy the warmth while we can…cuz I don’t think it’s gonna be so nice once we start traveling. 🙁
Monday, February 25th was moving day…but we only had 145 miles to travel so we took it pretty easy getting going. As I was adding air to the hitch we were both standing there talking when someone came up behind us and asked if we were having problems.
Here we are with Ron & Rachel!
We turned to tell him, ‘No, just adding air.’ when we turned around he introduced himself and he turned out to be one of our customers who is our leading 50/50 referer. Turns out that they’d been kitty corner from us for the last couple of days and neither of us knew it until they saw our truck (with the PTB magnets) pull around to hitch up. We chatted with him and his wife for quite a while before we said our ‘goodbyes and see ya down the roads’.
Casa Grande RV Resort – site 345
We arrived at the Casa Grande RV Resort about 1:00 pm, got checked in by a very helpful young lady and then made our way to our site. We got backed into our site easily and settled in for the next 2.5 weeks. The site is quite spacious – plenty long for the coach and we’re able to park the truck out front, no problem. It’s also plenty wide so that we’ve got plenty of room between us and the neighbors.
The only down fall is that we’re backed up to a fairly busy road so there’s lots of traffic noise. There’s a brick wall that might damper some of the noise…but not much. On the plus side we don’t have a back window any longer so we don’t have to stare at the traffic all day! 🙂
After getting settled in we had some lunch and then went to work. The phone rang off the hook most of the day, which is pretty typical for a Monday….but I think it was even busier than usual this week.
By Wednesday things had slowed down enough for us to be able to go to a movie. This week we saw, ‘Run the Race‘. We didn’t know anything about it before seeing it other than it had a decent IMDB rating. It turned out to be a pretty good movie that we both enjoyed. It’s a ‘feel good’ movie about two teenager brothers trying to better their lives. Good stuff.
Afterward, we stopped at a local nail salon and had our toes tortured (ok…just me and my very ticklish feet were tortured). After all the years Michael had his feet encased in combat boots his toes need LOTS of help. The lady who worked on both of this week did a very nice job…we were both surprised at how well she did.
Heartland family dinner
The big treat of the day was meeting Heartland friends for dinner at Mimi’s Cafe. Kevin & Nelly were in town briefly dropping their coach off at a friends so that they could drive out to San Diego to visit their daughter and her family. We also found out that Dean & Jodi are also in town for the winter so we made plans with both couples.
Since Dean & Jodi are familiar with the area we let them choose the restaurant and the made a great choice. LOTS of options (everything sounded good) and I think everyone was very pleased with their choices. We visited for well over two hours. With lots of stories and laughter being shared.
On our way home we stopped at Lowes so that Michael could pick up more supplies for his basement project. It was nearly closing time so he was in a hurry. When he got back out to the truck to load his loot he placed his phone and the receipt on the back of the truck (you guessed it) and forgot them….and drove off.
He remembered about 1/2 way home so we retraced our steps but didn’t find anything. Our son, Dan, told us the next morning about an app that will help you find your phone. We used it and saw the phone was last located…so we, once again, retraced our steps. Nothing.
We set up my phone to receive Michael’s forwarded calls (PTB calls mostly), turned off Michael’s credit card (stored inside the back of his phone case along with his military ID) and ordered new phones that are due to be picked up on 3/8.
Yellich at bat!
The biggest reason we’re in Casa Grande is the proximity to Phoenix and baseball spring training. I tried to find a park in Phoenix to stay at but had no luck. The RV park we’re at is a little over an hours drive to the Maryvale Baseball Park where the Milwaukee Brewers play.
Back in December I purchased tickets to three games and we went to our first game on Thursday 2/28. We had nice seats behind home plate in the shade. The Brewers fell to the Giants 6-2 but we enjoyed being out in the gorgeous weather (72ish) watching the game nonetheless.
We journeyed to the top!
Saturday we headed east toward Florence, Arizona to visit a Roadside America spot. It was about a 30 mile drive but quite scenic. We were in search of the Pyramid Tomb of the Father of Arizona. Charles D. Poston was a significant lobbyist in the creation of the Arizona territory.
Before running out of funds, Poston, had intended to build a temple to the sun atop of Primrose Hill even going as far as writing to the Shah or Iran for help with funds. Needless to say Poston was labeled ‘eccentric’.
After business failures, Poston went into obscurity and when he died in 1902 he was buried in a pauper’s grave in Phoenix even after requesting to be buried atop Primrose Hill (now called Poston Butte or ‘F Mountain). On the anniversary of his 100th birthday in 1925 his body was exhumed and moved to a 14 foot tall pyramid that was built in his honor. He was buried inside the pyramid, facing the rising sun. His re-interment was attended by 1500 people, including the governor of Arizona.
I think we can…I think we can…
As we drove up to the parking area it was a bit intimidating to see the pyramid on top of that hill….I thought Michael was crazy for insisting that we scale the mountain but we set out on our hike. We took it slowly…stopping often to catch out breath and enjoy the views around us.
We did it!
It took us about 30 minutes to reach the top of the butte but we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the area around us. The city of Florence in the distance, several man-made ponds, a couple of ‘fields’ of solar panels, etc gave us plenty to discuss.
We sat along the edge of the pyramid for 10 minutes or so before heading back down to the parking area. Going down was quicker (about 20 minutes) and not nearly as exhausting but harder on the body in some ways.
After getting back to the truck we made our way to the second adventure for the day….the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. There is a $10 per person entrance fee but with Michael’s disabled vet pass we entered free of charge.
Before starting our tour we enjoyed a light lunch in the picnic area of the park. The picnic area is very nicely done, clean and well maintained. It was a gorgeous day for a picnic…sunny and mid 70s. We enjoyed our cheese, sausage, nuts, carrots, etc and had a nice rest after our trek up Poston Butte.
We had about 20 minutes to check out some of the displays at the visitors center before the next guided tour started. That also gave us time to stamp our National Parks Passport book.
Tour led by Barbara
We joined a group of about 20 other visitors in a guided tour by one of the park volunteers. Barbara, our tour guide, was knowledgeable and informative. The compound of ruins, the largest being the ‘Casa Grande’ (big house) is the most prominent structure, dates back to the 13th century and evidence shows it was abandoned by 1450.
The four-story structure would have been helpful in viewing the area around the compound as well as in viewing the stars and sky.
Some of the outlying ruins
Other walls/structures are still standing but have been covered in a protective caliche ‘shell’. The walls are actually about 4 feet below ground level as well. The ‘big house’ has had several attempts at preservation over the years…some not the brightest of ideas (concrete, steel bars, wood beams) all of which are still visible but have been left in place as now they have become part of history as well. No further attempts at preservation will be made as requested by the native people. When the structure finally tumbles…it will be left to tumble.
Casa Grande (big house) under the roofing structure
In 1932 a tall structure was built over the top of the ‘big house’ to try to protect it from the elements and it seems to be doing just that as it sprinkled a little bit while we were there and by standing under the structure we were kept completely dry. The ‘roof’ also protects the ruin from the harshness of the sun.
It was definitely an interesting visit and the ability to be able to walk around the various structures was a plus. I would recommend waiting for one of the guided tours as you get more information than if you take a self-guided tour.
No need to wash dishes!
The RV park we’re in has lots of activities and also offer meals several times a week. Sunday’s there is a brunch put on. For $6.00 each you get a nice breakfast and not dishes to do afterward. We decided to partake Sunday morning. Offerings included scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, ham and potatoes.
Another couple sat with us and we had a nice time getting to know them. They, like us, are only here for a short period and not ‘seasonal’. They’re from northwestern IL so we had quite a bit to chat about. It was a nice way to start our day…wouldn’t be surprised if we do it again before we leave.
We thought it was supposed to be warm in Arizona…not so much the last few days. Lows in the 20s, highs in the 40s and SNOW! We woke up Tuesday morning to a winter wonderland…we knew that snow had been predicted but I didn’t think it would actually happen.
There was a couple of inches covering the picnic table but once the sun came out it started melting and by mid-afternoon it was all gone! Whew.
However, being the slackers that we are…we didn’t prepare for the cold temps and left the hose out in the elements and ended up with a frozen hose…meaning no water. Normally, we would have brought the hose in and just used the water in the tank but because Michael has been remodeling the basement it was disconnected. Ugh!
We were able to see another movie this week (soon enough that won’t be able to happen as easily once rally season hits). This week we saw, ‘Alita: Battle Angel’. This was Michael’s pick as I wasn’t real interested in seeing it. I’m glad we went! It turned out to be really good and had me interested the entire time. Another one we’d recommend seeing.
Checking out one of the drones
Thursday we took the afternoon to check out Ft. Huachuca. There are several museums on post and we stopped at two of them…both very small and kinda blah. The third is the Military Intelligence museum which we’ll have to check out next time we’re here…let’s hope it’s better than the other two!
The one museum was all about drones – which was kind of interesting so we took a little more time there. The other was in honor of the Buffalo soldiers but really could have been done a lot better…definitely not enough information provided.
Carleton House – the oldest existing building on post, built in 1880.
Since the museums didn’t take us very long at all we decided to do the ‘Old Post Walking Tour’…however, since it was so cold we made it a driving tour. The post puts together a nice map with descriptions of all of the stops – most of which were originally housing – some still are and were all built over 100 years ago.
Despite their age most of the buildings are still in beautiful shape…the buildings that were originally barracks and are now admin buildings are definitely showing their age.
Wife of an Indian Scout
We also stopped that the post cemetery which has graves dating back to the mid-1800s. There are several graves of Indian Scouts and at least one of the wife of an Indian scout. We both just find it so interesting to roam through these grave sites and read the dates and the information provided on them…so much history!
‘Chicken’ turkeys…however, I for one was glad they were chickens!
It was pretty darn chilly roaming around the cemetery but we pressed on. There was a flock of about 24 turkeys roaming through the cemetery…thankfully they did not chase me down! These ones were actually pretty ‘chicken’ and ran the opposite direction anytime we got remotely near them. There were also 4 deer feeding in the cemetery (very small cemetery) who jumped the fence as soon as I got near. Cool place.
We ended the outing by hunting down the ‘blimp’. When we first arrived there was a blimp in the sky and we’ve since learning that it’s a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) and has been here since 1986 (Zack years old!) It sends information to NORAD and to border patrol. Michael was fascinated and we hadn’t seen it in the air lately so we hunted it down! We couldn’t get real close but we got close enough to satisfy his curiosity.
Taken after the snow started melting…the second snowfall
We received another snowfall on Friday. It started about 8:00 am and snowed all day…not letting up until late afternoon. It never got over 40 degrees so this time it stayed around a while. I think we got a total of about 4 or 5 inches and by Sunday it was mostly gone but still remnants here and there.
We had planned to do some site-seeing in the Bisbee/Hereford area on Saturday but after all the snow and cold we decided to just hang out at home and relax. We really like it here so I’m pretty sure we’ll be back here next year too…so we’ll just leave the few things left on our ‘To do’ list until then.
Partially framed wall
It was just as well that we stayed home…it gave Michael some more time to work in the front basement. I think he’s got everything just so and now just needs to ‘build a wall’. Ha! Last I checked it had started framing it in so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s finished with THAT basement. He’s got three others to go! :-/
We leave Monday morning and head north to Casa Grande for 2.5 weeks, which is about mid-way between Phoenix and Tucson. We’ve got tickets for 3 Brewers Spring Training games…had tried to find a place to stay a bit closer but had a hard time with the length of this new coach. But that’s ok…it’s not too bad of a drive.
We pulled out of the Fortuna de Oro RV Park in Yuma on Monday 2/11 about 9:20 am….after messing with the hitch that did not want to close. We have a Trailsaver TS3 Air Ride hitch and have had no problems with is over the last 7.5 years so this was unusual. Michael got out the WD-40 and squirted the jaws of the hitch down really well and we tried again and the hitch jaws closed perfectly!
Pit stop between Yuma and Ft. Huachuca.
We arrived at the Apache Flats RV Park on Ft. Huachuca Army post about 3:30 that afternoon. We got checked in very easily and made our way to site 1…our home for the next two weeks. Ft. Huachuca is just outside of Sierra Vista, Arizona.
We took the following days to just stay home. We got a lot of PTB work done as we have a couple of rallies coming up in March that needed to be wrapped up. PTB is getting busier and busier where we’re not just selling disc brake kits but also upgrading axles and suspension systems. Something that the original owner didn’t concentrate to heavily on but we’ve really started to highlight.
With no ‘adventures’ to take us away from home we were able to relax and also get more ‘home’ stuff done. Mostly little jobs like putting the new step covers on the steps, adding a hanger for a dust mop I picked up at the QZ show….etc.
Busy cleaning up wiring etc.
Michael was able to get into the basements are start ‘remodeling’ to his liking. Re-running pex to make more room, re-situating some equipment that was installed strangely and hard to get at, etc. This is the kind of stuff that he loves to do…so he was definitely in his happy place.
Later on in the week we did run away. On Valentine’s day (our 34th together) we went to see ‘Cold Pursuit‘ and also went out to dinner. We both really like Liam Neeson so it was only fitting that we see this movie…however, it wasn’t the normal Liam Neeson movie though. While it was the normal bad guys vs good guys it was also comedic…a little too silly in some places but we still enjoyed it overall.
Since our weekends are fairly quiet we spent Saturday in Tombstone..which is about a 25 mile drive from Fort Huachuca.
We started our visit at the Boothill Cemetery and enjoyed walking row by row. Admission is $3.00 and when you pay you’re given a small pamphlet that provides a listing (row by row, grave by grave) of the inhabitants…many are ‘unknown’ but others give the person’s name, date of death and cause of death.
Check out those causes of death.
We wandered for well over an hour…thankfully we had nice weather. Down the hill from the cemetery is a Jewish memorial/cemetery as well. The main cemetery has a small section for Chinese as there was a fairly large population of Chinese who moved to Tombstone during the ‘Silver Rush’.
The Bird Cage Theater
The remainder of the day was spent walking up and down the streets of ‘Old Tombstone’. We visited the Bird Cage Theater & Museum (a bit pricey at $14 each) but it was quite interesting to see the remnants of the old theater (built in 1881) as well as relics from days gone by. The original piano is still in place…can you believe it? The self-guided tour was especially enjoyable as we could take our time and
The balcony still had the original wallpaper (peeling off the walls), drapes, etc…kinda eerie
Much of the original furniture and props were still in place which made it very interesting. The table where the ‘longest poker game’ took place is in placed, covered with bills and coins tossed on it by visitors. Several ‘bordello’ rooms are viewable and visitors who take pictures are often rewarded with ‘orbs’ or ‘apparitions’ in their photos…me….not so much.
$25.00 for 1 month….that’s pretty steep!
Did you know in those days prostitution was legal in Arizona? The ‘ladies’ even had to have a license to ‘sell their wares’. LOL The license seemed to run anywhere from about $4.80 to about $25.00…not sure what the difference was….different services??
The Longhorn Restaurant
We had lunch at the Longhorn Restaurant (chicken fried steak & hamburger steak) which turned out pretty good. We each had a margarita too….prickly pear for me, green iguana for Michael….they were pretty darn good too.
One of many reenactments done on the street in honor of vigilante days.
It just so happened it was ‘Vigilante Days’ so there were a lot people running around in period costumes and there were skits going on in the middle of the street all throughout the day. We watched several but wouldn’t have seen anything else if we stayed to watch anymore.
We, of course, stopped by the OK Corral and checked out the various happenings: Blacksmith working on some projects, Fly’s photography studio, a prostitutes ‘crib’, a staged gunfight with dummies for gunslingers.
The ‘dummy’ gunfight
We also watched ‘Historama’ a show narrated by Vincent Price that details the history of Tombstone. While it was a bit ‘hokey’ it was actually pretty interesting and we both learned a lot from it.
Cowardly Ike McLaury caught in the act of running away from the gunfight.
After cruising around all of that it was time for the OK Corral Gunfight reenactment. The gentlemen that acted the parts of Wyatt Earp and his ‘gang’ along with the Clanton’s and McClaury’s did a great job and really made it fun too. We’d highly recommend this adventure – at $10 for everything it really wasn’t a bad deal.
Historic Tombstone Courthouse
One thing on our list to see was the Courthouse, which is registered as a state historic site. We were so busy running from here to there to see this reenactment or that reenactment that we totally forgot about it until after they closed for the day. Guess we’ll just have to go back!
We had a lightish dinner at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. The place was pretty busy. The food was ok…nothing special. We each had a sandwich (cheese steak for Michael, panini for me). By this time we were both pretty tired and food just didn’t quite hit the spot, I think.
Yuma is a produce Mecca! Years ago peanuts were a big crop but since the 90s the peanut farms have gone from about 35 farms to just 4. However, there’s a shop called The Peanut Patch that provides a small informational tour about peanut farming and we took advantage of that tour.
The Peanut Patch originally grew their own peanuts but back in 1996 an infestation of white flies caused most of the peanut farmers to close down production. Even though they don’t grow peanuts they still sell them and various other peanut products…as well as other treats.
Donna gave an excellent talk on peanut farming.
Donna, the owner, gave a group of about 20 of us a very informative talk, showing us pictures, equipment and even a dried plant that were all passed around for a hands on experience. After explaining the process she walked us through the ‘back room’ where we viewed a woman making chocolate covered peanuts and another who had just made a batch of peanut brittle.
Peanut brittle made daily
Oh….and don’t forget the samples…Spanish peanuts, fudge and peanut brittle. All very tasty. We brought home a small batch of peanut brittle…couldn’t very well not, now could we?
Love meeting new people and getting to know them!
We were blessed to have lunch with new friend Lance & Tammi at Olive Garden one day this week. They’re PTB customers who Michael worked closely with to ensure that they got exactly what they wanted installed on their Grand Design 5er. We had a nice lunch and really enjoyed getting to know each other. They’re here in Yuma for several months yet but we’re hoping to possibly cross paths in Indiana this summer.
We took a drive to the official ‘Center of the World‘ in Felicity, California. Since the center of the world can be pretty much anywhere this little spot was able to claim the title because when owner Jacques-Andre Istel made the claim back on May 21, 1985, it couldn’t be disputed. So he went ahead and placed a plaque in the ground and built a pyramid over it to protect it.
Center of the World is in Felicity, CA…who knew?
Two years later, a town in France recognized Istel’s claim and its made history ever since. French history is recorded in granite on the site as well.
The pyramid with the church in the background.
For a very small fee you can be escorted into the pyramid, put your foot upon the round disk and make a wish while looking at a beautiful view of the Chocolate Mountains. This is all witnessed by a staff member who records the time of your wish and then hands you a certificate with your name on it to memorialize your visit.
Here you’ll also find the Museum of History in granite. There are 18 or so granite monuments (shaped like Toblerone candy bar) displayed in a semi-circle of sorts. Many are still empty by many have been sandblasted with information about world events…various wars, pop culture, theology, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, animals, etc etc etc. Things that the owner believes worthy of sharing with future generations.
Michael examining one of the many granite monuments.
High upon a man-made hill behind the granite Toblerone exhibit stands a small church which is reached by climbing 49 steps. The views from atop the hill are magnificent and you can get a really good look at the layout of the strange exhibit below.
I’m not sure what type of services take place within the church but it was while up atop the hill that I really started to feel ‘spooked’ for use of a better word. There’s a small ‘graveyard’ behind the church with one massive piece of granite with about half a dozen names carved into it. The names of people who had been buried there.
The more we wandered around…the more I was reminded of the Heaven’s Gate scenario where people believed that if they killed themselves that a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp comet would pick them up and take them to a better place.
The layout as seen from the church
It was as if the gentleman who created all of this was leaving a ‘history’ of the world in granite (hoping for it to last longer than humanity) for future generations or aliens or who knows what to find it and to learn about lost generations.
It’s really a different kind of experience and I’d like to hear from others who’ve been there to see if they got the same ‘feeling’ that we did.
One of the cells – held 6 inmates.
One of the biggest attractions in Yuma is the Yuma Territorial Prison. The prison in Yuma was opened on July 1, 1876 and was open for 1909 after a new prison was built due to overcrowding at the Yuma prison. Over the years is housed nearly 3100 prisoners…29 of which were women. Crimes ranged from polygamy to murder to selling liquor to Indians. The most common crime, however, was burglary.
Inmates ranged from 14 years to 88 years. Only two successful escapes were made from inside the prison while many others happened from outside while the prisoners were working or being transferred to the prison.
After the prison closed in 1909 the local high school was in need of a building temporarily so they used part of the prison for classes from 1910 to 1914. During a local football game between Phoenix and Yuma high schools the Yuma team pulled off a win for which the Phoenix team dubbed them ‘Criminals’ (or Crims for short) and the name stuck. Yuma high school is still the ‘Criminals’ today…they use the face of a hardened criminal as their mascot.
Nels explaining the date farming process.
We also went on a tour of Martha’s Gardens…a date farm on the north side of Yuma. We were loaded up on a trailer pulled by a cart and our tour guide, Nels, who is the owners 21-year-old son drove us through the date palm fields making several stops along the way to educate us about the date farming process. Harvest isn’t until August so there weren’t any dates growing as it is just now approaching pollination time.
Different varieties of dates on hand at the store
But Nels was very thorough in the information he provided. His family grows Medjool dates…the top of the line pretty much. There are 3,000 different types of dates and they have about 7 or so different types in the store. Neither Michael or I had ever had a date but we sampled about 4 different types. We actually weren’t big fans of the Medjools as the texture was too ‘mushy’ for out liking. There were a couple of smaller types that had a firmer texture that we liked much better. Though I don’t think you’ll find us munching on dates any time soon.
The 2Ps touring a date farm in Yuma, AZ
They are known for their date shakes so we had to try one and were quite surprised at how tasty they were. Very, very good. If you get a chance…try one. We also picked up a date loaf (like banana bread) to enjoy when we get a hankering for something sweet.
I had someone tell us there wasn’t much to do in Yuma…I think we’ve been kept pretty busy and haven’t been able to do everything we’d like to do. We’ll be back…next year if we go to the Quartzsite show again. There’s even an airport here…maybe our offspring will come visit…hint hint!
We’ll be departing Yuma on Monday and heading east to Sierra Vista where we’ll be staying at the Fort Huachuca FamCamp for a couple of weeks while we explore that area.
We are set up at Fortuna de Oro RV Park in Yuma. This park was recommended to us by Heartland friends, Mike & Edythe and has turned out to be a very nice park. It’s HUGE with hundreds of sites, lots of activities, two pools, an onsite barber & beauty shop (which we took advantage of) and so much more.
We are on a corner site which is nice…but our 45 foot coach is really crammed into the space….but we make it work.
There are all kinds of RV service people floating around the park…all the time. Wash/Wax crews, propane companies, RV techs, etc. We took advantage of one of the RV crews and had the truck and coach washed and waxed for $135….can’t beat that!
I found a couple of Roadside America adventures to check out. Two were here in Yuma and fairly close together so we visited them one afternoon when or work was done and we had a couple of errands to run.
Surrounded by lettuce, cabbage and mountains!
The ‘Tiny Church‘ was built by Loren Pratt in 1995 on the edge of his farming land. Built in honor of his late wife, the church was flung 60 feet during a storm in 2011. The family repaired the church that has six tiny pews that hold twelve people. I believe that services are held at the church on Easter Sunday and it is often used for weddings.
Less than a mile away sits the ‘Bridge to Nowhere‘. Built in 1929, the bridge spanned the Gila River. In 1968 the bridge was determined to be unsafe for modern traffic so the river was diverted and a new bridge was built…leaving this bridge ‘ high and dry’.
Michael had to get a closer look…I think this was Romaine lettuce.
Interestingly enough, we found out that this area grows a LOT of lettuce, cabbage and other fruits and vegetables. It’s quite strange to see desert all around you and then to happen upon fields of lush, green lettuce and/or cabbage growing in beautifully straight rows.
The day after we arrived (Tuesday) in Yuma we dropped the truck off at the Ford dealer to get the issues that weren’t addressed in San Antonio back in December. The dealership had it four days and got everything taken care of (front end shimmy, two new tires, new brakes and an issue with the DEF heater). We were very impressed with the service adviser we worked with. A nice little plus was that we didn’t even have to pay for the rental we had for those four days.
We squeezed in a movie…The Upside…and what a good movie it was. The only complaint would be that they wrapped the entire movie up in the last 15 minutes of the movie and it just felt kind of rushed. Other than that….go see it!
Da Works minus the mushrooms
We enjoyed a delicious pizza dinner (bruschette as an appetizer!) at Da Boyz. It had great reviews and Michael had been hankering for some pizza for a while. The food was great and so was the service. Our server was very sweet and thoughtful. We arrived just before 5:00 pm, which was perfect…no wait at all. By the time we left just after 6:00 pm, there were people all over waiting for a table.
We helped Sandra celebrate 19 years of painting by purchasing this beauty she created before our eyes….no brushes…just scraps of paper, plastic bags and her hands. She gave us free Margaritas…and they were DELICIOUS!
We spent an awesome day in Los Algodones, Mexico. The weather was gorgeous for strolling around the streets checking out the wares of the many vendors. We purchased a couple of Christmas gifts, some hats for Michael, a lightweight jacket for each of us and a couple of pieces of jewelry for me. We also purchased some yummy prawns for dinner that evening (and some to freeze too). Oh yeah…and we picked up some meds – some muscle relaxers for Michael’s back issues and also some Z-packs for just in case.
This is what was over our heads as we enjoyed lunch, the music and a Margarita (way strong!)
We had lunch at an outdoor restaurant (El Paraiso) that had live music – which was very enjoyable to listen to as well as watch several people go up and dance. It was kinda fun as several vendors roamed around the tables showing off items for sale. We’d pretty much already purchased everything we needed so we didn’t buy anything from them.
Los Algodones, MX
We really enjoyed Los Algodones as it had more ‘shopping’ area and was cleaner than Progresso. Not once did we fell unsafe…actually have felt much more unsafe in places like St. Louis and Chicago. Plus, there were police strolling all about.
We have one more week here in Yuma and have plans for a couple of outings yet. We really like it here and will definitely come back.
No…I have not been abducted by aliens, run over by a bus or quite blogging. We were just SO busy during our time in Quartzsite we barely had time to breathe let along blog.
Let me give you a quick ‘catch up’ and then we’ll continue as usual.
Holiday Palms RV Park, Quartzsite, AZ
We arrived in QZ (Quartzsite) on January 9th and stayed at the Holiday Palms RV Park for a week. Sites were kinda tight but we managed. The park was quiet which was nice.
We attended the Grand Design rally that was held that weekend out in the desert on BLM land. We’d been to the same rally last year by luck and were invited back this year. Great group of people. We had several installs scheduled during the rally and made several sales during the rally as well. Michael drove out to the rally area each day to meet with customers and talk with Dennis who was doing the installs.
Michael also did a seminar for the group and had a really nice turn out with lots and lots of interest and questions. We ended up having to move out of the tent to answer questions as we ran over time and needed to make room for the next presenter.
We took a couple of drives (23 miles one way) to Blythe, California to pick up items at the UPS terminal, to pick up groceries and to enjoy some pretty darn good Chinese food.
Part of the reason we arrived in Quartzsite so early was that we wanted to be able to take a walk around and check out all of the various vendors outside of the RV Show. That didn’t work out as planned as we only got about 2 1/2 hours one day to do a little ‘shopping’ and it rained for about a good half hour of that time!
Then to top it off…Michael lost his wallet at the end of the day. We were VERY pleasantly surprised the next day when we went back and found that someone had turned it into the office…with everything in it!
One of the highlights of our time in Quartzsite was being able to get together with three of our installers (Dennis and Josh & Heather) for dinner. We met at the Quartzsite Yacht Club (yep…in the middle of the desert!) and had a really nice time visiting. We’d come nearly full circle with these three as we met them all a year ago at Quartzsite.
Dennis was an established installer with PTB when we took the company over and we met Josh & Heather at the Quartzsite Show and brought them on as installers. Dennis was kind enough to train them at his ranch after they finished working at the show last year.
Open for business!
On January 16th we moved to the show grounds and were there for the next 12 nights. We arrived on Wednesday and the show started that Saturday which gave us plenty of time to get our ‘booth’ set up and watch as the other vendors moved in.
The first few days of the shows were crazy busy but thankfully slowed down to a much easier pass the rest of the week. We really did well with sales…many of which were customers that saw us at the Grand Design rally the weekend before and came by to ‘seal the deal’.
We chose to be on the ‘sunny side’ of the tent this year. Last year we were in the shade and froze the entire time. However, this time we couldn’t get away from the sun. We were plenty warm but finding shade was hard. Michael ended up getting sunburned lips (don’t use Blistex and then stand in the sun for hours on end!) so badly that he had blisters. Poor guy learned a lesson the hard way.
You can be sure that we’ll be back in the shade next year and be layering on the clothes!
Hard to see all of the pallets of water but this gives you a small idea of the amount of product they had.
Right across from us was a company that was selling water infused with CBD oil. We were entertained the whole week as they went from having pallet upon pallet of water brought onto the midway and deposited onto their site only to have it all removed the very first evening after the show closed for the day. It seems that it was repossessed. Lots of different stories going on…and who knew who to believe but it sounds like they didn’t pay for the water and whomever they bought it from repossessed it all.
There was no way they would have sold all that they had anyway…at $9.00 a bottle…or $7.00…$5.00 or $3.00…just depended on who you spoke to on what the price was.
They also had some oils and beauty products they were selling that they must have actually paid for that they were able to sell but I don’t think any of it went over well either. Anyway…it was quite entertaining for us….and most everyone else around us too. LOL
Tom & Marty!
We had lots of customers stop by to introduce themselves…which was awesome. We know their names but not the faces so when we can put a face to a name it’s so much nicer!
We also had several friends stop by…Arvin and Vicki stopped by for a short while but we were so busy we barely had time to say ‘hi’. Toward the end of the show when it was slower Tom & Marti stopped by. It was so good to see them as we hadn’t seen them in well over a year.
All in all it was a good show…busy…hot…lip blistering…but good. The show closed on Sunday 1/27 but we stayed until Monday to let the majority of the vendors fight their way out. By the time we left at about 11:00 am on Monday the place was cleared out. It was unbelievable to us to see the garbage left behind by the vendors….just slobs. Wow!
We didn’t. have far to travel…just 75 miles to Yuma where we’ll before for 2 weeks. We’ve never been to Yuma and it sounded like a good place for some R&R. We still have work to do but we won’t have to juggle it with 9 days of a 9am – 5pm RV Show.
I have a few ‘adventures’ in store for us while we’re in Yuma…so stay tuned!
Our time in Gila Bend went fast, too fast. The park turned out to be a really nice KOA…and we’re not fans of KOA but we’d recommend this place. The rates are reasonable (unlike many KOAs) plus when the owner found out Michael was retired military he gave us a discount. Any other KOA we’ve been to only offers their KOA discount, which you have to pay a yearly fee to receive…some discount.
The park is fairly new and very well maintained. The sites are enormous and very well placed. No looking out your window straight into your neighbors. We had a gorgeous view out or door-side living room window of the mountain range in the distance.
Gila Bend is small – only about 2,000 population. There’s not much to do, but it’s quiet and peaceful and everyone we associated with was very friendly. Buckeye is 30 miles north if you wanted to do something more than whats offered in Gila Bend.
Arvin & Vicki – maybe we’ll see them in Quartzsite.
Shortly after arriving in town I found out that our friends, Arvin and Vicki were in town, staying at the FamCamp. We planned to drive over to that way on Tuesday to check out the base and the FamCamp. However, we were surprised on Monday afternoon when there was a knock on the door. Arvin and Vicki decided to surprise us! It was really a surprise since we didn’t recognize Arvin as he’d grown a beard since the last time we saw him. We visited for a couple of hours before work called to us and we had to put our noses back to the grindstone.
Burritos as big as your forearm!
Tuesday was a bit slower so we took some time to scout the area. Our first stop was at Mercado De Amigos (Mexican Market). Arvin had told us about the huge burritos that they make and Michael was set on trying one. We each ordered one and we each have 1/2 of one in the refrigerator to enjoy later. They were very tasty and the green sauce they provided to go with made it even better!
We needed a few groceries to take us through our stay in Quartzsite so we picked up a few items at the Mexican Market and then went over to Dollar General to pick up a few others. We had to make due with those choices as there are no other grocery stores in Gila Bend.
Came across this big guy on the air base!
We drove south of town to the auxiliary airfield to check it and the FamCamp out (less than 5 miles out of town). To say the base is small would be an understatement. I’m pretty sure we covered the whole place in less than 5 minutes. Not much too see…an airfield, lodging and a FamCamp is about it. LOL
The FamCamp is pretty nice, nothing special though. It has just 37 sites with only one that was available. The sites are pretty nice sized…actually a few of them were big enough to play a game of football on! We’d definitely stay there if there was room….but that seems like it might be a BIG ‘if’ as I think it might stay pretty full.
Gila Bend Welcomes You!
Before heading home we hit two Roadside America attractions. The Gila Bend Welcome Sign is a bit different from the average sign for a couple of reasons. It’s hand-painted and it boasts 1917 Friendly People and 5 Old Crabs (and lists the names of those people). It seems that the crabby people change as looking online the list has changed over the years. Cute!
Michael inspecting the beam
Gila Bend was awarded a piece of the World Trade Center after applying for it eight years earlier. The town built a pretty little park in the middle of town where the artifact stands prominently. We’ve visited several sites like this and it’s just as poignant each and every time. I’m so glad that these pieces weren’t just scrapped but are on display across the country to help us always remember that day and for future generations to learn.
For dinner we went to Little Italy. It’s about the only place that isn’t Mexican or McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway or Carl’s Jr. It had good reviews so we were game. Arvin had told us that Prince Harry had eaten there and had loved the pizza…so we had to try it!
Woohoo! My butt touched the same seat that Princess Diana’s sons butt touched!
We were seated in Prince Harry’s booth (I guess they thought we were royalty!) and had Harry watching over us the whole time as there is a cardboard cutout of him placed on the wall over the table. The waitress told us that he had been training at the airfield and that’s why he was in town and happened to come in for pizza. We were told he was very friendly, just a normal guy. Here’s an article about his visit.
We ended up not ordering a pizza (we’ll save that for our next visit) and both went with pasta instead (lasagna for Michael, chicken Marsala for me). Our meals were good…the only thing Michael said is that he likes his sauce a little on the sweeter side than what his lasagna was.
Feels a lot more like home now that my babies are up!
We got some time while in Gila Bend to do a little more home decorating. We finally got our ‘grandbaby wall’ put together. The only thing that needs done now is to get updated pictures of all of the grandbabies as most of the ones we have are a couple of years old and they have all grown just a LITTLE bit in the last two years. Zoe (now three) was only a little over a year old in her pictures. I’ll get those updated when we’re with them this spring.
Our dining nook
I also put up wall decals in the kitchen. They work SO well for RV living. No added weight. No falling off the wall during travel. Easy and versatile as they can be removed and replaced if needed.
We’re heading to Quartzsite for a week in an RV park, leaving Gila Bend Wednesday morning. It’s only 130 mile drive…so very doable….nice and easy. We’ll be visiting the Grand Design Rally and Michael will be doing a seminar. The rally runs from the 11th to the 13th and is a boondocking event out on BLM land. We visited last year as well. We’re hoping to have a little bit of time while we’re at the RV park to wander around all of the vendors that are set up outside the Show grounds as last year we didn’t find any time do that.
Then on the 16th, we’ll move over to the RV Show grounds where we’ll be parked on the midway (just like last year). We’ll have a display set up outside the coach and will work 9-5 (show hours) from the 19th – 27th.
Our original plan was to leave Deming on Wednesday but with the snow threat (that didn’t amount to anything) we stayed an extra day. The ‘plan’ was to get a site at the FamCamp on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for a couple of days. However, when I called to see if they had any sites available (they don’t take reservations) they didn’t have anything. We quickly came up with plan ‘B’ and called the Pima County Fairgrounds RV Park to see if they had sights available. They did.
The next change came with plans for our next destination – Gila Bend. Once again, we’d planned to stay at the FamCamp there but no reservations were taken so we were going to wing it. We decided not to ‘wing it’ and made reservations at the KOA instead. With all the snowbirds and our coach being four feet longer than the old one it’s been hard to find available sites so when I found a large enough site at the KOA we grabbed it.
Help has arrived!
We made all of these ‘changes’ on Thursday morning before we started prepping to leave. Once the changes were made Michael went out to start the truck so it could warm up (low 20s over night). Unfortunately, it wouldn’t start. He waited a while and tried again…but still no. He ended up calling our Roadside assistance plan to have someone come out. He was pretty sure it just needed a jump. And he was right! The guy who gave us a jump was at the park less than 5 minutes! We immediately hitched up and were on the road within 15 minutes.
We had a nice uneventful drive to Tucson and got settled into our site easily enough. Matter of fact, Michael was backed in and ready to unhitch when I got there after paying for our three-day stay.
We had a fairly relaxing visit to Tucson (we’ll be back in March for the Escapade). We took time to go to a movie (Bumblebee), which turned out to be really cute. If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted, fun movie…this would be right up your alley.
We also took a ride to the Saguaro National Park (only about 20 miles from the park). We’d forgotten about the government shutdown but it didn’t keep us from taking the 9 mile loop drive through the park. The only thing that we weren’t able to do was go into the Visitor’s Center as it was closed.
There were a lot of visitor’s there the day we went…everyone was well-behaved, there were no overflowing trash cans, no garbage strewn about. Matter of fact…someone had gone to Sam’s Club and purchased a large package of toilet paper and left in one of the bathrooms for others to use.
The 9 mile drive took us a couple of hours as we stopped a lot to take pictures and to marvel at the beauty. It was fascinating to us to wonder about the large cacti…what did the seedlings look like (the smallest we saw were about 2 feet tall), why were some so green and healthy looking and others near death.
I did some ‘Googling afterward and found out the following interesting tidbits:
It can take 10 years for a saguaro cactus to grow to one inch tall!
By 70 years old a saguaro cactus can be 6.5 feet tall and finally produce its first flower
It can take 95-100 years for a saguaro cactus to reach 15 feet tall and start producing its first arm!
By 200 years old a saguaro cactus will reach its full height and can reach up to 45 feet tall!
These plants are absolutely amazing. We really enjoyed our visit to the park and it would be one that we would suggest visiting if you’re ever near Tucson.
There are roughly 25 different species of cacti within the national park and we were able to figure out several but not nearly what are actually there.
Sunday morning we woke up to rain but didn’t have plans to leave until 10:00 am. We took our time with breakfast and getting moving that we didn’t actually pull out until closer to 11:00 am. Unusual for us to not hit our ‘goal’. We only had 137 miles to travel so we just kinda took our time.
On our way to Gila Bend we drove through part of the Sonoran Desert National Monument and were, once again, in awe of the huge Saguaro Cactus scattered all over. Sadly, most of the saguaro’s we saw were sick with disease…bacterial necrosis, I believe (thanks to Google!) The poor plants look so sad, slowly rotting away.
No problem fitting our 45 foot home into site 118 at the Gila Bend KOA!
We arrived at the Gila Bend KOA early in the afternoon and were welcomed by the owner who was especially friendly (completely the opposite of the hosts at the Pima County Fairgrounds). We were escorted to site 118 by another very friendly gentleman. What a nice trend!
Set up goes very quickly these days as most everything has a home so there’s not much that needs to be ‘unpacked’. There’s no messing with a satellite dish anymore….just push a button and it does its own thing. I put out the five slides while Michael hooks us up to water and power. I slowly open cabinet doors and the refrigerator doors to ensure that nothing comes flying out after having been shifted during travel. If anything needs to be put back in order I do that before Michael comes along because he inevitably will whip open a cabinet door without thinking and items will fall out. 🙂
The heat vents in the bedroom and bathroom haven’t been pushing out any heat so Michael dug into the basement when we arrived at the KOA to see what the problem was. He found that the hose wasn’t hooked up to vent…therefore no heat coming through. Quick fixes are great!
We are here for just 3 days before we head to Quartzsite to gear up for a Grand Design Rally (January 11 – 13) and then the Quartzsite RV show (Jan 19 – 27).