Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful day!scarecrow

Giving Thanks
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman’s hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the “Land of the Free” —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
Author UnknownThanksgiving

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Monday afternoon stroll

After three days of hanging inside the RV due to the weather, once Monday rolled around Al and I couldn’t wait to hit the trails.  Here in Phoenix, Arizona, it started raining early Friday morning and didn’t let up until Sunday.  It appears it was a record breaking rainfall for Phoenix for the month of November.White tank

We managed to stay comfy, cozy, warm and dry at our RV site, but other parts of the park didn’t fare so well.  The park experienced some minor flooding that required a little clean up.  By the time I took this photo, much of the water had receded and mud clean up was in process.

floods
the RV Park experiences some flooding – this is already much improved

Monday brought clear blue skies with 70 degree temperatures…..perfect for a hike.  On the far west side of Phoenix is White Tank Mountain Regional Park.  With all the previous rain this was the ideal time to hike the ‘Waterfall Trail’.  The trail map says best seen after a heavy rain…..score!waterfall trail

This is a super easy 2 mile round trip hike; more like a stroll.  It’s a gorgeous day and the warm sun feels wonderful.  Much to our dismay and unbeknownst to us, children have a break from school.  No school all week for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Since when do kids get a whole week off for Thanksgiving?  We never did. 😕 So we shared the trail with lots of folks young and old

hiking
Waterfall Trail, White Tank Mountains

The waterfall itself is…..hum…..a trickle of water in the desert.  There are still some deep puddles here and there and the trail steps are covered in moving water, making for its own little waterfall.

hiking
the trail steps are covered in water, making for some slippery climbing.

hiking Arizona

Could this be water and a sandy beach in the desert?  In another twenty-four hours, the thirsty desert will absorb most of the water seen here.

Along the way are some petroglyphs.  petroglyphs

petroglyphs

Our leisurely stroll took us about an hour.  Before heading home, we check out the campground located at White Tank Regional Park.  The sites are well spaced with electric and water and range in length.  Some sites are only deep enough for a pop-up trailer while others can accommodate much longer rigs.

This campground is less improved and more on the rustic side than Maricopa County’s other regional parks; Cave Creek, McDowell, and Usery.  It’s also much more remote and less popular.

Yep, the fresh air and sunshine sure felt good.

hiking Arizona
This is the ‘waterfall’

To build, or not to build…

As we complete month five of full-time RVing, Al and I discuss the pros and cons of this lifestyle.  Yes, there are indeed cons but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.   Aside from all the beautiful scenery we encounter, I’d say the social aspect to this lifestyle is one of the biggest pluses.

In the past five months we’ve visited with fellow bloggers, fellow Escapee members, friends, RV Park neighbors, and family.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed:  three-hour lunches with folks we’ve just met, a little impromptu gals day of coffee – shopping, reconnecting with folks we haven’t seen in a year, and get togethers with family.  Don’t misunderstand; we manage plenty of down time as well.  Somehow, we’ve discovered a nice balance.

When meeting new folks, the conversation inevitably leads to the normal questions one would expect …..

  1. Where have you lived?
  2. Where are you going / plans?
  3. Questions about children and family?
  4. Are you retired or working?
  5. What kind of work have you done?

Ah, yes…..work?  I wouldn’t say we’re retired, but I would say we’re taking a break.  The economy and lending practices kind of knocked the wind out of our sails so to speak.  Although Al and I both have diverse backgrounds, when we’re asked what we used to do for a living?  We respond, “We used to own our own company in Home Building”.

It was a business I loved and would have continued for several more years if…..well, I don’t need to spell it out.  So, we closed our doors and hit the road.  But the question keeps coming up, “Would you go back into home building again?”  The answer is yes AND no.  So I guess you could say that’s a clear maybe.Noahs Ark

Perhaps this might clarify my indecision……

In the year 2012, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in America and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over populated and I see the end of all flesh before me.  Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”Noahs Ark

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”noahs ark

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard, but no Ark.  “Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain!  Where is the Ark?”  Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.  I needed a building permit.  I’ve been arguing with the Boat Inspector about the need for a sprinkler system”.

“My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood by-laws by building the Ark in my backyard and exceeding the height limitations.  We had to go to the local Planning Committee for a decision.”

“Then the local Council and the Electricity Company demanded a shed load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea.  I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear none of it”.

“Getting the wood was another problem.  There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Greater Spotted Barn Owl.  I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”spotted owl

“When I started gathering the animals the ASPCA took me to court.  They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will.  They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space”.

“Then the Environmental Agency ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood”.

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.  The Immigration Department is checking the visa status of most of the people who want to work”.

“The Trade Unions say I can’t use my sons.  They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience”.  To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species”.

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark”.

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No”, said the Lord.  “The Government beat me to it”.

*********************************************************************************************

So, do I want to return to an industry I love?  Absolutely.  But will I?  Hum, I ponder…… Government Agencies have made Home Building so difficult and cost prohibitive for the little guy, they’ve sucked the fun out of it…… so maybe!

Photos in today’s post borrowed from the internet

Oh, yeah….Happy Hour!

Oh, yeah….Happy Hour!

Parker, ArizonaAfter our visit with the wild Burros, we continued our journey.  Between the towns of Parker and Lake Havasu City, highway 95 in Arizona parallels the Colorado River skirting between red rock cliffs, resorts, and shoreline.  I find this stretch of road particularly scenic.

While enjoying a lovely scenic drive, the four of us developed quite a thirst and appetite.  We had a destination in mind to satisfy our needs and the Pirate’s Den proved to be the perfect spot.  Ya-hoo…it’s happy hour between 3:00 and 6:00; drinks are $3 and taco’s are $1.25 each…..and talk about a fun atmosphere.

Yep, good food, good drink, great company………I could get used to this place!

We spend a couple of hours sitting under a yellow umbrella indulging in some tasty tacos and cool margaritas.  Hum, we wondered if staying at the adjacent Pirate’s Den RV Resort might be in our future?

Parker AZ
Pirate’s Den RV Resort

After some pondering and discussion, it became clear…… having the Pirate’s Den bar steps from our RV door may not be in our best interest.  The title ‘bar fly’ comes to mind.  Hum, would that really be so bad?  Ah, days swinging in a hammock, followed by slurping drinks while lounging under yellow umbrellas amongst blue skies and sparkling water….. 😕

With tummies full thirst quenched, we returned to camp at Cattail Cove State Park to watch the sunset over the warmth of a roaring campfire.Cattail Cove State Park

The following day, our last day in the area, was spent walking and picnicking along the shores of Lake Havasu.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed off to Rotary Park located in the heart of Lake Havasu City.

Al and I spent a couple of hours strolling the paved walkway that meanders along Lake Havasu.  We walked to the famous London Bridge and beyond taking in the sights.  This is really a beautiful park dotted with playgrounds, picnic tables, a huge skate park, sandy shores, marinas, and a wide concrete sidewalk for all to enjoy.

London Bridge
London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Lake HavasuShortly after strolling under London Bridge the sidewalk ended but we continued to the little lighthouse in the distance.  The lighthouse sits within Lake Havasu State Park boundaries.  Al and I walked further into the State Park checking out the campsites.  The campsites looked nice with a few even backing up to the water.

During our visit, they were completing various updates; adding water and sewer hook-ups to some of the campsites.  Full hook-ups at a State Park?  Location and scenery to boot? We’ll need to add this to our list of potential spots to call home during a future visit!

This State Park is not only located at the shores of Lake Havasu but is conveniently located within city limits and thus is a short distance to nearby stores, restaurant’s, and bars.  Yep, I’d say Lake Havasu State Park is worthy of a visit.  But unless you’re in your twenties, you may want to shy away from this area during Spring Break.  Lake Havasu is now one of the top places in the country for Breakers to party.Lake Havasu

Another popular time, not so much for the twenty something’s, but more for their parents, is President’s Day Weekend in February.  Reservations for this three-day weekend are a must.  Lake Havasu City puts on a huge and popular fireworks display in Sara Park.  There are live concerts, a hot rod show, and much more happenings throughout the town.  It actually gets quite crowded.  A couple of years ago, we just so happened to visit Lake Havasu during this popular time.  And although fun, it did get very congested.Blue Heron

In our opinion, no trip to Lake Havasu City would be complete without a visit to Rotary Park, as well as a walk over and under the famous London Bridge.

We loved our five-day visit to Lake Havasu, Arizona.  It was also great visiting with friends.  Although we may not have the opportunity to revisit Lake Havasu this year, we hope to make it a lengthy pit stop some time in 2014.

Pirate's

Sara’s Crack :-)

Sara’s Crack :-)

hiking ArizonaWe really enjoy the hiking around Lake Havasu, Arizona.  The trailhead to some really great hiking trails is located in “Sara Park” at the very southern end of Lake Havasu City.  The website I found gave us information and directions to approximately seventeen different hiking trails in the area, many of which intersect.

I brief Al on a few of our options and wonder if he’ll choose my preference.  I usually do the planning, but today I want him to decide the days activity.  There’s one trail I was particularly looking forward to hiking; “Crack in the Mountain Trail” other wise referred to as “Sara’s Crack”.

After describing the various trail options with sights and mileage, can you guess which trail Al picked?  Yep !  You guessed it…….”Let’s go check out Sara’s Crack!”hiking Arizona

The trails are clearly marked and color coded.  We take the yellow trail which follows a soft, sandy wash.  Its pretty much flat the first mile and eventually leads into a canyon.  As we continue, the rock walls narrow turning into a slot canyon.  We have some super easy bouldering to traverse until we come to the dry waterfall.hiking Arizona

slot canyon
dry waterfall in the slot canyon – there’s even a rope to assist with the 7 foot fall

I’m ready to scramble slide down this 7 foot high slick rock until Al puts the kibosh on my fun by asking the time.  We’ve been hiking about forty-five minutes before arriving at the “crack in the mountain”.  Remember when I commented in my last post about our time in Lake Havasu not being long enough?  Well, case in point….we were not able to complete the whole 5 mile hike due to time constraints and commitments.  But hey, we did make it to the crack …. Sara’s Crack 😆

Arizona hiking
Al standing in ‘Sara’s crack’

Oh, how I wanted to continue this hike, but that meant we needed to allow ourselves 3 hours total to complete.  We knew that was not an option today as we had already scheduled other plans in the afternoon.  Thus, we returned the way we came, enjoying an hour and a half hike.  Although the hike was easy, the next day my calves and glutes were feeling the effects of walking in the soft soil.

Arizona hiking
‘Crack in the Mountain Trail’ follows a soft sandy wash. DO NOT plan to hike during or after a rainstorm. Flash flooding can occur!

We returned to camp at Cattail Cove State Park for a quick lunch and shower and then met our friends for some afternoon socializing.

We started with a little scenic drive heading south on Highway 95 then crossing over the Parker Dam into California.  It’s very pretty. There are sand dunes, RV Parks, day-use parks, golf courses, and wild Burros.  Since our friend Don was driving, I restrained myself from asking to stop for photo-ops.  Somehow, I think that was Al’s plan all along.  He knew if we drove, our usual frequent stopping may not only have Don and Nancy (hubby too) rolling their eyes but take twice as long to reach our destination.  And Happy Hour was waiting!

Ah, but we did stop so I could visit with the wild Burros on one of the golf courses.  I may have found these guys to be way too cute but somehow I don’t think the golf course maintenance crews find them very adorable.  Nope, picking up after these guys is probably never ending 😉

After the Burro stop (s) we continued south a short distance before turning east across a bridge into the town of Parker, Arizona.  We then headed back north on highway 95 where we find the perfect place for Happy Hour…….Parker Arizona

Vacation Time….seriously!

Vacation Time….seriously!

Since moving into the RV full-time, we’ve received a mix of opinions from loved ones and friends.  Everything from “You’re living the dream” to “You’re not serious”.  One comment we received recently from a dear friend was, “What do you do when you want to go on vacation?  Move back to town?”  Al and I chuckled because we both knew Rog was being a smart a*s, but it did get us to thinking.

desert sunsets
Nothing boring about sunsets like this!

Since we decided to park our rears at the RV Resort in Phoenix for three months, I wondered what happens if I get bored like I did while living in a sticks and bricks home?  The RV Resort is just that; like living in a subdivision, like any other community except everyone’s homes are all mobile in some form or another.  So its pretty much like living in a sticks and bricks neighborhood.  😕

RV Park
One street in the RV Resort. These are the larger, more permanent mobile homes

It appears I bore easily since it only took thirty days parked in this location and I was ready to move on.  Actually, I was ready to move on before we were fully set up….but that’s another story.  Due to commitments and financial reasons, moving on wasn’t an option BUT a short vacation was.  It also helps to be prompted by a friend.

Somehow I doubt when Nancy emailed me that they were all settled in to their winter camp host position in Lake Havasu that 5 days later we would pull in and become their neighbor.  We met Don and Nancy last year while camped at Cave Creek Regional Park located in Phoenix’ north end of town and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

Arizona State Park
We snag a prime site at Cattail Cove State Park

Don and Nancy went full-time about a month before we did and this is their first workamping position. We were eager to check out this State Park along Lake Havasu in western Arizona as well as meet up with this lovely couple.

We’d heard about Cattail Cove State Park from fellow blogger Mona Liza.  We also met the Lowe’s last year at Cave Creek Regional Park just after their 2 week stay at Cattail Cove.  For our visit, I was quick to use Mona Liza’s blog as a reference for some great sight-seeing and hiking ideas in the area.Colorado River

Upon arriving at Cattail Cove State Park, we were warmly greeted by our friends and quick to get to the business of catching up.  Eating, drinking, campfires, and conversations had our stay flying by.  As a matter of fact, when we arrived on Sunday the original plan was to leave on Wednesday.  We extended our stay to Friday.  Even that proved to be not long enough.  Our stay ended way to quickly as do most vacations and Friday morning we begrudgingly packed up and returned to the “Resort” in Phoenix…sigh.

There is so much to see and do in the Lake Havasu area as well as plenty of unique, out of the way spots to just chill and watch the clouds move, or in this case…. watch the waves roll in!

Lake Havasu
Nancy and Ingrid chilling lakeside

On our first day at Cattail Cove State Park, Don and Nancy introduced us to Whyte’s Retreat Trail.  This 2-3 mile hike starts at the campground and meanders on a bluff along the lakeshore before turning inland and returning to camp.

Lake Havasu
trail starts out meandering along Lake Havasu – there’s plenty of ups and downs

Trail maps are available at the ranger station.  We were fortunate to have our own personal hiking guides…..thanks Don and Nancy 🙂  The hike took us about an hour and a half which allowed for plenty of stops to chat and admire the views.

Al and I did the hike again the next morning and completed it in about 50 minutes.  I’m sure the gale force winds that second day were instrumental in keeping us moving at a steady pace.  This was the perfect trail to get us warmed up for the next days hike; aptly named “Crack in the Mountain Trail” …..

Hiking
Whyte’s Retreat Trail takes us around coves – trail upper right
hiking Havasu
Whyte’s Retreat Trail meanders along Lake Havasu – we’re careful to watch our footing

OH, NO….she didn’t?

OH, NO….she didn’t?

RV ParkI’ve settled into life parked in a RV Resort in Phoenix, but I’ll be ready to move on come the end of December.

After our time spent in Colorado and Utah, I miss that ‘in your face, knock your socks off’ kind of scenery.  Although I find plenty of beauty around the RV Park, it just takes a little more effort to find it.

Every day I make it a point to either bike or walk around the Park seeking out things to photograph.  Allow me to share a little incident story that happened during our second week at the RV Resort…….

It’s a beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, afternoon.  I go for a stroll around the RV Park with camera in hand; searching for life’s little beauties.  I’m in my own little world enjoying the flowering cacti, the ducks near the pond, and butterflies.  Oh, yes the butterflies.Monarch ButterflyI’ve attempted to photograph butterflies in the past with virtually no success.  Today is different.  I’m excited.  A few of these lovely guys held still long enough, allowing me to snap a couple of really nice shots.

I’d like to continue snapping away but nature calls.  I’ve already been standing with my legs crossed long enough.  I really gotta go!  I’m just around the corner from the pool and restroom.  I quickly head in the direction of the ladies room entrance on the street side.  After using the pool several times this week, I’ve gotten in the habit of using the restroom and showers.  The women’s restroom is off to the right and the men’s is off to the left.  Pretty easy.

Just outside the restroom, I stop.  Ooh, ah…..there’s another butterfly.  I cross my legs again and snap a few more photos.  Deep in thought, I quickly run into the restroom on the right, pick the first stall, put the toilet seat down and ahhh….relief.  Hum, I wonder, “Why was the toilet seat up?  Cleaning was hours ago”.  And just as my eyes got big with disbelief, I hear a man’s voice, then a second one.  “Oh no, I didn’t?”

Oh yes, I did.  I find myself in the Men’s Restroom.  The women’s restroom is on the right when accessing from the pool area BUT on the left when entering from the street.  Oops!Butterfly

Oh my gosh, what do I do now?  I scooch my obviously female, painted toed feet back in an attempt to hide them.  I really don’t want to be discovered.  It crosses my mind to step out, politely excuse myself, and admit my blunder profusely apologizing, but the camera slung over my shoulder screams otherwise.  “You couldn’t bring the pocket camera today, could you?”

RV ParkWell as it happens, I picked the stall at the end giving me a good visual of most of the toilet and shower area.  I peer between the stall door.  I see one of the men at the end who had just come from the pool and was preparing to take a shower.  Oh, no, no, no …..do not take off your pants, please.  Thank goodness he entered the shower stall with swim trucks on.

Then the other guy walks toward a toilet stall.  I quickly back toward the wall wondering if I should stand on the toilet seat so my feet are not seen.  Oh dear…..how long will I be stuck in here?  With both men behind doors, I do a final scan between the panels before bolting out of there.

With heart pounding, head down, I don’t slow my pace or look back until I’m well away from the restroom, not knowing and frankly not caring if anyone saw me bolt. 

I have my camera slung over my neck and am reminded of some of the other shots I was hoping to capture today.  There’s these really cute gazebos in the pool area and the lighting is perfect.

I walk back to the pool area, put my hand on the gate….I can’t go in.  What if someone saw me running out of the men’s room with the camera?  My mind runs rampant…..  “There she is.  Catch that women.  She was taking photos in the men’s room”.  Oh the shame!  I have two more months scheduled at this RV Park.  I envision the whispers and pointing fingers as if I’m wearing a scarlet letter; V for violator.

No, the desire to photograph anything is long gone.  I rush back to the safety of my RV with every intent of not telling a single soul about what just happened. 

Shhhhh…..please don’t tell anyone.RV Park

Backyard beauty

Backyard beauty

I believe I left my heart in Moab, Utah.  The awe-inspiring red rock formations, the huge arches, deep canyons, and ever vast vistas are indelibly etched in my memory.  There’s a beauty as well as a harshness to this intriguing land.

Weather extremes are common but sandblasting 40 mile per hour winds couldn’t keep this gal from enjoying the sights around Moab.  With the help of friend and fellow blogger, Cheryl, I found myself in some very unique spots.

We met Cheryl and hubby last winter while boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona.  Cheryl has an infectious sense of humor as evidenced by her photos.  She sent me these photos letting me know it was fun putting me in some dangerous places.  Al and I could not contain our laughter and I just had to share the images.  Thanks, Cheryl 😆  Apparently, in addition to all my other talents, I’m a skilled rock climber.  Even better, no rock or vegetation was harmed during my endeavors.

Moab
My backyard camped just 10 miles south of Moab, Utah

Ah….that was Moab back in September.  We were camped at a BLM Campground with no services.  We were surrounded by views and nature.  Although I don’t have any serious complaints about our current location in Phoenix, it just doesn’t offer the same feel or inspiring scenery I’ve become accustomed to; scenery so stunning and motivating I can easily take over 400 photos a day.  Don’t get me wrong, the RV Park Resort is beautiful.  There’s plenty to do based on one’s interests.  Me personally, my interests lie in nature. Thus, I have to work a little harder to scope out the hidden beauties while staying in the RV Park.

I find myself drawn to this little spot in the Park routinely.  The Blue Heron was a pleasant surprise.  Hum, I wonder what other treasures I can find……RV Resort