Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Passes

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out, the weather is fine, I have water in my Camelback and my camera over my shoulder - must be time for a hike. It’s been several days since the last one and we’re itching for a walk in the desert. Oh, yeah, and up into the mountains. It’s been 2 years since we’ve been in this area and we’re going through our favorite hikes. Today it’s a 9.5 miler (still working up to hiking shape) which goes over 2 passes and then circles back to the trailhead. It’s a popular area, it’s Saturday and so we got up early and headed out to get a parking place. Later in the morning, it might be a bit more difficult - then, horror of horrors, we’d have to walk to the parking lot and then to the trailhead and then on the hike. Imagine that!

Only in Scottsdale would there be little white reflectors to separate the parking spaces.
Here's another observation in Scottsdale': we found gas at $2.35 at one gas station and gas at $1.88 at another. Gotta check Gas Buddy when you're buying gas these days. But, it's not just Scottsdale, it's everywhere.

As we thought, we had to take a number to get on the trail. Lots of people: families, couples, friends, tourists but lots of locals getting their weekly desert hike in. Beautiful views all around. And the park volunteers carefully strew rocks around to make it look natural. Ha, Ha. No, Nancy, this is the way the desert looks. The volunteers have enough to do without carefully placing the rocks.
As if just hiking in nature wasn’t enough for inspiration, we passed Inspiration Point and found this rock.
Windgate was the first pass we were supposed to cross. As we rounded every corner we looked ahead. Holy schmoly, where is that pass? The last sign said 1.1 miles, haven’t we gone further than that? Hey, there it is. Nope, there it is straight ahead. Oh, cripes, maybe the next crest. Up there, I see it. Oof-da. Here we are. 3031’. Note how rested Gary looks, like he’s had a stroll in the park. Then, there’s me - with my hair matted to my head. I’m holding onto the stake to hold myself up memorizing that emergency marker number in case I need it.

Time for a bar break - you know, a protein bar. And, now, it’s all down from here. Then we checked the next pass, Bell Pass -3206’ - oh, shucks, higher than Windgate. And, why are we heading down from Windgate Pass - only to have to climb higher to get to Bell? Do I sound like I’m complaining? Nah, I’m just trying to be smart. We’ve done this hike before, both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Besides, how could I ever complain with views like this?

There are the 4 peaks off in the background on one side of the pass - at least 40 miles away.
And, the Valley of the Sun on the other side looking towards Scottsdale and Phoenix. Pretty hazy that way. I wonder why (no question mark here).
But the intermediate views are scrumptious too.
Although, I had forgotten the long straight haul up to Bell Pass. Sure enough, that little detail had just flown out of my mind. It was a bit of a slog and I got passed on the trail by 4 women half my age. Shucks, I hate to be passed but, as I get older, it happens more often. But, there we were at the top of Bell Pass with the views down into the Valley of the Sun before us. What a climb. What a view. Maybe in a few weeks, we’ll do this one again.

Down the hill now. Actually, counter-clockwise is the most difficult, with the steepest pitch. Maybe that’s why I prefer going clockwise. But then I’ve got to get down this steep stretch with all the slippery little rocks to skid and slide under my feet. Gotta have those hiking poles. Gary bounds down much faster than I. He hikes down the hill. I carefully place each foot as I plod down. When he turns around to see where I am, I tell him I’ve been taking pictures.
We saw some perfect saguaros at attention next to each other guarding the trail up to the Pass.
Here’s a nest cradled in the sturdy arms of this saguaro.
Down at the trailhead, we take a drink, take off our packs and head back home. Another hike, another great day in the desert Southwest.
Hey, did you see that great Iowa State football game? Oh, yeah, of course not, it’s just an Iowa State game. They hardly ever make live TV. But, they were playing a Texas team so maybe. Actually, I did what I usually do when Iowa State plays: I go online, type ‘Iowa State Football’ into the Google search engine and the score of the latest game shows up on the screen. During the game, I just hit the little ‘refresh’ circle to keep up with the game. Simple, but not really satisfying.

Today after our hike, as usual, I turned on my computer, went online and typed in ‘Iowa State Football’ and looked at the score. My eyes wandered down the page a bit and I saw that the Texas Longhorns, Iowa State’s opponent, had live streaming of the game. Well, what the heck, I’m on the resort wi-fi, I might as well see what I can get. Hey, it’s the game. It’s really on. Whoo-eee. What fun. And, what a game it was. Iowa State has a 2-5 record (well, you ought to see their schedule) and I probably wasn’t expecting much. But they had a touchdown, then a field goal, then another touchdown and an intercepted pass for a final touchdown. ISU had put in a new starting quarterback and he was throwing passes all over the place. 3rd and long and he rifles a pass right into the arms of the back running between 2 defenders. And, the defense wasn’t slacking - they held the Longhorns scoreless. 24-0 was the final score. Hard to believe and what a great game for the team. 5 losses they’ve had, it’s time for an ego-boosting win. And what a win.
Oh, we will fight, fight, fight for Iowa State
And may her colors ever fly.
Oh, we will fight with might for Iowa State
With the will to do or die!
Rah, Rah, Rah
Loyal sons (fans) forever true
And we will fight that battle through.
And when we hit the line we'll hit it hard,
every yard for I-S-U!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Wax On, Wax Off

Well, we’re not here just to relax and hike. How about washing and waxing the RV? Oh, yeah, how about that? We cleaned the inside of the house yesterday, it’s time to do the outside today. Sure enough - since it’s supposed to rain tonight. Let’s make sure that it really rains.

The day was overcast so it was a perfect day to wash and wax the RV. Gary did the top where I couldn’t reach with my long wand.
I then did the basement areas. From where I’m sitting, it’s a long RV.
So, tell me - why any I waxing plastic? I understand waxing metal but plastic? Huh?

OK. RV done and it’s only 2:00, how about the car. We drove it across the street under the trees so it was in the shade. I washed it with the hose and then got ready for the wash and wax job. We have an SUV with a rear hatchback. I usually open this and detail it but yesterday, I looked and, holy cow, there’s a window that opens too. I opened the window and, oh crap, found a whole new place to detail. I have never detailed this and it’s been collecting dust and dirt from all our drives on rutted dirt roads. Lucky me

5:00 and we’re done. Won’t have to do this for another while.

We read an article online today that brought back memories of our touring through New York this spring. We stayed in a county park about 1/2 hour from New York and took the train into the city. We found out that the first car in each train was the ‘Quiet Car.’ No talking, no phones, no whispering, no noise - it was the Quiet Car. That was fine with us since we’ve got things to read and do on the train.

One time on our way into town, we got all seated and then realized that we had left our IPhone on the dashboard of the car in the train parking lot. Oops. Not only did we fear theft but we used the phone to track our path throughout the city and to find out about hours of museums and other things like that. We were whispering about that when a woman came up and reminded us that it was the “Quiet Car.’ Oh, yeah. We apologized but also explained why we were whispering. She then told us how we could get off at the next stop, take the next train back and then get the phone. Then resume our journey into town.

Well, Governor Christie of New Jersey got caught just like we did. A bit of a brouhaha since he, like us, didn’t realize he was on the Quiet Car. He then enjoyed the rest of his trip form the cafe’ car.

Get off the merry go round.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Where Do You Buy Ice Cream Around Here?

Cool hike today. This is our second hike since we’ve gotten down here. We’re building up slowly.

Today we planned what I thought was a 10 mile hike but, half way though we decided that 9.5 sounded more like what we wanted for today. Especially when I realized that I had counted wrong and my original plan was actually 13 miles. Whew - glad we didn’t turn left and head around the Black Mesa: we turned rigth and headed straight down the trail back to the trailhead. It was a desert hike - lots of rocks, lots of green brush and lots of cacti. In fact, at one point, we were surrounded by a cholla forest.
Of course that meant that we found lots of these little things on the trail just waiting for our boots to brush against them and they could become embedded in the rubber souls, the cloth laces, the leather sides and the mesh interior. They’re called ‘jumping cholla’ and I’m sure that I’ve seen them jump up to grab at hiker’s feet.
I brushed against one once and it felt like a hammer hitting my anklebone. And, it took 15 minutes, with both of us working at them ,to get them all out. But they are not the only pointy prickly things out here in the desert. Here’s a beautiful bush but, look behind each of those leafy whorls, a big pointy pricky thing.
Some of the cactus even hide in amongst harmless leafy plants.
The views across the mesas and pinnacles was spectacular as are all the views in the Superstition Mountains. They are the largest of the mountain ranges surrounding the Phoenix area, visible from miles away through the eastern suburbs. They rise 5024’ from the flat desert floor in almost sheer cliffs. Mysterious, beautiful, awesome.
My favorite view is of Weaver’s Needle, always in the background, towering above the shorter hills surrounding it. Named after mountain man Pauline Weaver, it is a 4553’ tall and a beacon in the mountains.
If you’ve heard of the Superstition Mountains you’ve heard of the Lost Dutchman and his treasure. Many have tried to find it but have failed. Actually the treasure has several legends attached to it. Was it the lost treasure and wealth of the Jesuit priests who lived in this area and who buried it all when the King of Spain ordered them out? Was it the treasure of the Peralta family from Sonora Mexico who were attacked by Indians and only a few arrived back in Mexico with a load of gold? Or was it the lost mine found in the 1870’s by Jacob Waltz, the Lost Dutchman who was actually from Germany, and his partner who died a mysterious death?
Who knows but they certainly have an aura of mystery about them. And, the Superstition Mountains themselves, as craggy as they are certainly add to the legend. And, sometimes as beautiful as they look cutting a shadow across the sky, they can also look ominous, as they hover over the lower hills in their midst. Along the last part of the trail, as we were heading back to the trailhead, we were walking close to some low hills but always in back, we could look up though breaks in these hills and see the outline of the jagged volcanic peaks of the Superstitions looming in the background.
We met 3 guys at the trailhead and 1/2 way around since they had taken off counter-clockwise around the loop. We had lunch together at the trail juncture. It’s always fun to meet others hiking. They meet every Sunday to hike and they told us of many places that they had gone. Now, they sound like such serious hikers that we were surprised when they had no idea where they were going and what trail to take next. They had a written description of the trail but no map. Hmm. Even greenhorns like us take maps.
Funny. When they mentioned that they hiked every Sunday, I checked their 4th fingers to see if they were married. My first thought was: they leave their wives every Sunday? Gary also wondered about their wives but it never occurred to him to check their ring fingers. ‘Is that what women do?’ he asked. ’Check to see if guys are married?’ Silly man, He wondered about their wives too, but didn’t know to check the ring fingers to see if they were married. ’Must be a woman thing’ he mused.
We got back to the car, and headed back for an ice cream treat. Now, in Southern California, you can find some of the best ice cream in the local drug store, Rite Aid. In the Phoenix area, it took us a while but we found some of the best ice cream in the Water and Ice stores. Huh? What happened to ice cream stores? Ah - not enough of a profit center, gotta expand your offerings, I guess.
As we were sitting in front of the water, ice & ice cream store on the bench relaxing and watching the world pass by when a woman pulled up to fill her water jugs with fresh water. She turned to us and noticed; ‘I’ll bet you’ve already had your walk for the day.’ Huh? Did we look that beat? Well, maybe I did.

Here’s an old riddle that a friend recently sent me. Well, it may be old, but I’ve never heard of it.

You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is a sharp drop-off. On your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the kangaroo. What must you do to get out of this highly dangerous situation?
Answer tomorrow

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Stats and Bots

Funny thing about blogging, you never know where your audience comes from. However, Google Blogger has a cool tool for statistics. And, one of the bits of information that it tells you is what country your readers come from. So, here’s the map of the world with my audience for yesterday. Look, I’ve got more readers yesterday from Russia than from any place else. Next comes America. I’ve even got readers form the Ukraine, from Germany, France, England, Canada and Kenya? Do I for a minute believe this? That I’ve got readers in Russia? Nope. I think they’ve got little bots that circle around the blogoshpere. They’re not reading my stuff, but they’re messing up my statistics.
So, what are ‘bots’? I had a general idea but not anything concrete. I can do some things with computers and have some knowledge but I had to learn about bots. They are automated programs that cruise the Internet trying out every site they can find. Kind of like rats on a ship looking for food although bots are much more prevalent and much more obscure. Lots of them and you can’t see them. OK, if the Internet is the information highway, bots are lots of cars careening around driven by mindless bandits. I’ve read that bots account for 56% of all website visits.

Now, I know that there are good bots along with the bad bots. The good bots are like Google which has to scurry around the Internet to find the right items for my search. Yahoo, the same. No bots, no search engines. But, there are malicious bots out there too. Spam bots, hacker bots.
John Pullen who covers everything tech for TIME magazine wrote this in May 28, 2015.

How Bad Bots Are Destroying The Internet
John Patrick Pullen @jppullen May 28, 2015

Last year was the first time in history that bots outnumbered people on the web. According to research from Distil Networks, almost 60% of 2014’s web traffic consisted of automated bits of code, 23% of which exist to do dirty work for fraudsters and hackers. “It’s getting worse,” says Rami Essaid, Distil’s CEO. “Over the past ten years, they went from just kind of being out there and easy to detect to being really, really sophisticated.”

Computer programs that have been coded to either automate a task or pretend to be a person, bots have probably been on the Internet longer than you have. They can be either good or bad. For instance, Facebook uses bots to grab the headline, first paragraph, and image from a story when you share it on your news feed. Meanwhile, Google uses bots to crawl and catalog the web so when you run a search, the site can deliver appropriate results.

But hackers also use bots for all sorts of nefarious reasons, from lifting credit card numbers from an online store to scraping the text off an article and posting it on some random blog. (The nerve!) In fact, digital publishers get hit hardest by bad bots, with almost one-third of the traffic crawling on sites like this being malicious programs. (Sorry about that.) Travel sites, online stores, and real estate pages also abound with comps-critters.

And, that’s what I think is from Russia on my blog. Bother the Bots. Get off my blog. What in the world do they think they might get from my blog? Do they think I have national secrets? Do they think I know the best place to eat in New York? Why me? I keep thinking I might just write a whole blog with the word ‘Russia’ in it and see how often they hit that. But, I don’t want to encourage them.

On another topic: our life is not always hiking or washing the RV or sitting around doing bookkeeping or what ever. Sometimes we actually get out into the world. A few days ago we spent the day out ‘shopping’, my favorite task. Since I’m calling it a ‘task’ you might guess that I’m no fan of shopping. Don’t like to shop. But, sometimes it’s necessary.

We hit REI to buy a new hiking shirt for Big Gar. He’s been getting by with the two he has but even he admits that he might need a 3rd. I’ve been trying to convince him of this for several years. We also bought a new bladder for our backpacks since mine leaks. I’m hiking along and I get drips of water on my legs.

And, here we are, in Costco, having lunch. Yeah, you might think that’s a very berry sundae but, it’s 12:00 pm, noon, and we’re having lunch.


No calories back for this treat - it tasted as good as I expected and more.

Mesa, AZ - 'Back in the Saddle Again'

Ya think you’re going to see us on horseback? Think again. This saddle is the saddle between two peaks. My kind of saddle. Looks pretty easy from here, doesn’t it? Must be the camera angle. I worked a lot harder than this picture warrants.
Rain? Well, it’s supposed to rain today and we had decided not to hike. But, at noon, it still hadn’t rained, we were bored with sitting around waiting for the weather to clear and it’s time, time to hike. We started eating lunch while we scurried around getting ready to hike, hiking shoes check, socks, check, protein bars, check. Oops, where’s the dry bag? The bag we can put our camera, watch, billfolds, etc into when, or if, it begins to rain? That delayed up for 1/2 hour but soon we were ready to hit the trail. We’ll look for it tomorrow. Let’s use plastic sandwich bags for today.

Same trail we have started with the last two times we’ve come out here, the Usury Mt Loop trail. 7 miles long, but with beautiful views. Now, we both think that the first mile is deadly dull and the last mile is the same but the middle 5 miles are really pretty neat. So, we’re off. I check the radar: looks like there might be a storm coming our way. Dark clouds, rain coming down from it. Oh, well, we’ll be all right and we took off.
You always know when you’re on Usury Mt - you can see this sign for miles. Now, my question, who is the sign for? Pilots? - I’m thinkin’ that I would rather not ride with a pilot who needed this sign on a mountain about 500’ off the ground.

But, we enjoyed the hike. The first mile: down into a wash, up the side to the finger of land, then back down into the next wash - repeat, repeat, repeat - about 9 times. Dull, dull, dull. The you get to the other side of the mountain and the views open up. The rock cliffs across the valley catch the rays of the sun. The cacti rise tall.


The green of the grasses and brush show the recent rains which have hit the area. Of course, now, that we’re on the other side of the mountain, we won’t see the rain until it’s really right upon us. Oops. But, then, the sun broke out, the clouds over the mountain were white and fluffy and we thought we were in the clear.
We wound around the mountain, in and out of the ridges on the sides. Then we got to the saddle, our spot to sit, eat a bit and enjoy the views. This little character showed us his fanciest scurrying and begging but to no avail. But he was fun to watch.
Of course, you can’t miss the Superstition Mountains off in the distance.
Then down the mountain, around the final section of mountain and we’re back at out car.
Gary always laughs at the way my hat sits on my back when I’m not wearing it. I tell him it’s to catch the rays of the sun and the drops of rain for later. No packs today, we didn’t expect the hike to take very long. I am giving Gary a silly grin, not thinking that he was taking a picture nor that I'd ever put this into the blog. Wrong on both counts.
Great hike. No rain at all, temps in the 70’s since it was cloudy and we were back home by dinner.

’In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.’
                                John Muir

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Rain, Rain, Go Away

I’m sure that you’ve heard about the rain that fell recently in California, with walls of mud sliding down on highways burying cars and trucks. We haven’t had nearly that much rain in Arizona but there has been more than usual in this area too. Today, they had quarter-sized hail in Apache Junction, the city east of Mesa. In a town north of us a car was buried in mud and water up to the hood and a woman had to be rescued out of the rear window. We waited all day for rain, watching the black clouds slide off to our west and rain falling off to our east. But we had temperatures in the mid-70’s and, with sun playing hide and seek with the clouds we took our daily walk.

We planned a hike for Tuesday and got out our hiking gear. Monday evening we heard the weather report and thought: maybe Wednesday. Wednesday doesn’t look too good but, who knows? And even Thursday is looking iffy. Of course, if the weather prevents a hike, it also prevents cleaning the RV. So, it’s not all bad.

We took a walk through the campground and noticed this RV already for Halloween.
Another guy is happy that we’re getting rain since he won’t have to water the flats of plants he’s bought to put around his new deck.
Our neighbors, who are new to RV’ing, had their awning out all day and then left. We got a warning on our iPhone that heavy winds, rain and dust storms were heading our way. We rushed to close our awnings and two of our slides and then headed oer to the neighbors. Here are Gary and another neighbor trying to tie their awning down. Gary is anxiously looking into the sky.
And, here’s what we’re seeing coming right at us. See that brown cloud in back of the house? Yep, sand, and it’s really billowing up.
I ran around putting all of the trash and recycling bins down on the ground and a ladder I found behind their RV. Didn’t want them flying through the air and hitting something. Below you can see the sand swirling at the other end of our street. In the end, it didn’t amount to much where we were but in other areas, it caused problems - like on the highway when drivers couldn’t see each other nor the highway itself.
Yesterday, when we walked, we noticed that a local church was having a big bash. A live band, lots of food but the weather was not so good to them. We even cut our walk short and reversed direction when we heard the thunder and saw the lightening. In the evening we heard what sounded like fireworks and looked out towards the church. Sure enough, they were shooting off fireworks in the rain. Too bad.

But, on the whole, every bit of rain in the desert is welcome.

Meanwhile Gary and I have discovered a really find fitness center here in the park. There was one last year but it was pretty crowded and I wan’t impressed with the machines. Now, however, they have really upped their game and not only is the fitness center triple in size but the machines are state of the art. They have a great circuit that Gary and I have both done. They have rowing machines, lots of weights, but it’s the stationary bikes, the stair-steppers and the ellipticals that really are superb. They have screens on them and you can choose a course, a TV channel or a scene. Yesterday, on the stair-stepper, I hiked through Bryce Canyon with all the red rocks, others hiking in the opposite direction and all the elevation changes. Then, I got on a bike and cruised through the rural Loire Valley in France, past homes, fields, forests and others biking.

Here’s Gary on one of the circuit machines.
And, here I am trying not to looked strained. Trying really hard. But failing.

‘I’d do anything for a good body except exercise and eat right.’
                        Steve Martin

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Plunging Down the Mogollon

Today we leave Gallup, NM and head on down to Mesa, AZ for the rest of the year. But - first - we’ve got to stop at Glenn’s in Gallup. Why? Well, look at these two pictures. Yep, two, count them, two big display cases of donuts and other pastries.
Now, you know why we stopped here. And, - they heat them up for you. Here are our plates. Check out that cinnamon roll donut that covers the plate it’s on. Now, I will admit that it is a salad plate, not a dinner plate - but, come on, it’s the biggest I’ve ever seen. And - mine - hmm, why would anyone put 2 flavors of frosting on a glazed donut? Yeah, so I would buy it.
Here’s Pyramid Mountain from afar.
Our route today took us on the famous Rte 66.
Our drive was to take Interstate 40 to Holbrook and then head south towards Payson and on to Mesa. A neat route. To Payson it is a 2-lane highway with first grassy plains and then a forest of pines lining both sides of the highway. Very few cars so we had the road almost to ourselves. We were on what’s called the Mogollon Plateau.
It took a while for me to learn how to pronounce that first word: it’s ‘Mug ee yon’. Doesn’t look like that does it? Well, it is what it is. I”m not going to give you the geologic description of it but it is a cliff that runs 200 miles from north of Flagstaff almost to the border with New Mexico. I towers above the countryside below.
Usually it is 4000 - 5000’ above the plains below it with some sections rising to 8000’ - which means that you’ve got to come down a long ways to get to the low desert country. Long downhills, sweeping curves and always downward. The views from the north are magnificent looking over mountain ranges in the distance and lowlands below. From the south, it is a magnificent rock cliff rising up from those plains. Any way you look, you’ve got an amazing view.
I like this picture with the beautiful red cliff above the yellow and red tourist attractions below.
To say that we plummeted down the rim from the plateau to the plains, is almost an understatement. The road winds its way around the cliffs, through the trees, always heading lower. For miles, it seems. 5000’, 4000’. 3000’ always downward.
We reached Payson, the halfway point between Holbrook and Mesa and then began Hwy 87, a 4-lane engineering marvel, winding through canyons. Because the canyons are narrow, sometimes, the two sides of the highway go through two different canyons and you can’t even see the other side of the highway. Then - suddenly the northbound lanes curve under the southbound lanes and - Holy Succotash - I’m looking out of the passenger side window and looking at the northbound lanes on my right, You’ve got to be kidding. How disconcerting. Here’s what it looks like on a map. See where the northbound lane on the right at the bottom, crosses under the southbound lanes, right above the ’87’ on the map. Then, a bit further north, the lanes cross again. It is a cool road and delightful to travel.
Here’s what I see out of the passenger window. See the truck climbing in a right hand lane.
It’s also called the Beeline Highway because it makes a Beeline from Mesa to Payson. Great trip down it.

The highway never stops curving.
We arrived in Mesa in the resort where we will be staying for 2 1/2 months. We leave in January 1 heading further south.

Along the way, we stopped in a public bathroom where a father took his daughter into the men’s room. He had checked it out before hand (Gary said) and they took the handicapped stall. All of a sudden Gary heard a high-pitched young voice singing ‘Feliz Navidad’. Cute.

Interesting phenomenon here. I’ve got a pair of jeans that developed a few holes in them. Now. I haven’t worn them that much and have no idea how I got these holes. Strange. Not only that but the navy blue of the denim is turning whiter and whiter. Don’t have a clue why. Today I took them out of the closet to wear and the hole was bigger and the color was whiter. Hmmm. Looks like I should toss them. Who knows what is causing this, nor if it might begin to affect other clothes. I wrapped them up into a plastic bag and tossed them in the trash. Oh, so sad. But here are the holes. What in the world would make holes like this? And, the cloth from that hole just disappeared over the last month.
My other jeans are still denim colored, have no holes and no worn areas.

It’s 11:05 and both of us are wondering why we’re so tired. Well, that’s easy to explain - once we thought about it. We got up at 6:00 to get on the road. It’s now 11:05 - or is it? Nope, it’s not. It’s 11:05 here in Mesa which does not do daylight savings time so, it’s 12:05 in Gallup where we started. So, from 6 am to 12 am - 18 hours. Time for bed.

I was practicing with the camera and caught this picture of Gary. His thought: you’re not going to put that into the blog are you? The caption: what do you mean you haven’t found a donut shop on the way?
OK, Now we’re in Arizona again, let’s go into a little pronunciation lesson here. Since we’ve been coming to AZ for the winter, Gary and I have had to learn how to pronounce the place names with which we come into contact. We’ve been to just about every place here and, not wanting to look stupid, we had to find out how to pronounce them.

Tempe - a city in the East Valley and home to Arizona State University. Pronounced: tem-pee’. We go to the art festival every December.

Mesa - a city in the East Valley that has a large Mormon population. Pronounced: may’-suh. Here’s where we stay over the winter

Ajo - a small city in southern Arizona. Pronounced: ah’-ho. Small town on the way to Organ Pipe NM

Nogales - there are two cities by this name, one on each side of the Arizona/Mexico border. Pronounced: no-gal’-iss

Canyon de Chelly - in northern Arizona, a beautiful natural landmark. Pronounced: can-yen duh shay’

Mogollon Rim - the northern Arizona, marks the southern border of the Colorado Plateau. Pronounced: mug-ee-yun’

Gila River - southeast of Phoenix area, popular for rafting. Pronounced: hee’-luh
Hohokam Expressway - also known as S.R. 143, a north south road originating at the airport. Pronounced: ho-ho’-kam

Ahwatukee - a middle to upper middle class community in southern Phoenix. Pronounced: ah-wuh-too’-kee

Tlaquepaque - a wonderful collection of shops in Sedona. Pronounced: tuh-la’-kuh-pah’-kee (my favorite word - just let it roll off your tongue

Estrella - a community and airpark west of Phoenix. Pronounced: es-tray’-uh

Casa Grande - a city between Phoenix and Tucson. Pronounced: kah’-suh grand

How do you tell when you runout of invisible ink?