Sunday, May 6, 2007

The last of Arizona, California here we are

Monday, April 30, 2007
We drove to Saguaro National Park. There are a lot of saguaro cacti here - acres of them. The do not start to branch until they are 55 – 80 years old and they live 105 – 200 years. There are also a variety of different cacti, some we had not seen before. We went to the Visitors Center last and while we were still outside, Terry & Betty came up. We had just received a text message from them asking out site number, so this was a pleasant surprise.

We then went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It was $12 per person and well worth the money. They irrigate the plants, so there were lots of blooms, even though there has been a drought recently. Also there was a hummingbird aviary and then another aviary for the local birds. It was fascinating to see the birds fly/walk right by you.

Back at CG, we had cocktails with Terry & Betty and they will come over for hot tea and show pictures since we last saw them.

Note to file: Mr. T’s margarita mix is better then Sauza’s. But, it does not come close to the taste south of the border.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007
We drove the Mt Lemmon Highway. It is a 27-mile mountain road, superbly maintained by the Forest Service. Downstairs, Tucson is around 2,500. Mt. Lemmon is 9,100, so elevation gain not only provides dramatic vistas, but cooler weather. No wonder the village near the top is called Summerhaven. The upper area is populated with firs and pines and the smell was welcome after weeks in the desert.

There was a brief rain shower in the afternoon - more clouds, than water. But, it cooled the air. It was a delightful night to sit out. Sadly most of the stars were obscured by clouds. Dorothy was watching a bright light just below the ridge of a mountain. It kept getting brighter. Surprise! It was moonrise. We never see that at home.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Errand Day. Haircut for Dorothy, oil change, new boots for Don, groceries and laundry.

Thursday, May 03, 2007
Moving Day – a LONG 5:15 hour drive over unremarkable terrain to Joshua Tree NP. We are in the south end of the park, near I10, in the Cottonwood CG. We have a grand vista for cocktails. There are only 8 in the CG tonight. We are at 3,100 feet, there is a light breeze, the weather is perfect and life is good.

Friday, May 04, 2007
We made the LONG 40 mile drive down and up across unremarkable terrain to the north end of the park where the jumbo rocks and Joshua Tree’s live. We did a short hike to Arch Rock at White Tank CG. Then we drove to Keys View at 5,100 feet so we could look down to Palm Springs. Well, the exhibit said the town was down there, but it also noted the name of the pass next to it that allows smog from LA to fill the valley. So we did not get to see the 100 golf courses in the valley. The view to the east as not bad and the drive through the miles of Joshua Tree’s was good, plus we had cell phone coverage at the peak and were able to make reservations for the LA jump.

Saturday, May 05, 2007
We did the long drive to the north end of the park again today to hike the Hall of Terrors and Hidden Valley. We were not terrified at all. We must have missed a turn on the trail? Still a good hike. Hidden Valley was crowded. A weekend, near large cities, with decent weather. Everyone that could afford to shop at Eddie Bauer’s was on the trail today in their new finery.

I was getting nervous about gas, so we exited the park’s north entrance and drove west to Palm Springs. It was not what we expected. Where the road intersects with I10 is a humongous windmill farm. Very green. All the gas stations were passed had prices north of 3.39. We got off of I10 in Indio seeking a Mexican lunch and gas. Two stations were selling for 3.79 and a Circle K was busy at 3.29. We had a near gourmet lunch - Carne Asada, seasoned Pinto’s, and pear cactus. The latter was divine. It looked like chopped green beans.

The breeze picked up yesterday afternoon and it got cloudy. Today, the breeze is 5 to 15, but crystal clear. Well as clear as it gets this close to LA.

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