Saturday, February 27, 2010

AJ Area

We have explored several areas around the Valley of the Sun from our base in Apache Junction. One thing we have really enjoyed is the walks in the desert just across the street from Desert Holiday RV Park. The rain we have had has turned the land green and has the cacti just waiting to burst into bloom. The walks have also given us a great view of the Superstition Mountains (our new blog photo) towering in the East.
Just a few miles east the road climbs into the mountains and the sign warns of 35 miles of twisting, turning driving ahead. The reward for the drive is the great view of Canyon Lake.
Just beyond Canyon Lake is Tortilla Flat, an old stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail. Today it is billed as the "Real Old West" with the highlight being the Superstition Saloon. There are a few other shops selling genuine western junque for all the tourist.
The bar is unique with old saddles serving as "stools" and the walls covered with nearly $100,000 in bills from around the world. Everyone knows Nanc likes to drink her wine from a wine glass, but this is the first time the wine glass was a small jam jar. The whole Western theme even extends into the rest rooms.
Another trip was with Alan and Sharon to Cave Creek for lunch and some gallery hopping. As you can see, the Steeler's Nation is even thriving here in Cardinal's country. The sign did look like someone had thrown red paint (or more likely a red alcoholic drink) at it, but it was obviously repelled by Steeler power.
Another stop with Sharon and Alan was to a Mesa art gallery where they had work on display. We were very disappointed when we learned neither of them won recognition for their fine work. Sharon's pastel is the sheep herder's cabin at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
To get deeper into the desert we hiked a trail in the Tonto National Forest. There were many different cacti and rocks as we climbed to a saddle overlooking the mountains in the distance.
The trail brought us to Weavers Needle, the remains of an ancient volcano.There were a variety of rock formations along the trail including hoodoos and balanced rocks. There were also several species of cacti like the cholla, prickly pear, ocitilla and saguaro with their human like characteristics.
Alan and Sharon invited us to their home for a farewell luncheon where we got to meet their friends Mike and Rose, another RVing couple. We had a wonderful afternoon sharing ideas about places to visit on the road. We will be leaving AJ on Monday after stopping to purchase new RV tires. We plan to sprint (for us) 1200 miles in four days across Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. This will be a first for us as we usually just slowly meander but we are on a mission to get back east while still staying in the warmer weather. We really enjoyed spending the month here and having the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. It just might be a winter destination in the future.


Lena Potts said...

Beautiful shots, Yimmy!

MarkandRenita said...

Don't tell me the desert solitude is claiming another soul!

Art In The Sun said...

Love your new banner photo. We hope the saguaro acts as a beacon to draw you back to the west.