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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery Visit and More Wind Therapy 2017

Since we got to go to Christmas, Arizona last week, what better people to ask to go to the Monastery with us was our new friends from Oklahoma, Steve and Glenda.

Not only did they agree to go, they had a couple of their friends, and now our newest friends Butch and Marsha. 
It is a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride, and we are going to do just that.

The Monastery is only about 7 miles from our place, so it wasn't much of a ride there.

There are two monks standing by the main entrance, and we smile and wave as we drive by them.
The grounds are beautiful as we make our way to the parking lot.

As we enter the area, we are greeted by two ladies, and they explain to our group that the ladies have to wear certain clothing while visiting the grounds.
We had read about this, and weren't surprised by this at all.
What made us laugh, was the lady that got the skirts and babushkas for us was very serious about trying to match what we had on.

I think she did quite a nice job, but I think I would have picked a different skirt for be the judge. 

The guys were wearing long shirts and jeans, so their attire was already appropriate. 

During  the time that we girls are getting all fixed up, the guys are in charge of looking at the map of the grounds, and making sure they didn't go in an area that was off limits.

Chuck told us later that he looked up when the lady said we could proceed to the grounds, and he didn't even know who we were..  :) 

Glenda, Marsha and I could hardly control our laughter as we gazed at each other in total amazement. 
Every time we would see a reflection of ourselves, we would giggle!

OK, so now the shock is over, and we are ready to be totally amazed at this place.
It is really amazing to see what has been built in a mere 22 years. 
I have added a link for those of your that would like to check this beautifully serene spot of the world out. 

Each one of the four churches, the grounds that include beautiful gardens, orchards, and even olive trees (of which they press their own olive oil.) were totally amazing.

Some 47 monks inhabit the monastery and have a thorough day and night praying, work and rest. 
Our self guided tour was great, as we could make our way through the grounds at our own pace.

I can not say enough about this beautiful place of heaven.
A fine example of dedication and faith working in a harmonious community. 

We couldn't leave the area before going through the bookstore.
They not only sell books but they sold some of the wonderful olive oil they press from the orchard.

Glenda purchased some bread and pastries that the ladies were selling. 
We returned our clothing that they were so sweet to outfit us in and we started to leave.
The ladies reminded us to pick us some of the blessed lemons that they have by the entry.
They had been picked earlier this morning form the orchards.

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery has truly made a piece of heaven in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.

It is time to do some wind therapy, and Steve has found a road that he thinks we need to check out.
Park Link Road was spectacular! 
The saguaro and the desert are beautiful and look so untouched by the world.

There is a turn out and what a perfect picture opportunity of Picacho Peak.
After pictures, we make our way to I-10 and head towards Tucson.

It is time to think about eating, and I had noticed a billboard for Cracker Barrel, and I guess my mental telepathy was working because Steve took the exit and pulled right into it.

After a wonderful lunch (and a whole lot of laughter, as we reviewed our photo op at the Monastery) we go just about another mile and visit the Harley Davidson shop so I could pick up a gift for our grandson's birthday.

Back on I-10 but heading back towards Eloy, we make a stop at Picacho Peak State Park. 
We basically do a drive by, as we really didn't have enough time to check it out, so we will save this for another day.

It is getting close to 4pm, so we take the Eloy exit on I-10 and point the bikes towards Florence.
Oh but wait...Butch has mention that we should stop for refreshments at the Gallopin Goose in the town of Coolidge, Arizona.

Steve leads us right to it. 
We go to the outside seating and hear the story of this ill-fated bar.
Seems that this bar was on its last leg, and the Bar Rescue group from Spike TV rescued it.
Here is the link if you are interested in checking it out.

Time to get the bikes back before the sun sets.
We make our way down Cactus Forest Rd. to Highway 79.
The circle has been completed and the day was epic. 
Had a wonderful time with our new biker friends.  :) 
Thanks to all who participated....lets do it again....real soon! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spiffing Up the Winter Abode, Arizona Style 2017

There are days and even weeks that fly by so quickly, and I am here to say, that is exactly what has been going on with us in Arizona.

I thought this retirement thing might be a bit harder than it actually is!!!
I am here to tell you, I am loving every minute of it...even the unusually cooler weather and much needed rain that Arizona is having this year, can't burst my bubble. 

We are having some work done on our little piece of heaven here at the Desert Gardens RV Park.
Making it  "ours" is so much fun.

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful landscaping person to make our dreams come true.
Miguel from Espinoza Landscaping is so wonderful to work with.

He probably thinks we are a bit crazy, as we made a change last minute on the shape of the patio that he is putting in for us.

We had no issue with picking the color, but the shape, well, it was a little more difficult.

Not until it was time to get it started did Chuck come up with the perfect style for the patio.

The day the work was to begin the weather decided to make it a little more challenging, but the guys that laid the pavers worked through the mist and by around 4pm, they were done and on their way.

We couldn't be happier with the workmanship and the final change of design.
Bronco even approves it. 
This will help cut down on some of the tracking sand into the trailer. 

The following day, we made a trip to the local Ace Hardware in Florence and found a table and chairs that would work perfectly on the new patio.

Project completed, and wow what a change it made to the lot.
Happy Arizonans.....  :) 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yes Virginia, there is a Christmas Arizona.

I had commented that I would like to ride over to Christmas, AZ during our visit with our neighbors, Steve & Glenda.
We had heard of a road closing in the area and weren't sure if it was even possible to do this.
Steve found out from his brother that we should be able to get there, so a plan is born!

Upon further googling we read that there is no longer a town since the mine closed many years ago.
It is still someplace to ride so why not check it out!
If you want to read about it, check this link out: Christmas, AZ
We will only have two bikes today since Bev and Ken are on their way to Mexico.

Steve has it mapped out so we are ready to ride about 10 am.
The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day to be on a bike.
We fill the bikes up with gas and we are off to find Christmas.

We make our way to Superior and Steve turns off at the visitors center.
Our first executive decision of the day was made at that time.
We are heading back to grab some food at The Buckboard City Cafe.
Not only was it a place to eat but the location of the Worlds Smallest Museum.
You just never know what you will find on these bike trips.

What a great place to eat.
They serve breakfast and lunch and we all chose breakfast.
The food was very tasty.
A place I wouldn't mind coming back to for sure!

Of course we had to check out the museum before we pulled out.
Since it was the smallest museum it didn't take too long to see everything.

One thing I found interesting was the pieces of old barb wire that they had on display.
It was from World War 2  and came from Chandler, Az.
Apparently they had an internment camp for the Japanese that they held during the war.

I found some information on it here: Arizona Internment Camp

Back on the bikes we head towards Christmas.
The road was absolutely flawless.
The saguaro are everywhere.
We hit a few areas with 10% grade.

The area was and still is active with copper mines
I for one hate the way the mines destroy the beautiful mountains and the area around them, but I understand.

Steve pulls over at the little town of Winkelman, AZ, and I go inside to get something to drink.
I asked the clerk which way to Christmas.

She didn't blink an eye and pointed to the Highway Patrol car that was across the street, and to go that direction.

The clerk also told me to tell the patrolman that we wanted to go to Christmas, and they would let us go.
You see the detour of the road was in that direction.
Of course when I walked out I had to announce to our group that Christmas was already over!!!
Couldn't resist it.

Back on the bikes, we make our way across the road.
The highway patrol lady gets out of her car to see what the heck we are up to.
Steve talks to her and she had no idea where Christmas was even at...LOL

She says the road is closed for blasting, but since we only wanted to go about 8 miles up, there was no problem with that.
What a wonderful stretch of road.....All brand new, and no traffic.
We felt like we owned it.

All of a sudden we see Steve's brake lights.
I look to the right, there was the sign we had been looking for.....not on the highway, but on a turnout....with a nice toilet facility.  CHRISTMAS

Not what I thought we would see, but hey we are here, so it was a photo op for sure.
Have to prove to everyone we were here.
Notice we didn't take a pic of the toilet..LOL

Pictures taken and we are on our way back to Winkelman.
Steve stops and tells the police officer that our mission was accomplished.

As we set sails towards Florence, we see a lot of small little towns along the way.
We pass the sign for the Biosphere 2. 
So many places to check out....but that will happen another day!

The whole ride was great. 
The scenery is awesome.
I don't think you could ask for a better ride to Christmas!!!
Thanks to our new friends Steve and Glenda for leading the way.
Our little trip logged about 170 miles today and so many memories.



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wind therapy in January

Life in the desert is going very well.
It is fun to learn about new things and places to check out. 

We have eaten at the local bar/restaurant called the River Bottom, and can truly say they have some great food. 
We always notice there are a lot of bikes around the place, and also packs in the vehicles as well, so it has to be good, right! 

We are enjoying the warmer weather and have gotten out to ride the bike a couple of times this week.
Our neighbors on both sides of us have motorcycles so it makes it nice to get out and enjoy some wind therapy.

It was time for us to check our PO Box in Casa Grande so what better excuse to ride.
Chuck leads and we took the scenic route.
The little stretch of 387 is quite appealing to the eyes.
We made our way to the UPS store and had lunch at the Firehouse Sub Shop.
Bev & Ken ran into the phone store and upgraded their phones.
One stop shop for everything.

Steve leads us back to Florence Gardens.
Enjoyed spending time with this little group of neighbors and look forward to many more trips.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Adopt a Highway, Florence AZ. 2017

Have you driven down the road and see signs along the way that say "Adopt a Highway" and it is sponsored by a person, or even a business.
I know I have, and truly can say that I have wondered how and what they are all about.

At the Desert Gardens RV Park that we are living at during the winter months, we have a couple of signs that are sponsored by the park.

We now have found out what that exactly means.
I know, I must be living under a rock not to know this by now, but I had an idea what it was about, but now I know up close and personally what is going on.

A group of volunteers from the park met on an overcast but mild morning at 9am to participate in the cleaning of our mile that the park has adopted.

For us "newbies" it was pretty exciting....LOL...picking up other peoples trash...Really!
I am always surprised at all the trash on the side of the roads as we travel.
This time we are cleaning it up.

We had one gentleman in our group that was seasoned and knew exactly what to do, so he showed us how it was done.
The large blue bags work better if you run one of the tie ends through a belt loop, leaving you a little more flexible for picking up the litter.

There was an item that we will make sure we own the next time we do this.
One of those "grabbers".
Yes, the grabber can be your best friend around the cacti that are out here in the desert!!!!

Just imagine sticking your hand into a jumping cholla cacti, and then finding a snake or a varment under that mess.....I don't think so!!!!

I was the recycle gal.
I got the large black bag, and had my eyes peeled for anything that could be recycled.

Our little group worked very well together and even though we had a smaller group that the ones that were working the other side of the road, we finished our picking up in record time.

I got so tickled at all of us finding all types of stuff.
It felt like we was on a senior citizens scavenger hunt...LOL
Don found half of a dollar bill.
Chuck found a whole dollar bill.
I found a wooden box with 3 cents in it.
JoAnn found a brand new quick disconnect for TV cables.
I think Don even found the elbow PVC pipe.
Ernie found some underwear....yes he did!  

All the bending over and walking was good for everyone of us, and I know for myself, I was a bit tired by the time we got back to the Taj-mah-hauler.

We laughed and worked as a team, and we beautified a little bit of Arizona in the name of Desert Gardens RV Park.
What a fun time we had....and we even got some exercise.

Next cleaning will be in March....bring it on...but first we all buy "grabbers".....