Zane Grey Tour

Well, here we are, safely tucked away in our temporary new home for the next four weeks, and what an adorable place to be tucked away in.

Welcome to Zane Grey RV Park in Camp Verde Arizona.

I am loving all the beautiful trees and shade here.

All the spaces are nice and large with lots and lots of trees and shade..

Two paths take you around the outside of the park and down to the creek.

Just beyond these trees is the creek. I will be exploring that very soon.

 

They have a nice Ramada here in the park, complete with a dinner bell, where they welcome guests to free donuts, fresh fruit, and coffee every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. How nice is that?

They also have a community fire pit because they encourage folks to get to know each other in the evenings around a campfire. No, that is not snow on the ground, it’s from the cottonwood trees. I love it because it’s pretty, but not cold..

Everywhere you look around the park grounds is something interesting to see…

Even the laundry room is decorated.

And check out this adorable little outdoor phone station for guests to make local calls.

This is our little slice of this beautiful RV Park for the next four weeks

This is where I am happy to fluff my feathers, and settle into this beautiful little nesting area…

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Stay Tuned!

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What A Difference

As in life, what a difference a few days can make in the desert.

With about 22 thousand acres, and over 80 miles of trails here at McDowell Mountain Park, Bill and I love  getting out and hiking three to four days a week.

This first picture below was taken just last week when the desert was lush and green after the unusual amount of rain we had over the winter months.

However, summer is fast approaching, and today Bill and I noticed most of the lush green is turning brown and drying up as shown in this picture.

The dryness makes it easy to spot areas all around like this, where the grass is matted down due to what we think are places where some of our desert animals bed down for the night. But, I’m going to ask our park ranger if she agrees with that thought process or not..

There are still some signs of spring left to be found, like this blooming creosote bush. A pretty desert bush with yellow and white flowers.

I read up on the creosote bush on About Travel by Phil Persson, and here are some interesting things I found out. “Creosote leaves are coated with a resin to prevent water loss in the hot desert. The resin of the creosote bush also protests the plant from being eaten by most mammals and insects. It is believed that the bush produces a toxic substance to keep other nearby plants from growing thus ensuring its own survival. The creosote leaves give off a very unique and peculiar odor when it rains. Although some refer to the odor as heavenly essence of the desert, the Spanish word for the plant, hediondilla, means little stinker, signifying that not everyone considers the odor heavenly to the senses (I like the smell of the creosote plant). The plant was a virtual pharmacy for Native Americans. It was used in a tea to cure such things as flu, stomach cramps, cancer, coughs, colds, etc.”. Well, who knew all that could come out of one desert plant!

Bill and I don’t know what the little red berries on this thorny bush are, but we think they must not be edible or the birds, and other desert critters, wound have picked the bush clean by now. Another question we need to ask our park ranger. So much to see and learn here in our beautiful Arizona desert..

Our time here for this season is quickly winding down. Bill and I are leaving on April 26th to spend a month in Camp Verde Arizona, where we will just rest and relax until we head out to Oregon for the summer months. We will return to McDowell Mountain Park in October. We will be looking forward to another fun-filled hosting season, and reuniting with all the new friends we’ve made here.

Stay tuned for postings of our summer adventures!

A New Friend!

Bill and I have met so many wonderful people since we have been here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. All of the staff, and hosts, are so welcoming and friendly. But I want to dedicate this post to my new “huggie” girlfriend, Bonnie.

Bonnie, and her husband, Craig, have been hosts here for about 10 years. They are both very friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Craig always stops by the visitor center when Bill and I are working and asks if we need anything, and always tells us to call him if/when we do need anything. He is really a great guy and we appreciate all he does.

Bonnie is one of those people you meet, and immediately feel a connection, and just know it won’t be long before you become friends. Bonnie is beautiful inside and out, and she has a personality that just lights up any room she enters.

Bonnie trained me to make camping reservations and/or changes to reservations for our guests that visit our park. She has the patience of a saint and never seemed to mind the endless questions I had while I was being trained.

Bill and I were scheduled to work Christmas Eve. We didn’t mind because we are one of the new host couples here and we know we all need to “pay our dues” and take our turn working holiday’s… However, Bonnie knew Bill and I were going to spend Christmas Eve at our daughter, Shantel’s home, in Phoenix, and a big storm, with heavy rain, was predicted to arrive in our area within a few hours of the time we would finish our shift at 4:00. The problem with big storms with heavy rain in this area is that we have three washes to go through to get out of the park and make our way to the highway to get to Phoenix.

Bonnie and her husband were not planning to leave the park on Christmas Eve, they were going to have a little after hours gathering at the visitor center with some of the other park hosts. Bonnie had already worked her scheduled hours for the week. But, Bonnie knew Bill and I were a bit worried about getting out of the park before the heavy rains came that could flood the washes we needed to cross. So, Bonnie, being Bonnie, sent me a text around 11:30 yesterday morning letting me know that she was going to come in around 3:15 and take over so Bill and I could leave and get to Shantel’s home to start our Christmas celebration!

Both Bill and I were very happy to be getting off a little early. Now, imagine our surprise when Bonnie walks in at about 2:00 and said she had finished up the things she wanted to get done and decided she would just come on in and let us go even earlier!! OMG, both Bill and I were so surprised, happy, and very appreciative. We both hugged Bonnie, and told her how much we appreciate her, and wanted her to know what a great person we think she is. I mean how many folks do you know that would give up their Christmas Eve afternoon off to go and let people they just recently met get off early…? I’m sure there are a few folks out there like Bonnie that would do that, but let me just say, Bill and I have found that those kind of people are few, and sometimes hard to find… And when we meet people like Bonnie and become friends, we never for one minute that that friendship for granted!

So, a BIG shout out to my new girlfriend, Bonnie. THANK-YOU for being the beautiful, fun-loving, kind-hearted person you are. We were blessed the day we met you, and we look forward to many years of friendship.

Merry Christmas!

We Found Our Nitch

The reason Bill and I wanted McDowell Mountain Regional Park to be our winter home is because it puts us so much closer to our family and friends that live in either Scottsdale or Fountain Hills.

McDowell Mountain Park allows us to see our dear friends, Holly (my sister by choice) and her husband, Chuck, that live in Fountain Hills, as often as we like. Now they are within 15 minutes of us. So love that we can see each other anytime we want.

We also have very dear friends Robin (my frissy) and her husband, Bob, that live in Scottsdale, and are approx. 35 minutes away from us now, as opposed to about an hour away when we were at San Tan.

Robin and Bob visited us yesterday, and we had lunch together at our picnic table, then took the self-guided interpretive trail hike. We had so much fun on that 3.1 mile easy hike. Both Robin and I agreed that hike would allow us to have one glass of wine free of calories, due to the exercise we got.

I worked with both Holly, and Robin, when I worked in the Corporate environment…. They both were in my life as Bill and I were raising our adopted daughter, Shantel, who lost her sight to cancer before she was two. And they were both instrumental in helping Bill and I get through that period in our lives.

If not for both Holly and Chuck, and Robin and Bob, I don’t know how Bill and I would have survived emotionally during that period of our lives. They all played a HUGE part in my emotional stability…  And they all totally understood what Bill and I needed as far as friends that understood our situation, and accepted, welcomed, and included us into their lives…

So here is to you, Holly and Chuck, and Robin and Bob.

We would not have made it without you, and we love your MORE than you will ever know…

We love you for seeing us through so many challenges, that eventually led us to where we are today…

And we think we found our “nitch”,  for our winter months here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Stay Tuned!

 

Country Back Roads

Oh, how I have come to love those country back roads here in Wyoming…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog. Not because I haven’t had anything I wanted to share, but a few weeks back I mentioned to my husband, Bill, that I was frustrated with the little point and shoot camera I have been using ever since I first started my blog, because it was starting to stick when I would try to capture a picture… So if I was trying to take a picture of an animal etc. by the time that camera would actually snap the picture the animal was already long gone. That camera was never even mine to begin with, my mother bought it for Bill for his birthday years ago, and I just started using it for my blog because I never had a camera of my own… I know, poor me right?

Anyway, unknown to me, Bill mentioned to my frissy, Robin, (who is a master photographer in my opinion, and who has had her photography published in NYC, you can see her work at http://www.gothamgirlchronicles.com ) that he wanted to buy me a new camera, and wanted her thoughts on a good, affordable, camera that he could buy me as a surprise… I love good surprises so that would have been the best one for me at this point in my life when I am trying to take pictures of where we are traveling, and what we are seeing..

Well, frissy suggested to Bill that she would like to send me her first big girl camera for me to try out and see if I would like something like that. OMG! When the camera she sent for me to practice on arrived, I almost had a heart attack to see that it is a Nikon camera, complete with two lenses, all the attachments, and a carrying case. I LOVE that frissy has that much trust in me to let me practice on this expensive camera… but OMG, I was afraid to even take the camera out of the case for fear I would screw up something on it… I have never even looked through the lens of a camera like this, let alone try to practice with something like this…

But slowly, I started trying to take pictures with frissy’s camera. And little by little I was confident enough to send her a few pictures as email attachments to show her how I was doing and let her know I was loving the camera and the practice of getting used to a “big girl” camera…

Finally, I got confident enough to take some pictures that I wanted to post on my blog, but every time I tried to post them I got an error message… Long story shortened, frissy, and her husband, Bob, were able to tell Bill and I what we needed to do to change the pictures from one file type to another that my blog would accept. Only one problem with that… they told us what to do, we thought we did it… but finally realized (after a week), that we did do what they said… but we failed to save the changes within the camera… and that is why it has taken me so long (weeks) to get pictures from the camera she is letting me use to practice with, to my blog…

However, I am happy to say today I am finally able to share some pictures I took while Bill and I were traveling down some back country roads here in beautiful Wyoming. I have a LONG way to go to get right with this kind of camera…, but I’m having a ball practicing with it. Take a look…

Bill and I took a drive down a winding country road on the backside of the Buffalo Bill reservoir called South Fork Road. A beautiful drive filled with lots of unexpected surprises…

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Like this beautiful green valley with a river running through it.

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Bill and I just couldn’t get over how clear this river was and how secluded this little hidden treasure is from where we are located. If the locals had not shared this gem with us… we would have never know how to get here.

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Bill and I had no clue that this beautiful green valley was just beyond the mountains where we are staying. That is just another reason we love this type of work/camp experience… We learn what the typical tourist would not learn…

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There are baby fawns to be seen now everywhere. I barely captured this one through the windshield of our car as it was running after it’s mother. Not a good picture but the best I could get with almost no time to get the camera ready…

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Of course there are lots of horses along the back country roads. And this one just happened to pose for me …

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This is the backside of the Buffalo Bill reservoir from where we live. No matter where you look… it’s all beautiful.

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Lots of almost hidden treasures grow here if you look for them… And now that I am looking for them I am finding lots of little treasures like these little flowers hidden among the dried out grasses…

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I am loving practicing with this new to me camera that my frissy loaned to me. I will to continue to practice, and I hope I make her proud of my efforts, knowing I have a long, long, way to go… But one thing I have learned is the journey is the best part of it all to me… 🙂

Thank You Frissy for trusting me with you first, and my only, “big girl camera…”

Little, by little, in baby steps… I WILL learn…

Stay Tuned

 

 

Exploring Cody Wyoming

My husband Bill/Bro and I are all settled into our new RV home location for the summer here in Cody Wyoming, and we had some business in town today. I love using that term “in town”, because it truly is what the locals say here in the small, very much western, town of Cody Wyoming. Oh, how my cowgirl at heart loves this little piece of heaven…

So, while we were out and about in town, we decided to make a day of it and really explore the adorable little town of Cody, and the surrounding area.

We stopped in at a gun and ammo shop where Bill bought a holster for one of our two 22 pistol’s. He got a pretty good deal on it as it is a leather tooled holster complete with an ammo belt. Now, we both have pistol’s and holsters/ammo belts and are in the process of looking into where we can go target practicing. I can’t wait to strap on my gun and holster, just like Annie Oakley, and go shoot some targets… YaHoo!!

Then, since it was lunch time, and the famous Irma Hotel was just on the corner from the ammo shop, we naturally ventured in there to have a look around and decided to stay for lunch. So glad we did.

The Irma Hotel is a landmark in Cody Wyoming. It was built by Buffalo Bill Cody, and named after his daughter Irma.

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A focal point of the hotel is the famous back bar made of cherry wood. It was a gift given by Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill. The hotel opened in 1902 and quickly became the social center of Cody. They still use the gold-tone manual cash register today.

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Loved the detail in the woodwork above the bar. So, so, beautiful, and I can only imagine what it took back in those days to create something like this.

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Of course, everything in Cody is representative of the wild, wild, west, and I so LOVE it all… Just look at how they made a chandelier out of antlers… who knew?? 🙂

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I was amazed that way back then they even thought to put a “call button” in to call your waitress to your table, but sure enough, just notice the little white button just below the picture below… Must have been out of necessity because no one would hear you calling for your waitress over the music and gunfire way back then,,,

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Well, since we are sitting right here in the Buffalo Bill/Bro reservoir in Cody Wyoming… I just knew the fish and chips had to be fresh and good, so I ordered that with slaw and sweet potato fries. Excellent!

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Bill opted for the French Dip sandwich and Irma potatoes. He didn’t think it was anything special… Of course not… How can anything “French” be good in the wild, wild, west town of Cody Wyoming? Silly boy,… They don’t do French anything here in the wild, wild, west Bill/Bro… 🙂

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After lunch we ventured into a little shop connected to the hotel where they sell all kinds of “shit”. Just take a look at all the  “shit” they sell…. 🙂 LOVED it!!

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After lunch, and exploring the little shops of Cody, we stopped at the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitors Center that is the first thing you see when you come out of the three tunnels that take you through, instead of over, the mountains that divide the town of Cody from the Buffalo Bill State Park where we are residing for the summer.

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I am in Awe every time we come through that tunnel and I see these souring mountains that surround the reservoir

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I hope I NEVER get used to seeing this kind of beauty all around me…

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The next picture is of the Buffalo Bill Dam. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Shoshone River in Cody Wyoming. It is named after the famous wild west figure William “Buffalo Bill” Cody who founded the nearby town of Cody. He owned much of the land now covered by the reservoir formed by the dam construction. 325 Ft high, 70 ft wide at the base. Built in 1910. I can only imagine what the people that worked on this dam endured, and what it took for the people that worked on that dam to survive. At the visitor’s center we learned that 8 people died, three were blinded, and some lost limbs during the construction of the dam.. Just imagine what it took to construct something like this in the 1900’s..

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Just as we finished up our tour of the Buffalo Bill Dam, we noticed a big storm about to descend upon us so we headed home to a rustic stew I have cooking in the crock-pot that I will complete with homemade biscuits… Perfect meal to end a perfect day..

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Stay Tuned!

Dipping Quail Lake

Lots of excitement around the lake yesterday. A wild-fire is burning two miles from Quail Lake State Park in southern Utah. The fire is burning right up the side of a mountain and we are actually getting ash from the fire falling on cars and RV’s here within the campground.

This has been our first season as camp hosts here in Utah so Bill and I have never seen anything like this before. While it is very sad that a wild-fire is burning and destroying the landscape and threatens homes etc. we were excited to be able to witness the heroic efforts of those who are putting their knowledge and skills to work to help fight and/or contain the fire. In order to accomplish this helicopters were called in to “dip” water from Quail Lake and carry it over the mountain to drop on the fire.

This picture below shows the first helicopter “dipping” into the lake.

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This next picture shows the helicopter taking off to drop the water on the fire. It is a little fuzzy but the whole “dipping” episode takes place in a matter of seconds so by the time you have your camera pointing in the right direction to take the picture, the helicopter has “dipped” the lake and is rushing off to the fire. This “dipping” went on several times throughout the morning and afternoon.

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In fact, in order to allow the helicopter pilots safe access to the lake, we had to have the boat gates closed and locked and not allow anyone access to the lake all day yesterday. I was working the gate booth and had to turn many, many Friday night boaters away. We did allow campers in that had reservations but they were told that they would not be allowed to launch their boats until we were given the all clear which would hopefully be today.

The main reason we were told we had to keep all boaters off the lake when the helicopter pilots are “dipping” is that people, being people, will but their boat right under the helicopter and try to get a picture from that angle putting themselves and the helicopter pilot in danger…

I’m happy to say that the boat launch area is open again today and boaters are on the water which hopefully means the fire is being contained. We can still see white smoke rising over the mountain but because I’m not working today, as of this writing, I have not be given a status of the fire containment level.

Keeping all front line first responders in our thoughts and prayers as they put their lives on the line to help save others.

Stay Tuned!

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