Friday, February 28, 2014


It sure is tough to write this blog after the trip! We arrived safe and sound back in Oakdale on Monday afternoon (2/24). Yes, there is a LOT of snow. Yes, it is very cold and windy. Yes, we are happy to be home! No new baby - yet.

I really wish I had more than a passing knowledge of geology. Driving through northern Arizona, Utah and Colorado is just amazing.  There are new rocks to look at around every bend in the road!

Our first stop after leaving Buckeye and the Phoenix area was the kitschy little town of Jerome, AZ. It was a wild mining town in the 1800's - Jerome AZ.
Today it is a small town artist colony, with great old buildings in various states of renovation - and some great stories preserved on plaques throughout the town. 
Most of the shops were not open yet - we drove in about 8:30 AM.  We took a walk and did some Nellie Bly.    The entire store is kaleidoscopes!!  Big kaleidoscopes, little kaleidoscopes, cheap kaleidoscopes, very expensive kaleidoscopes!  And it was open, so we spent some time looking through (and touching) some beautiful $9000 toys!! 
window shopping. Our favorite shop was 
Next we headed up the hill to the Gold King Mine Ghost Town.  Talk about lots of STUFF -- It was crazy!! Of course there was a gift shop and a spot to "pan for gold", but there was also a woodshop where they use plane large trees  into table tops and counter tops, etc.  GORGEOUS wood! And I can't remember the name of the tree.... It grows in the mountains of Arizona and part of New Mexico.
Jerome Gold King Mine and Ghost Town -
(*for some unknown reason the Sedona slideshow is here twice - #1 an #3)

Sedona - a beautiful but somewhat expensive tourist town.  We spent the afternoon walking and driving to some of the great viewpoints.

Next on the map is the border between Arizona and Utah. And  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - Navajo Parks & Recreation
I'm guessing we should have driven into the valley for some additional spectacular-ness, but even driving by on the highway was pretty amazing.  Utah is just such a different topography!  The variety of formations and rock types is just so different, and then the mountains by Salt Lake are another world!  I would love to spend more time there.  By now however, we've been gone for almost 6 weeks and "home" is in sight! So we we ended the day in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
The next day, Sunday, we drove through Vail and Denver and all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska. I was worried about driving through the mountains in February, but it wasn't awful - until we got to Denver! Pea soup fog all the way through the city! Yuk.  Then the snow started and the highway from just east of Fort Morgan, CO to just west of Ogallala, NE was brutal.  It was snowing and blowing and there were no plows in sight, so the roads were covered with snow and slush and then we had some freezing rain too.  Almost as suddenly, the roads were dry and clear and we made good time into Lincoln.

If you are looking at this on a mobile device, click on the pictures below to be taken to the Picasa album.


Utah and the rest:

Monday was the final leg of this winter's long journey. Many of the pictures from these last days were taken with my iPhone - through the window - while we were moving!  Don't expect much, they are story-telling shots.
We arrived in Oakdale about 2:30 PM.
5,757 miles - 10 states (11 if you count the 20 minutes we stopped in California by the Parker Dam)

So, we are back to "normal", whatever that is!  Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Grandbaby #8, looking forward to see family at Jeff and Sarah's wedding this weekend, getting to see some great high school hockey the next weekend and probably heading up to the cabin after that!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Buh-bye Buckeye!

This year's Arizona Adventure is coming to a close, tomorrow will leave the shadow of the White Tank Mountains and begin the trek back to Minnesota.  Although the cold, ice, wind and winter weather are waiting - so is our family, it will be good to get home. I've also been watching all the pictures of snowy owls, the Lake Superior ice caves and now the aurora!  Maybe I can get to experience one or two of those when we get back too.  I know that winter will not be over.

These past weeks have been a good combination of soaking up the sunshine and visiting some new places.

We visited friends in Casa Grande - I have no pictures!! We must have been too busy chatting - and eating and drinking!  We also spent a night in Yuma with our good friends Pete and Ed - they were our hosts in Alaska a couple of years ago.  We left Yuma with some new quilting ideas, a few treasures from the Arizona Market (the Yuma Flea Market) and a cooler full of salmon!!

We spent a Saturday traveling to The Desert Bar and Parker Dam, on the Colorado River, just across the border from California.  The bar is one of the most unique I've been too.  Each year new features are added, there's always live music and good food! It's at the end of 5 miles of desert dirt road.  The new addition this year was a bigger kitchen with the "hugest, gamoungous" platter of nachos I've ever seen.  Seriously, I think it would be a meal for 4!

The Desert Bar - Parker

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is hosting an exhibition of Chihuly glass.  Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma and has been doing these beautiful sculptures and displaying them in this kind of setting for several years.  He actually has a team doing the actual glass blowing now and he coordinates the sculptures.  The garden show here in Phoenix is beautiful - day or night!
Dale Chihuly - Artist - Home

I've split the slideshow into two sections, one  specifically for the Chihuly Exhibit.
If you are on a mobile devise, click on the picture and you will be taken to the Picasa Album on the web.

Buckeye Part 2

Buckeye Part 2


Chihuly in the Garden - I've labeled those sculputres that I can remember... I expected to find all the names in the field guide, so looked, but didn't take notes as we walked through the gardens.  Then when we got home, realized the titles were not specified!

Chihuly in the Garden

We'll head north in the morning, hopefully have a few adventures on the way home.  We are not looking forward to all the snow, but getting home always feels good! 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Week in the Desert

We've been here in Buckeye for just over a week now, it's feeling pretty dang comfy!  We are renting a house in Del Webb's Festival.  It's an "Active Senior" community (hehe) with tons of amenities.  Going to the pool or hot tub feels like a resort in Mexico! Most of the week has been spent settling in. Bob and Lowell have done some prospecting and hiking, We've all been for walks and done a bit of geocaching in the desert around here.  We spend evenings,out on the patio, playing cards and enjoying the hot tub. The hummingbirds are here every night splashing in the fountain.  Jean and I have done some sewing and hit the Quilt Show in Phoenix as well.

This part of Buckeye sits on the north side of the White Tank Mountains.  It is literally in the desert, 12 miles to groceries, gas, etc.  17 miles to Target!!   Well, there is a gas station here in the development, and a nice restaurant at the community center as well.  Happy Hour from 3-6 Monday through Friday :-)

I'll share a few pictures, but it has been a pretty quiet week.  We'll get out and do more hiking and exploring in the next few weeks.
On your mobile device - click on this picture to go directly to the album -

Buckeye, AZ