Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cave Creek Hike and Just Chillin’…


One great thing about Mesa Regal RV Resort is there is live music happening somewhere inside the park every single day. While all the bands aren’t great they are for the most part pretty good and play a wide assortment of music. The music line up does not include Zydeco music but that is okay as we have already booked a month in late spring at Betty’s RV Park in Louisiana to get our Zydeco “fix.”

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Just about every evening we head over to one of the two pools to enjoy happy hour and listen to whomever is playing. There are times when there is one band playing at each pool and we can decide on which one is best to listen to. Sharon loves to get up and dance then before we know it it is dinner time. While here we have also been trying new recipes periodically and one night I made some fabulous Mexican Shrimp Cocktail… YUM!

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Another reason we like to stay here in the winter is to have some appointments with the Mayo Clinic. I had one appointment there recently to get a second opinion on my ailing right knee. I learned after the imaging and consultation that knee surgery will definitely be in my future. How soon only my knee knows. I have had a few cortisone injections which offer two to three months of pain relief allowing me to hike more than a mile or two and play some pickleball. I had my last one in December when we were in San Diego.

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Since the Mayo is in far north Phoenix near Scottsdale we took the opportunity to hike in Cave Creek, AZ at the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. We parked and donned our hiking boots to hit the trail.  A short way up the trail is a booth where $3.00 per person is collected to hike there. Man, it bothers me to have to pay to hike on lands bought by tax dollars but what is a person to do…

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This 3 plus mile hike was through the typical vegetation found in the Sonoran desert with a varied assortment of cacti with few trees and sparse underbrush. However, for those of you that haven’t visited the Sonoran Desert it has a unique beauty all to its own. With the towering Saguaro Cactus and other indicator species the vistas in all directions are delightful.


Our hike took us up down a small canyon and we even crossed  small wooden slat bridge across Cave Creek. While we didn’t see an wildlife on our hike we were treated to various desert birds during our stroll. I love the sounds made by both the Cactus Wren and the Curve Billed Thrasher as it tells me I am in the Sonoran Desert just as the Saguaros do.

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NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Back In Mesa AZ for the Winter…

We left Tacna AZ earlier than usual at about 9:30 am for the 168 mile drive to the east. About 3.5 hours later we pulled into Mesa Regal RV Resort, a Cal-Am park. We were last here three years ago and the price went up a lot since then. It is getting a bit on the pricier side for monthly stays but what we love about the park is that it is friendly and there is always a lot if things to do.

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We pulled into the park knowing our site would be a tight fit as it is always a bit challenging to maneuver a larger RV in one of the Mesa Regal sites. We were escorted to our spot and knew it would be tough not only because each site has citrus trees to watch for but in our case the park model we would be beside had a large added on porch structure.  With our slides out we almost feel we are on their porch! Thankfully our friendly neighbors volunteered extra sets of eyes we made it in fairly easily.We now have Abbey nestled in and set up for our two month stay.

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It didn’t take long for us to begin our winter routine. Sharon goes to the fitness center in the morning while I catch up on all the world’s events. Next is lunch and then I head over to the fitness center to workout. We usually take a long walk in around the park in the afternoon or over to the nearby grocery store or vegetable stand. I usually meander over to the hot tub around 2 in the afternoon for a long soak then afterward Sharon and I meet for the live music on the patio.

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One change since we were last here is they have shortened happy hour to a single hour from 3 to 4 pm and the prices have gone up considerably. It is after all a Cal-Am park but it sad to see it starting to pinch the residents for more money. Anyhow another change for the better is that there is now free music everyday somewhere in the park.  At least we are getting something we enjoy for the extra money we will be spending inside the park. There may be even more offerings to discover as we received a large packet upon arrival with an informational magazine we haven’t read yet. 

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So, we have been here over a week and have already made a few new friends. During one of the special monthly events called the Manager’s Happy Hour (held once a month) we joined our new Canadian friends and met more of their friends. It was a lot of fun and laughs buying 25 cent beers featured as the special. Many 25 cent beers were consumed and with the lively band, it was indeed a memorable evening of entertainment!

I will write more later but for now it is time for us to go play some pickleball…

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tacna Arizona for three nights…


We certainly liked our stay at Rio Bend RV Resort in El Centro and look forward to visiting again whenever we return to this area. As the morning came we packed up the RV and readied for our departure. We had three more days to kill before landing in Mesa Arizona for the remainder of the winter so we found a sleepy little spot out in the middle of nowhere.

After a couple hours of driving eastward we pulled into Tacna Arizona and will spend three nights at the Copper Mountain RV Park. We chose this park as it was close to midway from El Centro to Mesa Arizona and because they had a great Passport America rate at $20 per night.


Located behind a truck stop I was worried it would be noisy but we never really heard anything other than a slight hum of traffic from the interstate highway nearby. This park may have the largest sites we have ever been to for a commercial park. It was only about 1/3 full and at $265 per month would be a great place to stay, at least for those with an ATV. Without an ATV there really didn’t seem to be a lot to do around here.

We did a few walks around the park and on one of those walks we discovered that there was a full kitchen in the clubhouse which had a refrigerator with a sign advertising ice cream treats in the freezer for a dollar. We had both been craving a treat so we each ponied up the $1 in the tin can atop the fridge for 2 Nutty Buddies. Hah, what can say we both really enjoyed this little unexpected treat.

The park also provided a free reverse osmosis water machine which dispenses wonderful drinking water. At check in we were told this was offered since their well water tastes a little salty. No problem cooking with it or showering in it but they suggested we take advantage of the free distilled water, and we did.


We also took a drive around the area and basically verified there wasn’t much to see and do.  We drove down some of the dirt roads in Quigley Wildlife Area but there really wasn’t much to see. We came across a roadside plaque on the Gila River Corridor describing the Petroglyph Site on Antelope Hill. We climbed up the hillside and sure enough we found some petroglyphs on some of the rocks not very far from the signs. Pretty cool for a place with not much to offer.

The three days passed by pretty quickly and we once again packed up for our move over to Mesa AZ…

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bringing in the New Year in El Centro CA…


We are always a bit concerned when leaving San Diego since we have to drive up 4,500 feet and down 4500 feet to cross over the mountains on Highway 8. Why? Because often there are very high winds blowing through the mountains. Fortunately for us, the day we left there were very light winds and as a result the drive over to El Centro California on the other side of the mountains was uneventful, just the way we like! Our only excitement was reaching the top and seeing snow…

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We stayed at Rio Bend RV Resort on the way over to San Diego so we were glad to be back. So much so that we had planned to stay 5 days and ended up staying 12! While there may not be a lot around this park this is truly a great place to spend some time. It is a very scenic park with sites facing palm tree lined lakes, a very green onsite golf course and views of the mountains. Staying 12 days we even made a few new friends…

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As I mentioned this is a pretty active park. Sharon enjoyed using their large fitness center and I enjoyed a daily jaunt over to the pool and hot tub. I love a good soaking in a hot tub. There is also a café and bar by the pool which was great since the closest town is El Centro some 15 minutes away. The park offers music and a happy hour several nights per week which we enjoyed as well.

Not far away is Sunbeam Park which is a small lake with a walking trail around it. We went there one day and enjoyed our stroll around the lake but seriously once done, we felt no need to do it again since walking around our park has been a bit more scenic and green.

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We did discover a small nine hole disc golf course at Sunbeam park and although the course layout was odd it was nice to play a little disc golf. The course uses shared baskets for several of the holes and even with a map we found online it was still a confusing layout. We actually never found one tee box to a hole (and it was a 720 footer-wow) so we made do by “creating” our own tee box.

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Another great find in EL Centro was the Cardenas Grocery. This is a Mexican grocery store as large as most grocery stores with a great produce and meat selection with really inexpensive pricing. For example, they had avocados 8 for a dollar and onions at 4 pounds for a dollar. They also have a small restaurant within the building where buyers can get some great (and inexpensive) Mexican fare. We loved their fully cooked carnitas which sold for $5.95 per pound on certain days Muy deliciosa!!!

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While in El Centro we also celebrated the New Year! With our Texas tradition of black eyed peas, corn bread and tamales we are now ready for luck this next year. We really enjoyed our stay at Rio Bend, made new friends and look forward to coming back. Our site facing one of the lakes offered us the opportunity to see palm trees, ducks and many great sunsets but the time had come to move on and so we did…

NOTE: We are currently in Tacna, AZ until Jan.11th before moving over to Mesa Arizona for the rest of the winter.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Winter Birds of Mission Bay, California…

Juvenile Sharp Shinned Hawk

As I mentioned years ago in a blog one of the great reasons I love staying at Mission Bay RV Resort is the fact that it is a great spot for watching birds.The trail along Mission Bay provides great opportunities to see an abundance of shore and bay birds right in the middle of San Diego. The pictures below are of some of the bird species I spotted during our stay this year.


                  Male American Widgeon                     Male/Female American Widgeon


                       Brandt                                                      Marbled Godwit


                Female Bufflehead Duck                              Male Bufflehead Duck    


               Spotted Sandpiper                                                  Willet                


               Male Redhead Duck                                     Female Redhead Duck


               Female Greater Scaup                                    Male Scaup


                     Horned Grebe                                              Pied Billed Grebe


              Little Blue Heron                                                   Western Grebe


                         Says Phoebe                                              Black Phoebe

We saw many other birds here as well and again all of these photos were taken with my 3 year old Nikon Coolpix S9700. This small compact camera packs a great optical zoom of 30X which is powerful enough to zoom in on birds far away yet small enough to tuck in my pocket. I love this camera but have my eye on the newer Nikon Coolpix 500 camera with a 40X more powerful zooms. Even better is that it is on sale at Amazon right now…. tempting me greatly!


No Surf Scoters, Whimbrel, Black Bellied Plover or Long Billed Curlew this year and only a few Ruddy Ducks, There was one oddity that came through the park one day. We heard a loud noise which I was sure had to be some sort of Parrot. Scanning the tree tops I finally spotted it and it turned out to be an African Grey Parrot. I am sure it was somebody’s pet that had escaped but it was fun seeing it none the less.

NOTE: We are currently in El Centro CA until Jan. 8th before moving over to Arizona.