Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flowers

Final week in the Foothills

in Joanne's kitchen

(Jan) It’s time to say good-bye to the Foothills and our favorite gal, Chuck’s mom Joanne. Chuck’s parents came to Yuma in the 80’s and bought property in the Foothills in the early 90’s. We’ve sure enjoyed spending time with Joanne during the winter months. This week we shared lasagna & pizza dinners, lots of short visits when we stopped by on our bicycles and also, a card game or two.

We’ve had a good time with friends this week, too. We’ve enjoyed Happy hours & visits with Larry and Mary Ann, our lot neighbors on 53rd Street, Sunday lunch at Parrish’s with Carl & Joey Christiansen and dinner and Pegs & Jokers with Jim & Diane Fisher Baker. We were honored to be Jim & Diane’s first dinner guest’s in their new house on Bonnie Street. On Wednesday, Jan joined a group of Boomers at the Main Street Theatre to Foothillssee ‘Lincoln Lawyer’. Wednesdays are seniors day with $4.00 admission and free popcorn. A great deal and the movie was really a good one.

FoothillsThe weather has been perfect for our last week in the Foothills; lows in the 50’s, highs in the upper 70’s.  Biking 12-20 miles has been great! Whether we’re stopping at garage sales or seeing the sights in the neighborhoods it’s been lots of fun and really good exercise for us. Chuck has stopped and taken lots of pictures so I’ll post an album of some of the sights around the area soon.

Today we are in the SKP Park in Casa Grande on our way to Lost Dutchman State Park east of Apache Junction. Steve & Pam Ritchie are hosting a Spring Boomerang there with lots of hiking, geocaching and, of course, eating!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friends in the Foothills

dinner & P&J

(Jan) It’s been a fun, full, busy week for Chuck and I. When we’re not on the seat of our bicycle pedaling around the Foothills we’re off to Joanne’s or spending time with friends. On Tuesday evening Diane and Jim Fisher-Baker and Dan & Jenny Sheppard were at our house. We celebrated Dan’s birthday with Mexican food and Lemon Meringue Pie! Brunch at the QThree games of Pegs and Jokers followed with much laughter and lively strategy. The girls won the all important 3rd game!! Yes, I know, that means the guys were 2-1.

Sunday we had headed out to Sidewinder Road to visit our friends the Bennetts, Paynes, Whites and Frints. Jim & Sherry White were headed north in the morning but the rest of us decided to meet for brunch Thursday at the Q Casino one last time. Pictured at the Buffet are Bill & Karen Payne, Karen & Mickey Bennett, Ben & Darlene Frint and Chuck & I. We’re going to miss these good friends and the Q buffet….especially the chocolate fountain!

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With everyone getting ready to leave the Yuma Foothills area, Chuck & I decided to host a Happy Hour. It has been a pretty hot week with temperatures up to 90 during most afternoons but today was just perfect for our outdoors gathering. Temps were in the 70’s with a nice breeze. The group included, in front; Chuck & I, Dianne Gruelle, Patsy Cook, Joey Christensen and Linda Troyer. In Back; Maryanne & Larry (our lot neighbors) Bea & Ken Marler, Frank Gruelle, Bruce & Nancy Butler, Rey & Loretta Armstrong, Jenny & Dan Sheppard, Darlene & Ben Frint, Don Troyer and Carl Christensen. With wonderful food brought and shared by all, we enjoyed a great afternoon of friendship.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Foothills as seen from a Bicycle

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004(Jan) The skies have been a brilliant blue and each morning the temperature have been in the lower 80’s and not too windy. It’s been perfect weather to get out on our bikes and ride! It’s such a fun way to stop and smell the roses or daisies such as the native ones at left that grow along many streets. The different types of agave plants are now shooting out their amazing flower stems up into the air. The agave in the top right photo is an Agave Angustifolia. Pictured in the bottom photo at right is an Agave Chiapensis with it’s flowering stem 006shooting up about 20 feet. We’re not sure what the flowering tree is in the picture below but it was magnificent! 007Biking is a great way to check the many FOR SALE property signs. Want a closer look? Just make a u-turn in the middle of the wide, smooth streets and check it out. Because many of the properties are second homes for northern visitor and are bought at retirement age, there is a always a large turn over in lots & houses. No, we’re not looking to buy. It’s just interesting to see what is on the market and what the prices are. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there is an extra attraction; Garage & Yard Sales. Today’s finds were several paperbacks. Also, Joanne’s house is about 2 1/2 miles away so each day we get to stop and visit.009001

Another fascination as we bike the streets are the many bronze and metal sculptures we see. Today we found a Giraffe north west of Joanne’s house! The Horse pictured at right is a couple of blocks south in our neighborhood and this beautiful pair on Herons decorate the lawn of a house up the hill toward Foothills Blvd.005The first several days on bikes our trips were lasting 3 or 4 miles. Two days ago we pedaled 8 and today’s effort was 15 miles. Okay, I know that’s not much but we’re having a ball and thanks to a tutorial by FB messaging our friend Nancy on how to use the gears, our legs are lasting longer! Mi RanchoChuck checking the air in the tires and raising our seats to the proper height sure helped, too.

And amid all that biking, there’s always time for friends. Wednesday we were over at Jim & Diane Fischer Baker’s new property over on South Bonnie Street. It’s a wonderful location with views of the mountains, a nice, small house and good landscaping. We had a great visit & Happy Hour, dined on tasty broasted chicken from a neighborhood take-out and played a little Pegs & Jokers. Girls 3, Guy 2. Congrats on your new place, Jim & Diane!

Our friend Karen called that evening with an invitation for a late lunch Friday at Mi Rancho. The food was very good and plentiful and the company was even better. Seated at left are; Darlene & Ben Frint, Jim & Sherry White, Chuck & I and Mickey & Karen Bennett. Missing were Bill & Kaaren Payne. We met these four couples the first year at Boomerville, our first ever Boomer event. We’ve gotten to see the Bennetts & Paynes each year but this winter was the first year that we got to see the Frints and Whites again. What a treat to be together again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Traveling back south

Kit Fox(Jan) We left Vegas on a Sunday and stayed a couple of nights at MM99 south of Quartzsite. Kit FoxThis quiet spot in the desert gave us time to catch up on bookwork and housework and do some hiking.  Tuesday morning as we were getting ready to leave we had a visit from this Kit Fox. We watched him for quite awhile from the MH and then he allowed us to walk within 25 feet of him.

Because there wasn’t room on the lot we rent on 53rd Street until the following day, we spent one night boondocking at the VFW north of the Foothills on Hwy 95. It’s an okay place but with the busy Highway, Kingsbury's Happy Hourthe main railroad line and a small airport close by it gets a pretty noisy!  Our stay was a fun one though as we got to visit with Joanne and also have Ron & Sharon Mead come over to play Pegs & Jokers They are headed to San Diego soon so it was great to spend some time with them.

Being back on the 53rd Street lot in the Foothills is always a little bit like coming home. We’re 2 miles from Joanne here so we get to stop at her house often and there are lots of Boomer friends in the area.P&J gathering Friday night we met the Meads downtown and had dinner at Applebees. Saturday found us at a Happy Hour on 51st Street at Sonny & Linda Kingsbury’s with about 40 Boomerrs gathered. The food was delicious and a very good time was had by all! Monday we invited the Kingsbury’s and Gruelle’s over for dinner and Pegs & Jokers. Unlike Chuck’s and Ron’s phenomenal luck on Thursday, Linda, Dianne and I managed to win two out of three from Sonny, Frank and Chuck. The best part was enjoying the fun and laughter with these two great couples.

Riding Bikes in the Foothills has been great. The wide paved streets plus mostly flat terrain has been good for us novice bike riders. Plus, there’s lots of fun people to see along the way; a lemonade stop to visit Bruce & Linda Butler, a ice water stop at Dan & Jenny Sheppards and meeting Jenny’s mom and dad and today we were invited for lunch at Joanne’s when we stopped mid-day. Life is good!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hoover Dam

hoover-dam-directions

(Chuck) If you happen to be Southeast of Las Vegas, what is 726 feet high, 1,244 feet long, 660 feet at the base and 45 feet at the crest? It holds 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete and annually produces 4.2 Billion kilowatt hours of electricity. The answer is of course is the Hoover Dam. It has been contributing to the success of this country for 75 years.

On this visit we toured the power plant for the first time. By elevator we descended 530 feet to the power plant. Water pressure at the base of the dam is 45,000 psi. This energy powers the 17 main turbines which spin the generators. At this time one of the generators has been removed for maintenance. Notice the size of the generator compared to the car which is parked beside it.

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The latest improvement to the site is known as the Hoover Dam Bypass. This new road and bridge eliminates several very steep sections and switchbacks in the old roadway. The official name is the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge ( Colorado River Bridge ). The bridge is a beautiful compliment to the beauty of the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River . The website for the bridge is: http://www.hooverdambypass.org/ . It is a very comprehensive site and includes many photos of construction which are very interesting.

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We left Las Vegas on Sunday to journey South toward Yuma. On the road we met Boomer friends Larry and Connie Farquhar. We gave a big windshield wave as we passed on the road. We have stopped at Quartzsite for a couple days rest, and will continue to Yuma tomorrow.

The Vegas Strip

031(Jan) After our morning touring the Hoover Dam and having a burger and endless steak fries at Red Robin (thanks Eric & Cheri for the gift card!) we headed over to the Las Vegas Strip. The casinos along Las Vegas Blvd. or ‘the strip’ are massive and a great deal of walking is required so we chose several that we wanted to visit; the Venetian, Treasure Island & the Bellagio. The Venetian welcomed us with a Chinese New Year theme decorating the atrium that features a 25 foot waterfall. We headed toward the Canal 029Shoppes and window shopped and strolled along the canals watching the gondoliers singing and guiding their gondolas through the canals over to St. Marks Square. At SMS we were treated to an ornately costumed operetta. The singers and musicians were very talented. And although we didn’t buy any diamonds at Pandora or fragrances at Chanel, we thoroughly enjoyed the elegant ambiance and delightful performance.

We must have picked one of the colder week-ends this year to visit Las Vegas as snow was predicted overnight. Heading out and across the street to Treasure Island had us pulling on gloves, earmuffs and snuggling into our coats. Treasure Island has a more contemporary feel. It’s more casual and open. One of the things Treasure Island is famous for is an outdoor Pirate Show with two large Pirate ships in their moat in front of the Casino. We had missed it last time we were in Vegas so thought we’d catch it this time. Well, it’s been changed to Siren’s Cove with the lovely girls in one ship singing their siren’s song to the pirates aboard the other ship. Of course, a battle ensues with fire and explosions to the delight of the gathered crowd. Sorry, TI – I’d rather have the pirates back! Our experience was influenced by the very foul language and heavily drinking crowd. Treasure Island was originally built by the Mirage as a family friendly casino with a video arcade & kid-friendly swimming pool.034 In 2003 that was changed to an adult friendly hot tub and a contemporary nightclub.053 And, by the way, the Sirens/Pirates show now comes with a ‘Parental Guidance is suggested’. Back to Vegas being ‘Sin City’ for Treasure Island.

We headed back out and to the south a mile past the Mirage and Caesar's Palace on the way to the Bellagio. Best known for the Bellagio Fountains, it is a huge, elegant, classy casino and hotel. We walked through the entire casino floor and were amazed at all of the players at the poker tables. It was Saturday night and the place was packed! Our objective was the Bellagio Conservatory decorated in the Chinese New Year’s theme, “Year of the Rabbit”. 041The Conservatory’s botanical gardens were magnificent! As was the Hotel Lobby which features the Chihuly chandelier ‘Fiori Di Como’, made of 2,000 glass blown blossoms. The Lobby is also home to this magnificent mosaic 043mirrored & golden horse and the very classy check-in desk. Many people around the casino and lobby were dressed ‘to the nines’ but many were more casual like the fellow checking in….and us!

But since we weren’t staying the night at the Bellagio, we headed back out into the chilly night and were just in time to see the fountain show. Set in an eight acre lake and using 4,500 lights and 1,200 water nozzles, the Bellagio Fountains present a water ballad set to music every half hour. It really is awesome and we enjoyed the show. 055

On our homeward walk we crossed Las Vegas Boulevard and strolled the other side of the street past the Bally’s, Bill’s, Flamingo, Imperial Palace and Harrah’s Casinos on our way to our parking garage. We past by Rockhouse Bar where they were selling a yard long beer, 100 oz. for $38 or a guitar beer, 80 ozs. for 27.95.  Many folks on the streets were carrying these. Also, present on nearly every street corner were people056 handing out brochures and business card featuring mostly naked women and contact numbers. Since many people took what was handed to them and then dropped the cards, they were littered everywhere on escalators, streets and parking garages.

Vegas is Vegas; part glitz & glitter, elegance & class but liberally coated with alcohol & gambling overindulgence and built on the knowledge that ‘sex sells’. One week-end was plenty for us. We’re headed back out to the desert and the wide open spaces.

 
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