Saturday, May 7, 2011

From Tucson to Camp Verde

As I write we are at an elevation of about 5500ft, the weather is cooler and breezier and our bodies are happier.  The hot climate of the desert is difficult for me as you know I find the Bay area weather beautiful in both summer and winter.
Tucson…while there we met 3 very friendly people (Irene, Brian and James) from Alberta Canada their car had over heated like ours.  The tires on their RV were under inflated and damaged as a result, so they had to be replaced (all 6 of them).  This can be an expensive pastime!!   I’m mentioning this to let you know that Irene does Intarsia Wood Art to pass the time in colder months.  I had no idea what that was and just had to find out. She has photos of her work and it was beautiful; all colors of wood, cut, polished and put together to make a picture.  Google it! 
We also had dinner with Rhoda and Larry Geisel in a Mexican Restaurant.  We went to their home first; Rhoda’s South West décor looks so good in their Tucson surroundings. Her Parrot died and now they have a lovely little dog called Buddha.  Rhoda still plays golf and sometimes she starts at 6.30am.  It was great to catch up after 10 years and talk of old friend and old times in Los Gatos.
On our way to Camp Verde we spent 3 days In Mesa at a lovely camp site that, once again was comprised of 90% mobile homes, most closed up as everyone has gone home. So we had their lovely facilities to ourselves.  It was hot and breezy also in Mesa. In Tucson we joined another RV club called Camp Club USA among the benefits is a 50% discount at some really top class RV Parks.  I keep thinking this is too good to be true but, so far, so good.
We did the boat trip that prompted Tom to write the story of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine from Mesa and also visited the Heard Museum in Phoenix.  The building and the sculptures alone are beautiful.  The museum has a great collection of Native American, African and Indonesian artifacts.  The Native American exhibit is interesting as they have displays from at least 5 different tribes’ - baskets, clay pots, cloths, baby carriers, jewelry, blankets; also a perspective of what they ate and how they cooked.
On our way north to Camp Verde we stopped at Chris and Rob Redford’s House.  We were a bit nervous at going off the highway into a housing area, our concern being that we might not be able to turn the RV around and end up taking a weeks’ vacation right outside the Redford’s front door.  Thankfully, we had no problem as the roads were wide and we were able to turn at the end of a cul de sac.  We had lunch on their patio while Riley, their dog, went in and out the back door many times.  When he was in he wanted out and when out wanted in.  New River (that is where Chris lives) was a lovely break half way on our journey to Camp Verde.
We went to visit Montezuma’s Castle an ancient native ruin site near Camp Verde.  It really is a castle built into the side of a cliff; the engineering and architecture of the buildings is amazing.  Talk about a room with a view! They had their doors in the roofs and got up to the castle by a series of ladders.  There were not too many windows which kept the rooms cool.  The walls were built of stone covered with mud, the roof of logs and twigs. The nearby Beaver River, which is lovely, provided their water.  Similar to the HO’ HO KHUM people they left the site around 1400 to this day there is no history of why.
Also, we went to Tuzigoot, another nearby ancient ruin; we have dubbed it America’s answer to Machu Pichu. The builders of this village were the “Sanagua” Native American tribe (Spanish speakers can work that one out easily = without water) this tribe also built Montezuma’s Castle.  These ruins were up at the top of a Hill overlooking a big valley with a river flowing through it. The walls of the ruins are of stone and terraced down the hill. Once again great views!
The following day we visited Montezuma’s well, a well formed by a cavern that collapsed long ago; again, the Sanagua tribe built homes in the cliff caves around the top of the well.  An interesting fact about the well is that 1,400,000 gallons of water percolate from far below the ground into the well per day; another is that the water source is full of dissolved carbon dioxide; 3 unique forms of life (not found anywhere else on earth) live in the well. 1,400,000 gallons of water spill out of the well per day, some running into canals built by the Sanagua to water their crops and the rest via an underground channel to join up with the Beaver River. Fascinatingly, the temperature of the water is a constant
74 F.  I checked by putting my foot into the canal.
On Saturday we drove up to Prescott and met up with Chris and Rob and Janette Henshaw. We had picked a perfect day to visit Prescott as there was an off road bicycle race finishing on Whiskey Row right in the middle of town. Prescott is full of great old buildings and good sources of food.  After lunch we drove to Rob and Chris’s castle.  It will be a beautiful big house on top of a hill and just like the Sanagua they will have beautiful views from every window and water nearby in the form of a pool and hot tub.  Hope to get invited when it is finished!
Sedona what can I say!  Everything is a red earth color and it is gorgeous. The red vista starts once one turns off the freeway.  On our way into Sedona we visited Holy Cross Chapel and promise to post a photo soon as words cannot do justice to this highlight. As recommended by Eileen and Chris we took the off-road Broken Arrow Tour with “Pink Jeep Tours”.  The Jeeps are Pink and built to go really, really off road, sometimes we were almost standing on the front grill going downhill.  It was a thrilling off road experience.  We shared the jeep with 5 people from New Jersey, 3 adults and 2 children, the children are touring with the Broadway Show “Billy Elliot”.  They will be in SF for 12 weeks during the summer – go see the show, it’s great.
Our next destination is Williams “The Gateway to the Grand Canyon”.

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