Monthly Archives: March 2017

Girl’s Week in Sedona

I haven’t posted for a few days – mainly because nothing remarkable has happened since we went to the Arizona Renaissance Festival. It’s been pretty routine around here. This tends to happen when we spend two or more months in one location.

Yesterday the routine was broken. I took Donna on the Spyder to the Budget Rent-A-Car location at Superstition Springs Mall. She picked up a car and drove it back to our site where she loaded up her bags. She was off for a girls week-long adventure. Her friend from her college days, Lynne Ogren, flew in from Albany, New York. Donna picked her up at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix and they drove up to Sedona.

They booked a room in Sedona and plan to explore the area and spend a day sightseeing at the Grand Canyon National Park.  Sedona is a small city of about 10,000 people located south of Flagstaff, Arizona. The area is known for it’s natural beauty with red sandstone rock formations – it’s called the Schnebly Hill Formation. The elevation there is 4,326 feet above sea level and the temperatures are generally about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than here in the Phoenix area. I’m sure they’ll have a great time.

Meanwhile, I’m a bachelor once again – this time for one week. Donna will return next Tuesday. I’ll probably stick to my routine of pickleball in the mornings and happy hour meet-ups with friends. I don’t cook like Donna, so I can see pot pies and pizza on the dinner menu.

We’ll be hitting the road in about two and half weeks, so I need to start straightening up and organizing the trailer. I’m starting to feel the hitch itch and I’ll be ready to hit the road again. Although we were surprised with an overnight rain shower Monday night, there’s no rain the forecast for next couple of weeks. A cold front will move through on Friday dropping the high for the day into the upper-60s. The rest of the days look to be in the 80s.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

The rain moved out on Thursday morning but the day remained cloudy. The temperature was cooler than normal and we had a high temperature of 70 degrees. A few light showers fell in the afternoon – very brief and not enough to wet the street. It was dry enough for me to put chicken on the Traeger. Spiced with Pappy’s Choice rub, it made a nice dinner. I had the Traeger set to 350 degrees – next time I’ll increase the temperature for the final minutes of cooking to make the skin crisper.

Chicken cooked on the Traeger smoker/grill

Friday was a clear, sunny day. As usual, we started the day with pickleball in the morning – I play in the 3.0-3.5 round robin on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. After the round robin play, I got a couple of pick-up games in with Donna.

Our friends Mike and Jodi Hall have several African Spurred Tortoises in their yard. These are native to the southern Sahara desert on the African continent. They can reach a size of 33 inches and weigh up to 200 pounds. Mike and Jodi have a few large ones and some smaller young ones. They are two or three inches long when they hatch but grow quickly, doubling in size each year for the first few years.

Donna saves vegetable scraps when she cooks and we feed the tortoises with them a couple of times per week. They are voracious feeders and eat mostly grasses and vegetables. They require high fiber diets with little protein or sugars. It’s a good way for us to utilize vegetable scraps or produce that is past its prime.

Large African Spurred tortoise in the foreground, medium size in the background

They love the vegetable scraps from our kitchen

After we fed the tortoises, we rode the Spyder back to ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort and stopped at Fat Willy’s at the park entrance.

Donna saw a Facebook post from Lori Gardner – someone she knew when she was growing up in upstate New York. Turns out Lori and her husband Jeff live less than a mile away from here.

We met them at Fat Willy’s and took a table out on the patio. Friday’s weather was very nice with a more normal high temperature of 80 degrees. We sat outside and talked over a couple of beers and appetizers. It was a good time.

On Saturday morning, our friends Howard and Sara Graff picked us up at the park. We piled into Sara’s Ford Flex along with their daughters Allison and Kenna and Allison’s friend Lauren. We headed east on US60 past Gold Canyon to the Arizona Renaissance Festival. The festival is located on 30 acres of desert with permanent structures. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays from mid-February to the first weekend of April.

It’s a fun time – part circus, part costume party with a fair-like atmosphere. It opens at 10am and we arrived about twenty minutes early. Getting an early start is a good idea – the festival generates a lot of traffic bringing US60 to a standstill later in the morning. As we stood in line waiting for the gates to open we had entertainment from a few of the festival’s actors.

Donna made a new friend while we waited to enter the festival

The royal family arriving

There’s so much going on inside the festival that I doubt you could take it all in during a one-day visit. We wandered around and watched a few performances. There’s no shortage of good food inside – I enjoyed a curry chicken pastie plate. The cost to enter the festival was $22/person. Parking was free and the food was reasonable – my pastie with a side of peas and carrots and mashed potatoes with gravy was seven dollars. And they have beer!

Old fashioned open-air kitchen

Blacksmith’s shop

I probably wasn’t the best company for a day at the festival – my allergies were getting to me. My eyes were itchy and I had a sinus headache. After about four hours, we’d had all the fun we could stand and headed out.

Today we have clear, blue skies and the temperature should reach 80 degrees again. The forecast for the week ahead looks sunny with highs from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. I can’t complain about that!


Hot Spell Broken

The unseasonably warm weather has cut down my activities. We’ve had high temperatures in the mid-90s since Thursday of last week through Tuesday of this week. We’ve had the air conditioners running and I’ve spent a lot of time indoors reading books.

Yesterday the warm spell broke. Overnight the temperature dropped to 58 degrees. Donna was up early to join a group from ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort on a hike. They drove up the Beeline Highway (AZ87) toward Payson to the Little Saddle Trail near Mazatzal Mountain. They hiked all the way to the end of trail and continued another quarter mile further up the mountain where they stopped for a snack. The total distance out and back was 8.75 miles with an elevation gain of 1,900 feet.

The Little Saddle Trail follows a creek bed and crosses it a few times. I think Sycamore Creek is a dry creek bed at times, but it has running water right now and a few pools. Donna took several pictures on her hike.

Part of the Little Saddle Trail follows the Arizona Trail which runs from Mexico to Utah

Hiking up an open section

Green foliage at this time of year

Sycamore Creek

Sycamore Creek crossing

Colorful rocky section above Sycamore Creek

Sign at the end of Little Saddle Trail

Mazatzal Mountain view

One of many cairns on the trail

Checking out the creek

While Donna was out on her hike, I hit the pickleball courts for the Wednesday 3.0-3.5 level round robin games. I played seven games and had a great time. We had good match-ups and played at a high level – the best I’ve played.

The high temperature for the day was in the low 80s. Later in the afternoon, when Donna returned from her hike, I covered the Spyder, Traeger and Weber Q grill. The forecast called for a chance of rain overnight and they called it right. Rain moved in around 11pm. It rained off and on until this morning.

Today we expect partly cloudy skies and the temperature will top out in the low 70s. We’ll be back up to 80 by the weekend. Temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s is fine with me – I just don’t want any more 90+ degree days.

St. Patrick’s Day Gathering

I went out and ran a few errands Thursday afternoon. Before I left on the Spyder, I dropped Donna off at the nail salon here at Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort. You gotta love an RV park that has its own nail salon! Earlier I had stopped at the main office and booked some time here next season. I reserved a site starting December 21st for a three-month stay.

While I was out and about, I made a stop at Lucky Lou’s where I found my friends John and Stan. We had a few laughs and a cold one on the patio. Before I left, another Can-Am Spyder parked next to ours. This one was a newer touring model called a Spyder RT. The touring models are more luxurious with more comfortable passenger accommodations and we tend to see these more often than the other models.

Can-AM Spyder RT – built for comfort

They also include more storage space with built-in saddlebags. This one was even equipped with a trailer hitch!

Our Spyder is the RS model – more nimble and sporty. We find adequate space in the frunk – the name Spyder enthusiasts use for the forward trunk space. Donna also carries a backpack for groceries if she’s making a big grocery run. The passenger seating isn’t as comfortable on an RS.

Our Spyder RS – nimble and sporty

Of course, the RT models with all of the creature comforts and accessories are priced several thousand dollars higher than the RS model.

I hit the pickleball courts on Friday morning. The pollen count remains high and I suffered a bit, but felt better overall than I did earlier in the week. I played eight games and got in a couple of hours of activity. I wrote about the hawk’s nest by the courts in an earlier post and stated that I hadn’t seen the adult hawks in a while. I surmised that they moved on – well, I was wrong. On Friday morning, I saw both adults and one of them flew to the nest with a mouse in its talons. So, they are apparently still feeding the juveniles in the nest.

Red Tailed Hawk perched above its nest in a power line tower

On Friday evening, we went to a St. Patrick’s Day happy hour and dinner at the Northpoint Gathering Room in the RV park. One of our neighbors, Dave and Molly MacFarland, organized the event. For a cost of just five bucks per person, they supplied liquor and food. Others pitched in to help and Donna made her famous Irish soda bread from scratch and brought it along. Dave clued me in to the hiding place for the good IPA beer and told me to help myself – which I did.

They had all of the traditional fixings served buffet-style. The corned beef brisket was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They served it with a mustard gravy – a first for me – and it was delicious. They had scalloped potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes with green onion, cabbage, carrots and boiled onions. They ran a 50-50 raffle to help offset the cost of all the food and drink. Donna snapped a couple of photos.

Back of my bald head on the left at the St. Patrick’s Day gathering

Lots of green in the Gathering Room

The pickleball tournament scheduled for Saturday morning wasn’t what I expected at all. It turned out to be a “fun tournament” where we had to play some silly games. Our first match had to be played with your weak hand. I never hit a ball with my left hand and it showed. Things were a bit chaotic but I had fun.

The temperature has reached the mid 90s for past few days and we can expect the hot weather to continue for a couple more days. The past two nights were a little rough for me as my allergies interrupted my sleep and I feel like I may have a sinus infection coming on. I’m planning to have a mostly quiet day today.

Ozark the cat spends most of the mid-day hours napping in her window bed. That leaves her with plenty of energy to get up and tear around the place at 4am!

Another mid-day nap

I’m going to have to find a way to change her sleep pattern.

Heat Wave

Wednesday was pretty low key for me. Donna went to the pickleball courts in the morning while I stayed home and nursed my hay fever. I ended up spending most of the day indoors – just as I thought I would. The thermometer hit 92 degrees in the afternoon. This heat wave may be a blessing in disguise – it seems like the hot daytime temperatures are causing the orange blossoms to drop from the trees prematurely. The pollen counts are still quite high, but I slept well last night and I’m feeling a little better this morning.

Donna and I had a conference call with our tax accountant in the afternoon. I always dread these things. We uncovered a mistake in last year’s filing and it looks like we overpaid, so that may be a good thing for us this year.

On Wednesdays and Fridays, there’s live entertainment from 3 to 5pm here at ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort. Donna walked down with her hula hoops and hoop danced to the music. She always takes two hoops in case someone wants to join her. Yesterday, she offered a hoop to a young girl who was visiting her grandparents and the two of them had a lot of fun. I only got out once all day and that was just to make a run on the Spyder to the store.

Donna defrosted the last of the lamb rib chops we bought from the farm in Portland near the Columbia River RV Park. She put them on the grill along with some sliced zucchini, peppers and onions for dinner.

Grilled lamb chops with zucchini, peppers and onions

Lamb chops are very flavorful but a little fatty in my opinion. I guess it’s an acquired taste – I didn’t like lamb when I was younger but I find it a pleasant change now. I paired the lamb with an IPA from Elysian. Although Elysian is located in Seattle and typically brews West Coast style IPA, this bottle called The Immortal is more of an English style IPA with pronounced malt flavor and a sharp bitter finish. I liked it but wasn’t crazy about it.

The Immortal

High, thin clouds formed in the late afternoon sky. This always brings a colorful, fiery sunset here in the desert.

Fiery sunset

I’d like to get out and about today – hopefully my allergy symptoms will continue to abate. I plan to hit the pickleball courts tomorrow morning and we’re both signed up to play in a tournament on Saturday. The heat wave is expected to linger through the weekend with daily highs in the mid-90s.

Down for the Count

Before I could go out to the pickleball courts for the Monday morning round robin play, I had to take a Benadryl allergy tablet. The orange trees here are in full bloom. For most people this brings a pleasant aroma to the area. For me, it’s misery. When I was tested for allergies back in the late 90s, the allergist told me he had good news and bad news.

The good news was I didn’t have to get rid of any pets because I had no allergic reactions to dog or cat dander. The bad news was I had moderate to severe reactions to all of the tree and grass pollens they tested on me – I can’t get rid of trees and grass. The pollen will be in the air at various times of the year no matter where I am. Since we tend to follow the sun, I’m more likely to be in areas that will affect me.

Most of the time it’s tolerable. I take a daily dose of fluticasone nasal spray and Opcon eye drops. When the pollen counts get very high – like they are here right now, I suffer. There’s so much pollen in the air that the Spyder looks like it’s covered in yellow dust. Last year it wasn’t so bad – I’m hoping this is a temporary condition and the pollen count will subside soon.

Taking Benadryl before pickleball wasn’t the best idea. It made my throat dry and I felt a little woozy a couple of times after playing long rallies.

Pickleball courts at ViewPoint RV Resort

I mentioned in an earlier post the hawk’s nest near the courts. I haven’t seen the adult hawks for a while. Monday morning I saw an immature hawk fly to the nest. My guess is the adults have moved on and the new generation has taken over the nest for now. I’ve read that Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and often return to refurbish the same nest every year. If so, I think junior can count on being kicked out.

Hawk’s nest in a high-voltage power line tower

Donna has really taken to our new Weber Q. She didn’t grill much on the old one. The feature she loves most on the Weber Q 2200 is the built in thermometer. She can set it to the temperature she desires without having to guess if it’s hot enough or too hot. Monday night she rubbed chicken thighs with a green chili rub she bought in Taos, New Mexico and cooked it on the grill. I usually do all of the grilling, but she wanted to do it and it came out great. Along with the chicken, she roasted a mixed baby squash medley with garlic and herbs and and served it with crumbled feta cheese on top.

Green chili rubbed chicken and baby squash

Tuesday morning I woke up with burning eyes and stuffy sinuses. It was time to break out the Neti pot. I’m hoping this is the peak of the pollen issue. I stayed indoors with the air conditioners running all day and read a book.

The outside temperature was in the low-90s in the afternoon for the last two days. This heat wave is supposed to last through the weekend with temperatures in the mid-90s. This is well above the average high temperature of 77 degrees for March here in Mesa, Arizona. I passed on the pickleball round robin this morning and will probably have another lazy day indoors.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!


Moonlight Paddle

I haven’t posted for a few days. With the rainfall we had here in Mesa, Arizona in January and February, plant life in the desert has flourished. Now, with the arrival of warm temperature, everything is blooming. Not only are the desert wildflowers and plants blooming, the orange trees here at ViewPoint RV Resort are flowering as well.

The Weather Channel shows high pollen counts for tree and grass pollen. Unfortunately for me, I have allergic reactions to tree and grass pollen and I’m suffering this weekend. The afternoon high temperatures have been hovering around 90 degrees since Thursday and we can expect higher temperatures by the end of this week.

Hopefully my allergies will settle down and I can get back to regular posting about fun activities.

Speaking of fun activities, I pulled the Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable kayak out of the trailer. On Friday evening, Sara Graff picked up Donna and they took the kayak to Saguaro Lake where they met up with Donna’s friend, Audrey Arrington, her sister Jackie and a friend of theirs. The girls made a moonlight kayak trip on the lake.  The moon was bright enough for them to easily see where they were going. They had wine and snacks on the lake and came home around 8:30pm.

Moonlight on the lake – photo by Audrey

That’s about all I have to say today. I’m going to lie on the sofa and read a book – hopefully the Benadryl allergy tab will kick in and give me some relief.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Whiskey or Whisky

Donna had an appointment at the hair salon in Tempe on Tuesday. We rode the Spyder there – about a 20-minute ride from ViewPoint RV Resort. I dropped her off at 11am and continued on to the Total Wine store at Tempe Marketplace. Total Wine is a big box discount liquor store. They have a huge selection and good prices.

I was looking for a bottle of Scotch whisky. I like to sip single malt Scotch occasionally. There’s a difference between American whiskey and Scotch whisky – beyond the spelling and geographic origin – they are made from different ingredients. Scotch is malted barley that’s been distilled twice and aged in oak barrels. American whiskey is distilled primarily from corn.

The aging process for Scotch whisky takes place in oak barrels – usually in barrels obtained from American distilleries after they’ve been used to age whiskey. Some Scotch distillers will then transfer the whisky to used European wine casks – like sherry casks. The aging process takes place while it’s in the barrels or casks. Once it’s bottled, the aging process stops. So, if you have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch and put it on the shelf for five years, you still have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch.

Scotch whisky also has distinct flavors depending the region it’s distilled in. The largest region is Highland which is known for a warm, smooth product. A sub-region is called Speyside and it’s similar to Highland Scotch but also produces fruitier flavors. Scotch produced off the coast in the islands (Islay) is often peaty and/or smokey.

My preference is Speyside or Highland Scotch that’s been aged a minimum of 12 years. Scotch that’s aged 18 or more years is usually far superior but the price jumps exponentially. A lot of people will say not to waste your money or taste buds on inexpensive Scotch. I disagree – to a point. I look at it like shopping for red wine. Anyone can spend $30 or more and come home with a decent bottle of red wine. To me, the trick is finding a decent, affordable daily glass of wine for about a third of that cost. I shop for Scotch in this manner also.

My fallback position on single malt Scotch is Glenfiddich or The Glenlivet 12-year-old Scotch. These are very popular and affordable. I like to try out different offerings from time to time. When we’re in California, Trader Joe’s carries their house brand of Scotch which they obtain from a brokerage called Alexander Murray. Alexander Murray buys from various distilleries and bottles under private labels. They carry 750ml bottles ranging from cheap 8-year-old Scotch to very expensive 25-year-old Scotch. I’ve had their 13-year-old and 15-year-old and it’s quite good.

At Total Wine, I found a bottle called Glen Ness 12-year-old Highland Scotch. It’s their house brand and I thought I’d give it a try. It was a couple of dollars less than Glenfiddich and I found it to be fairly comparable – although I think Glenfiddich has a little more complexity. That was probably more than you ever wanted to read about Scotch.

After we returned home, I took it easy for the rest of the day. The temperature reached the upper 70s and things are blooming all over the desert. Tree and grass pollen counts are high and I’m suffering from pollen allergies. Donna rode her bicycle to her physical therapy session and afterward continued on to complete a 16-mile loop.

Donna prepared one of our favorite fish recipes for dinner. She wrapped individual servings of cod with asparagus, orange juice, butter and fresh tarragon in parchment paper.  She put the parchment wraps on a baking sheet and cooked it in the convection oven.  It’s very easy. She makes four servings and we enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Parchment wrapped cod filet

Perfectly cooked

Here’s Donna’s recipe…

Fish in Parchment with Asparagus

4  15×15-inch squares parchment paper
4  5-to 6-ounce fish fillets (such as halibut or cod; each about 1 inch thick)
12 fresh tarragon leaves
2  tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces plus extra for buttering parchment paper
1  pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed (and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces if desired)
4  tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place parchment squares on work surface. Generously butter half of each parchment square (I rub the parchment with one end of a stick of butter). Top buttered half of each with 1 fish fillet. Dry fish with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 3 tarragon leaves, then 1 piece of butter. Arrange asparagus around each fish fillet; pour 1 tablespoon orange juice over each. Fold parchment over fish and asparagus, folding and crimping edges tightly to seal and enclose filling completely. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets, spacing apart. Bake fish packets 17 minutes. Slide packets onto plates and serve.  NOTE: Can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, making it a great dinner for company.

On Wednesday morning, I played in the round robin pickleball matches. In the cool morning hours, my allergies seem to be a little more subdued. By the afternoon, I was going for eye drops every four hours or so. I took it easy for the rest of the day. Yesterday the temperature reached 86 degrees and we should see upper 80s through the weekend.

Pop Goes the Rivet

The cooler weather forecast for Monday arrived as predicted. It was in the upper 40s in the morning when I headed over to the pickleball courts. It didn’t feel that cold though – we had abundant sunshine with clear skies and calm wind. The high temperature for the day was 68 degrees.

One of the things I love about the RV lifestyle is the community. We’ve met so many people and made new friends as we travel about. In some cases, we have connected with our new friends several times in different places. Our stay here in Mesa, Arizona is one of those times. On Monday afternoon, we met up with Hans Kohls and Lisa McGuire (Metamorphosis Road) at The Hub for happy hour and dinner.

Hans and Lisa are full-time RVers and we’ve crossed paths several times – most recently at Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego. Since we both like to spend the winter months in southern California and Arizona, we often find ourselves in the same areas at the same time. We sampled some good beers – stouts for the girls and IPA for Hans and me. We sat and talked for about two hours and the time flew by. Today they’re moving from Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction to McDowell Mountain Regional Park – about 40 miles away.

Last night, before Donna went to bed, she said the door on one of cabinets didn’t feel right when she closed it. The cabinets on the upper walls of the living room/kitchen have small spring-loaded struts that hold them fully open and keep them closed. When she opened the cabinet door this morning, one of the struts was detached from the door.

Left strut detached from mount

The strut attaches to mounting points with rivets. I have several replacement strut assemblies that I picked up a couple of years ago, but I decided to repair this one since it was a quick and easy repair. I’ll save the replacements for times when a strut sacks out and loses spring tension to hold the door open.

I retrieved my pop-rivet tool and and a 3/32″ rivet from the trailer and went at it.

Pop-rivet tool and rivet

Pop-rivet inserted through strut and mount

Tool pulls mandrel, breaking it as it expands the rivet head


The entire repair took no more than five minutes – job done! It’s always good to have the proper tool for the job at hand.

If the weather-guessers have it right, today will be the start of a warming trend. The forecast calls for upper 70s today and mid to upper 80s for the rest of the week.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Desert Biking and Hiking

We’ve settled in to a weekday routine here at ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, I play pickleball in the 3.0-3.5 round robin matches. After about two and half hours on the courts, I come home hungry and tired. This usually means I spend the afternoon lazing around and reading a book.

Of course I have a few small chores to attend to, but haven’t had any really big projects lately. My focus is on getting back into better physical condition. Donna plays pickleball a couple of times per week, and then walks, runs, hikes, or cycles on other days.

Friday went according to plan. I played pickleball in windy conditions Friday morning. Donna went out for a run. There were a few clouds, but the temperature reached 80 degrees. After reading in the afternoon, I went to happy hour at Lucky Lou’s and met up with the crew.

Donna prepared a chipotle chili crusted pork tenderloin for dinner and I grilled it on the Weber Q. I’m really liking our new Weber grill. She served it with sweet potato and spinach hash.

Chipotle-chili crusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato and spinach hash

I got ambitious Saturday morning and got my mountain bike out of the trailer. I haven’t ridden my Specialized Crave 29er in months. I had a notion to ride up Spook Hill. Spook Hill is a popular local hiking spot. It’s a few miles from ViewPoint and less than a mile from our old neighborhood. The last time I hiked up it was eight or nine years ago. I’d never ridden a bike up the steep climb.

The trail up is steep and much more rocky and rutted than I remembered. There were a number of people hiking up the hill – most of them looked at me on my bike like I was nuts. The trail gains over 300 feet of elevation in less than half a mile. Donna said she can hike up it in about ten minutes.

Several sections were too rutted, rocky or full of deep decomposed granite (DG). The DG caused loss of traction on my bike and I stalled in a few places. I ended up walking about 60% of the time going up. It took me 15 minutes to get up the hill – I lost time dismounting and mounting the bike and also pushing the bike up the rutted or rocky areas.

Once you reach the top, you have a commanding 360-degree view of the area.

Looking southwest – that’s the north end of ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort in the center – where we’re currently located

Looking south you can see the rest of ViewPoint, the Loop 202 freeway and the San Tan Mountains in the distance

Looking east – our old neighborhood is toward the small mountain on the left – Superstition Mountains in the background

Looking northeast toward Pass Mountain – most of the homes in the foreground didn’t exist when we lived here in 2009

Looking northwest – Red Mountain in the center – McDowell Mountain and Fountain Hills in the background

Going back down the trail, I reversed the walk/ride ratio. I rode more than 60% of the way and only walked the most treacherous sections.

This was fun but a little slippery

I went very slowly through here

I walked this rocky section to avoid hitting any hikers

While I was mountain biking, Donna was out on her road bike. I came home about five minutes ahead of her. I was whipped and done for the day.

As you can see in the photos, we had some high, thin cloud cover but the thermometer hit 81 degrees. For dinner I spatchcocked a whole chicken. Donna marinated it in lemon, olive oil and garlic. I cooked it on the Traeger smoker/grill while Donna cooked chopped bok choy on the Weber Q.

Traeger smoking away

Bok choy on the Weber Q

Spatchcocked chicken hot off the Traeger

It was an enjoyable end another day well-lived.

On Sunday morning, Donna met up with our friends, Hans Kohls and Lisa McGuire and they hiked near Lost Dutchman. Meanwhile, my friend Mike Hall picked me up and we drove his truck out to the desert near Sycamore Creek (dry) to shoot. We had a good time setting up targets against a hillside backstop and trying out a few firearms. I nearly knocked myself out trying Mike’s Thompson/Center 45-70 Government hand cannon!

Thompson/Center 45-70 – what a cannon!

That pretty much sums up the weekend. The forecast calls for cooler temperatures over the next two days, then we’ll warm up to mid-to-upper-80s.