Week Twenty Three - UT and AZ
Nov 11, 2009
|Monday - Nov 2 - Paulette had some fun and exercise this morning as she joined some of the camp locals in playing "Pickle Ball". What, you may ask, is pickle ball? Well, we're going to tell you. Think tennis, standard net, half sized hard court. Think pingpong, wooden paddles but oversized. Think wiffle ball, as in wiffle ball. Tennis rules, for the most part, with underhand serving to favor mature rotator cuffs. Anyway, Paulette can DO THIS GAME and threatens to form a fantasy pickleball league. It also made her realize that she really loves being in an environment full of organized activities. Hmmm. Time to head home? There were some lovely folks playing this game, including Evie, a most patient teacher.
Soon enough it was 3 p.m. and time for our soak at Pah Tempe Hot Springs, on the Virgin River, Hurricane, Utah.
We had the use of three varying temperature pools (including a cave) aside the river, and the beauty of sundown on the coral cliffs above. We had some snacks and cocktails and truly enjoyed each precious minute of our three hour event. We had fun speculating what it was about our host and owner, Ken Anderson. Why was the B&B closed? What happened to the small restaurant and snack bar? Lose his license? Who were all these young women hanging around the main building? Was he a renegade Mormon with polywives? He CLAIMED tired and bored after 25 years. Hmph! We googled Pah Tempe when we got home, and guess what? He's tired and bored .....because he's been fighting state and local governments and their agencies who damaged and ruined most of the flow from the springs over the years, with only minor success. Rather than fill pages with history since 1850, we encourage you to google Pah Tempe yourself and get an idea of what it once was at its peak(s). Currently open only for private soaks by reservation only, we felt fortunate to have found the place before any further demise. We smelled of sulphur and salt, full of health and completely relaxed. We never did find out about all the young women hanging about.
Tuesday - Nov 4 - Showered off the sulphur and salt, aired out the trailer, and made an early departure. We decided to retrace our steps thru Zion N.P. on our way to Grand Canyon. Late morning we drove "Scenic Drive", open only to shuttle buses during high season, and parked at the end of the road. The Temple of Sillevawa (dagnab Mormons) was to be found another mile into the canyon along the Virgin River (again). What great natural beauty as the very tall cliffs became more and more enclosing.
Some folks with waders were walking much further upriver into the bowels of the Temple. Completing our dutiful exercise, we drove up the road over a mile in elevation, thru the tunnels of red limestone rock, and out of Zion.
Scenic Byway 89A was NOT closed for snow as cautioned in Hurricane, and after a roadside lunch shared with a friendly local Kanab cat, we drove south. Good bye, Utah. We look forward to a return visit. Rte 89A was a unique contrast of 7,000' el. hilly forest road and entry to the North Rim of Grand Canyon, and 2000'el northern Arizona desert wasteland with arrow straight roads for miles and miles.
We reached Grand Canyon just before sunset, and stopped at several overlooks coming in from the east entrance, nearly 25 miles from there to the campgrounds.
First looks always take your breath away, and the sun setting added to the already glorious display. It feels good to be in this famous park with the "big hole". We chose a sight after dark (who knows what things will look like), made some grub, made a few phone calls and hunkered down until tomorrow.
Wednesday - Nov 4 - We were both too excited to sleep, I guess. Maybe it was the altitude? Anyhow, up at 6:30, and Paulette opened the bakery to make a scone recipe that she was promising since Week Four or so. Small kitchen, unregulated range, poor availability of cookware for a baker, and guess what? Mmmm! Next, Paulette's BFF Suzanna dropped by to catch up on gossip, do some show 'n tell and make plans for the next couple of days. We enjoyed riding Suzanna's bus route (Suzanna Kramden?),
stopping to see another friend, Richard P., working at Hopi House, and other stuff. Back at the trailer, we spotted a couple of small Javalinas (wild pigs)
wandering and nibbling and watched pinion jays and lots of other birdies frolic in our impromptu bird bath. Ms Kramden is driving until after our bedtime tonite. We grilled some steaks for friend Richard, made man talk and watched the Yankees win the series. Nice evening, for sure.
Thursday - Nov 5 - Another early wake-up, this time more intentional for a breakfast special at Bright Angel Lodge with Suzanna. Great food here. Half order of Huevas Rancheros for the girls and full order of hash and eggs and home fries plus for slim Jim for an unusually reasonable price (for a Natl Park, at least). Walking off the calories was easy in that the incredible views along our chosen path made the distance seem small. Suzanna is not only an excellent driver (Rainman) but a knowledgeable and thorough personal guide, and she really knows her parks and their nuances.
A quick visit to her little trailer and a visit with Jack Pott the cat, and the girls were off on a "Girl Adventure". Mindful that Paulette and Jim hadn't been separated for more than 20 minutes in the last 5 months, there followed interchanges of keys, instructions, medical emergency information, will copies, synchronization of watches, cell phone battery charge confirmations, repetition of marriage vows and a glistening of tears....and they were off.....for 24 hours!
GIRLS: Arrived in Sedona near sunset and watched Oak Canyon display its scenic wonder. Stayed at LaVista Hotel and enjoyed the suite so much that they dined in. A large living space, a balcony and a private shower in a private bathroom were too much for our favorite women, and they picnicked indoors and enjoyed the amenities.
GUY: Tried to do laundry, but laundry closed at 4:45. Maybe tomorrow. Bike broke. Tire balooned. Fixed tire. Whispered to large deer buck in our rv yard.
Watched sunset. Read e-mail. Had cocktails. Watched boob tube. Read. Slept. Did not speak. Strange.
Friday - Nov 6 - GIRLS: met their guide, one J.B. at 9:30, with whom they immediately connected, and they were off to Cornville, AZ. McCain lives there. Cornville? Did he admit that last fall? After a 30 minute ride thru redrock canyons, the adventure really began at ELEPHANTE.
There is hardly a way to describe this three acre, 30 year art project and habitat created by husband and wife artists. Four hours was barely enough time to to see and learn about this alternative couple and their project. (see www.elephante.com) Paulette came home with 100 photos, at least. Suzanna is credited with, once again finding a very exciting "Girl Adventure".
GUY: Did laundry. Took a shower. Shaved. Read first newspaper in a long while (who's this Obama guy?) Rode repaired bicycle to beginning of Hermit's Rest bus route. Rode bus. Admired view. Rode bike back, mostly uphill (oof!) Explored stuff. Saw coyote. Saw Richard after work. Had cocktails. Waited for adventuresome girls bringing pizza. Ate pizza. Tried to get in touch with our feminine sides while looking at pictures of 'Elephante'. Appreciated the safe return of our wife and friend.
Saturday - Nov 7 - All a little grumpy and tired this morning, but the girls decided to exlore the Hermit House route for a little (Park employee Suzanna could DRIVE out there....so there!) while Jim packed and hooked-up and stuff. Hermit House was designed by Anne Coulter and is a prime example of her western style. She also did Bright Angel Lodge and several smaller pieces in the park. It was a very nice way for these two friends to end their visit.
Noon found us on the road, thru Prescott and some delightful scenery, and on to El Dorado Hot Springs Resort in Tonopah, AZ, 40 miles west of Phoenix. Sometime after Wickenburg we began to see the funny saguaro 'soldiers' (cowboy cactus if you ever saw Hopalong or Tom Mix, etc.). Desert southwest, here we come. Yippee! A true Paulette favorite area. The last forty miles west were conducted watching an incredible sunset which lasted for an hour. Scintillating. Hard to duplicate or describe.
El Dorado after dark looks like Key West in the desert, twinkling white lights and all. "Daniel", workamper, desert hippie, flashlight guided us to our site, "Agave".A cool looking and feeling palo verde tree protected the rv site. Very cool. We found the au natural soaking area called "Desert Pete" (you can also get private, uniquely different soaking areas for extra fees) which consisted of four porcelin tubs, a larger concrete tub, and even larger cowboy horse trough tub and a small cold water tub. Picture the Cialis ad in a funky environment, kinda. It's an off-the-grid feast for the eyes and body. Clean, hot, friendly, cool,relaxing. What a joy.
Sunday - Nov 8 - After seeing the place in daylight and taking a tour of the un-occupied private rooms and soaking areas, we can't figure out why the place isn't packed! Winter's coming to Tonopah! Only 40 miles from Phoenix! The new owners appeal to both naturists and non, in that fully clothed in all public areas is strictly enforced. RV spaces. Camping spaces. Motel room spaces. Taking the waters in western desert funk.
What a place. A pot of spaghetti brewing in the crock pot all afternoon, a little football fulfilling a Sunday obligation, a soak..what more to life, eh?