Brad & Barb Wright - Southwest Trip 2009/2010 travel blog

Fountain at Fountain Hills

Homes around Fountain

Sunset on the way back from Fountain Hills

Dobson's Lookout, South Mtn., Phoenix

Looking down on Phoenix

Barb & Jan on South Mtn.

Phoenix/Scottsdale area & Camelback Mtn. from So. Mtn.

Looking up at So. Mtn. from the base


We both would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and blessed New Year, a little belated. The router here at the campground has been down since New Years Eve. It was finally fixed yesterday. We don't realize how much we depend on the computer until we are without it. Christmas was very nice. We had Jan here for dinner on Christmas Eve and exchanged gifts. Jan made a nice tank top and over blouse for me and a shirt for Brad. She has so much talent. Later in the evening we went to the candle light service at church. It was beautiful. In addition to the normal readings of scripture and carols there were piano duets between some of the readings. It was a very uplifting service and set the tone for Christmas Day to follow. We had a great day at Nikki's on Christmas. She and Jim really outdid themselves in decorating the house and yard. Nikki had a sign made for Brad which reads "WE DON'T HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN CONNECTICUT". It now has a place of honor over the door in the coach. At church the Sunday after Christmas we met another couple from New England. They are fellow RV'ers who hail from Marion, MA. They are on a year long trip around the US. They are also doing a trip journal and through my comment about the church Linda realized we were the couple they met. She e-mailed me through our trip journal and yesterday we went out to breakfast with them after church. It was fun sharing experiences. We had stayed in some of the same parks that they have along the way and seen some of the same things. We were also able to give each other some tips on places to stay and things to see. We had a very cloudy day last week and decided to take a ride out to Fountain Hills to see the fountain. At one time it was the highest fountain in the world, although we are told there are now others that have surpassed it. It is set in a lovely park you can walk around. It goes off on a regular schedule and runs for quite awhile when it does go off. We timed it just right. We hadn't been there five minutes when it started going off. If you fly out of Sky Harbor airport heading Northeast and you are sitting on the right side of the plane you can see the fountain if it is going off. Coming back I was able to get some shots of the sun setting as we were driving along the freeway. New Year's Eve we decided to go to a movie and out for dinner. As Jan was going to a friend's house for dinner that night, we decided to go to the Tempe Marketplace for the movie and dinner as we wanted to stay away from downtown Tempe. There was a huge block party with several bands playing. Although the TV stations were telling us there were 100,000 people there, the Tempe detective who lives here, who was there working the crowds said it was more like 25 to 30 thousand. The Dooby Bros. was the "name" band people were going to see. We saw "Up In The Air" with George Clooney. It was very good. We then went to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner. When we left there we decided to take a ride into Mesa to see if we could find the LDS Temple where Jan and Nikki had told us there were a lot of Christmas lights. We found it - the temple grounds take up a whole city block. The decorations were plentiful and beautiful. Inside the visitor's center you are ushered in a room where some scripture is read as you are seating facing a large statue of Jesus. You can then go into another area where you are shown a six minute movie on the birth of Jesus. At each stop along the way there are "young missionaries" that speak to you. They were all over the grounds, but were not pushy at all. We went into one room in the visitor's center that was filled with creche's from all over the world. Some of them were absolutely beautiful both in simplicity and detail. One from Italy was made from Murano Glass. We walked the grounds to view the lights which were absolutely beautiful. One enterprising family across the street had set up a hot cider and cocoa stand in their front yard - and they were getting some business. Of course, I hadn't taken the camera with me so didn't get any pictures. On New Year's Day we decided to take a ride up to South Mountain State Park. Jan came with us. Brad, never having been there thought the State Park would be like New England State Parks - a nice park with picnic tables, etc. What it is, is a mountain with a road to the top you can drive to as well as a lot of hiking trails. We drove up to the top which is a narrow road with a lot of switchbacks. When you get to the top there is a very small parking "lot"....which is the road making a loop with angled parking on each side of the road - not leaving a very wide road up there. We actually saw a motor home coming down as we were driving up. We don't know how he got around the loop at the top! The view from the top is beautiful. You can see the whole valley. The next day we decided to ride the light rail the whole way. We left here and headed east a few stops to the end of the line in Mesa and then got on another train and rode west to the end of the line right through downtown Phoenix out to Glendale. For $1.75 each for the all day pass we had a great afternoon seeing the sights and not having to drive ourselves. We had a brochure that tells what's at each stop. We will take it again this week when we go to the Heard Museum and Chase Field. I've rambled on long enough. We hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Barb & Brad



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