Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friends, baseball, brews, hiking, kayaking..

We came to the Phoenix area to see friends from Yakima, Pat and Cindy.

Jim and Pat graduated from the same high school class, and Pat and Cindy (who just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary) traveled to Phoenix to watch baseball spring training. Since we're on our way north after several months in Tucson, we decided to meet up. Pat and Cindy came over to see us one night at our campsite, we met them at an afternoon game, and we had dinner with them and their friend, John (from Zillah, Washington, south of Yakima) who hosted us all at his motor home. As a side note, when I looked up Zillah on line because I wanted to see exactly where it is, I learned that there is a church in the town named the Church of God Zillah. But I digress. 

We did a lot in the few days we were in Phoenix.  Besides spending time with Pat and Cindy, we also visited Old Town Scottsdale, kayaked on Arizona's Lake Pleasant, went to two brew pubs, and hiked the Apache Wash Loop trail in Phoenix's beautiful Sonoran Desert Preserve.
Jim, Bev, Cindy, Pat (who graduated from Davis High School in Yakima with Jim) and John in John's roomy motor home. John grilled steaks and even had lobster bisque for us -- thanks, John!  (And we missed you, Buddy and Nancy!)
At the Mariners v. Giants spring training baseball game, from top left clockwise:  Mariner at bat; Giants talking it out at the pitcher's mound; the pretty Peoria Stadium; and the view from our seats when the huge-hatted fan in front of us decided to lean back and cheer.  The Peoria Sports Complex  in Peoria, AZ, is the spring training home field of the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres.
Bev on theApache Wash Loop trail in the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve,  which has great views of the north Phoenix desert. Phoenix has several desert preserves in and near the city.
The cactus are starting to bloom big time.

Also in bloom at the Sonoran Preserve and all over the Phoenix Valley are the Palo Verde trees. 
These cactus looked appropriate for a Palm Sunday hike.

Jim on the trail in Phoenix's Sonoran Preserve imitating Lawrence of Arabia -- if Lawrence wore an Oregon Beavers baseball cap. 
Scottsdale:  I read where the NY Times once called Scottsdale "the desert version of Miami's South Beach," which I guess means it has lots of night life. We are more early afternoon people, so we didn't see that.  But we did see jewelry shops, souvenir shops, jewelry shops, restaurants, more jewelry shops, plus lots of beautiful landscaping, flowers and fountains.  As odd as they look, someday we've got to take one of those Segway tours.

When we pulled in to the Lake Pleasant Regional Park northwest of Phoenix, the ranger told us we could "drive right up to the water."  And how --as you can see in the photo of Jim kayaking on the correct side of a double yellow line.  Supposedly the lake is only 93 percent full. The man-made lake was created when the Waddell Dam was finished in 1927 across the Aqua Fria River.  
At the Papago Brewery in Scottsdale. We also visited Fate Brewery, also in Scottsdale, and both were good. 
These cactus are not far from the Desert Edge RV Park in north Phoenix where we stayed.  That's Jim's hand to the right.  I've never seen such large cactus blooms.

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