Over The Hill With Sherry

Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller

Wow! here is July 1, 2018………Time is just flying by. It’s funny I seem to say that phrase a lot, but it really seems like it is all the time. There are all these moments and milestones that happen in life…..you start looking at your family, friends and especially kids and how quickly things seem to be going by.

Well as the title of this blog says…..Where I am? I have a friend who has referred to me a time or two as that character “Waldo”, you know the one where you have to find where Waldo is in this book of crazy pictures…”Where’s Waldo”. As I stated in my last blog titled “I’m Back”, it has been two and a half years since I have done any blogging. I post quite a bit on my personal Facebook page so a lot of you know where I am and what I am doing. But I thought for those who maybe are not on Facebook or are not on that often some of you may not know where I am, or maybe you are new to my blog page. I am hoping to reach other readers who do not know me that I would like to share my life, my travels, and experiences. I have found over the last couple years as I have been living this RV lifestyle, that many others are also and we are all doing this traveling, RV life all a little bit different. We each have different experiences that we can share with each other and learn from as well as sharing the gorgeous, beautiful places we have been, giving references and recommendations, as well as sharing the experience and the feeling we have visiting these places.

So currently I am living and working in Phoenix Arizona. I arrived here on January 1, 2018……6 months ago, half a year…..Wow! It originally was to just be a temporary job, but turned into a long-term permanent job…..how long term? Not sure yet……taking it a day at a time! I am working for a Heavy Equipment, Truck, and RV Repair shop where I do a variety of things but mostly office work. I met the owner here two years ago when I was in Phoenix and needed to have the oil changed in my RV along with some other work they found. I ended up at that time spending about 4 days here with repairs. We got a chance to know each other and hit it off well. I found them to be honest, down to earth and compassionate. Over the last two years, I have stayed in touch and our friendship and connection continued to grow.  I had been working and living at the Grand Canyon since March of 2017. In December 2017 I made a decision that it was time to move on, but was needing some temporary work before starting a new National Park job at the Badlands in South Dakota. I was offered temporary work here in Phoenix at the repair shop……things were going well and I was offered to stay long term. I took up the offer feeling that this is where I needed to be for now to get more financially on my feet as well as get some more RV work done. South Dakota would be there for another time. So here I am in Phoneix, AZ. I am enjoying the area and all the things there is to here. I have a few friends who live in the area as well as a couple friends who live 2-3 hours away.

Winters here in Phoenix are great as the temperatures are around 70-75 degrees during the day. Summer I am finding so far to be pretty hot and I am not enjoying this heat too much. So I find myself indoors most days as it is just too hot to be outside doing anything unless you can find a water activity. So with all this indoor time, I am getting caught up on other projects I have been wanting to get done…..scrapbooking and my blogging. I hope you will come along for the ride and join me in this chapter of my life…….where I have been, where I am now and who knows where I will be next!

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It’s hard to believe that it has been about two years since I last blogged. I loved blogging and sharing my adventures and stories along with my pictures on this site. But a little over two summers ago I returned to Washington for a couple months and took my grandkids on a month-long adventure of traveling. We were having an awesome time, saw and did so many things. I wanted to spend all my time with them and not on a computer. I figured I would catch up on it all later. Well, work, life, and some struggles got in the way and I just did not get back to it and then it started feeling all overwhelming to try and get caught up. I thought where do I start? Well, I have finally come to a time that I feel I can start blogging again and I really wanted to get back to blogging. I recently did an upgrade on my my blog page which opened up new doors, new look, and colors. So I am going to start staying with the current stuff and gradually work on catching up with the backlog. In the meantime if you have not had a chance or because it’s been awhile I hope you will enjoy looking back and reading about how I started off on this venture and the adventures I went on. I was looking back and re-reading them and had some good chuckles of starting out and am amazed at how far I have come in two and a half years. Shoot when I first started out I did not even know how long it was going to last. I am still amazed that I am out here still doing it. It has changed a bit from what I thought, but one has to work and make a living, but I am still loving it and I know I have had more opportunities to go places, do and see things I would not have gotten to do otherwise. I continue to look forward to where this journey in life takes me and I have loved being able to share it all with you.

One of the things I have been doing while I am here in Phoenix for is to explore as much as I can and take advantage of all the great things that Phoenix and the surrounding area has to offer. So on this day June 9, 2018, it happened to be a Saturday. I woke up not really having anything planned as the days here in Phoenix have just been getting pretty hot for me and it is really hard to be outside doing much of anything. As the morning wore on I was feeling like I really wanted to get out and do something, so I hopped on my computer and started checking out some ideas, but still not sure what I was going to do. I tossed around checking out a few roadside attractions around Phoenix because I  could hop in and out of my car and still stay cool with an air-conditioned car. I also thought I would check out the museum at the Capitol building because that would be indoors and again could stay cool. So I first ran across a roadside attraction about this wall of road signs on the corner of 7th and Grant in Phoenix AZ. This sounding interesting and intriguing to me so off I went.

Those who drive by the old warehouse in downtown Phoenix might think it’s a hasty repair job thrown onto the side of the structure because the entire surface is covered with highway signs. Signs like “Do Not Pass,” “Reduced Speed Ahead,” and “Keep Right Except to Pass.”  It’s art done by Michael Levine, a Phoenix real estate developer,  who had them attached to the building in honor of Arizona’s centennial celebration in 2012.  Integrated into the signs are the numbers 1912 and 2012, denoting Arizona’s 100 years of statehood. Levine bought the signs from an Arizona state surplus yard more than a decade ago and used them to promote his agency, which specializes in buying and restoring old abandoned warehouses. But in 2011, he decided to use them to pay tribute to Arizona State centennial. He used a computer to lay out the design. Then crews using scissor hoists and battery-powered screwdrivers worked for more than 10 days and used 3,000 screws to affix the signs to the warehouse.

Next I decided to drive over to the Arizona State Capitol and check out the museum, but instead, I saw this park “Wesley Bolin Memorial Park” across the street from the capitol that had all these memorials. This was intriguing to me so I pulled into the parking lot which was practically empty except for just a couple of cars……which of course was because it was so hot.  But me being new to this summer heat decided I was going to brave it and check it out. I don’t even know what the temperature was this particular day, but it was hot. I ended up being at the park for a while because I kept having to go back to my car, turn on the air conditioner to cool off and to cool off my phone……it was so hot and with taking pictures my phone kept overheating, but I was determined to check out all these memorials as I was finding them very interesting and fascinating and I wanted pictures too.

First was the memorial for the “Code Talkers”………I did not know about the code talkers in our history of world war II, so this was really interesting to me.

 

During World War II, the United States Marines deployed 400 native Navajo speakers in tactical battlefield communication roles from 1942-1945, using their “unknown” language. The unbreakable code allowed Allied troops to coordinate with messages that enemy Japanese defenders never successfully deciphered. The Navajo code talkers essential role in actions on islands such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa was only officially acknowledged decades later.

An Arizona landscape architecture company designed the 16-ft tall bronze of a crouching, helmeted soldier code-talking on his field radio. The statue was installed and dedicated in February 2008.

Arizona Peace Officers Memorial was dedicated in May 1988. The statue is an 11-foot peace office paying homage to all Arizona law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The base displays names of officers killed in the line of duty since 1863 when Arizona became a territory. Police lodges throughout the state are responsible for upkeep and adding names in a special ceremony each year.

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Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Memorial was dedicated in 1965 in honor of Arizona police dogs who gave their lives in the line of duty.

 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial “The Fallen Warrior” Sculpture…..portrays young soldiers as wars victims as much as its heroes.

So many great memorials and monuments honoring individuals, organizations, and events……Arizona WWII Memorial Guns to salute the fallen, USS AZ anchor – this anchor is one of the two used on the USS Arizona, USS Arizona Mast, Korean War Memorial, Veterans of WWI, Jewish War Veterans Memorial, American Merchant Seaman Memorial, Arizona Pioneer Women Monument, Bushmaster Memorial, Fire Fighters Memorial, Bill of Rights Monument, Arizona Workers Memorial and many more. If you are ever in Phoenix this should be on your too do list.

I next visited St Mary’s Basilicia Church also in Down Town Phoenix……I really love old churches…… their beauty, and architecture. This church is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Phoenix. The current church replaced an adobe church that was built in 1881, this one began to be built in 1902 and was completed in 1914. This church is also home to Arizona’s largest stained glass window collection and a 26 rank pipe organ.

After leaving the Boyce William Arboretum I headed for Ray Mine…..this proably would not have even been on my radar to do except that my co-worker Joe told me about it. He was born and lived in Ray as a young boy. It sounded interesting and I decided to check it out. Ray Mine is a very large copper mine currently owned by Asarco. Ray Mine represents one of the largest copper reserves in the United States and in the world. Located near Kearny along scenic highway 177, the Ray Mine has a history dating back 140 years. The town of Ray, Sonoran, and Barcelona are no longer there…….these towns were torn down as the open pit mine expanded. The small town of Ray was founded in 1870, by 1873 prospectors were mining silver and by 1880 high-grade copper ore was being mined in Ray. From the early days, there were three different communities that were established by mine workers: Sonora, Ray, and Barcelona. Sonora was founded around 1906 and was mostly Mexican workers and their families who had come from nearby Sonora, Mexico. Ray was founded in 1909 as a company town to provide housing mostly for the Anglo miners. In 1911 a third town was founded by Spanish miners and name “Barcelona” after the city in Spain. By this time in 1911 large scale, copper production had begun. By the late 1940’s the Kennecott Copper Corporation running the mine at this time decided to abandon underground mining operations to open-pit mining. By the 1950’s the company had given notice to all residents of Sonora, Ray, and Barcelona that they would be required to abandon their homes no later than 1965. To accommodate the soon to be displaced families, the company built a new town named “Kearney”, which was 11 miles away and completed in 1958. By 1965, the once bustling towns of Ray, Sonora, and Barcelona were completely abandoned and swallowed up by the expanding open-pit. On May 1, 1999, a historical marker was placed on a site overlooking where the former towns once stood. This is where I went to view the Ray open pit mine and where the Sonora historical marker was placed.

 

 

 

I headed out of Phoenix early to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park on Highway 60 just 3 miles outside of Superior, AZ. From Phoneix, it is a 67-mile drive…. an easy hour drive. With temperatures already reaching 90-100 degrees during mid-day I wanted to get there early when it was going to be cooler. Two years ago when I was in and around Phoneix in February the cacti were not in bloom, so now that I am in Phoenix for awhile I wanted to be sure I got a chance to see them. I had heard and read about the arboretum and wanted to make a visit here and thought it would be a great opportunity to see and experience all kinds of different plant life and blooming cacti as well as a little trail hiking. Boyce Arboretum did not disappoint me.

Entrance fees are reasonable $12.50 for adults 13 or older, $5.00 for children 5-12 and children 4 and under are free. The arboretum hours October to April are 8 am – 5 pm with no entry after 4 pm. May to September hours are 6 am to 3 pm with no entry after 2 pm.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona. It was founded in 1924 as a desert plant research facility and “living museum” by William Boyce Thompson, a mining engineer who made his fortune in the mining industry. Boyce was fascinated with the landscape around Superior, so he built a winter home overlooking Queen Creek and beneath the towering volcanic remnant……Picketpost Mountain located in the Sonoran Desert on 323 acres.

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Upon my arrival at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you pay at the window just inside the doorway and given a map of the grounds. In this entrance area, you will find a gift store, the restrooms, as well as plants to buy. You are then free to wander the grounds how and where you want at your own leisure. I followed the 1.5-mile main loop which took me a couple of hours as I took some short side trails, checked out so many of the cactus and varies plants and vegetation, took pictures, stopped to rest, relax and just enjoy.

BTA Map

Here are some things I saw on my trail walk……Flowers

Cacti

 

 

Gila Monsters, Twisted trees, Ayer Lake, Eucalyptus Trees, Mountains and Trails

 

The Clevenger House…….a stone and mortar building was home for a family of 5 in the early 1900’s. Robert Clevenger and his family were homesteaders who made their living by truck farming along Queen Creek. They left this area in the early 1920’s. This building was purchased along with the surrounding land by William Boyce Thompson. It was remodeled as a playhouse for his grandchildren. Today it is used for drying and displaying herbs as well as a cool respite from the summer heat.

By the time I had finished up the loop, it was getting midday and the temperatures were really starting to warm up. It was a great day, really enjoyed this place. Now off to Ray Mine.

 

 

After being here at my new job about a month my co-workers Don and Caroline invited me to go off road riding on two different occasions to Crown King on February 4th and February 17, 2018. On both of these trips we were up bright and early with the car hauler hitched to Don’s truck and loaded with the Cam Am’s. The drive is about 60  miles outside of Phoenix on I-17, exit 248 to Bumble Bee/Crown King.

After exiting the highway we drove about 3 miles on a two-lane paved road to a staging spot where we parked and met 3 other couples/friends who were joining us for the day. After unloading the off-road vehicles, checking everything over and packing up with water and face coverings for the dust we were off and running. I rode with Caroline in her orange and black CamAm……The vehicle has a roll bar cage, I was all buckled and strapped in, had my bandanna wrapped around my face to help keep out the dust. I have done a lot of off-road riding in my dad’s Bronco growing up, with our quads and dirt bikes with my kids, but I had not been riding in these Cam-Am’s….what a thrill they are. These things are fast and we were barreling up the dirt road 50-60 miles an hour, going around corners and skidding the back end. Caroline is a good driver but I have to say I was holding on to the safety bar pretty tight… as the day went on I relaxed.

The ride to Crown King was to be about an hour and a half….our first stop for a break and cold drink was at an old mining/ghost town called “Cleator” population 8 is what the sign on the side of the building says. There is not much to Cleator except for a few ramshackle buildings. The highlight to the stop was the Cleator Bar and Yacht Club with cold beers and soda which is also an “old” building. This place was a crazy, fun twist to a bar in the desert. The staff is friendly, the walls are plastered with $1.00 bills, wooden floors, knick-knacks, pictures and memorabilia from the past. Outback, the bar is all decked out in a Nautical/Beach theme with a big pontoon boat, surfboards, buoys and jet skis along with a stage where live bands play on the weekends.

This community located in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains began in the late 1800’s as Turkey Creek. It later became Cleator, after James Cleator bought the town and named it after himself. The town is still owned by the Cleator family.

We then continued on about 10 more miles to another mining/ghost town of Crown King. Crown Kings sits 6,000 feet high in the Bradshaw Mountains. The only way to get there is on a 27-mile dirt road with many switchbacks……Here at Crown King, you will find a general store which has been operating since 1904, several places to eat, a few travel trailers and many historic cabins. A population of only 133 people, it is also home to The Crown King Saloon, one of the oldest bars in the Western United States. The original owner, Tom Anderson, was a miner who worked at the Crown King Mine and mill. Shortly before the mine closed, he purchased a butcher shop and in 1906 he moved this butcher shop piece by piece from Ore Belle, just two miles up the road to Crown King, where it later became The Crown King Saloon & Café. The saloon is full of history and has been a very big part of the community in Crown King, Arizona.  It also survived Prohibition, numerous city fires, and time. The Crown King Saloon is a piece of living history that you can personally sit in, order a drink and a meal.

From Crown King, we headed up the road another few miles to a place called Horse Thief Lake, its a small lake with a dam and lots of cattails. We stopped here for a bit to stretch our legs, took a hike across the dam and around the lake.

Then it was time to turn around and head back with a stop at Cleator Bar for some cool refreshments to wind up the day. It was an absolutely awesome, great day!

 

Here we are January 2018, the start of another brand new year……I arrived here in Phoenix, AZ January 1, 2018, after spending 10 months living and working at the Grand Canyon. I had only been in town for a few days but I was ready to start exploring Phoenix. I was on my computer googling things to do and see when I ran across the Glitter and Gold Balloon Festival that was being held the evening of January 6th. As I read all about the festival and the fact it was free I was ready to go. I checked in with a few friends I have here in Phoenix to see if any of them wanted to go, but they all had other plans…but you all know me, I am good going solo and that’s a topic for another time. So I made my plans to go, it was a short 10-15 minute drive from where I am living and working to downtown, historic Glendale. I found a parking lot not far from where all the activities were taking place so it was just a short walk. The city had blocked off 16 blocks to traffic for the festivities. The Glitter and Gold Balloon Festival is an annual event and this year was its 23rd year. It was festive time with several glowing hot air balloons lined up and down the main streets, plus 1.6 million LED lights strung around in trees, bushes, etc in the park, 8 different local bands, food and even carnival rides and games for the kids. I really had a good time at this festival……I have seen hot air balloons over the years flying in the sky, but I had never gotten the chance to get up close and personal with them. It was amazing to watch as the balloon owners showed up in their trucks, or trucks and trailers that carried their balloons, then watch as a team for each balloon unfolded their balloon in the street on a tarp, stretched it out and then filled with gas to rise up into the night sky (none of the balloons flew). People were able to wander around, watch the balloons being set up, watch them periodically get a zap of gas flame to keep them standing, you could talk to the owners, ask questions, etc. There were a few special shaped balloons……the bumblebee and a mass glow where the balloon pilots fired up the balloons all at once to create an awesome illumination.

LED lights in the park

Balloon owners rolling out their balloons.

So many balloons

Up close and personal

I found this band that I really enjoyed playing classic rock, oldies, and some country

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And just some miscellaneous

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens is a gem in the city of Portland. If you want to get away to nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city this is the place to go. It’s located at 5801 SE 28th Street off Hwy 205 near Reed College. This place was recommended to me while I was dog sitting for my son for a week. This is a 9 1/2 acre botanical garden which contains a collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Shrubs, Trees and other plants. It has a spring fed lake surround much of the garden, which attracts quite a bit of waterfowl (ducks, geese, etc) that nest and feed in this natural habitat. As a visitor, you will stroll past three small waterfalls, two bridges, fountains and wander along shaded paths to the lake. There are more than 2,500 Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and other plants, which have all been donated by volunteers, interested individuals or purchased with donated funds. There are also 94 different species and the oldest Rhododendron was planted in the 1800’s.  Admission is very cheap $4.00 for adults and children 12 and under are free. In the winter months (The day after Labor Day through February admission is free). On weekends, some areas may be off limits due to special events. You can call ahead to find out.

 

 

 

I made a stop at The Grotto off Hwy 205 in Portland Oregon. I had visited here last December around Christmas time and it was a really amazing place and very peaceful. Its a place where you can meditate, pray and find peace in a very hectic, stressful world. Because it was winter much of the vegetation was dormant other than a few of the beautiful trees and shrubs that were still in fall colors. At that time, I had told myself I needed to come back in the Spring when everything would be in bloom and so I did.

The Grotto is a National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother – A Roman Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary. The Grotto was constructed in 1924 – a cave carved out of the 110-foot basalt cliff with a statue of Mary holding Jesus’s crucified body.

The grounds cover 62 acres of pathways, forest, and upper-level botanical garden that sits above the cliff and has beautiful views.

The Valley of Fire State Park was such an amazing, beautiful place! It was one of those places where the scenery and landscape just kept changing and dazzling me at every turn and bend in the road.

Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert about 58 miles Northeast of Las Vegas. Valley of fire is the oldest Nevada state park and was dedicated in 1935 and covers about 35,000 acres. Named for its magnificent red sandstone formations that were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago. These formations can appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. A 10.5-mile road connects the east and west entrances to the park.

Rainbow Vista is a viewpoint where the road reaches the top of a low ridge revealing a vast area of multicolored rocks stretching for miles. Rainbow Vista was also carved from sand deposits 150 million years ago.

Seven Sisters are a series of stone formations that were once part of nearby red rock formations. These rock towers are all that is left after the relentless forces of erosion stripped away the surrounding sandstone deposits. Numerous “blow holes” in the formations forecast the eventual destruction of the towers that will take place many thousands of years into the future.

A few other miscellaneous photos

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Over The Hill With Sherry

Traveling - It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller

Drivin' & Vibin'

Free Camping // RV Living // Airstream Life

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