Sunday, March 16, 2008


FEBRUARY 23 – MARCH 2, 2008



I was still asleep at 10:00 a.m. when Steve knocked on my door to say that my bike had a flat tire on the front as well as the bad tire on the back. So I need to buy a tube repair kit so that Steve can finish fixing my bike. I was still quite groggy from lack of sleep (I had not got to sleep until 4:00 a.m.), but got up anyway.

I have developed hives again.


I took Ripley with me and we headed to the Coolidge Cotton Festival. This is a tradition that originated about ten years ago here, to celebrate the start of the cotton growing season, one of the important crops in this area. We missed the parade, so we headed over to the park off the main street, where there were carnival rides, various foods to try, and a band where later there would be a dance competition. There was horse-shoe pitching contest too.
Even the ROTC had a booth and visitors were invited to try holding a dummy rifle properly. Ripley was as always, very well behaved, and was admired by many people. All in all, it was very much a country-style fair.


Just along from the park, the Coolidge Women’s Club was holding a quilt show. I asked the lady at the desk if I could bring Ripley in, and she offered to hold her for me while I admired the many beautiful quilts on display. Each had a title, and we were invited to vote for our favourite. I chose a gorgeous one done in reds and blacks. There was also a raffle for two quilts, so I bought tickets for those.

I spent part of the rest of the afternoon running errands, and then had a nap. When I woke up, not only had my hives got worse, but half my lip had swelled up as well.

I took Ripley over to the vacant subdivision so that she could play with the soccer ball again, and noticed that there were insects out – bees and flies. It’s finally hot enough for them to be out, and some of the little plants are flowering – a sure sign that spring is on its way.

Later in the evening, my lip looked as though I had had a bad Botox injection, so I decided to take half a Reactine pill. I don’t like to take this strong antihistamine because it makes me very sleepy.


My hives and lip were still bad when Steve knocked on my door around noon, to return my repaired bike. Coupled with the hives, I also had a migraine, and was in bad shape. Georgia, my next door neighbour popped by to see if I was alright, and offered to take Ripley for a walk, which was very kind of her. I knew that Ripley must be bursting to go potty, but as always, she patiently waited to be taken out.

The rest of the day was wasted in sleeping off the Reactine and the migraine pill I was forced to take.


My lip is back to normal, and the hives have gone down. I am beginning to think that I was allergic to something that I ate at Long John Silver because the reaction started shortly afterwards. I have eaten shrimp plenty of time, but I wonder if there was something in the batter that caused the problem. I wish I knew for certain, because then I could just avoid whatever it is that causes the allergic reactions that have been happening from time to time.

I took Ripley over to the vacant subdivision again, and walked around the area. It is so strange to see the empty paved streets, the street signs, all the utilities installed, the waterways, the planted landscape, and even a children’s play area – but no houses. I guess the developers went bankrupt.


In any event, Ripley and I walked over to one of the perimeter embankments, and I caught a glimpse of some small mammal standing erect before it disappeared down its hole. Could it be a prairie dog? They usually live in colonies and I saw only the one animal and one hole. Maybe next time I’ll get a better chance to see it, and will bring my binoculars.

In order not to scare the burrowing owl, I slowly drove over to where I had last seen it, and sure enough – there it was, standing at the edge of the excavated hole again. I carefully lowered the window and took some photographs, but my zoom lens is not very strong.

Shope’s is the local grocery store here, and I stopped to get some fresh produce. I still haven’t found anywhere in the West to get some decent bread. All they seem to offer here is white and whole wheat (which really is brownish white bread). I haven’t found any of the great whole grains or ryes that I am used to.

I have been trying to get tickets for the Phoenix Suns game online through Ticketmaster, but for some reason it will not accept my credit cards. I now appreciate how quickly the tickets go for game, and am getting kind of frustrated.


My bike’s front tire is flat again, so I guess the repair kit didn’t work and I will have to buy a new tube. But first, I’ll try using the green goo that I bought in New Mexico.

As I prepared breakfast, the Phoenix radio station was commenting on the morning rush hour traffic, mentioning a forty-minute delay due to an accident. I was reminded of many times that I had to sit in stand-still traffic as I made my way to work back in Toronto, and how thankful I am not to have to do that anymore.


I was up early because I had planned a busy day today. First off, Ripley and I drove down to Tucson to the grocery chain Fry’s, which has a Ticketmaster outlet in it. Just since I had checked online yesterday, there were no tickets left for the two dates that we had chosen, except for single tickets scattered around the arena. That wasn’t acceptable, We were hoping to see either Utah Jazz or the San Antonio Spurs, but I had to settle for buying a pair and a single for the next game on March 11 against the Memphis Grizzlies. At least we are going to see a game.

I checked out Fry’s and discovered that they do sell a large variety of breads, and I picked up one that has whole grains and nuts in it, and I will look forward to having toast for breakfast tomorrow.


We continued on down the road to south Tucson and out to San Xavier del Bac Mission, famous for its beauty inside and outside. It is called the “White Dove of the Desert”, and dates back to the 1692, when Father Kino first arrived in the area of the Tohono O’Odham tribe. The structure was built in 1783, and stands on their tribal land, and still serves their community to this day.

On one side of the parking lot there are several thatched roofs where one can buy fry bread. Unfortunately, I had just eaten the sandwich that I had brought along for Ripley and myself.

The exterior of the mission is currently undergoing repair, and so the facade is spoiled by steel supports. The entire structure is a series of domes and arches, and the interior of the church has the original magnificent statues and artwork on the walls and ceiling, although much of it is in need of refurbishing, and there are containers to make contributions towards this effort.
The high alter was originally a gilded colour but has faded over the years. In one alcove lies a statue of Saint Xavier and petitioners pin their requests to his garments.
The main altar has lion statues guarding its sanctuary (apparently the original ones were stolen, and these are reproductions). They are the “Lions of Castille”, a tribute to the reigning family of Spain during the 1780’s and 1790’s. The other alcove has a statue of the Virgin Mary, as well as some saints. The vaulted ceiling has old decorations on it, and the overall impression is one of great beauty.

There is a museum in one part of the Mission which describes its history. The Mission was named for Padre Kino’s patron saint, and the word “Bac” means “where water emerges”. At the entrance to the museum, there is a stand to buy a candle to light, and I was surprised that there was no admission fee. Behind the church in a courtyard is a beautiful fountain and garden, and on the end is a gift shop.

The Mission is exquisite and is said to be one of the best preserved of all the chain of Franciscan missions.


Since I was already south of Tucson, I had thought that I would continue on down fifty miles to the Kartchner Caverns, but the literature I had brought strongly recommended a reservation because it was so popular. I only got a recorded announcement when I called, so decided not to risk driving a round-trip of 100 miles for nothing. Instead, I chose to go to the nearby Colossal Cave Mountain Park.

Maude had trouble finding the park, and I finally had to stop and ask. We were about 15 miles away from it. Eventually, we arrived at the gate. I paid the $5 park fee and left Ripley in the car while I went down some steps to the main entrance of the cave and gift shop, paid the $8.50 admission fee and waited for the next guided tour.

Janice was the tour guide for our small group of six adults and three children. She explained that Colossal Cave was a dry cave and that there had been no moisture in it for many years. It was made of limestone and has a stable temperature of 71 degrees F all year round. It was originally used by the Hohokam people for ceremonies, and was
re-discovered in the 1800’s. There are stories about outlaws using the cave to hide from the law, and one story in particular where four men had robbed a bank and had hidden in there. The sheriff staked himself outside the cave entrance, waiting for them to be starved out. Unbeknownst to him, the outlaws had found another exit and had left. They headed off to New Mexico and became rowdy in a bar. Someone alerted the sheriff, and he was so angry that he rode all the way over there and got into a fight. He shot three of the men, but the fourth one was captured and was offered a deal. If he would reveal where the money was hidden, he wouldn’t go to jail. He refused and spent many years in jail. It was said that he retrieved the hidden cache of money on his release. It makes for a good story, anyway.

Janice took us up and down 363 steps in all, through different “rooms”, and described the cave’s structure. There are several species of bats who use the cave, but at this time of year they are either hibernating or have migrated further south. She mentioned that bat guano was once used as an ingredient in lipstick and mascara, and that is how the term “batting her eyes” came about. Various artifacts from the Hohokam and Old West period have been found in the cave, and also many fossils from the time when the caves were being formed when the world was young. One thing that she didn’t mention, but which I found by reading some of the available literature while waiting for the tour to start, was that there is another room in the cave that the government has declared off limits. This room was discovered fairly recently and contained prehistoric animal bones and other significant findings and the scientists who were in the process of studying these are very frustrated at the official sealing. There doesn’t seem to be an explanation for this.

The stairs and access in the cave were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of the make-work program that President Roosevelt initiated during the Great Depression. They lived at a nearby ranch called La Posta Quemada Ranch, and were paid $1.00/day for their work.

When we returned back to the surface, I headed the car to another part of the park where the ranch headquarters still remain. There is now a riding stable there, as well as a butterfly garden (too early for butterflies), gopher tortoise enclosure (they were down in their burrows) and a restaurant (it was closed), and if I had not been wearing shorts, I would have hired a horse for a trail ride – something I want to do before I leave Arizona. The horses seemed very interested in Ripley, but she was not impressed. We spent some time walking around the trails there, and then it was time for the park to close. I didn’t realize also that there is dry camping within the park.

A tribute to cowboys
I was a bit concerned about traveling through Tucson in rush hour, and was pleasantly surprised to find that we moved along quite well, perhaps because so many of the exits are blocked off.


I wasn’t quite ready to call it a day, and detoured to Casa Grande to check out the movie theatre that shows twelve different shows. I had already seen The Bucket List and There Will Be Blood and wasn’t much interested in most of the other films, so I chose National Treasure. That was a mistake. I guess it was supposed to be funny, but I found it boring and left before the end.


The temperature today is 80 degrees F. and it was pleasant to sit under the awning outside the RV, while catching up on my blog. However, the wind picked up and I was forced to put the awning up and move inside where it was cooler, at least for awhile until the sun moved around. I am certainly not going to complain about the heat, however, considering the terrible snowstorms and frigid temperatures that have been happening back home.


Late in the afternoon I took Ripley back to the vacant subdivision and drove around carefully to have a look at the burrowing owl through my binoculars. Ripley had her usual fun playing with the soccer ball, getting me to kick it for her to grab and retrieve.

I then drove slowly to the back embankment where I had spied a small mammal the other day, and looking through my binoculars, I could see that there were two prairie dogs having a good look around, especially at the farmer who was seeding the field beside them, presumably with cotton seeds. By staying inside the car, I was able to watch these two charming creatures for some time through my binoculars.

A little further along, sitting on one of the concrete walls I found a horned lark (after consulting my Birds of Arizona book).


I have mentioned that the volunteer social committee here arranges many activities, and tonight they arranged to have Delon (pronounced Deelawn) perform. He emphasized that he wanted to perpetuate the traditional style of country music, and sang the songs of such artists as Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Waylon Jennings, etc. It seems that all these artists have CD’s to sell and he was no exception, but I’m not really a country music fan. It was a good concert, but he sang his songs accompanied by a taped musical background, and played no instrument himself, so it wasn’t as exciting as it might have been. But what can you expect for $5.00 admission?

Afterwards, I tried to work on my blog, but the signal was weak. This sometimes happens when a lot of people are using their wireless in the park at the same time.


While I have the rental car, I want to see as much of Arizona as possible, so this is another touring day.

I really like the various bridges in Phoenix that have painted southwestern designs on them. It adds to the charm of this state. On one section of the bypass there is a huge lizard worked in coloured stone on both sides of the road.


Today I decided to go around the Apache Trail, just east of Phoenix. As I traveled north on Highway 79 from Coolidge, I couldn’t help but notice the colourful poppies that have bloomed just in the past day or so. I suppose the rains we had helped to spur on the flowering season, and slowly the desert is coming alive with colour.

First off, I made a stop at the OK Corral Stables and RV Park to see if it was possible to book a horseback ride, but as I suspected, a reservation is needed. However, it is a place to keep in mind, especially since I could park the RV right there, albeit at an expensive rate of $35 per night. I’ll keep in mind for the future.


Onward towards the Superstition Mountains and the nearby museum, featuring artifacts and history of the Lost Dutchman Mine. This legendary mine has been the search of many treasure hunters to this day, using one of 23 maps that have appeared over the years. However, it is widely acknowledged that Jacob Waltz took the secret of the mine to his grave in 1891. He seemed to have found a good source of gold because there was a large cache of gold found under his bed after his death, but he did not share his find with anyone. As he was originally from Holland, the mine became known as the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Some of the maps
The gift shop featured some very nice jewelry and books, and I found two very small booklets of interest – one describing the meaning of petroglyphs and the other featuring the various styles of native pottery found in Arizona.


Just beside the Museum is the remnant of Apacheland. This movie set was located elsewhere in Arizona and was used as the background for many TV series, such as Death Valley Days, The Rifleman, parts of Route 66 and many movies. The set caught fire twice, and only two buildings survived, and were donated by the owners to the museum.

The barn features signed photos of many famous film stars who worked at Apacheland, including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Clint Walker, Wayne Rogers, Victoria Principal, Dorothy Lamour, etc. etc. Inside the barn there are several different “stores” of the Old West period plus a saloon. Here’s a photo of Ripley and me sitting in front of the photo wall.

Over to one side is the other structure that survived the fire. The Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel was the site of his movie “Charro”, his only non-singing role, and presently people can get married there.


A little further along the Apache Trail is the Goldfield Ghost Town, a large town that has been restored and turned into a tourist destination, complete with a railroad, a mine tour, horseback rides, a bordello, souvenir stores, a reptile exhibit, coffee/bake shop and restaurants. I succumbed and bought an air plant – easily cared for and one that I can take across the border because there is no soil. I also bought a scrumptious still-warm apple turnover and latte from the bake shop.

I couldn’t help but notice leather-clad male and female bikers as they made their way into the ghost town, primarily because of the very predominant handgun in a holster on the belt of the man – something I am just not used to seeing.

As Ripley and I wandered around, we came across a fiddler in period costume and stopped to listen and chat with him. After I gave him a tip, he made up a song about me, and gave me two garbanzo and two chickpea beans for good luck!

As we drove along the Apache Trail (otherwise known as US 88), I played a variety of CD’s, including Eric Clapton, Nelly Furtado, Josh Groban and salsa music. I have an eclectic taste in music and enjoy just about any type except jazz and rap.

It was getting on, so we continued on around the Superstition Mountains to Canyon Lake, and then Tortilla Flats, once a stagecoach stop, and now serving as a saloon for travelers.

The temperature is 82 degrees F. Whenever I see what the temperature is here, I can’t help but think of my friends and family back in Ontario who are struggling through the worst winter we’ve had in many years. I am so thankful to be here!


Tortilla Flats is where the pavement runs out, and for the next 22 miles I drove on gravel, as we made our way winding up and down mountains through the extraordinarily beautiful scenery. Despite the washboard nature of this part of the road, I would not have wanted to miss this trail and wished that I could have stayed overnight to take a hike through the mountains. It seemed that just about at every turn I was saying “Wow!” as an even more beautiful site came into view. I think that, of any place that I have been so far in Arizona these mountains were the most spectacular because of the shapes and cuts in the rocks. See for yourself when you look at just a few of the many, many photos that I took. However, I’m very glad that I decided to come by car and not by RV!

At Apache Lake, I took a detour to find gas down to a marina, and thought about ordering a sandwich to go, but after looking at the prices, I changed my mind and returned to the main road, after a quick stop to eat a cheese sandwich that I had brought with me.

After several hours, we eventually got back to the paved portion beside the Roosevelt Dam – a massive structure and marvel of engineering. And just beyond it is a very, very long bridge that I was thankful to find I did not have to cross!


By this time it was around 4:00 and we made it to Tonto National Monument just in time to make the ½ mile climb up to the Salado cliff dwellings before closing. Although I was allowed to take Ripley on the trail, she was not allowed inside the cliff dwellings, and a very nice couple offered to hold her while I went inside and listened to the volunteer guide.

Although there is little left of the original dwellings, except for some restored walls, the brochure brings the village to life through its interpretation of the life history of the Salado people who lived here seven hundred years ago. Originally, entrance was gained to the rooms by a ladder, and there was a second story roof, now only shown by the holes high in the wall. There is a V-shaped notch – the only entrance to the village and easily defended, thus indicating that they had enemies.

The National Park Service does a wonderful job in providing information about each of their sites and provides a good deal of information about the site. Water was brought from the river below and the people planted corn and squash to augment the diet gleaned from the desert itself. Metates (grinding stones and basin) have been found here, as at many other sites as well throughout Arizona, and were used to grind corn and seeds. The brochure mentions that “Grit from these stones became part of their daily diet and wore down their teeth. They probably endured painful toothaches and abscessed gums during much of their lives”. An interesting insight into their lives.

It is also hypothesized that the people spent much of their time in communal rooms, visiting with their neighbours while they worked, and to discuss matters of importance to them. By 1450 The Salado people had moved on, dispersing as they went.

A list of common desert plants used by the Salado include yucca (food, sewing needles, clothing, sandals, mats, cordage, soap); prickly pear (food); mesquite (food); saguaro (food, ceiling cross pieces); agave (cord, sandals, nets, food). When a modern-day person looks at the desert, it might be easy to think that there is nothing there but a hostile, barren environment but when one grows up in the desert, there is much to be gained and used from the surroundings, as is evidenced in the above list, and that does not include any of the animals that could be hunted for food and clothing.

This particular cliff dwelling is but one of many settlements throughout the Tonto Basin, and at its peak there were thousands living in the region. The term Salado derives from the Rio Salado (Salt River) which flowed through this area, and they developed their own unique style of polychrome pottery utilizing the clay found there. In the 1300’s the Salt River had a series of floods which destroyed the farms and villages in the lowlands, and archaeologists surmise that this was the reason for the slow dispersement of the people to other areas.

There was little time to explore before closing time; I would like to have explored the rooms further and to stop to look at the plants on the exit path, but Ripley and I had to hurry to leave. As we headed onwards, dusk came on and I regretted that we were too late to visit two other attractions that I had planned to see – the Besh Ba Gowah Archeological Site and the botanical gardens. Perhaps another day.

We arrived back at Indian Skies just after full darkness, and after a walk with Ripley for her to relieve herself, I headed to the hot tub and then bed.


8:30 a.m. Friday is Donuts and Coffee morning – a time to socialize with the other residents here at Indian Skies. I must say that everyone is very friendly, and they include newcomers like myself without reservation. Many of them know my name, even though I can’t keep track of theirs! I have found that some people have been coming back here for as much as twenty years.


Afterwards, I rushed back to take Ripley out for a walk, and then hurried back to be in time for the craft class. Penny and Doug (originally from London, Ontario and now spending summers in Kearney, Ontario – the town where my sister in law was born) led the class, and today we made a hanging lantern from a gourd. They had prepared the gourds, cutting the necessary hole for the light fixture and cutting off the bottom, soaking them in a bleach mixture and scrubbing the outer skin off. They put in a lot of volunteer work to prepare for the class and charged only $10 to cover the cost of materials.

Penny is a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher, who led us through the process, heaping praise on each participant as we chose our designs. Each of us (Bea, Dayeko, Hoppy and Bob amongst others) ended up with different and unique lanterns. It was a chance to discover a creative side of me that I have long wanted to explore.

Penny & Dayeko from Wisconsin
Hoppy from Montana working on his design

I saw a second burrowing owl near the other one that I had seen the other day. Actually, it was Ripley who found the owl, making its home in a culvert. Unfortunately, she disturbed the bird and it flew over to a railing nearby.

Ripley’s ball is still holding up, although much of the exterior black and white design has been torn off. She has boundless energy and brings the ball back to me again and again, so that I can kick it once more.


A group of the residents from Minnesota got together to organize a fish fry. For $5.00 I got a barbecued piece of fish, french fries, salad and home-made roll, with a dessert concoction of whipped topping and pecan pieces. It is really remarkable how so many of the residents get together to plan all the events that go on at Indian Skies. It is all volunteered, as the absentee owners really do nothing.

There were so many people who came to this event that we had to be fed in shifts. I had a ticket for the 6:30 p.m. sitting, but we actually didn’t get our food until around 7:00 p.m. In the meantime, I had a hilarious conversation with Lawrence and Arvila, from the state of Washington, and who have been married for 61 years!! Neither of them looked as though they were in their eighties, but unless they were children when they married, they must be in that neighbourhood. Larry has a wicked sense of humour, which I suppose has helped him to remain young at heart.

Arvila & Larry


Yet another event planned by volunteers was the pancake breakfast this morning. There was coffee available, plus as many pancakes as you wanted, with syrup. A nice way to start off the day.

Once again, I took Ripley over to the alfalfa field behind Indian Skies, and I noticed through my binoculars that there were two prairie dogs standing up on their hind legs, on the berm in the field. These are not the same ones that I saw in the subdivision across the street. Ripley sent them scurrying down their burrow holes.


This Saturday is another full day, and at noon Ripley and I headed north once again to Phoenix where my first stop was the famous Heard Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of southwest Indian artifacts. Good old Maude maneuvered us through the intricate freeway system directly to the right area. As I got closer, I found that the street was down to one-way in each direction, due to construction, and that there was a lot of traffic in the area. I came across a sign saying “Free parking for Heard Museum”, and quickly turned in to park and to ensure that Ripley was left comfortably in the shade with windows open.


As I have mentioned previously, I seem to luck out in finding great events by accident, and today was no exception. The Heard Museum was hosting its annual Indian Market and Fair today and tomorrow, and I found myself wandering through pathways of booths featuring food and exquisite crafts of all kinds – pottery, jewelry, ironwork, painting, etc. etc. There were also native people demonstrating basketmaking, beadwork and weaving.

The museum had provided very large ceramic greenware horses to five artists who each finished them in their own style. The finished products were magnificent and were to be auctioned off in a raffle costing $100 per ticket.

In the field adjacent to the Museum various tribes performed their own style of dancing in gorgeous costumes, while the narrator explained who they were and what the dances represented. I was surprised to see that there were Aztec and Mayan dances included, all performed by young people who appeared to be a dance troupe, led by an older man whom I assume was their teacher.

I spent some time in this round stage watching the dancers performing Canadian and native Arizona tribal dances, and regretted that I had not arrived earlier.

However, I did want to visit the museum too, so headed off there and was amazed to see an enormous collection of kachina dolls in the exhibits. Each of the tribes was represented in its own area, and I could have remained there for much longer, but the museum area was closing.

I hurried back to the dance area, in time to see a Japanese Kodo drummer perform in conjunction with two of the Aztec drummers. He explained that he had emigrated from Japan to Arizona ten years ago, and was told that he was a “brother” to the Indian tribes here and was invited to perform with them. It was really quite something to watch the three of them on their different kinds of drums.

The final dance of the day is the round dance, which the narrator said was for everyone and invited the audience to join in. This had happened at the Pow Wow in Silver City and I had regretted not joining, so I did this time. On my one side there was a young child and on the other, one of the performers, and the chain of dancers slowly moved out of the circle and around the adjacent hill. It was a great way to end this part of the day, as I joined the many people making their way back to their cars in the various lots that had been allocated for parking for this event. It had cost $20 instead of the $9 that I had anticipated paying, but was worth every penny to be involved in this festival.


Since I had not managed to get to a Phoenix Coyotes game previously, it was my intention to combine the trip to this city by not only going to the Heard Museum, but also in catching a hockey game. Maude took us through the maze of traffic to the suburb of Glendale, to the area of the Arena where the Coyotes play. I had brought a meal for Ripley, made sure she was comfortable and headed towards the arena to find out about parking. I was directed to a lot across the street where the University of Phoenix arena is (supposedly one of the must-see sites because of its retractable roof), and discovered the parking was free!! What a difference from Toronto!

The arena is right beside a large shopping mall, and I headed over to see about finding a scalper for a ticket, only to find that there were none around (maybe because it is a shopping mall). I had thought that it would be relatively easy to get a ticket, as hockey is not a popular sport here in Arizona. But I had not counted on many Calgary fans showing up in their jerseys and taking up all the cheaper seats. The box office was offering suite seats for $50, (still a good deal) and I managed to get one of these. But, because of the unexpected fees at the Heard Museum and the extra money for a hockey ticket, I had very little cash with me left for supper. I wandered around the mall looking for an ATM, but the only one I found inside a restaurant rejected my Canadian debit card. I was fortunate to find a restaurant where I had a very nice Polynesian chicken dish and drink for $8.50. I had $8.25 and the cashier very kindly fished into her tip pot to come up with the other quarter!

On the way into the arena, each fan received a duffle bag with the Coyotes logo on it – I can always use another duffle bag! I made my way up to the exclusive suite section, and sat beside two people from Calgary wintering in Mesa, in the front row just behind the goalie, and was torn between rooting for Calgary or Phoenix. Phoenix was the team owned by The Great One, whereas Calgary was Canadian (albeit from western Canada). What I hadn’t heard was that Cujo was now the goalie for Calgary, and that clinched it for me. I would root for Calgary. Curtis Joseph has been a favourite of mine from the time that he played for Toronto, and I was pleased to hear that he had a job again in the capricious world of hockey. After Calgary got the first goal, it was obvious that the man sitting on my left was a Phoenix fan, and as the goals mounted in favour of Calgary, he remained silent.

Calgary won 3-1.

We got back to Indian Skies around 12:30, and I couldn’t go to sleep immediately after such an exhilarating day. I took Ripley for a walk and the park was silent. As everyone is over 55 here, people tend to go to bed early. The nightsky was sparkling with stars, and after returning Ripley to the RV, I headed for the hot tub to reflect on the day. I wasn’t able to get to sleep until about 3:00 a.m.


After sleeping in, I drove Ripley over to the vacant subdivision for her romp with her ball. I didn’t see the prairie dogs there today, perhaps because the berm on which they have made their home is also used for a small amount of truck traffic. It made me wonder if they have moved.

I have long had an interest in jewelry, and the craft class I attended has sparked an interest in making my own. I thought that I would head off to Wal Mart to pick up a few things to get started, and what I couldn’t find at the Coolidge store I did find at the Casa Grande store. I could see where this hobby could become quite expensive, but I’m eager to try.

The rest of the day was filled with domestic chores – laundry, housework and finishing up my hanging gourd lantern, which I had not been able to do in class on Friday.

Later, I went to the ice cream social, and went to bed relatively early.

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