Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Springtime in the Arizona Desert

We are spending a few weeks or so in the area around Phoenix, an area we haven't really spent anytime. Mariposa Count has great regional parks. Our first stop where we spent a few days is White Tank Regional Park, just west of Phoenix. It is the largest of these regional parks at 30,000 acres. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valleys west side. The range rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floods sending waters pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, forming series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name. Spring is here and after spending time in the stark winter deserts of California and parts of Arizona, our drive to the park is filled with sights of flowers along the roads and green hills.




The sites at the Park are nice and big. No hookups at this park which is why we were able to get in during the spring and easter breaks. At least I think that is probably the reason as the park is just beautiful.


They have a nice Library and nature center at the Park which we checked out.




We didn't do much here as we were only here for one full day and we had to do some shopping but it was a nice few days enjoying the warm weather and even a pretty full moon and lights of the city below.


Our next stop, which I had made reservations for and got one of the last sites, was McDowell Mountain Regional Park, which is on the east side, which goes through Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, two upscale cities with beautiful houses dotting the hills and wonderful landscaping everywhere. We got another great spot with greenery, cactus and more flowering plants surrounding us.





View below from our passenger side windows.






We will be here six days. More to come.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kori and Nick Get Married

We spent 4 days at Jojoba Hills in Aguanga, CA at the Escapees Park. Our main reason was to attend our niece's wedding in nearby Temecula on Saturday. We also wanted to check out the park as we hear it was one of the nicer of the Escapee's Parks. Escapees, the RV Organization has what are called SKP Parks where you can lease a spot for your RV. You pay a set amount(Jojoba is the most expensive of the parks at $30,000) and then pay a monthly fee of around $200. The great thing is that if you decide at some point in time to not want to have a spot any more you get your initial investment back. The sites at Jojoba are large and include a 8x12 storage shed and room for any least one and sometimes two cars in addition to your motorhome. The place is beautifully landscaped and terraced so that most sites have great views of the canyon below. There is a large swimming pool and spas and club house with great views and plenty of activities. As it is very hot in this high desert area most people use this as a winter spot to stay and then travel the rest of the year. This is what we were interested in. We are only a few hours from the OC and family which is a bonus. We also have some friends living here, Terry and Nancy, that we met on an Escapees 4 Wheel Drive Hop in Riggins, Idaho about a year and a half ago. It was fun getting together with them. The first night we ended up talking until midnight. We also went out to lunch with them and had them to dinner one night. They took us on a tour of the place and we went to a Friday happy hour. People are very friendly here. Anyway, we did end up putting down some money to get on the list for a site. There actually was one available but we aren't ready yet. We have some traveling to do and would rather get a spot in about 6 to 12 months.


There is also a storage unit to the left of the motorhome and car.

Of course, the main reason we are even in this area or state for that matter is the Wedding of our lovely niece Kori and the equally handsome Nick. Saturday was absolutely beautiful, warm with a slight wind and blue skies. Just a perfect day to get married. We arrived at Ponte Winery and were given glasses of wine before the ceremony began. It is a WINERY and so plenty of tasty wine. We found our kids as well as some of our mutual friends such as George and Felicia and their beautiful daughter Barri.

Ryan, our nephew in law, escorted Karol to her seat.

Nice touch with parasols available to keep out of the sun.


Here come's the bride with proud papa Brock.


The newly married Kori and Nick Johnsen.

A happy mom and dad, Kristi and Brock. Cute hairstyle Sis. :)


After some great appetizers, like Ahi and some spicy mushroom puffs and more wine, we went into dinner which included steak and scalloped potatoes. Of course more wine and beer and champagne for a few toasts.

Felicia, Barri and Karol
Chris, Casey and Michael
Kori, Barri, Brock and Nick
First dance

, Heather and Kori
And then there was dancing!!!

With two weddings in less than 2 years, My sis and bro in law are happy they only have 2 daughters. LOL.

It was a wonderful day.

We left Jojoba Hills on Tuesday and spent a few days near Joshua Tree in the same spot we stayed in December. Joe's feet have been bothering him. The swelling has gone down but first his right foot was experiencing muscle pain and as that started feeling better, his left started hurting. So we have just been hanging out hoping he gets better soon. Walks and hiking are in our future so Joe can get healthier and maybe eliminate some of the issues he has been having. We are now in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, east of Phoenix. We spent a few days in White Tank Regional Park, west of Phoenix, which I'll talk about in the next post. Haven't been able to add photos to blog until now and so posts are a little later than normal.