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May 28, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Tiki Tour, TwoThousandTwelve

Brought to you by the letter “P”


 Potato Chip Page

Peppy Olive

 Pushoff !!! 


Party on the River


Perfect Placement

 Thanks for the Joe, Joe !!!

P = Premise      Precision     Pretty     Proud     Paul     Peppy     Page     Pyromania      Paradise     Peaceful     Personality     Philosophy     Potent     Propel     Provisions


I Am Reborn

April 25, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Home In Chickaloon

April 24, Tuesday

The stars were aligned for us today, a shuttle to the airport at 5AM, the plane boarded early, made it to Seattle early, where clouds now had precedent, the flight to Alaska took off early. We landed in Anchorage 20 minutes early to lovely 55F sunshine where Adrian   picked us up with only a short wait in the sun, a stop at Turkey Red for soup then home to Chickaloon by 5PM to find snow still in the yard, but a whole lot less than when we left 2 weeks ago.  Swans, snow geese, cranes and other birds are arriving, it’s spring in Alaska.  And thus ends the Arizona trip.  Until next time, good travels to you.


April 25, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Leaving Verde Valley

April 23, Monday

Our last full day in Arizona, heading out early morning via Highway 87, climbing up the Mogollon Rim.  After driving through the sleepy towns of Strawberry and Pine, we stopped to check out Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The 3 mile drive in goes down a 15% grade.  It’s a day use area only, with trails over and under Tonto Natural Bridge, formed from travertine (a type of calcium carbonate).  We hiked the trail to the bottom of the bridge, then followed arrows on the slippery rocks, which led us through the 40 ft. tall tunnel and up the rocky creek; pretty spectacular.  Swallows flew through the mist off the top of the natural bridge.

Tonto Natural Bridge

Continuing on Hwy. 87, led us to Payson where we passed an hour at a quilt store, an art shop (What did you expect?) and ate lunch at the city park, beside a lake where mallards, one tough goose and grackles accosted us for food.  Still 90 miles to Phoenix, the road descended through dry mountains to the desert floor.

Highway 87

 Passing the blooming saguaro cacti, the temperature reached 102F.

 We dropped off the car, shuttle bussed to the airport where we picked up the shuttle to the Aloft Hotel.  Jenny wanted  to see the Desert Botanical Gardens. The hotel shuttle driver took us the 3 miles to the garden where many cacti and flowers were blooming.

Desert Botanical Garden

Real Dragonfly

The first hour was fine, thank goodness there was light cloud cover to give us a small respite from the sun at 103F.

Even The Critters Were HOT!

Road Runner

With our Alaskan tongues hanging to the ground we took a taxi back to the hotel, cooled off with a shower and a margarita at the bar, and ate a so-so dinner at the only place close by, “Ruby Tuesday”.  We tucked in early to the sound of jets taking off and the air conditioner.  Phoenix natives don’t consider it hot until it begins exceeding 105F for days on end.

Phoenix Sunset

April 22, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Heat Exhaustion

April 22, Sunday

Our last full day at Camp Verde, we didn’t get the usual early start; the sun was already heating the atmosphere as we drove to Dead Horse Ranch State Park.  There are several man made lagoons, a trail along the Verde River and more trails up into the drier mesa country.  The Arizona heat finally got to us, so we kept to the shade, walking around the lagoons, watching fly fisherpeople, bait casters, hardware spinners, bobber fishers, kids, what have you try to catch trout, bass, catfish or sunnies to no avail.  Redwing blackbirds kept up a constant chatter in the reeds, herons hung out along the lagoon, hawks soared overhead, boat tail grackles loudly cackled, we sweltered, finding shelter under the cottonwoods.  By 11AM it was “Time to hit the road Jack”, for a chocolate malt at the soda shop, then back home to laze in the cool house.  At 5:30PM, 96F, we drove into Camp Verde to the Salt Cellar for pizza, a local dive, where we kibitzed with the locals, drank beer and margaritas and ate Greek pizza by the irrigation ditch until the sunset and temperatures dropped into the 70s.  One of the photos I’m including today reminded us of Pat & Frankie.  These two friendly ladies we met at the park, walking their semi schizoid schnauzer that did allow being petted, but vocalized the entire time.

April 22, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Wet Beaver Creek

April 21, Saturday

An early, early morning; leaving before sunrise, seeing mule deer, jack rabbits and cows along the 12 mile gravel road to Bell Trail.   Sunrise on the red rocks and mesas, along a trail built in 1932, still used to move cattle to the Mogollon Rim.  I tried to picture balky bovines scraping along the ledges we hiked.

Four miles to “The Crack” – a narrow slice in the rocks where Wet Beaver Creek forms a deep swimming hole. We scrambled down the forty feet to a cottonwood hollow to enjoy peaceful water sounds, interrupted by a group of youngsters jumping off the rock.  Putting one foot in front of the other back to the trail head, sunshine to our backs, temperature past 90F, stopping along the creek twice to wet down shirts and head scarf.

Back to the house, naps on the recliner, going to Las Margaritas in Camp Verde for dinner, the car thermometer read 96F at 5:30PM.  Best restaurant margaritas ever, another fine day of the trip!


Bell Trail


The Crack


Las Margaritas

Self Portrait

April 21, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Mogollon Rim

April 20, Friday

We drove east of the Verde Valley up the Mogollon Rim, going from scrub land to pine forest.  At Strawberry we drove 5 bumpy miles on Fossil Creek Road and started hiking towards Fossil Springs.  It was mostly downhill on an exposed trail, after a mile Jenny was expressing signs of weariness from the previous days hiking and half a sleepless night.  I convinced her I could go on by myself without perishing.  I walked another two miles, the trail continued downhill towards a deep gorge, before turning around to hoof it back up to Jenny, meditating in the shade of a juniper tree.  Back to the car, I found I was just a mile from the springs; it was getting on the warm side.  Another three miles to the town of Pine, getting meat for dinner, three varieties of Arizona honey at a honey stand and a stop at a quilt store, then back 25 miles to Camp Verde to hang out for the afternoon, naps and watching birds from the shaded deck.  After dinner, we drove two skips and a jump over to Clear Creek Campground to walk along the creek at sunset.   It’s a popular place to walk the dog.





Clear Creek



Raptor From The Deck


April 20, 2012 / mrchickaloonbaer

Montezuma Well

April 19, Thursday

Another cloudless morning, sun through the windows provides a reason for keeping this journal; otherwise I would quite literally lose track of time and miss the plane home.  But wouldn’t it be wonderful to have no need for keeping track of the day, have no dates circled on the calendar, heck, have no calendar?  It could happen in the desert.

Another early start, traveling up Big Beaver Road, a decent gravel route, with only a few ranchers’ trucks raising dust.  We took several short hikes, two along flowing creeks with the typical cottonwoods and sycamores, cool spots with varied bird life.  We climbed Sacred Mountain, a butte with a sweeping view.  There is evidence of house pits on the top, exactly what purpose the mountain served is unclear.  It was hot and exposed on top, lots of prickly pear and creosote bush. Then a stop at Montezuma Well, a huge sink hole, where ancient farmers channeled water to their crops, some lived in the limestone cliffs surrounding the well.  The water discharges over a million gallons of water and 600 pounds of dissolved lime every day into Beaver Creek.  Steps led down to the water where interesting creatures live in 76F year round temperatures, amphipods upon which leeches living at the bottom come up at night to feed upon and as do night swimming scorpions.


Montezuma Well

From the Well, Jenny chose to drive to Sedona; she needed one more afternoon of art galleries.  I groused and complained to no avail so when she pulled into an artist enclave with many galleries, shaded with large sycamores, I slowly pulled myself out of my funk.  When we came upon the Oak Creek Brewery for lunch, I grudgingly admitted it was okay.  Now the Brewery food was just fine, but I had to have a sample of the seven beer varieties.  Two things I say positively for their beer, they were served in neat small mugs and the porter was drinkable.  The other six beers fell below average.

Finally we headed back to Camp Verde, the temperature outside had registered 92F; it was time to turn on air conditioning in the car.  We returned to the used Cowboy Store to purchase a pair of boots for the summer wedding, plus Jenny bought two more reins which she will take apart to use as bag handles.  The owner went digging through his store room junk thinking he could find more reins to sell.


The house was pleasant, even in the 90F, we had shut all the shades before we left in the morning.