Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CORRECTION: HAROLD AND MARION COME TO TT VERDE VALLEY

Mon, Jun 27 - We were on our way to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Old Town Cottonwood when Ken noticed an Overland motor home in one of the sites. He remembered that our friends Harold and Althea had an Overland just like that!! We knocked on their door to say "Hi".

Harold welcomed us with open arms, but when we went inside we saw an attractive lady who was not Althea. Harold told us the sad news that Althea had died from cancer a few months earlier. We were dumbfounded!! Althea and Harold had just come to Wilderness Lakes to see us in February! Then Harold introduced us to Marion who is his neighbor in Mesa and traveling companion. (Note: Her name is Marion, not Marilyn as I had stated earlier.)

She was so friendly and easy to talk to. They asked us to join them for a before-dinner drink and we invited them to come with us for Tacos at Conchos.

Here are Marion and Harold at Conchos, voted the Most Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Cottonwood. Nothing fancy but the Tacos are really great and the price is right! (Sorry the picture is so fuzzy!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

UTE AND GUENTER COME TO VERDE VALLEY!

Mon, Jun 20 - We met Ute and Guenter on the Pickleball courts at TT LaConner in Washington years ago. They are from Germany and have told us so many interesting things about their country.

Ute was just starting a little business at that time -- well, she thought it was going to be a little business. Today, the focus of the business has changed and it has grown by leaps and bounds!! She started her business, Silk Painting Is Fun with dying silk scarves and silk strings for jewelry. She even taught some classes to Thousand Trails members at various campgrounds. I dyed a silk scarf myself!! Now they concentrates solely on dying the strings -- thousands of them in various colors -- which she sells to wholesale buyers. In fact, they now have a warehouse in Arizona that they keep stocked with plenty of dyed strings to fill all the orders.

I thought this was interesting. Ute said they had an order from Kelloggs for a quantity of strings dyed "K Red". Kelloggs was having a conference and they used the strings to make bracelets for all the attendees!

Ute and Guenter spend their time between Arizona and Germany. In fact, on their last trip to Germany they bought a beautiful home which they love. They are planning to return to Germany next month for a period of time.

We invited them over to dinner last Monday afternoon. It was great getting together with them again! We wish you guys continued success with Silk Painting Is Fun!!


Friday, June 24, 2011

STIEG LARSSON THRILLERS

We are still at TT Verde Valley! Boy, is it HOT!! But, I found the perfect pastime -- reading thrillers!!

A few months ago, I stumbled upon the paperback The Girl Who Played With Fire at one of the Thousand Trails exchange libraries. I had heard about the books written by Stieg Larsson on TV, so I decided to give it a try.

Inside the jacket was a list of the complete trilogy: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest! Well, I couldn't read the second book with reading the first one! I'm a member of the Yavapai Library Network, so I went to the Cottonwood Library and borrowed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Larsson was Swedish. The books were translated from Swedish to English. The books take place in Sweden. It was not easy for me at first -- reading English with a Swedish accent!! But I stuck with it and after about 100 pages, I really got into it!

Then I read my own book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo! It is great, from Page One! I can't take my nose out of the book! It has the same cast of characters and makes frequent reference to events in the first book. I am so glad I decided to read the trilogy in proper sequence!! Next is The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest!!

Sad news. It seems that Stieg Larsson died in 2004, shortly after turning in the manuscripts for all three books.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

HOW TO SAFELY REMOVE A TICK!!

A friend sent me this hint on how to safely remove a tick. It sounded good to me. In fact, it sounds good enough to share. The next time we find a tick, let's remember how to remove it!! Let me know if it works!!

This method is great because it works in those hard to get to places: ex. between the toes.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20). The tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.




Friday, June 10, 2011

ARIZONA WILDFIRES

Jun 08 - Jun 10 - Many of our family and friends have contacted us, asking if we are all right out here in Arizona with the massive wildfires. Thank you all for your concern. We are very fortunate that we are about 200 miles west of the fires. The winds seem to be taking the smoke and ash to the east, away from us. So far, we have not seen any evidence of the fires here in Cottonwood.

I read in The Arizona Republic Wednesday 8th that authorities believe the fire was started by an unattended campfire near the area of Bear Wallow Wilderness, thus it is known at the Wallow Fire.

The Wallow Fire is now the second largest in Arizona history, covering more than 380,000 acres. The blaze has cast smoke as far east as Iowa and forced some planes to divert from Albuquerque, about 200 miles away. Haze and smoke also were visible in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas!

It has become the No. 1 firefighting priority in the nation due to the rate at which it has been spreading, the resources at risk, structures threatened, the evacuations in effect. And there is no end in sight.

Please keep Arizona in your thoughts and prayers.

Update Friday, Jun 10 - This afternoon we took a drive about four miles up the mountain side to the historic mining town of Jerome. Looking out to the East, the skies were hazy and there was the distinct smell of forest fire in the air!

VERDE CANYON RAILROAD WILDERNESS TRAIN

Jun 08 - We spent a delightful afternoon as pampered passengers on the Verde Canyon Railroad Wilderness Train. This historic train travels slowly through the Verde Canyon, affording a unique view of its beauty accessible only by rail.

We left from the old Southwestern-style depot in Clarkdale, AZ, only a mile from the Clarkdale Elk's Lodge where we are staying for our "week out".

Our coach was known as the Scottsdale.

The train passes towering crimson pinnacles.



Ancient Indian ruins. Here, a cliff dwelling.


Below, a cave containing ancient artifacts.


The route follows the Upper Verde River as it meanders through the canyon.


Here is a rain gauge that measures the depth of the water in the river; thereby providing pertinent information to determine the amount of water available for irrigation.

This is known as the Table Bridge because it was built using an old railroad turntable.

When we left the station, the Scottsdale car was near the front of the train. We were able to get this picture of the Caboose as it crossed the Table Bridge behind us.


Here we are entering a tunnel. Pictures inside the tunnel were black!! Imagine that!


And the Verde River flows on.

It was such a beautiful day, we spent some travel time enjoying an open-air car.


Among the red rocks, this is known as the Lincoln Rock because they say you can see Lincoln's forehead and nose. Look near the bottom of the cliff, far left.

This formation is easier to find. This is Turtle Rock.

Wow! This is cutting it a little too close!!


The four hour rail journey travels from Clarkdale to the Perkinsville ghost ranch and back. At the ranch the train stops for a short time while the engine is taken from the front of the train and moved on a second track to the rear of the train for the return trip.

A picture of the depot at the Perkinsville Ranch, taken through the opposite window.


On the return trip, the Scottsdale car was near the rear of the train, so we were able to get this picture of the engine in front of us.

We had a great time on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Our only regret -- we did not see the Bald Eagles that reside in the canyon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TUZIGOOT NATIONAL MONUMENT, CLARKDALE, AZ

Jun 09 - Tuzigoot Ruins are located on the summit of a long ridge that rises 120 feet above the Verde Valley. This National Monument is only about a mile from the Clarkdale Elk's Lodge -- a treasure right in our front yard.

This Sinagua Indian village was built between 1125 and 1400. The original pueblo was two stories high and had 77 ground floor rooms. Unlike the Shoofly Village Ruins in Payson, much of these ruins were stabilized during the excavation process and you can see the outlines of many rooms.



As we were leaving the Tuzigoot Ruins, we could see the historic mining town of Jerome perched on the side of the mountain in the distance. It is only about four miles from Clarkdale.



Sunday, June 5, 2011

UUMMMM, GRILLED CORNISH HEN BY CHEFS KEN AND FAYE

Sun. Jun 05 – This article is dedicated to Mitch and Barb, Keith and Marie, and Joe and Pam, the best RV Chefs we know!! It is also for everyone else who wants to prepare an elegant, delicious entrĂ©e on the grill– and it’s soooo easy!!!

I know our favorite RV Chefs mentioned above have probably prepared Cornish Hen many times, but Ken and I have never even thought about it, believing Cornish Hen was beyond our skill level! One day in WINCO, we saw frozen Cornish Hen, and we thought the price was right – we should give it a try! The plan was to have them for Easter Dinner, but something else came up.

We finally prepared the Hens this Sunday afternoon. This is the recipe we used. I got it from Cooks.com. It was wonderful!!!

Grilled Cornish Game Hens

Quote on the website: “I love grilled game hens. In fact, I won't cook them any other way. In this recipe you split the game hens in half which makes them easier and quicker to grill. Splitting the game hens is easy, just cut through the breast then flip it over the cut down one side of the backbone. It is really easy if you use a pair of kitchen shears.”

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 65 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

GRILLED CORNISH HEN RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cornish game hens (1 to 1 -1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

Remove giblets and reserve. Split game hens in half lengthwise. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, pepper salt and olive oil. Place hens in a shallow baking dish and pour marinade over. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat grill and prepare for indirect grilling. Remove hens from marinade and place on grill, skin side up away from the direct heat. Baste with remaining marinade during while cooking. Hens should take about 45 minutes. Test for doneness before removing from grill.

Note: We used gallon Ziploc bags to marinade the hens, The recipe did not call for flipping on the grill but Ken flipped the hens for the last 15 minutes of grill time.

This is a picture after we had eaten our fill!! I didn’t think of taking a picture until too late.

We were quite impressed with our own success!! Give it a try – you’ll like it, too!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

FALLING SKIES – NEW TV SERIES BY SPEILBERG AND NIKI!!

“Falling Skies” is a new TV Series by Steven Speilberg. The premier is on Sunday, June 19th on TNT. Ken’s granddaughter, Niki, works with the Spielberg Studio and was involved in the creation of the series. Neat, Niki!!

“Falling Skies” appears to be a SciFi, Futuristic series. We will definitely watch the Premier on Sunday the 19th but it may not be our “cup of tea”! Although, we do sometimes watch SciFi -- “The Event” and “V”, and Ken is waiting for the return of “The Walking Dead” – all SciFi.

Don't forget -- Sunday the 19th on TNT -- "Falling Skies"!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

BEAUTIFUL RED ROCKS IN SEDONA, AZ

Jun 03 – We’ve been at TT Verde Valley since the middle of April, and this is the first time we have driven into Sedona, a very popular tourist Mecca because of the beautiful Red Rocks and because Sedona is believed by many to be a vortex meditation site, places of power in the red rocks that enhance prayer, contemplation, and reflection.

We drove in for a few hours today and would like to share some of the beauty.







Here we are up on Airport Road Overlook. We've been to Sedona many times but never have been up here. We met a nice Hispanic family. We took their picture, and they took ours. Then they wanted to use their camera to take a picture of their kids with us!!! Amazing!!!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A NEW GROUP OF NEW PICKLEBALL FRIENDS, TT VERDE VALLEY

May 27 - June 1 - We returned to TT Verde Valley on Wednesday, June 25, after our week out in Payson, AZ. On Thursday morning we had an appointment in Cottonwood, and did not get over to the Pickleball courts. On Friday the 27th, when we arrived at the courts, there was a whole new group of new Pickleball players. Five rigs are traveling the country together and had arrived at TT Verde Valley while were were away. They knew about the game of Pickleball but none of them had ever tried to play. They decided now was the time to try -- and they LOVE it!!

The group invited us, and other players we already knew, to join them at a Happy Hour later Friday afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

The Men:
Front Row, Left to Right: Ed, Paul, Alan, Ken Second Row: Greg, Carl, Jack, Big Ed standing Third Row: Don, Keith, Larry

The Women:
Front Row, Left to Right: Diane, Jeannie, Faye, Sue our hostess, Trudy Second Row: Linda, Roberta, Elaine, Leona Standing: Sandy

The group is very fortunate that Keith is at Verde Valley and gladly shared his Pickleball knowledge. On Saturday morning, he had lessons for some of the new players.

Larry, Linda, Keith, Elaine

Keith and Elaine. This time I'm not in the Kitchen!!!

Larry lunges for a ball while Linda watches.

Another foursome played on the other court. Here is Don and Jeannie.

And Jack and Sue.

Great game. That was fun!

Other action during the week. Carl and Leona.

Greg and Linda.

The guys had a foursome. Ken, Carl, Don and Ed.

And the girls had a game. Diane, Faye, Leona, and Don agreed to be a girlie girl.

You'll notice all the new players are using Spike's new ZZT Sports paddles. That is what they sell at the TT Verde Valley Store. The name ZZT stands for the first score called in every Pickleball match -- Zero, Zero, Two.

Carl and Leona are leaving on Thursday, so they decided to have a Happy Hour on Wednesday. In an earlier discussion, the group had decided to share "wacky" sandwiches. We had peanut butter with Miracle Whip and bananas; peanut butter with mustard and mayo; peanut butter and pickles, peanut butter and sugar; radish sandwiches, and I don't know what all. We brought "Flaming Hots" and Wasabi Peas to heat things up.

During the Happy Hour, Sue presented the group with Pickleball name paddles that she had gotten from Trudy and Alan.

After that we conducted a Pickle Penning Ceremony in recognition of the new players' enjoyment of Pickleball! They are facing the Pickleball courts and pledging to play, enjoy, and promote the game of Pickleball at every opportunity!

It's been great meeting you guys!! See you on the courts!!!