After a morning swim we drove into Old Scottsdale and hit the American West Museum after stopping at few galleries
I have always enjoyed Native American Artwork. I am not sure why the fascination, probably stems from my father’s interest and the collection pieces in the house growing up.
We found the museum itself to be well displayed and laid out. More than just artwork on the walls it included saddles, spurs, bowls and interactive displays
The below one was interesting. The picture was half on the floor and half on a wall. You were supposed to stand in a certain spot and lift leg up and it would appear like you were climbing on the horse. Obviously I did not get the angle correct on this one.
The next day we hiked Pinnacle Peak. It is one of the more popular hikes in the area. For good reason as we both felt it was the best of the area thus-far. Well-maintained and excellent views of the area. I good mix of challenging up-hills without being too punishing
Another nice sunset in the backyard
The morning was warm so I took my Pawnshop bike on the 136 Express in the neighboring preserve.
This became my go to route as it was relatively flat with good turns. Something to get the blood pumping without working too hard or struggling over too many rocks
After breakfast, we drove a few miles north to the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek. I had been here about 15 years ago for my travel business but it has developed quite a bit. Back then it was still an artsy area with just a few places dotting the road, now it was a full-blown town. An Art show was in full swing so we walked the exhibits, keeping a close eye on max, making sure he did not knock over a $5K sculpture.
We drove East for 30 minutes and ended up at Bartlet Dam. Another spot I brought a group to back in the day (Link).
It was an eerie feeling to be in the same spot so long ago. The place was the same, but you no longer were.
"Could he – the me of the moment (past) – and I sit down together, he would want to know what I knew and absorb what I had experienced, and he would regard me enviously, just as I do those men who have returned from the moon. But there would be forever a difference between him and me: I went and he did not. He set the voyage in motion, but he could not take it. ….he could never see the outcome of his preparations, unless somewhere, on some far other side, time permits us to meet our past selves, all those we have been." -William Least Heat Moon
I sat and thought about the person I was before and the one that sat here now. I had my whole life in front of me back then. Youth and Health were on your side. Did you make the most of it? Reminded me of the closing from Saving Private Ryan where he asked his wife if had lived a good life. Not to be too morbid as I have a number of years left, just reflections on the past I guess.
Max got to play in the water and explore on his own as there was no one around and really not much trouble he could get into
The next day after riding the mountain bike I met up with my dirt bike buddies while Amy stayed home with Cookie
We followed the trail I took last week along the creek wash out to the Rio Verde river
On the way back we went on an offshoot up towards Bartlet Dam. I got in some deep sand and dropped the bike. I went to start it again and realized I broke the Clutch Lever….again! WTF.
I now knew how to fix it and glad I bought 2 at the parts store, but could not believe with all the times I have dropped bikes I had not broken the lever until this month and had already done it twice. Now my mind was made up. I needed to sell this bike.
We were able to make it home, and I felt like an ass as I am sure these guys were loving the fact that I can’t seem to keep my bike upright.
When I got back to the rental I took pictures of the bike and listed it on Craigslist. A guy texted me in 30 minutes and paid me electronically that same day. Amazing. I would hold it for him and meet up with him next week. What a relief. I drove over to my riding friends place and had a few beers in the heated pool. Amy did not join as she is a little more skittish than me when it comes to socializing with the virus, but I stayed at the opposite side of the outdoor pool and felt safe.
We got up before dawn and drove towards town for “Sunrise Trail” it was ok, but nothing spectacular that I would get up early to partake in
The following morning we went back to a trailhead we hit last week. We had done “Landslide Trail” but this time we did Tom Thumb Trail. It was listed as “difficult” but by now Amy was a seasoned mountain woman with calves like basketballs. We had seen the “Thumb” in the distant every day as we drove around, but now we would meet it.
Part way up we ran across this small Asian woman carrying her 17 yo dog in gym bag. Want to talk about calves like basketballs. She was on her way back to the other trail head, meaning she was ¾ way through a 14 mile hike, and not a flat one. What was cool was that she did not have some new dog backpack, but rather just a gym bag with a side opening that she draped over her back. As she was moving along the vertical cliffs that little guy could have just rolled out, but he looked like he didn’t have that much left in the tank to even get out. She said, “I was going to leave him home but he kept begging to go” These 2 were our heroes for the rest of the day.
We finally made it to the top. It was cold and windy so we did not linger too long before heading back the way we came
It was probably our 2nd favorite behind Pinnacle.
The following day was Inauguration day. Thank Heavens all this political talk is over for a while. We drove back to Cave Creek and did a 6 mile loop of Cave Creek Park.
After the hike, we stooped in town at a Mexican joint for lunch. Now this was what the trip was supposed to be all about. Not sheltered in place, avoiding people, but out in a cool local restaurant enjoying the surroundings.
We did another day hike and swim before we set out for Camelback Mtn. This is probably the most famous hike in the area. We started around 11am on a weekday but it was still crowded. It is more of a climb over small boulders than a traditional hike. Fortunately the path is wide enough to accommodate many people in COVID times. There are 2 starting points, but only the Echo Canyon start is open at this time.
All the people were fit and as always in their fancy workout gear. I am guessing most were tourists from the East coast escaping the cold. Here is Amy at the start of the more vertical section
And some views from the summit
Now, "to get back to Earth". I only fell once on the way down. Would have been cool to go end to end by dropping a car at one side but this was a challenging hike with good views.
We sat outside in Scottsdale for Tacos after and walked a bit. $15 for 2 small tacos. But they were tasty and the weather was ideal for a day in mid January.
The day had finally come to offload the TW200. We met the new owner in a parking lot and finished the paperwork. It was bittersweet. I really wanted to have her with me for the final stop in Northern California. It would have made for a nice collage, but I could not lug that around anymore and I felt like it was time.
We only had a few days left in AZ. It turned cold, in fact it started snowing. And not just a dusting.
Cool to see, but since leaving Michigan my body had had changed and I can barely handle a stiff breeze at this point without looking for my down coat. It made an interesting swim in the heated outdoor lap pool one morning. Very tough to get out at the end. It did provide us some nice views of snow covered peaks. Here is Tom Thumb in the middle. We tried to go hike it in the cold, but they had closed the trail
Some shots from our neighborhood of the Tonto Forest and 4 peaks area
Time for us to move on. Our next stop was Northern California. Before reaching California we decided to stop at the Grand Canyon for the night.
On our way up, we passed through Sedona. An artist community that has become a playground for the rich over the years. Nonetheless it is impressive, as you turn off the highway you see the distinctive red rock 20 miles out.
We stopped at Bell Rock for a short walk. Not enough time for hiking.
We could not continue on through Sedona due to road closures from the snow storm and had to backtrack to the Interstate.
We pulled into the South Rim after securing a hotel room just outside the park. We stopped at an overlook to wait for Sunset.
A guy asked if he could take a picture with us and our baby. Then he saw that is was a dog Amy was carrying like an infant. No sir, you were right the first time, this is about equivalent to a baby, but never grows or learns anything
I think this is my 4th time here. Things always lose their magic on subsequent visits, but having never seen it with snow, my appreciation was restored
We stayed in a hotel across the street from where my brother stayed back in 2007
Our new digs were much swankier at a great rate of $75. On the way back from the GC we had a funny episode in the hotel. We don’t ever tell the hotel we have a dog and just sneak him in a side entrance. Well, coming in from outside I had him wrapped up like a baby in my jacket as I walked down the hall. We crossed paths with another couple and they stopped right in front of our room. I waited and they did not move as they were in the room right across the hall. As we jockeyed for position max was getting restless and growled under the coat. I just rocked him and said, “Its ok little guy, Mommy will feed you soon.” He was a very colicky baby.