Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Sweet Winter Home

I am  happy to report that we made it to Mesa, Arizona in one piece.

The wind died down by morning when we left Holbrook. Instead of taking Rt. 40 west to Route 17 south, two major highways, and therefore a safer, but longer, drive; we opted for a shorter, steep, through the mountains, albeit beautiful scenery, but scare-the-pants-off-you two lane highway, 'cause that's the way we roll!

Holbrook is near the Petrified National Forest, so there were many tourist shops in town selling petrified rocks. Petrified meaning a LONG time ago, so of course, we're talking dinosaurs. Lot's of dinosaurs.

The drive started out flat just to fool me. Wide open spaces - yellow against blue sky. Actually quite beautiful, I think, because yellow and blue are my favorite colors!

I saw this sign,

and found out that for the last 52 years, there has been an actual Pony Express that takes place every January . It is 200 miles long and runs from Holbrook to Payson, AZ. Each cowboy rides one mile at full steam. That's a LOT of riders. They start from both towns. You could actually purchase an envelope ($1), write a letter, and then have it HAND STAMPED that it was delivered via Pony Express! Isn't that cool? Jim and I are definitely going to look into this! Oh, and in March all the riders are in the "Prada del Sol", Parade of the Sun, held in Scottsdale. We're talking lots of horses. Last time we attended there was over 1,000 horses!

Another sign I saw -

Notice the longer horns? That's elk. I kept my eyes peeled on the landscape, but didn't see a one. I did spy a herd of mule deer as we sped by, but no elk.

Doesn't this look like a mirage in the middle of the desert?

The scenery started to change as we entered the Sitgreaves National Forest.

I was enjoying the scenery and the road was going up and down just a little. Then the hills started getting steeper. And what goes up MUST COME DOWN.

We started seeing signs like this:

and my favorite

Danger - curves ahead!

You like that? How about this one?

See? I told you. Dangerous. Looks like a roll-over.

Look at the tall pines on top of these red rocks!

Pretty soon we were out of the forest and into the desert area. We were getting closer to our winter home. I was surprised to see some yellow wildflowers still out on the mountainside. Didn't they know that it was just about November?

Nature's artwork

I spot my first saguaro cactus and know that we are almost home!

More saguaros can't be too far behind. Yep. They number in the thousands!

My favorite mountain in the area - Red Mountain

Pretty soon we're tooling down the highway towards our exit.

And finally, I see the palm trees that line our resort and the HUGE American flag.

We are home. For the winter, anyway!


Sunny said...

Welcome home!
I LOVE all the cacti on the mountain side.
☼ Sunny

becky said...

Welcome home Pat! Time to settle in & relax! I did enjoy the scenery thru the mtns, but then, I'm a mtn sort of girl! Love the cactus, too!

That corgi :) said...

I'm with you on those mountain roads; I'm not fond of going up or down them! you are brave!!! so glad you guys got there safe and sound!! now enjoy your time in Arizona!


Donna B said...

Oh Pat...reminds me of Tucson. I used to live there in the mid 70's. Your pics are awesome, as always allowing us to ride along with you two. How long will you stay in Mesa? I really like your park bench pic on your header too. We leave for CALI this Wednesday for Dad's 90th birthday and helping my daughter with the boys while her husband is away on a trip.

Brian Miller said...

some beautiful country out there...wish we had dinosaurs...smiles.

Valerie said...

Fabulous country, love all the pictures. It seems a nice place to spend the winter.

Eva Gallant said...

Great photos! My son lived it Scottsdale, AZ for 7 years and we visited several times. He was a conference planning manager at the Scottsdale Princess Resort. Which, if you are feeling like dropping $150 or so on a meal, serves the best steak on the face of the planet. I never could have afforded to eat there, but my son bought us dinner there on his manager discount.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Welcome home, dear.

Love, love, love your pictures!!

B xx

Anonymous said...

I must tell you Im jealous...its already so cold here:(

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Lovely scenery cannot compete with arriving safely (and I would be mildly sedated.....). Glad you are there, wish I was, too!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful scary but beautiful -- drive! And you're home!!! Hooray.

My toes are cold here in Oregon.

Allen said...

I feel for you going down a 6% grade road. I still have nightmares doing that.

The pictures are wonderful. Love all the sites on your trips.

The pony express would be a cool thing to see. I would even ride in it if I had a horse. That would be a fun time. (gosh I miss my horse)

Have fun at your winter home!

Entre Nous said...

Oh, *heavy-sigh* I love AZ, and a rock shop, sheer heaven.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

as usual, great pictures. enjoyed the "ride" with you! glad you made it safe and sound with no further delays.

Gail said...

Such beauty! I love your new design, too.

SquirrelQueen said...

Those dinosaurs are neat, a sign of tourists shops for sure. That is a great drive through the mountains, the scenery is gorgeous.