There’s so much that can be said for our last few weeks in the vicinity of Congress, Arizona! Let’s see….friendly, fun, relaxing, exciting, hospitable, generous and so on. We had large doses of it all.
Starting with Christmas….Who would want to go out in the desert to boondock for Christmas? There were eight of us, four couples, and it was a blast! We were invited by Jerry and Dee, Tom and Val and Marla and Rick, all friends at the North Ranch Park in Congress, Arizona, to go along for their “getaway.” We took our motorhomes about 80 miles southwest, to one of their favorite BLM spots in the Bouse area, surrounded by the mountain views. There we found a perfect parking spot, with lots of open, quiet, space with those special desert sunsets. Of course, I can’t tell you everything that went on. There are things that happen in the desert that stay in the desert, you know! But, let’s see, to summarize very quickly:….scrumptious pitch-in meals, atv geocaching adventures, jeep desert exploring, camp fires with Rick’s colorful additions, Jerry T’s iPad Pandora music contests with Tom and Val’s truck speaker system, Silly Al’s pizza, Quartzsite vendor shopping, our visit to the Bluewater Casino, Val’s birthday party, Marla’s rum balls, Dee’s pumpkin roll, fish fry night followed by a champion-sized breakfast in Bouse… and an abundance of burning doors. Add to this mix the exceptional camaraderie and storytelling. And there you have it --- a great formula for a nice Christmas in the desert. (In the photo to the right, Jerry and Dee enjoy our group’s campfire.)
Soon we were all back in Congress settled into our individual lots/homes in time to celebrate a new year. Again, Dee and Jerry opened their arms to make this a very nice evening. The four of us joined in at the North Ranch clubhouse party, with music, dancing and neighborly revelers all around, ringing in 2013 on east coast time first of all. Afterwards, a small group of us gathered at the Thomas home to celebrate the actual 12-high in Arizona. (Side thought: Having celebrated in the eastern time zone most of my life, it’s been interesting over our rving years to learn that people do celebrate when the ball drops in Times Square, even if it’s 10:00 pm where they are at the time. Then, of course, there can be celebrations in whatever time zone follows. Makes sense to me.)
After the holidays, there are the bowl games, of course. More reasons to gather and enjoy one another, right?! Our next opportunity was the Thomas’s Fiesta Bowl party. Jerry and Dee organize an annual party at their garage for this event, inviting 25-50 of their closest friends from the neighborhood. Since they have a nephew attending Kansas State, some of us joined them in cheering for the Wildcats. But, of course, in this area of the country there’s a big crew of Oregon fans. We enjoyed getting involved with installing the big-screen TVs and decorating their garage (on the lot where we were parked). Yes, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, we even helped Barb hang the Oregon Ducks paraphernalia. (Photo to the left is Barb in the front row for the game.)
This bowl party was what I’d call a winner! The Thomas hospitality combined with good conversation, good eats, friendly rivalry and enough score changes to keep our game of chance exciting. Of course, everyone knows the outcome, with the Oregon Ducks victorious. But regardless of whether you were a Wildcat, a Duck, or just there for the party, there were happy folks all around.
But wait! The games aren’t over yet. By the time the Notre Dame v. Alabama game was set to begin, Jerry and Dee had their 62” TV in their newly installed cabinetry in their home, and the four of us were settled in to see the Irish become national champs. What?! was that!!! Oh well, we found distractions from the debacle of a football game. There’s always Jaxon, the wonder dog, who greets us warmly and entertains us with his special serenades. We found time too for refreshments, sharing travels and whatever came to mind, including our iPad apps and latest Kindle reads, etc, etc….No boredom here. The game was soon forgotten.
And lastly for this post, I have to mention our enjoyable time on the offroad trails around the Congress/Wickenburg area. Bill and Barb invited us to come with them and Jerry and Dee to roam through some of their favorite areas in our Jeeps and atv. Well, the company was again excellent and so were the surroundings -- Rolling through the hills and valleys covered with every kind of cacti, palo verde trees and desert shrub, swishing along the riverbed, stopping to explore by foot inside slot canyons and mine ruins, soaking up the views of bright blue sky and saguaro everywhere. Among several interesting aspects of our time out on the trial today was meeting a landowner. Bill introduced us to his friend from Montana who owns about 20 mining claims and 200 acres, partially in the area we were traversing. It was interesting hearing from this desert landowner as to the “adventures” that go with the territory. Such as, the people who tear down his property signs and bulldoze their own paths onto his land.
And then, to rehash the events of the day…the six of us had exceptional chili-burgers and beers at the Arrowhead Bar & Grill in Congress. What a super day!
As anyone could gather, we’ve been very blessed with good friends sharing this time over the past month or so. We felt so welcome. Thanks is all we can say!
I’m attaching an album of more scenes from these recent Arizona happenings. If you’d like to take a look, click on the slide show button below:
Stay safe and keep smiling! Talk to you later.