Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 32

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #32

Saturday, April 18, 2009:

Our last night in Tucson we sat up on the Doobie RV Resort rooftop deck and enjoyed this interesting sunrise and cloud formation…..I think it means we need to head out.

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This morning there was a large bag of freshly picked grapefruit and lemons hanging on our door courtesy of the man in the picture below. His name is Manual “Manny” Velez, a neighbor of Dewey and Bea’s who we became friends with as well. Manny is originally from Magdalena, Mexico and a retired school teacher. He has cultivated a beautifully landscaped yard with lots of citrus trees among the native plants.

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Manual “Manny” Velez

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We had a grapefruit for breakfast and it was unbelievably sweet, no need for sugar or honey to mask the usual tartness.

 Manny’s brother, Gilbert Velez is an accomplished Mariachi musician and Manny gave us a copy of his recorded CD, “International Mariachi America” which we plan on enjoying as we head north out of Mexican Music radio range. Oh yea….if you have any inclination of making fun of the traditional Mariachi costume, Gilbert is also a 6th degree black belt in karate.

So it’s…..On The Road Again…..nice song, it just keeps playing in my head whenever we head out in a new direction. Well, at least that song is better then the voices I usually hear, some of which try and persuade me to do crazy things. We had a nice time in Arizona but it is now time to officially start meandering home. We will make a stop in Las Vegas to see the kids and from there our route will be basically northeast.

We took I-10 to get away from the city and then got on US-87 through Coolidge and Florence. Drove by a lot of irrigated fields planted with crops and through many small farming towns. We didn’t stop in Florence this time but will spend a day poking around this interesting town on a future trip. We hopped
on US-287 and then US-60 toward Superior.

As we continued on US-60 climbing steadily into the Tonto National Forest we encountered some very steep grades. Just before the 4000 foot elevation mark and after passing through the Queen Creek Tunnel, we pulled over at a scenic overlook to take pictures and let faster motorists behind us pass by.

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As I was out poking around and snapping pictures, the truck started to steam and the telltale odor of antifreeze was evident. Kit noticed the steam first and thought it might be smoke and became quiet alarmed. After calming her down I popped the hood and discovered the lower hose from the radiator overflow into the overflow tank had come loose and the boiling radiator dumped about two gallons of coolant onto the ground. The nice thing about hauling a trailer is that you have immediate access to 30 gallons of water, so when the engine cooled down, I reattached the hose, tightened the clamp, filled the tank and we were off once again.

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Now climbing to the 5000 foot level, and keeping a wary eye on the engine and transmission temperature gauges, we hit the self proclaimed “Top of The World” point at 5300 feet. I guess the local folks have never heard of Mount Everest.  Anyway, descending on a steep and winding road down into Salt River Canyon we kept seeing yellow diamond shaped signs that stated “Watch for Falling Rock”. Sure enough we came around a bend and there he was! An Apache Indian selling native jewelry along side the road. I bought Kit a neat Goldstone and Hematite necklace from the Apache Chief, Falling Rock.

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Oh by the way, the Goldstone was in the shape of a turtle, the Indian symbol for longevity. I guess 44 years of marriage is pretty long so I thought it was appropriate. Of course another meaning of the turtle symbol could be that we are moving slowly and methodically through this journey while pulling our home along…..your choice.

Ascending once again onto the Mogollon Rim we noticed a decrease in temperature and an increase in evergreens. We stopped at Show Low (elevation 6331) for gas and groceries and since it was getting late started to poke around for a campground. Traveling down US-260 toward Overgaard, we spotted a sign that had our name written all over it: “Fools Hollow State Park and Campground”. Pulling off we were delighted to find available sites, considering it was a very nice weekend. We chose a great wooded site with full hook-ups.

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Talking to the campground host we learned that this facility was rated as the top state park in Arizona and in the top five state parks nationwide. A walk around shows the reason why, it was incredible. And oh, about the name…..apparently many years ago a newcomer to town homesteaded this hollow and started a small farm. The locals called him a fool for trying to survive at the bottom of a hollow. As it turned out that land bordering the river was very fertile and the newcomer prospered.

The story doesn’t end there however, the local government decided to dam the river and create an impoundment for a municipal water supply.  They forced the newcomer off the land, built an earthen dam and created a lake. A short time later, a sink hole opened and drained the lake…..so they filled the hole with tons of concrete and the lake rose once again. Another sink hole drained the lake a second time. This went on for another three tries until the lake finally held. Makes one wonder who the fool really was.

I took a lakeside stroll and noticed a number of fishingpiers jutting out into the water. In addition there are about a half dozen Ramada’s (kind of like picnic shelters) with their own parking, rest room, tables and benches, built in gas grill area and a deep sink with hot and cold water. I would have to agree with the outfit that grades state parks…..this is definitely one of the nicest parks we have seen.

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Tomorrow we continue west toward one of Bill’s Life (Bucket) List goals…..stay tuned.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

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