Thursday, July 30, 2009

What does thai peanut pasta and elephants have in common?

Nothing! That is the beauty of blogging.

But, actually, now that I think of it they do sort of have something in common because aren't elephants afraid of peanuts? No, no. That's not right. Elephants are supposed to be afraid of mice. Hmmm... Oh yea, that's right. Elephants like peanuts.

So... well, here's the elephant (which I painted in ceramics class as a gift for a friends new Granddaughter)

...and here's a "Make it Quick" recipe I saw in the paper yesterday that I'm making for dinner tonight. Sounds easy and different and yummy.

Quick Thai Peanut Pasta

6 oz. thin spaghetti (cooked according to package directions)
1/4 medium red pepper chopped
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup cocktail peanuts chopped
1/4 cup thai peanut sauce divided

Drain spaghetti and toss with 1/2 of the thai peanut sauce. Spoon into serving dishes and top with pepper, basil and peanuts. Drizzle remaining dressing over top of pasta.

Signing off for now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

... almost to the peaks!

I thought this rock looked like an Innuit polar bear but Steve and my Dad looked at me like I was crazy and said it was, obviously, an eagle. Dumb boys.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Continuing to 4 Peaks

...what can I say? Rocks, dirt, cactus ... it's Arizona all right! Our goal is to go over the 4 mountain peaks in the distance! Why? How would I know! We just want to!

See how much fun it is going in a truck? You can pull off the road onto big boulders!

I wonder what all these seeds and berries are? We didn't eat any but they were everywhere in the desert.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Think of the positive side....

...Greg took his truck back so now we are left with non-mountain worthy vehicles so this might be the last desert trip for awhile.

So there I was early on Saturday morning, calmly getting ready to clean the house. OK, technically I wasn't calm.... I was whining and stomping my foot and slamming doors....sigh.... and Steve came and said "gee...we have Greg's truck...we should use it and go over 4 Peaks! Let's get outta here in the next 30 minutes!"

Reluctantly I said yes. Of course the thrill of bathroom cleanser and dust rags was compelling but I am nothing if not accomodating so I sulkily said YES!

In 22 minutes I had a cooler packed with water, found an extra roll of TP, put my dusty tennis shoes (hey, it's too hot to wear regular shoes here in the summer). You know that saying "The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing?" Well I learned something last trip and that was "take water you idiot! and don't wear sandals on a desert trip! and cactus spines do not made good toilet paper!) so this time I was much more prepared.

We swung by my parents to pick up my Dad, who is always game for any adventure. And we were off.

Now you might think on initial viewing that these are the same pictures from our trip to Crown King (remember my comment that there is a same-ness to the desert) but they aren't! You can see different mountains, different cactus and different dirt.

So... c'mon!
Our whole purpose of this trip is to go over these mountains and come out the other side. Yes, I know that made you think of the "why did the chicken cross the road joke"!

Look at these amazing prickly pear blossoms! If we get the truck again I am going to find out when to harvest them and attempt making jelly. These beauties were as big as plums.

...and since the plum remark made me hungry I'm gonna grab some breakfast and start the rest of my day.

Stay cool, keep your shoes and water handy cuz this trip will continue soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I gotta wrap up this trip to Crown King...

...cuz today we took another trip over 4 peaks. So here's the rest of the photos of our last weekend trip!

And we continued up, up, up. Along the way we met a pick-up broken down and gave them our bottle of water.

And up and up and up!

And we finally arrived at Crown King. We were so excited to be there that we forgot to take any pictures. OK, the truth - the honest truth - is that we were so excited there was a little ice-cream stand that we forgot to take pictures. We bought 6 bottles of water and ice cream cone each, got directions and headed back down the hill.

Steve has always wanted to drive on something called "The Senator Highway". The Senator Highway was built between 1866 and 1867 as part of the Prescott and Lyn Creek Toll Road for stagecoaches. We were told it would be 16 miles to the next town and that the roads were rough but we figured if a stagecoach used to do it we could do it, too!

The word rough was an understatement and I have no idea how people who followed that route in a stagecoach could even walk when they were through. The narrow winding road coming down the mountain was simply dust, boulders and trees fallen every which way across the route. We passed one vehicle on the road and my heart almost bumped out of my chest. I was certain one of us would end up going over the edge of the narrow road. We bumped, swore, jerked, maneuvered and crawled. But it was amazingly scenic and Steve stopped several times to take pictures. I was intriqued with the narrow passages cut through rocks at the top of the mountain. Some maneuverings took us perilously close to the edge of the road. Steve told me very kindly that it didn’t help him when I was gasping in fear and covering my eyes. We kept cracking up saying “oops, don’t tell Greg about that rock!” or “sorry, Greg!” and after almost an hour of this we were certain the town would be over the next hill but the odometer said we had traveled 3 miles!

After that the trip went on. And on. And on. Our initial laughter and conversation became merely groans from particularly rough places in the road, a little swearing and a lot of silent wondering when, and if, we would make it to the next town. Neither one of us bothered looking at the view any more. I told Steve more then once that I was ready to “get off this ride” but he just ignored me.

We travelled another 45 minutes and still had over half-way to go. The big boulders in the road got smaller and the inclines on each side became less frightening and at one point Steve exalted “I’m going 10 miles an hour!” and so it continued.

We finally came to what was supposed to be the small town and there was nothing there. Not even a house! But there was a little sign directing us on the next 13 mile leg of our journey! We travelled these miles at the bottom of the mountain. There were a few streams running, fairly smooth, narrow roads and lots of lots of cottonwoods spreading their bright green shade across the route. But we were tired and had little interest in the beautiful greenery or the interesting stream beds. It was nearly 4:00 and it felt like we had been on that mountain for 20 hours at least!

When we got to a maintained county road again we were both astonished at how wonderful the pavement felt. It felt like we were driving on whipped cream, it was so soft and smooth. I think we both realized then how tense we had been on the ride down the mountain.

We quickly got back on the I-17 and headed toward home. I got the directions out for the antique store and Steve got off the exit. We drove about ¼ of a mile and suddenly the road turned to dirt with a washboard texture. He drove another ¼ of a mile and finally looked at me and said “I don’t really want to do this!” and I said “neither do I!” and we quickly turned around and got back on pavement.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful and comfortable. No kidney-wrenching bumps, no sheer drops off the side of the road…just the insane drivers on I-17 which felt like small change compared to The Senator Highway.

Thanks for coming along. I still can't believe you forgot to bring the water and sunscreen along. I told you and told you. You're gonna have to do better on our next trip.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


AHA! There up on the mountainside! Is it? Could it be? YES! Mine tailings!
Now being ex-boyscout/girlscouts we are properly prepared. I have on sandals. We have one bottle of water. No sunscreen. No hats. No cell service.

So...of course we must explore.

Heck with water. Heck with sunscreen. Why didn't we bring pickaxes and goggles and mineral guides. Oh woe.

Steve is in the truck trying to make me avoid sunstroke. I finally give in and get in the air conditioning. OK, it's official, it's hot!

...and now we are off in search of water... be continued...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


...and on we go. The road stretches farther and ahead we see some magnificent metal horses pulling a primitive wagon into perpetuity. We poke around in a creek bed there and I find some cool sparkly rocks.

A tiny little town whose name I do not know has several stone buildings. This one was something commercial at one time and is now abandoned. I look at the temperature gage to see if somehow, by some miracle, the temperature is 80 degrees or so. If it is I am going to tell Steve we are going to buy this stone building and live in it. It still registers 110 so that plan is off.

...and ahead a windmill turns briskly in the scorching desert breeze.

After a few minutes trying to photograph the windmill in motion and being amazed at the number of bees, wasps, butterflies and dragonflies flitting in and out of the water tank we have visitors. be continued...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I've been through the desert in a truck with no name...

... I guess that is a funky little intro to this post... but I may be suffering from partial sunstroke so I hope you give me a break...

There is a sameness to the landscape as you travel through remote areas of the desert. No manmade interruptions occur except the rough dirt road stitching out a route in front of you and unwinding behind you like a forgotten ribbon.

There is a sameness in the quality of the exposed dirt. The puntuation and variety of the kaleidoscope of green foliage and rock is the only exclamation point.

There is a sameness in the vast depth of the horizon and the limitless blue sky overhead that makes you realize whatever is bothering you, whatever is keeping you awake at night is out of your control. There are powers much, much bigger then your fears in the universe.

With plans to drive to Crown King and then stop at a neat antique store we read about on the way home, Steve and I travelled across “primitive” road yesterday with the destination of this small mining- town high in the White Mountains. The County labels these roads “primitive” but in some places they should be re-defined as “non-existent.” We doubted that our cars could handle these roads and since Greg had left us his truck while they are on vacation it seemed like a perfect vehicle to transport us into the desert.

We left the smooth, fast surface of the I-17 a little after 8:30 am. The heat was already shimmering against the horizon with the truck thermometer registering 106 degrees. It was hot. The road initially seemed OK. It had been maintained with a grader and was fairly wide, however the further we went toward our final destination the narrower and rougher it became.

... to be continued....