Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 30 - Goodbye for now......

It was zero dark-and-cold thirty when the staff set up the farewell continental breakfast for the group of travelers leaving today.

Slowly the bravest souls arrived to say goodbye and partake of the feast prepared for them.  As the sun came out and things warmed a little, the group grew and grew.

At last, everyone had come by to chat and meet with their fellow wanderers before everyone went their separate ways; back to their homes or on to other destinations for more adventure.  The last few of us stood outside and waved goodbye to everyone who was taking off. 

Wherever you go from here, whatever your next destination, we hope you will always consider these weeks we spent together as some of your most enjoyable.  Take pleasure in reading this blog and remembering our time together.   Our sincere thanks to everyone for contributing to this narrative. 

We, the staff of Winter Oasis 2013, want to thank each and every one of you for traveling with Adventure Caravans.  We sincerely enjoyed your company and hope to see you all again.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 29 - Tucson - Air Museum and Farewell Dinner

Day 29, the last full day of the 2013 Winter Oasis dawned clear and cold.  Promptly at 9 am we lined up for our ride-share trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum.  This is one of the largest air museums in the world and the largest that is privately funded.

We were met in front of the museum by our volunteer guide.  After a brief introduction we proceeded inside the hangar.  This hangar complex contains a wide range of military and civilian aircraft and related exhibits.  We were immediately introduced to a replica of the Wright Flyer.  Among the other airplanes that the guide discussed with us were the Huey helicopter (a military and civilian workhorse that has been flying now for the last 60 years) and the SR-71 “Blackbird” which gained its fame as the spy plane of the cold war, until replaced by satellites.

Outside we boarded a tram for a tour of the outdoor aircraft exhibit area.  For his tour our guide became a driver/guide.  As he drove us around the area he talked about many of the planes we were going by, pointing special features in the design and or use of many of them.  A few of the specials included two planes that once answered to the call sign “Air Force One”.  NASA’s “Super Guppy” (this one might qualify as the strangest looking), and 3 B-52s (there are still B-52s flying).

Following the tram tour the group split up.  Some of us headed off to see more of the outdoor exhibit aircraft as well as those in the other hangars.  Others headed off to the gift shop, some to the museum’s Flight Grill for lunch and a few took the tour to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration facility (commonly known as  the “bone yard”) at nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The group reconvened at 5 pm at the resorts Catalina Room for our farewell dinner (a south of the border menu).   Following dinner each member of the caravan spoke briefly on a favorite event or a specific memory.  The various shows and the weather got a lot of did the friendliness, helpfulness, and congeniality of the group.

Submitted by:
#12 John and Marilyn McGrew

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 28 - Tucson area bus tour

The morning was crisp and cold
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky
We was ready for more places to behold
We was all lined up ready to go
Mission San Xavier del  Bac
Was much like the Alamo
It has been there for many a year
The guide we had was friendly and smart
He knew all the facts from A to Z
Time flew by till time to depart

The city tour was short and sweet
We saw what we could but that wasn’t much
The city was busy fixing the streets
The next place we stopped was really neat
It had a salad bar with all kinds of things
The best thing it was all you could eat

Biosphere 2 is an amazing place
They lived there two long years
All under glass they was totally encased
They breathed the same air
And drank the same water
No sickness no pain did any occur

The next place was a great big canyon
It was rocky and rough but a beautiful place
A little Grand Canyon is a good comparison

The Gaslight Theatre was our next stop
We all took our seats and started to eat
We ate popcorn and pizza till ready to pop
The show was funny and really neat
They rode their horses and sang good songs
They wore pretty costumes that was really neat
Then it was over and time to go home
Ready for tomorrow and the Aircraft museum
Emmy was glad we finally got home

Submitted by:
#14 Joe and Donna Risley

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 27 - Travel Day to Tucson, AZ

After four days in Mesa at the Mesa Regal RV Resort our group moved on to Tucson. Mesa Regal was not suited for our group. We were scattered throughout the Park feeling isolated from one another! Parking was very very challenging missing a Citrus Tree on one side and the lamp post on the other side.  Driving out of these sites was just as Challenging as the sites were so tight.

Traveling down Interstate 10 we saw Sally and John our Leaders, along the road about one hour from our Destination. The Huettemann’s pulled over and picked up Sally while John stayed with the Truck and 5th wheel waiting for the Tow Truck. We arrived at the Park and Sally took charge and got everyone all checked in and we all enjoyed a rest before our evening social. What a Pleasure to be grouped together again.

We gathered for our Social at 4:30 and enjoyed all the treats everyone contributed. We then played the gift exchange game and enjoyed many a laugh. We all had a good time and the coveted gifts which were stolen the Maximum times were the flashlights, Carmel Corn and wooden salad tongs. Joe’s dog Emma and Madi’s Kitty Missy enjoyed watching all the activities from their traveling homes. 

Sally and Madi presented each couple a gift to help remember our trip, which was a Donkey magnet which will always bring fond memories of our trip to Oatman.

Just as our evening Social was ending our Wagon Master John rolled into the park about 6 p.m. He got his fifth wheel into his site and the truck in the garage for repairs. Cold, Rain, Wind or Break Downs the Caravan goes on. 

Submitted by:  
#11 Aldo & Cece Risi

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 26 - Mesa, AZ - Tour of Phoenix and Surrounds

At last, a rainless day!!!  Until late afternoon, we had clear blue skies with crisp but breezy, fresh air.  This was another tour day.  Our first stop was at the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  We were informed about a myriad list of facts for growing olive trees, harvesting their fruit, and the production of extra virgin olive oil.  Arizona is the only state with an olive grove and mill.  This company has 2500 trees, using a mix of Spanish, Italian, and Greek varieties.  A blend of 60% purple to 40% green olives creates their signature Tuscan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

As we drove through the outlying regions of Tempe, Scottsdale, and Phoenix our tour guide told us that the primary brush to be seen was creosote.  And we were told that the increased development of housing has diminished the acreage of cotton, alfalfa, and corn that was once so prominent.  Our guide mentioned too that there are now 357 golf courses in the Phoenix area.

Old Town Scottsdale gave us the opportunity to choose an eatery for lunch.  Sufficient time was given to us for dining, exploring and relaxing.

Next, we entered into a most extraordinary exploration of world music at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM).  Our numbers were split into two groups each led by a docent for a one hour whirlwind travel tour through five Geographical Galleries showcasing music and culture from every country.

At this point, this blog reporter wilted, and was unable to witness those Adventure Caravan souls in the Experience Gallery for their hands-on moments.

We finished the evening by attending the George Dyer Show for his live performance.

Submitted by:
#10 Paula and Verne Rigdon

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 25 - Mesa, AZ - Live Arizona Opry Dinner Show

It rained again last night so in the morning we decided to drive the Bush Highway Scenic Road and return to Mesa by the Usery Pass Road.  We saw Red Mountain and many different cacti.

For lunch, we decided to try Waldo’s BBQ to see if it was as good as Texas BBQ.  It was very tasty especially the pulled pork since we usually don’t get that in Texas.  We did; however, miss having pickles and onions with the meal.  

We then visited the Commemorative Air Force (CAF)-Arizona Wing Museum in Mesa.  The CAF is dedicated to the preservation of WWII warplanes.  Of special interest is Sentimental Journey, a restored WWII B-17 bomber in flying condition.

We arrived at the Arizona Opry Dinner Theater for an unforgettable evening of music variety.  The Barleen family did a great job of entertaining us with special guest Bill Wells.  George Staerkel, the music director, has a 5 octave vocal range and is comfortable with almost any instrument.

Submitted by:
#9 Jim and Claudia Miller

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 24 - Mesa - tour of Apache Junction

Our bus ride through Apache Junction to Tortilla Flat, AZ was a bit rainy but the rain clouds brought spectacular views of the clouds over the mountains. The first stop was Tortilla Flat, AZ, (pop. 6). Tortilla Flat is last surviving stagecoach stop on the historic Apache Trail.

Tortilla Flat was an interesting stop. We visited the Mercantile store/Post Office loaded with souvenirs and friendly employees. We also visited the "The Superstition Saloon" where the walls are covered with $1 bills, saddle bar stools, and the most interesting rest rooms.

We were unable to go beyond Tortilla Flat, AZ  because the road was flooded but everybody took advantage of the time to watch the 4-wheelers pass through the flooded road and take pictures of the water as it flowed over the road.

Our next stop was to visit the Canyon Lake Restaurant for lunch and then a ride on the the Dolly Steamboat. During the ride on the Dolly Steamboat we were blessed with sunny weather. While riding on Canyon Lake we saw spectacular views and abundant wildlife including eagles and prong horn sheep.

After our ride on the Dolly Steamboat we traveled to the Goldfield Ghost Town where we enjoyed a ride on a narrow gauge railroad. We also saw a reenactment of a wild west shoot out in the middle of the town. In the ghost town there were a number of shops, museums, and eateries for all to enjoy.

As we left the Goldfield Ghost town we headed back to Mesa after a very full day.

Submitted by:
#8 John and Brenda McMillan