St. Patrick’s day ☘️ is just around the corner, Wednesday’s forecast rain has moved on east, the rattlesnakes in the arboretum are waking up and the plant sale is winding down, and now we are just 46 days from our departure from the arboretum for this summer’s adventures.
Thank you all, for your concern with my kayaking incident, but no there are no photos of my sorry ass in the water!
So we have an outing planned for tonight, we are heading to the Silver King Smokehouse on Main Street in Superior for dinner. This was our favourite spot last winter for a great smoked meat, their hours seem to be very limited this year, and they are only serving their smoked meats Thursday thru Sunday (and only while supplies last). Our visit tonight did not disappoint as we had the sampler tray with brisket, pork spare ribs, and smoked turkey and beans with an order of loaded fries, topped with pulled pork.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of our Irish friends. We worked our Friday shift today, and the arboretum was busy for a Friday with over 1200 visitors today. And as a bonus Tom & Kathleen prepared a St. Paddy’s day dinner of corned beef and cabbage, now I love a corned beef dinner and could eat it regularly, Miss Laurie is ok with it being just once a year, this is a dinner that we normally prepare ourselves for others, so this was a total treat after a busy day. We had dinner in the Clam and while we did not have any Irish whiskey we had a few “Kilt Lifter” beers, with this cooler than normal winter in Arizona, our Clam™ has been a event saver.
The weekend at the arboretum remained busy as we are well into Spring Break and out of state visitors are everywhere, of Saturday shift netted over 1200 visitors as well, and our Sunday shift seemed to be a mixed bag of tasks, I spent over two hours watering, and filled in where needed, I finished my short shift day by covering lunches in the admissions booth. Happy hour was in the Clam to avoid the cool wind that we seem to have had all weekend.
We survived the weekend and are greeted by the beginning of “Spring” on the 20th of March at 5:26 in the afternoon, but depending on your time zone that is pretty much irrelevant. So today I fired up Thunder, just to warm up the diesel engine, it hasn’t started started since December of last year, I also started up the onboard generator as it has not been operating for sometime either. With Thunder running I was able to check all the tire pressures, adding a little to the tires on the toad which always seem to lose a few pounds of pressure every month or so, I also got a chance to test the new power mirror switch that I had installed, and got a chance to check the operation of the driving lamps, both of which needed the coach in the running mode to operate. The driving lamps operate OK, but I’m going to look for some replacement systems that use LED bulbs, as these lights are looking pretty old and rusty.
I finally got week 8 of our vacation blog published, since I lost my new glasses in the Salt River, I haven’t been doing much reading, and blogging seems to be easier on my old eyes. I have even started to look into which route we will take back to Ontario as that time is closing in quickly, and we have some important stops that are a must.
It must be the week for the special people to come out of hibernation, because as I’m sitting here in the coach typing I have watched two vehicles driving the wrong way through the main parking lot. After all those big yellow arrows and all those traffic signs aren’t really meant for the special ones. And we have a Monday wedding in the park today and the wedding guests are encroaching on our camping and parking spots, with both cars and people. For a wedding of less than fifty guests, there are a lot of people out of control here today, good day to not be on duty!
I know a few of you may be surprised to learn that Miss Laurie has taken on a gardening project here at the Arboretum.
There is a “Blue Star” memorial garden that is located in the parking lot area of the arboretum, it is also just outside of the directors window. It is supposed to be maintained by the master gardeners from nearby Gold Canyon, but apparently they don’t do weeding … lol
So Miss Laurie has made this memorial garden her project this winter to keep the garden weed free and maintained, and with the amount of rain and the veracity of the weeds, it has become a major undertaking.
The arboretum is just stepping into its spring bloom, a little later than usual but the beauty has been worth the wait. Below just a few examples.
We had visitors today, Al & Carmen from Sacramento, we met Al & Carmen on our Baja adventure. So on Thursday they stopped by the arboretum to see the park and have a little visit with us, they had made their way to the Phoenix area to take in a couple spring training games from the Cactus League. But the rainy weather seems to have followed them from California, we did a lap on the main arboretum trail then after a couple of cocktails at the coach we headed to Superior. Where we did a wine tasting then enjoyed another meal at the Silver King Smokehouse, it was great to catch-up as they had made the return trip from the Baja on Mex-1, and crossed back into California closer to San Diego and had left before us to be back for their family Christmas.
Well that was one crazy, busy weekend, with the combination on Spring Break as well as a number of snowbirds getting their last arboretum visits in before heading back north. So on Saturday we processed over 1600 visitors through the Arboretum, the parking lot was the most restrictive bottle neck, requiring multiple volunteers helping with directing visitors to open spots. And by the time I had finished my short shift on Sunday, I was exhausted. But not too exhausted for a happy hour with Tom & Kathleen.
Monday morning and Miss Laurie and I are off on an adventure early this morning, with a tee time for a round of golf with Al & Carmen in Apache Junction (referred to as AJ by the locals), we had not been golfing for a long, long time, and our scores were reflective of our time away from our clubs. But the day was beautiful with temperatures in the seventies (the twenties in Celsius degrees) and the company was outstanding. We went for a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant in AJ, where we made plans for a pickleball outing at their resort. A quick stop at Walmart for some supplies and we were headed back to the coach.
We are closing in on the end of March and we are still seeing lots of unusual weather, moisture in quantities that are very unlike Arizona, and temperature swings that still have us turning on the heater on in the evenings. The moisture has been excellent for Arizona’s drought conditions, now officials are talking about how to capture more of the runoff water, so right now water control dams that were usually far from at their capacity are now all filled and excessive water is being released causing flooding in many low areas. With people having to be rescued by helicopter from the very area that I got rolled out of my kayak earlier this month.
The above maps show how all the rain this year is helping the southwest, with Arizona being the real big winner in drought reduction and hopefully some of the larger water reserves like Lake Mead & Lake Powell in Utah and Nevada get a boost from the higher snowpack in the mountains.
So Tuesday was just a recovery day after golf, and Wednesday was to be our pickleball outing day, it was to be a learning experience for Al & Carmen as they had never played pickleball before, and had a motorcoach rally in the very near future with a pickleball tournament. So we arrived at their resort at around 11 am and by noon we had broken Carmen and she was on her way to the local emergency ward, a fall that left her with a few stitches near her eye, and some raspberries in the knees, along with a pair of broken glasses. We had just started and were just working through a few of the game rules and techniques, literally just volleying the ball back and forth. And a stretch just a little too far and kaboom, a player down!
So our pickleball outing was an early bust, and we felt so bad, but it happens just that fast, just a little normal competitive nature, always causes everyone to try to reach that few inches too far. We are still hoping to get together for dinner with Al & Carmen before they head further down the road. Apparently while in the emergency ward they heard stories of other pickleball injuries, so I’m not sure whether there will be any more pickleball in Carmens future, but she has maintained her sense of humor through the ordeal…
Well it’s Thursday again already and there is another rain storm rolling through from the Pacific coast, and again poor Tom & Kathleen who work in the education department here at the arboretum, and have another school field trip scheduled for today. They have had more than their share of bad weather for multiple school field trips this year, just another part of a very unusual winter in Arizona. We have to work tomorrow the last day of March, so I’m trying to finish off this blog to publish for the weekend. I have my new prescription eyeglasses, and that has made working on the blogs easier, I can’t see anything real exciting happening by the end of the month but I do need some more photos to finish off this blog.
Well it’s April Fools Day eve, not that that has a lot to do with anything, but it is our last day of work for the month of March, and the weather has taken an upward swing in temperature, which should mean a busier day in admissions, which makes our work days seem to fly by. The day was not our busiest day by any means but it was a good steady day with over a thousand visitors through the park.
The spring bloom is always amazing in the desert, and while the photos below are not just of wild flowers, in the last two weeks the arboretum and the desert have burst into colour.
So as we bid March goodbye, and with only 30 days left here at the arboretum before our trek back to Ontario, it is hard to believe that another winter has passed by and I need to get busy planning our return journey.
Bring on April!
One thought on “March 2023 Update”
Hello Brian & Laurie- Soo nice to read your blog and getting caught up on what you guys have been up to.
Brian, Good to hear that you are doing well after your canoe incident as well as your friend.
Laurie- amazing work on the garden – I am sure it was hard work 😓 but very much appreciated.
Great pictures and look forward to hearing about your upcoming trip to Canada and your summer plans.