A walk in the park

Ruth Hardy park

I feel like this park is mine.

I think one of my favorite things about being “back home” is my park. I would take the kids play here when they were young. I met other moms at the park and we’d sit and talk while keeping an eye on the kids on swings, slides, climbing tower and their favorite — a stagecoach. They climb into and on top of the stage coach, acting out adventures.

Then as they got older and left us for college, it was part of my morning routine. A walk around the park. I recognized many of the same people with their dogs daily and we became park friends. Especially when I was taking care of my daughter’s pug Waffles.

There was a 4 p.m. little dog group who met daily to let the little ones play.

Palm trees at Ruth Hardy Park.

A row of palm trees by the tennis courts.

When I homeschooled my daughter for middle school, we’d often start the day on the tennis courts. Hitting and running after balls.

On this Christmas vacation, I’m walking around the park several times a day. I can’t wait in the morning to get out. I keep hoping to see some of my former park friends. On Christmas day I thought to myself, “today I’m going to see somebody I know.” Sure enough my daughter and husband cruised by me on their rented bicycles!

Palm trees in the Wellness Park a few blocks from my old home and the VRBO we’re in.

Where is your favorite place to walk?

A bit of joy

One of our favorite restaurants, Pollo Lucas, across the border at the beach.

Yesterday I went to the YMCA to swim laps. I had to force myself to go because it’s been rainy, cold and gray. Not the ideal weather to jump in. I wanted to talk to the lifeguard, Wendy. I had told her about our Mexican getaway around a month ago.

She wrote down all my information about the rental agent, condo unit, restaurants, etc. Wendy said she was so excited to learn about the beach four hours away. She, like me, is a recent transplant to the Phoenix area.

Wendy made reservations for this past weekend — the same weekend my husband and I were there. I couldn’t wait to hear what she thought of it.

They were traveling with a couple who had recently retired. “Typical story,” Wendy said.”They worked all their life, finally retired and the husband got ALS and is in a wheelchair.”

She explained that her friend’s lives are very hard with the wife as the 24/7 caregiver and both of them homebound. She thought a trip to the beach was exactly what they needed.

I braved the cold to talk to Wendy and swim laps. I was the only swimmer there and had the pool to myself!

Last time we went to Pollo Lucas, this cat was sitting on the windowsill outside the restaurant.

Wendy was ecstatic! She literally thanked and thanked me some more. They loved everything about the beach and her entire family is planning on returning for Christmas. She said her friend with ALS cried he was so overwhelmed with joy.

I feel happy too, like I shared a bit of joy in someone’s life. I also feel good because I managed to get a swim in yesterday.

We did take out. One chargrilled chicken with the trimmings — but they (or we) forgot the rice and beans. This chicken dinner with homemade tortillas, pickled onions and salsa was $9 USD.

What has brought you joy this week? Have you done something that made someone else’s life brighter? What was it?

Busy days ahead

Waffles the pug

This photo is from this date in 2016. We bought this little guy Waffles for our daughter. She took him home after Christmas break. I picked out his ugly sweater.

Back home after a long weekend in Mexico, I’m feeling overwhelmed. After our morning walk my husband said he wanted to sit down and go over our calendar.

“I have to sit down and write my to do list,” I insisted. “I have so much stuff running through my head I have to write it out.”

My list keeps growing and growing. On my list is writing and addressing Holiday cards for my husband’s business, including packaging and mailing out Frangos. That’s the big project. Then there’s dozens of small one off items to do.

I love going out of town to relax, but why does it seem like I have so much to do — before we leave — and after we get home?

Do you find that too? Or are you able to stay calm and steady around days of vacation?

Family Christmas photo in Palm Springs

Our Christmas crew a few years ago at our Palm Springs home. We’re a family of four and our son’s girlfriend’s family has seven siblings — plus Waffles the pug. We’ll be together again this Christmas week.

Three Little Towns

Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend

The Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend.

There are three little towns we pass through on our way from Scottsdale to the Mexico border. This is the stretch that I usually drive. I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a small town like those? What are the people like? What do they do? There’s poverty, graffiti in some and EBT stickers on store and restaurant windows. But these town are very much alive. You can see pride in neat yards with most homes and businesses well taken care of.

Here are the three towns we drive through, starting at the border heading north.

WHY

The population in Why at the 2010 census was approximately 167.

Why is the smallest of the three towns. There is a sign pointing down a dirt for a Rock Shop that we npass by. I wonder if they get any business? There’s also a combination busy gas station, store, and cafe called the Why Not Travel Store. I learned Why has it’s own radio station! I almost hit a large dog running across the road.

I thought the town was called Why because WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE HERE?

From Wiki:

The town derives its name from the fact that two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86, originally intersected in a Y-intersection.[ At the time of its naming, state law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why,_Arizona

AJO

I saw this mural in Ajo when we stopped at a gas station. This is a sign for an adjacent “resort.”

Ajo (pronounced AH-hoh) is a much bigger town than Why. On the drive, the speed limit slows to 25 mph as you wind through the residential and business streets. At one turn you pass two beautiful white churches. One is Catholic and the other a Federated Church. This is a very scenic part of town with Spanish style plazas and buildings.

From Wiki:

 Ajo is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The population was 3,304 at the 2010 census. Ajo is located on State Route 85 just 43 miles (69 km) from the Mexican border.

Ajo is the Spanish word for garlic (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈaxo]). The Spanish may have named the place using the familiar word in place of the similar-sounding O’odham word for paint (oʼoho). The Tohono O’odham people obtained red paint pigments from the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajo,_Arizona

GILA BEND

We stopped yesterday so I could get the photo of the Space Age Lodge (above). I’ve been fascinated with it since we first drove through. It’s funky space age relic from the 1960s that thankfully somebody let survive.

It has small Mexican restaurants, deserted mom and pop motels as well as name brand fast food restaurants and grocery stores. Interstate 8 runs through it west to San Diego and east to Tuscan.

From Wiki:

Gila Bend founded in 1872, is a town in Maricopa CountyArizona, United States. The town is named for an approximately 90-degree bend in the Gila River, which is near the community’s current location.[4] As of the 2020 census, the population of the town was 1,892.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gila_Bend,_Arizona

About the Space Age Lodge:

Stovall’s Space Age Lodge opened in 1965, according to a brief history on the back of the Lodge’s restaurant menu. A local wheeler-dealer named Al Stovall was its visionary. He had friends in the military and government, and his connections got him autographed photos of astronauts, which he hung on the walls of the Lodge’s restaurant. He also owned a plastics factory, which produced the custom space-age decorations that made his motel the closet thing to the Jetsons this side of the 23rd century.

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/15079

What places have you been fascinated about that you’ve driven through? Where have you stopped to explore?

Sunrise Sunset

We took a Thursday evening beach walk at sunset.

This morning we woke up to this.

We headed south of the border yesterday for a weekend of beach walks, seafood, and enjoying the Sea of Cortez. What a joy to arrive in time for a beach walk at sunset. I was stunned this morning to wake up and see this magnificent sunrise from our room.

Have a great weekend!

What highlights do you have planned for this weekend?

Do you like sunrises or sunsets more? Why?

More Views of Mexico

Fisherman sculpture at Puerto Penasco Rocky Point Sonora Mexico
A statue in the downtown marketplace of Puerto Peñasco. I couldn’t read the plaque.

I view Puerto Peñasco as three distinct parts. There’s Sandy Beach with all the condos and Americans. There is the downtown marketplace with shops, restaurants and pharmacies. There is a marina filled with fishing boats. There are probably more parts to Puerto Peñasco, but that’s what I’ve seen, so far.

shops in Puerto Penasco Rocky Point Sonora Mexico
This is a photo looking down one of the blocks of the marketplace.

Pelicano Jose restauarant view
We had huevos rancheros one morning in this small second story restaurant at Rocky Point.

View of sandy beach from Rocky Point
Here’s a view of Sandy Beach from the downtown marketplace. Sandy Beach is home to the condos.
Elizabeth's curios Rock Point
Here’s a shop with my name on it. The shops sell lots of sports logo goods — especially Arizona’s Cardinals.
maclecon in Rocky Point
This is the center of town, a block beyond the marketplace.

El Camaronero statue
El Camaronero The Shrimp Fisherman statue on the malecon at Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
View of Rocky Point from Sandy Beach
A view of the downtown market area in Rocky Point from Sandy Beach.
Rocky point shrimp in a cooler
Every few yards there are “fish markets” that are coolers of ice and shrimp.
Inside Pollo Lucas.
Pollo Lucas, the best char-grilled chicken I’ve ever had.

cat in the window at a restaurant.
The view out the window at Pollo Lucas.
Sunset at Sandy Beach.
Sunset at Sandy Beach.

The food was delicious and cheap! We had prime rib dinner with baked potato, clam chowder and asparagus for $15. It’s a Saturday night special. I had tons of shrimp at several restuarants. Plus Pollo Lucas. I can’t wait to go back for the beach, the views and the food!

What’s your favorite part of traveling? Is it seeing new sights or eating new food? Or both?

A Perfect Getaway: Puerto Peñasco

Sunset on the Gulf of California at Puerto Peñasco, known in the US as Rocky Point.

We are home safe and sound from a quick trip to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico with another couple. I was having anxiety over the trip because it’s the first time spending more than an hour or two with these new friends. I wrote about that HERE.

My worries were for naught. Mostly because of the condo we stayed in. It had two master suites with patios, plus a shared kitchen and living room with an expansive patio between the bedrooms. We weren’t on top of each other. We were steps from pools, hot tubs and the beach. Sometimes we went to the pool or beach together — and sometimes not.

This was my third trip to Puerto Peñasco. I liked this condo complex better than the other ones we stayed at. It wasn’t overwhelming with younger people ready to party or giant towers of too many rooms. It had many pools many tucked away in private settings. It did have a main pool and bar with a stage with live music at night that was quite good.

The pool areas were separated with lush landscaping and green lawns where families played soccer, football and frisbee.

Here are a few more of our sunset views:

Sunset view from Bella Sirena condos on Sandy Beach.
This view is from Wrecked at the Reef, a restaurant with live music, a sports bar inside as well as tables on the sand. We ate dinner the first night here and watched the sunset from a table a few yards from the ocean.

I’ll post more pictures of our Mexico beach trip this week. The best thing about Puerto Peñasco is it’s four hours from home. I love it when we make it there and when we return home. A perfect getaway.

Do you have any favorite places where you can spend a few days relaxing or adventuring?