Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Looking for a Base in Arizona: Phoenix

Monday, December 24, 2012

OLA: Looking for a Base in Arizona: Phoenix

Christmas was merrier with the visit of Ales and Ling of Phoenix, Arizona!

Superstition Mountain and Bill and Carol + the Saguaro
Phoenix is the fifth largest city with a population of 1.6M, following Houston, Chicago, LA, and New York (in the reverse order)!  Because of relatively warm and sunny winters, its suburbs abound with good RV Parks. We particularly like the Viewpoint Ridge RV Resort that surrounds a 9-hole executive course plus adjoins an 18-hole golf course. It also boasts of 6 tennis courts, a ball field, a bar/grille and many other amenities for its 1,900 sites! It certainly competes with Voyager RV Resort in Tucson which has a grocery, massage parlor, two restaurants, plus many other amenities for its 1,500 sites! But, we have to wait for what we may find in Yuma and San Diego though before we make a decision!

Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail
Elvis Chapel at the foreground with Superstition Mountain at the back
I was actually surprised to find Phoenix a pretty city. Superstition Mountain on the Apache Trail hovered around us at the Golden Sun RV Resort. It is in Apache Junction, a Phoenix burb, where we stayed as part of our Thousand Trails Network. On the Apache Trail we found unusually scenic sites, even an Elvis Chapel at the Superstition Visitor Center and Museum. The chapel was blasted in one of the movies he made but restored for tourism. Then three lakes surround the Trail although we were only able to go to the first one, Canyon Lake. And part of the magic is the Goldfield Ghost Town where they reenact a 'gunfight' every day! 

Carol's looks probably knocked them dead!
Carol resting at the Hole in the Rock
The unique Desert Botanical Garden offered unusual greenery that has adapted to an otherwise arid land. The Hole in the Rock nearby was a special place for Bill and me. It was as nice to look up to the blue sky in the Hole or to peer down from the hole to the valley below after a little hike! From there we had great views of the Hunt’s Tomb, using our higher-powered lens. Then Dobbins’ Lookout in South Mountain offered a stunning aerial view of the city.

Bill and Carol at Dobbins' Lookout, with a view of the city
Pueblo Grande Ruins right in the heart of Phoenix
The cityscape of tall buildings was clustered in a small area because the city is widely spread out…there is just that much desert land! And right in the middle is Pueblo Grande, the Hohokam Ruins that thrived from 900 BC to 1450 AD much like Chaco Canyon or Taos Pueblo in New Mexico (please see and Wupatki in Flagstaff, Arizona (please see  Except for Taos Pueblo which is still living, archaeologists still debate why all of them vanished at around the 1400s. But the Spanish influence remains strong. The St. Mary’s Basilica is impressive especially with the special tribute to Mother Teresa.

St.Mary's Basilica in dowtpwn Phoenix
Tovrea Castle
Many unique architectural sites are also around Phoenix. The Tovrea Castle looks like a huge wedding cake and the waiting line is already up to April! The Mystery Castle is a Dad’s interpretation of his daughter’s fantasy! The Wrigley Mansion is part of the legacy of the chewing gum magnate. And Taliesin West is the companion masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin East in Wisconsin (please see ). Then, when we were atop the Hole in the Rock, we saw this glistening white pyramid atop the other Rock across the one with the Hole. We found out later that it is Hunt’s Tomb is where the very first governor of the state of Arizona is laid to rest in 1934 after a record seven terms. Both Rocks are actually part of Papago Park.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West
Hunt's Tomb
But the best part of our stay in Phoenix was the visit of Alex and Ling of Gilbert, Arizona, another burb in the city SMSA. Alex is the Global IT go-to person for Amkor Industries, one of the semiconductor companies that have a plant in the Philippines plus many others in Asia and here in North America. I was glad they were in for Indian food because I prepared one of Bill’s favorites, slow-cooked chicken tikka tandoori served with three kinds of naan. Ling who worked previously at BPI in the Philippines brought me lengua de gato, a favorite Filipino sweet cookie! And Alex brought special red wine for Bill! It was a night of chatter and banter, a trek down a Filipino memory lane. If we choose Phoenix, they will certainly be constant companions for Alex and Bill shared a liking for some guy things!

even the Christmas tree is uniquely un-red!
I can’t wait to complete this search for a base! Phoenix stays up there with Tucson for now!  Yuma and San Diego, here we come!