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$100,000 Hairball, Casino Camping and Paragliding

December 22-31, 2018 — Poof! Just like that 2018 is over. The saying time flies when you’re having fun really is true as the year went by so fast. The last week of every year is usually a busy one for people as it involves two major holidays. In our case, we already celebrated our family holiday earlier in December so we escaped the chaos of the week. 

Instead of shopping and racing around with last minute holiday preparations we did some sightseeing, watched football and visited with friends. A perfect week in our book! We also spent time looking ahead to our 2019 travel plans. Hopefully we will have a general map completed soon that we can share. It’s going to be a great year! Until then, here’s a look into our activities during the last week of 2018. 

All nights during this time period were free stays in Arizona with seven nights in Apache Junction at Above and Beyond RV Repair where we had an electrical upgrade completed, two nights at Wild Horse Hotel & Casino in Chandler and one night at Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. 

Mile Driven – RV

Miles Driven – Car

Farmer’s Market Day! The Gilbert, Arizona market is open year round with lots of vendors offering produce, bakery, crafts, etc. Live music and food trucks are also on site. What a great place to spend a Saturday morning. 

Superstition Ranch Farmers Market is a produce market that is open daily with locations in Mesa and Apache Junction, Arizona. It’s a great place to pick up very reasonable produce. We couldn’t pass up 6 oz blackberry clamshells priced at 3 for 99 cents. Wow! They had many other great offerings such as corn on the cob 8/$1, grapes $.49lb, cauliflower $.99 each, and on and on. What a great find!

The Tumbleweed tree in Chandler, Arizona is a holiday tradition dating back to 1957. Beginning in September, city workers begin collecting 1000+ dried Russian thistle bushes aka tumbleweeds that are needed to create the tree. The plants are placed around a chicken wire frame in the shape of a Christmas tree, sprayed a pleasing shade of white paint and flame retardant material, doused with 65 pounds of glitter and finally strung with Christmas lights. When complete, the tree stands 33 feet tall with an 18 foot wide base. More fire retardant material has been added to the paint over the years out of necessity as the tree has burned seven times since 1957. 

Hope Santa made it to everyone’s homes before getting stuck in this chimney. Luckily this happened in Chandler, Arizona where there was little chance of a fire burning below putting Santa at risk for smoke inhalation and burns. 

“Momentum”, a $100,000 metal tumbleweed sculpture that sits 10 feet off the ground on a futuristic pedestal at a park and ride in Chandler, Arizona. Apparently some taxpayers weren’t pleased to see their money spent so frivolously by the town council on the artwork and have nicknamed the statue “rat’s nest” and “hairball”. 

Dobbin’s Lookout, elevation 2,330 feet, is the highest point in South Mountain Park and offers stunning unobstructed panoramic views  of the Phoenix Metro area. 

This stone structure near Dobbin’s Lookout at South Mountain Park is a remnant of a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building. Between 1933 and 1940, four thousand men worked at the park through the CCC program constructing trails, fire pits, buildings, etc. 

Summit Road through the South Mountain Park is a scenic 5.5 mile drive that starts at the park entrance and ends at Dobbin’s Overlook. The road is full of twists and turns with several blind curves but the amazing scenery makes the drive worthwhile. 

A paraglider prepares to soar off a cliff at South Mountain Park near Phoenix, Arizona. The area is very popular for the sport. 

Does anyone REALLY know what ALL these wires are for? We finally finished up our big electrical upgrade including lithium Battle Born Batteries, inverter/charger, etc. Woohoo for more power!

Above & Beyond RV Repair in Apache Junction, Arizona did the electrical upgrade installation for us. Their work was excellent and we are very pleased with the outcome. 

Finally we’re back on the road and off to new adventures. With it being so late in December we decided to cancel our plans to visit Tucson (for now!) and continue exploring the Phoenix area before heading to the desert in January. 

Last Green Bay Packer game of the season. It was a frustrating year that didn’t have the results we hoped for but still sad that it has come to an end. On a good note, baseball season is just around the corner. Go Brewers!

Wild Horse Hotel and Casino in Chandler, Arizona allows free overnight parking for RVs and trucks for 48 hours. It wasn’t the quietest casino we’ve ever stayed at but finding a safe, free parking spot in a metro area is worth a little inconvenience.  

Drive hammered get nailed. A public service announcement on I-10 near Phoenix reminding people not to drink and drive. 

Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year! We have an exciting year of travel planned for 2019 and look forward to sharing it with you. First up for next week is more exploring of the Phoenix area and next off to the desert we will go. See you then!