Monday, February 23, 2009

Kicks on Route 66

It's time for the WIN Dance Rally! This year the theme is Route 66. A cast of about 25 WINs put on a skit celebrating the highlights of the "Mother Road," from Chicago to Santa Monica.

Andrew welcomed us at the door.

Then the cast lined up along the wall, each waiting to do their own little skit as they took us down Route 66. Here's the Illinois contingent: Abe Lincoln, the Blues Brothers, and Al Capone.

The Blues Brothers started us out in Chicago. (Boy, that Jake is really hot!)

Barb and Bob entertained us with a great jitterbug.

I'm really not sure how Scarlett O'Hara ended up on Route 66. Maybe she was fleeing the fire in Atlanta.

Route 66 goes through Kansas for only 13 miles, but it was long enough for us to run into Dorothy.

We met lots of other characters along the way. At the end of the show, the cast relaxed on the Santa Monica beach.

After the skit, we had a dance, and I got to dance quite a bit with Jake.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stopping Off in AJ

This is the time of year when I go to the Phoenix area to take care of doctor and dentist visits. I still love my dentist, Dr. Angela Pelletier, that I wrote about here last year. She still has the $69 special for new patients, so if you are near Mesa, and need a dentist, give her a call. While in the area, I stayed at the Apache Junction Moose lodge. This is the first time I have ever seen snow on the Superstition Mountains! I think the snow line was down to about 2200 feet.

While in AJ, Phil's cat, Grey, died. She was just the best cat I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was a real lap cat, and just wanted to be petted. I'll really miss her. We buried her under the Superstition Mountains.

On Friday nights, the Moose lodge has a great fish fry, and afterwards a band. Most Fridays, Larry and Judy Liles perform. The first hour Larry sings terrific dance music. The last time I was there, hardly anyone danced, but they now have a pretty big following.

I was really looking forward to Larry's tractor performance, done to Kenny Chesney's song "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." It was as good as I remembered, (you can tell this lady enjoyed it!) but he now has lots of other specialty acts that he does later in the evening.

There's the "Chicken Dance" --

The Temptations (done with help from some of the regulars) --

And "Man of Constant Sorrow," that most people know from the movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou." (One of my all-time favorite movies!)

The highlight of the show was when Larry performed a striptease for this guy on his 60th birthday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

South of Ajo, right on the Mexican border, is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. A lot of the roads in the park are closed because of illegal alien activity, but Ajo Mountain Drive is a 21-mile loop that is open. Most of it is unpaved, but an easy drive.

At first, all you see are thousands of saguaros. It seems there are more here than in Saguaro National Park.

After a while, the scenery changes to a mixture of saguaros and organ pipes.

A couple years ago I found this crested saguaro north of Phoenix. These misshapen cacti happen when the growing tip becomes a fan-like form. It is unknown whether this is a genetic mutation, or the result of a lightning strike or freeze damage.

But I never knew that organ pipes also had this anomoly. We found 2, with the help of the guide at the visitors center.

This one actually had three on the same cactus.

Arches are rare in the park, but here's a beautiful 90-foot wide one in Arch Canyon, with a tiny one above. A hike goes up into the canyon.

The poppies were just starting to bloom.

As were these little pink flowers.

And these, called Fairy Dusters.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Old Time Fiddlers Contest

For the last 2 years, I have been in Ajo in early February, but never went to the Old Time Fiddlers Contest. This year I took the plunge. It was a lot of fun, with fiddlers jamming in the country club parking lot where we stayed.

The contest itself was exciting. Each contestant played 3 songs, including 1 waltz. Gayle, a former WIN, won the Senior division.

Jack, 83 years young, was terrific, and easily won the Senior/Senior division.

And the kids were amazing. Katherine, 12 years old, won the Junion/Junior division.

Friday and Saturday nights there were dances. The contestants all got together and played for us. Because of the contest requirements, they played a lot of waltzes, which I love.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back to Yuma

After Quartzsite, I went back to Yuma so Phil could make one more trip to the dentist in Algodones. Once again I stayed at the BLM land behind the VFW. A lot of WINs were staying at Yuma Lakes, but this is much more convenient.

This time, in addition to the crop dusters and the trains, I had some additional entertainment -- paragliders!

In the last couple years, the line for going through customs to get back into the US has been getting longer. It's at least an hour now. Some people now drive over so they don't have to stand in the long line, but it takes just as long for the cars to go through. We had fun watching this dog sniff for drugs. His handler told us that they only work the dogs for one-half hour at a time.

Near Algodones on the US side of the border is this huge pet cemetery. It's even bigger than the one at the Slabs.

There is a beautiful poem at the entrance.

And hundreds of individual graves.

Some caring souls even buried a couple of strays here.

It's obvious that people come back to take care of the graves of their pets.

Once again, I found the grave of a pet that I knew. P.B. was a wonderful dog that I met 4 years ago with his mom, my friend Linda.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Farewell to Quartzsite

I've been in Quartzsite for almost 3 weeks now, and it's time to move on. But first, there was more fun to be had. The WINs had an All-Singles Ice Cream Social. Would have been better without the light drizzle, but we all had a good time anyway, and met some new friends.

Our pet parade was really cute. Molly declined to participate, citing age as the reason, but there were some cute dogs there. Chantilly won the prize for the cutest.

One day the WINs went to the Desert Bar, way out in the middle of nowhere outside of Parker, at the site of an old mining camp. With no electricity, they rely on solar power.

The only food they serve are plain hamburgers. If you want anything on the hamburger, you have to bring it yourself.

They had a live band, and the tiny dance floor was really crowded with all the WINs there.

There's a cute little church there that was completed in 1996. No services are held there, but a lot of weddings are. Oh, maybe I shouldn't be standing there....

The strange thing about the church is that it has only one wall!

Back home at our base camp, James showed off the kayak he built that will be used in the grand finale -- the Burning Kayak ceremony.

Later that evening, we had a ritual dance in which we pretended to be kayaks trying to maneuver through human logs and trees.

Finally James said a tearful goodbye to the WIN goddess.

And our first annual Burning Kayak is history. Then there was more dancing around the campfire. These WINs will just do anything.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Going to Town

I made many trips to town while at Quartzsite, always passing this police car. The poor cop, stuck there for so long. Maybe he's thirsty! I decided to stop and see if he needed anything.

I knocked on the door, but he didn't answer. Hmmmmmm..... He's kind of cute though, dressed in his Quartzsite police force uniform.

I really thought when I stopped that I would find a cap stuck on a headrest. But this dummy was amazingly detailed, even with eyelashes!

No visit to Quartzsite would be complete without a hike up Q Mountain. It's really easy to find -- it's the one with the big "Q" on it! Here I'm almost to the top.

Yay! I made it!

You can see the whole town from here, including the big tent. Most of the vendors are gone now though.

My least favorite part -- coming down!

From the top we saw some old mining equipment, so we decided to go investigate.

The desert is really green this year from all the rain we had in December.

Who said there's no free lunch?? There is in Quartzsite! Every day, La Mesa RV serves a free lunch to anyone. Of course, you are so appreciative that you run right out to their show lot and buy a new RV.

Their building used to be the home of The Silver Buckle, the best dancing place in Quartzsite. They still have some remembrances hanging from the ceiling, including these well-used boots.

I didn't get a chance to go to the Oasis Bookstore this year, but it's a really interesting story. To read about last year's trip, click here.