More Desert Beauty…

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The Bend Revisited

During our camping trip in Gila Bend last weekend I discovered that the town actually had a Route 66 vibe to it.  We camped there again this weekend and yesterday morning I took a solo journey to photograph some of it.  Here are some of the characters I met:

These gentleman were just settling in for a siesta while their horses took a drink.

Mama Bear watched over her brood with a sign pinned to her chest that read, ‘I’m not for sale but my children are.’

The Stone Turtles were meeting for their morning meditation.  They were quite the stoic lot!

In addition to these characters I saw a few photo ops that included a few old hotels.  Gila Bend has always been a stop along the way for people heading to San Diego or Tucson.  More modern highways have been built but there are few treasures still standing.

I stopped to visit Stout’s Hotel.  No one was around but a little dog that barked at me through a chain link fence.  I think he would have killed me with kisses if given the chance.  A sign in the window gave the history of this hotel.  It was built in 1927 and was called the ‘Gem of The Desert’.  Movie stars would stop there on their way to Tucson to film the old westerns.  I love places like these.

Here is a better view of the sign.  I love that it boasts air conditioning and steam heat.  Given the extreme temps here I’m sure many travelers saw this as a good selling point back in the day.

Here is the last hotel that I stopped at.  It was built probably in the 1950s.  Given that there are so many chain hotels around, it was neat to see one of these older models still in operation.

That concludes my tour of Gila Bend.  I do have some desert photos I’ll be posting later though.  So much beauty that I can barely stand it!

Breaking It Down

Since the start of the month I’ve revamped my weight-loss and fitness efforts.  During the first two weeks of January I was down 6 lbs for a total of 27 lbs lost since last April.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  This week though I seem to have hit a plateau.  Last summer my step-dad had suggested that I try the South Beach Diet.  This is broken down into several phases where at first you eliminate all carbs & sugars including alcohol and fruit, and then thereafter you gradually start reintroducing healthy carbs & fruit back into your diet.  After the great results I had  this last year and it leading to some permanent healthy habits, I did this again during the first two weeks of the month. 

I’ve stayed within the guidelines of the food plan but I grew curious to the fact that I might not be getting enough nutrition or getting too much of other things.  A girlfriend of mine had told me about a free website called Spark People awhile back.  Yesterday I signed up and it has an area where you enter your meals.  It then goes ahead and tallies up your calories, carbs, proteins and fats for the day.  Then it tells you where you could be doing better.  This is of course after you enter your height and weight.  I was a little alarmed to see that although my intake of good fats is good I really should be eating less of them.   This could be the reason for the plateau.

This site encourages you to set goals for yourself and also to participate in the different groups available.  There is a  group of Arizonans who have their own group, as well as a group for people over 40.  I was quite impressed that all this was free.  A few years back I did Weight Watchers Online and I think Spark People has more to offer than WW  –And they were a paying site!

They also have recipes there with the nutritional info included.  I printed out a recipe for Cocoa Rubbed Pork loin so I’ll give it go and post it here if it’s any good.

On the exercise front I’m still going to that Latin Dance class.  My new friend Maria is there each time and saves a spot for me in the front row.  I think she may be friends with the whole class now as she is quite the character.  This despite the fact that she keeps telling me she doesn’t know anyone.  😉  She left the dance class early to do a cycling class.  My goodness!  I hope I have her energy when I’m her age.  She is amazing.

Boot Camp starts next Saturday.  This should be interesting.  I’ve never done anything like this but I’m looking forward to the challenge of it.  I hope I’ll see some real changes within myself .  The class lasts six weeks and each session is 2 hours long.  Although I’ve been enjoying the dance classes, they are not all that challenging.  I mean sometimes the steps involved are challenging but the aerobic aspect isn’t as high as I need it to be.  My face barely gets red and I find that I’m not sweating as much as the other people in the class.  I may also try alternating time on the treadmill or running outdoors when I can. 

So that’s where I’m at.  Hopefully soon this plateau will be a thing of the past and I can continue on to be a healthier me.

Bake Quest #4 – February 2011<3 -Ideas Needed

I will fully admit to being a complete lame-o when it came to January’s Bake Quest.  This despite the fact that there is a large container of organic spinach in the fridge as I type.  Thanks to all those that participated for January.  Now onto February.  🙂

Any suggestions for February?  I was thinking chocolate could be one.  Anyone else?

Decisions, Decisions

There comes a point in each woman’s life where she must make decisions for herself and herself only.  While I must decide on a daily basis what direction to go in when dealing with clients or what one may have for dinner in our household, I took some today to figure out something I want for myself.

My 43rd birthday is fewer than three months away.  I’ve come up with the executive decision that I will have red velvet cupcakes.  If anyone sees my husband, please let him know, okay?  Then remind him consistently between now and the 21st of April.  Thanks.

Abby & The Weaz Go Camping

Abby is a seasoned professional when it comes to camping.  Where the Weasely One can no longer stay by herself at home, she got her first taste of camping this weekend.  Friday evening we packed up and met hubby in a small town southwest of Phoenix called Gila Bend.  The Weasely One slept most of the way but when the radio no longer came in and I was forced to put in a MGMT CD she suddenly woke up and felt the need to explore the car.  She’s always been a fan of music.  Luckily this was short-lived and after a drink and a snack she fell back to sleep for the remainder of the trip.

Contemplating a nap or breakfast while Abby watches on.

  While Abby knows the whole camping drill, the Weasel had to adjust a bit.  I had her barricaded next to my side of the bed in the camper.  She woke up once in the middle of the night and was a bit restless.  After a few scritches and cuddles she settled back down but was happy to cuddle in bed with me for the last two hours of sleep.



A nap appears to have won out.  Ah, but fickle is the ferret mind.  Two seconds later she emerged from her carrier and was parked in front of the food bowl.

We left for breakfast soon after and ate at a kitschy restaurant called The Space Age Diner that featured astronaut and alien decor as well as a giant spaceship on the roof.  The girls napped in the car and got ready for the adventure ahead.  We were visiting yet another petroglyph park!

The four of us were all set for a visit when we came across this…

Which lead to this…

Poor Abby.  She was rewarded with a long walk in the desert though where she had to wait in the car.  The Weasely One however, thoroughly enjoyed herself.  There were no signs prohibiting weasels so we took full advantage!

 Although she can no longer take in the sights through her eyes, I’m quite certain she could feel the sun on her back and the wind through her whiskers.  She squirmed to be let down and she dug in the sand and sniffed everything around her.  She enjoyed walking around the rocks outside the petroglyph area.  I was half expecting a park ranger to come by and reprimand me for bugging the ‘ground squirrel’  ;-). 

These petroglyphs were among the clearest I’ve seen.  They were carved into the rock by Native people living in the area 12,000 years ago. 


How many of these symbols can you see below?

There is a nest at the top of this old tree stump.  It appears that there was some chicken wire added to the top to keep out hawks and other predators maybe? 

This area is somewhat desolate and full of beautiful desert for miles and miles.  We arrived home the next day full of a sense of peace and with a longing to go back.  Next to the petroglyph park is a small campground.  There are no hookups for electricity and water.  This would be desert camping at it’s best.  I see a future trip for man and beasts alike.

Some People’s Children

Today I drove to work like I usually do.  I was stopped at a light when I heard the car next to me beep and the driver, a man in his mid-50s or so, motioned for me to roll down the window.  I was expecting to be told that my blinker or brake lights were out or something.  Instead this is what he said:

“Do you want to keep your car?”

I’m thinking, is this an offer to buy my car?  I’ve had my eye on one of those cool new numbers that are built to look like the classic muscle cars.  So then I repeat back his words in my most ‘what in tarnation are you talking about’ voice:

“Do I want to keep my car?”

Then he asks why I jumped in front of him.  I clearly have no idea what he is talking about but at some point en route I must have cut him off and now he is letting me know.  He wasn’t mean about it.  He was actually quite calm which may have thrown me at first.  I said I was sorry but I had no idea that I had even done that.  It certainly wasn’t my intent.  He nodded his head and rolled his window up.  “Sorry sir,” I threw in for good measure.

So now it has me wondering if I really almost caused a catastrophe on the street or if I just had a run in with someone who really needed coffee.  I noticed he was driving a white car and I have to ask dear friends, if any of you have ever had issues with seeing white cars.   For some reason I just don’t notice them.  My depth perception is off.  It’s like a reverse color blindness.  Does this happen to any of you? 

This called to mind a cartoon character from my youth, Mr Magoo.  Anybody remember him?  😉