January 2010

On January 9th we attended a bluegrass concert with Nancy’s parents. We heard a really good local band called Desert Ridge Bluegrass.

We went 4-wheeling with our Jeep group to the coke ovens along the Gila River by Florence. These ovens were built in the 1880’s from dacite, volcanic rock from the surrounding area. They stand 35 feet high and 25 feet in diameter. They are called coke ovens but coke can only be produced from coal. They should be called kilns as they were used to burn the mesquite trees in the area to make charcoal. The charcoal was used to fire the smelters which processed gold and silver ore. In the 1980’s someone got the bright idea to turn the ovens into guest cottages. Two of the ovens were renovated by adding cement floors, windows, doors, weather stripping, and even an upper level made of wood to make room for storage. This venture never got off the ground and the idea was abandoned. We were out 8 hours and even drove up a dry waterfall - well most of the group drove up but we got stuck at the end and had to be pulled over the top. The ride was long and rough but the scenery was beautiful.

We finally remembered our camera on one of the hikes we took with the hiking group in the park. We hiked the Phon-D-Sutton trail to the Salt River. One of the members is very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in the area and is very good about teaching the rest of us.

We also did a solo hike to Willow Springs in the Goldfield Mountains to check out the trail for our hiking group. The desert and mountains in this area are rugged but beautiful and we will be back soon with the group.

Rex got the pin removed from his finger on the 20th and started physical therapy on the 21st. His finger is healing well and he now has to work on getting full movement back.

It rained every day the week of the 18th and we even had a tornado warning on Thursday night. It also rained mud for a couple of hours on Tuesday night. It was really strange, you couldn’t see very far and everything was covered with dirt for a while. It rained harder during the night and washed most of the dirt off. Apache Junction got about 4” of rain in 5 days – more than they got all of 2009! Cave Creek, which is northeast of us got about 7”. Flagstaff got more than 8’ of snow during the week and both interstates were closed for a while. There was a lot of flooding all over Arizona.

We started a Tai Chi class that meets at 7 am 3 days a week. This is kind of early but we are enjoying the class and trying to master all the movements for the form we are learning.

We went to the 2010 Bluegrass Jamboree at the Pinal County Fairgrounds with Nancy’s parents. We enjoyed some really good bluegrass music and had a great time.


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