Life Styles, Places to Go

Colorado is nearby… so let’s go outside!

Let’s get down to the fun stuff!  After all this Eat-Eng, we need to burn off a few calories, and the Rio Grande offers lots of options if you like to hike, fish, golf or float the river.

Here are three hikes that start easy, and end up pretty tough: Continue reading

Life Styles, Places to Go

Need a break from Desert heat? Colorado is nearby

One can only play so much golf at 7:00 AM in the summer in the Verdes.  The heat starts in May, and will end in October.  The ideal strategy is to break up the summer heat stretch with a trip to a cooler climate in July or August.  My favorite spot is Colorado.  So I told everyone I was taking my dog on vacation, we loaded the car and headed to South Fork, Colorado.

South Fork is one of those “where the heck is that” small towns in the south central part of Colorado along the Rio Grande River.  For those who are a little Colorado savvy, I tell everyone South Fork is over Wolf Creek Pass from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, or if that doesn’t ring a bell, about two hours from Durango, Colorado.  All of these locations are a one day drive from the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  At 8000+ foot elevation, cool clear air, and crisp sleep-under-the-covers nights are awaiting the chronically overheated denizen of the desert.  And her little dog Jay-Jay.

What activities await?  I tell everyone I am going to visit my Chinese friends: Shop-Eng, Dine-Eng, Hike-Eng, and Fish-Eng.  I am also blessed to have my good friends from Rio Verde here in the summer, so I have a sweet place to stay.  If however, you need to take care of Sleep-Eng and Dine-Eng, let me make some recommendations: Continue reading

Desert Living, Life Styles

Hot Time, Summer in the Verdes

Happy Fourth of July!  Out here in Arizona, I guess you could say everyday is some variation of a summer day.  But the Fourth is a guaranteed hot one.  Our summer days make us dream a little bit about our youth “up North”, wherever that is for you.  Consistent 100 degree days greet us by the end of May, and do not leave until we are well into October.  By time Fourth of July hits, we also start to deal with the Monsoon season.  Humidity that was ridiculously low in the 3-7% range soars to the 40% range.  Now I know, if you are back in the east or mid-west, 40% is a dry day.  But it isn’t 108 degrees and no shade to be found along with the 40%.  It’s hot baby!

So what can you do when it is that hot?  The pool is an option, but even the water in the pool becomes swampy warm by July.  I guess we will have to golf! Continue reading

Desert Living, Life Styles

The mighty Saguaro cactus. Plant of many uses.

Standing tall!

Standing tall!

When visiting Arizona for the first time anyone spotting a saguaro cactus will want to pull the car over and start taking pictures.  Often the sign of the American desert, it’s the cactus that can best be described as a big tall green cactus that looks like it is being held up in a robbery.  Stick ’em up!  In real life or a Roadrunner cartoon, the artist knows that nothing says desert like a saguaro cactus.

When watching a western movie, if you see a saguaro in the background you know the cowboy is either in one of two places:  The Sonoran desert in Mexico, or in Arizona.  The cactus only grow here, so anyone saying they are in Oklahoma riding the range with the cactus is pulling one over on you!  Sort of like when Thelma and Louise were riding through Oklahoma on a freeway with California road signs on it. Continue reading

Life Styles, Things to Do

Rio Verde Hiking season group hits the dusty trail

“No sign-up, just show up.”  This is the directive of the Rio Verde Hiking Club leader, Jim Urban.  Jim has been the leader of the Rio Verde Hiking Club, and in Jim we trust!  His knowledge of the area trails and history make him a interesting guide and fountain of knowledge.  Our first hike of the season was November 14, and about 27 Rio Verde hikers showed up in the parking lot to set out to Kentuck Mountain in the Tonto National ForestContinue reading

Life Styles, Things to Do

Where to hike? It’s Fountain Hills!

Hiking and Biking, or if you own a four legged beast known as a horse, Fountain Hills is a great place to launch your adventure.  Panoramic views of the mountains are everywhere, and Fountain Hills makes getting on the trail to enjoy them fast and easy. Continue reading

Life Styles, Things to Do

Which way into town? It’s Fountain Hills!

Fountain Hills to the NE of Phoenix, AZ

Map of the Phoenix area features the location of Fountain Hills

Not a lot of imagination about what to name the town 8 miles to the south of Rio Verde.  Fountain Hills, Arizona is home to the worlds fourth tallest fountain.  A city landmark that entertains visitors and locals alike with it’s water show, and the surrounding park that hosts many community events.  Bordered on the east by the Verde River, and to the west by the McDowell Mountains, the town of Fountain Hills feels like an extension of Rio Verde.

The question asked by newcomers to Rio Verde is: “where do you go to get groceries?”  The answer: “Fountain Hills!”  There is a diverse shopping experience in Fountain Hills that exceeds just groceries. Continue reading

Desert Living, Life Styles, Selling your home

Stage your homes outdoor space for great Arizona living

Staging your home for sale?  In the Verdes our outdoor space needs to be staged as well.  We are fortunate to have comfortable low humidity and bug free evenings, so outdoor living areas are a vital part of your property.  Buyers moving here want to see themselves not only in your house, but on your back patio as well!

You don’t have to have a knockout view or a pool to have an inviting outdoor space: Continue reading

Large Christmas ornaments decorate a Cactus in the yard
Desert Living, Life Styles

Desert Christmas

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Christmas in the desert is a little different.  White  Christmas is a pipe dream!  More like putting out luminaries and plunking a Santa hat on a tall skinny cactus.  Santa himself was seen out for a bike ride, no wonder presents were late this year.  The media is blaming UPS and FedEx, but with this evidence of Santa goofing off on Christmas eve, we know the real story.  A sled?  How about a golf cart!  Mexican food is a great Christmas eve tradition too!

Life Styles, Things to Do

Riding new trail in McDowell Mt. park

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Sunday afternoon best biking buddy Jody and I hit the trail. Leaving Rio Verde, we entered the McDowell Mountain park through the Verde gate, and took the Verde trail up to the dirt road and cut over to the Lousley Hill camping area. There we could pick up the new Escondito trail about a mile east of the Pemberton Trail. Continue reading