Friday, March 25, 2016

Arizona Day 4

Day 4
I woke earlier than normal to get an early start on the day. Vacations go to quick and this one was. We decided on climbing Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. The mountain gets its name from its shape which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. The trail is about 1.4 miles long and elevation is about 1,300 feet. The trail is marked extreme difficulty but you can see people of all ages challenging it.

There are two locations to access the hiking trails on Camelback. The lot we used way back in 2000 was full so we circled the mountain to get to the other trail. The second trail has no lot so you have to park on the street a good distance away and hike to the hiking trails. The area is very built up with houses and golf courses now surrounding the base of the mountain.

Hiking up and coming down was a steady stream of people. They looked like ants. Jimmy made it up about ¾ the way, Ruth and I made the summit. Going up and coming down I rounded the path a bit and strayed off trail. It saved time and distance.

After hiking Jimmy wanted to go to a few stores. I said I would drive him but in the middle of it I had it. I couldn't take it any longer. Being on vacation and seeing nothing but the same corporate stores as at home made me go bonkers. Scottsdale is a fine area but it is corporate heaven. We went to a local grocery chain called Fry's. On one street there were two Fry's on the same side separated by maybe a half mile. If you have money there are plenty of upscale places to eat that aren't corporate its the middle income restaurants that are all corporate and nothing else.

I even ventured off in the opposite direction towards Fountain Head. Nothing. Then to Fort McDowell thinking I could find lunch. Nothing. OK don't laugh but I thought theres an Indian reservation lets find an Indian restaurant surely they have to eat and cornbread sounded good. I know corn doesn't grow in Arizona, at least I think, but Indians do make cornbread, don't they? Well you can laugh now. Nothing on the Indian reservation, nothing but a casino at the entrance. But we did see a Road Runner. That was exciting and the scenery wow so beautiful. But still no lunch. So back to Fountain Head and Senor Taco which made tacos so small they looked like baby tacos not sir size.

For supper we ate at a place called White Chocolate Grill. When they first told me I thought they said white chocolate girl and we were heading to a strip club. Sort of as the NY strip steak I had we was superb and desert which I seldom eat was wow good.

As far as temps the heat sort of arrived but still not that bad. I think it hit low 80's.

Thought I had while driving through the Indian reservation. Its desolate and barren now in modern times. Can you imagine the hardships the Indians faced a 100 plus years ago when they were forced onto these desert lands? Sad.

Gotta GoGo!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 3 Arizona

Day 3
This trip reminds me of 2000 when I was in Arizona. The weather then was also abnormal. I remember Walt's father in law Larry saying I don't understand it, its usually hotter and dryer. I replied well according to my calculations three out of five days are cool and wet. There was even minor flooding that year because of the rain. No rain this year but it has been cool with steady winds. I traveled light but I sure could have used a sweatshirt. I am told Arizona gets hot but I haven't experienced it yet.

Day three has been a fun day, It started off a bit slow but gained steam near the end. I joined Ruth, Jimmy and Jami by the pool. While they swam I had my morning coffee. After their swim and my coffee we ventured back to Carefree and Cave Creek to finish looking at the stores and whatever else we could see in the area. Before arriving there was a brief stop for a quick lunch at scenic Tonto Bar & Grill at Rancho Manana on the edge of Cave Creek. The soup I had was superb. What was it? I forgot. Oh well.

What I really like about Cave Creek there are no corporations. According to their travel brochure … the town doesn't have a single national chain store. Every shop is individually owned and operated. Right up my alley. A lot of the stores carry the same southwest merchandise but its enjoyable as I love the unique look. The Town Dump is a store worth checking out,

Carefree is the next town over and almost blends in with Cave Creek so its hard to tell where one town starts and the other ends. Their motto is Home of cowboys and caviar, where the old meets the new. Carefree has the Carefree Desert Botanical Gardens it is small but worth a visit. They have a nice display of a variety of cactus's. The shopping center is between Ho Rd and Hum Rd which runs off of Easy street. After shopping it was dinner poolside with burgers and lots of veggies.

Jimmy and Jami stayed put so Ruth and I went to see bull riding in Carefree., hey I liked the town, Now this was a honest to goodness throw back, real cowboy culture still exists. It was held at the Buffalo Chips Saloon and Steakhouse. What an experience. The place is so rustic and old looking. nothing fancy, a big concession stand that makes all kinds of food, scattered worn picnic tables, a couple of fire pits where people were either roasting snacks or standing near them staying warm (this is Arizona), with rickety wooden stands around a well worn bull riding pit. You get real close to the action. It was something to see. And admission was free. I just loved it.

I think Bernie and Hillary need to see a bull riding rodeo. They would change their minds quickly on equal pay for all. The men give a good ride, the women are shaken off quicker than a flea on a greased hogs back.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Arizona Day 2

Hey Gang,
My sinuses acted  up so Monday night was a bust. I slept in till 9 am which would be noon Cleveland time. I wanted to stay on schedule like at home.

We are staying at Jami's father exclusive condo at Las Brisas  and yes its gated. Just beautiful, surrounded by a man made river and next to a large pool.

Jimmy directed us around Scottsdale. This place is just crawling with money, ultra expensive cars and corporations. I got antsy seeing nothing but stores and lots of corporate owned places so even though Jimmy was in charge of planning our day I suggested lets get out of here.

After an hour or more of circling Scottsdale. With neither of us knowing how to get lost I said OK I know where we are going, to the library and I will ask someone or find a paper map. Walking in I saw an older man. His name was Jay and originally from NY, like Florida is anyone actually born in Az?

I asked and he said you do not want to be in Scottsdale, this is the only place in America that didn't feel the recession, there was none here and Phoenix is the 7th largest city in the US. He drew us a map and told us to get a real feel for Az go to Carefree and Cave Creak. I hate GPS, maps and humans are far far better. Old school is the only school.

We took Jays suggestion and loved it. Thats more of what we wanted to see. Tacky tourist shops, recreated old western stores and good burgers at Greasy Eddies. I am hoping to go back to Carefree and see the free bull riding events tonight.

We ended the day in old Scottsdale. lots and lots of cool shops and stores, more upscale but well worth a visit. Actually we ended the day in the large hot tub, can't forget the hot tub.

I was here last in 2000 and wow has this place exploded with people and built up. Too much.

Day three is around the corner. Stay tuned.....

Gotta GoGo!

Arizona 1

Hey Gang
Monday Morning
Well I finally went to bed at a wee bit past 6 am and let me tell you 10 am came way to soon. But believe it or not I was ready when Jimmy and Jamie arrived.

The airport check in was uneventful. I still think its ridiculous they make us take off our shoes and jump through hoops. There should be a simple test, if you can say I think Allah is a fake you go right through, After all how many non-Allah believing people strap on bombs to kill random infidels? Exactly.

We are flying Southwest our destination and airplane, Southwest is a little confused. They have you start out orderly by standing next to numbered poles corresponding to your ticket. When they call all A's then B's and C's you line up and enter the plane. But once inside its a mad scramble. Its open seating. The number on your ticket doesn't matter. Good luck trying to sit next to who you came with. And free WIFI, Southwest has it but you can't connect to it. At least the thought of free WIFI is a nice gesture. I was able to finally log on minutes before landing. I was then told to log in to your email costs money. Confusing.

Well we landed and it was a smooth landing as was the flight to Arizona, hardly any bumps. Thats all for now.

Gotta GoGo!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

well friends i am out of here... but lets quickly take a look at

Hey Gang,
I am out of here for a week heading to Arizona with Ruth and the Kelly's. We will be staying in the Scottsdale area. The trip is a Christmas gift. So hold the fort I mean emails until after Easter; make that all emails. I will have my cell so call if there is an emergency. Doubt I can get to you but call anyway.

Now for those who know disregard but for those that don't, you now will know.

After a long absence is back up and running... for the most part.

It is hard to believe how long I've had this site. I started the concept way back in 2001 way before Myspace or Facebook. The site has led to so many opportunities and meeting new friends. And yes I am still enjoying it along with many others.

Sometimes I forget how long 15 years is. Friends have come and gone, others are no longer with us, the Hey Gang emails are fewer and far between but some of the core group are still in touch with me. And my outlook on life and zest for new experiences hasn't changed much even through the ups and way downs of life. I am still having fun.

Likewise concerning the GoGo Bus there are still people enjoying it when I travel or pull up to a cruise in/car show. Not bad for a vehicle close to 50 years old and one that I've owned since 1997. WOW that is a long time. So it also marches on or in many cases sputters on.

Anyway the new is a Wordpress site. I am not too keen on a frame or a template site but this is far easier to add and arrange photos and links myself, finally there is a way Virginia. I had many webmasters in the past and not one understood what I was after besides Jeff Bedoll, I finally remembered there are two L's in his name. Jeff is a real web designer/artist who was able to capture exactly my likes and feel for the website. The problem with the old was with the updates, little time. And it does take time especially when you consider it is more of a hobby with little to no cash flow but that may be slowly changing.

Sooo the new is up but we are still fine tuning it. I just about grabbed most of the old content and slid it over. Some features from the old are gone and others are on the way out. My main focus on the new will be A. Promote my book and the upcoming new Hey Gang Part 2, don't go sending me checks just yet, its still in the works. B. Promoting independent Restaurants and Diners C. My blog writings D. Current videos I take while out n about. E. And near the bottom I have space to rent to promote your band, store, book etc....

Finally the look on the new site has changed also. Before I was after fun, uniqueness and hokey, lots of hokey. The new when we are finally all done will be less hokey but still fun and unique.

So that's all. I am off. I will be posting on my blog when time allows updates from the trip.

Gotta GoGo!

PS: Even though the book Hey Gang! has been out over a year now I am still promoting it. I lost plenty of opportunities for book signings and car shows last year because of many issues, what a year, so if you know of a little book store or shop or events where I can set up and do signings let me know.

PSS The latest editions to the site are I added comments to the book page and added some new videos.

OH take a look

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 Winter Cookout/Freeze Fest Wrap Up

Hey Gang,
Another year and another Winter Cookout/Freeze Fest in the books. I have been hosting this event for years with only last year that I can remember being cancelled. Last year was cold but not as cold as it was way back in I believe it was 2001 where it was 5 to degrees, now that was a real Freeze Fest. This year, 2016, set a record as the warmest ever, low to mid 30’s.
I decided at the last minute to hold it and my sister said watch this will be the biggest turn out ever. And it was. Was it because of the last minute notice or the warm weather or both? The official count was 31.

The rookies in attendance were Kevin, my neighbor Michael, Michael Smith, Dan and his sister Diane, Elaine, Carol Mikes girlfriend, Billy with the return guests being Ruth, Paul, Jamie, Jeff M., Rich, Brian, Mike B., Dennis, Janet and Phoenix, my sister Cindi and her boyfriend John, Walt and his family Jamie – Jimmy – Cassie –Dani – and their two friends, Nick, Chris, and the late arriving Jeff Bedol.

Food was more than plentiful. Dan brought pizza, Kevin chicken, Janet brought a potato dish with the rest using the grill. Nick really went over the top with everything he brought especially the perked coffee which flowed. Thank you Nick.

The best part besides everyone who was there, no ranger showed up to check on us. We stayed late, very late and just sat back and enjoyed conversation and the fire.

OH I almost forget what I posted on Facebook the night before -
The Winter Cookout/Freezefest will have a new event. 9 pm sharp the bread toss will commence. Epic battle between attendees and bread tossing. Who will survive? The winner we will be sure to toast! 
Everyone wondered what the hey did it mean? Well what would you do with five loaves of bread that aren’t up to human consumption standards? Why you bring it to the Freeze Fest and toss it. And you thought only salad could be tossed. What a hoot that was. Too bad the photos of the epic bread toss didn’t turn out but those who were there will verify it happened. Then again they may deny it.

Oh well, we had fun and lots of it. Till next time….

Gotta Go-Go!