We planned our trip to Mesa, Arizona to coincide with a quilt show, and choose the RV park because friends were staying there for the winter. We first thought we would be lazing by the pool most of the day enjoying the warm weather. After some research, we realized there was hiking and mountain biking in the nearby mountains, so although we sat by the pool everyday, we were also very active.
We stayed at Mesa Regal, a RV resort of over 2000 units. Many of the spaces are filled with park model mobile homes with attached “Arizona rooms,” with some spaces for coaches and fifth-wheels. Most residents stay for six months or more, but they have room for short-term visitors as well. Once we navigated the narrow roads and were backed into our site, we were glad we were staying put for a while. The park was a full-scale resort, with large pools in two locations, a restaurant and bar, tennis club, and various activity rooms including a quilting room. It was a very active 55+ community with a full schedule of activities to partake in. We enjoyed sitting by the pool, and if we had been there longer, Wendy would have joined the quilt group that has over 150 members.
The Arizona Quilters Guild annual show “Quilt Arizona!” was at the Mesa Convention Centre, about a 20 minute drive from the RV resort. Wendy was there most of one day; taking in a lecture and having fun perusing the various merchant tables for interesting products and bargains. The quilt below didn’t win any awards, but it is a good example of a quilt in southwest colours. (Finding Turquoise in the Desert by M. Nowacki).
We bought the warthog-like sculpture, (maybe it is a javelina?) at the Mesa Marketplace Swap Meet, which is less of a swap meet nowadays and more of an open-air market with about 900 merchants. It was a “recreational shopping” experience.
There was a great birding area within 15 minutes of our RV park: The Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch. Any water in the desert brings birds, and we had a productive morning observing forty-one species, including three that were new to us. Doug got a good photo of a Curve-billed thrasher on its nest in the Sagura cactus. The cacti grove (if you can call it a grove) was at the entrance to the riparian preserve.
We saw more cacti on our hikes. We hiked to the ridge above the popular Wind Cave in Usery Mountain State Park.
The Saguaros were also magnificent on the “Hieroglyphics trail.” The easy trail led to ancient Anasazi petroglyphs (erroneously named hieroglyphics). The feature photo on this blog (you’ll see it if you view the blog on your browser) is a view of the Superstition Mountains taken from the trail.
We also rode our mountain bikes through the cacti on the Hawes loop. Luckily the trail was wide enough that we didn’t get too close to any thorns. The trail was really nice, not very sandy or rocky.
Our next stop was to Boulder City, Nevada. It turned out that there was another quilt show nearby! The Desert Quilters hosted their annual quilt show, “Quilt Las Vegas” in the Henderson Convention Centre, about a half hour from the Canyon Trail RV park where we were staying. So, our morning started with a short mountain bike ride on the Bootleg Canyon trails that we rode to right from our trailer. A quick shower, and Doug dropped Wendy off at the quilt show. There were many amazing quilts, but we chose to post a picture of a “Leaf Me alone to Quilt” because the maker (M. McNelley) had bought the pattern on her trip to Canada.
To top off the day, we saw a sign for a beer festival; so we had to check it out. It was in the city park in the middle of Boulder City. There was a live band, and beer tasting tents and food trucks ringed the park. The photo below shows only a small section of the crowd. Doug enjoyed his sample of amber ale from “Rickety Cricket” a brewery out of Kingman, AZ.
We were also only minutes away from the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. (You can check out our post from April 2017 to see our photos from our visit last year.) This year, we saw the same number of species (31), although there were differences. We saw our first Black-crowned night heron. It is a stocky, large-headed heron that rarely extends its neck. The Yellow-headed blackbirds were loud and showing off.
We also got a good look at a family of Double-crested cormorants.
And of course, we had to visit our favourite Nevada brew-pub, Boulder Dam Brewing. It’s a block away from this eclectic antique shop.
Next stop: St. George area, Utah.