Day 160 – 2/6/21 Superstition Mountains and Old Town Scottsdale

What a nice day checking out Superstition Mountains and walking around Old Town Scottsdale.

It was another “colder” morning and the furnace ran quite a bit, but as we woke up around 7:30, the sun was out and it would be warming up soon.  I got one of the space heaters going to make it cozy quick.

Carol and I were up at the same time, and as we were by the kitchen getting things started Bella also woke up.  I made coffee and sat here to write, and caught something rare… Bella and Carol together on a Saturday before 8am hahahaha 🙂

We took our time this morning.  Bella, Bia and Carol on their phones and slowly working on having breakfast and changing.  I worked on writing a post until about 9, then just left it unfinished so we could get moving otherwise it’d take all morning to get ready.  Carol also cut up some apples to go.  We all got ready, loaded up the truck, I got the hiking shoes in there as we are going on some hikes, but we are leaving with tennis shoes on, and all but Carol are also bringing flip flops.  I also took the garbage out to the dump, and I have to say the regular garbage was super stinky.  Carol puts the baggies with Maggie’s poop in there, and with the heat here it’s baked in there and stinks like crazy.  yikes.  Carol needs a new plan cause that’s not working hahahaha.  She needs a bag just for that crap. Pun intended!  Maggie was staying behind, so we left windows open and a fan going.

Our goal today was to check out Superstition Mountains, so I picked the Goldfield Ghost Town as our first stop, since it’s the first attraction on the way to the mountain.  Our drive there was pretty much a straight shot from the campground going east.  I stopped on the way to fill up the truck and was happy to pay $2.35 per gallon, lowest I paid this year so far.  The drive there was easy and we got there in about 35 minutes.  It was a beautiful day, so we were looking forward to seeing some cool stuff.  As we got close, Carol was talking to her sister and enjoying the views of all the cactus.  We pulled in to the Goldfield Ghost Town and drove in, but we didn’t stop.  It looks interesting, but there were lots of cars, and seemed to be more like shops and stuff like that, nothing interesting enough for Carol to want to hang up and go see.  So, I put the next place in the GPS, the Lost Duthchman State Park.

The trails I had written down that were supposedly great in the area are in this park.  When we pulled in, there were some rangers by the entrance with a sign showing the parking lot was full, and making people turn around.  They were not letting people wait in line, and instead made you keep driving out, so there would not be lines forming outside on the road.  Well, that was disappointing, and kind of screwed up the rest of the plan hahahahaha.  I didn’t really have any trails beyond that point, so we just went sight seeing from there and drove into the mountain range on Hwy 88.

As we drove in, there was a sign that the road was closed so many miles ahead, so we said we’d go as far as we could and then just turn around.  Driving through was very cool.  It’s an easy drive that gets you up and down the mountain range, into canyons, and with plenty of cactus to see around.  Carol loved just watching all the different shapes they formed, and kept saying “look, those two are hugging each other” or “that one looks like it’s dancing”.  She said each cactus had its own character. :). It was cool to see that for sure.  We made a stop at the Canyon Lake Overlook stop and I got out to take some pics.  It is a very nice view of this lake formed within the canyon.  Very cool area. 

Then we got to the Canyon Lake area, and I drove into the parking area so we could use restrooms.  Very nice views from down there, it is a very nice lake and I assumed at that point it must be packed in warmer days.  From there, we continued the drive a little more towards Tortilla Flat.

Tortilla Flat was interesting!  I didn’t think of it much, but it’s actually it’s own town-ish, with its own post office and all, yet, it’s basically just that one street with a few businesses and mainly a bar and restaurant.  As we drove in, a group of 10 or so Dodge Vipers were pulling in and parking.  Then a group of bikers were arriving as well, with maybe 15-20 of them.  We drove to the end of the street and turned around.  I even said to Carol, if it was lunch time, I would not mind stopping there, seemed like an interesting spot with very interesting people watching :).  But, it was like 11:30 yet, so we turned around.  As we turned around a van pulled up near me and the guy asked if we were from Wisconsin :). They were from Madison.  The buildings there looked very “western” movies style, like what the saloons look like, and even the surrounding area with all the dry dirt and cactus. 

As we drove out, more bikers were arriving.  Then more sports cars, a big group of Camaros were arriving, and the further we drove away, the move traffic was going in.  Wow.  That place was going to be packed within a few minutes.  I was actually glad we didn’t stop there, because it is likely a fun, yet chaotic place and it was going to be crazy busy.  There was lots of traffic going that way pretty much the rest of our drive out.  We also saw lots of people with boats going to the lake as the day was warming up more, so the area was getting busy.  Also, as we drove back and were passing the overlook area we had stopped at on the way in, Carol spotted a car down the hill on our right (opposite from the lake) where people were camping or hanging out, and somehow they managed to get a big fire out of control.  The fire they had kept getting bigger, and we could just see those folks running around back and forth and the fire just getting bigger.  We actually were stopped in the middle of the road watching it for a few seconds, the car behind us was stopped too.  We got moving when a group of bikers lined up behind.  Wow.  It was crazy to see how the fire escalated quickly.  I hope they got it under control. 

We wanted to make sure it got reported but had no cell service there, so we did so when we could.  As we drove through the Lost Dutchman park entrance again we turned in, and the line was moving, but…. Right when it was our turn, they closed again as they were full.  Crap.  Carol reported the fire to the guy, and said she didn’t want to try again, so we’ll come back on Monday.  We continued our way out of there and drove towards Old Downtown Scottsdale.

The drive there was another 30 minutes, and by time we were close everyone was hungry.  I had asked Carol to pick a place to eat, but she didn’t and said I could just go anywhere.  I opened the GPS and very quickly scanned the options and saw one that called my attention, saw lots of stars, and clicked on it, and we ended up going to Toca Madero (by the mall).  Since we were at the mall, parking was easy and I’m glad their structure max height was 7ft, so no problem for us.  As we drove in, Carol commented that the restaurants around looked more high end, which they did.  We went to Toca Madero anyway, and as we got to the door, the place looked packed inside. 

The area right by the door has an open roof structure, so it’s kind of open air.  Carol went inside to see if we could get seated, and they did have one table for us.  Carol then commented she thought it’d be very expensive.  We got seated, and Bia immediately said she was not feeling comfortable there as there were too many people.  We agreed with her, but ended up staying anyway.  The place was full, and while the tables were far enough apart, it still didn’t give us a good feeling.  The open air space made it better, but still was not comfortable, and we really should have left, but we’ll make sure to avoid this kind of place in the future.  The place was very nice, it’s a super trendy brunch place, with lots of cool special drinks.  The food is actually reasonably priced, but the drinks are actually expensive.  My huevos rancheros were awesome, best I ever had, and were $15.  Carol got a fancy drink and that drink was $16.  Just to give you an idea.  The place was full of young people, early 20s was the main crowd.  All super dressed up, girls full of make up, etc.  Carol had a great meal and drink.  I loved my food and beer.  Bia loved her tres leches French toast… and Bella… well, Bella decided she’s going to start being a vegetarian, or at least try to avoid eating any meat (any kind of animal, or anything that would turn into an animal, so eggs too).  She wanted to do it there, and the menu didn’t have much for her, so she ended up getting a fruit bowl.  The fruit bowl looked beautiful, but she barely touched it.  Bia shared a piece of her French toast with her and she ate it.  Anyway.   Bottomline, great food, really nice place, reasonably priced food, very expensive drinks.

Now, what’s crazy for us is how Arizona is so relaxed with COVID.  Places require a mask to go in, but don’t quite enforce.  People don’t care to use masks.  Places are all packed with people, and most not wearing masks.  It’s like the pandemic didn’t hit here.  After we left the restaurant, we went to Old Downtown to walk around a bit, and we saw a lot of people on the streets with no mask.  We saw a lot of people packing tiny bars, and no-one inside had masks on.  Just crazy.  We walked around a block there mainly for the girls to see how downtown was.  Carol looked at a store or two, and we decided to go back home.  We have been very careful with being safe, wearing masks, etc.  I don’t like that we were in that restaurant today, even with the distance and open air, it was too many people.  We had masks on at our table for some of the time, but still.  Now, what we saw downtown was just insane.  People just not being careful at all, bars packed with people in small spaces, like everything is normal out there.  Not for us.

We drove back, I stopped at a gas station to get some beer to try, and were back within 30 minutes.  Quick and easy drive.  After we got back, the girls started playing.  They changed to go to the pool and were playing with bubbles in front of our site for a while.  Carol and I were talking to Bob and Judy, and we talked to them for like 4 hours or more.  As we talked to them, we also took the kids to the pool and they had a nice time there.  Only one other kid at the pool for some time, then they had it all to themselves.  Also, some lady asked for Carol’s help to find the laundry room, she was lost and had put her clothes there but could not remember how to get there.  When the girls were done, Carol helped them with showers, and I continued talking to Bob and Judy.  Then, we went back to the trailer, got something to eat, got things ready for the night, the girls finished getting ready, and we talked to Bob and Judy for a while more.  Carol put a movie for the girls, and then another one.  The girls talked to Bob and Judy as well, and it was nice that we all caught up and chatted for a long time.  After we hung up, we continued watching some TV, got the kids to get ready for bed, and all went to bed before 11.

We had a nice day checking out Superstition Mountains, going to Old Town Scottsdale, and then catching up with Judy and Bob.

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