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Old 09-14-2009, 01:43 PM   #21
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Trying to be rational, our main interest in escaping the valley in Oregon in the winter is to get some sunshine
Have you considered Yuma, AZ? It is a snowbird community with the absolute best late fall, winter and spring weather in the country. Sunshine all day, every day with temps in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Good air quality. Get a house on acreage just outside the city on the county roads for good dark night sky but still be only minutes from all major shopping (Sam's Club though, no Costco). About 150K-200K population with extremely cheap housing and all the major shopping you need. Easy access to gorgeous El Golfo Mexico, close to San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix. My guess is you know about Yuma as a majority of our snowbirds come from the northwest.

The big downfall for Yuma in my opinion is the scenery. It is quite bland with a lack of greenery, cactus, etc compared to places like Tucson where I am originally from.
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:23 AM   #22
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Woke in Wickenburg today - I love America! We left 29 Palms after lunch yesterday and stopped at the end of the driveway to decide on our course - decided against Laughlin and instead headed for Parker. Passed the cell phone tower cunningly disguised as a palm tree - really! - a 150' tall palm tree!, and the sign that advises that the next services are 125 miles away. They mean it. Highway 62 runs along the Joshua tree national park for quite away, but someone must own the remainder of the land. Whoever it is, they don't believe in development. you drive for tens and twenties of miles without seeing a house or a shed or a fence - nothing but the road and nature. This is the place to dump the bodies. A small problem might be that if the vultures and the critters don't scatter the remains they may turn into modern day Mummies of the Urumchi. Don't think dehydration would take long out there. Did pass one brave cyclist - go thou and good fortune, hope he had a pack full of water and tube patches, 'cause there's no cell service for most of that 125 miles.
People get a little loopy after a while. There used the be a town out there called Rice 10 or 40 years ago - nothing left but a chimney and some debris now. for several mile before and after Rice the train tracks run along the road. The railroad used a mix of black and white rocks as ballast and for miles and uninterrupted miles people have stopped in the middle of the desert to smooth the brown earthen bank below the rail bed and spell out their names or initials. Think of it - maybe five miles of nothing but names done in varying styles and with more or less skill - there must be thousands of people represented, and they all pulled over in the middle of gawdforsaken nowhere to take the time for that project. Rice used to be near the site of the Shoetree - something I visited a few times. The Shoetree is gone now, but there is a mute homage to it in Rice:
">

There is also a less artistic but more popular Shoefence nearby:

">

Then there's this bit of oddness:

">
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:07 PM   #23
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After several hours of driving we came to a T in the road known as Hope. Several houses and a really nicely maintained little church called - what else - The Little Church of Hope. Hope also has a well built and done entrance/exit sign done by a marketing genius. The exit sign is slyly done to cause most anyone to turn back to town for another look:





Finally made it to Parker, which straddles the Colorado river below the Parker dam, about 25 miles below the town of Lake Havasu. Parker is BEE-oo-ti-full! Super clear river water and red and purple cliffs climbing abruptly up from the river. Houses and trailers all along the river, snowbird city. Stopped at one place and talked with the manager, a 12 year veteran who told us that people were only allowed to stay 5 months out of the year, so 3 days/week or November/March. Space rental was $425/$450/month, all utilities but electricity provided. She said that there were some mobiles there that could probably be bought for the back rent due. Interesting. All the few small businesses were on the Az side, anything of any consequence meant a trip to Lake Havasu. Mostly the businesses seemed to be selling beer and maybe playing cards. Boat city. The manager was a rich wildflower honey tan over every visible spot on her body - backs of knees, inside of upper arms, under her chin. It was the kind of tan that made me believe there weren't two dots or a sliver of white to be found - any white would have shown so brightly in contrast the light would have kept her up at night. A toasty 105 degrees, but a dry heat and a river to cool off in - pretty darn nice:







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Old 09-19-2009, 06:18 AM   #24
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Great trip!

If you're in the area, swing by Oatman.

Oatman, Arizona
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:10 AM   #25
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Sheesh man be careful you don't end up starring in The Hills Have Eyes 3.

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Old 09-20-2009, 12:15 AM   #26
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Not liable to hit Oatman - we did Parker down 72 to Hope, then 60 and Salome, Wenden, and Aguila to Wickenburg. It was a neat trip - blowing through little towns where there was a dog laying out front of a gas station by the road, people hanging out in chairs catching the slightly less warm evening air. Passed a restaurant advertising "bad food, lousy service". Liked Wickeburg a lot, nice small town feel. Saw an old shambles of a house there, partially rock, funky rusty metal roof, bundle of snakes wiring - but a great view out the back that couldn't be compromised. $80k. Went down to Buckeye and saw a house maybe built in 2006 - very decent shape inside, needed some cleaning, but nothing major - $60K. No view though, and major power supply lines coming right across the front of the house - that didn't pass muster with the girl. electro-magnetic oogies would get all over us. Left Buckeye and went through Goodyear and the Estrella area. Nice homes there that just kinda screamed "expensive"! Spent an hour or so crossing Phoenix at 5-6PM. That was ust say the smog I expected wasn't in evidence. Stayed in Apache Junction and today we spent time in Gold Creek - looked at a $575K place with 4 acres and windows that were filled with mountain views - nice nice nice - my reading here allowed me to spot the counters as quartz though. Must say that looking at a place like that sure does color the view of the $77 - $140 places. Gold Creek is kind of odd - a little place in terms of population, not much in the way of real business. Awful nice hills around the place for those houses that take advantage of them. Went up to Superior, home of a copper mine currently out of business. Town is turning into a ghost town real fast - lots of little falling down shanties. Also really good homemade Mexican food that is worth the drive. Tomorrow we will probably head down toward Tucsan and Green Valley and the mighty metropolis of Tupac... Have found that we are not going to be living an a comfortable modern home in a new housing development - just not our style.
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:30 AM   #27
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Hope also has a well built and done entrance/exit sign done by a marketing genius.
Uh-oh. I hope youbet doesn't see this.
Pet Peeves...
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:47 AM   #28
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It's the irritation that brings 'em back.

I have to post the pic I took today for another of our members - 15% discount for customers under the age of 55! Who was it that had that bug - Fuego? Too much wine tonight - between the iffy wireless connection and my fumble fingers i keep deleting hard crafted chunks of writing.
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:47 AM   #29
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Phoenix has winter smog, I forget why exactly, something to do with cold air trapping what's below it.

Hey I'm not sure if you've left the area yet but if you're near Apache Junction and want a beautiful drive go drive the road that goes along the Salt River lakes Saguaro, Apache, Canyon, and Roosevelt. It's absolutely beautiful desert scenery and an impressive dam at Roosevelt. You can get there either from AJ or from the other side by going North of Globe.

Well worth the trip, trust me.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:51 AM   #30
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Looked at the time it would take to go up along the river to Roosevelt Dam - figured a minimum of 5 hours there and back, so opted out of it - can well imagine its beautiful just judging by the scenery around Superior on the way toward Globe! We did check out Carefree and Cave Creek a bit. Carefree was, ahh, maybe comfortable for Rodeo Drive denizens worn out by the daily drudgery of counting their dollars by the $10k bundle. Holy Cwap! Dream house after dream house - I'm such a sucker for big rocks and houses built into, around, and over them:

For reasons that escape me i can't post pic links now - so try this link for some killer hutments with big rocks:

Az Trip 9 2009 pictures by calmloki - Photobucket




Went by a real estate office and peered at the ads. looked like a million five and ten times that amount would get a person into the neighborhood. Whew! Do admire pretty places though! We went around the hill and on the other side of the mountain is Cave Creek. Smaller rocks, lots of bikers, kind of a frontier town feel. I was still in shock from seeing that many homes holding that many high dollar people and feeling pretty small potatos so we headed south. Went through some of Queen Creek - a lot of nice new communities but pretty much all flat land. Ended up in Tucson tonight and will see what this area holds - so far we're in about the most dive like area we've seen - think this Best Western is on the corner of hookerville and druggy. Food and drinks were good and inexpensive though...
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:37 PM   #31
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Whew. Back in 29 Palms Ca today. Our trip through Arizona left us happy and confused. It's kind of like houses - there are lots of styles I like, but chosing just one to live in is tough. We had gone into Tucson in the dark of night and entered via a pretty rough looking area - not a good introduction to the town. After spending a few fast days in the area I'm pleased to report that our impressions improved greatly. Nice mix of old stuff with the new, like this weathered neon sign on a good looking set of apartments:


We looked at 6 or so places in the north part of the town, up near the hills - I need to figure out what places are worth and am baffled by valuation around our own home town, much less in a different state. Saw some places in the $350k area that appealed:

<A href="http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e73/calmloki/Az%20Trip%209%202009/aztripcanon37.jpg" target=_blank>

<A href="http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e73/calmloki/Az%20Trip%209%202009/aztripcanon45.jpg" target=_blank>

At that kind of money we would have to really love it - thats about $125k more than i figure the house we totally redid for ourselves is worth - including the heated and finished and plumbed separate garage/studio. Of course we don't have a view...

We do like Saltillo tiles - the first house the gal and I did together got Saltillos in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. The real ones are soft and lumpy and prone to scratching but they sure feel good underfoot.

Thing is, the Wickenburg hut had appeal as well:

<A href="http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e73/calmloki/Az%20Trip%209%202009/aztripiphone35.jpg" target=_blank>

We are big fans of real things - so many of the newer houses down here look real, but you could kick a hole through the outside walls and walk right in - that stucco finish is thin and the substrate is nothing sturdy. The Wickenburg rock house is two stories, built against a high river bank wall and looks across the riverbed. Not real sure I want to take on doing another house. Another thought is to buy land and build new - when we worked on our house it was amazing how much easier it was to build a new garage/studio as opposed to rebuilding the existing house. Trick was to incorporate enough old materials to make it feel like it had some history.

We left Tucson and went down through the Green Valley area - which really is! Pecan orchards and new home devlopments - CityData stats for the area are pretty amazing, from memory, something like 5% of the households had kids under the age of 18, racial makeup is about 95% white. Could be that the weather and scenery and lack of jobs mean mostly old white guys are the likeliest residents. Nice place, but seemed insulated - Tubac, a little art community, was fun though:

<A href="http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e73/calmloki/Az%20Trip%209%202009/aztripcanon70.jpg" target=_blank>

It's still summer and the dead season down there, so the place was pretty devoid of people - nice time to visit - this shop had a sign on the door saying if no one was home to just put money for purchases through the mail slot, remembering the 6.6% sales tax. Bet it worked out pretty well for them - my gal kept finding just one more little thing, which meant i kept dropping dollars through the slot and rounding up - couldn't see pouring a handfull of change through the door!

We then went back up to Tucson, looked at a couple more places, and headed for Yuma to spend the night. As Bluestreak said, great weather and lots of retired folks - motorhome and trailerpark city! Didn't look at any places there - it would be more convenient for 29 Palms trips, but the Parker area would be even better though more expensive. Saw these healthy and handsome dinkeys in the Yuma Proving Grounds on our way up north:



They were in outstanding condition - dodging bombs and eating cactus pads must agree with them. They and 4 coyotes were the only wildlife we saw on the trip other than birds and the odd lizard. Saw some primitive desert intaglio south of Parker - they don't know how old they are - maybe 400-2000 years is the guess. Out on flat little mesas the surface ends up almost paved with little rocks that are sun blackened (my guess is that years of dust keeps blowing away exposing the rocks, which prevent further dirt from disappearing). Someone, sometime, moved the black rocks to create pictures of people, animals, and serpents maybe a hundred feet long - they were re-discovered in 1931 by a pilot flying overhead. Placards suggest that the figures may indicate the creator and blabla Indian spiritualism - but i figure its just early taggers at work.

Found that only about 12.5% of Arizona is in private hands - the Indians hold a bunch of land, the Feds own a bunch, and when Az became a state the feds ceded 10 million acres to the state. I understand that the state stills owns about 9.5 million acres and sells off land to fund projects, primarily education related. Interesting state - but do we want to live here full time? The jury is still out - so far people are pretty much great where ever we've gone, so it's mostly just the weather and country we want to live in.
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:36 PM   #32
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Back to Oregon and had to repost to get the pic links working:

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Whew. Back in 29 Palms Ca today. Our trip through Arizona left us happy and confused. It's kind of like houses - there are lots of styles I like, but chosing just one to live in is tough. We had gone into Tucson in the dark of night and entered via a pretty rough looking area - not a good introduction to the town. After spending a few fast days in the area I'm pleased to report that our impressions improved greatly. Nice mix of old stuff with the new, like this weathered neon sign on a good looking set of apartments:


We looked at 6 or so places in the north part of the town, up near the hills - I need to figure out what places are worth and am baffled by valuation around our own home town, much less in a different state. Saw some places in the $350k area that appealed:





At that kind of money we would have to really love it - that's about $125k more than i figure the house we totally redid for ourselves is worth - including the heated and finished and plumbed separate garage/studio. Of course we don't have a view...

We do like Saltillo tiles - the first house the gal and I did together got Saltillos in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. The real ones are soft and lumpy and prone to scratching but they sure feel good underfoot.

Thing is, the Wickenburg hut had appeal as well:


We are big fans of real things - so many of the newer houses down here look real, but you could kick a hole through the outside walls and walk right in - that stucco finish is thin and the substrate is nothing sturdy. The Wickenburg rock house is two stories, built against a high river bank wall and looks across the riverbed. Not real sure I want to take on doing another house. Another thought is to buy land and build new - when we worked on our house it was amazing how much easier it was to build a new garage/studio as opposed to rebuilding the existing house. Trick was to incorporate enough old materials to make it feel like it had some history.

We left Tucson and went down through the Green Valley area - which really is! Pecan orchards and new home devlopments - CityData stats for the area are pretty amazing, from memory, something like 5% of the households had kids under the age of 18, racial makeup is about 95% white. Could be that the weather and scenery and lack of jobs mean mostly old white guys are the likeliest residents. Nice place, but seemed insulated - Tubac, a little art community, was fun though:



It's still summer and the dead season down there, so the place was pretty devoid of people - nice time to visit - this shop had a sign on the door saying if no one was home to just put money for purchases through the mail slot, remembering the 6.6% sales tax. Bet it worked out pretty well for them - my gal kept finding just one more little thing, which meant i kept dropping dollars through the slot and rounding up - couldn't see pouring a handfull of change through the door!

We then went back up to Tucson, looked at a couple more places, and headed for Yuma to spend the night. As Bluestreak said, great weather and lots of retired folks - motorhome and trailerpark city! Didn't look at any places there - it would be more convenient for 29 Palms trips, but the Parker area would be even better though more expensive. Saw these healthy and handsome dinkeys in the Yuma Proving Grounds on our way up north:



They were in outstanding condition - dodging bombs and eating cactus pads must agree with them. They and 4 coyotes were the only wildlife we saw on the trip other than birds and the odd lizard. Saw some primitive desert intaglio near Blythe south of Parker - they don't know how old they are - maybe 400-2000 years is the guess. Out on flat little mesas the surface ends up almost paved with little rocks that are sun blackened (my guess is that years of dust keeps blowing away exposing the rocks, which prevent further dirt from disappearing). Someone, sometime, moved the black rocks to create pictures of people, animals, and serpents maybe a hundred feet long - they were re-discovered in 1931 by a pilot flying overhead. Placards suggest that the figures may indicate the creator and blabla Indian spiritualism - but i figure its just early taggers at work.

Found that only about 12.5% of Arizona is in private hands - the Indians hold a bunch of land, the Feds own a bunch, and when Az became a state the feds ceded 10 million acres to the state. I understand that the state stills owns about 9.5 million acres and sells off land to fund projects, primarily education related. Interesting state - but do we want to live here full time? The jury is still out - so far people are pretty much great where ever we've gone, so it's mostly just the weather and country we want to live in.
The rattlesnake hasn't reappeared in 29, but this fuzzy spider was out walking around last night - maybe 3 1/2" across or longer when he got in a hurry - I was surprised to feel a spider with weight as i kept turning him around and playing with him with a bit of palm frond. Who's a fuzzy wuzzy widdle spider?

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Old 09-27-2009, 07:50 AM   #33
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That sounds like a real cool trip calmoki, thanks for sharing everything.
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:03 PM   #34
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Just another handsome Carefree tile roof - and me figuring out why the machine wants to post double images.
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Moved to Tucson
Old 09-28-2009, 12:11 AM   #35
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Moved to Tucson

We moved from Connecticut to Tucson AZ about 4 years ago. Tucson area is higher elevation than Phoenix and is always a bit cooler. A 10deg difference in temperature is significant for sure... especially in the summer. And the evenings cool down quite nicely in Tucson.

Tucson has two Costcos and is a lot easier to drive around than Phoenix. Being a university town, Tucson has a more relaxed, diverse and liberal feel to it than Phoenix. I'd recommend Tucson over Phoenix any day.
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