Thursday, December 12, 2019

Lost Dutchman visit

Sunday, December 8
We left Arizona City for the short drive up to Lost Dutchman State Park just east of Apache junction on the edge of Phoenix. We took two lane highways and therefore stayed away from the very busy Interstates.

Our site at High Chaparral RV Park in Arizona City.

Office and Clubroom

The clubroom.

Pool.....of course.

Laundry in front, library in back.


Interstate 10. Picacho Peak in the distance.

The Superstition Mountains.

Our site, 125.

I somehow mistakenly thought we had a power and water site but found out that wasn't the case. I should have known because this is the exact same site (125) that we had two years ago when we were here. Oh well, we got set up, filled my new water bladder with water and transferred it to the trailer. I dug out our new generator and charged the two 6 volt batteries and we were good to go! I would have come with a full fresh water tank and fully charged batteries but the issues were easily overcome.

Monday, December 9
A wet and gloomy day to start. No point in getting the solar panels set up just yet so we used the generator to top off the batteries.

The clouds add some spookiness to the Superstions.

The trails were calling me so you do what you do when in the Superstition Mountains, you get up close and personal. I headed up toward the Praying Hands formation. I hadn't been up this far before and as I got further the trail became less well defined. I was basically in a cloud and the rocks were getting a bit slippery. I decided I had gone far enough and made my way back down. It was about a four mile round trip.

The Praying hands (open).

The Praying Hands (closed)

Some thunderstorms on the horizon.

Rain in the valley

The full moon behind some clouds. the pink tinge in the clouds is from the sunset behind me. Very cool.

Tuesday, December 10
We took the beautiful drive up to Tortilla Flats. Not much traffic today so we took it nice and slow and enjoyed the scenery. Tortilla Flats is the location of the last stage coach stop on the Apache Trail. It's kind of touristy now but a great spot to stop if you are hungry or thirsty or have a few bucks to drop on souvenirs. We had a cup of ice cream and headed back toward Lost Dutchman. We had hoped to travel the entire Apache Trail this year but they have had some major rain storms in this area a while back and the road is closed for repairs at Tortilla Flats. Just one reason to come back this way again.

The Dolly paddle boat on Canyon Lake

This cool roadster followed us to Tortilla Flats.

Lots of road repairs after some water washouts.

The end of the road for now. There are some road washouts further along the road.

Tortilla Flats is a fun place to spend a few hours.

The last guy to spit on the sidewalk.

We got all cleaned up and went into Mesa to the Organ Stop Pizza. Our friends Ray and Deb (Kastle's Journey) were staying at Lost Dutchman as well and we enjoyed a wonderful time with them. We stopped back at their motorhome for a quick nightcap and a delicious piece (or two) of Deb's shortbread. Thanks for the great evening you guys!!

Deb, Ray, Cheryl and Dave. A great time with good friends.

The beautiful Wurlitzer organ. Many of the pipes are shown in the windows.

The organist played both National anthems.

Notice the colors in the windows kept changing. Also notice the organ console (and the organist) rotate. It also descends and raises.

Some of the sound is generated from the musical instruments mounted in front of the windows. All controlled by the organist.

Our organist tonight was Brett Valiant. He has played this organ since 2015.

These 'bellows' are called tremulators and are used to control the pitch of the pipework creating a rich vibrato sound that we are familiar with in an organ.

Just some of the 6000 pipes.

These trumpets were on the wall behind us. They sounded great.

Not only was the pizza very good, the main attraction is really the organ. You can read all the details here, but to summarize........the organ is a Wurlitzer that was built in the late 1920's. It has been added to and improved throughout the years and currently has 6000 pipes. It has the largest console of any Wurlitzer organ ever built. It is the largest Wurlitzer Theater organ in the world and is the largest theater pipe organ to ever be assembled. The wind used to operate the organ is generated in a separate building. The air is cooled and filtered. The three blowers are capable of 14,000 cubic feet of air delivery per minute! Wow! What a sound. The organist was very good. He never used music sheets and he played a wide variety of music, including requests.

Wednesday, December 11
We headed off on a short road trip toward the Salt River just to the north of Lost Dutchman. We got as far as Saguaro Lake which is a reservoir on the Salt River. We stopped at a few spots on the way to and from hoping to spot some of the Salt River horses. These are wild horses that live in the area. Cheryl thought she spotted one near the river but we didn't get a picture.

Saguaro Lake Marina.

A pretty Phainopepla.

When you stay at Lost Dutchman you really don't want to drift too far away so back we went to enjoy the views. Ray and Deb came over for Happy Hour (or two) and we had another great chat with them.
Ray is a great photographer so we usually talk ISO, f-stops and shutter speeds while trying to convince the girls we really, really, REALLY need new cameras!!

A rose between two thorns! Cheryl, Ray and Deb. Deb came bearing gifts!!

A golden late afternoon light on the Superstition Mountains.

The moon rising.

We got some nice sunset shots, but one place we wanted to visit was Goldfields at night. Goldfields is a tourist stop about a mile or so down the road. They have some unique attractions like a train ride, gold mine tour, museum, and a bar and restaurant. Cheryl and I went over after dark to see if we could get some night shots of the place. The full moon was out and it added to the spookiness of the place.

The old hoist at Goldfields

The full moon poking out behind the building.

The light in the window is the reflection of the moon on the window glass.

So that's it for the Lost Dutchman State Park for this trip. Nope we never found any gold, but the views were more than golden!
Next stop is Yuma Lakes!

....and that was Our View From Here!