Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 53- Dec. 27th- Golfing +

If you come to Arizona in the winter, there is one thing you MUST do...

Play golf!!!

Before I get into the interesting and fun events today, I need to prep you...

If you haven't gotten the idea yet, my dad is a very practical person and has zero care in the world what others think of him. He really could teach everyone a lesson in being comfortable with who you are. As a true engineer, he does everything because of function, not for looks!!!

So when he said he had purchased a set of clubs for me, my mind flashed back to a time years ago when my mom asked him to play in a twilight golf tournament with her.

This tournament was to be held at the Oregon Golf Club, where a membership was $30,000 back in the mid 90's and you were an outcast if you didn't drive a Jaguar, Mercedes, or BMW.

My mom arrived in her Jaguar early to get them signed in, and was dressed to perfection with a matching designer golf bag and a very expensive set of clubs.

My dad on the other hand, came whizzing through the large ornate gate in his Buick, five minutes before T-off. Clearly, not enough time for my mom to touch him up. He came through the door of the pro shop with his shirt only tucked in in spots because he would take his hands once in front and once in back and just push the shirt straight down. Any part of the shirt that was not under his hand was still sticking out.

As they walked out to the first T, he said to my mom, "I got a new set of clubs on the way here and it has every club I could possibly need."

"Oh, really! Where did you get these clubs?"


"You must be kidding me!!"

"I got a whole set and didn't even spend $30, including the new bag! Great deal, huh!!"

Once on the first T, she could hear the giggles from the other players on their team as my dad whipped out his driver with the $2.99 price tag from Goodwill still pasted on the head. His new set of clubs were a mismatched set of original woods and irons from probably the 70's.

The other men laughed and joked but I'll have you know, he played the best game of golf he has ever played and they won the tournament!! Guess who was laughing then!!

So that brings us to present day...

As we pulled out of the driveway, my dad said, "We're off on a swirl of snail sweat!!"

I smiled as I remembered him saying that when we were kids.

"Yes, we are! Let's have some fun."

Once at the course, he pulled a set of clubs that he had purchased for me, out of the trunk. I had to giggle as I saw the Goodwill price tags pasted on the heads of all the clubs.

Just in case you aren't up to speed, the best way to fit in at the country club is leave the price tag on your bag and clubs...

Now that we are setting the fashion trend, let's play some golf...

I started off the game with the $1.99 driver, but that only led me to the cactus...

Ooooo... Eeeeks...

and the sand trap...

but dad, with his $2.99 driver hit perfectly and sank the ball with ease...

When I went to putt on the first hole, I whipped out the putter only to find it was a left-handed club. Hmm...

"Oh." My dad said. "How did I get a left-handed one? Goodness, it was supposed to be a right-handed set. I picked each club separately."

I replied, "Who knows. I'll use yours."

And, with that, I sank a hole in 10. Let's see, if I hit ten shots per hole and there are 9 holes, I will get one heck of a lot of upper body exercise!!

So I think I will up my game for the second hole and use the $3.99 driver...

WOO HOO!! SUCCESS!!! My new favorite club!! I have no clue what number it is, but it works better than the $1.99 one!!!

Look at that beautiful shot...

Oh, goodness, come hole 5, we were ready for a bathroom and snack break...

Every now and then, there was a glimpse of glory, but for the most part, hole 6, 7 and 8 brought me to really get to know the cactus and brown grass in the rough, but hole 9 was looking promising for both of us...

I was putting for bogie and my dad was putting for par!! Not bad, huh!?!

He got it!!!

And so did I!!!!

Thank goodness this was only and "executive course" and had 9 holes. We were exhausted and sweating. Who came up with that term, "exeuctive" for a course that is made for people that stink at golf anyway? I don't know about you, but I would not describe my golf game as "executive!"

It was time for a good nap and search for what to do this afternoon.

When the alarm went off at 10:00 this morning and I was moaning and groaning about getting up, I was still torn about my feelings of this trip coming to an end.

BUT then I put my destination finding fingers to work and typed "Things to do in Phoenix," into Google.

This led to a link that said "Apache Trail."

Ladies and Gentlemen, my travel juices were just in a holding pattern for a few days but they came back to full life again when I clicked through to read about the Apache Trail!!

It is an 80-mile loop that starts at the base of Superstition Mountain...

and leads to fun sights like this old movie set...

of a western barn...

and western town...

where the most interesting thing was this really cool old tractor.

But it was down the road that the interesting parts really started...

When we saw this sign to the ghost town of Goldfield, we had to take a turn in and see what it was all about.

We laughed because it was so far from a ghost town. There were people everywhere!! The snowbirds had all flocked to this destination, just like us!!

This little town was based around a gold mine that was in operation between 1893 and 1897. Within that very short period of time, the mine made 5 million dollars, which would be equal to 90 million today. WOW!!

We saw a sign that said "Mine tours" and of course we were tourists, so we had to go. This led us to one of the most interesting characters I have met yet. His name is Rusty and he was the one selling the tickets for the tours and was also the guide. I would guess he was from deep within the mountains of north Georgia, based on his accent.

When we went to get our tickets, he asked where we were from and when I said "Eastern Washington" his face lit up and he grinned like only a man with 5 teeth can grin.

"I bin der!" he happily said.

"Oh, really! That's great!"

"Yeah. It rains mighty hard der!"

"Well, in western Washington, yes, but not usually in eastern Washington. You must have hit it on an unusual day."

Then he said to me, "You got some mighty pretty mountains out der! But I don't go near them der woods cuz them bears gonna eat me!"

"No. You'll be fine. Don't mess with the bears and stay away from mom and cub and take some bear spray and keep it handy."

"WOW! Really?! So I just spray it on me and it repels the bears like bug spray. That's so cool!"

I giggled. "No, Rusty, you spray the bear if it comes at you. DON'T spray yourself!!

"Oh." He said. "That's a whole lot much more better than just walkin' scared to death!"

"Yes, it is!"

We then started the tour and I think he was the best tour guide I have ever seen. He had a hilarious sense of humor and had a great way to telling the story of the mine.

This mine went down 1500 feet and amazingly enough, the men had power tools to drill the tunnels. I never would have thought of that in 1893. He said the tools were run by an air compressor attached to a steam engine up on the surface.

After being drilled to a point they could use dynamite, they would drill holes and blast. In those days, the safe distance from the blast point was considered 50 feet, and as you can imagine the average age expectancy of a miner was 33.

At this point, Rusty turned off the lights and then lit a candle and asked us what this was...

We thought it has something to do with grinding the rock. OH NO!! It was the toilet! They had to sit two men wide and some guy got paid $2 a day to roll it back and forth down the tunnel for the entire 12-hour shift.

Back at the surface, you can see where the ore was taken out...
and how...

The reason the mine was only in operation for 5 years was because there was a flash flood in 1897 that blasted the entire area with a 10-foot wall of water. Of course, the water went straight down the shaft and flooded the entire mine. And within a few minutes, the place became a ghost town.

Many years later, it was sold to the mayor and he had the mine pumped out and began mining again, but he ran into trouble after a very short period of time. He hit an underground spring and again the mine filled with water, but this time they couldn't pump it because it would just keep filling up. There is still a huge amount of gold down there, but it is too dangerous to access.

Once out of the mine, we got to be true tourists and check out the town. They had all the original equipment displayed, and it didn't take my dad long to find the motors and machines...

And according to him, this is a dual steam engine generator.

Oh, look at the happy tourists...
We had an older guy take this picture and he couldn't figure out how to use the camera. He tried 6 times to get this one. Bless his heart. He didn't want to give up. We greatly thanked him!!!

When we first pulled into this place, I thought, "Oh, gad. It's just some made up town for tourists." But I have to say, other than the several toothless men that hit on me, it was a really neat place!!

After leaving the mine, we came around the back of Superstition Mountain...
and into a forest of ancient cactus...

and through mountains as sharp and rugged as the cascades, but only as tall as a 100-foot hill.

As in Utah and northern Arizona, the rocks formed incredible formations like this one that is striped with green and pink.

The road then started to dive towards Canyon Lake...

and began to form switchbacks around the rock formations.

Once down at Canyon Lake, I was struck by the beauty of the rocks reflecting off the water and amazed that there was hardly any green. There had to be enough water for them to grow, but I guess the air is too dry.

As we reached the other side of the lake and approached the top of the hill, it was time to stop for my favorite sight that I haven't seen in a while...

The sunset!!! It was mostly hidden by the mountains, but this was still a beautiful view!!

We only accomplished about 30 miles of the loop before dark, so I guess a return trip is in order!!!

As the sun set, we needed to get home so I could complete my final Christmas gift for my dad...

Oyster stew!! I can't think of anything nastier and it stunk like a dead animal was in the pot. This was a true labor of daughterly love!!!

He loved it and thought it was the most delicious soup he had ever had, or maybe he just said that to make me feel good. But I think he actually liked it!!

I will start my homeward bound adventure tomorrow. But need not worry; I won't go straight there. I have not decided my route yet. We will see where the wind takes me.

It has been the best time my dad and I have ever had together!! We used to butt heads a lot and every conversation turned into an argument, but this time, it was all different. Not one argument or even the start to one. We got along so well and had a blast together!!! I doubt he is the one that changed. It was probably me learning to accept him for exactly the way he is and appreciating him. Also, I had to let go of thinking I know best and let him be my dad who has a great deal of advice that I now understand is valuable. He is so unique and has so much to teach the world. I am the luckiest daughter there is to have a father that keeps me down to earth.

Love you, dad
Good night!! :)

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