So, to continue where I left off… Yet another day-trip we recently took (just Stilla & I) – was over to Carefree, and Cave Creek, AZ. These two towns are situated right next to each other northeast of Phoenix in the foothills of Black Mountain, Skull Mesa and Elephant Butte. We heard that the town of Carefree was having a sand and stone exhibit at the Carefree Desert Gardens.
We expected a dedicated desert garden with its own parking lot and entrance fees like we’ve seen in Tucson and other places, but found that the Carefree Desert Gardens are really just part of the town-center. There’s no entrance fee and it is surrounded by numerous businesses, cafe’s, and restaurants… even a post office.
The Carefree Desert Gardens sign serves double-duty as a water feature and fountain:
In the Desert Garden Center pavilion, we found one of the sand sculptures currently under construction. Read up on the artist Ray Villafane by clicking HERE.
The artist had a completed sand sculpture located in a different section of the Carefree Desert Gardens (below).
We were amazed at the patience and perseverance that Ray must have to get these rocks to balance (below).
No wires, glue or anything other than gravity… amazing!
We wandered around the gardens and took a few photos. Follow along:
I read that only 1 out of 20,000 Saguaros have this fanlike or lumpy top, called a crested saguaro. (above & below).
After we had our fill of the desert gardens, we walked through several of the adjacent shops at the Carefree town center and browsed around. Then we took the short drive over to the town of Cave Creek and had a nice lunch at the Horny Toad restaurant. Their website says this about the place: “The Horny Toad restaurant is the oldest, original restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona and has been the location for many “Old West” movies and photo shoots. Enjoy the beauty of the Sonoran desert as you dine from the expanded patio or experience the multiple interior dining rooms and Saloon.” Our fellow Alpine friends Noel & Carol Peck and Jack & Linda Giddens told us about this interesting and unique place. The fried chicken & rib lunch special was awesome 🙂
Cave Creek reminded me of Sturgis SD with several biker saloons and motorcycle related venues throughout town. It’s a popular riding destination for locals and even not-so-locals. We even stopped to check out the local Harley dealership, Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson®.
While driving around Cave Creek we stopped at the Town Dump “one of the world’s most unusual stores” as their sign above the entrance claims. Anyone who has driven through Cave Creek, probably noticed the large assortment of garden ornaments, sculptures, pottery, rustic antiques, etc., situated in the large open-air shop and courtyards alongside main street.
Regarding the town of Cave Creek: I pulled the following description from the Cave Creek Visitors Guide website: “The numerous saloons in Cave Creek thrive on activity as establishments such as Harold’s and the Buffalo Chip, and offer almost nightly events from live bands, poker tournaments, trivia, and charity casino events – all with a wild western flair and small town hospitality. The crowds are diverse with visitors and residents alike enjoying all that is unique in Cave Creek. Other notable eateries in Cave Creek include Rancho Manana’s Tonto Bar and Grill which is part of the well known Rancho Manana Golf Club and Resort. Tonto is located in an original building from the 1940’s Rancho Manana Dude Ranch. During much of the year, the large, partially covered patio is nearly always full during lunch and dinner as the views are as good as the food. The owner’s of Tonto also operate the highly rated Cartwrights on Saguaro Hill located just a mile or so down Cave Creek Road. The Horny Toad Restaurant has some of the country’s best fried Chicken while the nearby Indian Village boasts some of the worlds best tacos although El Encanto Mexican Restaurant are mighty delicious as well and offer a unique patio surrounding a small pond with lots of ducks and turtles. The Cave Creek Smokehouse is popular as well located in Frontier Town as well as nearby Big Earls Greasy Eats.
On the way back home to our RV & Mobile Home Park in Glendale, I just had to stop at Desert Valley Auto Parts (DVAP) located in Deer Valley north of Phoenix. Some of my readers may recognize the name from the reality TV show “Desert Car Kings” which aired on the Discovery Channel® in 2011. I think it only ran for one season but reruns are currently shown on the Velocity Channel®.
Per my bloggers’ friend Wikipedia.com® and the DVAP website: “Desert Valley Auto Parts is the legendary treasure trove of classic cars (and parts) from the 1940′s, 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and a few 80′s thrown in the mix for good measure. Over 10,000 classic cars located on 100 acres of dry Arizona land.” Don’t forget to check out the YouTube® video on the DVAP homepage.
We walked into the DVAP office and talked to one of the friendly guys behind the counter. They normally charge $2 to tour the yard. He told us that people come to visit from all over the world due to the publicity from the TV reality show. He just asked us to sign-in and let us roam the yard at our leisure with no charge. Pretty cool! Although, I don’t think Stilla was as impressed as I was 🙂
Here’s a ’57 Chevy waiting for someone to restore. It needs just a little work 🙂 (below).
It was almost painful (to me) to see a ’57 Chevy in this condition.
Some of you readers may remember our ’57 Chevy 2dr Bel-Air that we sold before we started full-timing (below). I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to add an old picture here. I kind of miss her 🙁
Rows and rows of classic cars… my idea of a fun time 🙂
There was some activity going on in the yard (see crane in action below) and what I think was a hollywood movie-set trailer. The nice guy we talked to at the office shared with us that DVAP was going to be the location of some scenes for a popular movie sequel (to remain unnamed at this time) in case of liability.
Back at the Triple “T” RV & Mobile Home Park we finally got to enjoy the pool which has been closed for repairs since we got here.
And finally, one last day-trip update: Just the other day we stopped by Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza while we were out driving around. We’ve been doing a little geocaching with our grandson Kaan lately and ended up driving around downtown Phoenix.
Much like the National Mall on which it is loosely based, the Legislative Governmental Mall aka Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is intended as an open-air public space featuring monuments, memorials and gardens. Some of these monuments were erected prior to the inception of the Plaza, such as the monument to the USS Arizona which was dedicated over a year earlier on December 7, 1976. The Plaza, when dedicated, included these existing memorials and all subsequent memorials have been located within the boundaries of the plaza. Ref. Wikipedia®
Again, I referenced wikipedia® for a good description: The plaza is home to 30 memorials dedicated to topics including important individuals, organizations, and events. Among the more prominent are the mast and anchor of the USS Arizona, memorials to major wars such as WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and Desert Storm, and America’s first monument of the Bill of Rights.
Here’s more photos we took of some of the fine memorials in this awesome and thought-provoking memorial plaza: A must-see if you’re in downtown Phoenix!
And that’s all for now folks! We reserved a site for Jenny’s trailer at an RV park in Tempe beginning on the 27th of May. She’ll be closer to her job there. I’ll move her over there at that time and we’ll probably relocate the Urban Escape Vehicle back down to the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande for a quick visit. We can’t beat the moochdocking rates there 🙂 We’re thinking of taking Kaan along with us again for some of his summer break… check back soon to see what we get into and/or where we end up 🙂