Walter and Sara on the road to who knows where


I hope this finds you well and safe. It’s spring/summer in Arizona and while life is a challenge with much to be concerned about, there are still blue skies, sunshine and flowers!

On April 2nd, we drove from Sahuarita up to Show Low to take the first load of belongings up to our new Park Model at Juniper Ridge. The brittlebush was in bloom on the hillsides along the way.

Brittlebush in bloom

We unloaded an inflatable bed, a table and chairs and all the things that used to live in our Airstream trailer and I went about finding a place for it all in the park model. I also spent pretty much a whole day wiping down counters and cabinets and getting all the packaging and plastic off of the appliances. We had hoped to buy a new bed while we were in Show Low but the furniture store we wanted to go to had been closed due to the pandemic so we are making due with a fairly nice queen-sized inflatable bed instead.

On April 3rd, we spied a great blue heron stalking along the edge of our little lake.

Great Blue Heron

I don’t know if he was migrating through or whether he finds cooler territory up in the mountains in the summer. But he certainly was making himself at home.

Great  Blue Heron

We also had mountain blue birds flitting about and periodically taking a rest on the signs posted around the lake.

Mountain Blue Bird

It was very quiet up at Juniper Ridge. There are only about 120 people who spent the entire year there and while we saw a few folks to wave at here and there it was very quiet.

After buying lightbulbs for the house and borrowing a ladder to reach the can lights up in our very high ceilings we managed to get all our light fixtures working so that I actually got to cook dinner with lights the second night we were there. Luxury for sure.

Having done all that we set out to get done on this trip, we turned around and drove back to Sahuarita on April 4th. By this point there was a loose ‘stay at home’ order in Arizona. Many stores were still open though the schools, restaurants and gyms were closed. We decided that as long as we could keep our contact with people to a minimum we were okay in driving home again.

I grabbed a few photos on the fly as we drove down through Salt River Canyon.

Salt Creek Canyon

You can see that there was some green but there were also lots of yellow flowers. At 50 mph I couldn’t figure out what they were. There were some brittlebush but there also were some other yellow daisies that I’m not familiar with. You can see them perching on the rocks here. It may be Oak Creek Ragwort (Packera quercetorum) but I can’t be sure.

Flowers in Salt Creek Canyon

Driving through the canyon is always fun, especially when it’s sunny. Salt Creek Canyon

As we returned to the rim after making the winding trip down to the river and back up, I turned back and got a photo of the canyon one more time.

Salt Creek Canyon

April 5th, brought us a lovely sunset.


Over the last 2 months, I’ve been putting in a few hours each week cleaning every square inch of the inside of the trailer. I found dirt in places I didn’t know existed in the process and used up a whole lot of Windex because we don’t have water where we have the trailer parked. But at last she is clean inside. We had a relatively cool day on April 9th, so we drove over and picked Genevieve up from her parking spot and brought her home to our driveway so I could wash her. It’s a big job. And because we have so many minerals in the water you can’t just rinse her off. You have to towel her dry. So I spent much of the day washing, rinsing and drying her and then washing her windows so she was all shiny and clean.     

Genevieve Silver Palace

In the ideal world, I’d have waxed her too but that is just too much work for me. She was waxed last year when we had some work done on her and that’s just going to have to do.

Genevieve Silver Palace

So now she’s ready for us to put her up for sale. Of course with the pandemic, it’s not likely to happen soon. So we’ve arranged to take her up to Juniper Ridge with us this summer and we hope to list her for sale in June or July. If you know anyone who is looking for a very clean 2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB (25 feet front bed) please let us know.

Shortly after we returned from Show Low, the CDC started talking about folks wearing cotton masks in public. So I dug around in my store of quilting fabric (much of it inherited from my sister, Kathy) and made us each a set of 8 masks so that no matter where we go outside of our home we’re ready with a mask. We understand that the masks aren’t really keeping us safe. Instead, we’re working to keep anyone we deal with safe in case we happen to have the virus. I protect you when I wear a mask. And you protect me, when you wear a mask. I made us each 8 masks so that we have a new one for each day of the week (though we don’t go out every day) and one for happeners.

Handmade masks

They have elastic of various widths since I only had so much of each width stored away from various projects over the years (since you couldn’t buy elastic under ¾” wide anywhere). If I could have had exactly what I wanted, I’d have used 1/8” elastic for them all. The one with the blue ribbons was an experiment. Much merriment ensued as I tried to tie the thing on. Needless to say, my hair got caught in the bows and it all slipped off the first try. But on the third try I got it on securely. I however have managed not to need to use it since.

Easter Sunday, we loaded up the pickup with more things for the park model (dishes and pots and pans and food and winter clothes) and drove back up to Show Low one more time. I spent many many hours on Monday scrubbing the vinyl flooring in the park model that had tons of little speckles of plaster, primer and paint all over it. No tool worked better than my thumb nails (and lots of Goo Gone) but in time I got it done. It rained all day that day and only made it up to 45 so it was a good day to stay inside.

We’d arranged to have our cable internet turned on and assumed that we’d be able to hook it up ourselves. And while eventually Walter got it working by snaking a cable inside the house, we clearly had been foiled in our attempts to do it right. So Tuesday we waited for the cable guy to come. Amazing grace, he called at 8:45 in the morning and arrived shortly thereafter. It turns out that each cable outlet in the house had it’s own cable that you could hook up too. We’d found two of the three but didn’t realize that they didn’t go to ALL of the outlets. The cable guy ran a nice new cable from the pedestal to the wire that leads to the desk in the unit and presto our cable modem worked. It was an interesting process since he wasn’t allowed to come into the house because of the pandemic rules. So he’d hand Walter sanitized things to install places to check things out. He had his mask and we had ours and we all stood far apart and it got done.

It was a lovely sunny day (though on the cool side) and I decided to grab a photo of the view out our front windows.

View of lake from inside park model

There’s another window off to the right but at that moment the screen door for the slider was leaned up in front of it and made the whole thing look pretty odd.

With the cable internet up and running and all my chores done we decided to turn around and head back to Sahuarita that day. We hit the road shortly after 10 and were home safe and sound before 3 that afternoon.

April 16th, I spied a Gamble’s Quail standing on our back wall, surveying the neighborhood.

Gamble's Quail

They are such fun little birds and with the traffic down in the development, they have been taking over the streets more than usual.

April 17th, it was pleasant and warm but not hot so we took an afternoon walk at Rancho Resort. As we set out Walter spied this big moth resting on our driveway. I don’t know what he is but he was gone when we came back.


The Baja Ruellia had started to bloom here and there.

Baja Ruellia

The big blue upright Santa Rita prickly pear cacti were coming into bloom too.

Santa Rita prickly pear cactus

Some of them were a bit farther along than others.

Santa Rita prickly pear cactus
Even though it’s not autumn, the Autumn Sage had started to bloom. In reality it blooms from spring through autumn.

Autumn Sage

The bottlebrush bushes were coming into bloom too. Here’s one in our front yard.


And here’s a closeup of the ‘flower’.


When we’d made the southward circuit of the resort and arrived back at the entrance to our part of the development, Walter headed up the rise to have his picture taken with the Las Brisas sign. As you can see, he was wearing one of his green and beige designer masks!

Las Brisas sign Walter Cooke

The Palo Verde trees had started to really put out blooms and some were now wreathed in yellow.

Palo Verde Tree in bloom

The folks across the street from us have a wonderful huge ocotillo that had started to put out flowers too.

Ocotillo blooms

Saturday April 18th, Walter made another new recipe in his Instant Pot. This time it was a Creamy Italian Chicken with pasta. It was so pretty that I had to take a photo of it. And it was certainly yummy enough for a repeat performance.

Creamy Italian Chicken with pasta

Sunday April 19th, was our 40th wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? It’s been filled with all sorts of wonderful adventures and great fun. What a wonderful life we’ve had together.

Walter Cooke Sara Schurr Wedding

To celebrate I’d gotten us some flowers when I’d made the pilgrimage to Costco earlier in the week (no toilet paper but they did have Kleenex, paper towels, hand sanitizer and everything else on my list).

Anniversary Flowers

In the early afternoon we took a stroll around the clubhouse area at Rancho Resort. The yellow lantana had pretty much recovered from being frozen to the ground over the winter and had begun to bloom pretty much everywhere.

yellow lantana

There are red yuccas planted all along the main drag and they were starting to not only put up flower stalks but to actually have the flowers open.

Red yucca

The flowers have a waxy look to them and I find it interesting that they are peach-colored when they open.

Red yucca

The big sycamores in the Greens area (the big grassy park) were filled with bird song. This Say’s Phoebe flew out of the leafy canopy and perched on a low lying branch.

Say’s Phoebe

The Mexican Bird of Paradise bushes are members of the pea family. They bloom from spring all the way into December.

Mexican Bird of Paradise

The purple lantana was starting to bloom too.
purple lantana

They grow Star Jasmine as a ground cover here and it survives the cold snaps (it got down to 22 one night this winter) just fine.  

Star Jasmine

The little star-shaped flowers are super fragrant.

Star Jasmine

The Dietes bicolor (also known as Fortnight Lily and African Iris) had just come into bloom. I love the way the flowers seem to float in the air over the foliage.

Dietes bicolor

The front of the clubhouse is covered with a huge Yellow Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans ‘Flava’). The sparrows were nesting in it and the flowers had begun to light up the whole wall. I’ve also seen reported on the Facebook page for the community that there’s an owl with her owlets nesting in it too. I’ve heard her a time or two over the winter but never seen her.

Yellow Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans ‘Flava’)

The sycamores in the park have white trunks that shed their darker bits of bark at this point in the year and the white seems to just glow with all the green.

Sycamore tree

There are a few folks who grow roses here and they too were in bloom. These are visible along the main drag.


We had a lovely day. A friend wrote us a silly song. We heard from friends far and wide via Facebook. And we enjoyed a nice dinner (in, of course since all the restaurants were closed). Champagne anyone?

Summer arrived the week of April 20th. Each day the temperatures rose a bit more and by April 23rd we opted to take our walk in the morning before breakfast to avoid the heat.

The Santa Rita Prickly Pears were in bloom out in the open land to the east of us.   

Santa Rita Prickly Pear

Here’s a closeup of the flowers.

Santa Rita Prickly Pear

Farther along there was another huge Santa Rita with peach colored flowers.

Santa Rita Prickly Pear

There was one little Silver-leaved Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) growing in a wash we climbed through.

Silver-leaved Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium)

And we found some Wild Petunia (Calibrachoa parviflora) too.

Wild Petunia (Calibrachoa parviflora)

On April 24th, I went to open up the windows at the end of the day to help the house cool off and I spied this HUGE lizard on the wall that separates our yard from the wash next door.

SW Fence Lizard

I spent some time looking on the internet and I think that he/she is a SW Fence Lizard—such a perfect name for a critter spied on a concrete wall behind a bit of cast iron fence.

SW Fence Lizard

Saturday April 25th it was in the 90’s—HOT! Thank goodness I was already pretty much done with all of my outdoor chores and was inside looking for something to do. I’d seen checkers at the Sprouts grocery store wearing face shields and it turned out that one of them had made them for everyone else. I’d found some videos on-line but then couldn’t find the supplies. Finally on Saturday I found instructions on the Michael’s Craft Supply website. I rifled around in my craft and paper supplies and found some acetate sheets that were pretty clear (I have no idea why I had a whole package of them) and ran to the ACE hardware for foam window seal and the Joan’s next door for ¾” wide elastic (they had 2 packages left in the otherwise completely empty elastic section). And I put together a face shield that we can wear while we sing.

Walter with face shield

Singing turns out to be one of the things that spreads viruses really well. But a facemask makes singing nearly impossible. So I made the shields so we could sing, read our music and still breathe. Even if our Song Circle can’t meet this summer we can at least sit outside and play if we want to now.

Walter in face shield

The black forehead part is made from the foam window seal. I had to use two thicknesses since it only came in 3/8” width and you need at least ½” to be able to clear your glasses. The whole thing is held onto your head with an elastic band. It took less than 5 minutes to assemble. The hard part is getting the elastic stapled to the acetate sheet (which is easy on the first part and a little challenging with the tension of the elastic for the other side but really no big deal).

Sunday April 26th, the temperature hit 99. We didn’t go outside. Our house stayed below 80 until about 5 pm and then the air conditioning kicked on. That pattern continued for the next few days as it got hotter and hotter.

By Wednesday April 29th it was over well over 100 and the air conditioning came on at 4 pm. We keep the house buttoned up until the outside temperature is lower than the inside temperature and then we open up the doors and windows to cool things off. By dawn the next morning it’s usually back down to 76 or 77 inside and we button things up once again. We are definitely looking forward to heading up to Show Low where the highs have been in the low 80’s instead of the low 100’s.

On Thursday April 30th, we got up EARLY so we could finish loading the truck and taking some things over to the trailer while it was still fairly cool. As a result I got to see a nice pink sunrise at 5:30 am.     


We got the truck loaded and took a backseat-worth of stuff over to the trailer and transferred it in (to make room for a big cooler-full of food from the frig) and were home by 8:30 (having taken a break mid-way to have breakfast). It was already close to 80 at that point so had been a good idea.

Friday May 1st, we’ll hit the road to Show Low for the next 6 months. We’ll be self-quarantining up there for the first 14 days so we’re taking groceries and supplies for 2 weeks to start.