Ding, dong, the wicked list is dead!

Whew! So happy to report that we worked our way through a massive to-do list for Phoenix, successfully tackling about a million items, including a few that we didn’t even plan on in the beginning!  We kept a pretty good pace throughout the month, alternating work days with fun days to keep our sanity.  Our last major chore was to wash and wax the RV.  It’s a very hated job for us, but we love looking good….and now we do!

And it will only take one drive in the desert to undo it……

For one of our fun days, we headed to South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the US, and a wonderland of hiking trails.  We enjoyed views of the (sprawling!) city, a rock tunnel, and a very tight squeeze!

Rock tunnel

When you can only go through sideways, it is officially tight!

We also visited a very unique house that lies within the South Mountain area.  The Mystery Castle was built in the 1930s by a fellow who thought he was dying of tuberculosis.  On getting the diagnosis, he simply left his wife and daughter in Seattle, found cheap land on the outskirts of Phoenix, and began construction of a crazy palace made of free and found materials.  He ended up living another 15 years, and had enough time to construct an 8,000 square foot mansion with whimsical designs and creative architecture.  After he passed away, his attorney informed his family about the property, and they promptly moved in.  His daughter lived there all her life, until she passed away in 2010.  It was a fascinating place, filled with stories.

A man ahead of his time, the builder included electrical hookups and plumbing fixtures, even though Phoenix, and city services,  were miles away. The city grew, and the house finally got running water and electricity in 1992.

At the time it was built, this arch framed a view of the entire city of Phoenix.

This well contained a dumbwaiter than ran to a bar below. That way, you could stand here and wish for a cold drink, and one could magically appear!

A beautiful saguaro stood right where the builder wanted to put a guest room, so he just built the room around it!

Not sure why the builder was so concerned with space saving ideas in the midst of 8,000 square feet. This guest room bed is on tracks so it can tuck into the alcove when not in use.

Now, everyone knows that I love ice cream, but my secret second favorite thing is horses.  (Yes, I am still 12.)  So, when I heard about the Parada Del Sol parade, the “World’s Largest Horsedrawn Parade”, I knew I had to go!  (Insider tip for my Ohio peeps: Lebanon, OH also has a huge all horse parade in December, and it’s fabulous!)  It’s hard to get good pictures of a parade from the sidelines, but it definitely fulfilled my horse needs!

Patriotic ponies

The Wells Fargo website informs us that this is an “authentic reproduction”. Regardless, it was beautiful.

Also authentic mountain men! 🙂

We have a few more good things planned before we leave on Sunday, like a hike up a very famous Phoenix landmark and a scouting trip into the mountains to look for camping areas to stay later in the spring.  On Sunday morning, we head down to Tucson, where my folks are flying in for a 2 week visit!

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