Saturday 27 January 2018

Phoenix Balloon Festival

Our spot near Superstition Mountain cries out for someone to explore it on foot.  I am trying to walk about 15000 steps a day, so this is a wonderful place to do it.  You can head off in any direction here and see something different every day.  Elaine and I walked today and found a lot of holes that had been dug by a machine.  Apparently people still dream of finding the mother load out here in the desert, but we have never found evidence of a successful mine here.

After our walk we had a quick lunch and then Elaine, Ed and I headed to Tortilla Flats for a drive.  It is pretty country up through the mountains

We got there about 1:00 and pulled up to the guns fight place.  We waited until about quarter after, and still no gun show.  There was a sign that said the guns fight was on every hour on Saturday so we thought maybe there were not enough people, so we went and explored the rest of the town.  One of the attractions is the bathrooms in the saloon.  They have a lot of animated pictures to make your experience more pleasurable.  Elaine even got a neat shot in the ladies restroom.

The men's room had some neat ones as well.

Outside the door we ran into John Wayne.  There was an information card that said he was in Tortilla Flats on numerous occasions for a visit.  It must have been neat to run into him in this historic Arizona mining town setting.

Tortilla Flats is your normal tourist trap and it caters to the tourists.  It is really worth the visit if you like ghost towns. Its on 88 highway about 45 minutes east of Apache Junction.  You can buy souvenirs in any number of stores and shops, and stop for a burger in the Restaurant which is lined with 1 dollar bills.  Or you can take in the live music for free in the outdoor saloon.  I love the drive to the Flats as it is true mountain driving with hairpin turns and everything.  So before we left we went back for the 2 pm gun show.  We hung around until quarter after again and no gunslingers showed up.  I was not pleased that we had driven all the way up here for a gun fight and there wasn't even an explanation why it was not on.  We did have a look in the little museum they had there.

When we got back to the Ponderosa, Sue was ready to head to Phoenix for the Balloon Festival.  It was a little over an hours drive, but with all the construction we ran into, it took over 2 hours.  We got there a little before dark and the lineup to get in to the grounds was about 2 miles long and the charge was 15 bucks per person. That would be 60 bucks for us.  So being the frugal person I am,  I found a gravel area along the highway near the balloons and we watched the balloons and fireworks from there.  I was glad that we didn't pay to go in because the show only lasted about 1 hour including the fireworks.  Long drive for a short show.  And the balloons didn't even lift off the ground but they were pretty all lit up at night.

As we were heading up onto 101 loop to head home we found an 8 car pileup in front of us.  It had the traffic on the highway at a standstill.  As we were sitting there waiting, we saw an explosion and big fire about a half mile behind us on the highway.  We wondered what had happened so I checked the news later and there was a car hit the stationary cars that were stopped for the big accident, and burst into flame.  Apparently one person was critically injured and a couple were hurt. We hope they are all ok in the end.  The traffic in this city is almost scary.  Everyone just drives like there is no tomorrow, which is sometimes true for some.  Here is the news photo of it.

We had a good day today but both events didn't quite turn out as we anticipated.  When we got back to the mountain everything was so peaceful and we are so grateful to be in this gorgeous spot.  Here was the view out our window this morning.

Our Location tonight:  BLM near Superstition Mountain, Apache Jnct. AZ  33.4602 - 111.5085  Boondocking


  1. Wow, that's quite a day you've had. It's too bad about the gun fights, you should have asked around, I'm certain some one would have had an explanation of some sort.
    The bathrooms were quite amusing and being greeted by The Duke would be an experience on it's own.
    The fireworks looked pretty neat.
    Too bad about the accidents. It amazes me how little drivers pay attention to what's going on around them. Sometimes the wake up call is too late.
    Glad you all arrived safely back to the mountain.

  2. After all the hum drum and wall to wall traffic, the mountain is silent. It is a lovely sound.


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