It's always nice to have a night at a place slightly more civilized than a forest service road. We departed the Quail Ridge RV park freshly showered and with a tank full of fresh water in the van toward my Grandpa's house in Mesa. The day we arrived was his birthday, and three days later my cousin Carol was having a 30th birthday party for her husband James, so the timing was good. We were looking forward to living in a house that doesn't have wheels on it for a few days and spending some time with family.
On the way we did a drive-through of the Saguaro National Park, south of Mesa. There is a 4-mile loop on a rough gravel road that goes through some prime saguaro habitat.
Some of these things are impressively tall, so you naturally wonder how tall the tallest saguaro ever might be. I'll save you the google search: a 50-foot tall saguaro was the tallest known living cactus until it fell down around 2007. But that's about how tall they get. I'm not sure how tall the ones we saw were, but some were pretty massive.
I thought that seeing the structure on this dead one was pretty cool:
And there were more than just saguaros there too.
We jumped out to get up close and personal with some of these spiky sentinels, then headed down the dirt road to get to Mesa on time for some dinner with Gramps.
Mesa was as I remembered it. Rosie went out with my Mom, Aunt Jamie, Cousin Carol and her daughter Brooke to get pedicures in celebration of her being part of the family soon, and got some relaxation by the pool.
As always, the dogs were entertaining and sometimes bizarre:
The saguaros in Mesa need a little more help than the ones out in the untouched desert:
It was nice to spend some time with Grandpa. He owns a string of hangars out at the Mesa airport, so we went out there to check out some airplanes and jockey around some of the cool stuff he has stored in there.
No pictures of James' party, but rest assured that he did in fact turn 30, and we drank plenty of beer to commemorate the occasion. The keg was empty by 11, I think. Good work, everyone.
My Mom, who was down visiting for Grandpa's birthday too, left on Sunday morning and we pulled off not too long after that. It was a good visit with the family and we got to give the van a proper cleaning inside and out which it desperately needed.
Grandpa saw us off as we backed out and headed towards more sights in northern Arizona and Utah.