We bid farewell to Mesa and our fellow workampers at Val Vista Villages and headed north to Cave Creek Regional Park.
Cave Creek is another one of the Maricopa County parks, such as Usery Mountain where we went hiking last week. This is another gem out in the desert and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The campground is spread out enough that even though you don’t have a lot of trees and shrubs separating the sites, you feel like you have enough of your own space to enjoy the beautiful views. The sites are paved with curbing and have electric and water. There are some additional sites that were put in later, that are only gravel, electric and water and those sites are right next to each other. Thankfully we had a nice spacious site and were able to enjoy the beautiful views of the hills, mountains and desert.
The Cave Creek area is really a cool area with lots of ranches, cowboys and bull riding. At the recommendation of my cousin, we set out Wed night to Buffalo Chip Saloon, which is a Packer bar in the area, to enjoy dinner and watch the bull riding they have out back off the patio area. Well damn if we didn’t get there two hours before the bull riding and the place was soo packed, people were parking waaayyy down the road. There was no way we were getting near that place. We went down the road to another great place, The Horny Toad, and had some delicious BBQ while watching the Milwaukee Bucks game at our table on my cell phone. We didn’t feel like we were disrupting the place, but more so, adding to the ambiance since the big table next to us was playing a heated game of Uno.
We were able to visit Buffalo Chip Saloon the next day after the dust settled, and had a delicious lunch. Even their cheese curds were up to WI standards! Great saloon with boots hanging from the ceiling, wide open walls of "windows" and out back they had a small arena for bull riding and a huge patio. Lots of WI artifacts and a Packer tribute corner. We even left them with a couple of our WI license plates to adorn the wall.
We went out for a couple hikes while at Cave Creek and enjoyed the somewhat cooler mornings to explore the beautiful area. One trail brought us to an old clay mine, in which the entrepreneurial woman who mined the clay, bottled it as a healing elixir, said to cure many things. The one thing it really did help with was dysentery. The mine is now gated off but it was really interesting to read the history.
Out on all of our hikes we were hoping to see more of the animals in the area, such as burros, wild horses and even rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, we came up with a big goose egg, unless we can count the rattlesnake and tortoise at the nature center!!
Our final outing while in the area was to McCormick Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. What a hidden gem in the area! It has received national park awards and we can see why. People of all ages will find something of interest here, but if you are a train fanatic, like Rick, it is train heaven! They have a large building that houses several model train setups that clubs run and they are something to see. They have all different gauges of track, Lionel and HO trains and even tiny little ones! This building was free and there were several areas that were interactive, where you could make trains move, a UFO to take off and many other cool little actions.
For just a $2 ticket, you can ride on the beautiful carousel, tour the museum and Pullman presidential cars or take a train ride around the park. They also have the AZ Merci train car that was a gift from the people of France after WWII. They have lots of shaded picnic areas and snacks as well. A wonderful place to spend the day. We rode on the train and went through the museum. Amazing to see the presidential train car that Hoover, FDR, Truman and Eisenhower rode on.
Next up...Lake Pleasant...or is it???
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