A Springtime Hike

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Brittlebush (yellow) and Scorpion Weed (blue) spread out on a mountainside.

Yesterday, Monday, was a very pleasant day here in Phoenix. That prompted me to get out to enjoy the weather and to see the Spring wildflowers in the Phoenix Mountain Preserves which are on either side of where I live. My usual hike would take me to the West and up North Mountain or to Shaw Butte, about a 5 or 7 mile roundtrip. But this time I opted to go to the East toward Dreamy Draw Park about 4 miles one way.

Flowers were not everywhere, at first, but seemed to occur in patches, first to present themselves to me were large expanses of the blue Scorpion Weed, one lonely patch of the lovely Mexican Gold Poppies and scattered blooming of yellow Brittle bush. 


My hike was more of a stroll as I strode along photographing and taking in all this beauty around me. As I got closer to Dreamy Draw, I could see in the distant mountains there, that swatches of yellow draped up the mountain sides. That told me the Mexican Gold Poppies were in full bloom and would reward me with some spectacular scenery.  


I should note that not every Spring here in the desert rewards us with abundant blooming wildflowers. But, luckily, this winter and early Spring brought sufficient rain to produce a splendid and prolific preponderance of poppies and other blooms. 

There is a tunnel under the AZ 51 highway that connects from one side of the mountain preserve into Dreamy Draw. Upon entering Dreamy Draw it is like entering a new landscape. Once up the paths through the parking lot and picnic ramadas, one finds himself in a valley with many trails and, oh so many of the Mexican Gold Poppies stretching upward on the mountainsides. Additionally, our Arizona Lupines, the Scorpion Weed, Desert Hyacinth, Filaree and other less obvious flowers interspersed themselves in the predominant yellow/gold Mexican Gold Poppies. 

It has been several years since I last came over to the Dreamy Draw park and this was a perfect mid-week day to visit with far fewer people on the trails. There is a favorite spot I like to hike to in this park which takes me around the mountains to the backside of Squaw Peak (another very popular mountain hike that is usually overrun with trekkers up and down that trail). There is a back trail to the main Squaw Peak trail but I most often stop at a view point shot of that trail and gaze down into another valley behind these mountains. There I also saw some Desert Globemallow blooming in addition to the other blossoms.

Soon enough, the plush landscape I enjoyed on this hike will dry up with our intense summer heat. Taking the time to venture out and enjoy this kind of beauty is important to me and rewards me in ways that touch my soul.

It was after 2 p.m. when I ended my reverie in that peaceful place and started back toward home. Of course, I still took many photographs, but knew I had at least 4 miles or more to hike back. Two hours later, just after 4 p.m., I arrived home. Feeling the effects of my 5 hours hike, it felt good to get off my feet. Though my feet were sore and left knee a bit achy, I was glad to have begun conditioning myself for more hikes and for the coming summer when I will go exploring somewhere out here in the great American Southwest. 


Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm proud to announce that today the restoration of Phiona, my 1934 Pontiac has been completed.

View with red clouds

On Tuesday, as arranged with Chavel at Aatco Upholstery, I brought Phiona in to have the last bit of upholstery installed. But first I had to have Chuy, the man who has actually done the work, correct a problem with the headliner where one of the cross struts was showing through the fabric. That meant disassembling about the first third of the headliner to reposition the section that was the problem. This took nearly all day, plus adding the wire-on trim piece around the interior of the car. They could only work on my car until  2 p.m. when they had to switch to a rush job. The next day they asked me to not come until after noon, but then still did not get started for another hour and a half. Thursday, also was a half day on the job, so the work extended half way through today, Friday.

But, little by little Chuy and I figured out how to fit the parts of upholstery and make small steps toward completing the whole thing.

With one side done (the rear armrest areas), the second was relatively easy to finish, though it still took time to do correctly.

By about 1:30 today, I was driving home with Phiona. There I still had to install the rear seat cushions, and, by luck, Joe Machi and his friend Gary stopped by as I arrived home. With Joe's help, I got the back seat cushions re-installed and we all were thrilled to see the finished look.

After re-installing the glove box and then cleaning the car, inside and out, it was past 6 p.m.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I am planning to take Phiona to the Pavillions car show in  North Scottsdale, joining other friends for a "guys night out". This will be Phiona's initial debut to the public, but I still intend to have a more fitting unveiling, debut, cotillion or other type of celebration in honor of my fantastic automobile.

Here are some photos of the NEW Phiona:

Rear seat 3

Real seat 1

Dashboard 2


Reflection in hood

The end is near

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A quick update on Phiona's restoration.

The remaining upholstery items arrived this week. While I'm ready to get this last, little bit completed, my upholsterer, Chavel, won't be able to get the car into his shop until next Tuesday, March 12. It should take no more than a day or two, at the most, to finish. (I hope). 

Stay tuned, Phiona WILL be making an appearance - soon.

PS, to all who have been so kind to leave comments on this blog, I appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you. Most readers identify themselves in ways that I know exactly who you are. To help me better know who has commented, I'd like to ask others to identify yourself with more than just a first name. 

Thank you so much. Don