Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little Further Down The Trail--Sunny California Part I

       Hello readers!   This blog page is usually all about Exploring amazing Arizona through pictures and travels.  But a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit a good friend in California and of course have some pictures and thoughts on it all.   For more Exploring and amazing pictures of mine Please also check out MY second blog series  all about the amazing views Washington state has to offer at:
And of course MY first blog series   full of travels, coffee love, and random rambling  at:
   And feel free to share anything you find on any of these sights!  Especially this one. 

   So about two years ago a good friend of ours came to visit April and I while we were living in Bellingham, Washington.  We had just gotten married, and had hit a really bad spot in our relationship.  One that was mostly a lot of arguing and throwing things.  Our friend decided it was best to not stay with us, and got a motel room during the visit.  For almost two years, I had not heard anything from him.  Last I knew he was living in San Diego and working at Home Depot.  But that town has a lot of Home Depot stores!   I had never been to San Diego and was going to use some of our tax refund to pop down that way and attempt to find my friend.  Just before we booked a ticket, I found he was living near Palm Spring.  Amazingly close to us, but getting ready to move back to the rainy state of Washington.  I quickly planned a visit.  Originally we were going to take a mini road trip to San Diego but his plans changed and we drove eight long hours to Oroville for a friend emergency. 
I had never been on Amtrak before and found an amazing price for a round trip ticket.
Through it all it is MUCH better than the dreaded Greyhound bus and much more
relaxing than driving.  But the hours are strange.  We left Benson, Arizona at around 6 PM, not allowing for much sight seeing.  Unfortunately the train sits almost an hour in nearby Tucson.
The Benson, Arizona stop is very small.  Just a speck stop in the desert with some signs and a few covered benches.
The family full of Wendy's Frosties waiting for me to board the train.
It was kind of hard to navigate around the train.  But you were more than free to roam around.
The above entire section was full of huge windows for watching the passing desert.  I got in more than enough people watching the first night.  I was attempting to use my laptop while a whole group of drunk-gay riders had an ever increasingly soap opera like night.  Since I could not access any WI-FI, I have to say the drama filled night was kind of entertaining. 
At one point I thought I could stay up the whole night, we were supposed to get to Palm Springs around two AM.  But when we crossed the time change boarder-I realized I really should attempt to get some sleep.
I also must add that both directions I witnessed problems with seating. 
People do not have assigned seating --but the conductors tend to place others in your seats if you are roaming around during boarding.  It happened to me on the way to California and to someone else on the way home. 
Last I must quickly note how expensive the adult beverages were.  I have been on a few
touristy train rides, but no long journey.  And wanted to be able to say that I have had a beer on a train.  If you are planning on drinking or being tipsy by your location--bring cash or hope they do not check your luggage!   The mini bottles of wine were $12 I believe and each bottle of beer was defiantly not cheap.
But I had my one and can say that I have had a brew on a train!
My friends humble home.
The next day we Explored Palm Springs.
At one point we passed Bob Hopes huge, mushroom shaped home.
It is for sale for $40 million if you happen to have any spare cash lying around your home.
We  soon ended up climbing nearly 9000 feet on this very scenic adventure.  Well worth the money for sure!
My worse complaint was that the new camera we had bought, was not working, and all of these pictures are from my cell phone. 
Just out of the parking lot.
Ticket buying time.
Going up!
The lift rotates as it climbs giving an always amazing view.
We really were at the top of the World.
But with my crummy camera you could not even see the large city, far below.
Hundreds of miles of hikes await. 
Than we took some time to Explore and eat around Palm Springs.
Found a few casinos along the way. 
Several even offered free gambling cash to sign up with one of there cards.
I actually left one casino $50 ahead off of there free game play.
We had a late lunch downtown in a 50's style joint.
Good food but I must say for such a touristy trap area the service was lousy.  It didn't seem like the servers were even trying for customer service or a tip.  I don't believe either was accomplished.  Than as it was starting to cool down, at least in desert terms we roamed through the stores. 
Just before giving up on Exploring we found this huge complex.
Part church, part living area, part motel it seems this was very cool and empty.
It looked like a fire had touched many of the buildings.
This area took up a full city block and had six swimming pools.
Along with multiple buildings.
Next post I keep on my Exploring shirt and shoes
As we continue to roam California.
And the rains hit. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Heads You Win--Tales I Lose!

              This page is usually about Exploring everything Arizona has to offer through trips and pictures.  And there are a lot of new ideas, pictures, and Exploring still coming your way!  Please continue to share this new page.    Today I take a different approach.  Being locked in a local issue in an attempt to get paid and get others I have found the pay that they are owed.  I usually save this type of post for MY first and longest running blog page at      Although I am sure it will appear there also.  If you live in the Benson, Arizona or Tucson---Please take note of this -my main goal now is to spread the word far and wide.  A business --no matter how small should have to follow the rules.  I will try and keep this as short and non bitter as possible.  

    Mar 20 at 10:47 AM
       Last week I made the mistake of taking a job at Lupe's Mexican restaurant in Benson.  After my third day-I asked when I would sign my new hire paper work   and they fired me via e mail.  In three short days of work I learned MANY bad business procedures they use but the most blaring was that they do not pay there workers.  I have found at least 8 more past workers that have not been paid there wages due from working there.  One is owed almost $700.  I have been holding a sign just past the restaurant that says " Lupe's doesn't pay it's workers!!"   They attempted to pay me yesterday---to get rid of me.  But it was a check and the amount was way low.  In fact it added up to me only getting paid $3.00 an hour.   I will be protesting off and on  until everyone I have meet receives there full pay for hours worked.  But it would really help to have more coverage on this  to help spread the word. 

   Before all the sign holding fun--I meet with the manager in the parking lot of the restaurant  to see when I would be receiving pay.   He instantly started cussing me out, and two other workers appeared.  They wanted me to come into the back of the restaurant, but were not offering any pay so I refused.   I came back with some poster board signs and sat just beyond the place -holding them.  The workers came at me, tore up my signs and called the police.  They than tried to block me from getting into my own vehicle.  

  The very next morning I had a new sign---made on wood-so that it would be much harder to break.  I went to the owner of the next door Chevron, and asked permission to stand out front  ---right next to Lupe's.   The restaurant soon called the cops on me---who quickly told me I was perfectly in the legal.  Each day I get lots of community support, and convince others not to eat at the place. 

 I have contacted state agencies at this point--but it has become personal for me now.  I work for myself-- and if I were to hire on more workers--I would have to have record of them, and pay them.  Why does a larger place of business not have to do the same??  I also was lucky enough to have landed a very good job in Tucson--so I am protesting here while I wait on the paper work.   I realize that this for me only adds up to around $100   but $100 is $100.  We have three kids with a mother that is disabled and terminal so we can't afford to eat the cash.  Plus I was under the understanding that I had found a decent job, that would keep me close to my family instead of driving miles to Tucson, in case a medical emergency were to happen.  

    On day three-  the store sent out there dishwasher-punk to hand me a pay check.  It was short pay--in fact it came out that I made $3.00 an hour.  Yes servers make less cash in Arizona, but not that much less.   The dishwasher than asked me to leave.   I said I would when everyone I had found, got the back pay they were owed.  I than did leave---to make a bigger sign.   And returned for several more hours.  

    The next day --we took pictures of the check--to show to the Labor Board --and than my wife took the check back into the restaurant--advising the managers to re calculate the total before the Labor Board did.   I than held my sign just beside the restaurant again.  Something I will continue to do in my spare time until we all see pay or everyone hears about what this place does!    

   PLEASE pass this link to everyone you know in the area!!   And thank you for your time.   



Friday, March 14, 2014

Search For Water Part Two

    Welcome new and faithful readers!   This page has so many posts in the works--thank you all for being so patient.   Our Exploring has slowed down in the last few weeks, although it did just take me to California.  Posts to come!  We did just purchase a gas saving car, so hopefully soon--when our bank account rises a little bit, we will be taking more Exploring trips.  And these will be further away from home.  There is so much to Explore across this great state.  Please share this page with anyone you feel might enjoy it.  If they are from Arizona---or if there heart belongs here.      For all of our Exploring  please also check out my first an longest running blog page at

   On this day I was once again searching for water in the winter time in Arizona.  I had heard about the near by Willow Lakes area and just happened to have some free time with Butch to check it out.  Although I never found the lakes on this day--weather they be dried up this time of year, or I was searching in the wrong area,  I did find some great spots for some future hikes.  I also found got some good pictures along the way.   

A farm house along the way.
The old equipment allowed for some neat pictures.
The long twisty dirt road is also a fun drive. 

Just around a long bend
I found a huge field of green. 
A very rare and welcome sight when living in the desert. 

Further up I found more signs of civilization
and even some water.

Although the water was all beyond nasty.
I was amused to see signs painted all around the above water tank that said 
"No swimming!"

A little further down I found this large pond.  
But still no lakes.
From a distance it looks quite peaceful and almost like a tranquil oasis.
But the area was covered in flies and even Butch our dog would not drink the water.  

I have talked before about always finding random piles of garbage every time I hike.
I always seem to find one lone shoe also.

Time to roam around the desert looking for the lakes.

This was all on the same day
but the date stamp on my camera was having issues. 
I need to just take the date stamp off the pictures all together. 

Although I kept seeing signs that large bodies of water were close
I never found any.  

Looking towards Benson and beyond.
More hills just waiting to be Explored
on another day. 

Again I found no lakes or
drinkable water on this day. 

Later in the afternoon my wife and I snuck off to The Horseshoe 
for lunch. It was the first time we had ventured there.
And I must say the food and service was very good.  
Good service --in any field is hard to find it seems. 
I am sure the restaurant does not need praise
it seems to always be busy 
and a well known town landmark.
But The Horseshoe is my
un-official official local business of the day.
Meaning I pick places that have given us great service
and the business has no idea they have been picked.