Country Bluegrass Festival and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Seafood Buffet

1/25/13 Friday at Maricopa,AZ (John Wayne RV Ranch-PPA)

Sunshine!!! After managing our morning chores as usual, I went outside to access the Internet, peering into the screen to post our blog and read emails. Finally I got to treat myself to the relaxing view of a book, in the wonderful sunny, warm fresh air. Soon I got to visiting with our new neighbor, with his French accent. In time he explained that he grew up in Quebec, traveled to Calgary, Alberta to visit for a couple weeks, then stayed for 19 years. He met his wife there. Recently they bought some property with a cabin on the river in Quebec, so they are traveling via their 5th wheel and the south to that property. He stays primarily on BLM land, having spent $10,000 on 700 lbs of batteries, inverter, converter and 600 watts of solar panels so he could dry camp with ease. He said he rarely runs his generator, because his solar power covers his needs for a good 2 weeks. They love the National Parks, especially in Utah. That’s also where John Wayne films were made. We’ll get there eventually.

Lunch was supposed to be fish, but after gathering the ingredients, I remembered that I hadn’t thawed the fish. So my lunch turned into a grilled cheese sandwich!

Immediately afterward, we drove 28 miles to the Pinal County Fairgrounds to see the Agri-County Bluegrass Festival. We had such a good time. First we watched the Cook’s Pig Race. (Very sorry I didn’t bring my camera). These are wild pigs – smaller, slimmer, with longer snouts and lots of coarse dark hair (even tufts coming off their ears like the Curacao Cat). They got into their starting gates (similar to horse race gates), then they (4) were off, running around a small oval. As they hit the small part of the oval, they were running sideways, mostly losing their footing, but soon gaining it to dash to the end. Their reward was some soft serve ice cream mixed with water. Next we walked through the quilt exhibit. Lovely, in so many ways. Plus I could have taken photos! There was live bluegrass music outside and another group playing inside a large building. We glanced at the vendors in the building (even Tupperware) and settled on the top stadium seats to enjoy the show. Actually we watched about 3 shows. Wonderful music. In between sets we’d walk around. There were disabled birds there, to demonstrate Pinal Wildlife Rescue: Barn owl, red tailed hawk, turkey vulture and prairie falcon. All had dislocated wings and would die in the wild, unable to fly to catch food. Apparently we can’t put their wings back into their sockets like we can with people. Very sweet, patient creatures, although the prairie falcon was high strung, so wouldn’t stay on her perch so her handler had her on her hand the whole time. Around 4:30 we left, since we were tired and the event for today was winding down.

On the way home, we got to thinking about supper and our free buffet. Since it was Friday maybe they would have seafood, plus we only had a few nights left here, so maybe we should “cash in” our tickets before things come up and we miss out. So we turned toward the casino.

We got in line at 5:40. It took 1.5 hours to get to the cashier. We did meet a sweet couple (Louie and Anna, teachers from Tempe, AZ) and had a good time sharing all that time. Thus, when they got their tickets, they asked if we wanted to sit with them. Definitely! So we enjoyed the most delicious meal with lovely company. I had lots of seafood (crab, clams, tilapia, crawfish, shrimp) while John had 3 clams for his seafood portion. Then he had prime rib, baked potato and corn on the cob. The crab salad and shrimp creviche were scrumptious-such gentle flavors. Of course we made room for desert: John had lemon meringue pie, cookies and chocolate gelato and I had tiramiso with coffee chocolate gelato. That gelato (Talenti) is the first either of us have experienced. I always thought it was a kind of sorbet. Ha! It’s made with cream and is the most smooth, scrumptious ice cream I’ve had. We had seconds of those gelatos! This meal costs $23.99/person. All you can eat. Did we ever get a good deal here. Louie and Anna use their gambling winnings to buy their meal tickets.

Back at home, we needed to let dinner digest. What a marvelous day – wonders for listening and tasting.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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