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March 10, 2018

Cactus Practice – Spring Training at the Cactus League

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too”
`Yogi Berra

DANG IT! before we even left for the ballgames, the doc says that pain and swelling in my left knee is a torn meniscus!  It is a minor tear, but inconvenient none the less.  I should follow his RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) regime for the next 6 weeks.  I like the idea of rest , and ice packs 4 times a day at 20 minutes each is ok too.  Figure in the 6 weeks it comes to 3360 minutes (4 x 20 minutes/day x 7 days/week x 6 weeks) of RICE!  Bet it was those dang new shoes I bought for the High Tide Breakfast!  My toes need to see the light of day … Anyway I’ll be kicking back for a few more weeks.

The ballgames must go on!  And I have a Bucket List to attend a game at each of the venues in the Cactus League.  I bought 2 tickets to Sloan Park to see the Cubs play.  And that game will complete that Bucket List check mark, but afterward I scored 2 more tickets to the same game.  If you want to see the Cubs host the ‘Dbacks on March 15th let me know, I have 2 extra GA tickets.

With the freezer full of crushed ice,for my ice packs, we are heading out, taking I-8 east from San Diego with a late morning start.  On this trip we’ll often stop at the Center of the World, or for a Date Shake, or both.  But with the late start and an ice pack on my knee we cruise along knowing we can make Gila Bend at sunset.

There are numerous places to boondock along our route if hookups are not needed, or in Gila Bend if they are desired.  But I’m willing to pay to boondock at Painted Rock.  Painted Rock is a BLM campground ($8/$4), 10 miles off the highway, it’s quiet, it has large sites with table and fire ring, awesome dark skies, good cell service and painted rocks!

Most sites are like the one we pick – long pull-thru sites on graded gravel.

There are numerous educational signs near the rocks, that explain the importance of the Gila River to the indigenous tribes, the passage of Juan Batista de Anza with Padre Font, the Pony Express and Overland Mail all passed this way …


…. back when there was water in the Gila River.  It seems not so long ago that we would come to Gila Bend to enjoy tubing and float trips in the Gila River, but alas it is now dry, as dams have been built up stream – even east of Phoenix the old river bed is now dry.

The painted rocks are of course the highlight that make this detour totally worth it.  Although the art is chipped into the rock as petroglyphs, I’m ok with the name.
There are literally thousands of artworks chipped into the desert varnish on the basalt rocks.

And new to me this year is an executive 9-hole golf course … clubs and balls provided – FREE!   The T-boxes and greens are ‘manicured’, the fairway is indeed a bit rough!

Now we are settled in at Usery Regional Park.  Nice location although a bit of a drive to My PADRES in Peoria, but it’s convenient to all things Cubs and the fun along Apache Trail.