Rovin’ Pebbles visit Usery Mountain Regional Park

Sentimental Journey - a fully restored B-17 Flying Fortress; photo by Dan Walters

Sentimental Journey – a fully restored B-17 Flying Fortress; photo by Dan Walters

Terry Thornton

Fifteen rigs from the Rovin’ Pebbles RV Club spent an enjoyable stay at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa. With four sunny days to fill, club members visited many of the interesting and informative attractions in the East Valley.

At an elevation of 2,000 feet the view from each campsite was beautiful as lazy white clouds cast ever-changing shadows on the hills surrounding the campground. Wednesday evening we had our traditional pot-luck dinner where no one went away hungry.

Thursday started early with coffee and banana nut bread, as well as a hot breakfast including biscuits, honey and sausage, egg and cheese casseroles prepared by the wagonmasters. Later the group made the 20-minute drive to Saguaro Lake for a 90-minute cruise on the Desert Belle. We learned about the lake’s geology, construction, history, plant and animal life. We saw wild horses and a nonchalant Big Horn Sheep ram browsing the rocky cliff. We capped off the day at Happy Hour with a fishing contest using a rod and reel casting a lead weight at a bulls-eye target. We called the tournament a three-way tie among Linda Bolon, Jim East and Gerald Findley.

Friday again started early around the coffee pot in a chilly morning wind. As it was Veterans Day, most of us toured the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Mesa’s Falcon Field. We saw more than 20 Warbirds – restored military aircraft – some of which saw service as far back as World War I. The museum had displays of equipment and personal histories of both people and planes. One of the most interesting attractions – the Sentimental Journey – a fully restored B-17 Flying Fortress that regularly flies in air shows across the nation.

That evening the group went to Barleens Arizona Opry dinner theater in Apache Junction. More than 20 family members tend bar, prepare and serve a tasty meal and perform in the show. From jazz to country and big band swing to rock ‘n roll, the show had it all. The music and comedy highlighted the talents of the performers and guests applauded loudly. The show concluded with a musical tribute to the veterans.

Saturday morning a few hardy souls braved the cool wind around the coffeepot and by mid-morning everyone was ready for a YOYO day. Many went shopping at the huge Mesa Swap Meet. Others spent a lazy day around the campground. Still others burned off their breakfast hiking the many trails available. We ended the day back together for a final evening of food and camaraderie. Jim East won another friendly contest in a bean bag toss where Terry Thornton and Doug Krause claimed the second and third place prizes.

Sunday once again began with hot coffee on a chilly morning. Several of our group got an early start on the trip home; others stayed almost to checkout time visiting with friends and enjoying the park’s quiet beauty. For sure, “it’s all about the journey” we Rovin’ Pebbles take.