Prickly Hearts

Feb 1 – April 1, 2019
Gold Canyon, Arizona

looking back at the roads we just drove thru

LaDonna and Dale were getting ready to head back to Nebraska after spending the winter in Az. They wanted to go on another ride before leaving so they could show us the Coke ovens that are a historical landmark in Pinal County. We left pretty early in the morning as the trip over to the ovens was a 4 hr ride.  We went over a mountain that was just plain rock and very steep.


It was slow going but Guy and I loved it.  We are always up for a challenge and this road proved to be. IMG_2822.jpgWe stopped a few times just to take in the views and admire the canyons and a small lake.


The coke ovens overlook the Gila River about 15 miles east of Florence. There are 5 ovens that are wonderfully preserved. The ovens are in an area so remote that off road vehicles are the best and only way to see them.


The ovens were used to reduce mesquite wood to coke, a hotter burning fuel. The fuel was used in smelting gold and silver ore taken from the surrounding mines. The beehive shaped stone coke ovens are about 25 feet in diameter and 30 feet in height. Each has a ground level entry and a few upper level vents. The mesquite wood, burned slowly in the ovens for days, which then produced the coke.


The ovens are on private property and are fenced off, if you want to visit it is by permission only. We were on top of the mountain and could see them pretty well where we were. One of the ovens has caved in, which has happened in the last year. We decided that it was a perfect spot to stop and have lunch.

Dale and LaDonna leading the way


The night before LaDonna and Dale left we all went to dinner at Wahoo’s for wings and a salad. We laughed and talked and had such a wonderful time, I really wish they could have stayed longer. We had our phones sitting on the table so we could take pictures but we totally forgot. We were pretty sad that all our new Nebraska friends were leaving and heading home. Nebraska was going thru some serious rain and snow storms with major flooding. We are hoping that we will meet up with them sometime this summer when they think they might head to South Dakota.

some of the wildflowers blooming in the desert
we made a new friend out in the desert

While we were driving around the desert I noticed on the prickly pear cactus that some of them were in the shape of hearts. I send postcards to all the grandkids of our travels and decided that it would make a great postcard for them. Well, LaDonna and I then were on a mission to find just the right one…

Was this the right one?

Needless to say I now have a plethora of prickly pear heart pictures.

or was this the right one?
its amazing how far you can see
Meeting Jack for the first time

Tracy and Lee finally arrived on Friday afternoon and pulled into the a site 2 down from us. The first thing I saw was this little white head bobbing up and down in the front of the truck. It then popped up and over Lee so he could look out the window. I took him out of the truck and played with him while they got parked and hooked up.


We had dinner together that night so that Tracy and Lee needed to think about cooking. We talked for a little while but they were tired and left early. It has been a very hard month for them and they sure needed the time to recoup and relax. The next day Guy took Lee on a buggy ride and let him drive as well. Guy and I were leaving to have dinner with friends so Guy gave the buggy keys to Lee so he could take Tracy out in the buggy for a ride, as she wanted some pictures of the desert flowers.

Tracy and Lee taking a selfie

Lee left on Sunday and spent the week in Phoenix working with a cosmetic company leaving Tracy with us to spend the week.  I have not seen such a happy dog, his tail can’t wiggle fast enough, he is a bundle of energy and is so excited just walking on his leash. I have changed his name to Happy Jack.


Tracy and Lee are expecting their first grand baby boy in about 3-4 months. Tracy has been buying little things for him and sending them to their daughter. She has been buying onesies of different sizes, she also bought some different things to put on them to dress them up. So for 2 days her and I worked on making these sweet little onesies.


It was so much fun putting them together and can just imagine him wearing them.

The girls having some buggy fun, Tracy driving
Heading out with Tracy to get some pictures and girlie time

Saturday afternoon Tracy and I took a buggy ride to see if any of the cactus were in bloom yet. We were a little disappointed as we only found one type of cactus with flowers. It was sure beautiful with bright fuchsia flowers.



I was also disappointed at how the once beautiful green grass that was so tall it flowed with the wind was now turning brown. We also were looking for some boon docking spots which we did find about 4 really good places. They of course were taken but Tracy showed me how to mark them on the maps in my phone.

Tracy drove us home and did an excellent job.

The week just flew by even tho we just hung around the park. We knew our time was getting close to start packing up pack and heading to our next destination, Prescott, AZ. We will be visiting our long time friends, Terry and Lee.

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prickly pear flowers just starting

Thanks for reading about our journey, we are glad to have you tag along with us. Leave us a message in comments and we will always answer back.

6 thoughts on “Prickly Hearts

  1. The coke ovens are cool! Glad you got to see them. I too noticed some of the prickly pear cactus are heart shaped. Love the ones you found! Gorgeous photos btw.

    1. Hi Suzi, the ovens were amazing and you have to wonder how did the guys get all the stuff out there. We went over the mountains and over some pretty rough roads. The prickly hearts were fun to look for and find just the right one.

  2. Those Coke Ovens sure are interesting, we have never seen those before. Getting out and about on your buggies sure allow you to see come interesting sights. The flowering cactus have beautiful blooms, we always leave too early to see those in person!

    1. It was interesting researching the ovens, wish we could have gotten closer. The cactus were all starting to bloom across the desert. Some I never knew would have flowers and I lived close to the desert in Ca.

  3. Thanks so much for letting me hang out with. Jack still misses you…he keeps curling up on the quilt you made Cori 😄. Oh and I loved the pictures of the coke furnaces. Very cool.

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