Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Holding pattern

It feels like we are on the runway waiting for our plane to take off but they won't give us the go ahead. Over the next week, we should know if we are a go or not. Mike is so much better after his accident and just waiting to get the MD all clear so we can be "on the road again".
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
We have nothing to complain about. The weather has been great and people very nice. We have even gotten back out on the mountain bikes, worked on our carnitas recipe and made reservations for this spring. But when the itch hits, it can drive a person crazy.
Trail to Wind Cave

Wind Cave with many bee hives inside the cracks of the cave

Yep, we started clear down there

The desert is greener than we have ever seen it due to the large amount of rain this year. We hear the rattlesnakes are waking up but haven't seen any as we hike or cycle.
We enjoy Gilbert

Great BBQ with a walkup counter

On a rainy weekend, we stopped at the Mesa Market

Don't have to do that too many times

Mesa, Arizona - Grave of Ernesto Miranda
Ernesto A. Miranda was a career criminal. In 1963 he was arrested and convicted for armed robbery and the kidnap/rape of an 18-year-old girl without being advised of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning. His attorneys appealed his conviction, which led to the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that all suspects at the time of their arrests must be read their "Miranda" rights. His conviction was overturned, he was released, and promptly rearrested and "Mirandized." He served 11 years before being paroled. On January 31, 1976, he was stabbed to death in a bar fight

This was taken from Roadside America. A great place to find unusual sites to see when we get there.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Desert Botanical Gardens and Blue Point

The second Tuesday of each month is free entry into the gardens. It seemed like the perfect time to check it out. There were docent stationed throughout the gardens to educate us which added greatly to the experience.

Around the holiday, luminaries are placed along the paths and lit up at night.

We were shown how the Native Americans used the skeleton of the prickly pear cactus to make brushes and utensils.

What a nice sundial.

Rock fountain

Replicas of the homes of the Indians that lived in the desert. The mesquite seeds were ground to make flour high in protein and made into hard biscuits to be worn on a leather cord around their necks and eaten while out hunting.

The inside of an old saguaro

The woodpeckers make their nests in the saguaro and cause a scar to form. Then other owls and birds can use it for their nests once it is vacated.
It was a chilly morning with a high of 53 degrees with plenty of sunshine. It seemed like a good day for a walk along the Salt River and look for the wild horses.

We saw plenty of herons, cranes and hoof prints but no wild horses this time.

 The sky has been much clearer with the rain and cool breezes we have had. Often when it gets cooler, the air gets pretty dirty from the inversion. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

-3 degrees in Beaver Creek

Having good warm winter gear is greatly appreciated when it is this cold. We have boot heaters but for some reason my right toes were freezing. I checked to see what the problem was and turned out to be user error. I only turned on the left one.

 I like to go to Beaver Creek once when we are skiing in Vail. It seems like a good idea to check out nearby resorts. Why would we want to get ready in a nice warm condo and have the shuttle drive us to the gondola here in Vail? After dragging our equipment down to the truck and drive to Avon, we have to get our ski boots on in the parking lot, not an easy task on the ice. Then we walk to the bus stop and ride over to the lift. After an hour we are on the slopes but a rest is required before starting down the mountain.
Mike agrees with this sign.

Arrowhead and Bachelor's Gulch are at a lower elevation and have aspen trees instead of the pines. We had been staying on the intermediate runs because Mike's leg was not getting well as quickly as we hoped. He hit a ripple in the run, hurting his leg more and had to call it a day. Maybe if we had taken some time off to let him heal, it might be ok by now.

We hadn't felt the cold very much until we got on the lift that takes us to the top of Beaver Creek. The higher above the trees we got, the more we felt wind and cold on our faces. I guess we should have put our facemasks on before getting on the lift.

At the end of this day, he was ready to accept that he was hurt worse than he had realized.

I was glad when Mike finally decided it was time to call it a season and head back to Arizona instead of finishing our time here. No sense getting hurt worse and not able to ride bikes when we get back to the warmer temps.
The instructor kept the kids is line by having each one hold on to the rope.

When we get on the lifts, one of the first questions is "Where are you from?". We met people from all over the world including Argentina, Milan, Russia, Australia and Germany to name a few. The next question is "Where is a good place to eat that doesn't cost an arm and leg?" We had a few suggestions. But there aren't as many as a few years ago when the economy wasn't doing so well.

We had some nice morning walks to Betty Ford Park.

I bet getting to this 1922 school house was tough in the winter.

A first gondola from the 1960s.

We got back to AZ earlier than expected to 70 degree temps. AHHH!

Now to start planning our trip east this spring and summer to see Mike's grandkids, his class reunion and our time working at Camp Timanous in Maine. 

Cuenca, Ecuador

An Expat Destination The morning after returning to Quito we boarded an hour-long flight to Cuenca. Driving up the winding roads would have ...