Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Onward From Flagstaff With Stile

After Flagstaff, we planned to go to the Arizona Snowbowl and ride the scenic chairlift (in the winter, the skilift). When we got there, it was closed for maintenance until September 15.

We traveled on and pulled in at a small park. It had a nature trail with signs that described the local forest and wildlife. Most of the trees were Ponderosa Pine and Quaking Aspen. The local deer like to rub the velvet off of their antlers on the smaller trees, mostly the aspens. This damages the relatively thin bark of the aspens, often causing major wounds and sometimes killing the tree. To allow the aspens to recover, a grove of aspens were fenced off with a "deer proof" fence. There is a maintenance trail off of the loop which leads to this grove. The stile in the photograph below is where this maintenance trail crosses a fence.

We headed west on Interstate 40 to Williams, AZ, where we stopped for lunch in a Route 66 themed restaurant.

From Williams, we drove west on Interstate 40 through Kingman, then heading south on Arizona 95 to Lake Havasu, AZ. When we travel through Arizona, we always stop there. From the eastern shore, London Bridge crosses to an island. This is the real London Bridge. It was bought, disassembled and shipped from London, England, then reassembled here in the Arizona desert. Just across the bridge on the left is one of my wife's favorate restaurants for breakfast. They have more versions of Eggs Benedict than anywhere else I have ever been.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

We crossed over to the east side of Winslow for breakfast.

After breakfast at the Falcon Restaurant, we started back west on US-66. In the center of town, there is a small park named "Standing on the Corner Park." It is named, of course, after the famous song, "Take It Easy", by the Eagles. We had to stop there and take pictures - these are on my wife's and my daughter's camera.

In the days of steam locomotives, the railroad had the biggest engine shop in the southwest on the south side of Winslow. It is all gone, now. All we saw of it were pictures in the museum. (Sigh!)

From Winslow, we drove Arizona 87 southwest into the Coconino National Forest. Our map indicated dramatic scenery and other natural wonders along that route. The map was right.

We stopped at the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park late in the day. This did not leave us much time to hike the trails. The highlight of this park is the huge natural bridge with a river flowing underneath it. We started with the overlooks which view the bridge from just below the level of the top of the bridge. We considered hikig the trail down to the river, but decided against it because of the lateness of the day and because my wife's knee was giving her difficulties. We did hike along the top of the bridge to all of the overlooks and did take a much shorter trip down to a waterfall. The trip down was easy; coming up was a different story. By the time we reached the trailhead at the top again, I was out of breath and my wife had to sit down and get off of her knee. My daughter walked back and fetched our car.

As we were running out of day, we decided to head north, back toward Interstate 40 and find some dinner and lodging. By the time we got there, most of the interesting restaurants were closed and we ended up having dinner at Denny's. Thankfully, they are always open and their food is dependably good.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Rolling west from Gallop, NM on Interstate 40, we found ourselves at the entrance to two National Parks - Painted Desert and Petrofied Forest. The list price for entrance to a National Park has soared! Ouch! The good news: I have become so fossilized that I am eligible for an "old fogies" pass.  This cost only $10 and is good for the rest of my life!!

Painted Desert

These first two pictures are the main overlook.

From this point there is a trail along the rim to the historic Painted Desert Inn. It now is a museum and visitors center. The following three pictures are from along this trail.

At this point, we planned to walk back to the car, but my wife decided that only two would go back while the rest waited.

Petrified Forest

After that, we drove down the park road to Petrified Forest. Along the way, we passed the remains of an old car which marked where US-66 intersected the then entrance roads for the two parks.

The first stop in Petrified Forest NP is the bridge. We walked down to it. This is one of the oldest tourist spots in the park. Unfortunately, I could not get a good picture of it.

We drove on to Crystal Forest. There is a short hiking trail which we took. Along the way, I took the following pictures.

After this, we rolled on to the south entrance. There, under a canopy with a picnic table, we ate lunch - two of those boxes of left-over chinese food. We also went through the visitors' center and hiked the little trail through the Giant Forset. My wife's knee started to give out and I had to assist her. This curtailed my photography. My daughter, I believe got some good shots,however. Maybe, she will let me post them later.

From here, we rolled on through Arizona, between I-40 and I-10. We wandered up to I-40 and stopped in Winslow, AZ to find some food and lodging. We found an Econo Lodge hotel on the western side of town and ate dinner at a pizza joint on the north side.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Mexico

From Clovis, we headed west toward Arizona.

Clovis is a railroad town and, unfortunately, the railroad and a small freight yard is just across the street from our motel. Switching cars, with the requsite banging and whistle signals kept my wife up much of the night. In the morning, we rolled westward.

There were a few places we wanted to see, but each was closed on Sunday. THis included all of the state visitor's centers along Interstate 40. If we could have gotten at least a free map, we would have spent more time in New Mexico and spent more money.

While driving, we passed through a small town, Santa Rosa. We have passed through this town several times over the past twenty-five or so years. It used to be a vibrant little town with many business on Business I-40, also known as Historic US-66. Each time, there were less and less businesses open. This time, most of the storefronts were vacent. At the rate this is going, the next time we drive through we will see tumbleweeds rolling across the road. It is so sad to watch this little town die.....

We found an interesting place for lunch - a restaurant chain called Lot-A-Burger. It has been around since 1953, but only in New Mexico and Arizona. For a fast food joint, the food was good, made when we ordered it, and reasonably priced.

We stopped in another railroad town for the night - Gallop, NM. We found lodging at a DaysInn and dinner at a Chinese restaurant where they really overfed you. We ordered three dishes - one lo main, a chicken and cashew, and one sizzling beef. We ate our fill and then filled (and I mean filled!) three to-go boxes.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Clovis, NM

We crossed the Texas-New Mexico border on US-60 and landed in Clovis, NM for the night. We found an Italian restaurant and a TravelLodge model. Unfortunately, it was across the highway from a small, but busy, railroad freight yard. The noise was unrelenting all night. It kept my wife awake while the rest of us slept.

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Good Grief! Where has the Time Gone??

Here it is:  vacation time again.  I just realized that it has been eleven months since the last time I posted anything!  So much has happened, but I have been so busy....
A quick synopsis:
  • I am still working off the ranch, but my wife is not. She is now permanently disabled due to her knees. Now, if we can only get the Social Security Administration to agree...
  • We have expanded our operation to include chickens. We built a coop to keep them safe at night, but let them range freely during the day.
  • The children are taking on-line classes this semester. This way they can keep up while we travel. I wish this option was available when I was in college...
  • We rented out the double-wide, but the new tenant defaulted after the first month and we had to evict her. Now, we have to find another tenant.
  • We actually had some decent rains this year. Our pastures are still green at the end of August! The state, however, is still in a drought: replenishing the aquifers will take much more rain than we have gotten.

The economy, while it has improved, is still bad. I keep hearing economic pundits complain that the consumer, which comprises 70% of economic activity, is still not spending. This leaves me wondering what planet they live on. Since wages have been static and the prices not included in the "market basket," are rising, where are we supposed to get the money to spend on non-essential items? The official inflation rate does not include food, energy, taxes, medical and education. Jobs have increased, but not for veterans, part-timers and the long-term unemployed - three groups not included in the standard employment rate. All the pundits are trying to do is make us feel better without making the reality better. As W.C. Fields said - lies, damn lies and statistics.

Anyway, it is time for vacation. We are headed to my mother-in-law's place in California to celebrate her 80th birthday. My wife's best friend will take care of the flock and the herd while we are gone.
Gotta run for the New Mexico state line.....

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Time to Clear The Air!

I found this on another web site. Smoking, and other forms of tobacco (ab)use, cost the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars each year. Who do you think pays when a senior citizen has to be treated for lung or throat cancer? Medicare. When a younger cancer victim becomes disabled and can no longer work, who do you think pays? Medicaid. Yep - that's you and I, the American taxpayer. It is time end this scourge and raise the cost to the tobacco user.

smoking infographic


Monday, July 08, 2013

Today's Morning Suprise....