25 Apr: Sedona, Arizona, 2730 Bow Drive, adjacent to the Amitagha Stupa and all those magnificent red rocks that move Cynthia's artistic spirit. Awake, exercised, oatmealed, and ready to walk in to Jose's for breakfast. I love you Cynthia. Smooch. The best thing about abrogating adulthood and re-entering childhood is we don’t have to do no more adulting. No More Adulting, how sweet the sound. On the way home from breakfast at Jose’s (uphill) we noticed Spring. The trees are putting forth, the cactus are blooming, the Sweeties are huffing and puffing.
24 Apr: And here we are, running out of month once again. We must be sleeping it away. Since Ron wanted to finish the Rambo genealogy package for sistah Carol, he carried the Mac to breakfast and on to Cynthia's doctor appointment, and home again; it got heavy by the time we reached Bow Drive. Sudokus would have been so much easier to carry. It is hot walking today in Sedona at 80+ degrees! The waitress took a photo of the sweet potato pancake mix; it contains processed flour, salt, oil and eggs. Poor Cynthia LOVED those pancakes, now verboten. Ron put the lentils on to cook and forgot that the instructions said simmer for 20 minutes; they still look and taste OK after 4 hours. After the genealogy package was dispatched to sistah Carol, we took a brief nap before walking, starting at 5:30 after the day had cooled significantly. The highlight today was the small hedgehog cactus with three brilliant red-purple flowers (click here). Tomorrow and Thursday are also forecast for warm.
23 Apr: We are so enjoying our deep, restful sleep after hiking 5-7 miles a day. This morning we awoke at 9:00 and forgot that Sedona Reds breakfast grill shuts down at 10:30. So we missed seeing Claudia, walked instead to Cafe Jose, where they serve breakfast all day, and enjoyed sweet potato pancakes made without oil or butter. At 5 we did take the Thunder Mountain Trail, but not to the summit. Now we are tired again~. Peculiar that Thunder Mountain Trail does not go anywhere near the summit; it just meanders along the very lowest threshold of the mountain. Nonetheless, the footing is a little scary for Cynthia as we begin our hiking for the year. After we returned to our house on Bow Drive, Ron decided to quickly walk to Basha's for popcorn and oats and to sleep well. This walking in the evening is working like a charm to improve his sleep.
|We didn't take the summit trail|
|Thunder Mountain Trail|
19 Apr: God willing we will wake up! We certainly did, and we even hiked 7 miles including a 2.32 mile round trip to Cafe Jose for breakfast. Mid afternoon we hiked on the Lower Chimney Rock Trail. A trip into Walgreens to pick up a RX for ear drops allowed for dinner at the salad bar at Whole Foods. We hustled over to Basha’s for popcorn and oatmeal resupply. Does this sound fatiguing? It is! The box of supplies we shipped here from Texas arrived today contains clothing for colder weather. It is chilly every morning and when the sun goes down. I am tired! Good night!
18 Apr: YUP! Up early again for a fasting metabolic panel - and to pick up the RX before another breakfast at Sedona Red's, except our favorite waitress Claudia wasn’t working today, so we ate at Cafe Jose again. Yesterday, the internist cleaned Cynthia's ear; removing was from from the ear drum caused the ear drum to bleed. Now we do antibiotics in the ear! Ron is delighted to squeeze antibiotic drops into that ear getting a big reaction. She cannot wear that hearing aid for a few days, causing her to miss some of Ron's witticisms. But she is thankful to have such amazing new hearing aids that work so beautifully. And a hiking we did go, 4 mountain miles, climbing the equivalent of 39 floors, first taking the Chimney Rock Lower Trail, then the Upper Trail. The temperature was perfect. We met a nice young couple from Omaha who were on their way to the Summit. After dinner we did our second hike of the day, reaching a days total of 6.6 miles. Our friend Alfred wrote, “I admire your ability to focus on what’s most important in life: love, faith, family, and friends. Walking in the Garden of the Lord with a Loving partner at your side is a continuous prayer of thanksgiving. May you and Ron continue to enjoy your adventures for many more moons. Sylvia and I are with you in spirit, thanks to your wonderful photos and comments."
|How Great Thou Art|
|How close we climbed to Chimney Rock|
|Sedona's Red Rocks|
|Hiking Trails Behind Our House|
15 Apr, Sunday: Good Sunday morning, another day of marvelous, jaw dropping views riding from Payson, Arizona to the the red rocks of Sedona. Once we exited I-17 onto Arizona Highway 179 through the Village of Oak Creek into Sedona, traffic was slow. The last two traffic circles were backed up from one to the other, the worst we have ever seen it here, bumper to bumper, stop and go. The area around the Hilton in Oak Creek has grown tremendously, with many new shoppimg areas. The 3 bedroom home we leased for a month (hoping for visitors) is quite nice, with a garage, too. Well, once we figured out the lock box and we were able to enter the house we could see it was nice. The WiFi works great, too, once we figured out which connection would take the password. After Ron emailed more annual letters, we rode to Whole Foods and pigged out on the delicious salad bar before grocery shopping. The house is close to a Buddhist temple and park, with trails going behind the Temple area up to Thunder Mountain. At 5:30 PM we managed a 2 mile hike. Ron walked another two miles, round trip to Safeway for popcorn. The long walks help us sleep through the night. The best news from the walk to Safeway was discovering Ron's shortness of breath is gone after two months being off one of his 3 blood thinners. He ate bread going uphill, talked on the phone to Ed K. and Dr. Coral in FL with out shortness of breath. Good night!
|Salt River Canyon|
|Cozy Fireplace in Greer Lodge Room|
|Sunset from our window|
|Little Colorado River|
|Aspen growing in burned forest|
10 Apr: 33 degrees? Woweee! Guess we wait to walk until afternoon. Thursday and Friday are red flag warning days, meaning very high winds. So far our supply of oatmeal and berries is good. Ron cooked beans in the coffee pot producing quite a quantity of so-so results. The WiFi is extremely slow and unpredictable; Verizon has NO service here, so our electronics usage is limited for a few days. A great article about Son Paul and his wife Cheryl’s company: http://houstonhotelmagazine.com/art-culture/stash-co-s-cheryl-schulke-is-building-bags-and-more-for-leaders/ Today we see if the Lodge can print Ron's letters (nope) and if Ron can finish his 2018 April and 2016 annual letters to post to this blog as sidebar links.(nope) (If he succeeds, you will see the links to the left near the top.)
|Little Colorado River|
|Ron enjoying river|
8 Apr, Sunday: Greer, Arizona at Greer Lodge and Cabins (click here to see views). Delicious Sleep, another long night of great sleep, plus a sunshiny day, with hiking to do, provides energy to move. We made breakfast oatmeal by heating water in the coffee pot. Close to eleven AM we enjoyed a terrific egg white veggie omelet breakfast at the Rendezvous Cafe, built in 1909 (click here tripAdvisor). The current owner, with his handlebar mustache, is quite amused at our dietary restrictions, but he remains in business because he does an awesome job of listening to his customers. A friendly neighboring diner showed us his recent video of dozens of elk he spotted on top of a nearby hill. He also suggested we walk the 1.5 miles to the end of Main Street and follow the trail next to the Little Colorado River. We did exactly that, but we didn’t take photos because Cynthia left her cell phone/camera behind since Verizon cell service isn’t available here. Tomorrow we must take photos because we saw Elk! Ron thought that the motionless grey silhouettes were statues, until one of them wiggled an ear. And he learned Monday that they were actually mule deer rather than elk. OOps. (In his defense, the view from the side appeared to show the elkish rump.) Spring is apparent in a few lovely daffodils that obviously get watered close to buildings, and in the delightful pussy willow buds on stream banks, and in the reddish or occasional golden "halo" adorning the bushes everywhere. Grass is greener only near water; it has been dry. Once, when returning to our room, we scared off a great blue heron (click here). One wonders if that bird observes the "catch and release" rule. For dinner we returned to Molly Butler Lodge (click here) where we learned that it is Arizona's oldest guest lodge and even hosted Herbert Hoover and Zane Gray. Not a day passes without our gratitude to God for life abundant amidst the wonder of creation. Thank God!
|Our room at Greer Lodge|
(view out front window of fishing puddle is marvelous)
6 Apr: Roswell, New Mexico. The sudoku in USA Today was more difficult this morning, so Ron spent a bit more time with the Hampton Inn continental breakfast of mostly oatmeal with a tiny bit of fruit. We were packed and rolling by 10:30 but decided to stop again at the Cattle Baron for lunch (bird in the hand). We exited Roswell on US 380 and enjoyed cool temperatures all day. In Capitan we were approached by a local who enjoyed talking motorcycles, then astounded us both by asking first how old I was (70) and then saying that I was a youngster compared to his 91 years - and he is still riding. He sold his two Harleys because they were just too heavy and bought a Yamaha 650 (still plenty fast for us oldsters). Again the ride was uneventful (Thank God) and those flat New Mexico miles just rolled by effortlessly at a comfortable, unhurried 63 mph. The bike just purrs along smoothly. Seeing no appealing restaurants in San Antonio, we went north briefly on I-25 to Socorro. Uncertain that we would find dinner in Magdalena tonight, we ate salads in Socorro and arrived a half an hour later at the High Country Lodge in Magdalena (click here), easy to find on US Highway 60, first street in Magdalena, home for tonight for a mere $48, a Queen bed in a 30’s-style motel. Ron was impressed because it advertised being non profit, run by volunteers to give area residents work. The room is satisfactorily clean but tiny with New Mexico impoverished back country decor, and the town looks similarly impoverished but comfortably safe. Grandson Brett said to be sure to lock the doors.
5 Apr: We woke up! That’s always a good thang (West Texas!) We depart (as in leave Big Springs, TX) for Roswell, NM, oops, but since it was 11AM, we decided to stop at the TA for a luncheon salad. Uneventful ... that's a good way to describe our ride northwest on US 87 until Los Ybanez where we turned west on US 180 to Seminole (I thought those were in Florida), NW again on TX 214 to Plains, Texas, aptly named, and US 82 briefly then US 380 for the rest of the day and beyond. It was windy part of the time when the wind was hitting us from the west, but less windy than previous days. As the temperature climbed, we removed outer gear. The vast fields of farm land covered hundreds, or maybe thousands, of acres of the West Texas plains; the most interesting was the crop of oil wells growing yards apart over the hundreds of miles. Must be a good cash crop! Ron saw an antelope soon after we crossed into New Mexico. That encouraged us to scan the scenery faithfully for days. Oil wells thinned rapidly in NM, and arable land seemed non existent. About thirty miles east of Roswell we could see the faint shape of a mountain in the distance. The land was flat, flat, flat until the thirty foot grade down hill into Roswell. The Hampton Inn had a good price. And the Cattle Baron restaurant (click here) served a very delicious grilled salmon with a baked sweet potato and an all-you-can-eat salad bar. The bike is riding good. Ron went to sleep by 7:30 PM. but awoke an hour later.
4 Apr: We did awaken in Brownwood, Texas, thank God. We are exercised, fed, and nearly packed. Last task for Ron was to check the route: we stay on US 84/67 west until TX 158, and that will take us into Midland. Temperature this morning was 39 degrees; HOW did that happen? Cynthia wants her heated gear; our luggage is getting easier to pack. It was a stellar day. The sun was shining, the wind was windy, but the views of West Texas were marvelous. Increasingly, the aridity was pronounced, like an old John Wayne movie. A vast field of bluebonnets was a head turner. As we turned onto TX 158, the temperature suddenly dropped significantly and that was a chilly ride, not quite cold enough to dig out more warm clothing, since Cynthia was almost warm in her heated gear, but still plenty chilly. TX 158 hosted the most mind boggling scene: hundreds of miles of wind farms generating electricity from that chilly West Texas wind. Those fields stretched most of the entirety of our travel westward on TX 158 from Sterling City to Big Springs, Texas. The first windmill was gimormous and close beside the road, but once we crested that hill, the windmills spread out all over the landscape, and as we continued westward, more and more windmills kept crowding the horizon. At a lunch break we discovered that hotels in Midland, Texas were sold out, so we switched to US Highway 87 N into Big Spring, Texas. The Best Western there was a pricy $189. Cynthia asked the clerk why all the hotels were sold out and the prices were so outrageous. She replied in her very heavy Texas drawl, “it’s the ol fiuhhld wahrkuhs.” Her recommendation that the TA had a terrific salad bar was an excellent one. TA used to be Truckstops of America and is now TravelCenters of America.
3 Apr: In Temple, Texas, we arose shortly after 7 PM, well rested and ready for the morning exercise routine, then elevatored down to the restaurant for OATMEAL, our newest favorite O-word. The sky was filled with storm clouds. Ron rode 3 miles to the PO to mail gazillions of cards and letters to members of his fan club. He assured me everyone will love seeing the Temple, Texas postmark instead of the Montgomery, Texas postmark, even though that Montgomery postmark would have been so convenient, being located close to the diner where we lunched yesterday. Then he visited Walmart to get air in the tires (a new realization) and to restock with postcards full of bluebonnets. We will be passing through the great Texas Hill Country. After that, we will be in West Texas, where we will starve to death amidst the thousands or hundreds of taco stands. We have carrots for emergencies. And oatmeal. Well, we did manage to leave Temple before noon heading NW on TX 36 with only a few raindrops hitting us until OUCH! That was a big splat of hail! Ron immediately U-turned and tried south, then west again on US 190 until the mist thickened. So we gave up and turned south looking for a restaurant in which to wait out the storm. (In retrospect, Ron realizes that he missed a turn, and we might have avoided the storm entirely if we had been going SW as planned instead of NW after missing the turn.) We saw an attractive sign announcing that the Stagecoach Inn & Restaurant was now open for business at exit 284 on I-35. (We were on the access road, avoiding the heavy traffic.) One would think that the town of Salada would offer food that we could eat, but about the only thing we could find open was the Ambrosia Tea Room. A local police officer stopped in front of us and motioned us alongside, then warned us of severe thunderstorms in the forecast. (No surprise to us since we had been there, been hit already onct good.) The very accommodating hostess at the tea room provided us with garden salads and turkey. Fine because it had to be. Color radar showed that the storm had passed by just north of Salada and clobbered Killeen and Temple, where we were going and where we came from. Since color radar promised us a clear ride, we wasted no time finding farm road 2484 towards Killeen immediately, turned north on FM 3481 to reconnect with US 190 close to Killeen. Highway 190 through Killeen, Fort Hood, and Copperas Cove was non-stop shopping city with lots and lots of traffic, but as soon as we cleared that mess, traffic quickly abated and serenity ensued. The ride offered lovely scenery and some spectacular views until we approached a line of windmills, spinning so gracefully in the wind. As we approached those giants, the afternoon wind again became ferocious. Windmills, DUH. So we stopped at a Subway in Goldthwaite for a water and wind break, then resumed NW-erly to Brownwood, where we found a Comfort Inn for respite from the wind for the night. Route 190 merged with 183 and later with 84, so the road signs read US 190/183/84. The town of Early abuts Brownwood and we walked from the hotel in Early to a very nice frisbee park in Brownwood. Cynthia's FitBit logged her 10,000 steps today. We are getting to bed early in hopes of less wind early in the day tomorrow. G'night.
2 Apr: Up and at'em at 5:40 AM, morning exercises exercised, oatmeal consumed, and packing begun in earnest. Let’s ride! Well, who knows exactly when that will happen. The bags are mostly packed after days of organizing every tiny piece of paper to get it exactly right. (Do I detect sarcasm?) Ron closed the door to the second bathroom so Cynthia couldn’t see ALL the recycling, most of which went into the second storage locker this morning, waiting until next January for actual recycling. We will be charged by the hour for late departure, so we will be out by 11:00 AM sharp (well 11:10 in actual fact). We returned umpteen boxes to the main storage unit. (Ron was very pleased that his stuff stacked nicely on top of the file cabinets; when you climb to the top, you are closer, my God, to thee.) Then we dropped off our box of supplies (cute clothes) to ship to Sedona, returned the car to Enterprise, lunched at the Magnolia Diner, and finally really departed (as in left town). And! At one PM Ron said, “We can still do this!” with a huge_huge_huge smile across his face (bigger than usual) when Cynthia climbed on the bike to finally leave. It was 85 degrees warm but easily tolerable with our 60 mph speed on TX 105 until we turned north on TX 6 at Navasota, and the wind shoved us around with gusto. The bluebonnets were astounding, and we saw many, many fields bright and dim. Paintbrush accentuated the bluebonnets in places, and there were vast fields of brilliant yellow too. The new leaves on most deciduous trees provided their brilliant new green to the landscape. It was a glorious day to ride even though traffic was rather heavy on TX 6 north to College Station and beyond. At Hearne we turned west on US 79 and then north on Farm Road 2095. Not much traffic on the Farm Road, but the change in temperature was abrupt and radical. It dropped from 80s into the 60s in a matter of miles. Before the wind had been blowing us eastward strongly, now it blew southward even stronger, and it was COLD. When we turned north on US 190, it stayed cold, and even Ron, the chronic hyperthermic, got so cold that he stopped to put on another layer. We were quite happy a hour later to arrive at our destination, a Hilton Garden Inn in Temple, TX. We had salmon, broccoli and a potato for dinner. Ron is finally eating the leftovers that Roxanne sent home with us with three weeks ago (or more). He went for a longish walk over to the Mall and through it for exercise, but ignored the weight room and pool. We got to bed around 10:30 to 11 AM and rested very well.
1 Apr, Easter Sunday: Happy Easter friends and family! Thank God for Easter joy! Everyone is joyful, smiling from the soul. Jon, Ron and Cynthia worshipped in a magnificent service at Grace Lutheran in Conroe. Our pastor Diane had an inspiring Alleluia Message; the music was thundering and so were the Amens. The songs sang us. Thanks be to God! Cynthia was reminded, looking at Jon, “I love seeing my kids lined up in the pew, spit spot down the row. Our family rarely missed worship, or an Easter sunrise service, with one child sitting between Jon and Scott to keep them from fighting. Baby Paul climbed across everybody, choosing the best lap for a three minute rest. I am thankful for five kids that are believers, healthy, active, contributing adults. Jo B. said, “The Forde family was our entertainment.” After worship Ron and Cynthia ate at the golf club, a hearty Sunday brunch of egg white omelets, salmon and a huge bowl of steamed veggies. Cynthia ate contraband — two mini cupcake treats.
|resulted in a many flowered cross|