Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Escaping August Heat

17 Aug: Salt Lake City, Utah, downtown. Much has changed since our 2016 trip to SLC, heavy construction has shifted north of the temple now that downtown projects are completed.  Homeless have shifted away from downtown proper to Pioneer Park and the Rio Grande area, a block behind the south side of our hotel. Even the family history Library has had significant changes, with records and books digitized on computers.  The FHL is now a mega media complex, which is not intriguing to us. Even so, we found information to add to our records.  Our evening walk was, inadvertently, right through the middle of four or five blocks of tough looking homeless. It was surprising to see so many black homeless considering the whiteness of Salt Lake City. The opioid use and mental health issues were obvious. Such tragedy!

16 Aug: Flying Saddle Resort, Alpine Junction, Wyoming is nestled along the banks of the Snake River.  On this coolest morning we are getting the earliest start. By the end of the day when we arrived in  Salt Lake City, UT it was hot! The ride was pleasant and especially scenic; just as we crossed into Utah we rode past the the Bluebird Inn, a great B and B situated across from Bear Lake, its lovely blue color is due to minerals.  Several spectacular homes clustered the lakseshore for over a mile.  Logan Canyon was mesmerizing. So was a mile long cattle drive on the opposite side of highway 89! Thankfully, the cattle were not on our side of the highway; this was a first time ever sighting for us.  Lunch at the Old Grist Mill Bread Factory was a turkey sandwich and greens for Cynthia,   Ron won’t eat bread; they had little Ron would eat; by the time we left Logan we were shedding layers of clothing. The Homewood Suites had a vegetarian dinner,  except the vegetables were canned, loaded with sodium. After dinner we walked to the family history Library.  A large city park across from the hotel had many homeless and is unsafe at night.  We met a group of young adults dressed in fancy evening clothes,  evidently returning from an event. Upon meeting a trio of scantily clad young girls Cynthia said, “Its  hard to tell the nice girls from prostitutes today.”  Ron said, “They are prostitutes.”

15 Aug: Leaving Cody, Wyoming and riding onto Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons was an all day trip.  While haze from wildfires was a disappointment, the scenery was splendid, takes your breath away glorious.  The only wildlife we saw were water fowl,  a deer and fawn planning to cross the highway in front of us, but we startled them and they jumped back.  Beautiful blue lakes looked like glass.  Gravel, highway construction, plus areas of beetle infestation leaving devastation were downsides to a mostly perfect 75 degree day.  Lunch at the Jackson Lodge was a treaty We arrived at Alpine Junction Resort at 4:30 PM and ate wild, fresh caught Alaskan salmon for dinner, waddling along the Snake River for a brief walk. Now it is bedtime.

14 Aug: Oh, no! Oh, yes! Scheduling errors compounded. Cynthia must have been looking at another month on the calendar causing us to miss check in on two hotels. Arriving in Cody WY it was a huge surprise to discover we were to have arrived at the Comfort Inn on Sunday night.  And the hotel was sold out. Thankfully, the Holiday Inn next door had one rom left.  The ride to Cody from Billings was breathtaking, crossing the peaceful, wide Yellowstone River twice and several forks of the placid Clark Fork River many times. Leaving a Rest Area, vast golden fields of newly baled hay presented against lavender hues of the  Pryor Mountains. An antelope played alongside the road. A couple of black clouds hovered above us, spitting a few rain drops until we out rode them. A most surreal sight was mist rising up from the hot concrete after the rain; shafts of sunlight were streaming through breaks in the clouds,  like spotlights dancing on the mountains. We arrived in Cody dry!  And hungry.

13 Aug: Its a Mir-A-cle, A high today of 80 degrees means a trip to a hiking trail or at least to enjoy the view from the rim.  Cooler weather tomorrow means we leave early morning to begin the journey to Salt Lake City.

12 Aug: Sunday Offering:
Dear Lord, Its one of those Sundays! Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for your presence that comes in surprising ways: it is a Facebook post about gratitude for friends; it is fat, furry, bunnies bouncing on the patio; it is a beaming smile from the chef; it is a swaddled newborn; it is love from a spouse. Transform our hearts to radiate your presence to a hurting world; open our eyes to recognize your presence in others. Amen. P.S. Thank you for our blog friends.

11 Aug arrived on schedule. We woke up glad to be alive, continuing to enjoy a great life. Venturing forth to walk a couple of miles, at 80 plus degrees, we were surprised we weren’t fried.  Ron’s Jones family group sheet package ran into a glitch; after an entire afternoon it s seems like not a lot was accomplished.  Cynthia is upbeat after a DNA discovery confirmed Linda B’s 11th great grandfather was the Puritan Robert Coe who emigrated to the Colonies in1634.  We must be the most well known couple in the hotel as we walk the halls and stairs at after dinner unti it cools off enough to walk outside.  This is Saturday night,  bath and laundry time,  Cynthia boogied the laundry down a flight on the back stairs in her robe praying no one would see her. Yuk! Spotted! And the guy had the nerve to chuckle. Good night!

10 Aug: Our satirical blog title should be obvious: there is no escape from August heat. A 9:30 AM ride to the hair salon was pleasant, not yet hot.  Cynthia had a haircut, a new wife? What happened to my favorite wife?  By noontime, the heat had escalated, yet, it was quite pleasant having lunch on the shaded outdoor patio by the ponds.  Ron is keeping out of trouble working on Sudokus OKIE mailed to him! Hi Okie! The fitness center worked for afternoon exercise, and a long walk after dinner at the Rib Chop rounded out the day’s exercise except for hand feeding a couple of the fat, furry bunnies. Amazing these bunnies are so tame and seem safe from predators, except for the four wheeled ones.

9 Aug: A severe heat warning was issued for Billings so we walked early,  but we waited too long in the afternoon for the walk to lunch; it was beastly hot, but it helped to jig and jag from the shade of one small tree to the next.  Ron walked again in the evening. It was fun to talk to Mark, the owner of the Moto Guzzi motorcycle parked outside. And it was interesting to see a couple more Hells Angels at breakfast again.  Perhaps they are part of the Sturgis Rally that is just about over.   Ron is nearly finished with another Family Group package.

8 Aug: Brett and Jen had a beautiful baby boy last night. They are over the moon in love with this guy.

7 Aug: The heat is creeping up! Ron completed his GEDcom and uploaded it to delighted to find DNA matches to known ancestors. Sistah Carol will be so pleased to find more chromosome matching to do when she returns from her trip to a reunion in Iowa. We are interested in learning if she found takers for the four DNA test kits she passed out to relatives. We walked early. Cynthia is engrossed in texting family about a new great grandson expected to make an appearance today.

6 Aug: Billings, MT on a cooler than usual day: we forgot to blog. Imagine that.

5 Aug:  Sunday Offering: Find someone you disagree with, someone you think is wrong, and decide to love that person the way you want Jesus to love you. We might be thought well of for our opinions but we will be remembered for our love.  Become love. 
(from Bob Goff, Everybody Always Becoming) —-

We walked, we ate and we slept the rainy afternoon away.  Now  it is time for Ron to go grocery shopping before the thousand year flood arrives.  The rain ceased and we walked for nearly six total miles today. 

4Aug: Yesterday’s rain cooled Billings a bit. The morning was quite pleasant for walking. A big surprise was seeing 4 Hell’s Angels in colors staying at a Hilton hotel. The two women looked pretty tough, covered in tattoos. Ron cleaned the bike’s Fareng. Email consumed our afternoon followed by a walk to an early dinner at the Rib Chop Restaurant and a later, and longer, walk. The sunset was glorious.

3 Aug: Happy Birthday Jon!  The smooches are in a Billings, Montana hotel, all cozy, during a deluge. After months traveling a very dry SW crying for rain, it is deeply pleasing to be inside watching a down pour outside.  The cleaning crew arrived earlier this morning, leaving the room fresh and enjoyable.  Our chores done for the day, we are relaxing after a noon walk to the Windmill Restaurant; the salad was yummy.    Last night we stayed awake almost to the rooster crowed, looking at weather options and routes for going to Salt Lake City.  The coming two weeks are forecast to be roaring hot no matter which route we take; we would burn up riding in the heat, so we opted to stay here until the 12th of August - departing very early AM to ride to Cody,WY.  From there we ride through Yellowstone on the 13th - repeating a very early AM  departure, arriving in Alpine, WY by evening.  The 14th, we have a  Grandaddy of a ride to Salt Lake City.  God willing, we arrive by evening after a long, hot day.

2 Aug: Bunny rabbits and prairie dogs are the story for Aug 2. Ron fed them carrots.  We walked to the Windmill for super sized salad in 88 degree weather.  Tonight we will walk in Walmart!

Terry the Prairie Dog

Bunny Eats From Hand

1 Aug, Billlings, Montana, Homewood Suites - we tried escaping the heat by riding to Montana, it didn’t work the first time we tried it either. The temperature was 92 degrees today.  Fat, furry bunnies on the hotel grounds are capturing our attention. Very cute.  Cynthia was pleased to find a tailor to alter too loose blue jeans in short order.  Nearby was a five story Hilton hotel that begged us to walk the carpeted floors; we amuse ourselves by walking the floors of hotels to we can stay cool.  Lunch at the Windmill Restaurant was very pleasant with nice grounds and lakes for walking. Our noses were buried in computers for the afternoon.  The hotel has free suppers besides free good breakfasts. And that was our day.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

July - Smooch Smooch is 18 AGAIN, AGAIN!

31 Jul: Hwy 120 from Riverton, WY to Billings, MT is called the “lonely and  scenic” route; it wasn’t lonely,  but it was very scenic.  Thermopolis impressed us when we stopped there for lunch at Nature’s Corner to ear serving bowl size salads.  The community obviously cares passionately about being vibrant even though it is a small town.  We were surprised to see many lakes despite the aridity. The best part of the ride was a canyon with three stone tunnels followed by the Big Horn River with the railroad visible on the opposite side of the river.  The state had few residents in the 1800’s, mostly ranchers.  The winter of 1887 was devastating to livestock creating the need for  irrigation to become necessary for agriculture to feed cattle during harsh winters. Ron saw evidence of more agriculture in WY than Cynthia did; she noticed ag changes by the time we approached Montana.  We didn’t stop at the oldest cowboy town of Meetetsee, WY, even though we heard it has a marvelous museum, because we encountered a road construction delay.  Exciting wildlife viewing was a  deer, an antelope and soft, furry rabbits.   Montana has more sheep than Wyoming.  About 6 PM we arrived in Billings; Ron rode to Walmart to shop.  Last night it became apparent that July 31 is the last day of Cynthia’s birthday month, with the help of the desk clerk, a recycled card, gold stars, red marking pen and glue, a surprise greeted her with bouquet of red roses and the recycled birthday card. She should like the card since she picked it out

Red Roses for da wee fee
30 Jul: Walking Riverton, CO was again a pleasant, albeit warmer, experience than yesterday. We hoofed nearly six miles.   The city has done a lot of work creating the Wyoming Trail, aka the Rail to Trail.  Tree planting along the trail was an outstanding idea in need of water. A few sections have sprinklers; most do not.  It is very arid. Genealogy and DNA was second on our list of to-do items. It is interesting that several descendants of Robert Rambo are coming out of the woodwork.  A new grandson is expected this week or the doctor will induce labor on Monday.

29 Jul: Riverton, CO where the livin’ is laid back. Cowboy town. We stay at many different hotel brands, but we often choose the Hilton properties because their breakfasts are not vendor fast food.  The guarantee is satisfaction or you don’t pay. This morning they were out of oatmeal at nine AM. Breakfast is served until ten.  Oatmeal is the healthiest, cheapest food on the buffet.  To run out on a Sunday morning means very inefficient kitchen management. Ron walked to Walmart and bought two small boxes of oatmeal and gave the manager the receipt saying he expected to be reimbursed. We received comp for one night.  Soooo today Cynthia received a DPT shot because she scratched her leg on rusty barb wire crossing the Trail to the hotel.  Her last TT was February of 2008 before her trip to Asia.  And the rest of the day was terrific. Guaranteed.  We were pleasantly surprised to learn more about Riverton's effort to inspire community betterment.  It was pleasing to walk the Wyoming Trail dubbed Rails to Trails; when the train tracks were removed an asphalt trail was laid along with a lovely tree planting effort.  Very nice.

28 Jul: Rawlins, WY, Hampton Inn; This is one of the rare times on our travels a TV in the breakfast room is turned to CNN.  Packed up, we rolled onto Riverton, Wyoming getting hit with a little bit of rain.  The scenery was like yesterday's ride. Lots of vast arid ranch land with cattle grazing in spots. The rest stop at Sweetwood Station was instructive; we were on the Oregon Trail!  Fascinating.  Leaving the rest stop we turned NW onto Wyoming 135 towards Riverton, Wyoming crossing over an amazing pass. The earth looked like the surface of the moon.  Riding into Riverton was not so scenic; trailer park city.  The city has one reputable restaurant: The Trailhead.  But they did a fine job of feeding us with a great salad bar and egg beater omelets apart from tak8ng an hour to be served because they were so busy.

27 Jul:  We crossed the state line from CO to Wyoming at 10:58 AM with little change in scenery. The Dr at the Medical Clinic described Walden as being like Wyoming instead of uppity CO. The ride across a plateau atop a Mesa of thousands of acres of barren ranch land was interesting; a very few ranches used irrigation and had green pastures and crops.  Cattle, horses and even antelope were spotted grazing.   After checking in at the Hampton Inn, we lunched on veggies and baked potato at Bucks Grill and Bar.   Tonight we walked 3 miles  round trip to dine at the Aspen House.  The steamed vegetables were excellent. On the way home we saw a curious sight, a deer was inside a chain link fence in someone’s front yard. A bit later another deer exited a parking lot in front of us and raced across the highway. By the time we reached our room, after climbing three flights of stairs, the key cards didn’t work. Down the stairs we went to get new key cards, and they didn’t work. Cynthis plopped down on the floor while Eon summoned the desk clerk The desk clerk made several attempts and finally figured out corrosion behind the batteries was the culprit. Down the stairs again, this time to see the beautiful blood moon. The photo does not capture the redness.

26 Jul:  Walden, Colorado enjoying cool weather.  Unfortunately we were only able to extend our stay one day, and we have to switch rooms, so we leave tomorrow for Rawlins, Wyoming where it will be warmer, forecast 84-degree high.  Then it should be another easy ride to a Hampton Inn at Riverton, Wyoming. Today we were treated to wildlife other than us: we saw a moose as we hoofed it when we were caught in the rain. The sunset tonight was incredible. And so is the moon.

25 Jul:  Walking Walden was the big event of our day, racking up 10,000 steps.  As we walked on the side streets we chanced to read the sign for the North Park Medical Clinic, so we stopped to see if they could examine Cynthia's ribs.  Yesterday when Ron gave her a close, comfortable hug, something went pop and immediately hurt, so we are nervous that she might have a broken rib.  The nurse showed us a photo of the bear that was in town last week dining on a neighbors garbage.  Cynthia took photos of stuffed wildlife in the Forest Service Office to send to granddaughter Fyn.  As we ate a late lunch at the River Rock, all the motorcyclists had on heavy clothing.  It is cool here this afternoon.  Big event of the day is that Cynthia was able to do laundry.  Nearly nothing makes her happier.

24 Jul:  We had a yummy breakfast with Pat outdoors at the Happy Cooker in Georgetown, Colorado.  Cynthia celebrated her birthday again with another eggs Benedict.  Deju Vu all over again.  We left Georgetown after filling with gas and rode old U.S. 40 from I-70 through Winter Park to Granby.  As we approached Granby, we saw signs for a restaurant at the Inn at Silvercreek.  Once we arrived at the front door, we recognized that we had stopped another year at the same resort and discovered (again) they open only for dinner.  They recommended Mavericks in town, and it was indeed good.  We rode out of town on Colorado highway 125 to Walden.  Part of the ride was very twisty, but after the town of Rand, the road straightened out and we rode between mountain ranges, marveling at the snow at higher elevations and the vast "flat" fields of brush, moose country.  In Walden we walked to find food and, as we approached the River Rock Cafe in the Antler Inn, we began to recognize it.  Once inside it was unmistakably familiar.  The curious part is that neither of us remembered ever being in Walden previous to walking into that restaurant.  They served us wonderful and humongous salads.  Our only disappointment with Walden is that the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge is not in the mountains and has no paved roads.  The valley here is apparently quite the wetlands with several rivers and streams meandering throughout, making it an angler's paradise and a lovely moose viewing center.  (We saw neither anglers nor mooses.)  Two of the rivers are named the Illinois River and the Michigan River.  While walking to the grocery after dinner, Ron saw a gaggle of geese at the Michigan River.

23 Jul:  Georgetown, Colorado.  We had an early start for our 25 mile ride down Interstate 70 from Silverthorne to Georgetown, so we arrived too early to check into our motel.  Instead we mailed another package off to sistah Carol and enjoyed breakfast at The Happy Cooker.  The delightful clerk in the post office was happy about the pleasant, cool weather and about the smell of fresh pine in the air.  We are visiting Ron's long time friend Pat A.

Lookie at the snow field in the background
22 Jul:  Important note!  Ron slept all through the night.  Today the ride from Carbondale to Silverthorne gave us Colorado Rocky Mountain High!  Oh, what a high.  We love our breathtaking rides through the Rockies.  Leaving Aspen, the narrow road was uncomfortable when the traffic backed up ahead of us.  Ron fixed them by passing.   Yikes! For a short distance, the road narrowed down to one lane.  We survived.  (Apparently one of us was uncomfortable.)  As we summited Independence Pass, snow was cradled in crevices below the craggy peaks.  Breathtaking.  When we reached Leadville, we were hungry!  We ate at the historic Silver Dollar Saloon, but the menu options had little little we could eat.  We didn’t remember this from earlier visits.  Cynthia ate in halfs;  half a berry and spinach salad, half a veggie/green chili sandwich, and half a baked Alaska.  (She splurged - her birthday month is drawing to a close.)  Ron enabled this behavior by finishing the other halfs.  (Although there was really only a quarter of the baked Alaska to finish.)  It was our first and last yummy baked Alaska.  We sat in Jimmy Buffet’s booth, walked past Buddy Holly’s guitar,  and Cynthia read a blog about the saloon by a motorcyclist.  Once we were again riding, ominous black clouds threatened and even delivered several drops of rain.  Regardless, we arrived at our hotel dry.  Woohoo!  Ruby Tuesday is in Silverthorne.

21 Jul:  We checked out at noon, followed by a luscious lunch at the Stone House, and we were on the road again. Roxanne sent us a text of Willie Nelson singing,”On the Road Again,” to cheer us on.  Cheering up was needed as the temperature was roasting hot.  By the time we reached the mountains it cooled off a bit but warmed again as we descended to the Comfort Inn at Carbondale, Colorado; the views and mountain stream were worth the heat.  We dined at the Goat House Restaurant across the street.  Ron walked to City Market, returning to have Cynthia dress to see the forest fire burning on the mountain outside the city.  After being under control the  fire increased two days ago.

20 Jul:  The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is magnificent.  And the painted wall is the most spectacular part of the canyon.  Were we ever surprised to find that Pam and Walt are also here in Montrose.  Dinner plans tonight.

19 Jul:  So today we stuffed everything onto the motorcycle and rode through (cool) Silverton and (cooler) Ouray to Montrose, Colorado to stay the night at the Hampton Inn (here) where the temperature is 100 degrees HOT.  Miss Smoochie, our traveling companion, didn’t complain. The motorcycle is a bit less top heavy after shipping Remembering Our Ancestors off to sistah Carol, mailing another few pages to cousin Tim, and depositing recycling.  It was nice to hear from Paul G. tonight. Deja Vu! As we pulled into the parking lot of The Stone House Restaurant, it looked familiar. We have eaten there several times in the past. Our romantic dinner was excellent, and so was a delightful 10 year old dining with her grandmother.  Good night.

18 Jul:  We are staying an extra night at the Blue Lake Ranch B and B. Dinner at Kennebecs tonight was a delightful experience due to a very lovely couple from Durango.  Everyone should be so charming.  Now we pack for our departure to Montrose, Colorado in the morning.  And Ron should be packing instead of blogging.

Thank goodness Cynthia didn't think to take the picture earlier
17 Jul:  After a morning appointment in Durango, we enjoyed a lovely lunch at Kennebec’s Restaurant.  Another adventure ensued as we left when a customer asked if the blue BMW was ours; it had fallen over.  That 800 pound bike could not be raised by Ron and the thoughtful fellow.  Ron returned to the restaurant and espied a couple of young men with their parents.  The five men managed to lift the bike easily.  Fortunately neither bike nor any of the heavy lifters were injured.  Cynthia thought about a picture after the bike was upright, so Ron is relieved that there is no evidence that this ever happened.  In Ron's never ending quest for shade, he parked the kickstand on pine duff that looked like solid ground but wasn't.  Here is a link to hikes in Mesa Verde:

16 Jul:  It was a memorable birthday!  We had quite the big adventure hiking the Petroglyph Trail, steep and rocky with too much exposure for Cynthia in several places.  She was terrified - and exhausted herself with fear !!  After 1.2 miles of this, we came to the petroglyphs, a single panel packed full of drawings.  Soon after that the trail ascended onto the mesa top and became a simple waltz in the woods.  Cynthia was greatly relieved until lighting began and one clap of thunder sounded very, very close, like a blast of dynamite.  A family had caught up to us and their two little girls were in the lead, their little feet boogieing as fast as possible, sheer terror evident on their faces.  The rain started as we descended the open rock towards the Mesa Museum, and then it poured.  We read most of the panels in the museum and waited and waited and waited for three hours until the rain finally stopped.  Unfortunately we ran into lots more rain as we drove down the mountain.  Fortunately at this late hour (7:30 pm) on a rainy day, the road was empty of traffic.  Surviving while living with Ron proves the existence of God.  We continue to survive.

15 Jul, The ride to Mesa Verde to hike was pleasant and cool. The Balcony House overlook hike was surprisingly warm. It was fun to see how much we  remembered  our Mesa Verde hikes  in the past. The Knife Edge Trail was fairly level with great views. Cynthis will post the photos tomorrow

Rain over 416 Forest Fire?
14 Jul: Jackie, the hostess/chef at the Blue Lake Ranch makes our mornings such a delight. We were surprised to learn she is married to the coach who remembered us.  He described the harrowing tale of having his foot run over by his van yesterday.  Once again we enjoyed conversing with the trio from Belgium.  Our morning hike was at the ranch's event center; the trail was not as well maintained nor as long as we remembered. Cynthia quizzed the gardener about why we are seeing so many purple plants in higher altitudes; the answer is timing. The yellow flowers bloom first followed by red ones then the purple flowers. Much has to do with rain and humidity. We rode into Durango to shop at the Nature's Oasis Market and enjoyed a salad lunch.  Upon our return, Ron enjoyed Casita porch time working through a new genealogy book he purchased about Shenck ancestors.  Cynthia had the same magnificent view of the mountains Ron did (shown in the photo below from inside the casita) staring at the back of Ron's head on occasion; she was reading a book on her iPad inside the house The rainfall was minimal. Our evening hike was not too long because the triangular flies are biting

13 Jul: Blue Lake Ranch B&B on Southern Ute Reservation is 200 acres of beautiful views. Our Sunset Casita is semi isolated; we awoke Mountain Views on the north and the sunset on the east.  It is a blessing to sleep with the windows open.  Our breakfast table companions were from Belgium and a bicycling coach, who remembered us from one of our previous visits.  We have lots of trails to hike and very little WiFi.  It seems the WiFi goes out every five minutes.  Updates will be sketchy!
Cynthia likes the headboard

12 Jul: We check out of our hotel at one PM followed by a one hour ride to Durango; Cynthia has a chest XRay at three. Good Results!  Plans are weather dependent . The Blue Lake Ranch B&B is home for the next week.  They serve marvelous breakfasts.

11 Jul:  We are in Pagosa Springs for the final day of packing before riding to the Blue Lake Ranch outside Durango tomorrow the 12th, God willing.  Our morning 4 mile hike was pleasant followed by brunch at Two Chicks. Ron, the recycling man,  walked the cardboard and paper around the corner to recycle and packed bags all afternoon.  By the time we go to sleep we will be ready to ride. Well, after the box gets shipped to Texas at UPS.

10 Jul:  Another day of organizing document photos for Ron.  We did go for a very short walk late this morning and saw our favorite nine bucks awaiting their bird food.  Then we ate brunch, and Cynthia went to Sue's Sizzors for a hair cut.  Ron rode the Beemer back to the motel from where it was parked yesterday afternoon.  Early evening we walked our usual route and again saw the nine bucks, this time strolling through the neighborhood and browsing leisurely.  Cynthia's breathing is a little easier today, and the skies are a crystal clear blue. It appears allergies and smoke may be responsible for breathing issues. Prayer works!   Cynthia will have a chest X Ray tomorrow.

The other side is a bench !!  Pretty ornate - or ornate and pretty
9 Jul:  Happy Birthday Granddaughter Rachel!  Since Ron had cards and letters ready to mail, we decided to hike on Reservoir Hill after negotiating postage at the Post Office across from the hot springs.  Our decision to hike at Reservoir Hill was serendipitous; we met a delightful, effervescent couple from Katy, Texas who shared their unique faith journey and prayed with us for B, C,  and K.  God is good!  The hill was more of a hill than Cynthia remembered, and although she is breathing easier, she was quickly winded by the hill.  Ron remembered (from another hike years ago) this most interesting bench carved from a tree.  The fact that Ron remembers these sorts of things is yet another unexplained miracle !!

8 Jul:  Being creatures of habit, we follow the same daily routine: exercise, oatmeal with fruit followed by a 4-5 mile hike; on the last lap homeward bound, we are seriously ready for brunch at Two Chicks.  Betsy, the owner, turns the order in to the chef, “ for the special couple.”  "Isn't that special," says the Church Lady. Last night’s rain was a blessing,  but not too noticeable this morning. We spotted 9-10 deer, including an injured buck, and one named Stumpy (due to a stump on his antlers).  A community of geese was happy to be photographed for granddaughter Fyn. Tonight,  loud crashing thunder and sharp cracks of lightning roared above us at Boss Hogg’s Restaurant.  We are it back to the hotel in between the rain showers.  Ron will hike in the rain alone tonight.  Cynthia's blister is healing nicely.
Geese in the lake at the end of our neighborhood walk

7 Jul: Every day we hike past 8-10 elegant buck deer ensconced in the same shady spot. The antlers are growing by the day; One has 10 points. The deer seem unafraid; they like this place because a  bird feeder is directly across the road. The fellow who feeds the birds said, "I can't help it if the deer eat the seed.  I am only feeding birds.“ We had a most interesting visit with a neighbor ( to the deer) who is in charge of managing manpower for the fire, search and rescue teams;  he was one of the team hiking up mountain to rescue the young woman with a broken ankle as we were hiking down from Four Mile Falls.  He said she had surgery and gave us a report on the Colorado fires.  Cynthia's blister is greatly improved thanks to Ron's medial expertise. It rained briefly tonight as we walked to dinner. Ron has had opportunity to tell his bear stories several times today. The guy in the restaurant had a very good bear story in return.
Lookie the velvet and all those tines on his antlers.

6 Jul:  Are we boring?  After explaining our lifestyle to a 13 year old who was helping her mom clean our hotel room, we wondered if our routine was boring.  For extreme exciting news: Ron fixed a mole skin cover for Cynthia's blister; the bad news is the blister is still to painful for hiking.  BUT, we did get to Two Chicks for lunch and hobbled home.  The extra good news is the room is clean!  Cynthia created Rambo and Bankston spreadsheets for  Ron continues working on the SCS projects.  It is pouring down rain in Pagosa Springs.  For how long, we don’t know, but it is mighty welcome to the firemen fighting forest fires. Yes! We are not boring or bored.
5 Jul:  Cynthia hiked just fine yesterday morning.  Attempting a second hike last night was her undoing because the blister worsened.  Ron hiked alone this morning, having a great time visiting with the deer feeder guy who said 10 bucks were ensconced across from his home last night.  Ron was introduced to his Texas neighbors who happen to winter on the north side of Lake Conroe, Texas.  We lived on the south side.

4 Jul:  Wishing our family and friends a Happy Independence Day - the Fourth of July!  To reflect on the meaning of Independence Day is to grasp the suffering paid by the signers of the Declaration of Independence and those who fought so valiantly for the freedoms we have today.  Our country is unique in providing more opportunity for more people than any other country ever has.  We salute our veterans and soldiers.  Thank you.  God Bless America!

3 Jul:  Blistered Cynthia sat out the walk today, so Ron used the opportunity to talk to a friend who enjoys long, long conversations and walked the entire circuit around the lake to Pagosa Road.  After brunch, he examined several of those files converted to Word and discovered a few more letters that need to be considered for Volume 7 of the Records of the Colonial Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania.  (Sorry Ken.)  At 8 PM punctually, he was out the door to walk to WallyWorld, gawk at the sunset, and converse with another friend via the miracle of telecommunication - remarkable even with an old flip phone. We assisted Brett with his blog posts:
That bright red dot above the trees is the sun !!

2 Jul:  Da hubsand failed in hubsandly duties by asking if (instead of insisting that) we turn around when my beloved SmoochSmooch confessed that she had started walking in her "comfortable" shoes instead of changing into her hiking Hokas.  Now she has a blister and is doctoring before we go to Two Chicks for brunch at 1pm.  (Brunch because we always order egg white omelets there.)  It was a hot walk with little shade this morning because we started late instead of early.  Fortunately, the smoke has been blown away by the strong north winds today.  Unfortuately the 416 fire is heading northward.  We need a southeasterly wind to blow it back into areas already burned.  Today the guy who feeds the birds was out, and we talked with him for a bit.  He cannot prevent the deer from eating that bird food.  One large buck has survived three hunting seasons so far.  Here is Ron's description copied from an email to a Little cousin, "We are safely ensconced in Pagosa Springs, Colorado breathing that lovely, fresh, high altitude smoke from the 416 fire 60 miles away and moving incredibly slowly on land, but not so slowly in air quality.  Cynthia tells me that I keep the room too cold and the air conditioned air is giving her sundry problems, so she has contrived to move us much, much closer to the fire on July 12th to the Blue Lake Ranch near Hesperus, Colorado.  I liked the idea so well that I bought her another bouquet of flowers yesterday and almost had them trimmed and en-vased before she noticed.  This is Cynthia's birthday month, so I wished her happy birthday, and the Blue Lake Ranch is one of her favorite accommodations hereabouts.  The beauty of Pagosa Springs (besides the brilliant smokey sunsets) is that the highs have been running in the mid-80s.  When we leave Durango around July 19th, we will probably tour through Colorado to get the most smoke possible en route to Montana for cooler temperatures (although that didn't work last time we tried it).  Route to be determined by the seat of my pants, recently mended.  We do genealogy 80% of our time, but most of it has to do with DNA or the Swedish Colonial Society.  (Tell Shelley that we are on her side.)  We hike for an hour or two every day and just today talked with the guy who feeds the deer via his bird feeder.  We've seen 9 bucks waiting their turn to his feeder."  Sunset tonight was blood red, smack on the horizon!  Awesome !!

1 Jul, Sunday in Pagosa Springs, Colorado:  Thank God.  Today is the first day of the birthday month.   SmoochSmooch.  I love you on your birthday month.  God was willing, we did wake up, and there was much less smoke in the air.  The temperature was 72 degrees when we began our morning hike. It felt like 85 degrees when we finished.  The smoke increased considerably during the day.  About 8:00 PM Ron walked to Wally World for groceries and phoned Cynthia twice to encourage her to look out the hallway window to see the marvelous coral sunset that preceded a sky full of brown wisps.  And he sneaked a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses into the room !!  Ron has finished for now changing Word Perfect files to Word.  Good job.  We are so very thankful, so richly blessed, and we Thank God big time.  Thank God for Cynthia.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June Junket with Friends in Santa Fe and CO

30 Jun:  Another month bites the dust.  Smoke from the 416 fire has increased considerably.  On this morning's walk through the neighborhood, the mountains were mere ghostly shadows.  On the plus side, we saw five adult bucks with many pronged antlers in velvet awaiting provisioning of their favorite bird feeder.  The view across the lake to the mountains was a disappointment since the haze was so severe.  By evening the haze had drifted even further over Pagosa Springs, and it smelled quite strong as we walked to dinner.  Ron said there is a warning that anyone over 18 should stay indoors.  The real smoke advisory is for young children and the elderly to stay indoors.  (Cynthia is 18; in July she will be 18 again and again and again.)  Because of the heat, wind, and smoke from the fires in Colorado we will plan to go further north when we leave this area after our July 16th celebration.  WooHoo! Cynthia's DNA manuscript is off to the publisher after the required edits.   Ron continues converting Craig Collection files from Word Perfect to Word.  There is light at the end of this tunnel too.

It was much prettier in real life
29 Jun:  Although today is cooler, it is very windy causing smoke from the wildfire to affect breathing a bit.  Cynthia is excited that the housekeeping staff cleaned!  A fascinating mitochondrial DNA study was in the news that supports species separation 100,000 years ago.  We have been busy bees working on various computer projects.  Our walking was limited to lunch and dinner; tonight we did another extensive hike to the lake taking in the sunset.  Smoke from the 416 fire north of Durango made the sky hazy.  Yet we rejoiced over the orange/coral and pink clouds above us and on the horizon.

28 Jun:  Happy Birthday Kiira!  Our early walk at 9:30 AM wasn’t cool.  The sun was intense, but we did manage nearly 4 miles.  Tonight’s walk was an additional 3.5 miles and much cooler.  We could see the smoke from the forest fire on the western horizon.  Ron is almost finished with his mending projects and is busy changing a multitude of Craig Collection files from Word Perfect to Word.  Prayers are uplifted for the many tragedies surrounding us.  The orange pink sunset is covered by smoke from the wildfire.

27 Jun:  Blog? Blog? Blog?  I forgot to blog.  Greg, Cindy and Renee stopped to say bon voyage as they were leaving Pagosa Springs. And we spent the day being lazy with an evening walk. The sunset was a breathtaking coral, orange, pink. The smoke from the forest fires caused some haze.

26 Jun:  Pagosa Springs EconoLodge stretches and breakfast were followed today by a ride to the Turkey Run trail at the end of pavement on County Road 600.  We returned to Two Chicks and a Hippy (click here) in time for our usual breakfast.

Les & Sherry invited us to a small party of Keys fugitives
25 Jun:  Our usual morning through the neighborhood hike followed our usual morning exercises and oatmeal.  The hike was followed by our usual breakfast lunch at Two Chicks and a Hippie.  We were more alert by 4 PM when we had a lovely party with snacks and great conversation with friends from Big Pine Key.  And now we are ready for sleep!  Good night -- except that Ron stayed up long enough to erect an initial website for grandson Brett: and similarly an initial blog at  We mention them here so that Google's web crawler will find them sooner.  Ron's next job is to make links to these on his web site.

Greg & Cindy, Smooch & SmoochSmooch
I love my Smooch!
24 Jun, Sunday:  Ten minutes into our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, Renee, Cindy and Greg  invited us to hike to FourMile Falls, a magnificent waterfall.  They are staying at ElkTrace Ranch, a B&B north of Pagosa Springs; it is accessible by dirt road only.  Cynthia wasn’t wild about a dirt road, but we did it and we survived.  The road up to the trailhead is also dirt, so Cynthia opted to ride in the car with Renee, Cindy and Greg while Ron rode the bike about nine miles up the dirt road before transferring to the now very crowded car, a small electric Subaru.  The Columbine flowers were lovely, lavender and white.  The trail was mostly good except for the rocks on the slopes that are like ball bearings underfoot (for Cynthia).  By the time this exhausted group of hikers reached the falls we were unable to get good photos because of the West sun.  We heard that a 33-year-old woman, mother of two young children, fell at the falls and broke her ankle.  Renee gave ibuprofen to a woman who came down looking for anything to help.  Ron decided to continue up to the falls, but turned around when the trail became too treacherous with loose rock and dirt for a short steep twenty feet.  (The falls did not look that spectacular from that vantage point anyway.)  As we hiked back to the trailhead, we were comforted to see the mountain rescue teams  heading up trail with sufficient gear to transport her down to a vehicles at the trailhead.  Once we returned to our EconoLodge, Cynthia was excited to shower and be clean again.  Fitbit recorded 8 miles and our bodies screamed  SLEEP!
The photo lies, there wasn't that much water

Columbine, lavender or blue?

There are actually 12 flowers, but one or two are hiding
23 Jun:  The low temperature last night was 40 degrees.  By 7:50 we were hiking, and Cynthia was in a sweatshirt.  At this elevation (in the bright sun), a 47 degree temperature it doesn’t mean it is cold.  We were overheated.  According to Fitbit we walked nearly 7 miles by evening.  It was exciting to see several large deer.  Ron is patching his pants plus doing additional mending in many colors.  Not all of the mending is done; it is a never-ending job.  Ron mends blue, black, white, then green and repeat.  Each garment needing mending gets some thread before the first garment is revisited.  This could take a while.  [In fact it took twelve days.]  But we are tired,  even though we had a midday nap.  Good night and love to Smooch for the beautiful fleurs!

22 Jun:  Happy Birthday to our granddaughter Lauren!  The San Juan Forest reopening allowed us to hike on our favorite trails in Pagosa Springs, but it was super hot.  Our legs were tired from yesterdays long miles and hefty uphills, too.  A bicyclist was speeding up behind Cynthia who did not hear him approach.  Ron yelled a warning about the time the guy was immediately behind her.  She jumped out of the way. A brief time later his wife approached and Ron asked her if that was her husband to which she said yes.  Ron told her he was going too fast and she readily agreed.  Ron warned her that if he sees him do it again he will stand directly in his way and hit him.  Da Macho Smooch protects his SmoochSmooch.  Crazy crazy riders.
Happy Birthday Lauren

Rim Trail 312 

21 Jun:  This is the longest day of the year, and it was a very long day for us.  We hiked over 7 miles.  This morning we hiked the bike Trail to our neighborhood lake, then rode the motorcycle to Wolf Creek Pass and hiked on the Continental Divide Trail.  How curious that we arrived at the Continental Divide at 3:30 and learned from a State Trouper parked there that the San Juan Forest had opened at 3:00 only because the forest received up to 1.5" of rainfall last week.  The pine bark beetles have decimated acres and acres of trees at Wolf Creek Pass.  It is sad to see so many dead trees, and the risk of fire is tremendous fire.  We were voracious after the hike so we splurged on an awesome dinner at the Alley Restaurant.  Ron wore through the seat of his brittle, worn out cargo pants.  The shirt is wearing thin as well.  This is an exciting time because Ron appears to love patching clothes.  (Dis here is da WeeFee humor.)  Let's hope these photos of the signage at the Continental Divide are readable upon magnification.

20 Jun:  Our walk was early to avoid the noon time heat.  Also, Cynthia had a 4:00 Medical checkup  appointment in Durango.  The hour ride to and from Durango was marvelous.  The hills filled with evergreen trees were framed against majestic mountains  and a breathtaking azure blue sky.  After the medical appointment we enjoyed dinner at Jean Pierre’s French Restaurant.  They are the one French restaurant that will do a great job of feeding us, by avoiding the sauces upon sauces typical of French cooking.  We walked again when we arrived home at 8:30.

19 Jun:  On this day, June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read to slaves throughout Texas; the day is called Juneteenth, a continuing holiday for rejoicing with parades and fireworks.  After lunch we walked the bicycle/walking trail full circle.  Cynthia’s fit bit says it was five miles.  The Salmon at the Pagosa Brewery was recommended by hotel guests, along with good salads. The salads were huge. The salmon was itty bitty but tasty.  The tented, outdoor ambiance was interesting, complete with wood shavings on the ground, picnic tables and a couple of guitarists playing and singing 70’s music.

Our neighborhood lake just west of Pagosa Springs 
I bet she is looking for those nine bucks too
18 Jun:  Happy Monday!  Hi to cousin Monte L., who emailed an invitation to his wonderful home in Colorado Springs.  He reads our blog!  Genealogy is consuming our time: replying to emails  plus genealogy research keeps us busy.  Ron walked this AM while discussing a new genealogy discovery with sister Carol; he was thrilled to see a large community of 9 buck deer.  A mature doe was unperturbed by our photo shoot (this afternoon)  while she was enjoying lunch.  Early evening we tried another branch of our neighborhood walk, which led to a lovely, small  lake in a picturesque setting.  The view across the lake to the San Juan Mountains is inspiring.

Cynthia's family pastel portrait
17 Jun, Sunday:  Happy Father’s Day to fathers, those who have fathers, those who lost fathers, and those who plan to be fathers.  It is a marvelous vocation.  Cynthia’s father died young. She was only 37 when he passed away two months after receiving a pastel portrait Cynthia did for her parents wedding anniversary.  The portrait was published in their hometown Iowa newspaper to surprise her parents, who had moved to California.  Ron was 36 when his dad died at the young age of 62. We miss our fathers. YAY! RAIN!  We did have a good walk before the rain started to fall again.  It continued raining while we ate lunch at 2 Chicks and a Hippie, all the white enjoying a marvelous conversation with a local artist named Mary.  We enjoy our full subscription to Ancestry because of its cache of original records.  We don't trust Ancestry trees, but Ancestry's search reveals all sorts of original records including census records, etc.  Amazing.  We don't use Ancestry for DNA testing, but we do use FTDNA, 23 and Me and for our DNA analysis.  Ron has a unique DNA marker that ties him to the infamous Borders Reivers (horse thieves.  King James kicked the Beatty and Little Clans out of Scotland by 1600.  Ron has the Beatty surname but his Y-DNA matches people named Little rather than those named Beatty.  His Little cousins tend to be hilarious, but don't trust them to return your horse.)

16 Jun:  The Smooches are ensconced IN their hotel room because rain is blessing this parched, dry land with desperately needed moisture.  It is supposed to rain all day and night; showers are expected off and on this week. We pray that the rain will stop the wildfires!  In the meantime-and-in-between-time, room time is a good thing.

15 Jun:  Pagosa Springs, Colorado at the EconoLodge is where Ron and Cynthia awakened early today.  Being thankful is the shortcut to peace of mind.  We begin every day with a gratitude attitude.  A thankful presence flows outwards and begats peace.  So saith the counselor in spiritual direction.  Da unabashedly hippy counterpart says that the curtains here are no better than those at the Homewood Suites at Buffalo Thunder; they let in a lot of light at 5:30 AM.  We feel much better this morning since we got to bed earlier, close to 10 PM.  The hotel breakfast has no fresh fruit, and the room refrigerator has no ice box for frozen veggies and fruits, but they provided quick Quaker oats and hot water.  After an hour or two we walked back over to 2 Chicks and a Hippy for an omelet lunch and were quite disappointed that the cook ignored directives for no oil, so the waitress took one omelet off the bill.  We told her that the cook better get it right tomorrow or we won't be back.  Then we walked back to the motel to make more oatmeal and popcorn.  Now it is time to hike, but Cynthia was asleep and awoke unmotivated, so tomorrow we will hike on the other side of Wolf Creek Pass at the Lobo Overlook.  We rode the bike over to Wally World and bought toothpaste, cinnamon, blueberries, and other supplies.  Ron is about burned out on blog updates, maybe more tomorrow. RSB - you are tooooo funny!

ready to ride
14 Jun:  Let’s ride!  Cynthia was awake at 3:00 AM and ready to up at 5:00.  Exercised and oatmealing at 6:00, we were rolling toward Pagosa Springs by 8:30.  We rode north from Santa Fe on U.S. highway 84 and 285 (Wyn!).  The ride through the mountains near Abiquiu is always mind boggling — heaven on earth!  The colors of the mountains: pinks, oranges, golds, creams, greens and more, swirl together with an unearthly glow in the early morning.  Georgia O Keefe’s iconic Pedernal mountain (click here) stands sentinel over Ghost Ranch, forever a reminder of her artistic gifts and gifted sight.  Once we reached Chama, green pastures with cattle and horses started to appear, similar to Colorado.  Altogether, the ride from Buffalo Thunder to Pagosa Springs took 3 1/2 hours.  The scenery is simply magnificent, perhaps more so today because of the morning light and coolness.  We were never hot and Cynthia even requested a stop (fortuitously at the very Continental Divide - click here) to put on her windproof jacket.  Upon arriving at the Econolodge, we learned the San Juan National Forest closed two days ago, reasons being that the forest is tinder dry, the 416 fire north of Durango has doubled in size, there is a significant danger that some inattentive hiker or camper will spark another forest fire, and no more firefighters are available anywhere.  Fortunately the Rio Grande National Forest 10 miles east is still open, so we will stay here and hike there for now.  It is tough to find restaurants to feed us in Pagosa Springs, so "Hello City Market."  We stopped at a remembered restaurant, 2 Chicks and a Hippy, for omelets and recognized our waitress from 2 years ago.  City Market provided fresh veggies and cheap strawberries.

what kind of cactus is this?
storm clouds, but no rain.  Fooey
13 Jun:  On Wednesday the early morning wind blew us quickly along the Butterfly Trail, at least in one direction.  Even at 8:00 AM, with light haze and wispy clouds, the NM sun was scorching.  The concrete Butterfly Trail/ golf cart path is tough on Ron’s knee and Cynthia’s tailbone.  We look forward to dirt trails and cooler temperatures at a higher elevation in Pagosa Springs, Colorado (elevation 7126' vs Santa Fe 7199' and Buffalo Thunder 6050').  Unfortunately, Pagosa Springs doesn’t have great restaurants.  Packing and recycling are in progress.  Mid-afternoon we will ship a box of stuff to the EconoLodge in Pagosa Springs, return the rental car, say our good byes to dear friends and return to the hotel for the five PM supper.  (We arrived at 6.)  As we rode in to Santa Fe at 3 PM, a huge gray wedge expanded from the horizon to overhead.  At times it was an ominous black, but the threatened thunderstorm never struck us.  After more eating and packing in our room, we hustled to the Butterfly trail again despite more clouds promising rain soon.  Ron buried our two weeks worth of compost while Cynthia enjoyed the rapidly changing sky.  We spotted a lovely blooming cactus that was begging to be photographed.  Night fell soon afterwards, but that rain never arrived.

12 Jun:  Ron reported that at midnight the addictive Google Doodle changed back to regular Google.  He misses that video game and all the fun of launching Gnomes.  We were smart today, despite being tired, by getting out to walk by 8AM when it was only 68 degrees.  Ron took the bike into the BMW shop to have them read the stored codes and determine why the engine light had come on Saturday.  Cylinder number five failed to fire once; no need to do anything for it unless it becomes a problem.  We rode in early to visit Linda and John.  While there John provided wire which Ron used to "repair" his favorite craft scissors.  They also provided isopropyl alcohol for him to scrub his tiny Toshiba heat sink fan.  Eventually we will see if the ancient Toshiba laptop can be made to run quieter.  Mark V. prepared another Babette’s Feast for our dinner with Judge Mechem’s grandson Tim and wife Lorraine.  Tim is Ron's Mechem cousin; Mark works with Lorraine and knows of Ron's relationship with Judge Mechem.  Mark made a large salad, steamed lots of asparagus, and grilled salmon, chicken breasts, and shrimp.  It was very delicious.  We went back for seconds.  We are happy and way too much over full.  And tired!  Zzzzzzz

a good endorsement adds credibility to a good card
11 Jun:  Oh what fun!  Oh what fun!!  Oh what fun!!!  Google Doodle is way too much fun.  You click to start the catapult that launches a Garden Gnome.  The Gnome spreads flowers as it flies through the air and bounces off clouds until it lands with a bounce and roll, accumulating points for all the flowers distributed.  Then, if you are lucky or learn about the arrow, the gnome will hit a toadstool or roll into a log.  The toadstool provides a bigger bounce, but the log launches the Gnome far, far away.  Sometimes the Gnome rolls into a field full of butterflies that pick up the Gnome and carry him into the stratosphere - more points all the way.  Ron got 1639 points once.  Cynthia took all of Ron’s clothes to the laundry room; this gives Ron and Google Doodle a half hour more play time.  Ron discovered that he had previously "finished" the GEDCOM for Sistah Carol, but he can't remember why he didn't send it.  The clothes are clean; packing is in progress. Cynthia didn't want to pack her pretty anniversary card, so she took a photo for the blog.

10 Jun, Sunday:  Santa Fe, NM is nestled between the Sangrio de Cristo Mountains on the east and the Jemez Mountains on the west.  At 7199 ft. elevation, it is cool enough for a wrap or sweater at night but blazing hot during the day.  One can be certain to find divine SouthWestern or Mexican restaurants throughout the city.  Tonight we enjoyed Radish and Rye (click here - TripAdvisor), one of the city’s finest restaurants, once again, reminiscing with friends of forty years, Charlie and Sam B., and Mark V.  Earlier in the day we visited Bob and Lupe, also friends of many years.  Lupe described Santa Fe as having one stop light in the fifties and sixties. Ron remembers that in the late 70’s, rush hour was from five minutes before five to five minutes after five if you were within three blocks of the state capitol.  Otherwise traffic was a non-issue.  Nowadays, the newest and priciest properties are generally on dirt roads outside the central city so that the historicity of old Santa Fe is preserved.  We were fortunate to enjoy the sunset as we drove home again.  We will miss our friends and Santa Fe when we leave here on Thursday.

Fascinating blooms
Fascinating husband
9 Jun:  Starting the morning hike early was an improvement over high noon heat, but we were sweating by the time we finished the hike.  Potential fire warnings are in abundance.  Ron  finished research on some early Iowa Bankstons without discovering how they connect to the immigrant Anders Bengtsson.  Cynthia completed edits required for submission on her Nancy Drew Does DNA manuscript. Nina F. treated us to a very lovely dinner at Harry’s Roadhouse.  The sunset was again a splendid sight to see as we drove home.

8 Jun: was a stellar day!  It is rare to see wildlife on our hikes.  Ok, So this isn’t big wildlife but seeing a big jackrabbit with humongous long ears (click here) was pretty exciting.  He was bigger than a large cat maybe 20 pounds with foot long ears; he just sat there twisting those ears back and forth as if eavesdropping on our discussion.  We thought he would bolt when we moved, but he did not.  Cynthia watches warily for snakes when we stop to cool off in the shade from the few trees near the trail, but we haven’t seen any snakes.  Tonight’s hike was really splendid.  Because we start at 7:30, it was cooler; we marveled at the glorious orange and crimson sunset for almost two miles.  To the east, sunset turned the Sangre De Christo Mountains into "purple mountain majesty."  The evening was not without wildlife; fat toads must have been enjoying the cooler night air, because many were hopping across the trail and lizards were everywhere.  Stewart K. beat Ron three times playing GO.  Good night!

7 Jun, Thurs: The SW is heating up considerably.  We  were exercised, oatmealed, sudokued and hiking  10:30,  but the temperature was already 82 degrees, which means we baked under the New Mexico sun.  This Homewood Suites not only serves breakfast but also a light meal at 5:00, plus we have a full kitchen in our suite, offering us a great place to call home while on the road.  Ron is nearly finished with data entry and helped Cynthia with a DNA client this afternoon.  Cynthia's article Nancy Drew Does DNA will be accepted in the National Genealogy Society Quarterly based on making a couple of changes; it takes 9-12 months to get into print.

June 6 sunset at Buffalo Thunder near Santa Fe
6 Jun:  Sleeping until 8:30 AM makes the day race by.  Ron raced through exercises; Cynthia did hers after breakfast.  This meant we were even later getting to the Trail to hike today with the temperature being even hotter than yesterday.  We didn’t take photos, although we were delighted to see new blooms.  We enjoyed our camaraderie, talking about how fun it is to be together - because we enjoy so many of the same things like playing with words, we respond to life with good humor, and we know we are blessed to discover this relationship at our ages.  Oh, yes!  We are also addicted to genealogy!  Life is good!  Michael and Clare joined us for a marvelous dinner tonight at the Red Sage; the delight continued exiting the hotel as we marveled at a spectacular Santa Fe sunset.

Life in the Desert
5 Jun, Tues: We were late again!  Our intent was to hike before noon-thirty, but we hiked in the heat anyway.  It is such a delight to find blooms in the desert.  Cynthia stood on her head to take this pretty photo.  Ron is elated over a Mechem genealogy discovery that may produce more DNA for sistah Carol.  And Stewart is open for a game or two of GO.

4 Jun:  The sun is back in the heat business, but we hoofed it to the Trail early enough we enjoyed some cool breezes.  The rain was efficacious in causing the cactus to bloom.   Dinner at John and Linda's was Babette's Feast.  Linda outdid herself.  Everything we could eat was prepared beautifully.
Blooming Cacti After Rain

3 Jun, Sunday:  Still at Buffalo Thunder, north of Santa Fe, with infrequent thunder outside and raindrops on the window.  Ron is still typing notes into the computer and nursing his sore knee.  We are looking forward to seeing nearly all of our Santa Fe friends at Radish & Rye this evening at 5 pm.  It would be nice if it didn't rain on us, but on the other hand it would be nice for everything else if it does rain.  The forecast calls for a cool evening, perhaps 60 degrees by 5pm, so I hope everyone brings a coat.  The rain arrived at 3:45 lasting until we arrived in Santa Fe at 4:30. It didn’t rain on our party.  Radish and Rye had the party set up on the covered patio complete with Navajo blankets on the seats of the chairs and as throws to keep us warm. The lively conversation was so fun we didn’t want it to end.  The harvest-to-table food and its presentation is most interesting.. Nina had a broth chowder served in a bone.  Cynthia had salmon with tiny, tiny potatoes.  imagine popcorn made with duck fat.  We had 7 no shows.  It was exciting to hear that Stewart’s blood pressure dropped by following our Pritikin eating plan (no salt).  A great time was had by all of the survivors.  Good night!

2 Jun is slightly cooler.  After the usual activities like exercising, eating and catching up on mail we walked the Butterfly "Trail."  Ron’s knee is improved but still uncomfortable.  The discomfort has transitioned from intensely painful for the first five steps to moderately uncomfortable at all times.  Cynthia received an acceptance letter for her DNA article If she makes a couple of changes.  WooHoo!  It was great fun to see and enjoy conversation with our friend Nina at Vinaigrette tonight over a 5 o'clock dinner.

Old iris are tall and richly colored
1th of June:  The Tasmanian devil cleaning crew is coming!  They force Ron to hide his recycling, compost, toiletries and anything else he wants to find again.  He piles most of it all into a corner, covered by a coat, and puts compost and un-rinsed recycling into the refrigerator.  Imagine, the cleaning crew mistakes Ron's treasures for trash.  After walking the Butterly Trail in 90 degree heat we opted to hike earlier tomorrow instead of high noon.  A handful of golfers were on the course today.  Normally we see one or two golfers out killing golfs.  We rode into Santa Fe to visit with Tony and June A. who are convalescing; Tony from a hip replacement in April, and June from several bouts of pneumonia this year.  Afterwards we enjoyed the antique Iris over an early dinner at Harry’s Roadhouse.  Because the day was so hot, we expected to be much too warm despite the ample shade, but in Harry's outdoor garden, it was surprisingly pleasant, cool and breezy.