26 May, Sat: Homewood Suites, Buffalo Thunder near Santa Fe; we hit our basic 10,000 step, under cloudy skies, before 11:00 AM walking the Butterfly Trail before sinking into decadent laziness. The leftover salads from Whole Foods made a perfect lunch. Late in the day our energy sorta returned and we managed to complete another round of the Butterfly Trail giving us a whopping 19,500 steps (7.75 miles) today! WOOO HOOOO! There are a couple of places on the trail with blossoms or new growth that have a marvelous fragrance. The desert flowers are blooming following 2 days of rain. They appear for a day or two and disappear. Ron has completed phone invitations to our June 3rd dinner party at Radish and Rye Restaurant with almost everyone available to attend. Good night!
25 May is a stellar day. WOW! At 10:00 AM Cynthia's manuscript, "Nancy Drew Does DNA" was submitted to the NGS Quarterly Journal. It may be months before we know if it will be accepted for print. Cynthia is eternally grateful to editor-in-chief (Ron) for analyzing every dot and tittle of the documentation. She is very, very thankful sermons don’t need documentation. Our morning hike was most pleasant. Fearful of the cleaning staff throwing out precious recycling while we were walking, Ron hid the recycling in the refrigerator. He spent the afternoon with Janie before meeting Cynthia at Vinaigrette’s for a lovely dinner with Clare and Michael G.
24 May, How can two retired people be so crazy busy? "Retired and busier than ever" is a frequent litany from friends. Our daily routine of exercise, oatmeal, and computer stuffs was followed by hiking the Butterfly Trail. After lunch, we mailed cards at the Tesuque Post Office. The postal clerk was very amused when Ron showed her his funny post cards of Javelinas; she shared an early memory of seeing a momma Javelina with her babies and she was thankful she didn’t smell them. Javelinas have a terrible odor. The BMW motorcycle service phoned about 4:00 while we were enjoying the afternoon with John and Linda. We zoomed off to pick up the bike; Cynthia followed Ron driving the rental car back from south Santa Fe to our hotel. But first we stopped for dinner close to the BMW dealer because it was five PM rush hour. Cynthia waited at the restaurant while Ron shopped at Walmart; he led the way home and Cynthia’s terror level dropped to near normal terror as we drew closer to our hotel. The rental car is uncomfortable to drive because it is a very large SUV. Thankfully, the hotel kitchen had not put the salad away so we could enjoy another meal.
23 May, Uh oh! We forgot to remember to blog for two days. Santa Fe BMW phoned with a report on the motorcycle repair that includes two new tires, plus a couple of parts that will have new warranties. The bike may be ready tomorrow afternoon. Cynthia continued girlicuring at the Hilton Spa next door while Ron is deeply engrossed in Sudokus, writing letters and eating microwave air popped corn. Cynthia learned about a new trail not far from here: Rio de Media that runs up 7 miles to a waterfall. We know we can hike 7 miles up, but we might have to roll back down again. We walked the Butterfly Trail late afternoon, followed by eating more rabbit food at the Homewood Suites Happy Hour buffet. Ron was delighted to see a marvelous sunset on this evening's walk.
22 May, Cynthia"s girlicure at B Beautiful Salon ran over time because someone wrote her appointment down for June 22 by mistake; but never mind, they made time for her. She walked to Vinaigrette to meet Ron, Maria Tortilla and Mike for a marvelous lunch until it turned very chilly. The car was parked at Whole Foods which allowed us to stop in and eat more salad. We had a couple of hours before dinner at Mark's house, and the rains came again, so we purchased a Culture Pass to tour ten museums beginning with the International Folk Art Museum. Dinner at Mark's was Babette's Feast without oil, butter, cheese, salt or sugar. YUM!
21 May, Monday: Rain fell on Santa Fe for the first time since last October. Our activity level has flatlined. We slept late, ate late, exercised late, and napped again. Our friends from Texas were unable to have dinner with us at the last moment because of rain and low tires. Ron cleaned up for nothing! This is the second time in a year he has had to cleanup. Once the rain ceased it was a good time to walk and and talk to Donna G. most of the time. Greg is still in cardiac rehab but cooperating. Will our energy return tomorrow? This fatigue is unusual.
20 May, Sunday: We are still too much over tired. Ron took his turn being lethargic and returned to bed for a nap after breakfast. Charlie B. invited us to his brother's home for a family get together about 2:00 PM. Mark V and his friend from Bogota, Columbia stopped to welcome us to Santa Fe. We left at 5:00 to take Janie S. to dinner at Harry's Roadhouse and we enjoyed ourselves so immensely it was 9:00 by the time we took her home. We included a stop at a nearby Walmart to fill up on frozen berries and popcorn.
19 May, Buffalo Thunder: We awoke successfully again, better rested this morning, breakfasted on oatmeal as usual, and then Cynthia faded towards lethargy as Ron made phone calls about the bike and service. Darryl at Bob's BMW said that David Grunberger is "the best" Master Tech for working on motorcycles and that he trusts him with all of his collection of motorcycles. I called Santa Fe BMW and told them to go ahead with the service. It is perplexing that ALL of our friends in Santa Fe are busy or out of town just now. Charlie in Albuquerque said his family is having a get together tomorrow in Santa Fe and invited us. John and Susan, the angels who picked up off the side of that dusty dirt road, will join us for dinner tonight at the Red Sage here. To try to jump start Cynthia out of lethargy, we walked the hallways here at Homewood Suites and then over to the casino where their hallways led us to the Spa. Cynthia scheduled a manicure & pedicure. Then we asked about a walking path and were told that the Butterfly trail is now a walking trail. Apparently that golf course had soil issues so it is now a walking path. We walked a pleasant mile before returning to the hotel for hats and sun block. After a marvelous dinner with John and Susan, we walked the entirety of Butterly Trail. Cynthia reports 7 miles for. her daily total.
18 May: We are near Santa Fe, New Mexico for the next nearly month to visit our many friends in the area, although today most of them are elsewhere. We stay at the Hilton Homewood Suites on the grounds of the Buffalo Thunder Casino in Pojoaque. The bright sunshine of the early morning felt like an assault to Ron since his body demanded much more rest. Apparently our BIG Adventure has been more wearing than he realized. After breakfast he laid down for a rest before washing his official "Ride Like Ron" riding gear and hanging it to dry. Next stop was the Pojoaque Supermarket, so now we have plenty of groceries to keep us going, and we are ready to go visit Stewart and Judy. Stewart and Judy were interested as Ron proselytized about the Pritikin Longevity Center and the benefits of daily exercise and morning stretches. Good friends are amazingly tolerant. After our visit, we stopped for salad and groceries at Albertson', and arrived home just in time for Robert and Laura to deliver their homemade green Chile stew! MMMM! Ron then called the BMW shop to inquire about the bike and was told that they filled the radiator and the bike runs a little warm but seems fine. The next step would be to remove the radiator and inspect it for damage, but since that is part of the 36,000 mile service they asked if I wanted them to do that service. I said no because I prefer to patronize shops that I have learned to trust for good work like their competitor, OCD Motorcycles, and Bob's BMW in Jessup, Maryland. Sam laughed and said that their tech David used to work at Bob's and that they could get the service done by mid-week. I told them I'd think it over and give them an answer in the morning. "Early" to bed for us tonight.
|Roberts Towing picking up Ron to go pick up bike|
15 May, Tuesday, 10:00 AM: Lets roll! We plan to make it across the reservation to Gallup, NM before dark, and we have "miles to go before we sleep." Our route was 89 E out of Sedona (elevation 4350’) to 89 N winding through gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon (http://www.arizona-leisure.com/oak-creek-canyon-drive.html) and climbing to Flagstaff, AZ (elevation 7000’). Traffic was light, but there were always cars ahead until suddenly, miraculously, there were no cars slowing us down as we climbed the serpentine twisties (several marked 15 mph) up to the mesa top. The temperature cooled off nicely at that elevation. About 12 miles E of Flagstaff, we left I-40 to ride through Indian lands the rest of our 220-mile day. Leupp Road turns into Indian Route 15, and we stayed on that most of the day. For the most part it had a good asphalt and next to no traffic. We were already at a high elevation, yet the flat, barren landscape was not exciting until we realized that we were looking at old volcanos, some so old that nothing was left except for the craggy cores. Surprisingly, luckily, gas stations were spaced about an hour apart, crucial for Ron considering all the fruit that he ate for breakfast so that it wouldn't go to waste (versus waist). Just after our first pit stop at the Leupp Shell gas station (!), we crossed the Little Colorado River which had not even a trickle of water in the stream bed. Strange to think that we saw it only a month ago at Greer, flowing nicely near its source. After about 70 miles into our ride, the landscape changed to display extremely colorful mountains and buttes with splotches and horizontal strips of vivid red, pink or white. We were spellbound; we've never seen mountains anything like this before. We thoroughly enjoyed our day riding through the Navajo Nation. Strange to hear contemporary music or oldies playing at every gas station or grocery when we stopped. The highways through Indian lands are not on highway maps because they are not part of the US Highway system. They are Indian Roads. We had never heard of these roads until Ron looked for a route using Bing, then examined them for road surface with Google Earth and even Google Streetview. This was an awesome day of scenery on good roads, although there was one lumpety-lumpety lump section of asphalt for about 15 miles west of Burnside before we again found major highways US 191 and AZ 264. We arrived in Gallup, NM at 6:30 PM, thankful to check in just ahead of a entire bus load of tourists, and quickly hoofed it to Denny’s Restaurant for wild Alaskan salmon and vegetables. Ouch, 11:44 now. G'night.
PS, for Wyn and anyone else interesting in seeing our route, we went through Leupp, Dilkon, Indian Wells, Greasewood, Burnside, and Ganado before hitting US 491 at Yah Ta-Hey in New Mexico.
I4 May, Monday: While celebrating “us together forever” we are packing for departure to Santa Fe tomorrow. Ron slaved the day away, recycling, packing bags and a box he shipped to Santa Fe, but by 8:30 he went for a walk to get some exercise. Good night!
13 May, Sunday: Happy Mother's Day !!! What a happy weekend. After church and breakfast at Red's, Cynthia packed in preparation for our Tuesday departure, napped and relaxed. Ron slaved away updating the verbiage on this blog. We enjoyed our late afternoon hike because of cooler, less windy weather. Because it seemed cool and windy, we left our hats and suffered from blinding sunlight for the first half of the hike. The cacti blooms still excite our interest and wonder. Now it is bedtime and Ron has spent the entire day updating this blog back into early April. It is amazing that the photos from April 1 seem like a distant past. Speaking of distant past, Cynthia and I have been married forever - since 12 May 2011, and we are still enjoying our married life as much as on day one.
|our wedding invitation|
|I still do|
12 May 2011 2018__.12 May: Hooray Hooray for the 12th of May! It’s Ron’s 71st birthday (terrific) and our 7th wedding anniversary (more terrificker). Several friends called Ron to wish him Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary. Sistah Carol & nephew Eric called separately and sang. Granddaughter Fyn turned 4, niece Robin turned +1, and granddaughter Kiira graduated with her MA degree in counseling. Ron reassembled the Toshiba laptop after replacing the "new" fan that is defective with the old fan that worked much, much better. Thereafter he spent the afternoon entering receipts prior to recycling them. We started a bit late and enjoyed a pleasant hike through Chimney Rock Pass with a dicy little detour along Lizards Head Trail for a quarter mile of pushing our limits.
11 May: The weather cooled, but the wind picked up. Ron was elated after yesterday’s hike. Ever since his heart procedures people have asked him if he feels better now with improved circulation and a pacemaker, and the answer has been a definite no, "I do NOT feel as good as I did the day before the atrial fibrillation changed my life." His complaint was shortness of breath, and it seemed likely to him that the Brilinta prescribed to keep his stents open was causing it. This year his doctors agreed that the Brilinta was no longer necessary, and Ron is now elated to report that his shortness of breath appears to be gone. On the other hand, for the first time in two years, his legs are very sore this morning. We remain enamored with the desert plants in bloom. Today for the first time, many prickly pear cacti are flowering, and they are covered with buds.
Fooey, the prickly pear photo disappeared ... and they have such cute little blossoms. I cannot imagine where it went or why Ctrl-Z did not restore it.
|Fascinating FAT Century Plant|
|Ron with new best friend,|
a century plant
On our afternoon hike to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, in one particular spot, Ron ushered Cynthia so that she wouldn't see the cute little snake with a diamondback pattern but without the adder shaped head. Whew! That narrowly averted a terrifying scream. We did hear, and then we saw a HUGE javelina through the bushes. Thank goodness we didn't smell it. The wind was fierce, especially on the summit, and the air was hazy from the fire burning south of us in Prescott Valley.
|Lovely bouquet from Cynthia's children|
9 May: The Smooch family is back on track blogging after the breakfast walk huffing and puffing home, uphill in the desert heat. Ron is editing Cynthia’s article in between Sudokus. At 5 PM we hiked about half way to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Ron was delighted to see the FAT Century Plant taller than he is in just three days. The recent rains brought buds and blossoms on plants and cacti!
8 May: We are having so much fun we forgot to blog. It has become Too-Much-Over-Hot. Walking home from Cafe Jose at 12:30 was a beast. Hiking was delayed until 6:00 PM, but we met so many interesting hikers to visit, we turned back halfway around Little Chimney Rock Trail as the sun set. There is much more to do, but Ron has finally caught up with demands from patrons of the Swedish Colonial Society, so he is free to spend the entire evening for editing Cynthia’s article, Nancy Drew Does DNA.
7 May: God WAS willing, we woke up! And we had a lovely, pleasant ride to Verde Medical Center in Cottonwood, AZ for Cynthia's MRI at 10:15. To reduce her anxiety about being enclosed, the internist gave her a low dosage valium. Pastor Gwen, the pastor's wife, recommended praying for others and meditating to reduce anxiety. It worked. Good idea. We will know nothing until we receive a report, within a week. We presume this is a benign tumor that will be watched annually to see if it is growing. The technician told Ron, “Your wife has a BIG brain in there! Be careful.” Afterwards we shopped at Walmart and rode back to Sedona, where Ron dropped Cynthia off at Cafe Jose for food before dropping the frozen foods in the refrigerator and walking back to join Cynthia. We then got in half of the daily breakfast walk uphill. (We would hate to miss that uphill exercise. HA.) We had a very pleasant evening hike by waiting until 5 and hiking on the Thunder Mountain Trail (mostly in the shade).
6 May, Sunday: Worship at Christ Sedona is always joyful and lively. The pastor's sermon about extravagant love included an exceptional true story about Tony Campolo who traveled from PA to Honolulu waking up at 3 AM wanting breakfast. In Hawaii, there is no place much open for breakfast at 3AM. He discovered a hole in the wall greasy spoon that soon filled with a group of regular customers, prostitutes. One of them announced that the next day was her birthday, to the scorn of the others. After they left, Tony talked the owner into having a party and a birthday cake for her the next night at 3:00 AM. Tony bought decorations, and the owner made a birthday cake. Word got out on the streets and other prostitutes showed up to surprise her and sing happy birthday. Agnes, the birthday girl, was overcome. The pastor prayed, and one of the prostitutes realized he was a pastor. "What kind of church would do this?", she said, "If I could find a church like this one, I would join." We all want to be part of that kind of church with extravagant love! It is certainly an inspirational story, and one for Christians to ponder. The handbell choir was marvelous and so was the quartet singing an old gospel song, "Standing on the Promises of God." Christ Sedona may be our favorite place to worship. They receive so many visitors that the guests are welcomed to stand up and tell their home congregations. Most of all, we appreciate singing the Lord's Prayer holding hands even across the aisles. Breakfast at Sedona Red's was most enjoyable meeting Gerry and his lovely wife Nance. The best part was listening to another motorcyclist describing the kind of life we live and getting it! Gerry is a marvelous story teller; he wrote about about his life, "Navigating My Life." Nance called it a hoot. Cynthia agreed after reading a preview on Amazon, Nance is right.
|New fleurs for Cynthia|
We hiked the same trail as yesterday to check out the Century plants and blooming cacti. They are amazing. We were delighted to see two hikers we met yesterday; we thoroughly enjoyed a conversation with a most congenial fellow from Los Angeles who lives here part time. Bob is a very youthful and fit 78. His advice is to keep hiking.
3 May: What a day! The temperature of 63 degrees was perfect for an awesome hike to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain. We finally summited something! Two little boys (maybe ages 4 and 5)with their parents were running and bouncing all over at the top. Cynthia told the mom she was very brave, thinking she was crazy to not have them on a leash. But, we were very proud of our climb. And we were delighted to see abundant life in the desert. Several Century plants surprised us with their size. A hedgehog cactus with several red flowers looked like it was ready for Christmas. A gray rabbit with very large eyes looked at us as he ran across the trail, and a bluebird darted from bush to bush.
|Million Dollar Smile|
|Marvelous Century Plant|
|View to the North of Sugar Loaf Mountain|
|View South of Sugar Loaf Mountain|
1 May Basket Day: A much loved custom of delivering May baskets to friends and neighbors doors is gone; sometimes May baskets were filled with flowers or they were hand made of construction paper decorated with doilies and filled with popcorn and candy. Friends who grew up in the fifties and sixties shared fun memories of May Basket Day on Facebook. Ron and Cynthia slept deliciously late. By noon we were home from the round trip (2.33 miles) to Cafe Jose for breakfast, dressed warmly because it was chilly. The weather cooled down from 64 to 55 degrees when we started our afternoon hike; we were determined to hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. And such fun we had en route visiting with a delightful young hiker named Mallory what was returning from an adventurous 20 mile hike that included two overnights. She recently graduated with a MA in environmental science; we agreed she was very brave to hike and camp out solo ... not because of danger from other hikers but there are wild animals. Footing can be dicey, if one falls or gets a concussion, there is no one to help. So we agree Mallory is brave. Ron had fun telling her about Pritikin until the raindrops began falling. We next encountered an older male hiker; his age is a guess, judgement. based on how young we think we are. He hikes six days a week, having done ten miles today on an unmarked trail with very little gear. The rain began in earnest, and we hustled home.