Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We are March N', We are Roll N'

31 Mar: Easter Sunday.  Happy Easter!  May your Easter baskets be large enough to contain the EGG cellent blessings God has bestowed upon each of us.   Today we count our blessings: Thanks be to God.  We enjoyed the services and congregation at Christ Lutheran Church in Sedona.  Then we hustled off the beat the Baptists to breakfast at Sedona Rouge Reds Restaurant.  We do like this place; the food is excellent, as is the waitstaff, it isn't crowded or noisy, and we can sit side-by-side at most tables.  We walked along Oak Creek and verified that the irrigation ditch is now running; the gates have been appropriately repositioned.  Tonight Cynthia felt up for dinner again, and we decided upon the Barking Frog, but drove right past it for an extra two miles before swinging a 180 around the rotary to reverse directions; when we came upon it from that direction, we had passed the driveway by the time we saw the sign and had to mosey around the block to get there.  The food was good, and we treated a couple of Los Angeles girls to their drinks because they realized that I went to MIT when I referred to Cal Tech as "the other institute of technology."  Since Cynthia fears bronchial infection and the cold seems to have settled in her chest, we took her to the emergency room where Dr. Curtis diagnosed her with bronchitis and prescribed azithromycin for 7 days.  Even though it was a short ride home from the Dr. and Cynthia had her Gerbings on, she got chilled.

30 Mar, Sat:  We have been two sick puppies for the past four days.  Horrible sinus infection, cough, muscle aches and pains, and sleeping a lot.  But, this AM we drove into Sedona for breakfast and back again tonight for dinner.  As we drove to our typically late breakfast, probably 100 Harleys and other motorcycles were parked along Upper Red Rock Loop, blocking the entire lane of traffic and obviously preparing for some sort of parade.  As we were finishing breakfast at Reds, that long, long line of bikes and trikes passed.  It was such fun to watch the hundreds of bikes of all shapes, colors and sizes parade past.  This afternoon we heard and saw lots of planes including a WWII twin engine bomber; the newspaper confirmed that there was an old warbirds fly-in with opportunities to be a passenger on a flight.   We struggled out the door for a brief hike; the cold has knocked the stuffing out of Cynthia. Tonight, Ron has to cut his hair (MEEEEE!!!!!??????) and we wash his clothes (WHAT??? I BEEN GOOD!)  Ron did good.

29 Mar,  Fri:  Today is Good Friday.  I was pleased to read that further testing on the Shroud of Turin has dated it  within the realm of possibility for it to have been Jesus' shroud.  No way could this have been fabricated in 1300 AD.  No one realized there was an image until a photo was taken of the shroud in the 19th century.

28 Mar, Thurs.  Photographers crowded along Oak Creek about 4:30 because the light was so ethereal. The sun setting in the West and the moon rising cast an awesome glow over Cathedral Rock.

27 Mar: Time sure flies when we are having fun.  Time will resume flying for me, now that my cold seems to be waning, but poor Cynthia now has a very sore throat, so time will come to a standstill for my poor little Smooch Smooch.

26 Mar:  My handy little cost-cutting homemaker cooked grits this morning so that we could get out the door in the cool of the morning for our daily hike.  We made it up the hill to a gravel road and were amused that a paved, "dead end" road runs down the hill there to a few obviously wealthy residences - obviously home to the county commissioner.  We chose to dine at the Sedona Rouge Hotel and were delighted by very good food for our money.  The views at Enchantment are indeed enchanting, but the price is a king's ransom.

25 Mar:  This was not a good morning for Cynthia.  The waitress at the Coffee Pot was unwilling to accommodate our no-oil needs, and Cynthia was furious.  The omelets were not particularly oily, so we were able to eat happily.  Three motorcyclists at the next table were enjoying video footage of their ride, taken by a GoPro camera attached to the helmet and displayed on their smart phone by transferring the SD card.

24 Mar, Sunday:  It is wonderful to be relaxing here on the back porch of the "Creekside Cottage" listening to the sounds of Oak Creek nearby, enjoying the gentle breezes through the flowering trees, budding sycamores, & massive cottonwoods, and editing the power lines out of the view or trees and hillsides beyond the tributary creek in the foreground.  Yes, that was a long sentence, but the serenity here is tangible.  Until we hiked across the street and for a mile along Oak Creek, Cynthia was less than impressed that her creekside cottage was a double wide; more likely it is a fifties vintage cottage easily mistaken for a double wide.  

Breakfast this morning at the Coffee Pot Restaurant was everything we remembered and more, however, they cannot accommodate us by using cooking spray; they can, and did, scrape the grill before cooking my smoked salmon egg white omelets.  Our after-breakfast hike was delightful.  We found an irrigation ditch with a functioning gate to play with and a marvelous tripod tree trunk for me to scale and pose, balanced on one leg.  We are eagerly anticipating finishing our Korbel before dinner at Enchantment this evening.

23 Mar:  We awoke in Camp Verde and decided to go straight to Sedona after walking to breakfast at Denny's.  As we left the parking lot, Ron was suddenly inspired to visit to Montezuma Castle, the "best preserved" cliff dwelling in existence.  The Sinagua Indians found a nice spot which provided us some nice photography.  Cynthia was enchanted by the tall, stately, white Arizona Sycamore trees; they are just now leafing our but still look skeletal to me.  Remembering that highway 179 presented a much more interesting approach to Sedona, we opted for that route.  Ron found it expedient to encourage several groups of impatient car drivers to pass us so that they could queue up nose-to-tail behind a real slow poke a quarter mile ahead.

Red Rocks of Sedona, AZ
  At this time of year it takes patience to traverse Sedona.  Some drivers have never seen a rotary before and have to examine it minutely, inch-by-inch, before they can comfortably proceed.  Around three in the afternoon, we arrived at the Creekside Cottage on Upper Red Rock Loop, our "home" for the next five weeks.  The photo of the Cathedral Rock (right), one of the most photographed places in Sedona, is one half block from the front door as are hiking trails. The two bedroom house has a nice screened-in back porch overlooking creek and landscape.   After unpacking, we walked for an hour along Oak Creek before enjoying a lovely  Elk and Ahi dinner at the Che Ah Chi Restaurant at the Enchantment Resort ("fine dining" is not CHEAP here!)  Our last stop before bedtime was Safeway where we found lots of munchies, a bottle of champagne and a bouquet of fleurs for Smooch Smooch.  Life is Good.

Every day is a bad hair day when wife is motorcycling

22 Mar, Fri:  The colorful AZ highway from Globe to Scottsdale was a feast to our eyes: verdant green with purple, yellow, gold and orange wildflowers. The anthropomorphic Saguaro cactus appeared like a welcoming committee.  We did not see Snoopy's cousin Spike.  After a pit stop at the Harley shop (Cynthia has turned into an accessory junkie like Walter), the side streets north to Scottsdale took an hour or two longer than anticipated giving us redder than expected faces.  Cousins Kenny (he soon to be 98) and Jewel (she soon to be 99) are simply amazing.   She cooked a microwave cake in a coffee cup, served angel food cake and fruit.

Lodging in PHX/Scottsdale was cost prohibitive, but lucked out just before dark with a Comfort Inn at Camp Verde.  Dinner was a delight at the HORN Saloon, now restored.  The salmon was delicious; the chef and waiter were most accommodating.  The beer and wine were great, too.

AZ U Haul 
The day's ride was very good although Cynthia was quite frightened by the heavy rush hour traffic on the expressway 101 north of Phoenix. and a really rough bump after accelerating to get through a traffic light.  "Not yet fully comfortable on this bike that is 100 pounds heavier makes me nervous.  Yes, life is good.  My life was perfect, I did not think it could be better;  and now I have Cynthia, the love of my life. Thank God for Cynthia! Thank God."

21 Mar, Thurs: Springerville to Globe, AZ:
Colorful copper mine
20 Mar, Wed:  The drive from Silver City to Springerville, AZ was long and eventful; when we reached Clfiton, we tried to find dining.  forgeddaboudit.  P.J.'s  made a turkey sandwich on toasted dry rye bread.  A group of Jehovah Witnesses was eating, too.  One of the women pounced upon us but did not go too far when Ron said, My bride is a Lutheran pastor." Nevertheless, she embarked on a non-stop barrage beginning with, "You are newlyweds; I could tell you are in love,"  and rambled in her face (because Cynthia is hard of hearing).  But, on to the ride: what views!  The mines were spectacular; the pastel palette was a feast for the eyes with every shade of green, purple, gold and red.  Crossing the Continental Divide we drove through snow banked on the sides of the highway; slid on a patch of sand, and Cynthia finally what I promised her our first six months together, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

Smooch Smooch in Snow Apache National Forest

Beautiful Bride and Beautiful Baby Blue (Bro Dean Beatty)

19 Mar, Tues: Silver City, New Mexico.
Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos, NM
It is likely we are close to the Continental Divide.  10 MPH switchbacks frequented the drive from El Paso on Camino Real to Las Cruses and 180 West through the Caballero Mountains, the Gila National Forest.  Large pecan tree farms.  Views were worth a million.  We spent the night near the Santa Rosa copper mine in Silver City; the choicest part of the evening was fine dining (YES! FINE!) at the Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos; DIVINE.  The ambience was worth the price of the meal.  Entering huge old wooden doors, we were greeted with a toasty, warm fire and the aroma of mesquite.  The interior of the old saloon was historically refurbished like those of yesteryear. The wait staff wore black -- the senoritas in black lace with red roses tucked in their hair.  

It is chilly in the mountains at night; BRRR!  So thankful for the Gerbings heated socks and clothing that plug into the battery of the motorcycle.  

Ron has not felt week for a few days; sinus infection and fever.  When we returned from dinner he hit the sack to sweat off the chills.   He is such a strong individual!   I hit the antibiotics or ER  

18 Mar, Mon: We had great hopes of catching up with Cynthia's nephew Robbie while we were here but it did not work out.  After dining at the Mesa Grill (chicken breast) we crawled into bed and slept the remainder of the afternoon, up long enough to pack our bags and off to sleep once again.

Ron's completed castle puzzle
17 Mar, Sun: Nice, nice, nice leisurely morning followed by a walk around the campus followed by a repeat of last night's meal.
A hiking trail in TX - north of the lake house

16 Mar: Arrival in El Paso mid-afternoon.  It was hot, dry and windy from Ft. Stockton to Van Horn; it was dry, windy and hot from Van Horn to El Paso.  And it was windy, hot and dry in El  Paso.  The ride was neat, though with a nice stop at the Capitano Hotel in Van Horn for a lovely hour in the cool of the historic old hotel's lounge sipping a diet coke while doing a Sudoku.   One town (can't remember the name, was the home of creator of Alley Oop.  Our lodging for the next three nights is the Hilton Garden Inn./University backing up to the empty campus of UTEP.  It is spring break.  Great architecture.  Marvelous meal at Mesa Street Grill two blocks away:  wild salmon fire cooked with wild blackberry marmalade atop and couscous.  MMMMM.
Tumbleweed in Arroyo

Courthouse in Mason, TX
15 Mar:  It was a hot ride today, from LLano through Art, TX, Mason, TX  (awesome hospitality in the unique historically restored home of the author of Old Yeller.  The Willow Creek Cafe is a gem.  Great museum and courthouse (above); from there through Grit, TX to Fort Stockton, TX @ 88 degrees.  Scenery was fine although spring is surprising less developed here than in Brenham where the Blue bonnets were wonderful at La Quinta.  By the time we arrived in llano, TX the temp sign said 95.7.  Could that really be?   Cynthia's Gem for the  day: There is life in the desert - all the deserts of our lives as well as this physical reality.
New "Pickup"

Scenery  - desert, dry, mesquite trees, cactus, rocks, a few sheep, goats, a million gazillion oil wells pumping away, oil trucks, oil and gas storage tanks and the SMELL of oil and gas permeated the air frequently.  Closer to Fort Stockton and I-10,  the mesas had numerous wind farms.

Gusts of wind so strong blowing Cynthia's helmet so hard her neck is stiff.  Good night -- we are tired!

14 Mar:  The Badu wine bar, restaurant and B and B served us a marvelous meal and Waaay tooo much wine and beer for us almost tee totalers.
"The Queen with her cabernet and the healthy one with large orange juice, "  Walter Maurer

13 Mar, Wed:  The new AeroFlow windshield is dry enough to depart today.  Will this mean Cynthia can ride without her hair getting mussed up?  Will Ron be able to ride without his 10 hairs being blown about?   We shall see:  off to the Bank to get the right external hard drive, breakfast at Magnolia Diner in Magnolia, stop in Hempstead for the credit card replacement, and then onwards to Phoenix, Arizona.
We will update as much as possible while en route.

12 Mar, Tues: Breakfast at I-Hop - off to recycling center - and the Apple Store where we learned lots of good things like we need the external hard drive on the computer when we try to open a document in the time machine that has been edited.  Cynthia learned lots about doing newsletters on the Mac, using Keynotes for presentations, etc. but not for preaching.  Lovely salmon dinner at Pappadeaux.  Retrieved the wrong external hard drive from the safety deposit box - Cynthia raced back to the bank arriving fifteen minutes after they closed.  Ron will be up all night packing the motorcycle; his stuff is spread all over the floor in the upstairs tv room and game room.

11 Mar, Mon: Ate, walked, exercised, ate, tried to figure out this missing index.xml stuff.  Gathered recycling for tomorrow's trip to the recycling center leaving the small  bit of trash at Wal-mart.
Cynthia in her computer nest

10 Mar: Sun:  Like a mighty wind, Sunday arrived: torrential rain whipped by gusts of wind pounded the windows before dawn.  Ron was awake having slept little (2 cups coffee 2 much); Cynthia sprang (well,  crawled) out of bed to see what was the matter.  A storm!
dive for those covers, back to bed!  Once up we took advantage of the marvelous brunch at the Yacht Club.  As homeowners, we receive an awesome 15% discount.  Too full to walk to the fitness center, we opted for computer stuffs. Happy Birthday Tom Scholz!  Thanks for calling Cynthia's grandson to wish him a happy birthday; we hope yours is as intensely happy as his when he heard your voice on the phone.   The band Boston is his favorite.

Lower Deck with Lounge Pad Almost Blown Away this AM
Cynthia installed MS Office for Mac on both of their Macs. This may work better than switching back and forth from the Mac to Windows partitions.  But - YIKES - NO NO NO!  The document she was editing opened without any of the last month's edits.  Panic.  Error message: missing index.xml

9 Mar, Sat:  No one makes omelets as good as Ron Beatty's.  MMMMM .   Breakfast on our own Lake  Conroe balcony has the most marvelous views.  The water level is almost back to normal (3' to pre-drought level).  The BMW windshield was exchanged for the new AeroFlow almost perfectly in place.  After 72 hours of drying it can be adjusted.  AeroFlow comes with highest recommendations from Walter and Jim which is MDG!

8 Mar: Cynthia ran to the bank to get the cashier's check for the house rental in Sedona, AZ  while Ron rested.   ZZZZZZ then walked to the Caddy Shack to discover Jon with clients Jim and Cindy who have been house hunting.  Barb joined us for dinner and wine.  The new AeroFlow windshield was delivered in our absence.  Tomorrow's job: change the windshields.

7 Mar:  Since breakfast today is in doubt, the route through Taylor, Lexington, and Lake Somerville was planned over champagne last evening.  But, we found egg white omelets at Janie's Mexican Cafe.  The ride to Lake Somerville was indeed pleasant; so was sitting on the park bench with a diet coke to share.  Cynthia was surprised to see the changes (upgrades, new roads, picnic areas) since her last trip many years ago when she received her first "call" to Deanville; she turned back the "call" since the trip was too long requiring a stay in the parsonage during the week.  Arriving in Montgomery about 5  PM we made a beeline for the Caddy Shack to eat before the crowds and noise took over.  Cynthia slept early while Ron washed the car and bike.  Six doe and one buck were spotted on the road outside our house.  We see more deer in our lake property than in some parks.

A Texas Sunset
6 Mar:  My bad - today we tipped over at a stop sign.  No injuries, no damage, lesson learned.  This is a heavy bike, and I must be more careful to be ABSOLUTELY upright when stopping.  The pavement was tipped just a little, and I stopped with the handlebars turned right (towards the lower pavement).  It was quite a surprise to find the bike starting to fall and another surprise that I was unable to hold it up.  Amazing the effects of 100 additional pounds of motorcycle.  Betcha I wouldn't have had this problem with a Wee-Strom - too bad their electrical system won't support 15 amps of heated clothing.  Other than that, our day was totally uneventful - we spent the day in bed.  Cynthia hadn't slept well last night, and I'm still fighting that cold.  Breakfast at the Blue Bonnet was a huge disappointment, primarily because the waitress was totally unaccommodating - she got $1 for a tip.  Sunset was again marvelous.  Photographs taken, champagne drunk, blog updated, time for bed.
Sunset Celebrated at Marble Falls, TX
Marble Falls, TX Good Morning!
5 Mar:  Today we did a much better job of Ride like Ron.  Again I awoke with a very sore throat and a stuffy head.  Again, symptoms improved as the day progressed.  Lakeway and the Hampton Inn offered no attraction, so we set off to Mimi's Cafe for breakfast.  I'm told there are 20+ in Texas and 150+ across the USA.  This one was identical to the one in DesMoines and waitstaff and food equally excellent.  Route planning over breakfast using Cynthia's Google maps was fun.  We headed towardsTom Hanks Park on Lake Travis.  Th park was closed, but Marshall Fields Road was a delightfully deserted, very twisty ride, and the homes above the road are mind boggling palatial estates.  The lake is incredibly low (50');  the second park at Arkansas Preserve displayed stark lake bottom 40' below usual levels.  From there we headed towards Marble Falls past the Balconnes Wildlife Reserve on FM 1431.  It was delightful to roller coaster the hills and find some twisties.  The naturalist at Headquarters recommended the  La Quinta Inn in Marble Falls, TX as having lovely views of the Lake.  Sad to think that the 20' Marble Falls is now submerged under the lake waters.  Having seen the views from the La Quinta balcony, we decided upon Doc's for seafood and bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate the views.
Dry Boat Ramp with Grass - Nada Agua
4 Mar:  I awoke with a stuffy head and a very sore throat.  The throat improved as the day progressed.  Since we have determined to await the arrival of the Aeroflow windscreen before our final departure from Texas, we decided to take one more shakedown cruise, this time to Austin, Fredericksburg, and the Hill Country.  The notion was to pack up immediately after omelets in the morning.  By noon when we actually got out the door, lunch seemed like a good idea.  Disappointed that the kitchen at the Caddy Shack is closed Mondays, we repaired to Phil's Road House for a nice salad w/ chicken breast.  We rolled out of Montgomery a little after lunch and stopped often to free the coffee trapped in our bodies.  At one such stop in Navasota, Cynthia received a call from Aeroflow informing her that American Express had denied the credit card payment.  Infuriating that the company denies payment, then gives the excuse that they just wanted to be sure that the card was in her possession - why didn't they call her?  Those calls took so long that I was seriously concerned that we might be trapped in the rush hour of greater Navasota.  How-some-ever, the calls ended about 4:15, and we had to hustle onwards to arrive in Austin by dark.  Unfortunately the GPS decided to take us through the city to our reservations at the Hampton Inn in Lakeway, TX.  Farm to Market Road 620 looks like it would be a delightfully scenic motorcycle ride in daylight.  The hotel clerk was very pleasant and recommended Legends Restaurant; the food was good and the starving troops satiated.   I was so amused with the photo of a poker-faced Gina Lolabrigitta slyly eying Marilyn Monroe's abundant cleavage while Marilyn obligingly presented a plastic smile to the photographer, so I sneaked Cynthia into the men's room to see the photo.

3 Mar, Sun:  11 AM Sunday brunch at the Yacht Club with Jon and Barb; my-oh-my is that a good meal with wonderfully pleasant company.  We thanked to Barb for the suggestion of the TV slide show of sunsets as a sales aid.  Congratulations to Jon for embarking on new career in real estate.  Amusing to coincidentally run into Jim and Cindy for the second dinner in a row.  Methinks that I might be incubating a cold.

2 Mar:  The index to Volume 6 of the Colonial Records of the Swedish Churches, the Wrangel Years is a done deal until next Christmas!  Cynthia's mis-understanding of Ron's statement that he is done with it until then.  What actually happens depends upon whether other people actually contribute any effort.  It was great fun to walk to the fitness center and stop at the Caddy Shack for an early dinner thereby running into Jim & Cindy.  We haven't seen them in forever.

1 Mar 2013:  At the lake house in Montgomery, Texas for a few days.

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