Sunday, May 5, 2013

MERRY MAY: MERRY BIR-SARY

31 May, Friday. What??? Another month used up??? Staying at Linda's; wine with Linda and Nina.  Wedding reception ... a Fiesta at Ristra's Restauraunt ... 16 June... 7 PM.   Please no gifts except  for  size 10.5 work boots with 2" heel.  Chippewa is a good brand.  No cute shoes.

30 May, Thurs.  Cynthia's gmail was hacked, likely at the airport.  Fortunately, she discovered it quickly reading sent messages to the Mutual Fund Store requesting funds transferred by wire to a bank in China.  She quickly changed the password, but she is anxious about other identity information the hackers may have obtained.

29 May, Wed:  Dragging our weary selves out of bed at 7:10 AM, we hustled to drop Cynthia at the airport, returning to good news from the accomodating manager who agreed to give us a terrific rate for 10 June upon Cynthia's return from Houston.  She is home for celebrations and medical tests.  Her flight was delayed an hour, but, she reports a great flight.  Mark Valdes joined in a fun joy ride in balmy,  68 degree temps ... IMAGINE ... Mark comes to a complete stop at stop signs!!  The ride was followed by a fun evening at Linda's.  Next is a Santa Fe fiesta reception for friends who could not attend our wedding two years ago on 16 June at 7:00 PM at Ristra's.   Guess who is in charge of this one????

28 May, Tues: The chef from the Hilton Garden Inn gave us free dinner coupons.   The assistant chef soon leaves to become the new sommelier at St. Claire's Winery and Bistro.  Great restaurant with enjoyable Cabernet Sauvignon.   Shopping for new boots.  How can Cynthia make such fast decisions?   Oh, well. There are more boot stores in Santa Fe.

27 May, Mon:  Cynthia returned to loving "hubsand" in ABQ.  He won  all of the points for first "I love you" past midnight throughout the weekend by getting in the phone calls first .  This is the first "I Love you" in print today.

24 May - Friday - Cynthia departed ABQ for a weekend in Sacramento, CA to celebrate her aunt's 90 th birthday.      Ron was left without adult supervision, footloose and fancy free,  for a weekend with Charlie and his remarkable wife Sam.

22 May-23 May, Pleasant drive until close to HOT ABQ.  We gained a day.  NO WONDER the hotel reservation was for the 24th.  Groggy-sleep-deprived we arrived at lab Corps by 8 AM without our medical cards.  Thanks to the efficient staff they got us in and out less a lot of blood - famished.

To my Wee-fee:  Once upon a time, we fell in love.   Before I met you, my life was perfect.  My life is no longer the same, with you it is better.  Leave it to God to improve upon perfection.   I love you dearly, desperately and so .... Smooch Smooch and Smooch.  Happy Anniversary!!!  belatedly!   

20 May, Mon:  Here - you woulda had lotsa pictures except that somehow they disappeared during transfer from the camera to the Mac.   The view of Lake Powell from the breakfast dining room was marvelous.  The temperature at 9am was a balmy 72 degrees.  When Cynthia checked out, she told the clerk Ron should have asked what kind of lake view we had from the room; we had only a good view of a tree.  Happily, they refunded $30.00.  The temperatures dropped quickly as we gained elevation leaving Page: starting at 79 degrees at the resort, 76 degrees in Page, a chilly 68 degrees twenty miles later.  As we rode, Ron again apologized that we couldn't take the scenic route.  HA!!!  We enjoyed magnificent  purple mountain majesty along Arizona highway 98 (once we located it in Page) until turning east on U.S. highway 160 to cross the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona.   Impossible to describe a perfect day and ride.  We stopped for lunch at the Blue Pot Restaurant in Kayenta - a Navajo village - and afterwards walked to Basha's.  Cynthia was struck by the native American scene surrounding us; the well - fed women and over-fed men - beefy, perhaps mutton eaters.  She later saw a Navajo woman wearing a skirt while tending sheep.  Twice we saw horses running along the highway side of the fence.  There are amazing kaleidoscopic changes in the arid desert scenery from low bushes and shrubs to sparsely forested mountains, from isolated homes to small enclaves, from flatlands to canyonlands to plateaus.  At the New Mexico border the weather and scene changed once again: warmer, trees, grass, some agricultural enterprises.  For about two hours we approached dark and ominous clouds with rain obviously falling, but we encountered only chilling winds, blown dirt, and isolated sprinkles.  It is so arid that the rains evaporate before hitting the ground.  (Darn shame we don't have that picture.)  The most memorable sight was of thick black rain clouds ahead, a massive mountain much obscured by rain to our right, and to our left,  a brightly sunlit red mesa with crystal clear pale blue skies above.  Another memorable sight was that of sunlight glistening so brightly on white mesas in the distance that they appeared to be covered with snow set against a deep Nordic blue sky.  Strange that such sights are reserved for rainy days in the desert - only visible when  the light and shadows play on the earth in this spectacular way.   We arrived in Farmington, NM and are staying at the Comfort Inn; hopefully they will find us a room for tomorrow.  Cynthia needs a girl day, and the bike needs synthetic oil.

19 May, Sun:  With the bike pointed towards Cedar Breaks we stopped for gas and learned from a fellow just returning that it was snowing with one road closed. Temperature was 32 degrees; rain and sleet going towards the opposite direction towards Pataguitcch.  Wheeled the bike around and drove due south to Zion National Park with plans to spend the night in Page, AZ. Saw a herd of buffalo.  Cold; we needed the Gerbings.   Before arriving in Page, we checked out a nearby city's Comfort Inn with a rate of $160.00 per night.  No thanks and Thanks!  Discovered the Lake Powell resort with lodging for $130.00 and added $30.00 for a room with a lake view.   What a bit-sary present!!!!!

18 May, Sat:  Departure for Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon ... OOPS!  One hour drive and Cynthia fell asleep on the bike.  We stopped at a Comfort Inn in Cedar City.  Steven, a Navajo, was the clerk.

17 May, Fri:  Glaedlig Settendemai!  The 17th of May is the celebration of Norway's independence from Denmark. For those of us who are NORSKE (Cynthia's dad was PURRRE) and those who wish they were ... Cynthia wishes you a day of lefse, lutefisk, rhubarb pie, krumkakke, fattigmand bakkels, rhumagrout and joy.
We spent the day in Zion National Park and saw several deer and chipmunks up close.  We had decided to attempt a hike up to Angels Landing; Cynthia hiked up and up to successfully arrive at Scout's Landing without undue distress. (We are so very proud of her.)  From there chains are fastened to assure and assist those intrepid enough to attempt the Landing.  Cynthia gamely grabbed a chain, placed a foot on a tilted slick-rock step, slipped, and decided wisely not to go further.  Instead, she encouraged Ron to go ahead alone to the top (Is there a hidden message here?) and opted to wait for her hero.  I used the chains for re-assurance, while remembering that years ago I seldom touched them, negotiated several places where footing was uncertain, crossed the "knife edge", and ascended most of the backbone before I came to a small, level passing zone where several guys were descending.  Looking out into the valley, I espied a mass of ominous black rain clouds trailing tendrils of rain.  Those guys assured me that they had been watching that rain advancing straight towards them, so, 100 yards from the summit, I reversed direction.  Hiking down was much scarier than hiking up.  So many stories, so many new best friends, so little time to spend at a computer writing about the joys of hiking in Zion.  We enjoyed another great dinner at Red Rock Grill in the Zion Lodge.
Life is MORE than Good!

16 May, Thurs - Wildcat Trail - Kobob Canyon - dinner with Maureen and Thelma once again at Red Rock Grill.   Our photos of the delightful duo did not make the transfer to from the camera to the Mac.  A week's worth of photos GONE like the wind.

15 May, Wed. Watchman Trail - Dinner with Thelma and Maureen - from NH - a most delightful two neighbors who love to travel.  Two more best friends.

14 May, Tues: - Dinner at Red Rock Grill at Zion Lodge

13 May, Monday: - HOT - hiked Emerald Pools Trail and Grotto Trail by the River.  Great lodging at the Zion Park Inn - a Best Western hotel.  Dinner at the Spotted Dog.

12 May - MERRY BIR-SARY!

She the rolling water -
He the certain sky -
A length like love's commandment
that holds the heavens wide -
And with the ocean -
whose deepest touches earth -
Where they are both horizon -
Makes the force where light gives birth.

by Nina Farana - 2009 - composed as a gift for us in 2009
Thank you Nina!  Happy Birthday to you, too!  

11 May - Zion National Park -

10 May - departed the GC with Lunch at El Tovar for a magnificent ride to the Hilton Garden Inn - St. George, UT  - not a bad dinner at players Sports Bar.  Crazy to see young girls with skinny little legs in 5 or 6 inch platform shoes and short shorts.

9 May  -  Nice hike - with a five minute run down the Kaibab Trail.

8 May - Some guy in a Dodge pickup took up two parking spaces.  We left a note on his windshield and later moved the bike after he left a note on our bike.  We hiked down the Bright Angel Trail for an hour and surprised ourselves by returning to the rim in an hour.  Hahahahaha!  (CONGRATULATIONS to Cynthia for hiking up so fast.)  We last remembered seeing the MIT baseball cap at El Tovar.  We asked and were directed to Lost and Found, which was closed for lunch.  Instead of waiting nearly an hour, we decided hike, boarded the shuttle at the El Tovar stop, rode it through the village, past the market, and eventually debarked just past the Lost and Found which was now open.  The custodian of Lost and Found remembered seeing the MIT cap, and it is now ensconced on Ron's head, secured by duct tape, tastefully tied under the chin in a bow tie.


7 May- We almost made it home.  Rain, sleet, hail (that turned the ground white) accompanied us to the lodge.  Hiking the 13 mile Rim Trail was accomplished in three sections.

6 May --

5 May - The Smooch Smooches have returned to their usual routine of arising early by noon-thirty missing breakfast.  None of the restaurants serve breakfast for lunch.  The Red Feather Lodge is Ok - no noises emanating from the next rooms;  the internet is fair.  Cynthia is pleased it is windy and chilly; this means a day of rest: she does not do cold.  Pleasant afternoon writing post cards outdoors on the picnic table followed by dinner at BW's Squire Inn - and the IMax movie of the Grand Canyon (too much story and not enough scenery) Check out our scenic photos on Picasa:
https://picasaweb.google.com/113780268026608859160/GRANDCANYON#

https://picasaweb.google.com/113780268026608859160/HIKINGSEDONA

4 May - Another grand day in Canyon with 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies.   Moved from the Grand Canyon Inn to the Red Feather Inn only 6 miles from the GC at a nice rate of 88.00 average.  Cynthia had a prepared protein drink that may not have been safe to drink; she up-chukked  breakfast.  El Tovar for lunch with an iffy stomach was questionable, but she survived.  Michael was the appreciative server once again.  Tom from Odessa, going through a difficult time, appreciated the gift of lunch and conversation. Deer and Elk are sighted in abundance today. Rim Trail hike : 2.8 miles, 8 more to completion.  El Tovar had a waiting list for dinner even at 9:45 PM.  The Yavapai Lodge Market has Artisan bread at a good price.  Best Western for dinner at 8:45 PM - bedtime at 11:30.  We are tired.

3 May - 70 degrees in the Grand Canyon; great day for hiking: Trail of Time (2.0 miles), Bright Angel Trail half hour before returning to demonstrate to Cynthia the relentlessness of the upward climb.  Kolb Brothers Exhibit was rewarding. Lunch at El Tovar was exceptional including the waiter, Michael. a delightful conversationalist who seemed to appreciate advice on how to woo and win a girls' heart:  1.) Frequent gifts of Fleurs (does not matter if they are from Wal-Mart or Safeway) reap  rewards.  It only took 60 plus years to grasp how much girlies love Fleurs.   2.) You cannot say I love you too much.  It was surprising to discover that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; the trophy arrived!  Michael seemed most appreciative of the advice.   A Swedish couple (she: Ingdalen)  was most enjoyable.  Perhaps she will email or leave a comment where we can continue our pleasant conversation.  Cynthia tells our friends "Ron met 20,000 of his best friends at the Grand Canyon."  She is prone to hyperbole.   We spotted many Deer, Elk Cows and two young Elk bulls with velvet on the antlers.  The temperature on ride from the parking lot to Valle went from 57 degrees to a low of 35 at one point.  The stellar star-studded black night called for a stop; was star-studded; it was a good time to enjoy the view and  take advantage of the facilities.  A thousand cars appeared from both directions.

2 May- 28 degrees overnight in Flagstaff.  What to wear is the perpetual question for a motorcycle fender bunny as we departed for the Grand Canyon.  Lodging located at the Grand Canyon Inn -Valle, AZ for 85.00 per night.  21 miles from the Grand Canyon.  Almost everything is booked solid in the park hotels so the rooms left are very expensive.  We walked some of the Rim Trail.  Dinner at the Grand Hotel in Tusayan.  Deer, Elk cows.
Thanks to Alfred and Sylvia for sending the photo of the Smooch Smooches


1 May - Departure from Sedona, AZ - 86 degrees; arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn - Flagstaff, AZ by dinner. Updates to the blog will be intermittent during this month of travel, hiking and celebrating.

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