Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June already? How did it get to be June already?

30 June: Grand Canyon, El Tovar for breakfast. Espresso in front of world traveler Miss Smoochie. Bike is packed. We missed the early morning thunderstorm as we rode to the canyon, but one is planned to welcome us to Kayenta - Monument Valley Inn: After a wild, windy, wet ride under ominous black clouds we arrived In Kayenta only to discover we were booked into the wrong hotel. Thankfully, the hotel we wanted actually in Monument Valley had space available with a rainbow view from our balcony. We hiked into Box Canyon after dinner. While we were both weary feeling the effects of Bright Angel Trail, only Cynthia went to sleep early. Ron listened to her sleeping sounds and commenced recording receipts and packing. Good night!
29 June: Grand Canyon - Breakfast at the Best Western in Tusayan was perfect. We had forgotten we had stayed at the Red Feather Hotel and dined at the BW during another stay. Ron hiked six miles roundtrip down Bright Angel Trail making 20,000 more best friends until he was whipped by wind, drenched by rain and frozen to the bone - accomplished in a brief 2.5 hours. Cynthia hiked down 40 minutes returning about the same time. We were very hungry by the time of our dinner reservations at El Tovar; Ron wore his rain poncho for warmth. After finishing lemon and then raspberry sorbet he was shaking from the cold. The temperature leaving the canyon was 63 degrees; by the time we reached our hotel it was 76 degrees with a lovely sunset. Tomorrow we depart for Monument Valley for two days. Thanks to Roxanne for lining up reservations. We arrive in Taos the 14th of July.
28 June: Grand Canyon - Breakfast at the Grand Hotel is a buffet without a chef to cook to order. They tried to scramble egg whites. Oh, well. We parked at the South Kaibab parking lot and walked to the trailhead. Ron completed a good distance down while Cynthia went back up because sciatica kicked in and rain began in earnest. Oh what fun we had getting lost hiking across the backcountry going back to the parking lot, but Hero Ron walked us into the back side of the parking lot. We spent the wait time for the El Tovar to open by walking the Rim Trail and touring the Kolb Studio. The wait was worth it - not only is the food fabulous but our waiter ago remembered us from three years ago. With our dietary restrictions, who wouldn't? After dinner, tired and sufficiently full, we strolled the Rim Trail waiting for sunset so we could drive back to the Inn alongside another spectacular sunset. Ron spotted a magnificent bull elk with a huge rack of antlers and did a U Turn for another viewing. We saw more elk and a deer. We are both very tired.
27 June: Sedona, AZ to the Grand Canyon: First, the recycling completed, second, box mailed to Texas, Third. The rental car returned and our last breakfast at Red's Sedona Rouge, to the post office to mail Ron's letters, then the DMV in Flagstsaff to get permanent plates. Ooopppssss! We had a two hour wait at DMV AZ. But wooHoo!!! We licensed the bike for five years. And AZ does not require any annual renewals or annual inspections that Texas requires. Ohmygoodness does that feel fabulous. Lunch at Oregano's Bistro was mighty fine. Hot leaving Flagstaff, cooled off when rain started and very cool at 8000 feet needing jackets, rain stopped without getting us wet, sun appeared and we got warm again. Deer. Well! We arrived at our lodging with two days days of Grand Canyon hiking ahead of us including the super meals at El Tovar lodge. We took a ride to the canyon, walked for 45 minutes, ate a delicious Ono Wahoo at the Grand Canyon hotel, returning at peak time for a magnificent red-orange sunset spotting three elk along our route.
26 June to Sedona, AZ. Dinner at the Olde Sedona Bar and Grill. Packing completed
25 Jun: Las Vegas. Temperature before breakfast was 90 degrees; says it is 105 at 3:42 pm. Re-organization and re-packing our motorcycle saddlebags is proceeding well. We took a break to enjoy a FroYo next door. Ron is hurrying so as to have time to visit the adjacent Hooters with Cynthia's blessings and promise to administer his last rites. Whatever doesn't fit on the motorcycle will go into a box to ship back to Texas. We enjoyed a fun swim and soak in the hot tub tonight. Tomorrow is the final 200-mile leg to Sedona and the end of our trip to Sacramento to visit Aunts Betty & Jo. It has been a great trip with excellent visits and fantastic scenery. The heat vindicated the decision to rent a car in only three places on three days; Hoover Dam was 100 degrees on day 2 & Las Vegas was hot; Sacramento and points north along the coast were comfortable or cool; much of the last two days has been over 95 degrees. Sedona and Flagstaff will provide a welcome return to cool.
24 Jun: Here we sit in Beatty, Nevada, temperature of 104 degrees; Ron desires a photo of his Beatty self standing in front of the Beatty senior citizens center, but alas, we could not find it. (We did see signs for the Beatty Brothel and the Beatty Airport, but no senior center.) How startling to see that sign for the brothel on the side of the road, advertising Nevada's oldest legal profession. We did enjoy cold water, a coke and one blueberry pancake at the Denny's restaurant in Beatty; it cohabited with a smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall casino. The ride between Bishop, CA and Beatty, NV was a delightful smorgasbord of desert scenery and exceptional roller-coaster twisties on California 168; that relaxed into 65mph sweepers on Nevada 266. The final leg south to Lost Wages and Henderson on Nevada 95 was straight and hot with substantial traffic. We arrived in HENDERSON at 6:00 PM after driving on I-15 right through the center of Vegas at rush hour. What a fun day!
Ron in front of museum named in his honor.
If I could have jumped the fence, I woulda posed atop the flat-tired tractor.
Photo op too good to believe
23 Jun: We hiked a few feet on the John Muir Trail and to the Tolumne Grove of Redwoods in Yosemite was quite a joy. The only wildlife we saw was us and we were pretty wild. Ron hiked about two miles further than Cynthia. The giant sequoias are magnificent. Mountain climbers were scaling a wall close to us. The views of snow-covered mountains indescribable. The idiot drivers were also indescribable, but God loves them, too; he must, he made so many of them. We arrived in Bishop, CA in time to buy bread at Erick's Bakery. After dinner we met Pacific Coast Trail hikers in the hot tub. Fun day.
Another lady said it gave her the shivers to watch Ron's pose. (Needs work.)
Beautiful !!
We were above snow fields many times in Yosemite
Lookie the two climbers. There was another one just right of the picture.
At one point we were close to 10,000 feet.
22 June: IHOP has the right approach: live chickens and roosters on the lawn! Great views en route (with an interpretive walk) and we discovered a very funny sign by a home made camper in Truckee, CA. Our lunch at Bar of America in Truckee was terrific! Ron found a nicely landscaped neighborhood on the north side of Lake Tahoe seeming to invite us to walkity, so we did. Again, at a pullover viewing spot we walked down to the lake to take a video. Ron was certain the nude swim team was practicing and needed spotters. The view approaching Carson Valley was marvelous; they had a Walmart but they did not carry the right bread or Pretzel's although the stop gave us another opportunity to stretch our legs. We arrived at the big city of Lee Vining with rustic lake lodging for the night: We hiked down to Mono Lake and around the visitors center not quite reaching our Fitbit goal. And a fun time was had by all of the survivors.
21 June: Morning has broken: The view from the room is beyond words. Breakfast at the Laurel Deli was a treat - fine food with a train engine in the dining room. The restaurant is in the train museum. Foodified early, we drove north to the end of the coastal highway twisting and turning with amazing views in both directions. We returned the same route to have lunch at Silver's on the Wharf before heading east on CA 20 to Yuba City, CA. The twists and turns were relentless until we entered a magnificent, lush verdant valley with wineries, walnut and fruit trees. Dinner at Sizzler's was a good experience. We haven't tried it before because we don't eat beef or fried food, but we discovered the salad bar is excellent.
Gull giving Cynthia the eye. Cynthia took video for granddaughter Fyn.
20 June: We are off to explore the wonder of our world driving north on the California coastal highway arriving Fort Bragg late afternoon. Napa Valley reminds us of Scotland. The ride on CA 1 was splendid - reminding us of the north coast of Ireland. We walked the beach after a marvelous Salmon dinner at Silvers on the Wharf.
Sunset on the West Coast.
19 Jun, Sunday: Oh what fun visiting 93-year-old Aunt Betty and cousin Margie! The fun continued watching the NBA playoffs. Both teams are so incredibly good they each deserved to win. Ron called Walter to congratulate him. The sunset was magnificent.
Aunt Betty and Margie
Granddaughter Kira sent a picture of her new birthday dress
18 June: Aunt Jo celebrates her 88th birthday in six weeks looking mighty fine. She and cousin Terry had lunch with us at the Pheasant Club in West Sacramento. Fireworks tonight. We are sleepy.
Aunt Jo, Cynthia, and Terry. It was a fun afternoon.
17 June: The temperature in Bishop, California at 8:00 AM was 46 degrees! The forecast of high temperatures was our reason for renting a car instead of taking the motorcycle, but, even Death Valley was only 81 degrees. Bishop, CA would be a great place to live for numerous reasons, including Erick's Bakery with its astounding array of no- fat marvelous breads; the Bishop area is noted for outdoor activities. The scenery driving through the Sierras was astonishing: Mammoth, Yosemite, snow-capped mountain grandeur! The roads were anything but less-traveled; left hand drivers were a pain in the but (But, God loves them, too!). I don't. Our arrival in Old Town Sacramento was without incident.
16 June: After an enjoyable sleep we were out of Las Vegas on I-15 North to US 95 North by 10:30 AM en route to Bishop, California, arriving by 4:00 PM, amidst an incredible kaleidoscope of color, compelling contrasts, and curves. Wind stirring sand and dust created a hazy backdrop at times, but the immediacy of Joshua Trees, sage, pastel and blackish volcanic mountains was magnificent. Jaw-dropping. The sign to Beatty, Nevada (,_Nevada) proudly boasts it is the gateway to Death Valley (; it even has a Denny's Restaurant and a Subway. A sharp left turn onto NV 266 was a surprise out in the middle of Death Valley taking us for 60 miles of twisties like the motorcycle's "Tale of the Dragon," one tight hairpin curve after the next quickly climbing to 7000' elev. At an old mining pull-off the spectacular snow-capped Eastern Sierras burst into view. The desert became alive with desert blooms and Bristlecone Pines; but the best view was at Big Pine valley with the Sierras soaring on two sides and the Whites on the third side. Our lodging at Clearcreek Inn is quite pleasant; our balcony overlooks the creek. Jack's Restaurant has tasty, grilled Salmon. We walked a most pleasant city park replete with creeks, duckies and sports equipment. Ron enjoyed the hot tub. All moments are key moments: life itself is grace.
15 June: By 10:30 we were Gone With the Wind. The rest of the recycling is hidden in the car where Cynthia won't see it. We had fun trying to figure out how to open the car's fuel tank and discovered it just pushes in on the side. The views at Hoover Dam were spectacular but Ron's pacemaker prohibited taking the tour. Ron took over driving at Kingman, AZ finding our way to the hotel in Las Vegas thinking we had a couple of hours before dinner but it took that long to walk from the hotel garage to the room. It is a huge hotel. Dinner with Cynthia's sister Merrilee, niece Kelly and her husband Steve Plus grand niece Jayden was most enjoyable.


14 June: The weather is gorgeous with more of the same predicted tomorrow. Packing is almost finished. A box was shipped back to Texas, the fax sent to confirm our room for the October Sweet-Trenbeth wedding, the rental car picked up after getting an upgrade, the house is vacuumed and the piles of stuff are smaller as we load the car. Imagine: we even had time for a last hike! We had an enjoyable dinner tonight with Pastors David and Gwen at Judi's except our split Walleye entree was about 2 ounces apiece. Whoda thunk Walleye was such a little fishy. Granddaughter Lauren is having fun in Cozumel:

13 June: Whaaaat??? For some oddball reason the June blog has reproduced in triplicate. A busy day unfolded with unanticipated changes due to extreme heat in most directions. We rented a car to drive to Sacramento to see Cynthia's elderly aunts when we check out the 15th having found a safe place to leave the bike for a week. We haven't accomplished much here but work on the SCS orders for family group sheets.

12 June: The good news is we woke up. Today is pleasantly cool on the way to Sedona summer warm By noon. Worship at Christ Sedona was a joyful experience. Ron had an epiphany at church when Pastor David forgot a line and everyone laughed: "it helps us laugh at our own foibles." Eating breakfast is a good thing, too. We like eating, especially at Red's. Today's sudoku is a challenge and that's very good. We hiked to the Ridge Trail despite all of the people in the park. Life is good despite the hate that resonates and rocks our world.

11June: Ron researched a genealogy puzzle until two AM discovering the family group sheet for Martinson (with the circle above the a - sounds like o) was filed as Mortinson. Nothing more can be done on the order for Family Group Sheets because of packing tasks at hand. First things first, after breakfast we hiked two hours getting our Fitbit buzz, then Ron joyfully attended to a massage for Smooch.

10 June: A fun day, a fun lunch at Judi's with a fun genealogy cousin Cheryl H. who drove from Sun City West for an afternoon of genealogy gabbing. We headed home at three for hiking fun four miles followed by not so fun bag packing. Frustrating that the TX DMV insists the new bike has to be brought to the county of our residence or to get a temporary registration and licensing in AZ. The closest DMV is in Flagstaff which is conveniently close to our hotel next Wednesday. Tomorrow we get to sleep late. Shhh!

9 June: We will be in Sedona for Cynthia's cure: mani, pedi and hair, the Works! Lunch at Judi's was pleasant and delicious even though it was 3:00 PM. A long day was followed by a brief nap to settle a too much over-filled stomach. A hike was needed. And now we figure out how to pack up and ship our stuff back to Texas with a remnant remaining for six months of touring.

8 June: We managed a nice hike late morning through the woods and met a lovely, lively artist who was also born in Iowa. Ron is preparing the recycling for tomorrow's trip to Sedona in preparation for next Wednesday's departure to Flagstaff, then the Grand Canyon and onto the Colorado mountains to escape the heat.

7 June: Arising very early for usn's, we were able to hike in somewhat pleasant weather making it to the Ridge Trail and a Fitbit buzz by the time we returned at eleven AM. The decision to forego California was sadly passed along to Cynthia's aunts in Sacramento. The heat in Scottsdale, AZ reads in three digits for the next 15 days. Alaska might be cool? Ron's weight increased to 174 deeming it necessary to do a very hearty long hike late afternoon. A second great granddaughter is expected mid July to be named Elenore Elise bringing our total of grandgirls to 9 outnumbering grandguys by 5. Ron never imagined he would inherit such a large family.

6 June: After breakfast we commenced hiking by 9:22 AM; a fun conversation ensued with two sisters - one celebrating her 72nd birthday - and the other from Fargo, ND. A Frenchman, swimming in the creek, got out to visit with us. Walking back through the woods felt almost cool after the heat on the open ascent. We saw a hummingbird and a shiny coat (harmless) snake. A nap was necessary. Son Jon said the TX storage unit was completely dry despite flooding nearby. Our motorcycle registration papers arrived; Jon will get the permanent license plates at the DMV tomorrow.

5 June: Heat warnings prevail through the week. The forecast for the west coast has changed to a fiery furnace making it unlikely we will travel to Sacramento. Where to go to escape the heat? Worship at Christ Sedona was marvelous; thank God. We are thankful and fortunate to be together for 8 years (almost 24-7) without conflict other than making certain the other eats enough protein - conjuring up the possibility we will make it a few more days. We hiked tonight, but even at dusk it was very hot.

4 June: Hot - but we managed a decent morning and evening hike, surprised at how cool we were at 7:00 PM after a high of 105 at 6:00 PM. Cathedral Rock was quite a splendid sight in the sunset. So was the great blue heron on Oak Creek.

3 June: Returning early from breakfast gave us the incentive to hike before being beat by the heat. Ron wounded his left thumb on a sharp stick; it bled profusely because of blood thinners. We had a pleasant quick hike at 7:00 PM. Ron continued hiking on alone to Canyon Road to phone friends returning with the news Dick R. traded in his Corvette for a Lexus RX hybrid SUV. Cynthia misses hers but doesn't plan to buy a car to sit in a rental storage unit.


2 June: Heat warning through Sunday with temperatures to reach 108 degrees in Sedona and 115 in PHX. We scorched at 100 degrees today, but we were cool indoors with a delightful visit with Bankston cousin Colleen who shared her lineage of Bankstons Unknown to us. No food left in the refrigerator for munchies so we boogied into Sedona for dinner at the Olde Sedona Bar and Grill - Ron's buffalo burger sans bun was too dry. Ron hiked to Elbow Rock at 6:30 to dark thirty through the park and shade not feeling the heat. Cousin Colleen visiting the Smooches:

1 June: I been good, why am I rushed through 2016?? Slow down time?? Smoke from the fire in Salt River Canyon filled the air this morning. Too bad the deluge in Texas can't reach the canyon. We hiked to the Ridge Trail at ten AM getting our Fitbit fix, then we had a short hike tonight at 6:30. Tonight's sunset on the red rocks was not as spectacular as last evening. The house is clean because we are having a Bankston cousin visit tomorrow.