Tuesday, April 28, 2015

After the vacation

But I have the memories ... a rappel on the Cabo zip adventure.
Here I sit, back to my “normal” life … taking care of my dogs, reading the paper while having my feet under a blanket, dribbling coffee out of the side of my mouth.

There’s no excitement, no anticipation for what will come during an excursion … unsticking my seat on a horse, zip lining upside down, trying my best to photograph a hummingbird in flight.

In fact, I’ve not lifted a camera or lens in more than a week.  I need to find something … some blog fodder both for text and photos.

Since I’ve been back I’ve not returned to the gym.  Instead I’ve decided to walk around the block.  I figured my walkabout would be about 4 miles.  About 2-1/2 miles in I realized this was no four-mile walk.  It would be closer to six.  Whoops.  A slight miscalculation.  But I managed.

For my next walk I decided to add an app to my phone that would tell me how far I’d gone … 5.50 miles.  Okay.  That’s a good walk.  So I’ll continue with those for the time being.

However, I still have no photos to share.  I got nothing.  I need to remedy that.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The last days

Friday, April 17, I woke up, realizing this was close to the end of my vacation.  Last days, sad days.  But wait.  There are still a few great, sunny, fun-filled days, aren’t there?  You bet.

I spent a lot of the day at the Peeps, but then mounted my sweet ride and headed to Verlie and Joe’s.  It wasn’t too bad considering it was a Friday and people get crazier when it’s coming up on the weekend.  I arrived not too long before Verlie did, let the little dog, Jazzy, out to do some chores and then it was time to order in some supper and visit.  We had some plans for the weekend and we needed to get them all mapped out.  Plus I had to do some laundry and get some packing done before I left on the jet plane Monday morning.  Too much to do, not enough time to play.

On Saturday morning I got some things done and then Verlie and I rode off to meet an old friend, Jerry, at a Cracker Barrel (yum) in Casa Grande.  We left early as we needed to gas up and we wanted to be sure we weren’t late.  We arrived at 11 a.m., about 45 minutes early.  Jerry had beaten us there.  Good grief.  Early birds.  Old people are like that. 
Jerry, Verlie and me.  Great meal, great friends, great visit.  The rocking chairs weren't bad either.
What a wonderful reunion.  We had some lunch and then sat out on some of the rockers Cracker Barrel has and proceeded to visit for another three hours.  It was so much fun … chatting about times past, the things we’d done together, or not, other friends.  What a super time.  But it, too, came to an end, so Verlie and I headed for the barn.

Another Saturday night … warm, sunny up until night falls, warm.  Oh yeah, I was still loving this. 

Sunday, April 19, my last day.  Oh no.  How would I deal with the cold weather at home, although I think it had been in the 40s.  It was still cold to me, who was used to 80s temperatures.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Verlie and I were heading south, to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson.  We had a pleasant drive down chatting as only old friends can do … continuously and finding new topics constantly.  How do we do that?  Old friends … that’s all I can say.  I have some of those and cherish each and every one of them.
This statue and her babies greeted us as we entered the museum.  There are lots of statues, both large and small, setting around, some in places you'd never expect, like on a concrete wall.  It certainly adds something as you then start looking for them everywhere.
The museum is close to the Saguaro National Park, the Pima Air Museum and not too far from the Titan Missile Museum.  There’s so much to see in such a small area.  But the desert museum is what’s on the list for today.
Beautiful flowers were everywhere ... the desert, you say?  It's spring and they're starting to bloom.
There are several pieces to the desert museum pie … a zoo, an aquarium, desert displays, reptile displays, and one of the best … the hummingbird aviary.
In we went, through two doors and plastic chains hanging like a sheet at the interior entrance to help keep any from escaping, or other types from getting in where they don't belong.
Verlie and I spent a lot of time in the hummingbird aviary, looking at these beautiful little creatures, flying along so quickly, their wings flapping so fast you could only see a blur.  Some were setting on nests, and some even hovered near us at times.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

These little guys were hard to catch in flight. 

Sitting hummingbirds are easier, but they still move quickly.

I couldn't help but marvel at how much they get to eat in a day ... some may only be about the weight of a single penny, yet eat the nectar of 1,000 flowers to get water and the 8-10 calories a day required to survive.  For an average-size person that's 300 pounds of food and 150 gallons of water a day.  Wow!!!
This little guy was proving he could get the nectar while totally ignoring those of us who were watching.

Hummingbirds are unique in that they can hover for long periods of time and fly backwards.

On cool nights, some can lower their heart rate and body temperature, dramatically conserving energy.
 We wandered into the reptile area, and left even quicker.  There were too many snakes for me.
There were lots of other things, plants and birds, to see.  And I'd rather look at these than reptiles.

Another aviary had lots of other colorful birds.

The mottled wings on this one were cool.  He certainly blended well with the scenery.

This one looked like some type of duck and was busy calling out ... or complaining.  Hard to say.

One of my favorites ... a red headed tanager.
The zoo called to us and we saw the black bear and a mountain lion that was pacing in front of a little girl that was on the other side of the glass.  The mountain lion had heard little girls taste like chicken and it appeared eager to test the theory.

Momma and baby.  Awwwwhhhh!!!

I guess this is daddy.

Prairie dogs ... no fear.  What you looking at me for?

This bear was pacing back and forth as the entrances to its cave were blocked off.  I expect folks were in there cleaning.

This mountain lion photo was taken through glass.  She was very intent on the little girl ... maybe hoping for a fresh, tender morsel for lunch???  She was a beautiful mountain lion. 
This museum was another one that should be on your list to visit more than once.  I certainly intend to come back again.
Dragon fly??  Cool color.

This cactus made me think of a tuning fork.

And then we were headed out and back to Gilbert.
Then it was home, a bite to eat, and the final packing ordeal for me.  I finally got it all finished, and there  was time for some last conversation before bed.  Good thing I'd mailed home a couple of boxes.  There was no room left for anything more, no matter how small.

I awoke Monday morning, April 20.  The time had arrived and Verlie drove me to the airport where we said our good byes.  I’d heard the weather at home was not so great.  It wasn’t.  I should have stayed in Arizona.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Queenly things, of course

The next morning, April 10, it was now just Dewey and me, struggling with decisions.  What to do, what to do.  When in doubt, visit a Harley shop.  Sierra Vista, here we come. 

We spent a little time at the shop, but Bisbee, Arizona, was our true destination for the day as Jaz and I had talked to Dewey and told him what a cool place it is.  And we found it.  We arrived later in the day and all the Queen Mine tours were over, but they had availability for the next morning, the 10:30 a.m. one.  We booked it.  While I’d been on it last year with Jaz I certainly didn’t mind going again since it’s fun to ride the tram, and you can always learn something. 
They even shine the bat light on the rock on the other side of the street. 
I could answer the bat call.
We found a hotel, the Inn at Castle Rock, and spent the late afternoon and evening going to the Screaming Banshee for pizza and salad, and then walking.  Jaz and I had walked but it was a totally different type.  This one was up and down some of the thousands of stairs that lead to houses and businesses in the area. 
There are beautiful buildings everywhere. 

Jaz usually takes photos of these things, so I took it for her.

There are thousands of stairs and that's how you get from one level to the other.  It was great walking.
We walked up the hill to the water tower and then looked for a way down out of the weeds.  We wandered up more stairs and finally found an old rocky, broken pavement road.  Yep.  That would work.  We even found the area where I got stuck trying to turn around last year … uneven pavement, broken pavement, rocks, gravel.  Aaaagggghhhhh!!!  This poor woman had come out of her home to ask if I was okay.  No.  Is there anything I can do?  No.  I finally wiggled it forward, back, forward, back, maneuvering it an inch or so each time and finally got turned around.  What a bad memory that was.  Walking it was much easier.  Haha!!!
The water tower was above us at one point.

From above, it's a magnificent view.

We found this interesting doorway.  There are old bottles, some carpentry tools, just some of everything and it was so much fun to look at for a while.

The flowers are captivating and add a "wonderfulness" to the whole area.
Some graffiti where they often have a little flea market.

We walked by this home entrance.  The owner came out and told us the story.  She had commissioned someone to make angels and thought she would be getting some about a foot high.  Instead, he started making these on 9-11 and wanted something memorable and fantastic.  This is what she got.  They are life-size and represent watchful angels and are taking the souls up to heaven.  There are two other figures helping rescue people.
This one is sliding in to help rescue.  The other one I couldn't get a good photo of as it was in a dark corner.  It was just as magnificent.  We had a great visit and a great story to take away that we wouldn't have known about.
Of course.
On Saturday, April 11, we were at the Queen Mine for the tour bright and not quite so early since it wasn’t until 10:30.  It was a treat to go on it again.  I love riding the little tram and going down, down, down into the mine.
All geared up and ready to go down into the mine.

This guy helped us get geared up last year, too.

The group watching how to do dynamite work.

The bell signals for the cage that goes up and down like an elevator.

The bell to go with the signals.

In the mine.

Out of the mine.  Another successful tour.  No one lost, no one injured, no one dead.
Copper is what made Bisbee a thriving mining town in the late 1800s.  By the early 1900s, Bisbee was one of the largest and most cultured cities between St. Louis and San Francisco.  Between 1877 and 1975, when the last of the underground mines closed, more than 8 billion pounds of copper was mined and processed, as well as gold, silver, lead and zinc, making this one of the most productive mining districts in the world. 
The Lavender Pit.  It's named for Harrison Lavender who took an unprofitable low-grade copper-bearing rock mine and began producing commercial copper ore.  Better, or not?
Afterwards we headed out of town, but made a brief stop at a kind-of ghost town that Dewey had been told about.  I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but it was very, very cool.

Old cars rock!!

Especially lime-green ones.

And you know I love cop cars.

From Bisbee we headed toward Mt. Lemmon, a local ski area 30 miles from Tucson, more than 8,000 feet up.  Dewey had heard about this being a great ride, so off we went.  It was awesome, about 30 miles or so up to the top.  We stopped and did a little hiking, climbing like mountain goats over and up on the rocks. 

Being the strong girl is tough work.

Beautiful rock formations rose in every direction.

I wanted to climb this one, too, but there was no time. 
It was beautiful and the view was that of a postcard.  It had gotten cool as we’d started up the hill late in the afternoon and it was time to put on a sweatshirt.  But it was beautiful and a ride I’d like to do again, spending more time here and there.

Living on the edge.

And in the distance ...

Gorgeous rocks.

Heading down at sunset.
We ended the night near Tucson once again, but that’s okay.  There’s so much to do in this area that I’ll be back time and time again.
It was our last night out, and on the morning of Sunday, April 12, we had to head to our separate places.  I was going to Gilbert to where my bike lives, and Dewey was heading to Chuck’s as they were heading north on Monday.  Oh, woe is me.  The riding is nearing an end.  But wait, there’s more.
We looped around to the east of Globe, another favorite little town of mine.  We had a couple of missions near Globe.  Hobbs had asked me to see if I could find a gravesite for his friend, Tony, who passed a few years ago.
Dewey and I found one of the two cemeteries in the area and rode over twisted, broken, narrow pavement, up a hill that just took us higher and higher.  We parked the bikes and wandered around.  These mostly appeared to be older grave sites, and yet, most seemed to be well-kept. 
As we looked over the hill and down, we could see what appeared to be a newer portion of the cemetery.  We got back on our horses and followed the badly-maintained road.  Thankfully, it took us back down over the gravel and rocks and then we were out of it and back on pavement.  We rode around to the newer area and parked the bikes.  Then we wandered around, looking to see if we could find Tony’s place of final rest.  About an hour later we gave up.  But there were some beautiful sites, well-cared for, loved, and a joy to be near with their calming, peaceful effect.

My favorite grave sight that we saw at this cemetery.

This was cool.

Baseball theme.  Awesome.
Our bikes called to us and we were off again, this time to a shrine near Miami to light candles.  Dewey lit one for his daughter and I lit one for Tony, Hobbs’ friend.  We sat and it was a nice feeling to light candles and rest, maybe saying a little prayer for those that have gone before us.
We stopped at Superstition Harley and then we soon parted.  Verlie’s … I was home.  Or at least Harlow, my bike, was.  It was time to relax. 
Monday, April 13, was a day of rest, hanging out with Verlie as she wasn’t feeling well.  We watched movies.  I thought it was a great day.
On Tuesday, April 14, I headed to Arrowhead Harley in Peoria, Arizona, for a 40,000-mile service.  I told them to keep the bike for a day as I would be with friends.  The Peeps are there and I was going to be with them for a few days.  It’s the perfect time of year for visiting, for riding, for walking.  Not only that, Judi had a lady coming in to do massages for her friends.  I was in.  I was doing it all.
It’s getting close to heading home.  On Wednesday, April 15, I went with Judi cuz I needed a haircut desperately.  It had grown three inches overnight and it was time.  Haircut.  Check.  Pick up the bike.  Check. 
There's a beautiful cactus plant near the lake that's just starting to bloom.  The flowers are exquisite.
On Thursday, April 16, Judi and I went for a walk down by the lake.  Oh my.  Swans.  Black and white ones, both.  I so love the swans.  And there were some blue herons, Canada geese, turtles, and so much more.  It was a dream day for birding. 
I love these herons.  They've such an intensity about them.  We even saw two nests with babies.  What a treat.

I'm always in heaven when I see a swan.

Seeing a black swan put the icing on the cake.
Some birds were flying around and I loved the way this one crossed his little feet in such a dainty way.

Yo, what ya see out there?  Is it a fish?  Should we go get it?

This goose is laying on eggs right next to the trail.  There are signs warning people about her.  She was not a happy layer.

There were even some bunnies.  What a great time.
A turtle was sunning himself in a frog-like style.  He finally decided to take a dip in the pond and was gone.
It's been a wonderful couple of days.  Now for another visit with Verlie, and a few more days and I’ll be home.