Sunday, May 13, 2018

Fun in PA

In early April, I flew east to visit my father in Pennsylvania.  As always, I had a nice time with him and, as they often do, my daughters came from Florida for the weekend.  I have no pictures of my father or daughters, as they are even more camera shy than I am.

On Friday evening, we all met my only cousin’s only daughter at a restaurant for dinner.  (As you can see, we have a small family.)  The only time we see Rebecca and her husband Terry seems to be at my father’s birthday parties (his 90th and 95th, so far) when they are busy handling the food.  They are terrific people and it was so nice to be able to sit and talk.

Rebecca is quite an organizer and even had a suggestion for something for us to do on Saturday.  The Mennonites were holding their 62nd annual Relief Sale.  Although we had no idea what that was, the ‘girls’ and I went to check it out.  There were a couple of craft booths, but they had two continuous auctions and lots of food.  Laura and Christy enjoyed an authentic Philly Cheese Steak.

The quilt auction was fun to watch.  The beautiful quilts were donated and sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars.  I checked their website later and found the quilt auction raised $115,635.

We laughed at the Country Auction where the items were rakes and hoes, but even that raised $13,877.  (No pictures of the rakes and hoes . . .)

Since we were already in Harrisburg, we decided to tour the state capitol.  Of course we had previously done that, but it had been a long time ago.  We parked around back which gave us a different view of the building.

The building is spectacular and we were just in time to join a tour.

 (The previous two pictures were taken by Christy.)

Looking down from the third floor, I remembered how our school choir stood on those marble steps and sang Christmas carols one year.

The Senate . . .

And House of Representatives are gorgeous.

The House has four priceless murals by Edwin Austin Abbey.  The largest depicts explorers, pioneers, scientists, industrialists, and military figures who shaped Pennsylvania’s history.

The Supreme Court chamber is more intimate than one might expect, but just as impressive,

With a stained glass dome,

And the fanciest thermometer I’ve ever seen.

We also stopped at the cute Appalachian Brewing Company where I had some of their birch beer,

And the girls had a flight.  Not being a beer drinker, I didn’t even know that a flight is a rack of samples.

By the time we returned home, I think my father was wondering if we got lost.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


For those of you who have asked what we’ve been doing since Thanksgiving, here’s a condensed version of our winter.

We spent Christmas and New Years at our lot in the Escapees Park in Benson, Arizona.  Ron sorted some material with his homemade highbanker.  He found a couple of specs of gold, but not enough to retire on.  Good thing he’s already retired.

The park had seasonal activities including a wild gift exchange and a New Year’s Eve dance.  Somebody at our table happened to catch Ron and me out on the dance floor.

We spent several days in Yuma, known for the massive amount of lettuce grown there each winter.  It’s funny to see the green fields in a desert landscape.

We walked over the border to Los Algodones in Mexico, always an interesting experience. 

We had some Mexican food (or since we were there, I guess it’s just food).

But our main purpose was to buy a stained glass window for the RV.  They have hundreds to choose from, but we settled on this one.  It has a clear area in the center so you can see who is outside and the color changes from almost clear to pretty colorful depending on the light.

Next we hit the annual RV event in Quartzsite.  I shamelessly stole this picture off of Facebook, but it's hysterical.

Then it was back home for February and March.  My flowers were pretty this year.  It still cracks me up that you can grow them in the winter.

We didn’t have as much company as we usually do, but Ron’s brother and his wife came.  We have done a lot of things with them over the years, but never took them to Goldfield.  It’s really just a tourist trap, but is kind of cute with the old buildings . . .

And the little train.

We took several hikes over the winter.  Here we were at Silly Mountain with our next door neighbor.

Ron had a few projects too.  He switched out the kitchen light that I hated . . .

For one I bought for $5 at our community yard sale.  It was a lot of work, I know, but, hey!  It was only $5!

We had an outside leaky faucet that required digging into the concrete block.  Ron had to cut blocks to fit into the hole.  I forgot to get a final picture after the caulking and painting, but, believe me, it was perfect.

He also made himself a trommel to help with his gold mining.  It’s made out of a couple of five-gallon buckets.  He found the directions on the internet.

I’m sure we did other things, but if I don’t have a picture, I don’t remember.  :-D

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Alright, I know it is way past Thanksgiving, but it’s never too late to showcase family.  This year we were thrilled to have all of Ron’s descendants (and spouses) come to Mesa.  You’re probably picturing people sacked out all over our little 2-bedroom house, but the reality is that only Ron’s son stayed with us.  The others rented a large house only about 5 miles from our house.  It worked out beautifully.

Their house had a pool and hot tub which were a big hit for all the Denverites.  However we did drag them out for a couple of hikes.  After all, we had to counteract all the good meals we ate.

The first was an out and back along Saguaro Lake and everybody participated.  Here are the two youngest with Grandpa.  All three are wearing Ron’s hats.

Here’s Ron with all four of his grandchildren – Adam, Shannon, Harper, and Elsie.

Elsie got tired (translation – bored) after going just a short distance, but Harper led us the whole way.  He even came upon a snake which made his day.

It really is a pretty hike along the lake.

Harper enjoyed looking through the monocular that I brought along.  After about ¾ mile, he turned around and led us back.

We went to Organ Stop Pizza one evening for dinner.  Both Harper

And Elsie really got into the organ music.

We did one more hike with just four of us.  It made me happy to see three generations enjoying the same thing.

As for the big day, we ordered a turkey from Safeway and had dinner at the rental house.  So other than a couple of sides, I didn’t do anything!  My sister Diana joined us and took the group picture, leaving me with no excuse for not being in it.

I was impressed when sons-in-law Tom and Sean (with some supervision from Kim) did all the cleanup.

But I had to laugh a little later when I snapped this ‘after’ picture.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lovely Sedona

When the weather cooled down a bit, we moved to our favorite boondocking spot between Cottonwood and Sedona.  Man, do I love Sedona!  Even driving into town is a picture.

As promised in the last post, here’s the story of the third drive we took that we’ll never do again.  I’ve always wanted to drive up Schnebly Hill Road as it climbs 2000 feet from Sedona to the top of the Mogollon Rim.  It’s, at minimum, a high clearance road, but we had tried it in our Ford Escape and didn’t feel comfortable.  Now that we have a 4-wheel-drive truck, we knew it was time to do it.

I made Ron let me out so I could take a picture of the road.  This was pretty typical, although there were a few worse sections.

Beautiful views all the way up.

And after the longest and slowest 5 miles imaginable, we made it to the top.  In the distance, you can see route 89A, which is the easy way to climb up the rim through Oak Creek Canyon.
 Needless to say, we took an easier route back down.

We also did the Chimney Rock loop, hiking among all those gorgeous red rocks. 

Chimney Rock is actually a double, but looks single from this angle.

We passed Lizard Head Rock.

But, really, doesn’t this look more like a lizard?  In fact, I see two lizards.

Looking back, in the distance we could see the Mogollon Rim that we drove up the day before. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fossil Creek

One day we decided to check out Fossil Creek Wild & Scenic River outside of Camp Verde.  It’s hard to imagine that Arizona would have wild and scenic rivers, but this is one of two!  Fossil Creek originates from artesian springs and has a constant year-round flow of nearly 30 million gallons per day.  To ensure that everyone has a place to park, a permit is required from April 1st to October 1st.  We went on October 2nd and didn’t have a problem with parking.

This was the second of three drives we took this year that we decided we were glad we did, but would not do again.  Mills Canyon, which we drove in July, was very scary, but at least it was short.  The third will be in the next blog post.  This one, Fossil Creek Road, was 14 miles of He__!  (That was ‘Heck’, of course.)  Alright, it was just washboard, but, after a couple of miles, it really became annoying and, by mile 14, we were ready to scream!

We were so thankful when we crossed the pretty river at the bottom of the canyon.

The hike to the waterfall is only 2 miles round trip, with some pretty ripples along the way.

Look how clear the water is and filled with so many fish!

The waterfall was worth the short walk, but what’s that speck at the top of the falls?

Watching the jumpers definitely added to the fun.

In order to get the trees out of the picture, wading was required.  Since I didn’t want to take off my shoes and socks, I asked a nice young person to take a picture for me.

Is it me or are there two faces in the waterfall?