Friday, February 24, 2017

Back to Greenery

After four very long days on the road, I arrived home yesterday to sunshine and greenery. I do love where I live!

I probably could've made it home in 3 days, but took a the scenic route on curvy, mountainous 89a for most of northern Arizona. Well worth the extra time.

Perhaps I was a copper miner in my past life, because now I feel that I must go back to visit Jerome, AZ, another place that owes it's existence to copper. This tiny town (population about 400) is perched precariously on the side of a mountain and looks to be full of galleries and restaurants. It bills itself as  "America's most vertical city". Sorry I did not even stop for a picture, but you can find plenty on line.

I spent the night in Sedona. Had not been there before. Of course it's beautiful, but very, very upscale-touristy, Whole Foods and all.  I much prefer funkier.

Once I got to southern Utah it took all my willpower not to turn towards Zion National Park. I've been there I think four times but not for 15 years and it's really time I went back. Promised myself as soon as I got home I'd try to book at the lodge for this fall, but they seem to be full up.

Second night on the road I spent in tiny Scipio Utah. Nothing there but a cheap hotel. When I took off in the morning it was spitting icy snow, and continued to do so pretty much all the way past Salt Lake.

Third night was in Baker City OR. Really a nice little town, and the Geiser Grand Hotel, built in 1889, is a gem.

A couple of days before leaving Bisbee, Gail and I took a drive down to Douglas, right on the Mexican border. There is really nothing to see there except the Gadsden Hotel, which in itself is worth the drive. Hard to imagine why this big old fancy hotel is there, but it's all due to copper mining.
Fountain in Hotel Gadsden, Douglas AZ

Hotel Gadsden, Douglas AZ. Too bad the stained glass above the staircase doesn't show up better.

Gail at Chiricahua

Gail at Chiricahua

Hiway 89A north of Sedona. Look closely and you'll see two levels of the hiway winding up the hill

Vermillion Cliffs from hiway 89a, just east of Grand Canyon. Been here before, and one of my favorite places. Had hoped to eat lunch here but wind was blowing so hard you could hardly stand up.

Big snowy hills above Ellensburg WA

Geiser Grand hotel, Baker City OR

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ready to come home....

Wow, I'm down to just two more nights here. But I am very ready to see big green douglas firs, sword ferns, and salt water again! I will be starting for home first thing Monday morning.

Mira, Carmie, Ron, Helene and I all had a great time playing euchre, and they said they all had fun touring Bisbee.

Although we did have a little mishap. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning I heard a scream and a terrible ruckus right outside my bedroom door. Mira had gotten up to use the bathroom, made a minor misstep, and went tumbling down the stairs. I found her there in heap, with blood running down her face, and her legs tucked under her. I really thought she had broken her legs, but no, just a lot of bruises and contusions, and two very colorful black eyes. We did call 911 and they came up the 60 stairs to the house and carted her away in a chair. She got checked over and bandaged up at the hospital, and the EMT's carried her back up the stairs to the house. By Thursday night she was feeling well enough to walk back down the stairs and out to dinner.

Ron and Helene departed Thursday, and Gail arrived. We immediately taught Gail how to play euchre (she's a quick study!), before the four of us went dinner, once again at Cafe Roka. So good!

Earlier this week I took a day trip over to the San Pedro Riparian area. It's a great birding area and I was hoping to see some vermillion flycatchers, but no luck. Still, I got to visit my 2nd-favorite tree in the world (the first, of course, will always be the big red oak at Chippewa Pines) I first met this huge 250+-year-old Fremont cottonwood about 15 years ago.  Sadly, it now seems to be dying, and they've roped off a big area around it as it is randomly shedding large limbs.

I took another day trip to Ramsey Canyon, and a steep hike up the canyon along a pretty stream, surrounded by big Arizona sycamores. Ramsey Canyon is supposed to be a great place to see a large variety of hummingbirds, but I'm about a month too early.

Yesterday Mira and Carmie left, and I took my 3rd or 4th visit through most of the shops here with Gail. Last night I treated myself to a two-hour hot stone massage. Today is grey, dreary, windy, and cold, and 47: seattle weather. Tomorrow they are predicting snow. Time for this one to come home!

I have walked all of the Bisbee 1000, plus quite a few more of the 360 or more staircases in town

Just another view of Bisbee

This is a different sort of ironman race. Racers carry a big block of ice up this staircase.
The big Fremont cottonwood at San Pedro

lunchtime view of Ramsey Canyon

one of the big sycamores in Ramsey canyon

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dollarific Dinner and Chiricahua

I had a very nice visit with Christine and Lynn, who stayed here for two nights. On the second night, Connie arrived, and the four of us went out to Cafe Roka for dinner. This is one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and I've eaten there a half-dozen times, but it's been 10 years ago. I am not overly fond of their current menu as it's pretty red-meat intensive, but it is still excellent. But a bit pricey. Two of us ordered the special, which was sea scallops, and they were divine. But we did not ask the price beforehand. They were $38! With drinks, dinner, and dessert, the bill for the four of us came to just over $250. Well, as I said earlier, beans and rice when I get home....

Yesterday Connie and I drove over to Chiricahua National Monument. This is my third visit there. It's a stunning place full of hoodoos, fabulous trails through slot canyons, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We hiked for just a couple of hours but it was enough, up at nearly 7000 feet.  I did a 10+ mile hike the last time I was there, 10 years ago. I think I may be getting older.

Last night Ron and Helene arrived, and this morning Connie departed. Tomorrow we're expecting Mira and Carmie, and will have a 4 or 5-some for euchre!

More pictures from the past couple of days:
Moon over Bisbee

More Bisbee street art

Connie at Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

We have this big lighted peace sign right below our house
Seen along our street

Beautiful quilt at the local fiber arts place

Good use for a T#$@p bumper sticker

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pictures! Hiking! Stairs!

I just had the nicest visit from a local friendly kitty cat. Made me miss my Thomas, but it was sure nice to get a pet and a purr.

Yesterday I took a long walk around Bisbee, doing most of the "Bisbee 1000" stair climb. There are lots of stairs in this town!  And lots of street art. Saw a bumper sticker, "Bisbee: Like Mayberry on Acid". Seems apt.

Which reminds me. While in Yucca Valley last week, I saw the following sign: "High flash flood risk due to fire". Can someone explain this to me?

Today I took a fairly strenous hike up the big hill at the edge of town, where there are a bunch of little shrines and a nice view of the town. There is also a big "B" for Bisbee but could not figure out how to get to it without too much rock-scrambling.

Now, as promised, here are a whole bunch of pictures from my trip so far, in no particular order.

Some Bisbee street art

This is at the top of the hill I hiked to today in Bisbee

More Bisbee street art

Wall just below the house I am staying in

And just down the street

More Bisbee street art

More Bisbee street art

More Bisbee street art

More Bisbee street art

More Bisbee street art

Got it in there but now I'm afraid to back down!

View from atop the hill where the shrine (above) is

That's my brown house, center top above the little tin garage and the purple-red house.

Part of the "Bisbee 1000" stairclimb

More stairs!

View from the deck of my house

Saw this sign at the Borax mine I visited on the way here

Mendocino coast

View from my hotel in Fort Bragg

Cactus at Joshua Tree

Forest of Joshua trees

Joshua Tree national park

Yours truly at Joshua Tree

Mendocino coast

Mendocino coast

The Salton Sea

Yucca Valley