Monday, August 22, 2016

Have Love. Will Travel.

This past week was horrible. We lost a good friend and fellow agent tragically.  By the week's end we were drained, emotionally and physically.  Both friends and an actual professional counselor suggested that we get away.

We took two extra days off work and left Sunday morning for Sedona.  What was the plan?  We didn't have one.  We made Sedona proper around 1:30 PM.  The travel center gave us a rudimentary map and pointed us towards FR152.  Why, because he was a Power Wagon fan and wanted us to see some dirt.

The first part of the road was full of day hikers.  But after a few miles, it was just us.

The road was rocky, but the Power Wagon did amazingly.  We got quite a few looks being out there in a full size truck.

Our stomachs were growling, so we turned around and made our way back towards town.

But before dinner, we hit another road (which name/number escapes me), but it is adjacent to Tlaquepaque.  This road was extremely rocky, and we passed a bunch of side by sides and Jeep tours hauling butt.  No wonder their Jeeps looked terrible.

We realized that Mike's current favorite beer is brewed in Sedona.  And they have a grill too.  So we stopped for dinner at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill for burgers, and of course beer.  We ate on the patio and watched the bats zoom around overhead making quick work of the pests.

We zoomed up to Flagstaff in the dark.  The temperatures were dropping and perfect.  A quick ice-cream dessert was enjoyed and we turned in, exhausted at La Quinta.

Come morning, we were all tired.  Loaded up in the truck, we had breakfast in Hippie Town USA (not an actual place), and made our way south to Sedona in search of the porter Mike enjoyed last night.  Beer run completed, I picked up chai and snapped a few more pictures before we started our journey back south.  Neither of us were ready to head home, but life beckons.

Two days of outdoor therapy were welcomed by both of us.  Fresh pine scented air, red roads, and exploration are good for the soul.  No plans, no worries, just enjoying the moment with each other.

It's the little things, folks.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Monsoon Season, I'm sorry. Please come back

It's been a horrible monsoon season.  When you live in the desert, rain is good.  Rain is GOD.  This time last year, we were inundated with storms.  We haven't been blessed with heavy rain in months.  We've been side swiped by storms or have seen them in the distance.  But no glorious rain.

Last night was a side swipe. We got an excellent show to the east of us though.  I set the camera and the automatic timer up and watered my front yard.

Until a rattlesnake raised the alarm and tried to give me a coronary.  Blessedly, he didn't strike at me, nor did Elly try to go to at it.  She seems to have learned her lesson.  Unfortunately for the snake, trespassing is strictly enforced. 

After dispatching the snake, I set up again, and caught a few more shots.  The storm broke east and the strikes were so close, they washed out the frames.  I tucked my tail and went inside when the sand blew in and it was apparently the lightening was minutes away from me.

Friday, July 15, 2016

No Motor? No Problem.

We're in the midst of a standard southern Arizona Summer.  Blazing temperatures in the mid teens.  You know, like 112*.  It has been quite a while since we dusted off the canoe and went to the lake.  Luckily our adventures friends invested in a canoe recently and drug us out to Bartlett Lake.

To avoid the worst of the heat, we left home at 4PM and made it to the lake by 6PM.  Sound late?  It's not; the sun doesn't set until 8PM here.

We piled in our respective canoes and began to meander around the lake.  We lucked out with minimal motorized traffic on the lake this evening.

We found a small cove perfect for swimming.  The water was surprisingly warm and we spent a good chunk of time just floating along with the assistance of our life vests.  Yes we can swim, but when you have a piece of safety equipment willing to do the work for you, why do it the hard way?

Mark the day on the calendar, Pete is smiling.  ON FILM!

We put foam mats down the canoe floor for comfort for the dogs.  Mike made an impromptu floaty for Elly.  

Once out of the water, Elly ran and ran and ran.  Unfortunately for her, there were bees imbibing at the lakes edge.  We think she stepped on one, because she refused to put weight on her left foot the rest of the night.  And oh was she dramatic.  In my mind her dialogue would've gone like this: "I hate this. The lake sucks.  I want to go home.  I'm going to lose the foot. Three legged dog, here I come".

Cooled off, we got back in and paddled up the lake a bit more while the sun began to sink below the mountains.

We found another cove to explore before heading back across the lake.  You don't want to be canoes on a dark lake with drunk idiots manning speed boats zooming around after dark.  

The sun was sufficiently below the mountains before we made it back.

Mopey McMopey Dog cuddled with my legs on the way back.  

We rounded the small bend back to our landing spot as it was getting dark.  Pete taught his daughter the fine art of righting a flipped over canoe and Mike swam with Rommel a bit more.  We loaded up and headed out to Five Guys for a very late dinner.  It was only a few hours out, but it was a very welcomed escape.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Owl See You Later

Minding our business is the driveway and I hear "Who Who Who...Who".  Glance up and the owl I have been listening to since we moved in was right above our head.  Just pearched at the top of one of the trees near the patio.

Elly and Rommel stopped dead when he (or she) called to us.  He allowed me time to run inside and grab my camera.  Then additional time to go back inside to get my long lens.

I had zero time to mess with exposures and whatnot and only managed 3 good shots before he flew away.

But man, did this make my night.  I've finally seen the source of the "Whooing" I hear every night.

And according to the Internet, he was a Great Horned Owl: a male to be specific.

He finally got tired of me messing up prime dusk hunting time and took off towards the horizon.

I hope to see him again.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vacation Ruins You

Mike and I ran out of coffee the day before in Colorado.  We hastily packed up and bid adieu to our camp friends for a little while.  We scooted to Mexican Hat for breakfast.

Goodbye Valley of the Gods.

We hit the road and made it to southern Arizona by 4PM.  We've cleaned the trailer, have done a million loads of laundry and settled back into the house.  I've already return to work.

While I wasn't as melancholy during our return as I normally am, I still feel like vacation ruins you.  As a friend put it: "It gives you a moment of clarity where you just look out in the distance and ask "WTF am I doing here?"

And with that, I bid you adieu until the next adventure.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

The end may also be the beginning

It was a lazy morning.  Elly and I stayed in bed a few minutes longer.  After all the rain from the previous night, we needed to wait for the awning and tents to dry.

Once on the road, we pushed fast through Colorado and back into Utah.  We went from tall pines and creek water to the surface of the moon.

From the surface of the moon, to the surface of Mars. Even with the heat, we decided to pay a visit to the first camp spot on our trip in Valley of the Gods and stay the night.

Elly and Rommel were dramatic about the heat, but as soon as the sun set behind the monument the shade was nice.  We all took showers in order to drain out the water from the tanks in our respective camp rigs.  With the added benefit of washing off the sweat and dry red dirt.

We set up both my Nikon and his GoPro to take a million shots for time lapse.  It took a few days, but I managed a video of the Nikon shots.

The dogs slept outside most of the night, with the exception of a bad dream Elly suffered and a few hours napping with mama.

The moon rose late in the night, the air barely cooled and only warranted a sheet to sleep.

It was fitting to end our trip where it began.