*Welcome

Many of our friends and family have requested that we “publish” the travel logs we write as we travel.  Let us know what you think – what you like or don’t.  But most of all, enjoy with us the beauty of nature and the joy of travel.

The site is divided into several major sections, and our most recent postings will be duplicated below.  Please click the “more…” link to read the full article of any entry that interests you.  You can view the pictures “full size” by double clicking on them, then use the “back arrow” to return to the page.

We’re happy to hear your thoughts.  There is a comment box at the bottom of each page.  Thanks for visiting with us,

Judith & Mark

Where we plan to go:

We are enjoying our six month “vacation” — we are now in the Arizona desert, enjoying the warmth, peace, and quiet.  We will be visiting Yuma, joining in the Escapee’s “Boomer-rang” at Quartzsite the last part of January, and finally making our way to Bosque del Apache before March 1 for three months volunteering at that wonderful National Wildlife Refuge.  The summer is “up in the air”, possibly heading toward the Pacific Northwest.  We will be volunteering at Petrified Forest National Park September – November 2018.  Then, another vacation???

For more details, see our “Where we plan to go” page.

Our Latest Post:

Dead Horse Point State Park

November 8, 2017

Mesa Verde National Park

November 3, 2017

Petrified Forest – Painted Desert

October 15, 2017

Rock Art Ranch

October 14, 2017

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

October 12, 2017

Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

September 29, 2017

Devils Tower – Little Bighorn

September 19, 2017

More fun in South Dakota

September 17, 2017

Around Mt Rushmore

September 15, 2017

Trip to Mt. Rushmore

September 9, 2017

Grand Portage – Final Days

September 4, 2017

A Visit from Debbie

A Wedding in Youngstown.

July 21, 2017

Ft. William F.N. Pow-Wow and other adventures

July 2, 2017

As we have settled in and are getting our programs pretty well ready for presentation at the National Monument, we have taken time for some outings on days when it hasn’t rained too much.

Our first outing was to the High Falls on the Pigeon River.

Another day we took the hike up Mt. Rose.  An easy and lovely hike. It provides a wonderful vantage point to look down at the Historic Site and Grand Portage Bay.  …  more  …

We visited the Pow-Wow held by the Fort William First Nation, near Thunder Bay.  The opening ceremony was led by five elders.  The costumes were fantastic and the dancers were beautiful.  …  more  …

     

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First days at Grand Portage – Part 2

6/15/2017

We completed the classroom training and attended to Judith’s Dr.s appointments.  We went to the Grand Marais Pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The pharmacy is in a log cabin that also houses the Department of Motor Vehicles and a hair dresser! The decor is “North Country Sheik”. LOL.

Today was our first day in the Historic Site. Judith was in the Kitchen (she was a kitchen wench) and Mark was in the Great Hall (he was a Senior Partner).  Here are pictures in our period costumes:   …  more  …

 

PS:  The gap between the vest and the trousers is INTENTIONAL!  That’s the way the suits of the period were supposed to be worn!!!

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Grand Portage – First Days

6/11/2017

Grand Portage National Monument is a beautiful, and most interesting place. We are in the far northeastern tip of Minnesota — five miles from the Canadian border.

When we arrived at the National Monument and were shown to our site in the Volunteer Village.  We found that our friends Rachel and Steve had arrived earlier that day. We also met one of the other couples, Doyle and Paula, who had arrived several days earlier. Then, you guessed it, the folks from the filling station pulled in right behind us and we met Paul and Ginger! Each of the other volunteer couples have a dog, so we will certainly be able to get our “puppy fix” on a regular basis.   …  more  …

 

We have decided that we will do “most” of our shopping at the little tourist down, 33 miles down the coast — Grand Maris.  It is such a cute place!

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The Monument and surrounding area is beautiful.  And it’s history is amazing.  

We have just finished two weeks of classroom training and we still have a couple weeks of additional training as we “shadow” experienced interpreters before we are fully trained.  AND, we each need to prepare our own 30 minute program for presentation to visitors — we have books and papers everywhere!  It feels like our term paper is due — and we don’t have it ready yet!    …  more  …

Voyagers from Montreal would travel to Grand Portage carrying 8,000 pounds of supplies in a 16 person canoe.  To gain an appreciation of the effort involved, we took a modern (fiberglass) replica out past the entrance to  the bay and over to a tree along the bank of Lake Superior that is several hundred years old, and is sacred to the local people.

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Unfortunately, as a part of the training we were going to hike part of the Grand Portage.  The ground was wet and slippery, rocks and roots were everywhere, and Judith tripped.  When she landed, she “knew”!  She had once again dislocated her elbow.

All of the interpretive staff dresses in 18th century attire.  Here is one of the amazing interpreters playing a bellows bagpipe for visitors in the Great Hall.

  …  more  …

 

Heading to Minnesota

May 15, 2017

As we ended our time at Anahuac there was a lovely good-bye lunch at the Crawfish Place.  Then we headed north toward Dallas to visit Judith’s brother, Don.   Then, on toward Wahoo, Nebraska! We visited Judith’s friend, Leah, on the farm that has been in her husband’s family for generations. We were able to satisfy our “kitty fix” with her nine cats.

A stop in Minneapolis to visit long time friend, Debbie, and trash her lawn.

 

And finally, a slight detour to see volunteer friends, Bill & Kay, near Lake of the Woods.

 

 

Wrapping up in Texas

May 7, 2017

The refuge is a wonderful place with birds, birds, birds…   In one drive around the Shoveler Pond I identified 26 different species of birds.  Here are a few of the pictures:

What would a visit to Texas be without a “cattle drive”.  We learned that the Farm to Market roads, like the one passing the entrance to the Volunteer Village, allow the moving of herds of cattle down the road!  Real cattle and real cowboys right down the road!

Before we left the area, we made sure to visit with Judith’s nephew, Zac, and his son, David, one more time.

 

 

Smith Oaks Rookery – High Island, TX

March 9, 2017

Some visitors at the Refuge commented that the Rookery at High Island was active and exciting.  They sure were right!  Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-Crested Cormorant….

 

 

 

Feb. in Texas

February 28, 2017

Things got off to a slow start:  A couple days after we got set-up, we went for a bike ride on the refuge — as I dismounted I got my big feet tangled up, lost my balance and fell!  Pulled muscles in my upper calf and sprained my ankle!  The volunteers here are great and the local ER was just fine.   …  more  …

We did make it to Houston while Judith’s brother, Don, was visiting with Zac and David.  Great fun!  David is a ball of energy!  Don was there, but David was the star of the show.

The refuge is beautiful, and our surroundings are VERY pastoral…   …  more  …

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Florida: Friends & Family

January 28, 2017

We had a wonderful month “vacationing” in Florida and visiting with family and friends.

We met with our friend Karen and her friend Mike in St. Augustine to celebrate her 70th birthday.  Unfortunately, there was a little too much celebration so they ended up in the old St. Augustine jail!!

 

We met two of Judith’s long time friends (from nursery school in Youngstown!) – Carol & JoAnn – in LaBelle, which is an “old Florida” town in Florida cattle raising country.  Had a great lunch and lots of laughs!

We had a great time and many laughs with Barbara, Allison, and Clint!

Judith’s sister, Barbara, took us to a wonderful wildlife refuge near Winter Haven called the Circle B Bar Refuge (it once was the Circle B Bar Ranch).  A delightful place with thousands of birds, alligators, and other wildlife.   —  more  —

 

 

My daughter, Nikki, came down to visit for most of a week.

We joined Nikki at The Magic Kingdom where we watched the parades and rode the gentle rides — until she persuaded us that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train wouldn’t be “too bad”. ..Whew!  A whole day from opening to closing at Disney!  —  more  —

The “Let’s Dance” Parade:

 

We also went to Blue Springs State Park to watch the manatee’s swim.  The site and the river are picturesque.    —  more  —

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Off to Florida

January 1, 2017

Looking back on the past month we see a period of change … good-bye’s to friends from Bosque del Apache NWR, good-bye’s to other friends we have made while in New Mexico — Bud & Barbara, Roger & Cindi — and traveling to see old friends & family as we visit Florida.

Thanksgiving was a wonderful community event with turkey and all the fixin’s  shared with friends at the Bosque del Apache Volunteer’s Lounge.  …  more  … 

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With the Thanksgiving festivities past it was time to “hitch up the wagon & head ‘um out”.  We did hitch up the trailer and head to Alamogordo NM for a final few days with Bud & Barbara before heading East.   We spent an afternoon at White Sands National Monument enjoying the beauty of the wind sculpted dunes, playing in the sand, & just goofing around.  We made “sand angels” and Judith did a little body surfing!   …  more  … 

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We visited Cloudcroft, in the mountains above Alamagordo.  With the elevation change we found that it had snowed up there over night!  The snow was nice to visit, but it was nice to be able to leave it behind!

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We had made reservations to visit the McDonald Observatory, home of the second largest optical telescope in North America,    …  more  … 

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After saying our “See you later”s to Bud & Barbara, we headed toward Houston.  We were able to link up with Judith’s nephew, Zac, and his son David.  …  more  … 

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Then, across I-10 to Destin FL to visit a few days with our friend Fran.  Life on the beach is “so” tough!  Right!

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Finally, on down to Winter Haven FL to spend some time with her sister & family — Barbara, Clint, & Allison.  Good times, lots of laughs, and way too much food.    …  more  … 

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As we start the new year, here are wishes for a bright new year filled with love, and hope, and joy, and dedication, and peace, and light!

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 …  more  … 

 

Around the Refuge – Friends and birds

November 22, 2016

After having run around New Mexico, trying to partake of all the sights in a whirlwind of activity, we have settled down to enjoy our current home – Bosque del Apache NWR, and to enjoy the company of some of our new friends.

We have spent time with new friends, both from the Refuge and other full-time travelers.  Dominion with Cindi (and her dogs), Truth or Consequences with Bud & Barbara.

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Generally we have enjoyed Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge:   …  more  …

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Carlsbad Caverns & New Friends

Carlsbad Caverns. Whatever you may have heard about the caverns, it did not contain enough superlatives! They are huge, fantastic, amazing….     …  more  … 

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We also were able to once again link-up with another traveling couple, Roger & Cindi, who have infected us with an obsession for the game “Dominion”.

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Santa Fe is another fun town.  It has lots of shopping for those who enjoy that sort of thing.  But It has some beautiful sights as well.     … more …

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Bandelier National Monument – The Ancestral Pueblo People (Anasazi) occupied cliff dwellings and other structures in this high canyon for about 400 years, starting around 1150 AD.       … more …

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Tent Rocks National Monument  –  We have hiked in many places and the hiking around Sedona is fantastic, BUT the canyon hike at Tent Rocks National Monument is one of our 2 or 3 most favorite hikes ever!      … more …DSC_0623 (Medium) DSC_0651 (Medium)DSC_0683_stitch (Medium)DSC_0695 (Medium)

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We also visited Silver City — an old mining town that is also a college town and a fun, funky place.   … more …

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Valley of Fire – Three Rivers Petroglyphs

9-28-2016

On our way to the Three Rivers Petroglyphs and White Sands, we stopped at the Valley of Fire.  What a treat!    … more …

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After a good lunch at a delightful little cafe in Carrizozo, we headed on to the Three Rivers Petroglyph site.  The site contains over 20,000 petroglyphs from the Jornada Mogollon people.  We loved the place and only took about a thousand picture — but we won’t post them “all” here!   … more …

Some of the petroglyphs:

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We ran out of time before we ever got close to White Sands… that will be for another adventure!

 

Very Large Array, etc.

9-20-2016

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory located about 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico, which is the administrative center for the Array and our source of groceries.   But even though we couldn’t understand “all”of the science, it was a very interesting place to visit.

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We then visited the “El Camino Real Historic Trail Site” a museum along the path of the original trail that ran from Mexico City to Santa Fe during the Spanish era.

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Finally, we stopped at Ft. Craig.  While now mostly a ruin, it was once one of the most important forts along the Camino Real Trail.   During the Civil War, an important battle between Confederate forces and troops from Ft. Craig “might” have changed the course of the War.
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Our Volunteer Village had a visitor that night when we returned:
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The Diamondback Rattlesnake was only about four feet long and was fairly docile as it meandered across our parking lot and into the brush.  (But now we DO try to always take a flashlight when we go out of an evening!)   … more …

 

Bosque del Apache

9-12-2016
Mark and I have just finished our first week at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico.  This place is truly a land of enchantment!  Big sky, land, land, land, unbelievable light, mountains in the distance, and more.  We wake up, lift our heads off the pillows, and watch the sunrise before we even throw back the covers; or sit outside to enjoy the  sunset.
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Beautiful fields of sunflowers are all around the refuge.
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 The refuge is across the street (all 57,000+ acres), so we run over there at dusk for a quick tour around the visitor’s loops to see birds, wild turkeys, coyotes, mule deer, birds, javelina, gorgeous sunsets, and, well, birds.
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The management of the land and WATER have brought the crane population back from near extinction.  The habitat was damaged and destroyed by human action, damming the Rio Grande for agriculture and flood control, and invasive species taking over the wetlands. Now huge efforts must be made to manually mimic the flooding and drying of the land that once occurred naturally with the Rio Grande’s annual flood cycles.      We have always been geeky – now it includes protecting the environment and BIRDS!
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Of course, a Wildlife Refuge will include creatures that can possibly be dangerous:  We heard a chorus of coyotes this morning at sunrise, there are Diamondback Rattlesnakes throughout the area, and there are at least three Mountain Lions resident here.
We have just completed our first week of work too, and we are enjoying our fellow volunteers and the staff.
Thanks for joining us and our travels, stay tuned…  … more …

Albuquerque, NM

September 5, 2016

After leaving Sedona we headed to Albuquerque for a couple days of “vacation” before starting our new volunteer position at Bosque del Apache.  Our first surprise was the driving distance from one to the other — over 375 miles and with a time change about 8 hours!  —  more  — 

We started at the Petroglyph National Monument where they say there are over 20,000 ancient petroglyphs.   —  more  — 

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We then visited the Pueblo Cultural Center, which represents all 19 New Mexico Pueblos — each a distinct entity with separate lands and languages, but similar belief structures and probably similar ancient origins.  —  more  — 
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Saturday we went to Acoma Pueblo – Sky City.  This is a mesa top settlement that has been occupied since the 13th century and is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America.   The views from the mesa were fantastic.  Also, the scenery on the drive to and from the mesa was amazing!   —  more  — 
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Sunday we drove to Bosque del Apache NWR and got set up.  The staff and other volunteers have been very welcoming and friendly.  We were absolutely surprised when one of the other volunteer couples is Kathy & Bob Hailey — Kathy was a volunteer with us at Casa Grande Ruins NM.  We will continue our training on Thursday and will begin our regular schedule next weekend.  —  more  — 

Summer is coming to an end

August 27, 2016

We have had a wonderful time as volunteers at Palatki Heritage Site.  The weather was substantially hotter than we anticipated (of course the whole nation was setting record temperatures) but that limited our ability to hike and do some of the things that we love about the Sedona area.  So it is with mixed feelings that we face the end of our time here.  There is still so much to do and explore here, we truly love the Red Rock country, but we are excited about the new learning ,challenges, and experiences awaiting us at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

We have had some excitement in the waning days of summer — rattlesnake, rainbows, waterfalls, and beautiful sun on the red rocks.   — more —

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Adventures around Sedona

July 20, 2016

We have settled into a comfortable routine, nestled in our little Red Canyon, sharing the site and responsibilities with our new friends – Tom & Jan.  It is beautiful here in the canyon, and especially with some of the crazy things happening in the world, we sometimes just want to “hole up” here and avoid the rest of the world.  Sunset & moonlight on the red rocks, mule deer visiting the watering bucket, agave in bloom — a beautiful place!     — more —

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But we have done a little hiking.  One of the trails we recommend to visitors is the “Broken Arrow Trail”.It takes you past “Submarine Rock” to “Chicken Point”.   — more —

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We also  had an outing to Tuzigoot National Monument – another Sinagua site just outside of nearby Clarksdale, along the Verde River.   — more —

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We also made a trip to Flagstaff and Walnut Canyon National Monument.  The site is spectacular with approximately 300 rooms nestled along the faces of the cliffs.   — more —

DSC_9046 (Medium) DSC_9042 (Medium) DSC_9060 (2) (Medium) DSC_9057 (Medium) We can hardly believe that our time in Sedona is winding down so quickly!  In only six weeks we will be saying “goodbye till next time” and heading to southern New Mexico and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.   — more —

 

Palatki – Part 2

July 10, 2016

First, the BIG news — we have been accepted as volunteers at Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge near Houston, TX, for Feb. – April 2017!!  We are looking forward to this very much.

Sedona has been much warmer than we had expected — in fact record and near-record high temperatures have been recorded throughout Arizona, so we have seen many days in the high 90’s and a couple over 100.  But we are enjoying the many visitors from all over the world who come to Palatki.

About a month ago as I lead a group tour, we had an unexpected guest:

Diamondback Rattlesnake

A Diamondback Rattlesnake was resting along the path – until we came along.  This picture comes from Wikipedia, since I was too busy helping my guests back away from danger, but looks very much like the nearly 6 foot long visitor we saw.  However, most of the guests managed to get their cameras and phones into action to get a record of the encounter.

We took a hike to a nearby canyon and its pictographs on one of our days off.

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Palatki Heritage Site – Sedona Arizona

June 16, 2016

We have settled in at Palatki and are fairly competent giving the primary tours.  This site has an ancient dwelling built by the Sinagua people about 900 years ago, a “Rock Art Grotto” with images that range back to the Paleo-Indian or Clovis Culture that lived here at the end of the last Ice Age — 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, and includes every society that has occupied this area since that time:  Paleo-Indian, Archaeic People, Sinagua, Yavapai, Apache, and early Rancher.   — more —

Here are some images from, the grotto:

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Sinagua Animals & “Coming of Age” Image
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Solar Calendar
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Entrance to Palatki Heritage Site:

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Sedona Arizona

May 12, 2016

We have now been settled in at Palatki for a week.  We met Doug & Brenda – our outgoing neighbors; and Tom and Jan, our new neighbors – both have made us feel welcome and helped us to settle in with our duties at Palatki.  We still have more to learn to feel “competent” in giving some of the tours, but we’re making progress – and the site is amazing.   … more …

Our view:

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Yuma Arizona

April 28, 2016

We have spent the last week “boondocking” beside Mittry Lake and enjoying the setting.  When we first pulled in, Judith & I debated where we should camp — she was right!  Here is a panoramic view from our front door:     … more …

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Boondocking in the desert & San Diego   —  April 22, 2016

After leaving Anza-Borrego we wanted to “get away from the crowds” for a few days. We had allocated some time for “down time” before going to San Diego to see the sights. So we went to the South Carrizo Creek camping area – a “public lands” site.   …. more ….

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San Diego

Our first stop in San Diego was a visit to the USS Midway — a retired Navy Aircraft Carrier.  Until 1955 it was the largest ship in the world and typically carried a complement of about 4800 seamen and airmen.  She played a crucial role throughout the Vietnam War and later in Desert Storm.   …. more ….
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We went to the Silver Strand State Park on Coronado Island —

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Of course, no visit to San Diego is complete without a visit to the San Diego Zoo —

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To see all the pictures, click here:   …. more ….

April 13, 2016

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Greetings from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California.  We are in a beautiful campsite (check out the views from our front door and back window below) and loving every minute of this scenic, diverse park.  It’s the largest state park in the lower 48…  more …

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April 5, 2016

Death Valley National Park

Day’s 3 & 4 – Zabriski Point – Badlands Loop – Badwater Basin – and on

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The End – And a Beginning    …  more  …

April 2, 2016

Monday (3/2/) we had our last day for the season as Volunteers at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. We pulled our trailer out after the park closed – that way we had the whole parking lot to maneuver the truck & trailer!  Not a scratch!

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The last few days at the park have been beautiful and exciting.  There has been a mated pair of Great Horned Owls and “She” has been sitting on the nest the past several weeks. Sunday when she was off the nest we saw a fuzzy white head , two eyes, and a beak!

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Many cactus and trees are also in bloom.

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We started off Tuesday morning on the first leg of our April Adventure.   We stopped at the Bill Williams NWR… pretty, but a bit of a disappointment…

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We traveled on to a Bureau of Land Management property that is $FREE and we are not right up against anybody!  THIS is why we put in the solar panels!

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Two Scorpions, A Snake, and a Beautiful Lake     … more …

Arizona Excursions – Two Scorpions, a Snake + more | Judith & Mark’s Travels

This week we had our first scorpions of the season visit the Visitor’s Center, plus we encountered our first snake along the road … it was just a gopher snake, but it did get our hearts going a little.
Arizona Excursions – Two Scorpions, a Snake + more | Judith & Mark’s Travels

Our friends, Roy & Theresa, from Escapee’s Boot Camp are staying in the area and we got together for an adventure — to St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery and to Biosphere2.  (Such an unlikely juxtaposition, but they are sort-of along the same route.)

St. Anthony’s Monastery

A beautiful setting in the middle of the Arizona desert.  And we may have found a new fashion statement for Judith!

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Biosphere2

The place is still alive with many massive ongoing ecological experiments that could not be performed anywhere else — including a huge “ocean” where they are attempting to re-create a miniature Sea of Cortez to study the interactions of various aspects of sea life.

Absolutely fascinating, especially if you have a little “geeky” streak!

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On our return we visited “The Ore House” in Oracle, AZ.  Some fun metal sculptures … now if it were just located on Delphi Street!!!

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Petroglyphs in the Picachu Mountains

Hundreds of ancient petroglyphs!  Boulder after boulder covered with ancient designs!

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Arizona Excursions – Arizona Desert Museum, Sonoran Lights, and a Mishap

February 6, 2016
Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Part zoo, part gardens, and completely fascinating!

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Sonoran Lights

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And Judith’s Mishap:

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Arizona Excursions – Tonto National Monument & Besh Ba Gowah
January 29, 2016

Tonto National Monument

Up in the mountains, high above the Salt River and Roosevelt Reservoir, sits Tonto National Monument. This is a National Park site dedicated to the Salado Culture and preserving two rock cliff dwellings. We visited the Lower Cliff Dwelling, which required a half mile uphill hike to an interesting ruin.   —  more  —

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—  more  —

 

Besh Ba Gowah

This gem of a site is nestled right in the city of Globe, AZ, and is operated by that town.  It was a much larger Salado site, with an estimated population of 300 – 500 people.  Besh Ba Gowah has attempted to reconstruct a portion of the original village using the original rocks and materials found on the site.  This has an amazing museum.  —  more  —

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—  more  —

 

Arizona Excursions – Casa Grande pictures

Here are some of the pictures we have taken of and around the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument — birds, sunsets, and of course, the Ruins:  —  more  —

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 —  more  —

 

Arizona Excursions – Part 4 – Taliesin West and Phoenix Botanical Garden

January 26, 2016

Last weekend we had Judith’s niece, Allison,  visit for a brief but wonderful time.  She is so cute, and so much fun!  We had a wonderful dinner together — ate WAY too much, then a day of “seeing the sights” — Taliesin West (Western School of Frank Lloyd Wright) and Phoenix Botanical Garden.

For those who do not know Allison, she is the family’s “nature girl”  — NOT!  Of all the wonderful plantings at the Botanical Garden, her favorite was the Chihuly glass sculpture of a cactus.  —  more  —

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—  more  —

 

Arizona Excursions – Part 3

January 19, 2016

Last weekend we had a wonderful visit with friends from Cleveland, Kristin & Mark, who came to Arizona to see the sights, visit family, and visit with us.

The Huhugam Cultural Center is part of the Gila River Indian Community and remembers and celebrates the accomplishments of and commemorates their ancestors – the Huhugam (literally, “our ancestors” or “those who have gone before”). The museum houses a select number of “knock your socks off” artifacts: beautiful pottery, excellent stone tools, a great display of projectile points, and exquisite etched shell pieces. — more —

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Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande museum is the site of a large Mound Village that is located in the heart of the city, right next to the Sky Harbor Airport. It is very weird to be looking at ancient structures while jumbo jets are flying close overhead!  —  more  —

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—  more  —

 

Arizona Excursions – Part 2

January 11, 2016

Just before New Years’ we drove to Picacho Peak State Park to do a little hiking.   — more —

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We continue to enjoy our role as volunteers at Casa Grande Ruins.

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The big news is that we have been accepted as Interpretive Volunteers for the Forest Service Heritage Sites in Sedona!  We will be parking our trailer right IN one of the Red Rock Canyons while we are staying at the Palatki Heritage Site.    —  More  —

 

Arizona Excursions – 12-24-2015

Saguaro National Park – West

This park is just northwest of Tucson and is dedicated to North America’s largest cactus, and a symbol of the American West, the Saguaro.  The only place in the world where this cactus grows is in the Sonoran Desert …  —  more  —
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San Tan Mountain Regional Park

Yesterday, we drove north toward Phoenix to hike in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park.  There are many, many hiking opportunities around Phoenix – this being one of the closest to us in Coolidge…  —  more  —
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—  more  —

Our Adventure – Casa Grande Ruins – 12/8/2015

We have just completed our third day as Volunteers at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  It is FANTASTIC!

The museum and site are outstanding.  The museum is well laid out with beautiful and informative displays, even the movie is an award winner!   — more —

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— more —

 

The Adventure Continues – Texas to Arizona – 12/1/2015

After leaving the New Orleans Area, we headed to Livingston, TX, home of the Escapees RV Club, to attend Boot Camp and to become “Real Texans”.  Well we are now “Real Texans”, we still don’t have our cowboy boots!

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Our new adopted home state sure is BIG!  It took three days from Livingston to Arizona!

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We have now reached Casa Grande Ruins.  It is everything we expected!  The staff and other volunteers are very welcoming.  We “finally” got our trailer situated the way we wanted.  The Ruins are most interesting! The night sky is just unbelievable!

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… more …

 

Our New Adventure – Part Five (continued)

New Orleans 11/9/2015

Following the most memorable and interesting visit to the World War II museum was going to be a challenge for any adventure.  However we found a “Groupon” for a “Taste of NawLeans” walking tour.  We walked around the French Quarter with a funny & most interesting guide, learning about the Quarter and visiting five different restaurants for a taste …  more  …

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Fairview-Riverside State Park

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Our New Adventure – Part Five

New Orleans – World War II Museum

The World War II museum is billed as the #1 attraction in New Orleans (and #4 best museum in US and #11 in the world) so we decided to make the visit.   We purchased our tickets and were able to thank the World War II veteran sitting at the “I was there” table.  I almost started to cry right then … more …

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New Orleans – World War II Museum  … more …

 

Our New Adventure – Part Four

10/25 – 11/8/2015 — Winter Haven & Destin, Florida

After leaving St. Augustine, we headed to Winter Haven, FL, and the Cypress Campground & RV Park that was only a very few miles from Clint, Barbara & Allison’s homes (Judith’s sister, brother-in-law, and niece).  Her brother, Don, also flew in & spent a few days with the family.  Good family times, recounting the old family stories, eating well, laughing lots, and enjoying one another’s company.

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Winterhaven & Destin – more …

 

Our New Adventure – Part Three

St. Augustine, FL  –  October 22, 2015

In St. Augustine, we booked a site at the Anastasia State Park campground , which is just across the bridge from the old city and on the beach.  The trailer tucks into the site and is surrounded by palms, ferns, complete Florida forest.  We can’t see the trailers on either side of us!

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St. Augustine is filled with history and has wonderful sightseeing.

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— More St. Augustine —

 

Our New Adventure – Part Two
Charleston, SC  –  October 19, 2015

Charleston has the largest & most beautiful, well kept collection of historic homes that I have ever seen anywhere!

Our self-guided walking tour started with the “Four Corners of the Law” at the intersection of Broad Street and Meeting Street. This is reportedly the only place in the world where these four aspects of the law occupy the four corners of the intersection. St. Michael’s Church: God’s law; Post office: Federal Law; Courthouse: State Law; and City Hall: Local Law.

Four Corners of the Law, Charleston SC
Four Corners of the Law, Charleston SC

Many of the homes are of the “Charleston Single House” design. They are only one room deep with a large veranda always oriented toward the harbor. This gave the advantage of allowing the sea breeze from the harbor to flow unimpeded into every room of the house! A great solution for those hot South Carolina days before air conditioning!

Charleston Single House
Charleston Single House
Charleston Single House
Charleston Single House

— More Charleston — 

 

Our New Adventure — Part One

Mark “mostly retired” on September 30.  Judith retired on Friday, 10/16.  For each of us, our co-workers gave us a delightful send-off and good wishes for our new adventure.

We packed up our trailer “Lucy” and pulled out of Woodside Lake Park, stopping by ALT to let Judith’s co-workers see our new home, and headed south out of Cleveland just before the first snow of the season (just a dusting) hit Cleveland.

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We headed South, spending two nights “Wal-docking” en route and awakened on Sunday morning ready to start investigating the Charleston area.

Our choice for the day was Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, just north of Charleston along the Ashley River.  There are many historic plantations around Charleston, but the Magnolia Gardens sounded particularly interesting.  This property has  been in the same family since the late 1600’s and the gardens are the oldest and largest Romantic Gardens in the US.

The Gardens were spectacular!  They are dsigned so that there is always something blooming.  In Mid-October it was some of the Camilla and the Encore Azalia.

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There remain about 500 acres of the original plantation and the grounds and nature preserves are spectacular.  — more —

 

Wrapping up in Cleveland

September 3, 2015  –  Time is absolutely flying!  Our planned departure date is rushing toward us at amazing speed!

The house is SOLD! The buyers’ have accepted our revised list of additional “repairs”.  Now we just need to cut down that little tree, dig out the dirt & mulch along the back of the garage, replace the cracked garage door window, have the electrician install a new GFCI outlet,  …  We have also cancelled our home phone & home internet — please use our cell numbers to reach us, the home number will no longer work! — more —

Our first trip – the plan

August 19, 2015 — The countdown is approaching the “zero hour”!

Mark will end his “full-time” work on September 30; on October 16, Judith will start two weeks of vacation before her official retirement date.  We plan to “pull out” and start our adventure the next day, October 17.  — more — 

To Casa Grande

Our first destination – Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Even before we had really decided to begin full time RV living, we had met a couple at the V-bar-V Heritage Site south of Sedona, AZ. They were volunteering there for the season, working as interpretive guides, etc. — and receiving their site & utilities in exchange for their service.  This concept SO intrigued us!  As we left that site we discussed how perfect such an arrangement would be for us

Last December we had sent in one volunteer application — for Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.   Last night (6/15/2015) the Director called to ask us to come to Casa Grande for the winter!!!  —  more  —

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— More —

Preparing for Full-Time Travel

The transition from living in a house with week-end outings to being ready to live full time in the RV is a big one!  We were somewhat prepared from our readings, but still….  more…

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more…

 Woodside Lake Park

Woodside Lake is about a 30 minute drive from our house – but a world apart in living!

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More …

Our New Adventure – Can you spell “RV”

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Our Previous Travels:

Chautauqua: IMAG0002

Oregon:           DSC_2609 (Medium)

 

Sedona:         Chicken-Point-Panorama

London:    

Tower of London
Tower of London

Western England:

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The Cotswolds

Technical Details   —  All the geeky details about calculating truck capacities, composting toilet, solar installation, etc.

2 thoughts on “*Welcome

  1. Hi, we met you guys at VbarV and talked about volunteering at Casa Grande.
    We will be passing through the area on February the third and we’re hoping to stop by and meet with you and talk with your Volunteer Coordinator about opportunities. Will this be possible and also could we arrange a night’s stay at one of your RV sites?
    Enjoyed talking with you and hope to see you then.

  2. Love your updates and still miss you here at the ruins even tho we have a great bunch of folks to work with. I think I sent an Email to Judith about why I haven’t given you the Alaska adventure info???

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