Daily Archives: December 19, 2016

Hiking Near Sedona

How can you be near Sedona and not get outside for a hike? Andrea found five easy hikes and had me choose one. So I picked a short one, about a mile and a quarter in total, but a four hundred foot elevation gain. That means lots of switchbacks. It’s rated as easy, so why not?

Who the hell decides what’s an easy hike anyway? Easy for who? Thirty year olds or a sixty-six year old with a new hip? How about a rating for dogs with six inch legs? And who are these nasty people that design hiking trails? Pure evil running in their blood. At least, that’s what my hip is telling me two hours later sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot with little Luna with the six inch legs. She’s tired too. Where does Andrea get her amphetamines? I have a lot of questions.

The good news, it was sunny, fifties, and the hike was beautiful. It was a bit windy on top, bone chilling even in the sun, but worth it. Hell, it was 18 degrees overnight. Out of here tomorrow.

The pics:

1. The girls, waiting for me, as they would every hundred yards or so.

2. A pano from the top. Once at the top there’s a flat trail to the other side with some cool views. I just wanted a bench.

3. Every step going up I kept thinking that these kinds of hikes are always harder coming back down. When I spotted the helicopter I was hoping that Christmas had come early. Zoom in, upper left. “Over here, over here!”

4. That wasn’t to be. On the way up I didn’t want to stop to take pictures. On the way down, any excuse to stop. Views were nice on that side, too.

5. Here’s proof that somebody with my phone took a picture of the Jeep from up on the trail. Zoom in to the center of the parking lot. The blue Jeep is ours. The bikes on the rear rack might be harder to see. That’s what about 350 feet up looks like. An ‘easy’ hike.

6. No, the F16s didn’t follow us. Andrea took that at Sunflower Resort. You can tell these are F16s. The F16 has a single tail while the F35 has two, widely separated tails with a noticeable gap between the left and right horizontal stabilizers when viewing from below. Glad you asked? Google F35 to see what four hundred billion buys you. Why don’t we just buy countries instead of scaring them with loud planes? Like, wouldn’t Greece be cheap now? Italy’s about to go bankrupt. Or maybe a cool island like Barbados? Just a question.

Six hours after the hike and it feels like the day after the operation. Shit. I picked a bad year to quit booze and pain killers. Anybody got any glue?

Frigid Arizona

Welcome back to the road. It seemed too soon to go, Leo growing up before our eyes. Andrea is vowing to go back in January, to make sure he doesn’t get too old too fast. The really good news, and it’s not a secret anymore, is he’s going to have a little sister in the spring. That event will bring us back to Monument in mid April, a little early at seven thousand feet. Well, we’re getting some cold weather practice now.

After the warmest and driest November on record in Colorado Springs, we left on Dec 1st, just as winter started moving in. We picked up the RV in Apache Junction, an eastern suburb of Phoenix, and stayed there a week. The weather was as expected, low seventies and mild nights. Next stop was in Surprise. Really, it’s a northwestern suburb. The RV Park, Sunflower Resort, is one of those mega parks where a thousand snowbirds gather for the winter. Arriving on Saturday it was very quiet and peaceful.

Monday morning, surprise in Surprise! Pairs of F16’s and the new, billion dollar, F35’s came roaring overhead all day long. Luke Air Force Base is just to the southwest, about 3 miles, almost on a straight line to runway 3/21 (that’s 30 degrees oriented to north, and the other way, when the wind blows from the south or west, 210). Taking off toward us their engines were cranking – quite impressive, all day long. Luke is the largest fighter pilot training base in the US. Now we know.

Later in the week a guy and his buddy stop in front of the RV and, while commenting on what a nice rig it is, he gives us a sales pitch on washing and waxing it. I tell Bobby “no” enough times that his price is finally a bargain. Next day he comes back with his buddy who is 20 years old with 2 kids and a new Dodge Charger packed with a ladder, some hoses and a buffing machine. They’re an hour late and immediately upon unloading their equipment they have to go get buddy some aspirin for his hangover. Add a half hour. Finally, they start working.

Buddy does most of the work while Bobby mostly talks with us, at one point asking if we have any pot to smoke. Bobby gets high. An hour later he needs to go out to get something to drink. They didn’t bring anything. Andrea offers them soft drinks or water. Ok for buddy but Bobby wants his kind of drink, and could he borrow twenty bucks which he’ll take off the bill. Andrea gives him a rum and coke, later a beer – just do some work. As the sun starts going down it is clear they won’t be done that day. Bobby has another beer for the road and promises to be back in the morning. When it rains that night I have to put his equipment under the RV or his electric gear would have been ruined.

He doesn’t show up Thursday. At 5pm Andrea calls him to find out when he’s coming. Oh, his mom is in the hospital. He’s been there all day. Uh-huh. They show up on Friday, along with Bobby’s wife, who is, apparently, there to kick him in the ass to finish. By mid afternoon the ordeal is over. Bye bye Bobby.

The RV does look pretty shiny. At nightfall some more of that rare rain hits and then the wind picks up. Crazy wind for hours. When we wake up Saturday morning, we find that the wind had deposited dust over the drying rain droplets. Fuckin A! Something like that. At least it’s quiet. The flyboys don’t work on Saturdays. With that, we’re out of there.

So here we are in Verde Valley Resort, a secluded place, a few hundred isolated acres near Cottonwood, AZ, 70-80 miles north of Phoenix. It was 26 degrees last night and below 30 now, Sunday night, as Andrea speaks all the parts and sings all the songs in The Sound of Music, for the 39th time in our marriage. I’ll get even later this week when I play It’s A Wonderful Life (my 78th time). But, I digress. The 4000 foot altitude here, some 20 miles or so south of Sedona, is the temperature culprit. Climb every mountain and see.

Photos. Start with the storage facility at Apache Junction. The owner, a very nice man, just wanted a helicopter to decorate his place.

Sunsets – they look remarkably similar at these parks.

We finally got out for a hike, an easy one. The new hip is trying to make nice with the surrounding muscles. We’ll get there.

Lastly, an F35 made like a UFO above the rising moon. You need a real camera for moons and UFO’s.

What the hell are we doing here? It’s 24 friggin degrees Now at 1am. Who knew? Gotta leave a faucet dripping. And we only have 30 amps so one space heater, one gas furnace and the electric hot water heater gets you to the edge, 31. Cross your fingers. One more day, then on to Bullhead City.