Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sedona-Jerome-Prescott loop

While we're in northern Arizona, we're doing a bit of exploring, nothing too crazy, just a check of the scenery every 2-3 weeks.  I've had my eye on a little driving loop and we finally found the right weekend to have a go.  As a bonus, there are EV chargers along the way so we are still doing 100% electric driving.  No gas purchases since November, we're really enjoying that!

Plus I love driving Bev, and John doesn't seem to mind watching out the window instead.

And what a lot of stuff to see!  Starting with the road down to Sedona; we've been on it before but finally stopped at the overlook on top for a look around.

We've also been in Sedona before, but never done a trail run (and only one bike ride).  Why have we waited so long?  It's quite spectacular.

Fun trail up to Brins Mesa:

It's easy to lose a bunch of time gawking at and taking pictures of the colors and shapes in all directions:

A century plant standing guard at the top of the mesa:

One of John's photos, I think from Soldier Pass looking south:

Thank you, Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness!

So much to see, and our trail map has so many more suggestions.  Even the features without names (at least on this map) are awesome:

As I've stated before, anything with the word "devil" in the name is surely something we should see.  This, however, is the one with the best name - Devil's Kitchen sinkhole.  Someone had fun with that one.

Not only is it a GIANT sinkhole (the top of the rubble is 40-60 feet below where we were standing), an additional large chunk fell from the north end and created this sight:

People on the other side of the sinkhole, for scale (thank you, people!):

Yep, we should see Sedona more often.

We stopped at Cottonwood for free EV charging and a nice lunch along the cute little downtown block.  Then paid a visit to Tuzigoot National Monument - pueblo ruins (partly recreated) are always interesting:

With a view toward the area where we did an orienteering meet last fall (we could see Tuzigoot while we were running there, that was quite neat):

Next, up the hill to Jerome, the town on the side of the hill, built with money from the local copper mine.  It is a rather quirky place, with the narrow twisty streets and a bunch of tourist-type shops.  Entertaining for a short visit.

Apparently it has a "famous" jail that is (was?) slowly sliding down the mountain:

It's not much in use these days:

Great view from the cell, at least!

We adore the work by a local artist - she is super talented and creates animals with personality:

Less enchanted by this... well, I'm not sure what it is exactly, except hopefully the coins are collected for charitable purposes?

John's coworkers told him about the kaleidoscope store, so we waited in line to go in and browse.  Worth the wait, highly recommend!  They encourage everyone to pick up the cylinders, take a peek, rotate them and see what happens.  Very cool, impressive, and creative.

Ahoy, Johnnie!

We finished the day by driving over the pass to Prescott, finding an excellent restaurant with an outdoor upper deck (thank you, Raven Cafe!), and walking around to check out the lights around Courthouse Plaza.  I'm sure there's more to see in Prescott - next time!

Sunday morning we took an orienteering map over to an area near town and found a few "virtual checkpoints" (i.e. places where checkpoints existed for a previous O-meet).  We've been enjoying playing around with these maps, getting in some practice, and seeing new areas.  Thank you to Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club!

This is a popular place for mountain biking, although I'm not sure I'm ready (or will ever be ready) to ride over the top of this rock - the drop on the other side is quite something:

Fish rock, which we believe was a checkpoint - if it wasn't, it should have been:

Always enjoy running around on an interesting trail system.  Especially the ones with little maps at main intersections - flashbacks to adventure racing in the northeast:

That was fun!  We should do that again sometime.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Grand Canyon weekend

John had some time off during the holidays, so we took a little drive up to the big canyon.  Our Bolt EV made it there easily, and there are several free charging stations in the park.  Oddly, it was our first time staying in Tusayan - usually we take Howie to Mather campground.

Something else new, we went further east to get a taste of the Hance Trail and another overlook close by.

Here's a peek:

And there it is, another awesome vista:

A glimpse of the river way down below:

John gearing up for a trek down Hance:

I've been dealing with a tenacious pinched nerve lately, and it makes uphill trekking especially difficult.  So I wasn't about to drop down too far at a time.  A little way was OK though:

Pictures from John's trek - thank you John!

He reported that the snow lasted a little way down and then was gone:

Aw, a heart in the rocks:

Driving west in the late afternoon, John spotted a snowman on the rim:

So cute!

The next morning we discovered that El Tovar has the best breakfast, and it's not too expensive.  We reveled in the view of sunrise out the windows.  Then John headed out down the Bright Angel trail for another adventure:

Have fun, John!

I stayed along the rim for my exploration, enjoying the views from up high.  There are plenty of trails to wander around on and things to see.  And always, the amazing canyon:

Another picture from John, as he took the Tonto trail to the left toward Horn Creek.  Always great seeing things from a new vantage point:

It's great living within driving distance of this beautiful place!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Kip and Jane got married!

Guess what?!  My brother done got married!  He met a wonderful, incredible, sweet woman named Jane.  We got to spend some time with them this past summer and it's obvious they are so happy together.  They are sharing a covid-working space, and if you can thrive in that, you can handle most anything.

They are planning an eventual more normal wedding (if anything this family does can be considered "normal").  But they could not pass up the opportunity to get married on a Saturday Halloween under a full moon.  Who could?  Especially when Dracula will officiate the ceremony in a Las Vegas chapel.

Yay for a fun and entertaining weekend!

[Photo credits to Jane Leiby Fiebig, David Bogle, and John Beard]

But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself with that photo.  In the first portion of this post, they aren't quite married YET.

John and I drove to Las Vegas, while Dave and Michelle also decided to brave the crowds and fly in.  Walking along the Strip, wow what a lot of people.  Most had masks on, a good sign that at least people were being half sane.  We bunked off-Strip and minimized our time in the crowds as much as we could.

Hanging out in Kip and Jane's suite the night before the Big Day - Dave set up this most-excellent photo that got a bunch of "I knew it!" posts on Facebook...

Saturday morning we went for a Team Vignette run around UNLV for old time's sake.  Goofing around as always, while Dave hasn't lost a step in his selfies-on-the-run ability:


We met back up later after showers and costume-donning.  Oh yes, there would be costumes!  It was Halloween, after all.  LOVE what Michelle and Dave came up with.  Formal ostrich riders, perfectly perfect:

John and I had shopped thrift stores to find various items along the vampire theme, and I grew and dyed my hair right quick... and sprouted feathers  :)

An invisible treat for the masked creatures:

The wedding chapel had plenty Halloween theme going on:

Gathering the masked masses (I'm not sure how many people qualify as a "mass", come to think of it):

He's really doing it!

Your first glimpse at Jane's amazing angel bride costume, as we sign and witness paperwork for the nun:

Getting set up at the altar, and much love and thanks to Kip for asking us to stand with him:

The ostrich riders figure out how to sit down, while Kip walks in to begin the proceedings:

The beautiful bride arrives with her maid of honor - Jane is so ethereal I can barely get a photo of her:

Spooky mist signaling the arrival of the minister (I think there was a coffin involved):

"Velcome - I am Dracula."  And he was great!  Hilarious, serious, quick-witted, and completely into the mood.  We were impressed.

It was a lovely ceremony, and Jane had even taught Kip how to dance!  No video of that from me though, sorry :)

Finishing the paperwork with Dracula afterward:

Presenting the married couple, congratulations!!

Names in lights for all the passersby to see:

I believe a garter and a corsage were tossed to the adoring crowd:

Celebratory supper, yay for one small gathering and a happy occasion in 2020!!

Congratulations you two, wishing you much love and happiness,