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,

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Flagstaff Fotos

Catching up to our current location (even if not our current time)... we're in Flagstaff for the winter!  We've always enjoyed our shorter stays here, although they've always been in warmer weather.  Now we're talking colder temperatures and so far there has been one big snowfall.  On the bright side - literally - there is plenty of beautiful sunshine, the snow has mostly melted, and (so far) it has been on the milder side of winter.  And John gets to climb on roofs again.  We're adapting to life in the travel trailer with freezing overnights and 40's-50's during the day.

One of our first forays into the plethora of sightseeing opportunities here was at Walnut Canyon National Monument.  We'd been here over 11 years ago, but it's always great to explore cliff dwelling sites again.

It's a fun little walk down the stairs and around the circular path:

Using the natural landscape for your home - seems like a great location to work with:

One of many rooms along the cliffs:

Places to live - old (lower down) and new (on top):

As a long-time Austinite, I can usually spot limestone (the Kaibab version in this case, I think):

Imagine the cross-canyon communications between dwellings - "what time is the party on Saturday?" "At sunset, and ask your mother to make her famous cornbread"

It's the CCC again!  Must have been such a different kind of experiment, with long-lasting positive effects.  Although one guy in this picture doesn't look quite as thrilled.

Our boondock spot when we first arrived in Flagstaff a couple months ago, not far from Walnut Canyon:

Now we're hooked up at an RV park near town, back on the grid for a few months.  I'm really enjoying living under the Ponderosa pine trees, with wildlife wandering through every day.  I don't know what all of them are, but I'm pretty sure this is a Steller's Jay (and I always want to call it "stellar!"):

Good morning, Bert!  Or maybe this is Arnie.  There are several resident Abert's squirrels, so fun to watch them run around the park.  Maybe eventually I'll have names for all of them, if they ever hold still long enough to get a decent picture:

Back when there was snow on the ground, I went out the back door and hiked up to Elden:

View from Elden of the San Francisco Peaks:

There was quite a snow drift at the top of the Heart trail!  This snow is long gone, but at the time I was wondering if I had missed the window to run the Flagstaff Fearsome Four FKT (no, the snow melted out in a lot of places, just not on Weatherford):

Fun rock formation near the top of Heart trail:

Enjoying the run back and forth and back and forth down Heart, because I wasn't in a hurry that day:

Another day of scouting for the FKT, more snow to play with, again thinking I was just collecting beta for another time.

Aspens in the snow:

Hello, Humphrey's:

John and I did a hike up Kendrick Peak, and by this time most of the white stuff had melted:

Way, way in the distance there's a Grand Canyon to the north:

Closer in, lots of neat little cones and volcanic topography (one reason we enjoy this area so much):

John in his happy place - doing trail work.  Thank you, John!

Back at the "ranch", one of several types of woodpeckers I've seen and heard:

I'd be interested to know what type of bird this is - any thoughts?  Not the best photo, I know.  It has a gray head with a red cheek and tapered beak.  Also a bit of orange-ish color on the bottom side of the dark, double-pointed tail feathers.
Update: Mom has ID'd this as a Northern Flicker, which might account for some of the more interesting bird calls around here recently too.  Thank you Mom!

John got us started on the EV trend with a used Leaf while we were staying in the Bay Area a couple years ago.  Since we're in one place for a while, he brought up the idea again.  While I loved driving the Leaf around, I was interested in having a more-useable range this time.  Hey, the Chevy Bolt can go over 200 miles on one charge.  And the 2017's are reasonably affordable.  We found one in Phoenix and brought it home - welcome Bev!

We were in Phoenix for a monthly orienteering meet put on by the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club.  I've been saying for a while that orienteering meets (at least the smaller ones) should be doable.  The club takes great care to require masks at the start/finish, move people onto the course one group at a time, and then not gather after the finish.  And we get to run around the hills and amid the saguaros to find checkpoints, yay!  We really appreciate a tiny bit of normalcy and the chance to do an activity that we love.  Worth the drive down the hill and back.

Eating outside at a cafe while we were there last month - John doesn't think this is saying much, but I love him more than a lot of other things too  :)

So far Arizona has been a nice stopping place and we're looking forward to more outdoor activities around here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Lee's Ferry (from October)

Jumping around... in October we drove from southwest Utah to Flagstaff, and along the way I spotted a location that might be interesting to check out.  Lee's Ferry, the launch site for Grand Canyon river rafting trips.  Since we'll be here in a year, it seemed appropriate to do a little scouting.  Unsurprisingly, John agreed  :)

Happily, we snagged a spot in the campground - it's popular and it's first come, first served, so we tried to time it early in the day and felt lucky to end up in a nice pull-through.  With background scenery that made us smile.  A lot:

Plenty of time remaining in the day for a little bike/hike adventure:

We rode over to the boat launch site - yes, this appears to be the right place:

A rafting group preparing for the next day - have fun, y'all!

Next September we should be setting off down this lovely stretch of river:

Anything with a solar panel will pique John's interest:

The PRO van, the outfitter we'll be using:

One last look at the launch area - see you again in a few months!

Until proven otherwise, I declare this "the most scenic dump station in the world":

I mean, come on:

We rode up the road in the other direction, pausing to admire the balanced rock along the way:

Mmmm, cake... although I'm not a fan of red velvet (I still have flashbacks to a particular race in Las Vegas), I do like the Vermillion Cliffs that they represent:

We locked up the bikes to do a little hike down a canyon - I'd heard good things about Cathedral Wash, and it did not disappoint.  In fact, it was a tad more adventurous than I had expected.  We did some scrambling in the middle section that was more than a "tourist" hike normally requires.  John, of course, loved it.  I was too busy focusing on my hands and feet there to get a photo, but here's a smiling John:

I loved all the rest of it, the curvy shapes and interesting layers and challenge of figuring out what level to trek along so you don't have to backtrack:

We need to put more canyoneering quests in our future plans.  Let me know if you want to join us.

The walls getting higher as we get closer to the river:

And there it is again, the Colorado River, just a little bit closer to the Grand Canyon:

Another spot we're looking forward to seeing (from a raft) next year:

And that's it for Lee's Ferry - just a short little post for today, as I work my way virtually closer to our present time and location.