Arizona – February 2024

We made a stop on route 66 to celebrate a 66th birthday…
Beautiful day to drive to Arizona
We did it for the Fries! The Zinburger in Tucson where we previously celebrated my 60th birthday.
We have Mom with us to share some of our sites, like hanging out at the Loews Ventana Canyon, very close to the condo we rented.
In Sabino Canyon, we showed her the Smokey Bear sign we renovated 6-years ago.
Mom really enjoyed her walks and the scenery here in Sabino Canyon.
The picnic area near Bear Creek on a beautiful day.
Enjoying bear creek in Sabino canyon as it spills over the road.
Seeing some of the wildlife too with this friendly roadrunner.
Sabino Canyon – we took the electric tram to the end of the road. We planted the barrel cactus here on Jan 18, 2018 from another location.
We also went to U of A campus to see some wildcats. Went to Tree Ring lab and AZ State museum.
We saw these futuristic wildcat robots delivering food.
We met up with my aunt and uncle at the Biltmore in Phoenix for a great lunch.
And a celebration! Mom will have another fun week with her brother.

Food, Fun, Friends, Family

Holiday season begins!
Thanksgiving in Michigan.
We return to the fox prints on the lake.
Scrumptious soup dinner at the cabin with a yoga demonstration…
All the better to be limber to try out those new skis.
Lots of sunshine and great views.
Finally enough snow to shoe on the lake.
Many fabulous winter sunsets to enjoy with a glass of wine.
Cabin Fever Celebration with friends…
The bonfire is lit but it is still cold out here…
Now there is a little heat!
Even better is the heat in Phoenix – combining both friends and family!
Lots of great meals: a little biking, a little walking, some tennis and some shopping might have worn off a calorie or two.
Back to the Arizona Biltmore for our third year in a row – a new brunch tradition. Delicious!
Enjoying the beautiful gardens with flowers in January.
Another wonderful evening with Thai soup and German chocolate cake. And a big bottle of wine to celebrate a big birthday!
Our little Florida cutie is also celebrating.
We had more great food and fun family time.

Phoenix Meet-Up 2019

Heading towards Phoenix on Salt River Canyon’s long and winding road.
Check out the map – we are not making up the twisties.
What a trail blazer!
It felt like we had escaped winter when we saw this palm tree.
The bridge we had just crossed at the bottom of the canyon – all carved by this Salt River!
Sunset on the Superstitious mountains in Lost Dutchman State Park.
Nice to be winter hiking with our friends again in Arizona.
We shared J & J’s campsite and took turns hosting dinners. Sunshine but temps were chilly.
We enjoyed some full moon strolls. Good to be back among the saguaros.
We day tripped to Tortilla Flats.
Fun restaurant with moola wall papered on every square inch. Also the ladies rooms was a hoot.
And got our Arizona Hunting Permit….Ha Ha Ha.
We motored across the valley to Sun City to meet up with Mom and family again.
Looking very good! We went back to Biltmore for another excellent lunch on the patio.
The family photo in the lush gardens. R & S: thanks for hosting us at your place!Link to our photos from last year.
On the road again – what an interesting view of saguaros paired with snow covered mountains.
Camped for a couple nights near Mogollon Rim.
Petrified Forest National Park!
There are also petroglyphs here
As well as petrified wood. Entire trees filled with minerals.
Very fun to see this ancient forest ruins.
El Morro National Monument was our next over night, like so many travelers before us. Can you imagine carving this beautiful signature in the rock?
We climbed to the top of the mesa for the view and to explore the ruins. Link to our photos from previous visit.
We lingered a few nights, for a few hikes at El Malpais National Monuments before heading home.

Smokey Bear Sign Restoration – Sabino Canyon, AZ

This redwood sign was near the Cactus Picnic area in Sabino Canyon in the Coronado National Forest. This area is used to host school groups. Smokey is looking like he could use a little sprucing up.
Here is a detail of the deterioration. The paint kept the carved out letters from aging so they protruded from the background.
We used Bondo on the edges to give a strong weather protection. There is also some wood filler. We had to reattach the boards with new screws.
We patched the old bolt holes to keep the water from penetrating as well as patching some of the larger deterioration spots.
In the field, we cleaned up the vegetation and repainted the sign metal supports.
We painted the entire back ground Forest Service ‘Brown’ before painting the details with ‘Adobe’.
Using a very fine brush and lots of patience!
After extra indoor drying time, Smokey is ready to return to the forest.
Well here we are flanking the restored sign!
This project maintains the legacy of those before us that carved this sign for their care and love of the forest. We are proud to give this sign many more extra years of life to reach more of the visitors to this picnic area.

Water in Sabino Creek

Morning fog in Sabino Canyon after a night of heavy rain.
This fog bank is soon to overtake us as we watched it move from the creek up the side of the canyon.
We read that Sabino Creek was dry for 154 days – very unusual for the winter months. I am very happy to see it full of water this morning. This is the only photo in this posting taken with the phone.
Eight of the Nine dam/bridges had water on them. We have spent many hours clearing these bridges of vegetation and debris.
These stonework wonders are interesting engineering as they are designed for the high waters to flow over, but to act as dams by creating recreation pools during lower water levels.
The up stream side of a bridge has a quiet reflecting pond, even while the water is pouring over on the other side of the road.
The water had bubbles and was dark with tannins like an exquisite root-beer.
We checked out Anderson Dam area for trash…we did find some floating debris but mainly just enjoyed the beauty of the waterfall.
We also pulled some of the grasses and weeds from the 3.7 island we had planted earlier in the season. So much easier to pull from wet soil!
It seemed like a good day to improve this little corner of the park. We shoveled out the base of the sign, moved some cobblestones and placed on the slope, backfilled with dirt and will wait for the rain to push the dirt between the rocks and clean things up. We will check on it next weekend…

Phoenix, AZ with Family

We drove to Phoenix to be with these wonderful people! My aunt and uncle have another seasonal rental in Sun City. We coordinated our visit to also be with Mom.
We met J & J who were camped at White Tanks for an outing.
The ladies all looking good in turquoise or is that teal sky!
And the guys in khaki…not like we coordinated our hiking outfits.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch after the walk to the waterfall. Photos from previous walk
A joint birthday celebration!
And a very nice dinner out at Firebirds. We each had something different!
We ended our time together with lunch at the Arizona Biltmore, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The red flowers enhance the composition.
As does the palm tree with the roof line.
An entry canopy.
We did not swim in this lovely pool but we did enjoy the rec centers in Sun City – the tennis, pool and hot tub.
The Sprites….there are some of these in Dow Gardens in Midland. There were 6 here guarding the grounds.
Stained glass window in lobby is classic FLW.
We had lunch on the outdoor patio next to the waterfall, not this private room.
The indoor portion of the restaurant.
Until we meet up again, we will have the memories of this time together in Arizona.

Working days on Mt Lemmon

We are doing maintenance in the parking areas and pullouts on the Catalina Highway. With all the cigarette butts, we are amazed there is not a fire every day. Smokey Bear must be watching over us.
Lots of cyclists working hard for 23 mile climb to enjoy the tuck back down to Tucson. A Sky Island is an isolated Eco system: this is the equivalent of going from Mexico to Canada with the change in plants as the elevation increases.
Gorgeous scenery along the way. Photos from a non-working day
Picnic lunch at Rose Canyon Reservoir to appreciate the scenery.
Complete with ducks begging for scraps.
Taking in the view south from Windy Vista with the road winding its way back to the valley.
Sabino Creek starts on Mt Lemmon. Sabino Canyon National Rec Area is at the base of the mountain – contiguous with the Santa Catalina National Forest for hiking but you have to drive through part of Tucson to get to it by car.
It is great to see other people out enjoying this beautiful day!

We deserve a bit of a break after raking the picnic areas and cleaning out the grilles. Great placement of this table!

January 2018 at Sabino Canyon, AZ

Ready to Celebrate Happy New Year 2018!
What a beautiful New Year Eve Sunset
A view of our picnic area. Ready for some errands in Tucson.
Along East Bear Creek Trail – an easy 3 mile loop we walk from our camp.
Looking down on the island at 3.7 miles on the road from Phoneline Trail.
This is 3.7 island and the end of the road for the trams. This a little garden area we have adopted by adding an occatillo last year, and this year a staghorn cholla, a barrel cactus, as well as an agave (at my feet). We pruned the beautiful hop bush and left a few other interesting plants. Many people touch the rock as an achievement for running or walking to this point so we made it a bit more accessible. We make weekly trips to water and keep the weedy grass from regrowing.
Another beautiful sunset in the canyon from our camp!
A hike to 7 Falls — no water at all in any of the stream crossing. And no water falls but a beautiful reflection pond is still retaining some water.
One of the many art shots we took while appreciating how the reflection was more scenic because of heightened contrast.
A really nice spot to hang out and contemplate before our 4-mile walk back to camp.
The Canyon during the three day government shutdown: the parking lots and visitor center were closed, creating work for law enforcement.
We spent a day at Catalina State Park with Joan and Jim – we hiked some of the trail to Romero Pools, enjoyed a picnic lunch together, wine o’clock at their camp followed by Joan’s delicious beef stew. Nice day.
Back on the job, we refinished 4 teak benches at the visitor center. Lots of sanding, bending over, and 2 coats of linseed oil.
Two of the larger benches that get more sun damage.
Oh but they feel sooooo nice. Such a good job~!
Couldn’t resist a detail shot!
Storm clouds but still no rain. It is extremely dry — very different from last January!  But enjoying another beautiful sunset.
And the full super blue blood moon rise.
We enjoyed one night from our camp site and the other at Saguaro National Park West with the native flute music.
A wonderful way to end this January 2018.