Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sabino Canyon

Yesterday we spent the day at Sabino Canyon. It is located in the Coronado National Forest. There is a nice visitor center and a tram that takes you the 3.7 miles to the end of the road into the canyon. Private vehicles are not allowed on the road.

The cost of the tram is $8 per person. The driver does some narration along the way, but nothing special. We thought the price was a bit high for the short ride. We could have taken the tram back to the visitor center, but instead we chose to hike back.

I’m so glad we did, because this canyon has breathtaking scenery and views. On the way into the canyon we saw this Cardinal.


We chose to hike a trail that goes along the edge of the canyon about half way between the road and the top of the canyon walls. Our total hike was about 5.5 miles. The trail was quite close to the edge, so we had to be very careful where we were walking. Every so often, we made a point of stopping and just enjoying the scenery. Here’s a view from the trail looking down at the road. If you look closely, you can see a tram on the road. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)


There were saguaro cactus and lots of flowers growing all along the canyon. The pictures don’t do it justice.


There is a river that flows through the canyon. As we finally got back to the bottom of the trail, there was another fantastic view. Near the water are a number of cottonwood trees with bright green leaves. A nice contrast to the desert-like slopes of the canyon.



P1120683The moon was out above the canyon wall. Another beautiful site. We really enjoyed our day at Sabino Canyon and would recommend it as one of the must-see sites in Tucson. If you have the stamina to hike the eight plus miles round trip into the canyon, I’d recommend skipping the tram especially if you’ve visited some of the other area sites. Most of the narration was about the plant life along the canyon.



Some sad news today. Davey Jones of The Monkees has died at the age of 66. I had a crush on him and David Cassidy in my teen years. His death makes me feel old.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Senses Are Confused

Yesterday we went for a 2 hour, 14 mile bike ride. Tucson has some really nice bike paths that run along the Santa Cruz River. There is no water in it, but it’s still called a river. I was talking to a local person, and she told me that there hasn’t been water in it for a long time.

The sun was out and the temperature was in the high 70s. As we rode along, the warm breeze felt so good. We passed a park where I heard the sounds of a softball game and kids playing on the playground. The smell of a charcoal grill was in the air. These beautiful flowers were growing wild along the path.


As we were almost back at the truck, I spotted a Carls Jr along the side of the path. This beautiful day had me in the mood for some ice cream. They had an Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich that tasted so good. So, I know the calendar is telling me it is February, but all of my senses were telling me it was summer!

Some of you that are in colder climates may not appreciate this post. Go ahead and send me your hate mail. I deserve it :)  But, I just have to say, we’re loving our life!!


P1120670After the bike ride, we took a drive up to the top of Sentinel Peak, or the A Mountain as it is more commonly referred to. The paved bike path is right along the other side of the orange fence at the bottom of the picture. There are miles and miles of paved paths along both sides of the river.




When we got to the top of the peak, this is what the A looks like. The peak is 2900 feet high. The large stone A was constructed by University of Arizona students in 1915 as an engineering class assignment. It measures 70 feet wide and 160 feet tall. It was originally painted white, but after September 11 the colors were changed to the school colors of red, white and blue as a sign of patriotism.


There are some very nice views of the Santa Cruz Valley from up there. The Hohokam and Pima Indians were the first settlers of this area. The Indian name for the valley was Schuk-Shon which means at the foot of the black mountain. The Spaniards pronounced it Tucson and that’s how the city got it’s name. The tall buildings on the right are the downtown area.


We saw more quail on our hikes in the desert last week. I’m thinking the warmer temperatures has caused them to be more active. Most of the time they are running along the ground. But, we happened to catch this guy sitting up in a tree.


More and more little flowers are popping up in the desert. It amazes me that these flowers grow out of the sand and rock.


Last week we had an absolutely gorgeous week. Today a front came through and winds were gusting up to 50 mph. No walk today. I spent the day working on a new sewing project. The rest of the week is supposed to be less windy with temps in the high 60s to low 70s. I think we can handle that.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Goodyear Finally Responds

It took two months, but I finally got a response from Goodyear regarding our tire problem on January 1st. We had purchased the replacement tire in Midland, Texas on our way to Tucson. I took pictures of the defective tire, and planned to deal with Goodyear once we arrived here.

I called Goodyear on January 6th and was told they would not consider reimbursement for the tire if we did not have the defective tire to send to them. I explained the situation and told them I had taken several pictures, but the guy blew me off and said I was out of luck. They would not do anything based on pictures. I thought pictures would be sufficient since it was the same problem as we had last year.

I went to Goodyear’s website to see if I could find contact information for the corporate offices. They had an area on their site where you could send them an email, so I sent off an email. I never heard from them. It really irks me when companies have a spot of their website to email them and they don’t respond!

I remembered hearing Clark Howard on the radio say that if you don’t get satisfaction from the customer service of a company, you should find the names of the President or other top officials and send them a letter. I got the name of the President and VP of Marketing from a news release on Goodyear’s site, and I sent them each a letter with a picture explaining the issue.

Yesterday I finally received a phone call from Kathy at corporate headquarters. It took almost two months to get to this point. She said that after reviewing the picture, they determined that they would reimburse us, but since there was some tread wear on the tire they offered us 50 percent of what we paid for the new tire.

Since we made the mistake of not keeping the defective tire and the tires are four years old, we took the 50 percent. Kevin will continue to keep an eagle’s eye on the remaining tires.

Today there was a craft fair in the park. I had some leftover quilted sunglass cases I made last year, so I signed up for a table. There was no fee, so what the heck. It was just an in-park event, so there wasn’t much activity, but I did sell three of them.

Tucson has been a very busy place this week. There is a world golf championship going on with Tiger Woods in attendance. Major League Soccer has had some games with David Beckham playing. The Tucson Rodeo has been taking place all week. The rodeo is such a big deal that the kids get two days off school each year and there is a Rodeo Parade. It’s the largest non-motorized parade in the country. I watched it on TV, lots of horses and carriages.

The weather this week has been perfect. It’s been in the mid 70s, sunny and low humidity. An absolutely perfect week for hiking. Tomorrow is supposed to hit 80.

Next week is our last week in Tucson. We have planned a couple of excursions, so I’ll have more interesting posts next week.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are We Crazy?

Today we had a phone interview with the recruiter from It’s possible we are a little crazy, but we have agreed to work for them again this fall.

We did make it very clear that we will not accept the same job we had last year. We stressed that we want the picker job where we will be walking instead of standing. We also said that we would prefer the day shift, but would consider nights again if that’s all that was available.

The recruiter assured us that he would do everything he could to get us the picker job, but it might require adjusting our start date a little. We’re willing to do that as much as we can based on our commitment in Wisconsin. I made it clear that if they give us the same job as last year, we would decline. So, we’re hired, and we’ll have to see how it works out as the start time gets closer.

Between the two of us, our take home pay last year was $10,000 for 10 weeks of work. Since we plan on buying a new truck this summer, we want to earn back some of what we will be spending. There just aren’t many opportunities for seasonal, temporary work where we can earn that much. So, we’re willing to give it another go. If anyone out there is interested in more information, send me a message. Amazon offers a referral bonus, so keep us in mind if you might be considering working at Amazon this fall.

We had a very nice visit the last two days with a Canadian couple we met almost five years ago on a European bus tour. They are just a little younger than us, and have recently sold their business and retired. They bought a travel trailer and are touring the United States.

We’ve been friends on Facebook and have stayed in touch. In the last month they’ve traveled from Nova Scotia to Miami and then across to Arizona. Kevin tried to convince them that slowing down is a good thing :)

We took them on a walk through the desert behind the RV park. Then we told them about some of our favorite places they might want to visit as they continue their travels. They are headed to Yuma today, and then plan to continue on to sites in Arizona, California, and South Dakota as they make their way back to Nova Scotia. They’re basically making a giant loop around the entire United States. Wow! I forgot to take a picture, but we sure had a great time reconnecting.

I love this lifestyle. We have met such nice people. It’s great to reconnect with people we’ve met in the past, and meet new people as we move on.

The people parked behind us have several birdfeeders set up on their site. Everyday I see lots of birds outside our window. There’s one bird that is so cute. It looks like a little sparrow, but it has red on it’s head and breast. I don’t know what kind of bird it is, but I love watching them.


I have my hummingbird feeder on the window. The other day a beautiful hummingbird was at it. It had a totally red/scarlet head and green body. I’ve never seen one like it. Of course, by the time I grabbed my camera, it was gone. But, oh my, it was just gorgeous!

While we were working at Amazon last fall, I saw a product for saving in progress puzzles. I bought one, and we’ve been working on this puzzle this winter. We finally finished it. It was so hard to do with all those white golf ball pieces.

You build the puzzle on the yellow mat, and just roll it up on the inflatable tube, put some Velcro straps around it, and put it away. It works great. The RV park here has tons of puzzles to trade. So, we’ll be checking it out and finding a new one to work on.


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Enjoyable Hike

We’ve been hiking in the desert behind our RV park for about an hour almost every day. Tucson Mountain Park begins about a mile outside of the park.

Today we decided to do a longer hike. We followed a wash that took us to a small mountain which we climbed. Our total time was two hours, and we estimate we hiked between 4 and 5 miles.

The views from the top were great. Here’s a look back at the trail we were on to the right of the picture. The white spots in the distance on the left are the RVs in our park.


The desert is starting to show signs of blooming. There were a couple of bushes with these pink, fuzzy blooms.


The creosote bushes have had little yellow flowers on them for the last couple of weeks.



P1120651Some of the Ocotillo are starting to sprout their red tips. They are so pretty when they are in full bloom.








P1120649I also saw these pretty yellow flowering bushes. I don’t know what they are called, but up until today I’ve only seen them in people’s yards. It was nice to see them out in the desert.




We were pretty tired by the time we got home. All of our hiking while we’ve been in Tucson has been on pretty flat ground. So, today’s incline was a little more strenuous than what we’ve been doing. But, it felt good.

The last few days have been a bit cooler and overcast. I’ve been doing some sewing, and we’ve been working on a puzzle. I bought a new presser foot for my sewing machine which has a 1/4” guide for quilting. I should have gotten this foot a long time ago. It makes sewing the quilt tops so much easier.


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Yesterday we visited this museum. It was in the Tucson coupon book we bought, so the cost was $14.50 for both of us. I loved this museum!

It’s actually a combination zoo, museum and botanical garden. Most of the exhibits are outside. Some have outside and inside viewing areas.

They have a raptor show twice a day. Our friends Janie and John visited last year and told us to go to both shows. Thanks to their great advice, we saw two awesome raptor shows.

The morning show featured five different raptors. The trainers come out and the birds are released. They soar over the crowd and then land on perches throughout the viewing area so everyone can see them up close. The first bird was a Chihuahuan Raven.


Next up was a Gray Hawk.



P1120582After that a Great Horned Owl came soaring towards us. What an awesome site!










P1120586Next up was a Prairie Falcon.











The final bird was a Red Tail Hawk. It was absolutely amazing to see these birds fly overhead and then get to see them up close!


In between the raptor shows we also went to a presentation about venomous creatures in the desert. The first one was a Gila Monster. I didn’t realize they are venomous. The lady said odds are slim to actually see one in the wild.


The second one was a rattlesnake. The guy gave us lots of information about them. I always thought that rattlesnake bites weren’t that big of a deal. We learned that although most bites aren’t deadly, the venom eats away the tissue from the inside out. If left untreated, a person can lose their fingers, toes, arm or leg. The anti-venom medicine costs $5,000 per vial, and up to 20 vials are needed to treat a bite. It’s very costly and painful. I’ll be extra careful to keep my eyes open for any rattlesnakes.

We saw a number of animals that can be found in the desert, including a Javelina




Mountain Lion



P1120640Prairie Dogs











P1120615And, drumroll please, the ever allusive Big Horn Sheep. You may recall Kevin and I hiked a number of trails last year in California looking for them. We never saw any. At least I’ve now seen them in captivity. What amazing creatures. They ran up and down those rocks as if they were flat ground.





The afternoon raptor show featured four Harris Hawks. They soared over us for about 10 minutes and then landed on the perches. Another fantastic spectacle.


There was a hummingbird enclosure. This little mama was sitting on her nest. How cool is that!


There was much more to see, but I think that’s enough pictures. I would highly recommend this museum. In fact, I think it would be worth a trip to Tucson to see it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, and Happy 100th Birthday to Arizona today. As a birthday treat, Tucson had a little snow today. We just had rain where we are, but the northern areas of Tucson had a little snow. Highs today were only in the 50s. Tomorrow is expected to be in the 60s and back to the 70s for the weekend. I’m hoping the rain will help along the desert blooms.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Bike Ride & Valentine’s Dinner

A couple of weeks ago we picked up a Tucson bike route map at one of the Visitor Centers. There are several paved bike trails throughout the city. Yesterday Kevin loaded the bikes on the truck and off we went to ride one on of the trails.


The trail we rode on runs along both sides of the Santa Cruz River as you can see from the above sign. I took a picture of the sign so that you would believe me when I tell you the trail runs along a river. See if you can find the river. Also notice the graffiti in the top left corner. There was graffiti all along the trail. Such a shame. I saw on the news that Tucson has a real problem with graffiti and they’re trying to crack down on it. What’s wrong with people.


As you can see, the trail is paved and very nice. The mountains in the distance were a pretty site as we rode along. But, the river is dry as bone. I can’t imagine this ever actually having running water in it. In fact, we saw a cowboy riding along the river bed. That’s definitely something you don’t see every day.


We also saw a couple of roadrunners. This guy ran right in front of Kevin’s bike on the path. I guess he only wanted to show me his back side.


The section of the path we were on is not very long. We rode up and down both sides in a little over an hour. Next week we plan on going to another section of the trail that goes from the city center to the very north end of town. My odometer on my bike is broken so I don’t know how many miles we actually covered.

Yesterday and today were gorgeous days with sunny skies and highs around 80. The weathermen have been going on and on about polar air that is coming in this week. Highs on Tuesday are only supposed to be around 59. Brrr!  :)

Tonight we went to Kevin’s favorite eatery, Texas Roadhouse, for an early Valentine’s dinner. We went early at 4:45 and the place was packed. I guess everyone else had the same idea. We waited about 30 minutes and had a nice dinner with enough leftovers for another meal for both of us.

Both of us cut way down on our eating this week after all that cruise eating. We also tried to eat healthy foods and walked an hour each day. This morning was the weigh-in. Both of us stayed exactly the same. What’s up with that! Why is it so easy to pack on the pounds and so hard to lose even an ounce? One of life’s little inequities. Of well, we’re not giving up.

Remember, when the title of one of my posts has *s around it, it’s a ad. Yesterdays post took me about one minute to post, and pays $10. If you see the *s, it’s up to you if you want to read it or not. I’ve been posting ads for them for about a year and earned $200 in that time. I’m not getting rich, but I like it better than the Google ads.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hawaii Cruise–Part 3

Our third island stop was Oahu. We arrived on Friday, Jan. 27th, just two days before the Pro Bowl. There were tons of people everywhere, and the traffic was terrible.

P1120416We rented a car with pick-up at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. The hotel was hosting some Pro Bowl events. We stood in line for 1/2 hour at the Hertz kiosk to get our car. For a number of reasons, this was not a good experience with Hertz.


When we were here in 1987, the Hilton was one tower. It has grown into a huge complex with five towers and more being built. Waikiki was a tourist trap back then, but it’s much worse now. You can’t even see the ocean anymore unless you’re staying at one of the hotels. This area was by far my least favorite stop on the trip.

We finally were able to get out of the traffic jams and headed to Pearl Harbor. We had all been there before, but wanted to get our National Park Passports stamped. This is another area that has grown tremendously. There are now several ships you can tour. In order to get out to the USS Arizona Memorial, you better be there when the ticket windows open or forget it. We couldn’t even see the movie because you needed tickets which were already given out until late in the afternoon. We looked around a little, got our books stamped and moved on.


Our plan was to stay away from the touristy area and drive around the north side of the island. We had heard this was the time of the year the surf competitions were going on, and that the surf on that side of the island was amazing. So, we spent most of the day in the car driving around the entire island. We found the beach known as the Bonzai Pipeline. There was a surf competition beginning within the next few days.


There were quite a few surfers in the water. We were told the surf was actually not big enough and that’s why they weren’t competing yet. It looked pretty big to me. I wouldn’t want to be out there.


As we continued around the island, we saw some amazing scenery. There have been quite a few movies and TV shows filmed among the mountains here. One of the most memorable is Jurassic Park. We saw some breathtaking scenery that looked just like the movie. It was difficult to get good pictures because the sun was right over the mountains, but trust me when I tell you it was amazing.


We also stopped at the Dole Plantation.


There was a little train ride you could go on that took you around the plantation. We saw lots of different types of plants including pineapple fields. It takes around 15 months for a pineapple to grow. All of the planting and harvesting is done by hand. As labor intensive as it is to grow them, I’m surprised they’re not more expensive.


Here’s a banana tree.


Sugar cane


and breadfruit


The next day our stop was Kona, on the opposite side from Hilo on the Big Island. Once again I was up on deck to look for whales. This time there were several humpback whales off the coast. We actually saw them breach out of the water three times, but I didn’t get any pictures of that. Here’s one of them waving his flipper at us. It was an amazing site.


We had purchased an excursion through the ship for Kona. Kevin and I and Joan and Al went on the Zodiac snorkeling trip. I think it was one of the most fun things we did. I don’t have any pictures because I didn’t want to risk getting my camera wet. The Zodiac boats are the same types of rubber rafts you see the Navy Seal teams use in the movies. There were 16 of us on the boat. Our captain took us out into the ocean and we saw a huge Manta Ray, a school of Spinner Dolphins and some Bottlenose Dolphins. One of them jumped out of the water just like Flipper. We were very close to all of them.

Then we headed to a Marine Preserve area for snorkeling. This was only my second time snorkeling, and I enjoyed it much more than the first time. I saw all kinds of beautiful colorful fish and incredible coral.

On the way back, the captain showed us some sea caves and lava tubes. It was about a 3-1/2 hour trip, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

After the trip, we stopped at the Kona Brewery and sampled some of their beers. We walked around and did a little shopping. Kona was the only port where the city was within walking distance of the pier. Most of the ports were in industrial areas and there wasn’t anywhere you could walk to from the ship. I think Kona was my favorite stop.

Back on the ship, we were treated to a breathtaking sunset.


Our last island stop was Kauai. We had again rented a mini-van through Hertz. The rental process on this island was very smooth.

We drove about an hour to the Kalalau Lookout where we were actually above the clouds.


Then we headed to Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. More breathtaking views.


There were some goats up there, too cute!


We stopped at the Kauai Coffee Plantation. I didn’t really know how coffee is grown. They grow it on these trellises and have a huge machine that fits over the tops of the plants and “tickles” the ripe coffee beans off the plants with fiberglass fingers. Very interesting.


Here are the beans.


Our last stop was Wailua Falls which were seen on the old TV show, Fantasy Island. We were lucky enough to see a double rainbow created by the falls. This may be the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen.


Kauai was the shortest stop on the trip, so we weren’t able to see more of the island. I had read that it is called The Garden Island because of all the lush vegetation. We didn’t get to see that part of the island. One of the peaks of this island has the greatest annual rainfall amount in the world with over 460 inches per year.

There were so many beautiful flowers on all of the islands. I put together a collage of a few of them.

Hawaii Flowers Collage

So, we left the Hawaiian Islands and spent five days at sea. On the fifth day, we stopped in Ensenada, Mexico for the evening. There is a law that requires the ship to stop in a foreign port before returning to the US, so that’s why we stopped in Mexico for five hours.

We got off the ship and took a shuttle the two miles to Ensenada. We were in search of a good margarita. There were tour guides at the bus stop to help tourists navigate their way through the town safely. Tony, one of the guides, showed us a bar where he said they had the best margaritas. It was owned by a friend of his. I had a mango margarita for $3. It was huge, but I don’t think there was much tequila in it as I barely felt a thing.

We walked along the main street for a few blocks and saw all the typical tourist stuff. I did buy some vanilla for my mom. We talked to Tony, the tour guide, for a while. He was raised in the US by Mexican immigrant parents, but returned to Mexico with his family several years ago.

He claims the biggest problem in Mexico is not drugs, but illegal smuggling of people. He claims they get between $10,000 and $20,000 per person. He liked the idea of the border wall. He also told us that the children selling gum are rented out by their parents to a boss. The boss brings them to town and has them pester tourists selling gum. What a shame.

Well, that’s the end of my Hawaii posts. We’ve spent the last few days catching up on things here at home. We’ve been hiking in the desert for an hour each day, and we did play Bean Bag Baseball today at the park. We’ll probably join in on some of the other activities they have here before we leave.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!