Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
January 17, 2017 - Florida Keys

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Heading Out Tomorrow

Temperatures in Phoenix have been above average for the month of March. On Sunday the high was 97 degrees which beat the record of 95. Today is supposed to be 95 degrees, another record beater. We have thoroughly enjoyed Arizona and its beautiful weather this winter, but it is time to head north for some cooler temperatures.

The good thing about the weather this month has been that as it is a “dry” heat, so as long as you stay in the shade you are fine outside. Also, it cools off enough at night so we can sleep with the windows open.

Last week the two baby hummingbirds in the nest were very active. I didn’t see the mother very much, but the babies were often sitting on the edge of the nest. Sometimes they fluttered their wings as if they were practicing. They were getting pretty big, and I’m sure the nest was quite cramped. On Monday they were gone, and I haven’t seen them since. It sure has been fun watching the nesting process.

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On Sunday we went to our last Milwaukee Brewers spring training game for the season with Janie and John. It was Chorizo bobble head giveaway day. Yesterday we went to a Arizona Coyote NHL hockey game.

Janie and John hosted several junior league hockey players in their home while their kids were growing up. They have lots of fun stories to tell about that time in their lives. They have seen many junior and minor league games, but had never been to an NHL game. They asked if we wanted to join them, and it sounded like fun. We have been to several Milwaukee Admirals games, which is a minor league team; but have also never been to an NHL game.

Before the game we wandered through the nearby outlet mall. I found some Sketchers shoes which I’ve heard are very comfortable. I’m going to give them a try. Then we headed to the Gordon Biersch Microbrewery and Restaurant. John, Janie and Kevin once again enjoyed some good microbrews at happy hour prices, and I enjoyed my cold ice water. We had dinner and then walked over to the Gila River Arena.

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The area outside of the arena was quite impressive. There were several fountains and lots of eating and drinking establishments. It looked like a fun place to explore. There were two of these gigantic inflatable Coyote hockey players. If you look to the right of him, you can see a woman to get a perspective of just how big he was.

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Janie had warned me that it might be cold inside so I brought a sweatshirt. I’m so glad I did. I would have been freezing without it. The air conditioning bill for the arena must be astronomical.

The Coyotes don’t have a good record this year. In fact, they’re in last place with just a few games to go. If they stay in last place, they get the first round draft pick, so I don’t think they were playing their best game. The Buffalo Sabres beat them 4-1. The arena was very impressive with an excellent sound system.

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We sure have been busy doing sports type activities this month. We can now check off a Nascar race and an NHL hockey game from the sports bucket list. I think Kevin has been in heaven this whole month!

We sure have enjoyed spending time with John and Janie this month. We’ve had lots of laughs and are already planning for when we can meet up again in the future.

Tomorrow morning we leave bright and early. Our plan is to spend the first night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The second night we’re actually going to stay at a motel in Fort Morgan, Colorado because they are predicting some snow and cold temps so we’re going to push it and get past Denver and the mountains. On Friday we plan to arrive at Pine Grove RV Park in Greenwood, Nebraska where we’ll stay for nine nights so we can visit with Korey and Cathryn.

We don’t normally like to push it this much when travelling, but Kevin wants to get there by Saturday so he can set up the dish and watch Wisconsin play in the final four. I sure hope they win after all this hurried travel. We also wanted to be in Nebraska by Easter so we can spend it with the kids. I can’t wait to see them again!

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

We’ve been quite busy this month, so I’ve barely had time to think about blogging. Here’s a little recap of what we’ve been up to since my last post.

Eric left on the evening of March 17th. We went to one last Brewer baseball game at Peoria Stadium to watch the Brewers play the San Diego Padres. It was a value day so lawn seats were only $5. We got there early enough to snag a table under the big tent in the outfield. What a great spot to watch the game. A nice table with comfortable chairs in the shade. I honestly don’t remember who won the game, but we had fun. We attended five games with Eric while he was here.

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After the game we had dinner at a favorite spot, Texas Roadhouse. Then we dropped Eric at the airport where he headed back home to Wisconsin. The week sure did go by quickly.

Since Eric left, we’ve attended two more Brewer games with John and Janie. The Brewers have four games this spring where they are giving away leftover bobble heads from last season. I plan to sell them on eBay when we get back to Wisconsin. The last time I did this, I was able to sell them for enough to cover the cost of the games we attended.

On Saturday we tagged along with John and Janie to an RV show in Chandler. They’re thinking of getting a larger fifth wheel, so have been doing research. I think the research is always so much fun. We looked at lots of RVs, but none of us saw anything that made us ready to give up what we have.

By the time we were done looking around, we were thirsty. The Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company microbrewery was nearby, so we stopped to quench our thirst. Reports are the beer was good. I’m not at all a fan of beer, so I enjoyed a nice cold glass of ice water. The place was very busy, so we decided to find someplace else to eat.

Janie checked her phone and found the Blue Adobe Mexican restaurant nearby. It turns out we ate here a few years ago after a ball game in Mesa. The food was just as good as we remembered.

On Sunday we watched the Brewers beat the Chicago White Sox 14-4. Its always fun to watch our team beat a rival Chicago team. It was another hot day, so we found some shade against the outfield wall.

Phoenix Brewer Game with John and Janie

Thanks to Janie for taking the pictures. I really like this picture she took of us. The colors are so vibrant.

Phoenix Brewer Game

I’ve been enjoying watching the hummingbird nest outside my window. Two babies have hatched which is keeping the mother very busy. I had to laugh the other day as I watched the mother chase away a mourning dove. She was fierce!

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One of the park models has prickly pear cactus that are blooming. They sure are pretty.

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The weather this month has been unseasonably warm with temperatures averaging over ten degrees above average. It is true that dry heat is nicer without humidity, but it is still hot if you are directly in the sun. In the shade it is very nice, so we’ve been finding shade whenever possible.

We leave Arizona in about a week, and it is time. Although it will still be a bit too cold in Wisconsin, we are ready to get out of this heat. There are some changes in the works regarding our summer plans, but I won’t go into any detail until we get back and make things official.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our First Nascar Experience

Kevin has been a fan of Nascar racing for many years. He has never attended a race because he didn’t know if he wanted to spend the money. I’ve been suggesting the last few times we’ve been in Phoenix that we should attend a race here.

This year everything fell into place. Our son Eric was going to be visiting during the race, and our friends Art and Dawn were also coming to Phoenix to attend the race and some baseball games. Eric’s race ticket was his birthday present this year.

Temperatures the last few days have been around 90 which is about 12 to 15 degrees above normal. I was quite worried about us sitting out in the sun for hours yesterday. We were very fortunate that there was a nice breeze most of the time. We made sure to have hats, lots of sunscreen and plenty of water.

We arrived at the parking lot at 8 am just as they opened the lots. We walked to the outskirts of the track where lots of semi trailers were set up for fans to purchase any type of race souvenirs you can imagine. Eric and Kevin purchased Matt Kenseth items. I found a half price shirt celebrating last year’s 50th anniversary of the Phoenix International Raceway.

There were over 100,000 people in attendance yesterday. Parking was free for cars and RVs. I couldn’t believe the sea of RVs. This race was sponsored by Camping World so there were even about 50 or more new and used RVs for sale. Many of them had SOLD signs. This picture is just a portion of the RVs dry camping in the desert parking lot. We saw lots of generators, but, I’m sure not everyone had them, so it must have been quite hot out there with these high temperatures.

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After checking out all the merchandise, we went back to the vehicles and did some tailgating. We had burgers and brats for lunch. Art and Dawn have been to many races, and know the tricks. By going to the merchandise area early, we avoided the massive crowds. The tailgating was a much better bargain than buying food inside.

After lunch we headed back to the track for the pre-race festivities. Our seats were in row 20 behind the start/finish line. Dawn said this is the closest she’s been to that part of the track at any race.

Thanks Art for taking our picture with Dawn.

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The drivers were introduced. Our favorites are Wisconsin natives Matt Kenseth and Paul Menard.

Here’s Matt Kenseth.

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After the driver’s were introduced, they were driven around the track in the backs pick up trucks. Here’s Paul Menard ready for his ride.

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Budweiser is one of the sponsors of Nascar, and the famous Clydesdales made their way around the track. They gave lots of statistics about this beautiful team, but the one I remember is that just the harness costs $80,000.

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There were fireworks and some vintage planes from Luke Air Force base did a flyover. And, then it was time for the race to begin. Here’s the pace car and the green flag.

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Art and Dawn had enough radios and headsets for all of us. I had been warned that it would be loud. When the cars first did a few practice laps, I didn’t think it was so bad, but then they hit the gas. It was incredibly loud!! I wore the headphones for the first half of the race. You can listen to the announcers or actually hear the drivers talking. After a while, the headphones began to hurt my head, so I switched to the earplugs I brought with me.

Kevin and Eric weren’t too happy that I wanted to take a picture while they were watching the race.

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Pit row was right in front of us. It was very interesting to see just how quickly these guys get these cars in and out. Here’s Matt Kenseth pulling out after a pit stop.

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There were ten times that the race was under caution. Most of them were for cars that blew a tire and did a spin out. The rest were for debris on the track. No crashes at this race.

Kevin Harvick was the the pole leader at the start of the race, and he led many of the laps. He ended up winning. Here’s the checkered flag, although I didn’t actually get the car crossing the finish line.

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So, I have to say that it was an interesting experience. Kevin and Eric had a great time. I don’t know that I would go again, but you never know.

Phoenix International Raceway is a beautiful venue for a race track with the mountains in the background and the fantastic weather.

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Tomorrow is Eric’s last day with us. We’re going to another Brewer game. His flight leaves at 7:45 pm. It was great having him here, although the time sure did fly by.

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Enjoying Time With Eric

Eric arrived Tuesday evening after an uneventful Southwest flight. Although, the plane was 30 minutes late leaving Milwaukee, they made up the time in the air and arrived on time. Way to go Southwest.

This trip is all about Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training games. On Wednesday we watched the Brewers defeat the 2014 World Series champions San Francisco Giants at the Giants stadium in Scottsdale. Its interesting how the prices vary at different ball parks. The Giants charge $16.50 for lawn seating. Most other teams charge $8 for lawn seating.

Brewer game with Eric at Scottsdale

On Thursday we watched the Brewers defeat the Colorado Rockies in Maryvale, the Brewers home park. We really enjoy going to our home park. It’s a nice atmosphere, and there are several spots to sit in the shade. Some of the parks have no shade unless you buy the more expensive tickets.

Brewer game with Eric at Maryvale

There were some celebrities at the game. The Ninja Turtles were lined up watching the game.

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Today we’re going to Peoria to watch the Brewers play the Seattle Mariners at their home park. Hopefully, the Brewers can continue their winning streak, and we can find some shade. It’s supposed to be near 90 the next several days. Even though its dry heat, that sun is hot!!

Yesterday morning we taught Eric how to play pickle ball. Kevin, Eric, Janie and John played together, while I encouraged them from the sideline. I’m still not able to play, but my ankle is definitely getting better.

Janie and John are also beginner players. I think everyone caught on quickly and got better as they played. It’s a nice way to have some fun and work up a sweat. I can’t wait until my ankle is better, and I can play again.

While we were at pickle ball, we heard a loud bang. We looked over to the exit road, and saw what had caused the noise. A fifth wheel going over the speed bump came off the hitch and fell onto the back of the truck. Several of the RV park employees quickly went over to help, and they got it back on its way pretty quickly. You always hate to see these kind of accidents.

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hummingbird Nest

We left Yuma on Monday morning and drove about three hours to Leaf Verde RV Park in Buckeye, Arizona. As luck would have it, it rained much of the way. We’ve only had a few days of rain since we arrived in Arizona in October, and it just so happened one of those rainy days was on our travel day. Oh well, we arrived safely; and that’s the important part.

This is our third time staying at Leaf Verde. We really like this park for the price. Most of the sites are pull through, but there are back-in sites along the perimeter.  When I made the reservation, I asked for one of the back-in sites, and we were lucky enough to get one. There is no one behind us, and it seems to us there is a bit more room on the sides as well.

We got set up, and as I was sitting inside in my recliner, I noticed a hummingbird flitting about outside the window. I watched it for a while and saw it land on a nest in an oleander bush at the back of our site. How cool!! The only time I’ve actually seen a hummingbird nest was at a hummingbird enclosure at a zoo.

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The nest is not very big. I would estimate it is about the size of a K cup used in the Keurig coffee maker.

Our friends Janie and John are also here for the month. They were kind enough to invite us over for dinner on Monday night so we didn’t have to cook on our travel day. Gotta love good friends. We enjoyed a delicious meal and enjoyed catching up with each other’s news.

Yesterday Kevin and I drove over to the Maryvale Baseball Park to buy tickets for some of the Brewer Spring Training games we want to attend. We also checked out three of the Cal-Am RV parks in Mesa. We weren’t too impressed with two of them. Both Mesa Regal and Val Vista Village seemed very tight and crowded. Valle del Oro had bigger sites and looked pretty nice, but we definitely like the Cal-Am park, Fortuna de Oro, in Yuma better.

I didn’t realize how big the Phoenix metropolitan area is. It was 62 miles from Mesa on the eastern edge to Buckeye on the western edge. And, the late afternoon traffic was terrible.

My ankle is slowly getting better. I am able to walk around without a problem, but it tires quickly and still swells a bit. It’s only been two weeks since I sprained it, so I’m happy with the progress. However, I’m getting impatient to do all the things I enjoy.

I’ll be giving my ankle a good test this weekend as we are going to ball games on Saturday and Sunday. Next Tuesday our son Eric arrives, and we have lots of activities planned for the week he will be with us.

The sun is out and temperatures are headed back into the 80s by the weekend. Perfect weather for Eric’s visit.

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