Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all of you! We wish you a blessed day and year to come.

On Thursday we visited the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Somehow, it had escaped my attention all the other times we've been here that Phoenix is the capitol of Arizona. Although we don't go out of our way to visit state capitols, I enjoy checking them out if we are in the area.

The Capitol was built in 1900 at a cost of $136,000, twelve years before Arizona became a state. The exterior was constructed of all Arizona products. It was added onto three times, but by 1975 all government offices had been moved to surrounding buildings. The museum was restored and refurbished at a cost of $1 million and has been a museum since then. The senate and representatives each have their own office building on either side of the capitol, and the office tower behind it is for the governor and other state offices.

The statue on top of the copper dome is Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. We didn't know that was where Nike got its name. Makes sense for a sports company.

We've toured several state capitols, and I think this one is the smallest and least ornate we've seen. There are four floors with the dome at the top. There are no murals or paintings on the ceilings or the walls. There is a large mosaic of the seal of Arizona in the middle of the first floor beneath the dome. The only problem is there is something missing from the mosaic. It was placed there in 1923. The artist was from Ohio and worked from descriptions and drawings. Somehow, he missed putting the cow in the bottom right corner of the seal, and it has been incorrect ever since. I wonder why they didn't hire someone from Arizona.

This Lego flag was made in 2012 to celebrate Arizona's centennial. It is 6.8 feet high and 10.25 feet wide and consists of 114,000 pieces. The dark red color is a rare Lego color and was shipped directly from Denmark specifically for this project. 

George W. P. Hunt was the first governor of Arizona. He served seven terms. His office has been recreated to how it looked in 1912 when he was elected. All consecutive governors used this office until 1974.

Governor Hunt died in 1934 and was interred in a pyramid in Papago Park in Phoenix. It seems he was quite a character.

Each floor of the museum has exhibits on different parts of Arizona history including construction, voting, women in history, and government. One large wing is dedicated to the history of the USS Arizona which was attacked and sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Much of the information was very interesting, especially how ships were named and how the states supported them.  I never knew that each battleship had an elaborate silver service that was paid for by the state the ship was named for. It took one whole room just to display the silver from the USS Arizona. I'm not sure why a ship would need all of this silver.

In 1915 Governor Hunt and the legislature refused to use tax money to purchase the $9,000 silver service. Private fundraising was not going well with only $1,000 raised when the work was completed. Copper mine owners came forward and donated the rest. The silver service was not on the ship when it sank as non-essential items had been removed in preparation for war.

On December 7, 1976 an anchor from the USS Arizona became the focal point of the plaza outside of the capitol. Its location was set 1,177 feet from the center of the dome, one foot for each of the sailors lost when the ship was sunk. The signal mast and a gun barrel from the ship are also on display in the plaza. 

The plaza had many statues and memorials including several veterans memorials. There were also memorials for fallen police officers, firefighters, K9 police dogs, Armenian veterans, Jewish veterans, homicide victims, domestic abuse victims, and many others. Lots to see.

Our next stop was at 3 Dudes Quilting in Phoenix. I had heard about this quilt shop on a You Tube video. One of the dudes has written several quilt patterns utilizing jelly rolls and The Missouri Quilt Company featured one of the patterns in their video. 

This was by far the friendliest quilt shop I have ever visited. One of the guys gave us a little mini tour of the shop. They have free cookies and drinks available while you shop. Ray, the designer of the jelly roll patterns, did a show and tell of about fifteen quilts using his patterns. They were stacked on a bed, and he went through each one of them and explained how it was done. I bought their row by row pattern from 2015. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but Kevin and I both liked it, so it came home with us. I highly recommend this shop if you are ever in the area.

After the quilt shop we went to the Tanger Outlet Mall. I found some shoes at the Sketchers store, and we scored a GREAT deal of underwear at the Jockey store. Sometimes its the little things that get me excited.

It was happy hour time so we stopped at BJ's Brewhouse. Kevin had a beer sampler, and I had a berry hard cider which was quite good. Mini-pizzas were half price for happy hour, so we ended up each ordering a pizza and having an early dinner. BJ's is a chain, but we had never heard of it. Both the food and beer were good, and we would definitely visit them again.

Today we've been invited by friends Frank and Betty for Easter dinner at the condo they are renting in Surprise, which is about 45 minutes north of us. We're looking forward to sharing a beautiful Easter day with friends. 

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another Hike and Baby Doves

I had read in one of the local newspapers about a new park that opened this past year just a few miles from us. It's in Buckeye and called Skyline Regional Park. We decided to check it out last week. There was an entry booth, but no one was manning it. I have a feeling that it is free now because the park is new and not all trails are completed. Once it is finished, I think there will be an entrance fee similar to the other regional parks in the county.

We discovered a few trails, all of which had some elevation gains. Most were rated as moderate, although from what we could see they were wide and did not seem too difficult. By the time we started hiking, it was around 10 am and already quite hot. So, we went part way up one of the trails and then turned around. Here's the view of Buckeye from the trail. The Phoenix area always seems to be surrounded by haze. I think it is pollution as the area is in a valley.

Some of the plants were blooming, which was a nice bonus.

A mourning dove has built it's nest in a palm tree right outside our front door. I've never given much thought to these birds other than to be annoyed by their early morning cooing at times. It has been fun watching the parents care for the eggs and then the babies.

I never noticed that the eyelid of a mourning dove is a beautiful powder blue color. You can see the blue around the outside of the eye is this picture. When it blinks, the entire eyelid is the same pretty blue color.

The nest was built in the lip of a palm frond that had been cut from the tree. It seemed like the babies or nest would slide right off, but they've managed to hold on.

Two babies hatched. Here's one of them shortly after hatching. I think the second one may have still be in the egg at this point. You can click on the picture to enlarge and see better.

The babies grew remarkably fast. Within a few days, there were already this big. It's interesting watching the mother feed them. It looks like the babies are sticking their heads down her throat and there is a lot of bobbing up and down.

The mother seems to be gone for longer periods of time now. Its amazing to me that all three of them still fit in the nest without her suffocating them. I think they may be learning to fly soon.

There is also a hummingbird nest in a bush behind our site, but I haven't been able to get a good picture through the fence. The hummingbirds fascinate me. The nest is smaller than a shot glass.

On Monday we attended our fifth Brewers spring training game. That's enough for another season. They won four of the games we attended, and we feel hopeful about the team and its future. Many new players, but they were looking pretty good.

Yesterday Kevin called me outside to see a bug that had plopped from above onto our mat. The pen is for size comparison. I don't know what it is, but I would not be happy if I had found this inside.

Our weather has cooled down a bit to a very comfortable 80s during the day. It's hard to believe another winter in the south is coming to an end. In just a little over a week, we'll be heading north again. Sure hope the snow is gone before we get there!

I've been working on some baby quilts this winter to give to our daughter-in-law, Cathryn to use a baby gifts for friends. Here are two that I finished recently.

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lake Pleasant Regional Park Hiking

On Wednesday we explored Lake Pleasant Regional Park, which is advertised as being 30 minutes north of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. From where we are in Buckeye, it was about an hour drive. Once we got out of the city, it was a scenic drive. I was surprised at how many Saguaro cacti were north of Phoenix. It reminded me a lot of the Tucson area.

Our first hike was about a mile of Pipeline Canyon trail. We hiked downhill to a floating bridge where we were able to see how clear the lake water is. There were quite a few beautiful orange and yellow wildflowers growing along the trail.

 The lake and park are huge, covering over 23,600 acres. There are three campgrounds and a huge marina. There was even a heliport. I'm guessing it is for emergency purposes as the park is rather remote, and it could take rescue crews quite a while to reach an injured person.

 Our second hike was on the north end of the park called Yavapai Point. It was about four miles round trip with an elevation gain of 400 feet. The first two-thirds was a very gradual climb, but the last one-third was steeper with switchbacks. Very doable, but take your time and drink plenty of water.

On the way up we saw this very tall cactus with interesting arms. While I was taking pictures of it, I heard a noise under the tree just behind it.

 It turned out to be a wild burro. I had asked at the entrance station if there was any chance of seeing the wild burros, and the guy didn't seem very positive about it. So, quite a bonus to see this guy.

 He kept moving his head up and down. I think he was scratching himself on the branches. I walked a little closer and zoomed in. He didn't seem bothered by us, but I wasn't getting too close to a wild animal.

This cactus had a such a pretty flower growing from it.

The view at the top of the trail was amazing. Gorgeous scenery including the lake, surrounding mountains and desert.

 The Pipeline Canyon Trail actually intersects with this trail, and we could see where we had hiked earlier. You can see the floating bridge we hiked down to. The big round water tower at the top left is where the parking lot was. We could have hiked from the bridge to the Yavapai Point trail and back again, but I think that would have been too much. We would have had to be better prepared with more water and some lunch.

We got a nice view of a boon docking camping area right along the lake.

On our way back to the truck, I looked for the burro. He wasn't under the tree anymore, and then I heard him nicker. He was a little further up the trail on a hill right above us. I took several pictures, and again he didn't seem bothered by us, but I wouldn't have wanted to try getting any closer.

We really enjoyed our visit to Lake Pleasant. It's always surprising to find a lake in the middle of the desert. There weren't many people there when we visited, but there were several huge parking lots. I'm sure it is a very popular place in the summer.

Yesterday we went to another Brewers baseball game. They had been in a slump, losing all of their games since we had been there the previous Sunday. It was up and down all game, but they won. That makes us 3 and 0 for the games we've attended. Maybe they should hire us to attend all of their games.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Moving On To Buckeye

We finished our time in Yuma with very warm weather and some of the same activities we enjoyed all winter. The resort sponsored a resort-wide golf scramble tournament on our last Sunday. We both participated and had a great time. The quilting group also had a season ending event, which was a potluck supper on Monday, February 29th. Husbands were invited, and we got to know some of the people a little better.

During the last week, we got together with Dick and Wanda a few times for some cards and visiting. It was fun having them at the resort this winter. We certainly enjoyed our four months at Fortuna de Oro in Yuma, and we definitely plan on returning some time in the future.

On Tuesday, March 1st we had an uneventful drive to Buckeye, Arizona; about 2.5 hours from Yuma on the western side of Phoenix. We are at Leaf Verde RV Resort again this spring. We really like it here; the location, the pool, the sites and the price. The tire monitoring system we purchased at the Quartzsite RV Show seemed to work well.

On Friday we attended our first spring training game of this season. The Milwaukee Brewers have five games this season where they are giving away bobbleheads, so those are the games we plan to attend. On Friday we got a Jonathan Lucroy bobblehead. I sell them on eBay which helps cover the cost of our game tickets.

The Brewers did some major house cleaning during the off season. I only recognized two of the players when they announced the starting lineup. The team looked good, so we have high hopes for these new players. It was nice to see a win; we saw very few last spring.

Yesterday we attended the Tres Rios Nature Festival in Avondale, a neighboring suburb. Tres Rios Wetland Area is a natural area run by the City of Phoenix. It is right next to the Phoenix International Raceway where we attended a Nascar Race last year. We had no idea this nature area was there. The Tres Rios area encompasses the area where the Agua Fria, Gila and Salt rivers collide and head toward the Colorado River.

There were quite a few vendors and lots of activities for kids including fishing, archery, a rock climbing wall, and canoeing; all for free. We went on a bird watching walk. We were given a pair of binoculars to use on the walk. We saw some birds, but none that were new for us. I forgot my camera, so only had my cell phone for pictures. These cliff swallows were fun to watch. They had built many nests under the bridge supports.

One of the most beautiful trees we saw was this salt cedar. It turns out these trees are non-native and very invasive to the area because they are big water hogs. Several years ago this area was overrun with these trees. A major project was undertaken to get rid of them and replant with native species. This one tree somehow survived.

This Carpenter Bee was interesting to see. I've never seen a black bee before. Our guide told us they live in holes in trees. Very pretty, but it will still sting you.

After the walk, we headed to the food area. I've seen Indian Flat Bread advertised at several places we've been to over the last few years and have always wanted to try it. I ordered it with powdered sugar. It was huge, the size of a very large dinner plate. Kevin didn't want any, so it was ALL for me. I forgot to take a picture when I got it, so here's whats left after I ate half of it. The rest will be for breakfast today before we go to another ball game. It was very good, but reminded me very much of a funnel cake you would get at the fair in Wisconsin.

Every day since we arrived here on March 1st has either broken or tied a record for high temperatures. Tomorrow we will finally have some relief with a high of only 70 degrees. They were originally forecasting rain, which they really need; but now it seems we won't get any rain or very little. I'm looking forward to a some cooler temps, much closer to average for March. There are two pickle ball courts here, so with the cooler temps, we will play some games this week.

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