Thursday, September 24, 2020

Keeping Busy in the Heat

We arrived back to our winter home in Arizona a week ago Sunday. It is good to be back. On the other hand...we usually check the weather and don't come back here until the triple-digit heat ends. But we had done everything in Utah we were interested in. We spent a few days in the campground at the Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell, the a few days in Williams, Arizona. Outdoor activities are the only things available in this Covid-19 world and we didn't find much to do in either place.

We took some pictures of the Grand Canyon train in Williams.

We saw this neat old Chevy.
And this gas pump museum.
Williams in along Route 66. This t-shirt shows the highway route from Chicago to Los Angeles.
The young children in our RV park enjoyed riding on this barrel train in the early evenings.

Then we drove south to our winter home. Since we arrived, it has hit over 100 degrees every afternoon and should continue that way for another week!  Oh well.

This is one of the relief carvings John did over the summer.  He was  able to put on a finish in our shop. 

John has asol kept busy in the shop, working on the scroll saw.  He did this depiction of Texas.  He has also done Arizona, Colorado and Montana.  These are the states we have spent the most time in since retirement.

He wasn't the only one working in the shop.  I have cut out these trees on the saw.  I plan to paint them green and use them in front of our home at Christmas.

Here is another one of John's scroll saw projects.

Every year when we return to Arizona, John has to trim our mesquite tree so it won't scratch the Airstream when he parks it in our driveway.  It isn't fun work after driving to get here.  This week we contacted the local landscaping company that works in the park and they gave it a really good haircut.  Next year, we will call them before we get here and have them trim it before we get back.  They also trimmed our pygmy palms and replaced a dead cactus.  We are grateful for their work.  Neither of us enjoys yard work.



Monday, September 07, 2020

Bryce Canyon Hiking, Scenery and Visitors

After our week near Capitol Reef National Park, we continued south and west to Bryce Canyon National Park. This is probably our favorite national park and we became very familiar with it in 2005 when we volunteered here for three months. That was 15 years ago and we are still enamored. The scenery is spectacular. 

 We have done three major hikes and walked the rim during our stay. First, we hiked Navajo Loop to Queen's Garden and came up Wall Street. Bryce is not really a canyon, it is an amphitheater. You can look at it from the rim and it is beautiful. But hike down to the bottom--700 to 800 feet--and the experience is very different. Just remember, if you hike down 700 or 800 feet, you have to hike up the same amount. We have gotten lots of exercise!

This is a view looking up from the bottom. 
The bottom of Navajo Loop and the hike up Wall Street is like a moderately wide slot canyon. The light is filtered and everything has a red cast.
There were quite a few people enjoying the same experience we were.
These are views from the Rim down into the amphitheater. The rock formations and fascinating and the rock colors range from red to to pink to white.
After our walk along the rim, our niece, Tina, and her husband Vance came to visit. They have been traveling around beautiful Utah this month, as well. We had a really good visit. 
Bryce Point is the highest place along the rim of the Bryce Amphitheater. Saturday we rode the park shuttle from the Visitor Center to Bryce Point, then hiked down into the bottom and hiked back on the Peek-a-boo Trail to the Navajo Loop and hiked up to the rim on the Two Bridges Trail. We logged 13,438 steps that day. We were really exhausted.

Here you can "peek" from one area of the canyon to another.
Some people choose to see Bryce from the back of a horse. We were glad we met the horses at a wide spot in the trail.
At the end of a long summer, the trails in Bryce are very dusty. Just look at my legs at the end of our hike.
There were lots of people along the rim when we hiked out of the canyon. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the fact our week here extended over the Labor Day Weekend. Whatever was I thinking? Bryce is very popular. There are lots of tents in Ruby's Inn Campground, where we are staying. There were also lots of trailers until this morning. Now it is almost empty. I guess summer is over.

The Year of the Mask

It’s the year of the mask. Or maybe the year of the gaiter. I always thought masks were for Halloween and gaiters were to keep snow out of your cross-country ski boots. Not in 2020. John and I are definitely at-risk for Covid-19 infection because of our age. So wearing a mask or gaiter makes sense for us. But I resent being told I have to wear one. I believe the mask regulations or rules set by governors or other executive branch people are an overreach on the part of the government. We live in a free country. I have the freedom to live my own life, take my own chances. If I need protection from others, I should take precautions. Not make others do something they don’t want to do. Government’s job is to tell us about the risks. I know driving a car or truck is risky. People die all the time in traffic accidents. But that doesn’t mean driving should be illegal. The long-term effects of business shut-downs, schools closed, working remotely, allowing restaurants to only fill to 25% of their capacity—all of these actions will impact us and our country for years to come. I have worked in an office, even worked in a cubicle. These situations brought me into contact with other people. That was an important advantage of working, not staying at home. I would not have liked only working remotely. No matter how well I knew my job, there were always times I leaned around the cubicle partition or walked across the room to ask a question. Restaurants may or may not be able to survive at 25% capacity. But how many businesses can do that? Meat packing plants? Automobile manufacturers? Shoe manufactures? Beer bottling plants? What does remote or online education do to children? I believe being socialized and learning how to behave around others—even those you don’t know or don’t like—is an important aspect of going to school. And learning takes place in the give and take of being with others. At my age, I have lived through polio, and 2 or 3 flu epidemics. The world wasn’t shut down. Is the death rate from Covid-19 so high we should limit or shut down everything? The seasonal flu comes back year after year. Won’t Covid do the same thing? Flu shots, when available, only protect those who get them. Apparently, many people won’t get a Covid-19 shot when it is available. So, do we keep living this way the rest of our lives? I hate the way things are! I’m sure many of us feel that way. We can’t see our friends and give them a hug. Often, we can’t even greet family with a hug. Yuk! We have been hiking in national parks here in Utah. Sometimes most people are wearing masks or gaiters. As we approach other hikers, we pull up the mask—like we are afraid of them. I guess, in one way, we are. What does it do to our society to view everyone as a threat? We have been traveling in our RV for over 30 years. I have never been so careful in opening the trash dumpster to throw away the garbage. Or even opening a door of a business. It has always been important to wash my hands—but I have never really been afraid of the germs, like I am today. That being said, the Government has no right to make me protect myself.