Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer's End

I know it is only the 16th of August, but school started yesterday for teachers, and students reluctantly wend their way to school next Wednesday. So, for all "in tents and porpoises," summer is at an end! This is the first summer in at least the last 25 that I have not been at school two or more times a week getting ready for the next year. This year, I stayed away most of the time. Of course, I also had my right knee replaced in June, so that helped to keep me away from school.
 Here is my knee at six days.
Here is my knee at six weeks; still swollen but slowly shrinking.

Before my surgery, I was able to do a couple of projects in the front yard. I finished the parking strip with volcanic gravel, and I landscaped the flower bed in front of the living room window. It certainly looks better than the periwinkle and snow on the mountain ground cover that was there before.
 This is early June. The flower pots and boxes and  beds are all lush now.
This is after all the larkspur and blue flax on the right of the walk had been pulled so I could harvest the seeds.

The week before my surgery, my wife and I did take a quick vacation to Arizona. Our fist destination was the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. On Tuesday the 17th, we drove from the Salt Lake Valley to Nephi on I-15, then headed east through Nephi Canyon to Mount Pleasant to catch Highway 89. I enjoy driving along 89 down to Kamas, Utah. It is a two lane road through quaint towns, villages, and beautiful vistas of fields and mountains. At Salina, we took the I-70 for one stretch of freeway going west to reconnect with the bottom leg of 89 at Sevier. We gained a little time on the freeway, and it is a beautiful drive through the mountains before they fall away into the western Utah desert and the I-15 corridor. I didn't stop to take any pictures, because we wanted to have some time at the Grand Canyon in the afternoon. I didn't think we would make it before dark, because Highway 89 about eighteen miles south of Paige had collapsed, and we were forced to take a huge detour.
Fortunately, we arrived at the eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park in the late afternoon and still had a few hours before different sites closed for the day. We first drove to the Tusayan Museum and ruins, because it closed first.
Who is that old man in front of the museum? Oh, it's me!
Chris hiding behind an ancient pot in the museum.

After a self guided tour around the ruins, we backtracked to the Desert View Visitor Center. The Desert View Watch Tower was one of our favorite spots in the Grand Canyon. It is one of the several structures in the park that were designed by Mary Jane Colter.
 We loved the tower. The rock patterns are different on each wall that you examine. Inside the four story tower are murals painted by Fred Kabotie.

 Looking down from the third story, and looking up at the ceiling from the ground floor.

And here is that old man again. The canyon was very smoggy on this afternoon. The rest of our time at the canyon was clear, especially in the mornings.
In the gift shop was a shelf of kachinas. Chris said I should buy one for a souvenir. I usually buy a tie from wherever we are visiting, but I didn't see any at this gift shop. This is the kachina that I bought.

The first night, we stayed at Bright Angel Lodge, another building designed by Mary Jane Colter, and had a very nice dinner at the Arizona Room. We were not in the lodge itself, but in one of the cabin units with shared bath. We were about thirty feet from the rim trail.

We arose early and hiked the rim trail for about two miles or so from our cabin to Mather Point, Canyon Center and back. We watched the sun rise over the North Rim while we hiked and saw a few dear and a moose. The rest of the day we visited two other Mary Jane Colter buildings, Hopi House and Lookout Studio; El Tovar Hotel, out of our price range; and took the shuttle bus to Yaki Point and South Kaibab Trail-head. For lunch we visited the Bright Angel Restaurant and had a chicken salad pita, which we highly recommend. Instead of mayonnaise, the dressing is yogurt with fresh mint. One pita is big enough for two people, so we ate half for lunch and the rest for supper.
Ready for a morning hike beside a very wide, long, and deep slice in the earth.
 Early morning visitors to one of the lodges along the canyon rim.
Looking down to the west just before the sun crested the North Rim.
Wow! Like an atomic blast on the horizon, the sun arises.
Here's that old man again. Very rare picture because he is awfully close to the edge here.
Just after the sun cleared the horizon.
 Lookout Studio as seen from the Rim Trail in the pre-sunrise light.
The entrance to the Lookout Studio later in the morning
 Here is Hopi House near the El Tovar Hotel.
 Duck your head. It is a low door.
On Wednesday night, we stayed at Yavapai Lodge, because when we booked our rooms Bright Angel didn't have anything available for our second night. It was nice to have two different accommodation experiences, but we both enjoyed the Bright Angel "cabin" the best. Thursday morning we took a bus tour out to Hermit's Rest. When we returned, we had a light lunch at the El Tovar Hotel restaurant. Another great meal.
 Under the bell at Hermit's Rest.
An fascinating pile of stones.
Resting by the fire place inside the pile of stones.

After lunch on Thursday, we left the Grand Canyon by the south entrance and headed for Phoenix. We have two rental properties in the greater Phoenix area. Our tax man keeps telling us we need to visit our properties, so we thought this would be a good time to follow his orders. We stayed in Mesa that night and meet our property manager on Friday morning. He gave us a map to the two properties, which are not close to each other. It felt like we were driving forever as we made a huge circle from Mesa to Florence to Maricopa and back to Phoenix all on two lane roads. We had noticed that the car was over heating a little on our drive down. After we left the property manager's office, the temperature really started to climb.
The week before we left, I had had the car checked out at the Chrysler dealership where we bought it fourteen years ago. (Yes, it is old, but it has been such a good car!) They found that the water pump needed replacing and some seals in the cooling system were leaking. They did all the work we needed , but they didn't replace the thermostat when they flushed and refilled the radiator. So there we were in 100 plus degree Phoenix with a clogged thermostat driving in low gear with the windows open. Chris started calling all the Chrysler dealers in the area, but they were all booked up and would not even look at the car. Finally we found Earnhardt Chrysler in Gilbert who would look at the car, but couldn't promise to do anything until Saturday. We finally limped into their service line and explained the problem.
We sat in the waiting room for an hour before the service manager came in to give us what we thought would be bad news. He said that they had finished another car faster than expected and had looked at our car. He agreed that it was the thermostat, that they had the one we needed in stock, and that they would start working on it. An hour or so later we were on our way to Flagstaff where we stayed the night. So, if anyone needs service in the Phoenix area, Earnhardt Chrysler is the best. (A very nice waiting room too.)
 Our two little rental houses in Arizona.

Friday evening we ate at a nice little Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks from our motel in Flagstaff. The temperature was very pleasant, so we walked. Saturday morning we headed up good old Highway 89 for home. We made a little side trip though Sunset Crater National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. I sure love my Golden Age National Park Pass.
 Wukoki Pueblo.
Wupatki Pueblo.

We followed Highway 89 up past the Echo Cliffs, and crossed the Colorado River at Navajo Bridge. We visited Lee's Ferry for half an hour and watched some Colorado River rafters set off for a run of the river through the Grand Canyon. John Wesley Powell would have loved these huge rafts and all the supplies. Continuing on Alternate 89, we drove past the Vermilion Cliffs, over the mountains, and back to Kanab. When we reached I-70, we headed west to I-15 and shot up the corridor to our starting point.  I-15 for speed and Highway 89 for beauty.
 The Colorado River at Lee's Ferry.
The overlook of the Vermilion Cliffs. A little bit windy here.

The rest of the summer I have been engaged with physical therapy and genealogical research on the internet.
(Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a physical therapist? You can negotiate with a terrorist!)

No comments: