Lone Pine Revisited Sunday, Jul 23 2017 

Our Pacific Northwest 2017 adventure started with a stop in Needles, California at the KOA RV Park. The 108 degree heat caught us unaware. We waited until the sun started to set before cooling off in the swimming pool. Our water filter broke apart and caused a minor flood. It didn’t take long, however, for the water to disappear. We left early the Saturday morning to avoid driving in the heat.

Whitney Portal Waterfall

Whitney Portal Waterfall

We arrived early enough in Lone Pine to drive the Whitney Portal. The elevation changed from 3,727 feet to 8,374 feet on the 13.7 mile drive. The temperature dropped from 98 degrees to 81 degrees. After we admired the fast moving waterfall at the portal, we hiked along the creek on the Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail to the Family Campground. On our return off the mountain, we stopped to admire the face in the Alabama Hills. Travel Advisory recommendations alerted us to the good food at the Merry Go Round restaurant. Our experience confirmed the positive reviews. We returned to the Boulder Creek RV Park in time for a swim and soak in the hot tub. A great start to our adventure.

4th Prescott Open Sunday, Jul 16 2017 

Shan Rengasamy

Shan Rengasamy

Shan Rengasamy, Scottsdale, and Neil Wadsworth, Prescott Valley, split $150 in prize money at the 4th Annual Prescott Open held Saturday, July 15th. Rengasamy, a student at BASIS in Scottsdale, is one of the top eleven-year-olds in U. S. Chess. Wadsworth, who tied for second in last year’s Open, defeated the highest rated chess player in this event in the second round. Rengasamy, initially ranked third by rating, and Wadsworth, initially fourth, won their first two games before agreeing to a hard-fought draw in their last round encounter.

 

Neil Wadsworth

Neil Wadsworth

The tournament attracted 16 chess players for a full day of chess at the Pine Cone. The format of the event was to divide players into two sections, each composed of eight players based on rating. Tom Green, President of the Prescott Chess Club, directed this U. S. Chess rated event.

 

Robin Green

Robin Green

In Section B, playing in his first chess tournament, Robin Green, Prescott, accumulated three wins to collect the section’s first place prize money of  $100. Roger Gibson and Phillip Ebarb, both of Prescott, and William Cheney, Flagstaff, shared the $50 2nd place prize money for their 2-1 records.

Shell-less Sheldon Tuesday, Jul 4 2017 

Sheldon Tortellini

Sheldon Tortellini

After a lunch stop in Carefree, we visited the latest whimsical Ray Villafane sand sculpture in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, Carefree Desert Gardens. According to the Carefree web site, it took 30 days to complete this 30-ton sculpture which was preserved with glue lightly sprayed on its surface. It will be on display through Labor Day. Here is the artist’s note:

“The Tortellini family balancing act started upon their mother’s back. Under the bright lights Sheldon discovered his fear of heights. He peed his shell then slipped and fell. The big question is do we tell? … Sheldon Tortellini, everyone can see your weenie!”

Prescott Bluegrass Festival Sunday, Jun 25 2017 

Old Blue Band

Old Blue Band

Yesterday we joined the crowd on the south side of the Yavapai County Courthouse for two sets of the 36th Annual Prescott Bluegrass Festival. We especially enjoyed the performance of the seasoned professionals of the Old Blue Band who are dedicated to the preservation of the music from the past and the continued presentation of its character in the present day. They were followed by the Heidi Clare and Ron Thomason duet. The power and athleticism of Heidi Clare contribute to lauding her as the best old-time fiddler of her generation. It was interesting to learn that she was a member of the two-woman, one-horse team that won the 2010 Ride ‘n Tie World Championship. Although I didn’t appreciate the red-neck humor of Ron Thomason, he is a master of the mandolin who also plays the guitar and claw-hammer banjo.

This past Tuesday six of us explored the Greenways Trail from Aubrey to Caleton Street. We found the following wildflowers: yellow flowered warty caltrop, pink flowered lizard-tail, reddish purple flowered ribbon four o’clock, yellow flowered buffalo gourd, light pink striped flowered common mallow, pinkish flowered little globemallow, tiny white flowered horehound, white flowered field bindweed, white sweet clover, yellow sweet clover, violet flowered alfalfa, white flowered bluestem pricklepoppy also known at cowboy’s fried egg, white flowered bastard toadflax, yellow flowered prickly lettuce, and yellow flowered curlytop gumweed.

Acker Park Trails & Lynx Creek Wildflowers Sunday, Jun 18 2017 

Acker Park Stormwater Detention Basin Construction

Acker Park Stormwater Detention Basin Construction

On Thursday we hiked some of the Acker Park Trails from an elevation of 5,480 feet to 5,630 feet. We walked along the Powerline Trail out to the parking area on Autumn Breeze. We watched heavy equipment working on the construction of the Acker Park Stormwater Detention Basin that started in May and is expected to be completed in July. The iconic Thumb Butte could be seen in the distance. We looped back on the Ridge Trail including climbing the Hilltop Trail for panoramic views of Prescott. After returning to the Virginia Street parking area we walked along the Virginia Trail and Mural Trail to use the park’s restroom and admire the murals that encompass this structure depicting the history of the land, its flora and fauna, and recognizing the philanthropy of Mr. Acker.

On Tuesday I joined a half-dozen others at Lynx Creek’s Gold Pan area to identify wildflowers. With expert help we found the following wildflowers: white flowered Canaigre Dock or Desert Rhubarb, white flowered Poison Hemlock, lavender colored Desert Straw, Yellow-flowered Eriogonum, the reddish pink colors of Scarlet Beeblossom, the pale blue or violet colored Thymeleaf Speedwell, the deep carmine-red of Scarlet Four O’Clock, the golden yellow of Creeping Wood Sorrel, the white or pinkish colors of Field Bindweed, the bright yellow color of Black Medick, the yellow tinged with orange or red of Wright’s Deervetch, the deep violet-purple of False Indigo, Yellow Sweet Clover, and the bright yellow of Desert Blazing Star.

From Arkansas to Arizona Thursday, Jun 8 2017 

It was dry on Sunday when we left Bella Vista, Arkansas, although later we encountered some very heavy rain. I guess that is why northwest Arkansas is so green. A young woman’s vehicle with a flat tire stopped part way in the left lane of a two lane road created a dangerous situation. Also, multiple road construction projects often left me navigating between cement barriers on one side of the road or both sides. We paid tolls for four axles as we approached Oklahoma City. After connecting with Interstate 40, we stopped at the Elk City/Clinton KOA located in Foss, Oklahoma. We discovered on our orientation walk around the campground that a trail led to nearby Clinton Lake where some locals were boating while others fished.

On Monday, we drove from near the Oklahoma border through the Texas panhandle. We stopped at a KOA in Tucumcari, New Mexico. We took advantage of the swimming pool before a throng of children arrived.

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset

On Tuesday, as we traveled across New Mexico, we encountered a cow that considered crossing the freeway. We stopped to prepare lunch at the El Malpais National Monument Visitor Center as a storm passed through the area. I took advantage of the heated swimming pool at the USA RV Park in Gallup. The park’s patriotic motifs include an American flag image on the bottom of the swimming pool. Another first was finding a chess set with large pieces. Although I made a first move, I later discovered my pawn back on its e2 square. This park offered a pretty good evening barbecue that we enjoyed with a pleasant sunset.

On Wednesday, we stopped for lunch at the Turquoise Room in historic La Posada. My anxiety about parking our rig in Winslow was unfounded as ample space was available in front of the historic hotel. Other than being blown by stiff winds we arrived home without incident after traveling some four thousand miles over five weeks.

Next Page »