Prescott Christmas Parade 2016 Sunday, Dec 4 2016 

Prescott Christmas Parade

Prescott Christmas Parade

Perfect weather accompanied yesterday’s 34th Annual Prescott Christmas Parade. We set up our folding chairs in the second row at the corner of Goodwin and Montezuma. Some 87 entries including floats, bands, vehicles, and walking groups participated with this year’s theme “All I want for Christmas ….” A commercial entry, Fry’s, answered the question with “I can get at Frys!” Patriot Disposal outfitted their truck with pseudo-reindeer hauling their truck covered by plenty of decorative material. Dance Studio participants as the first walking groups wore candy-cane striped pajamas. Prescott is dog friendly and that was evident with Scotties, greyhounds, search dogs, and adopted dogs sometimes garnering a pet along the parade route. There were lots of antique cars and, of course, a full array of fire trucks. The Prescott Rodeo Queen rode a horse. We later learned that horses aren’t usually allowed because of potential problems if there is ice. Several bands were distributed among the entries. We are always impressed by the quality and number of individuals that make up the Tucson Catalina Foothills High School contingent. Their uniforms and white feather atop their hats create a strong visual presence to augment their music. Although we found ourselves getting colder when our seats became shaded, we stayed to see Santa at the finish of the parade. Prescott lives up to its reputation as Arizona’s Christmas City.

Lake Havasu City Thanksgiving Saturday, Nov 26 2016 

London Bridge

London Bridge

Although we have previously visited Lake Havasu City, we have never stopped for more than a day. On this Thanksgiving break we spent four days exploring this interesting Arizona city. On our first day we walked the Shoreline Trail along the Bridgewater Channel south of the London Bridge through Rotary Park turning around at the Skate Park. A colorful sunset welcomed us atop the London Bridge. On previous visits we have eaten at Shugrue’s Restaurant. This time we took advantage of Wino Wednesday with half price on a bottle of wine.

On turkey day we hiked the west side of the Bridgewater Channel before tackling the 3.6 mile Island Trail loop. We stayed in Havasu Falls RV Park which is located about five miles north of London Bridge. We joined about sixty other campers for a Thanksgiving feast. The RV Park donated five turkeys and participants brought side dishes. I got to choose from five different cranberry relishes.

Parker Dam

Parker Dam

On Friday we drove south, crossing the Parker Dam and driving another seventeen miles to Parker. This winding California road passes more development, especially campgrounds, along this side of the Colorado River. We stopped to observe a herd of wild burros grazing on a golf course. We also walked around the Bureau of Land Management Rock House with a well designed boat launch. In Parker we had planned to visit the Colorado River Indian Tribes Museum. We discovered that they had moved and that they were closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Maybe next time. We ended up at the Blue Water Resort and Casino where the Southern California Speedboat Club’s 70th Annual Thanksgiving Regatta was taking place. After checking out the Rivers Edge Cantina, we opted to eat lunch in the Bluewater Grille. We learned that the Resort’s attractive multi-level swimming pool is indoors because of excessive summer high temperatures. After leaving Parker, we stopped at the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge for a short hike along the river with views of the golden marsh reeds. Back in Lake Havasu City we boarded the Sunset Charter’s Kon Tiki for a sunset tour of Copper Canyon. Captain Pete informed us about chainsaw magnate Robert McCulloch’s purchase of the London Bridge and development of Lake Havasu City. Captain Pete identified the replica lighthouses as we passed by them. The sunset lasted a long time but lacked any defining clouds. Our evening cruise coincided with the first night of the 21st Annual Festival of Lights featuring 500,000 lights along the Bridgewater Channel under the London Bridge. We concluded our day at the Mudshark Brewery where I sampled six of their brews.

Lake Havasu Sunset

Lake Havasu Sunset

On Saturday, while my wife went for a walk, I watched the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. Ohio State trailed the entire game, but pulled out a win in the second overtime. We then visited the Lake Havasu Museum of History. We learned that the Chemehueva peoples originally inhabited this area. We also learned more about Robert McCulloch and his creation of Lake Havasu City. On August 2, 1963 McCulloch Properties, Inc. purchased 16,250 acres from the State of Arizona at $73 an acre. Later, he purchased the London Bridge and brought it to the desert. Today the bridge is the second most visited attraction in Arizona. We concluded our stay with a ferry ride to Havasu Landing across the lake in California. The small smoke-filled casino was not of interest to us. The return trip, however, gifted us with some great sunset pictures. We enjoyed our Lake Havasu City visit.

Phoenix Zoo: November 2016 Monday, Nov 21 2016 

Navaho Churro Sheep

Navaho Churro Sheep

Yesterday morning we walked around parts of the Phoenix Zoo. Many of the animals were active, perhaps because of the moderate temperature. An American white pelican posed in the central lake. We could hear the chatter of the gibbons so we headed in their direction. They howled a duet while playing on the top of a shading canvas. More pelicans rested in the water in front of the gibbon island. Two herons formed book ends on a small zoo building to the left of our viewing area. We visited the newly remodeled enclosed aviary. A chestnut-breasted malkoha and Luzon bleeding heart dove posed while two straw-necked ibis strutted around us. The orangutans were especially active. Daniel posed at a window with young children peering at him and comparing hands. The orangutan youngster played hide-and-seek in another area while mom watched from an enclosure door. Kasih and Michael munched kale. In the area with a children’s focus, we eyed the unusual horns on the Navaho churro sheep. A miniature zebu also captured my interest. From an informational sign we learned that this creature can twitch a specific skin area. Perhaps the biggest surprise on this visit was the number of flowers in bloom such as different varieties of hibiscus, a yellow rose, and several trumpet-like plants.We enjoy our walks in the zoo.

Mark Kosower & the Phoenix Symphony Monday, Nov 21 2016 

Mark Kosower, Principal Cello of the Cleveland Orchestra, was born and grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. On Saturday evening he was the soloist with the Phoenix Symphony for Antonin Dvorak’s Concerto in B minor for Violincello & Orchestra, Opus 104. Dvorak wrote this piece in 1894-95 while working in the United States. It is a reflective work in memory of his beloved sister-in-law Josefina. The cello resonated with the orchestra through a dialogue between the cello and the woodwinds. There is also an interesting duet with the principal violin.

The concert started with a modern work, John Corigliano’s Symphony No.1, written in 1988-89. This moving piece commemorates friends of the composer afflicted with AIDS. As such it reflects remembrance mixed with cries of helpless rage. Interestingly, an off-stage piano portrays sad resignation. A moving evening of music featuring one of my favorite instruments, the cello.

Constellation Trail Sunday, Nov 13 2016 

Constellation Trail Vista

Constellation Trail Vista

In February 1959, a military plane flying out of California crashed for unknown reasons on the west side of AZ89 killing all five men on board. The plane was a Lockhead Constellation, hence the name of this trail system. In October 2011, a memorial was erected to record this tragedy. Near the memorial assorted wreckage from the crash can be seen. The trail, one of our favorites, meanders up and down through the boulders that form the eastern boundary of the Granite Dells. The trailhead elevation is 5,000 feet and the high point of our 3.4 mile loop was 5,200 feet. The trail segments that we took include North 40, Ham & Cheese, Hully Gully, Lost Wall, (Ridgeback), Rock Wall, and PMBA. This was our eighth and final 2016 “Take a Hike!”

Ranch Trail Friday, Nov 11 2016 

Prescribed Burn from Ranch Trail

Prescribed Burn from Ranch Trail

Today, Veteran’s Day, we parked at the Ranch Trail #62 trailhead off Walker Road. From the trailhead elevation of 5,580 feet, we climbed about 500 feet through chaparral on a trail that is rutted in places and has lots of loose rock. Patches of smoke from recent prescribed burns were visible from much of the trail. We turned around after hiking about 1.6 miles at a spot close to houses and a fence. On our return we encountered some other hikers. We previously used two vehicles and hiked the complete trail from the Senator Highway to Walker Road. Today’s hike was our seventh in this year’s “Take a HIke!” program.

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