Shootout on Whiskey Row Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

Shootout on Whiskey Row

Shootout on Whiskey Row

The Prescott Regulators and Their Shady Ladies sponsored the fourth annual “Shootout on Whiskey Row”.  This weekend event featured seven Western re-enactment contingents from Arizona and California.  We watched some performances by the Ace High Gunfighters.  Many in the crowd wore authentic looking costumes and weapons from the 1870-1900 period.  Fortunately, no live ammunition was allowed.

Tijuana Estuary Wednesday, Jul 22 2009 

Tijuana Estuary

Tijuana Estuary

The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve forms the border of the United States with Mexico.  After a short tour of the Tijuana Estuary Vistor Center, we walked on the North McCoy Trail, part of the only remaining coastal wetland habitat in southern California.  Then we drove to the start point of the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge where we walked to the Tijuana River.  The Estuary is an important breeding, feeding, and nesting area for resident and thousands of migratory birds moving along the Pacific Flyway twice each year.  We observed a half dozen species of birds and two Navy helicopters on manuevers.  Across the river were five horses and riders.  In the distance was the city of Tijuana with a circular stadium, a bull ring, near the border.   In Imperial Beach we walked on a pier shaped like an arrow extending into the Pacific.  Boith sides of the pier were lined with fisherpeople.   One fisherman had a bucket of grouper.  Others were observed taking even the smallest of fish and stuffing them into a cooler.  We enjoyed liquid refreshment from The Tin Fish with views of Coronada and San Diego in the distance and surrounded by hungry, demanding pigeons.  Both Coronado and Imperial Beach are on the Pacific Ocean and only a few miles apart yet very different in socio-economic demographics.

San Diego Zoo Tuesday, Jul 21 2009 

Southern Gerenaks

Southern Gerenaks

My first visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo provided an opportunity to see some unique animals.  The Chacoan Peccary, for example, was identified in 1974 in Paraguay.  This ice age relic, similar but different from a pig, is related to the javalinas in Arizona.  The Southern Gerenaks, who live in an area from Somalia to Tanzania, posed as if kissing.  The Sichuan Takin from central China were a bit more active than many of the animals that were sleeping in a shady spot or standing against shaded, cooler walls.  Eastern Angola Colobus were among many types of monkeys.  There are a number of Red River Hogs.  The Masai Giraffes have a darker coloring than other giraffes.  With 40 koalas, it was possible to see one eating eucalpytus while the rest slept part of their twenty-two hours per day.  Because of the warm temperatures, many animals were sleeping including the polar bear and two pandas.  Elephant odyssey was featured as a newly opened exhibit.  Many exhibits are small, however, and need updating to provide animals more space in a more natural environment.  The mature vegetation throughout most parts of the zoo kept us fairly cool.  The place for gourmet dining is Albert’s, easily the best zoo food ever.  Our shaded alfresco table near the soothing sounds of a waterfall made for a memorable meal.  There are lots of trails, some with escalators to ease the climb up a hill.  We started with a bus tour, took advantage of the express buses, and rode on the aerial tram.

Vine Dancer

Vine Dancer

Before using the second day of our two day zoo pass, we visited the museum area of Balboa Park.  The pond in front of the Botanical Building has a dozen varieties of lilies. It is interesting to have so many museums located in one place.  We started our second day at the zoo later in the day thereby avoiding the hotter temperatures and larger crowds.  We were entertained by the Sea Lions Rock show in the Wegeworth Bowl.  This show features several birds as well as sea lions.  In the Vine & Vine Show two women on stilts covered in vines choreographed their movements using gymnastic techniques.  Although a handbill crawed for attention, his cage limit photography.  In one open air aviary, however, a blue crowned pigeon poised for a picture.  The San Diego Zoo covers a large area of Balboa Park and is worthy of its reputation as a world-class zoo.

Coronado Sunday, Jul 19 2009 

San Diego Cityscape

San Diego Cityscape

Although Coronado is most often referred to as an island, it is an isthmus.  We took advantage of a friend’s offer to care for her two ageing cats in exchange for the use of her condo.  What a deal.  The condo is on the fifteenth floor (actually 14 as there is no 13) with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean from the living room/deck, dining room, and bedroom.  Pelicans dive from thirty feet straight into the water for a fish.  Pods of dolphins arch their fins above the surf just beyond the bogie boarders and surfers.  During the morning hours of the work week, Navy Seals are active.  On Monday and Wednesday they took an ocean swim.  On Tuesday there were 15 rafts each with a seven man crew on an exercise that included landing and launching.  The sound of the surf hitting the sandy beach is calming.  The beach has a wonderful, clean sand.  On Saturday we enjoyed outstanding salads under the shade of an umbrella at McP’s Irish Pub.  On Sunday we ferried to San Diego.  After alfresco dining at the Edgewater Grill, we explored some of the shops in Seaport Village.  Then we took a two hour harbor tour.  The San Diego cityscape is modern, clean and appealing.  Naval ships line the harbor, both north and south.  We saw an area where the Navy Seals do some of their special training.  A nuclear submarine was drydocked with its propellar concealed so that no one can determine its unique underwater sound.  A Hornet, a Navy strike force jet, took off from the Navy’s North air strip.  Sea lions lounged on a pier while sailboats also took advantage of the warm, sunny weather.  The Californian, a replica of the 1847 Cutter C. W. Lawrence, was also on the water.  An excellent, if expensive, dinner at the Coronado Boathouse.  Our first sunset was memorable, and we have several more days to enjoy Coronado and San Diego.

Indian Art Market Sunday, Jul 12 2009 

Indian Art Market

Indian Art Market

Sharlot Hall Museum was the site for the 12th annual Prescott Indian Art Market.  More than 100 artisans representing various tribes and mediums participated.  Alex Maldonado, a Pascua Yaqui, entertained us with Native wind instruments while his daughter, Melissa Johnson, accompanied him with dance interpretations.  Also tasted my first fry bread.  Many of the flowers on the Sharlot Hall grounds are in bloom.

Greer Tuesday, Jul 7 2009 

Red Setter Inn Cabin 10

Red Setter Inn Cabin 10

For the long Fourth of July weekend we headed to eastern Arizona.  We stayed in Red Setter Inn‘s Cabin 10, one of three cottage rooms nestled in the woods on the bubbly Little Colorado River and part of the Greer Lodge Resort.  Billboards claim this B&B is one of the “top 10 in the world” and their web site quotes Fodor 2006 for this honor.  Our limited experience with B&Bs in the Sedona area leads us to question this claim.  IMHO, I’m not sure this B&B is one of the top ten in Arizona.  We enjoyed relaxing in chairs adjacent to the fast moving water.  The breakfast was good and they provide a lunch (if requested the night before).  Speaking of rankings, on our first evening we headed to the Molly Butler which was included in Arizona Highways’ Best Restaurants 2009 (April 2009).  We ordered their “signature prime rib,” one of the three dishes recommended in the article.  There was nothing special about this meal.  A plain salad, a slab of prime rib, and a baked potato.  In fact, the Molly Butler isn’t even the best restaurant in Greer.  We counted five restaurants in this small tourist oriented town.  On the Fourth we tried Amberian Peaks and were very impressed.  The salmon was presented on cedar planks.  The rib eye was smothered with a cherry tomato sauce, served with a gourmet cole slaw, flavorful mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, corn on the cob with the husk part of the presentation, and grilled watermelon that was remarkably sweet.  So, if you’re interested in a memorable meal, Amberian Peaks is the place.

The Butler Canyon Trail #98, just outside Greer, is an easy one-mile loop.  At the trailhead remember to pick up a self-guided tour brochure.  There are 21 (actually 20 active) stops with information mainly about the trees (aspen, ponderosa, spruce, white fir, even Douglas fir) and area geography such as what grows best by water or on different sides of a mountain.  We learned that a grove of quaking aspen is likely to be identical stock and that the ponderosa has thick bark which helps retard fire.  We also enjoyed many wildflowers in bloom.

West Fork Trail #94 starts off Osbourne Road just outside Greer, AZ.  It is considered a moderate to difficult trail because of the number of rocks that need to be negotiated and the steep incline to reach the upper ponderosa pine forest and meadow land.  There is a small gurgling creek and quiet pond near the beginning of the trail.  We stopped for a picnic lunch after traversing between two and three miles of this seven mile trail that connects with Mt. Baldy and/or the East Fork Trail.

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