Friday, 9 November 2012

Shaw Snowbirds Head South

We were packed and ready to roll so decided to head out for warmer climes two days early on Sunday October 21, 2012.  Our route took us South to Cochrane then West through Banff and over to Nelson via Cranbrook.  Good thing we were heading West as our first big snow storm hit on the Monday night - and we were leaving Cochrane Tuesday morning.  We contemplated our next move and decided to chance it.  No problem - drove out of the nasty stuff after we left Banff.  We weren't impressed with the cost of camping at Ft. Steele though - $49 and it is off season!  We only paid $29 in the Redwoods!

 First 2 nights at Bow Riversedge in Cochrane.  Didn't quite get out in time.  Drove out of it heading West.  Note the Satellite Dish sticking up.  We need to be retrained every year!!!  Remembered once we turned onto the TransCanada Hwy.  Had to power up the inverter to get the power to stow it down for travelling mode.  Should have looked at this picture before we left the RV Park!!  Duh!!!
 Parked at the entraceway to Bill and Dar's beautiful property.  Love those red Japanese Maples!  BC colors are later than AB.  Loved it.
 Sean supervising Barry at the burn piles.  The 'boys' had fun playing with fire!
 One of three dams on the Columbia River as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge.  Awesome scenery even in the rain.
 Fall colors along the I 5 in Oregon.
 We kept marvelling about the amount of truck traffic on the I 5.  Our rig is passing the big rigs here.  Missed the one with about 8 trucks in tandem and abreast.  They are courteous drivers however so not too stressful.
 We detoured off the I 5 at Grants' Pass onto the Redwood Highway winding down into the Redwoods of Northern California.  this was a beautiful winding 2 lane highway - didn't make great time but enjoyed the scenery.
 Camped in the Redwoods at Crescent city.  We woke to a sunny day - great for enjoying the majestic Redwoods.
 Just to put in perspective - the massive Forest - that is a big coach in front of us - towing a vehicle.
 Barry did an awesome job of wheeling our rig through this narrow and winding portion of the Redwood Highway.  Some of the big trees are literally flush with the side of the road.  We didn't scrape anything!!!

Mystical and oh so beautiful!

Pulling our Redwood through the Redwoods!

And another breathtaking view!
 At the base of the 'Big Tree' - stats below!

 Very sub tropical climate.  Dripping moss covered branches and giant ferns.  It was very humid and had that musty earthy smell.  Would love to revisit this area and spend some time hiking around the trails.

We are starting to come out of one section of the Redwoods.
 Out of the trees for the moment and right on the beach.  The waves were dramatic.  It had been raining for a few days - so everything was quite damp.
 An example of the hairpin turns on the Redwood Highway.  The scenic byway did not permit big trucks but we were able to travel it.
 We left the I 5 and the coast and cut back to the I 5 through the Shasta Trinity Ntl. Forest.  It too was very beautiful.  Twisting turns and cutbacks.  When they say 20 mph they mean it!
 Out of the Forests and into the Valley.  One of many laser levelled orchards in Northern CA,
 Buddy is getting far more relaxed about travelling - Finally!!!  He doesn't sleep though - sits like this watching Sandra most of the time we're on the road.  But an 11 hr. day (on our last driving day) was pushing it for him and he put on a little hyperventillating performance for us!  We got the message!  Enough already!!!!   And he was right - that was way tooooooo much!  But we were so close and we did make it to our final destination.

Thank goodness for "Margaret" our trusty GPS - she keeps us on track and out of trouble most of the time!  We have been known to make the odd U turn!  We'd never navigate that maze of roads without her.  Espcially pulling the trailer.

Spent a few days enjoying BC - first friends Bill and Darlene and then Sandra's Son Sean and wife Julie.  Had a minor (we were worried it was major) problem with the trailer - a burned out fuse the size of a thumbnail (totally shut our systems down till we fixed it) - managed to get the problem resolved in Spokane Valley - then we were on our way.  A new route for us down the I 5 through Washington, Oregon, and then California.  Beautiful contry - even in the rain!  Lots of truck traffic though - more it seemed than on the I 15 straight South of AB.  With our detours and visiting it took us two weeks to get to the site of our winter home in Queen Valley, AZ where we'll park the RV for 5 months.  Normally it would take us a week to get here.  Enjoyed the change of scenery - 4400 km vs. 3200 km via the I 15 route.  Again - pictures tell a better story:

Spring & Summer 2012

We are back!  After arriving home in early April and after  8 months on the road and away from home - we got to enjoy 3 heavy snow storms.  Just a reminder of what we miss all winter.

 Sean Eugene Christopher Slimmon
Born September 1, 2012

Grandma and Barry will be visiting the later part of January, 2013.  The trip will encompass Chinese New Year.  We can hardly wait - especially Grandma - wee Sean will be 5 months old by that time.  These pictures are in the first 2 months.

First Halloween.  2 months old.

 Vicky's sewing projects at Grandma's house.  Vicky comes for a sleepover and commandeers Grandma's sewing machine.  Grandma loves it!
 Playing blongo ball with Bella.  We play by Bella's rules!

 Doggy sitting my Granddog - Cookie.  Guess who is jealous!?
 The girls camping trip to Miquelon Lake.  Cycling, walking, beach time, and ice cream treats.  Had a tremendous week of 30 C temps.  Ronan and Barry brought us out and came to collect us at weeks end.  A great time!
 Grandma's Treat
 Mother and Daughter

Birdhouse builing project at Miquelon.  Dayna and Grandma held the nails while the girls pounded!  Ouch!

 Before and after the sunroom installation on our deck.  Had about 6 weeks to enjoy an extended season on our deck before heading South


 The girls and Grandma taking lunch to Barry in the hayfield.
 Grandma and Barry were treated to a Saturday Breakfast by the Cruz family then an enjoyable walk in the River Valley.  Perfect end to the Spring/Summer/Fall season before heading South.
Sandra & Dayna on the footbridge overlooking the N. Sk river.

 Miss Bella got tired and convinced Barry to give her a piggy back.  Daddy Ronan was next.

 Grandma Sandy with her 'Girls' - Daughter Dayna, Granddaughters Victoria and Bella
 Millions (Sandra's Dad's side of the family) Cousin gathering.

Ness (Sandra's Mother's side of the family) Cousin gathering with sole living Aunt - Selma.
We had a busy spring and summer - Barry farming, Sandra quilting, enjoying the Granddaughters,  having a sunroom installed on our deck and last but not least the highlight of the year - the birth of our first Grandson (Parents Damon and Sabrina in Taiwan) on September 1.  A few pictures will tell the stories.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Tonto National Monument

A view of the upper ruins of the cliff dwellers from the trail below
AZ Mistletoe - apparently the berries are edible
Well this very likely will be our last post before heading home in 10 days time.  We've had a wonderful trip and 8 months to the day from leaving home, we will start heading back home -  March 26, 2012.  We are ready and looking forward to being home again.

Many of our stops while in Canada included National Historic sites so it is only fitting that we should close off with a USA National Monument (the USA equivalent to our Ntl. Historic Sites) - namely the Tonto National Monument - the Cliff Dwellers dating back to 1250 - 1400 AD.  The Salado Indians - a blend of other Southwest migratory natives at that time - inhabited this area at that time. 

This was a reserved hike, and we had to be accompanied by a park guide.   Our guide gave us an excellent overview of how the 'people' utilized resources - plants and cactus in the area for their survival.  Only 15 people are allowed on each hike up to the upper cliff dwellings - a 600 foot climb through a riparian area then a dessert area of many switch backs.  Killer bees were in the area but our guide assured us they were just the worker bee variety (non aggressive)- and that they were loading up on water for their hives.  This was a huge leap of faith for Sandra who has had a bee phobia from early childhood.  Well our guide was right - we strolled through the stream bed and ignored the bees and they ignored us!  Whew!

The beginning of our hiking trail in the riparian area

Vines in the riparian area

Sycamore trees in the riparian area.  Apparently the bark of these trees turns an awesome shade of green wen it rains

Wash areas on the trail - our guide told us that one year when they'd had  a big rainfall (a day or so) this was a raging river - with boulders tumbling along in the water.  Amazing!  Your don't want to be caught in these back country washes during a rain storm.

A younger and older saguaro - note the rubs if the  deceased saguaro supporting the old  saguaro!  These Saguaro ribs are very strong and were utilized by the 'people' in the construction of their dwellings.  Saguaro ribs make for an excellent walking stick too.

The Upper Ruins - almost there!

Looking out from    within the ruins - multiple rooms. 

A cistern in one of the rooms that apparently held ~ 100 gallons of water

Food grinding tools - a metate (bowl) and mano (oval rocks)

One of the rooms in the ruins - structures up to 700 years 0ld.  The floor could very likely be a ceiling to a room below.

Roofing structure inside one of the rooms - note the saguaro ribs for strength

Outside view of the ruins

View of Theodore Roosevelt Lake from the upper ruins.  Apparently there are ~ 70 ruin sites in the Tonto basin.  Most have not been restored.  T Roosevelt created the Ntl. Monument in 1906 to protect the historic ruins.  The lake now covers much of what would have been the historic agricultural area of 'the people' at the time this area was inhabited.  It is projected that as the resources to support the' people' were depleted, they likely took to the hills and the cliff dwellings may have been a defensive move for survival.

Starting our hike down!
The pictures can tell the story!