Wandering to Zion…Part Two

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man
Part One and a Half…Wandering to Zion
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We were meandering; taking our sweet time getting to our ultimate destination of Zion National Park.  Zion was so crowded that we figured it was the perfect excuse to explore lesser known parks.

That’s how we roll, me and my tugboat man. This was the most relaxed road trip we’ve embarked upon; no stress or pressure — no deadline.

Moving on, literally…we left Payson, Arizona and drove to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. We hiked to the largest travertine bridge in the world — 183 feet high with a tunnel width of 150 feet and length of 400 feet.

There was a bit of scary, slippery rock scrambling with a moderately steep drop; not one of my favorite things to do, but the view was worth it.

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Our next stop was the nearly 700 year-old Salado cave dwellings at Tonto National Monument. To get to them, there’s a steep but paved one-mile round-trip trail that ascends 350 feet to the Lower Cave Dwelling.

Built in the early 14th century, this village was part of a vast multi-cultural network that extended from the Four Corners region to Northern Mexico. While remnants of thousands of similar villages dot the Southwest, this well-preserved building represents one of the last Salido cliff dwellings. Local springs provided water for Paleo-Indians who lived here over 10,500 years ago.

There was so much to see and be amazed by –

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t am so in LOVE with Saguaro cactus — those arms that dot the landscape all over Arizona. We don’t have that variety of cactus in SoCal. I got a package of seeds and hope they sprout.

Saguaro cactus

Along the road, whenever we saw something that looked cool, we’d stop and follow a trail or hike to a monument or a site.

OldHouseAZ

It began to get late and we couldn’t find a campground again so we stayed at a Howard Johnson in Holbrook, Arizona. There was a quaint little Italian restaurant in walking distance with great pizza and decent chianti.

I’m not overly fond of hotels — I always make hub check for bugs and bring my own sanitizer — but it’s nice to take a shower and wash off the dust at the end of a long day. I don’t care if it’s a a five-star hotel, either. Have you seen those TV shows that expose the dirt and germs? So much ick, right?

Side note: Only in California do all public restrooms provide seat protectors. There needs to be a Federal law that make seat protectors mandatory. I HATE going all old school with toilet paper lining the seat — but I NEED that barrier between me and the rest of the world

Next time, Part Three of Wandering to Zion with Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part One and a Half…Wandering to Zion

Monday, April 14…7:00 a.m.

Coffee, check. Dressed in cute hiking outfit, check.

Ready to take on the day with Chanel and sturdy but stylish hiking boots when my prudent tugboat man decided to re-investigate the source of the squeaks under the hood.

He walked over to O’Reilly Auto Parts, conveniently located next door to this five-star establishment, chatted up the problem with the auto experts, and determined that the sounds are associated with the possibility that a bearing could freeze up and shred all the pulleys and belts and we’d be really in a pickle. (See, I do listen to him some of the time   uh, hardly any of the time.)

Ever the prepared captain, he brought tools with which to perform the delicate repair which means I have an hour to sit in the hotel room and enjoy this fine view.

Comfort Inn, Payson, Arizona outsidehotel

Stuff like this — abrupt changes in plans —  don’t really bother me when I’m on vacation;  I’ll read for a bit, write a bonus post, and re-pack my gear.

What are you guys doing today?

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I forgot to include this photos from yesterday’s drive around Palm Springs and Coachella. 

There’s still a bit of snow on Mt. San Jacinto.
snowmtsanjacinto

Look at all these windmills!. There are thousands of them. It’s too bad so many birds are killed by the wind generating system.

windmills palm springs

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Day One… Sunday, April 13

Sort of a late departure at 9:30 a.m. ‘cos we still had some packing to do and my tugboat man wanted French toast for breakfast. Since he does 100% of the driving, he deserved a bit of pampering, right?

Vehicle mileage 176,080

We stopped at Vons to get water and ice before heading East on the 78 to North 15.

There was a squeaky sound near a belt or bearing or something that was annoying hub; I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying — blah blah blah, and we stopped to buy a small can of WD-40 at Lowe’s in Escondido and got back on the road.

11:35 a.m. On Highway 10, OMG, just saw a solo rollover crash on the south side of the freeway; we didn’t stop because so many other good samaritans had already pulled over to render aid  – hope it won’t a driver distracted by texting.

12:30 p.m. Ate lunch at a rest stop just outside Coachella where the music festival is happening this weekend.  35-40 mph winds, crazy windy!

7:00 p.m. Because it’s Easter week and everything’s so crowded, we changed our itinerary a bit and drove all the way to Payson, Arizona where we’re spending the night at a Comfort Inn.

Tomorrow we plan to leave early to hike to 13th century Native American pueblos, and then drive to the Petrified Forest National Park  – after than, we’re on to something hub found called The Grand Staircase or “escarpments” — after that the Grand Canyon, ending up at Zion later in the week.

Or something like that.

We’re pretty flexible. If we see something interesting, we’ll stop and camp and hike even if it’s not on our official itinerary.

The scenery here in and around Payson, Arizona is amazing. It’s in the middle of Navajo country.

We drove through Maricopa County, home to the eccentric and notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but we didn’t see any of his pink-clad chain prisoners, I’m glad to say.

We walked over to Denny’s Restaurant for dinner. I had a veggie burger and hub had grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli. Everything was surprisingly delicious — or maybe we were just starved.

Good night!

Click on each pic to see a larger version.

 

Wandering To Zion

FINALLY, my tugboat man recovered from his bout with the flu and we’re packed and ready to leave early Sunday morning on a road trip to Zion National Park

It’s a place we’ve always wanted to visit — hopefully we’ll get to more than one park –have you seen all the TV commercials about Utah’s Mighty Five?

Utah’s five national parks have it all. See unique soaring spires, towering pinnacles, sandstone canyons, and intricately eroded arches of sculptured stone.

I’d love to camp and hike at Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, too, and we’ll be try to include at least a couple days at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

We might stay at a hotel or a lodge for a night, especially since the weather calls for night temps in the 30s and the possibility of rain.

It’s been a while since we’ve gone off the grid for a while; I’m really looking forward to beautiful country and some long, rigorous hikes.

Wearing my Chanel sunglasses to pop a squat in the desert; always fashion forward no matter where I go, that’s the way I roll.

Yay for adventures!

panoZION

 

 

 

 

 

Flowering Mulberry Tree — Photos

Even in SoCal, fruit trees go through the whole process of dropping leaves in the fall, staying dormant through our mild winter, and spring is the time for budding, flowering, and fruit development.

This is our uber-prolific mulberry tree with fresh new leaves and unique flowers.

As the new leaves develop in mid-spring, tiny male and female flowers hang on separate small, slender, inconspicuous spikes. The male cluster is longer, the female rounder.

It’s been unseasonably warm — almost ninety degrees!! — and I think that’s what is causing an early flowering.

mulberry2 mulberry1

Click on the link for my mulberry jam recipe. http://enchantedseashells.com/2013/06/25/here-we-go-round-the-mulberry-bush-tree/

 

*Secret Location* Hike with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Now that my masterful mariner is totes recovered from the flu and the weather is AMAZING, it was time to drag him away from watching surf videos in his man cave and hit the dusty trails.

I can’t tell you where this spot is.

I wish I could but I can’t.

BUT  I promise if you come to my neck of the woods, I’ll blindfold you and take you there and you will LOVE it as much as we do. I promise.

In one direction, there’s a spectacular view of the ocean and off to the east you can see snow high atop the peaks of Mt. San Jacinto near Palm Springs. We could see snow today, but it was a bit hazy and the pic didn’t come out very good.

It used to be a place that only locals knew about; really primitive, but over the years the trails have expanded and are now managed and maintained and protected as open space by the city of Carlsbad, which is one of the FEW good things they’ve ever done (now you know what I think of the politics in my little town).

This secret spot is about five minutes by car from our house; sometimes we ride bicycles there but now we only have one bicycle ‘cos my son took tugboat man’s to a seminar at UC Irvine and it got stolen and we haven’t yet replaced it.

I snapped lots of pics. Click on them for a bigger and better view.

If you think you know where we are, let me know!

 

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~Catherine Douzel

We love tea.

We can’t do without our afternoon cuppa.

Fragrant spiraling steam from the spout signals to the senses that proper steeping has occurred and it’s time to pour a golden amber or grassy green stream of molten happiness. 

Ahhh. That first sip never fails to satisfy — to stop time for a moment and live IN that moment of pure pleasure.

A pot of tea is a wondrous thing.

(It’s so funny; as I re-read what I wrote, I could easily substitute champagne or tequila  – also my favorite beverages — for “tea.” LOL)

teapot9Ginger, Korean ginseng, Yogi green tea, genmaicha, even fennel seeds (steeped in boiling water and delicious)…and once in a while Twinings or PG Tips .

I never consciously decided to collect teapots, but they seem to be growing and multiplying and spawning others to join our family.

Navigate through these seven teapots; some given as gifts, some found abandoned and dusty in thrift stores and secondhand shops;  some purchased fresh and new.

Are you a tea lover? What’s your fave?

A few of my favorite quotes about tea: 

Make tea, not war. ~Monty Python

Tea is a divine herb. ~Xu Guangqi

Having picked some tea, he drank it,
Then he sprouted wings,
And flew to a fairy mansion,
To escape the emptiness of the world….
~Chiao Jen

Where there’s tea there’s hope. ~Arthur Wing Pinero

Great love affairs start with champagne and end with tisane. ~Honoré de Balzac

Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. ~Chinese Proverb

 Some of my faves…

Cast iron teapot, great for genmaicha.Cast iron teapot

Polka dot pot!Polka dot pot

Tea for one.

Tea for one Flowers and lilac; think frilly frocks and high tea. “Pass the scones, my dear.”Lilacs and flowers

A woodland fantasy of pink and green.

Frogs and flowers

From one of my tugboat man’s voyages to Trinindad; only ornamental but spectacularly hand painted and primitive.

Ornamental teapot from Trinidad

A beautiful sculptured teaset for our twentieth wedding anniversary from Angel Boy and DIL. China is the traditional 20th gift. Thank you, guys!   We had guests yesterday afternoon and  I served tea in these elegant cups. So classy!

Beautiful white sculptured pot and cupsI’ll plan a Part Two with pics of my other teapots, the antique ones.

 

Throwback Thursday: What The Heck IS This Thing?

Do you know what this is?

Hint: It used to be my job when my mom baked.**

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walnut-pieces**P.S. It’s a nut grinder! Did you guess correctly?

A garden

Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife:

This is a blog y’all should follow. Writing is amazing, photos are spectacular. I love this poem.

Originally posted on Hortus Closus:

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Painting by Vladimir Volegov

I breed my princess
In a musical garden.
Silence reigns.

The wind is the orchestra,
Birds and sea are the choral.

View original

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cairn for Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday’s almost over; 5:00 p.m. in SoCal — a few minutes ago I took these chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, stacked them up, and snapped a few pics.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cairn

chocolate chip cookie cairn5

chocolate chip cookie cairn