Monday, September 28, 2015

A family gathers.............

 On a beautiful day  in September, family and friends gathered to remember and celebrate the long life of Tom Haney.     Tom and Sandy built a wonderful home and family in the hills near Salinas/Monterey.    Tom was a master cabinet maker and avid car enthusiast and devoted Dad.

Sandy and Matthew and Patrick remembered Tom in laughter and tears. 

 The bagpiper was an uplifting finale to the Celebration.

 Patrick and Julie...........parents of Nathan and Justin.

 Sandy is known for her talents with flowers and design.

Maribel is a delightful Mother of 5.   She and Matthew live in Yuma.   
The siblings gather once again.....Tom, Moi, Sandy and Maureen.    Always filled with laughter and stories of long long ago.   

Sandy greeting Melanie.............

I have been writing this blog for eons it seems.....and I know pretty well which of our friends and family keep up with my chatter .....altho VERY FEW ever comment !!!     When I check my stats now and then, I'm always surprised at how many "hits" I get each day........often more than 50 and sometimes up to 70+.    I've often wondered how that can be and who is out there in the great cyberspace that is interested  in this chatter.....I figure it's mostly some sort of random search engine.       Well, imagine my surprise when Melanie came up and greeted Paul and I by name !!   She is a colleague of Sandy's and has followed us for several years.   It's really weird to talk with a stranger  who knows so much about us.    Thanks Melanie for joining us on our rambling brightened our day !!

And so, we board the bus and head back to our mountains............ we may stop along the way or we may not.   Stay tuned.................It was a perfect weekend and time with family is always so valued and so special.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The majesty of nature........

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are a majestic experience.   And they are viewed in all of their natural beauty.    With the exception of that glass walkway over the canyon, the 5 hour drive from Banff to Jasper is unsullied by billboards and advertising and touristy buildings.   It is  au it was meant to be.    

 This ice field is on the tour bus route but aside from all the buses and cars in the parking lot,  the scenic beauty stands out.

This brown bear was scampering away once the photographers appeared. 


 This magnificent elk kept a close watch on his harem deeper in the woods.

 We wandered along a deep cleft in the landscape one drizzly afternoon.     Maligne Canyon is about a 5 mile walk along it's length and was very busy.    We opted not to go the distance as it was a one way trek and we didn't want to do 10 miles to see the waterfalls.     The gift shop ( and isn't there ALWAYS a gift shop ) at the parking lot had some very high end art.    There were many sculptures, most done by the aboriginal people of Canada......I think we would call them Eskimos but not sure if that is PC these days.      They had prices near $500,000 US dollars !!!!  

It was  a good could have been perfect if the weather had cooperated.     We hustled back across the border and into Montana.    It was a luxury to come back to using all our electronics once again and to have the TV find a satellite ( too many trees up there) and full hook ups so water wasn't rationed in the showers.   Weather improved dramatically and we stopped wearing the long pants and long sleeves.  

We're enjoying September weather ..... aspens are just starting and the birches and cottonwoods are losing leaves.     The hummingbirds aren't at the feeder any more and the birds are quieter....or gone.  
I'm knitting with a luscious wool/silk/angora mix for a wrap...... like I need that in the winter in Florida but couldn't resist the loveliness of it.  
The social scene around Cobble Creek is busier than ever.      The Valley Symphony had a wonderful concert outside the clubhouse the other night.    It's a volunteer mix of all ages from the surrounding communities and the Pops Concert was a real winner.      A golf event is next week with a Margaritaville theme and you don't need to be able to play golf....but you do need your Hawaiian shirt and flip flops.     I'm always amazed at the depth of the Community calendar in the paper for the surrounding area.    Montrose is only about 20,000 but it is very dynamic.   ( The Villages is over 105,000 !!!!  )

We'll hitch up the horses to the covered wagon and head west next week.      That will probably guarantee rain and hail and snow in California.          Talk later....................

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mountains everywhere...........

 We're home.    We were on the road for about 18 days.   When last we chatted, we had been in the Tetons and then up to Waterton NP.    Paul had meticulously planned this trip, getting NP campground reservations 6 months ago.    We were looking forward to the late summer/early fall that can be so beautiful in the Rockies and usually less crowded.    Two things we didn't consider....Canadians celebrate Labor Day the same time as we do and that the western fires and Canadian weather would impact us as much as it did.        It left us wanting and thinking that we need to go back............someday.  

 This is one last view of the Tetons at sunset.    We never had brilliant sunsets but the mountains still managed to shine.    Ignore the blurry boats.......... my photography skills were probably at their worst this trip and often I did not even carry a camera in the rain.

Leaving the Tetons, we drove thru Yellowstone, which is right next door.     I'm sure it was scenic later in the day, but we hit morning fog.

We crossed the Canadian border with no issues and the smoke was thick and acrid on our way to Waterton.     There actually are mountains here and quite prominent but not for us.   

After Waterton, which really is a beautiful area and where we enjoyed the hike across the border to BC, we headed farther north to Banff NP.    I had been there as a member of our HS band when we went up to play in the Calgary Stampede.   And P and I went back probably 20+ years ago and spent a night altho he denies he was ever there.      Banff is very pretty but it was so busy.    And the various languages heard on the street are impressive.     Japanese (or Asian) seem to be in the majority and again , the tour buses were everywhere.    
It was drizzly or raining and very chilly all 3 days.    We didn't hike but the Canadians are a stalwart bunch and there were many many tents in the CG and the parking lots for the hiking trails were always jammed despite the weather.   

We did see a couple of bears...this one was actually quite a large one.  

 We headed over to Lake Louise one rainy cold day.   The hotel, built by the railroads in the 1920's is impressive.

Yes, it was really that gloomy ..........I couldn't even enhance this for a brighter view.  
Mostly, we read a lot, wandered thru some stores and finally bought a new sim card for the iPad so we could check email now and then.    The Visitor's Centers were about the only places with reliable WiFi.    It's really a sad commentary on our lifestyle when we find it so hard to be disconnected.   Our reliance on the internet for answers to basic questions and directions is crippling when it's not available.   We put the phones on Airplane mode and turned off the data in order not to get hit with exorbitant fees.    
After having our iPad activated, we realized that the weather was not going to improve and we vacillated for a day on whether we would venture farther north to Jasper NP.    It is a 5 hour drive and we couldn't see much advantage of sitting in the rain in another campground.    But, since we had the reservations and one young man somewhere said it was one of the most beautiful rides, we packed up and headed farther north.  

 We were on the Trans Canada highway and these are the many crossovers they have built for the wildlife.  

 The ride is a picture postcard around every corner.   Of course, it rained, snowed and hailed and was cloudy the entire way.

We came upon this glass walkway jutting out over a canyon.   Called the Glacial Skywalk, it was quite popular but you'd never get me on it.    I grabbed a fuzzy pic as we sped by.

 As we got closer to Jasper, the skies began to clear a bit.    Note the contrast in the water color, which was turquoise in all the streams, rivers and lakes and the blue sky.   An unedited picture.....
I'll talk more about Jasper in my next posting.