4/22/09 Hello from Cortez, Colorado. Besides the fact that this was kind of on our way to Denver, this is the home of Elaine's former sister-in-law and her daughter and husband. Recently Elaine's kids asked about their Aunt Joyce, their Dad's sister, whom they used to see periodically when they were young and Joyce & Don lived in Southern California. Elaine had to admit that no one had been in touch with each other for quite a few years, so she decided to look them up if we were in the area. Elaine called Joyce and she was excited that we would be coming and bringing news and contact information about the rest of the family. Yesterday, we arrived here, got set up at the Elks Lodge, where there is one electrical hookup and a great view of the snow capped mountains in the distance, and then went up to Joyce & Don's house which is located about 1/2 mile away. Here is a picture of the snow-capped mountains which is their front yard view:
They built a new house, with their backyard right on the golf course, three years ago. It is gorgeous and here are a few pictures of it:
Joyce in her new kitchen:
The colorful living room:
Joyce had a delicious dinner ready for us and we shared it with her husband, Don, her daughter, Darlene, and Darlene's husband, Ray. Here are some pictures of these happy couples:
Joyce and Don:
Darlene & Ray:
Tonight we are reciprocating by having them over for a homemade pizza dinner in our RV.
Prior to coming here, we were at Meteor Crater RV Park to have a visit with Frank Pease. Elaine and I worked with him at Lake Kachess two summers ago. Right after we arrived there, Carole and Dick Schneider called to say they would be joining us because they were on their way to Albuquerque. Then Mike & Marilyn decided that they would come up there too, in between doctor visits in Phoenix. So we had a nice little gathering of friends every night for Happy Hour and dinner. Here is a picture of me with Carole, Dick & Frank the night we all ate in their new Winnebago Adventurer:
Frank works at the Meteor Crater site and he got us all into the museum and crater for free. Thanks Frank!! This was quite a saving, because the entry fee for adults is $15 each! The crater is privately owned by the family of a guy who investigated it early on and then purchased the land. But they do not keep the money that is made after expenses are paid; they donate it for further research, such as to the geology department of the local University.
Meteor Crater is about 2 1/2 miles in circumference and 550 feet deep. It was created about 50,000 years ago when a meteor of a fairly small size (about 150 feet) hit the earth going so fast that it created this huge crater:
Besides the museum, where there is an interesting film, and many creative exhibits, there is a large rock shop, gift shop, and a Subway sandwich shop. There are viewing platforms, and also each hour a one mile guided hike along the rim trail.
Here is a picture of us on the Crater Hike:
On another day, Carole, Dick, Elaine and I explored the nearby Walnut Canyon National Monument. This is a canyon where the Zuni Indians used the many sheltered spaces under the ledges to live, by bricking in walls and raising crops on the mesas, during the time period of about 1100 to 1250 AD. There were 250 steps on the trail that took us down to the site, but it was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed the hike. Here are a few pictures:
A view of the canyon cliff with homes in it:
Dick, Carole & Elaine on the Island Trail down to the homesteads:
Carole in front of one of the houses:
Mary & Elaine In A Doorway:
After that we drove into Flagstaff for lunch, a quick drive around the old historic downtown, which is felled with wonderful stone block buildings, and a few hours in the Museum at Northern Arizona University. The exhibits here concentrate on the culture of the local indigenous peoples with a few dinosaur skeletons discovered locally as well. We were especially impressed with some of the jewelry:
On Frank's day off, Carole, Elaine and I went hiking with him at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, as well as visiting some parks and also a natural foods store, where we ate in the deli for lunch.
Frank was doing great and it was such a delight to have three days of visits with him and also share him with our good friends.
The next few days here in Cortez will probably find us doing some day trips to the nearby attractions. We have already visited Mesa Verde National Park, so we will try some new sites, perhaps heading towards Monument Valley. No matter what we do, we will be heading for Denver on Sunday as we have a planned visit with my twin, Marsha, starting Monday. Thank goodness the weather has improved and we are having sunny days and clear roads!