Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day; Sedona; Slap Ya Mama; A Juliana What? Flagstaff


First, a reminder that this is Memorial Day weekend, when we commemorate all those who have given their lives in the service of our great nation. It is particularly poignant to us because of our daughter Susan, a sergeant in the Marine Corps, who was struck and killed by lightning in 2006; she was six months pregnant. We would like to acknowledge all service members who have died on active duty and the sacrifices they and their families have made. 










Gosh, the past month has flown by! My last post had us in Prescott, Arizona, and we have just arrived in Provo, Utah. That's about 850 road miles, what with detours to Sedona, Flagstaff, Las Vegas and Zion National Park. So let's get caught up on some of our travels... and some travails.



Just before departing Prescott, MLB decided we should go on a bike ride. I wanted to find a nice flat paved trail where I could cruise along sedately and stop periodically for a refreshing glass of Sangria, but, "No, Ty... there are some moderately challenging mountain bike trails over at Emory-Riddle Air University, where we saw the rattlesnakes last year. Even you can do those... Mount up!" Sigh...








From Prescott, we motored north an hour and a half to Sedona, where we camped out at the Elks Lodge right downtown. Sedona is known for its red rock mountains and mesas, but also for its spiritual energy. Obviously, Suzanne is more tuned in to the energy here than I, but I can also appreciate Sedona's more sublime qualities, other than its serenely sculpted sandstone.







Our first hike took us on the airport loop trail with pretty decent views... I thought this cute hiker was as scenic as the red rock views.






















But our week in Sedona wasn't all hiking. We got together twice with Lisa and Rick Wilcoxson for dinner at our two favorite Sedona restaurants, Mariposa and Dahl &DiLuca. Owner and Chef Lisa Dahl (center) graciously met us at both, and needless to say the food and company were 5 star! (If you're ever in Sedona, you MUST have dinner at one of Lisa's exceptional award-winning restaurants...)












While on a solo hike in Sedona, I came upon a group of volunteer search and rescue (SAR) guys on a training hike. For some reason, the attention of these guys was riveted upon a young blonde in short shorts taking a photo... "Dudes, wake up!!!"















The view from Brin's Mesa (via the Soldier's Pass trail) is terrific - Sedona lies about 5 miles in the distance, and the red rock vistas are stunning in every direction.
















Of course, the reason we had come to Sedona was not for hiking - Suzanne was presenting her Serving Spirit Level 2 class in mediumship at the Sedona Creative Life Center, a beautiful campus on the north side of Sedona. There were many happy attendees in this class!






Okay, back to one of my favorite subjects, FOOD... back in Louisiana, Debbie Mercier had given us a container of her favorite Cajun seasoning, Slap Ya Mama, made in Ville Platte, LA, which the cognoscenti know as the parish seat of Evangeline Parish, the heart of Cajun Country. My Lovely Bride loves it as well, and because it is a low sodium seasoning, she is using it a lot, on eggs, fish, chicken, vegetables... on almost everything except ice cream...
















While walking around our campground, we came across the first non-canine/-feline pet on a leash that we had ever met - a Juliana pig. Rudy seemed to think he was just another dog, albeit somewhat odd-looking. Seriously, a pig... his owner said that the breed is very friendly, so much so that they want to sit in your lap all the time. The pig also sleeps with him... I have to admit, I'm not sure I'd want to tell my friends that "I sleep with a pig..."











Speaking of our dear pups Rudy and Gretchen, they are enjoying our summer tour, but little Gretchen had a bout of GI distress and acute dehydration two weeks ago, and had to be admitted to the ER for a night. She was on an IV and several meds for a week, but is now recovering.












Our next stop was Flagstaff, where we spent a lot of time with Janean Quigley, a Shining Light Mom whom we had met at the Helping Parents Heal Conference in Scottsdale in April. Janean was our tour director and hiking/mountain biking guide/companion in Flagstaff... here we are on the Kachina Trail, a delightful seven mile trek between 8,800 and 9,500 ft through aspen groves and Ponderosa pine forests on the south slopes of the San Francisco Peaks in Coconino National Forest. The cute dog is Luna, Janean's inexhaustible Labradoodle.










The Kachina Trail's scenery was spectacular. We love aspens, and those here in "Flag" made our day. Those above 9,000 feet were still leafless, but those at 8,800 feet were just showing their new Spring leaves.













Janean and Suzanne were keeping a fast pace, and at one point I had to ask for a break... it's not easy keeping up with two young fifty-somethings!






















We also did some serious (for us) mountain biking with Janean and Laurie, another Shining Light mom. Laurie is as hard-core a mountain biker as I have met, and she would have ridden us into the ground if I hadn't whimpered... so much for my macho pride!











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