It’s A Small World

If you may have read my last post here , you saw that we had a traumatic event when we lost the truck & camper we had spent the last 18 months custom building.  That event was 5 weeks ago this week.  The pain and drama of it all has worn off, and we are moving on.

Today… a fellow fire fighter sent us photos that someone going the opposite direction on the double divided highway had taken of John fighting his own truck fire.  It’s not often you get to see yourself in action at a major event in your life.

All I have to say is… it’s a small world, that these photos found their way to us.  What are the odds.  It has brought it all back for us… though we are still in the middle of cleaning up the aftermath, but the emotions of the moment are brought back to the forefront.

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BTW… the guy with the fire extinguisher in his hand (on the left) trying to put out the flames before the fire department arrived is John (my husband… and hero).  The guy standing behind the truck is a guy who was on his way to fire school… where John was headed… who was kind enough to loan him his fire extinguisher.

There has been a myriad of details that have come to light just in the stories that John recalls from the frenzy of events of that day.  The one that sticks the most in my mind is the fact that he estimates he had 2 minutes to get out of the truck.  He had tried to get back into the truck after trying to put out the engine fire to claim other goods.  In the midst of the engine fire, the doors of the truck had automatically locked.  Had John been inside he wouldn’t have been able to get out.  As it was he escaped with nothing more than the clothes on his back.  The Blue Ridge Fire Department t-shirt he is wearing, is the only one he has left, as all the others he had were destroyed in the fire… along with everything else in our 20 year old truck, less than year old utility bed and camper top… all GONE and destroyed in the fire.

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Sooooo…. there is a moral to this story.

We have purchased rescue tools for all our friends.

John has one tie wrapped to the hold bar on my Jeep.   Everyone should have one.  It may save your life one day.  Get one today.  They are cheap.  It’s like a center punch… one little click and it shatters the window and allows one to get out.  Never know when you might need one.

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First Fall

It seems too early, not even in October yet, but there is a definite chill in the air and you can feel winter is coming.  So we decided to do a scouting trip to check out Fall Colors.

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It’s a strange year, as some leaves are just turning from their resident bright green to shades of pale green.  Other maples are in full color and even falling to the ground floor.

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It certainly isn’t in full color, as the leaves are patchy only in some areas.  There’s no denying it though… it has started early, with more to come.  I love the mosaic tapestries that the leaves and tangle of trees weaves.  It’s fascinating to watch this myriad of color dot the landscape.

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It’s always fun and challenging to try to capture this awesome season and convey it’s many splendors.

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Mossy Rock Wall

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If you have followed a number of the posts on this blog, you would find that we have been doing front yard ‘landscaping’.  We built a paver stone pad for our corn hole games… and then got completely carried away and built a pizza oven.  You can see the posts on that here (Part 1), here (Part 2) and here (Part 3).  If you take a look at these, make sure you click on the videos to see the videos – the best part 🙂

To complete this section of the yard we decided to build a little pony wall and ‘decorate’ it with solid rock face made from mossy rocks we would collect in the forest.  Little did we know when we took on this project how much work it would really be!

Once we dug and poured the footer, laid the block wall and filled it with concrete we were ready to begin the real work!

First we collected a number of trailers full of hand selected flat mossy rocks from the woods.

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Then we carefully put a large rock base layer along the bottom.

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We chiseled rocks that were too roundy or large, down to a more flat even size.

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And proceeded to build up the wall with stone.

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Because they were such large stones we used screws anchored in the wall to hold them in place, mortared the back side, and used large metal ‘sticks’ to clamp them in place while they dried.

We worked side to side every day, picking the perfect rock to fit into its given space, trying to maintain as small of grout lines as possible.

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When all the rocks were in place, we used die to color our grout and custom applied and finessed the grout between each rock.

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Finally we made a cardboard template for the rock top.  The rock top will be custom cut to our template from rock we pick from the rock quarry in Drake, AZ (about 3-4 hrs from our home).

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Whew!  A lot of hard work pays off with a beautiful detail wall.

Milk Ranch Road

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Just off the Forest Road 300 is an obscure road marked FR 218:  Milk Ranch Road.  Along it are magnificent overlooks of the Mogollon Rim below.  One can find an open spot in the woods or down a long rocky rough road to be rewarded by this great expanse.

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If you’re lucky you’ll be blessed with amazing skies, puffy clouds, and remarkable sunsets and sunrises.  If you’re not, just enjoy the view, a nice picnic and peaceful, relaxing visit.

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For more from this trip and Lessons from a Squirrel check out my post HERE.

From the Archives: Austria

I have a friend going to Austria, so I wanted to post some pix to show her what to look forward to.  It’s been 10 years since we went to Austria, as hard as that is for me to believe.  It was a memorable trip with lots of great adventures we remember fondly.   These photos, while not of the caliber I have grown toward, will give her an idea of a variety of different areas.

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We went to a place called Barnbach with this controversial and eclectic church that was very photographic and interesting.  I remember the bakery across the street and the lovely pastry and friendly staff.  Funny the things you remember.

 

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We drove way up in the mountains to Glossglockner to see where the famous Edelweiss flower grows.

 

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We traveled to Werfen, outside of Salzburg, to do the ice caves (Eiseinenwelt) and had the most amazing meal at Restaurant Obauer…. truly memorable.

Salzburg itself was worth doing.  We loved the egg shop, Easter in Salzburg, where they had countless fragile painted and decorated hollowed egg shells.  Very cool.

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Being the salt fiend I am, we did Saltwerks in Bad Duurnberg, where we get dressed up in white suits to float in a boat through the old salt caves.  Very interesting and informative.

Vienna was wonderful for it’s eclectic and wonderful coffee shops with Sacher torte and other extravagant and decadent cakes (loved the 7-layer esterhazy torte and nusstorte).   We loved the wurstie stands, and had some of the best hotdogs we have ever had.

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We visited the Karlskirche church which was fascinating as they used their remodel and scaffolding as an opportunity to gain funds for the refurbishment.  So for a small fee we went up the scaffolding and got a very close view of the painting in the ceiling… awesome opportunity.

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We loved the Prater ferris wheel, built in 1847, made of all wood and still operating after all these years (and wars).  We actually took a ride in it, my very first ferris wheel ride.

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Stephansdom is the main cathedral and square in Vienna along the cobble stone streets.  Worth doing is the Mozarthaus, or Mozart museum made from Mozart old flat he lived in for a couple years when in Vienna.

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The catacombs inside the Stephansdom cathedral and a must-do… fascinating tour.

 

I think we were in Austria for 3 weeks.  We ate well, drank well, and ran our feet off.  We rented a car and took in as many cities and culture as we could.  I remember it being an educational and delicious trip.  Have fun!  Thanks for the opportunity to re-visit.

 

 

 

Oregon Waterfalls

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This is the second time we have been to Oregon in the last 8 months, who’d a thunk?  Not us, but circumstances were such that we had to take our big road trip back to Washington state and travel back down through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada to Arizona.  This time though, unlike the torrential rains we had in November, we had plenty of sunshine.

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We took this opportunity to do the waterfalls around Hood River, and Klamath Falls.  That’s one thing about the Washington / Oregon area… they do have an abundance of waterfalls, something we don’t see too much in AZ, particularly of this size.

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Highway 138 between Roseburg and Diamond Lake is actually called the Highway of Waterfalls, with nearly 2 dozen falls along the North Umpqua River in this short stretch of road.

xfalls_LR_IR.jpg In Oregon, they come in all different shapes, sizes and types.  They call them Thundering Waters and class them as Cascade, Segmented, Tiered, Horsetail, Punchbowl, Plunge, Block or Fan.

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I’m not sure how many we saw, but we did quite a few, and each cool in its own right.

 

Smokey Rim

It’s hard for me to imagine that this was our first trip to the rim this year.  It’s June already, and we just haven’t found time.  Life sometimes just gets away from one.

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Unfortunately another deterrent has been that much of ‘our’ rim has been closed due to a local fire…. WAY TOO CLOSE to home.  Only 20 miles away, this one was a scary one.  It was more the area that made it difficult for firefighters.  The rim is very steep with a lot of dead and down, fallen pine needles and thick dry forest due to years of Forest Service policy of no-burning.  This particular steep area can’t be reached by fire fighters, so all they could do was hold it back and try to avert it from cresting over the ridge.

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The good news of it is, that it had top priority in the Southwest, which meant that it got all the resources they needed.  Local control was handed over to the Feds, as they brought over 1200 firefighters, helicopters, and planes to douse it out and work the fire lines.  The comforting fact was that they were clearly working it hard… we had regular meetings held locally by the Forest Service to give us status reports and answer any questions we had.   It is now, thankfully, completely under control… and smoke is dissipating.

So we thought we’d make a trip to the rim – at least the outskirts of the area that isn’t closed – to see if we could get some pix.

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The animals were out if force, seemingly enjoying the nice day just as we were.

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We couldn’t actually get close enough to the fire to see any smoke, other than that on the murky horizon.  But we enjoyed a very pleasant and relaxing day out – and wondered, what has taken us so long?

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