A-1 Lake

July / August is the perfect time of year to enjoy our lakes and rivers. The weather in Northern AZ is as good as it gets, and the water location yield great fishing and wonderful views.

We have hit over a dozen lakes this year, continuing the trend we decided to check out A-1 Lake outside of Pinetop-Lakeside.

The lakes not only offer great views, but amazing wildlife. This time of year is also full of baby animals of all types.

Early morning hours sometimes gift us with wonderful skies, great light, and early birds.

We love to see the innocence of youth in its beautiful environment.

Chasing the Weather

There is something to be said about chasing the weather.

I posted about Granite Dells here …. https://kritterspix.com/2022/03/25/blue-sky-blues/

Granite Dells is a picturesque lake with almost 2 miles of 1.4 billion year old Precambrian granite boulders protruding the water’s surface.

When we were there previously we got nothing but blue skies. So we decided to go back when weather predicted clouds. Tuesday was the day, according to the forecast. So we made reservations at the Watson Lake Park campground, feeling lucky to get a spot. Oh, but wait…. the forecast changed! Now it was Monday. After much cajoling of the City of Prescott, we were able to move our reservations to Monday.

This is the second time in a row we moved our reservations to accomodate the weather. Both re-scheduled launch times proved fruitful, as the weather the earlier night we arrived was the best it had been the whole time we were there.

It pays to be flexible and change with the weather.

Interestingly enough, Granite Dells is a sunrise spot as the sun peaks over the rocks to yield its lovely light. Of course, this can be a blessing or a curse with its harsh light and dark shadows. It all comes down to the clouds and how they may play out. Sunsets are equally opportunistic with the sun at one’s back and glows she may cast on the rocks, along with any light the clouds may cast on the water below.

For our re-scheduled visit, we got sunset light with clouds; and sunrise blue sky.

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is home to the famed London Bridge, but it is also home to a lot of RV’ers and boaters.

During our brief stay, we had a wonderful visit with our special friends, and saw an abundance of large (& fast) boats driving through town and on the waterways. Though February is not necessarily prime time for the boaters, it certainly was for the RV’ers, who litter the campgrounds and desert with big rigs.

While we weren’t there long, we enjoyed our stay and the warm weather (89F) away from our snow packed roads (6F the morning we left).

Gotta love the diversity of Arizona.

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.

 

Northern California Coast

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After all the scenic overviews we had along the Oregon coast, we were a bit surprised by the lack of ocean views along the Northern California Coast.  Granted California has a lot of beach and ocean views… but I’m not talking about San Diego, Mission Beach, or Redondo Beach.  I’m talking about the section from Crescent City, CA to just north of San Francisco.

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This area tucks inland and goes through some very pretty red wood country.  There are a number of ‘alternate routes’ like the Humboldt State Park that are certainly worth doing to get the full exposure to the redwoods… not just highway driving, which is what most of this drive feels like.  While there are small towns in between, they seem to be working towns, run down and dilapidated.  They aren’t the popular tourist towns bustling with people and shops like Sausalito.

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There are the occasional signs that says ‘Coastal Access’ … turn here. If you drive down the long dirt road (and back) it’ll take an hour with no premonition of the view until you get there.  Once you do, it yield beach access to the ocean and beach, but no great views, no jutting rocks.

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The best ocean views along this stretch is between Jenner and Bodega Bay… with the added advantage that you can tuck into the quaint charming winery towns from Jenner.  You can visit Duncan Mills, Guerneville, Sonoma, many more.

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Wagon Wheel Park

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We are always on the lookout for a nice place to relax and have lunch.  It makes for a great little outing in a tranquil, peaceful environment.  It keeps us sane and stress free from life’s stress inhibitors.  So when a Firefighter friend mentioned this cascading stream just outside of Payson, only an hour or so from the house.. we were all in.

Wagon Wheel park is unmarked, and uncrowded, yet right in the city.  The turn off is actually directly across the street from the Home Depot.  As you wind through a residential looking road you wind up with parking areas on either side allowing one the opportunity to walk the creek and settle in for a picnic.

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Even the dog had fun playing in the water as she chased a stick and wore herself out.

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It was great fun, relaxing, and a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Dual Use Wine

So what do you do with the wine bottle after you drink it?  I know, I know… make glasses!  Not what you were thinking?  Well, that’s what we do with them.  It’s an insane project I must admit.

First, you have to drink the wine.

Then, you have to wash the bottle and score the wine bottle with a hand glass cutter.  We like using wine bottles that have some fun painted-on labels these days… rather than having to take off the paper labels.

Next (we have to figure out a better process someday), we use a candle and heat around the glass score mark the circumference of the bottle for several minutes… then run to the closest cold water spigot and chill it down…. keeping your fingers crossed and your breath held hoping it breaks perfectly when you gently tap it on the corner of the sink.

Finally, you sand sand sand to get the edge nice and clean.  Being careful to not overdue it, as if the glass gets too hot it will break in your hands.

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It’s a long tedious process for every single glass.  We often wonder why we continue to do them… but them make great gifts that our friends seem to enjoy.  I wonder if they realize how much work goes into every glass?

In the end, you have a cool wine bottle glass that tells it’s own story with individuality and uniqueness…. and you got to enjoy the wine.