Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 2012

I vowed I wouldn't let March end without one post to my blog to record a few memories. Here are some highlights of March and a preview of April.

We replaced our kitchen range with a model that uses spark ignition for the oven. Our previous range used over 300 watts of electricity when the oven was used. Only one company, Premier, makes a range with spark ignition in the oven. The spark lights a pilot which ignites the burner. Turn off the oven and both burner and pilot are extinguished.

Our refrigerator was just a few years old but we replaced it with a bottom freezer model. The new fridge is significantly larger than the model it replaced but uses slightly less electricity. Also, it has an ice maker which was lacking on our previous fridge.

We had planned both of these purchases for some time in the future "before retirement" but decided to wait no longer.

Over spring break we took an 830 miles trip on the motorcycle. It was cold and windy when we left so we wore our heavy jackets with liners and packed our mesh jackets. We didn't need the heavy jackets until the last morning when we neared Flagstaff. The weather in the southern part of the state was perfect. Our route took us through Sedona to Jerome and across Mingus Mountain on US 89, a road without a shortage of hairpin turns. A great ride! We met friends for supper in Wickenburg where we spent our first night.

Route of Trip

Spring Break Route.

The next day we rode to Ajo just north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Mexican border. We had reservations at The Guest House which is bed and breakfast that was built about 100 years ago for officials visiting the local mine. We enjoyed a brief visit to Organ Pipe. We passed through four border patrol checkpoints while in the Ajo area.

Our third day was a ride across the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation with a stop at Kitt Peak Observatory. I was surprised to learn the observatory has the widest array of instruments of any observatory in the world. Some of the telescopes are open to the public. After visiting Kitt Peak we enjoyed the twists and turns of the ride down the mountain to the valley floor and the remainder of the ride to Tucson where we spent the night.

The fourth day we rode north through Globe and along Lake Roosevelt to Payson for our last night. When we left the next morning the weather was cold and crisp. As we neared Flagstaff we both agreed we weren't ready to go home.

That weekend a snowstorm was forecast with one to two feet of snow. I was supposed to catch a shuttle to Phoenix at 5:00 AM Sunday morning to catch a flight to Nashville, Tennessee. Plans changed at the last minute. I caught a shuttle on Saturday and spent the night near the airport. By Sunday morning Flagstaff had 14 inches of snow and the highway to Phoenix was closed.

My son lives about two hours north of Nashville. He was in the hotel lobby waiting when I arrived so we had supper together. On Tuesday morning he phoned and suggested we meet again. It was good to see him since it had been a little over a year since were were last together.

Friday after returning from Nashville I gave one of several talks at the local home and garden show. The talks are given annually by the Master Gardener Association. My subject was Passive Solar Greenhouse and Sun Space Design. I enjoyed the preparation and presentation. I think I'll add my name to the association's speakers list.

Next week I have a backpacking trip planned. This will make my fifth trip with Todd. We have about 30 miles planned. While I'm in the canyon Julie may meet her sister in Albuquerque.

Two weeks after this trip we have another backpacking trip. Julie's daughter and son-in-law, Abby and Shawn, are coming from Dallas, Texas, and Shawn's sister, Aimee, is coming from Montreal, Canada, for a trip into the canyon. I have a permit for one area that gives us about four options for a route. I'm going to show photos and let them pick the route.

Working full time has gotten old. I enjoy my job and am working on some interesting projects but I don't have enough time for gardening, projects around home and blogging.