December 31, 2004

Coming Home

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:53 pm by diandy2004

Well, life was different when we returned.  We got home on December 1st and felt like strangers in a familiar land.  Things were the same, yet felt very different.  Some changes were due to the hurricanes.  Many large banyan trees and oak trees that used to add so much character to our otherwise flat landscape were missing.  Blue tarps covered many rooftops.  Beaches were altered.  Businesses or restaurants closed due to damages.  Other changes reflected the continual increase in the number of people moving to south Florida – more high- or mid-rise buildings sprouting up, and the traffic.  Traffic here this winter is the worst we have ever experienced.  Could it be that our perspective changed?  After a year of traveling across country in relatively open or rural areas we thought at first it was our perspective that was different.  But no, we’ve been here for two months now and we still think traffic has never been so bad.  Including our little city of Boca.

But living in an RV did show us that we can live happily in smaller quarters.  Our house suddenly seemed so large.  And all of a sudden we began to really appreciate the fact that in the RV we didn’t have so much home maintenance to worry about.  Cleaning all of the space we realized we didn’t need; home repairs; yard-work.  Granted, a lot of it was “catch-up” due to the home being vacant for a year, but we started to re-evaluate our lives and what we wanted to do with our time.  This was the beginning of our thoughts on down-sizing into a condo.

The last two weeks in December we spent in Philly visiting our families for the holiday.  My (Diane’s) mother is planning a move from the home we grew up in, so much of my time was spent helping her with home repairs, packing, etc.  It felt good to help her prepare for her down-sizing to a place more appropriate for her, too!

Needless to say, we didn’t get to think much more about our life until we returned in January.  To read more about the changes in our life and our future travel plans you’ll need to continue reading our 2005 blog or return to our website Diandy.com and click on the current weblog to see what we’re doing today!

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November 28, 2004

Orlando & New Smyrna Beach, FL

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:51 pm by diandy2004

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this many rednecks…no wonder Andy’s brother Joe likes central Florida so much – he fits right in! Only kidding Joe (but do visit again for pictures of Joe riding his jet ski while it’s still on the trailer). Thanksgiving with family was wonderful, as usual. Dot and Joe open their home to not only family, but several friends. This year there were 18 for dinner with more visitors dropping in afterwards.

Saturday morning we popped in on our friends Gerry and Chris Thomas who have just relocated to Orlando. Literally – the movers were there delivering furniture Saturday. When we saw them in January, Colin was an infant, and now he is teetering around trying to walk. So we spent a few hours at their new home before heading over to New Smyrna Beach to re-join Andy’s family.

We did the usual in Smyrna – crochet, bocci, ping pong, bike, shop, the kids surfed…But it wasn’t the same without Rob and Betsy there. We stayed at a nearby campground because we weren’t sure about the RV fitting in the driveway. We’ve measured it now so we know we can fit for future visits, but of course that leaves no parking space for anyone else! We may be back as early as January when Andy’s other brother, Bobby, is in town with family visiting. But there’s also that little trust issue…trusting Joe and Nick (and you too Bobby) with the RV parked that close. These pranksters can’t be trusted, especially when together.

During a bike ride along the intercoastal today we got to see dolphins. Several. They were coming close to shore for fish. We watched them for awhile. They would take off after a fish at incredible speeds, and sometimes even jump out of the water chasing fish.

Can’t believe we’re heading home to Boca tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see what has changed and how our perception of our world has changed. We’ll keep you informed of any and all future trips. Just keep checking our blog to see what we’re up to!

November 23, 2004

Crystal River, FL

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:50 pm by diandy2004

The weather has been perfect. Sunny and warm. It would be a delight to sit outside and enjoy the temperatures, but the gnats have been fierce. Driving us insane with their bites and buzzing.

Yesterday we visited Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They have a variety of Florida’s wildlife – manatees, alligators, panther, black bear, foxes, bald eagles, cranes, hawks, and lots of other birds. Some of them have been injured and cannot be returned to the wild. We almost didn’t make it into the park, however, since the boats were full and the lines were long and slow. The disorganization of it all was almost too unbearable to wait through.

Afterwards we played some tennis at the RV Park. It’s an Encore Superpark and they have all the amenities – heated pool, spa, pool table, shuffleboard, tennis, lake, docks on the canal, a variety of classes, etc. Sadly, Andy beat me at pool and tennis. I have to quit teaching him so well. Then we relaxed in the spa and pool (heated to 84 degrees).

Today was a dual-sport day. Drove to Dunnellon to kayak in Rainbow River and bike on the Withlacoochee State Trail (Rail to Trail). Rainbow River was beautiful. We put in at KP Hole County Park and paddled against the current to the headsprings. The water is crystal clear, and a year-round 72 degrees. Kayaking this river is like snorkeling without getting wet. We could see fish and turtles swimming below us. We had hoped to see anhingas and alligators pass by underneath but we weren’t that lucky.

Kayaking Rainbow River

Kayaking Rainbow River

Rainbow Springs State Park is the headwaters of Rainbow River, so we got out of our kayaks and walked the trails here. They have several waterfalls (all man-made) but still a very pretty place. Unfortunately several paths were closed due to downed trees from the hurricanes. Rainbow Springs is the fourth largest spring in Florida. No disposable items are allowed on Rainbow River (Gatorade bottles, snack bags, etc) which could be one reason we didn’t see any trash – even on the bottom!

Rainbow Springs State Park

The Withlacoochee State Trail is a 46-mile paved path running from Dunnellon to US 304. We almost always enjoy biking these Rail-to-Trails because they are more peaceful than biking on unfamiliar roads. The one problem that we have encountered several times, however, is finding the trailheads. Today was one of those days. Oh, well. Once we found it, it was a nice 12ft wide path with trees buffering any paralleling roads. Rolling hills kept it interesting. Andy had some trouble with the local wildlife though – almost running over a snake and a gopher tortoise (which would’ve been messy for him and the tortoise).

Afterwards we slowed down to enjoy another gorgeous sunset…

Sunset on the Gulf

Sunset on the Marsh

Ok for now, we’re heading back to the pool and jacuzzi!  Clicking on any picture will take you to the Web Albums where more pictures have been posted…

November 21, 2004

Cedar Key, FL – Kayaking Old Florida

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:24 pm by diandy2004

In Cedar Key we kayaked, kayaked, and shopped a little.

This is a neat little town with art galleries and small shops, restaurants and bars, and water, water everywhere. Some of the original buildings from the 1850’s are still standing.

Downtown Cedar Key

For Sale

We took the ‘yaks out two days and paddled around several of the small islands surrounding Cedar Key. I’ve never seen such a variety and quantity of birds as we saw here: gulls, pelicans, terns, sandpipers, herons, egrets, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, kingfishers, 3 bald eagles, and many more. These were the first bald eagles we’ve ever seen in Florida! And their huge branch nests. Very exciting.

Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle

Tides have to be closely watched here, because when the tide goes out, much of the area becomes mud flats. And there are huge mounds of oyster shells that can slice up you or your boat if your not careful. And much of the area is dotted with grassy keys which creates a kayaking-maze with lots of dead-ends. We enjoyed it immensely and will have to come back some day to do some of the other islands.

Andy Kayaking

Jerry and Dee popped in on Saturday for a visit. Thankfully their timing was perfect (since we didn’t check phone messages) and they caught us after our kayak and just before we were heading out for lunch. What a great surprise to have friends ‘pop-in’ to spend some time with us.

We spent two nights at a Tiki Bar a short walk from camp. The gnats were a little easier to handle here then on the docks at our RV Park. The sunsets on the Gulf were beautiful and the conversations there were lively. Three couples who help run the motel are full-time RVers and we had lots to share.

View from Tiki Bar

Just Another Gulf Sunset

More pictures are available on the Web Albums – just click on any of the above pictures to look at the others.

November 18, 2004

Old Town, FL – Kayaking Old Florida

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:49 pm by diandy2004

From Tallahassee we headed south and stayed along the Gulf Coast. We refer to it as “old Florida” because it’s what Florida used to be like before all of the condos and concrete.

In Old Town we stayed at a lovely RV Park called Suwannee River Hideaway. The park office was an “old” 1920’s General Store.  The owners had built – by hand, mind you –  a 1500′ boardwalk through the swamp to the Suwannee River.  Shortly after arriving, we set out to find the boardwalk and the river.  We sat on the floating dock enjoying the view and then were joined by another couple – Jerry and Dee, and their dog Jaxson.  The hours slipped by before we knew it.  Jerry and Dee have been full-timing for the last three years and it seemed once we started talking we couldn’t stop. After three days together, we feel like we’ve known them forever. We’re hoping to cross paths with Jerry and Dee again someday on our travels.

The 1500' Boardwalk

The Floating Dock

It was too long of a portage to carry our kayaks to the river from the campground, so we drove to the town of Suwannee looking for kayak launches. There were supposed to be two along the 9-mile Dixie Mainline Road – one on Sanders Creek and one on Shired Creek. The spots were too crowded with saw palmettos and other pointy plants and too thick with muck to be inviting. Not to mention that a “blow-back” tide was in effect, in which the wind was pushing the tide out even though it was a rising tide. The thought of the water getting any lower was disconcerting. Luckily we ran into a FL Fish and Wildlife Ranger who gave us several other boat ramp options to choose from. We had a wonderful paddle down a narrow waterway from Munden Camp to the Suwannee River and then down some other channels leading into a wildlife refuge. (Note: we finally got to paddle the Suwannee 10 months after our first attempt in Jan).  We saw turtles, alligators, and lots of birds. I rescued a dragonfly who had lost a wing and was floating in the river – he stayed with me the rest of the trip.

Paddling from Munden Camp

My Hitchhiking Buddy

There are several canoe-kayak trails near the Gulf that we saw in a brochure.  We’ll have to investigate these on another trip.

We should mention too that the drive along Dixie Mainline was a treat – taking you through wetlands, marsh, swamp, and dry hammocks – and was worth the trip even if we couldn’t kayak. Many of the homes in Suwannee were on stilts, some around 20′ high.  We did a couple of short walks during the drive, too – to Fishbone Cemetary, Fishbone Observation Point, a boardwalk at Salt Creek – so there were places to get out and stretch and explore.

Dixie Mainline

View from Dixie Mainline

Another day we rode our road-bikes along the Nature Coast Trail (a Rail to Trail). The trail is a total of 32 miles long and is shaped in a “y” going to different towns. We started in Old Town near the Hardees and rode to Trenton and then down to Fanning Springs. Eventhough we rode 28 miles, it was a lazy ride with a lunch stop in Trenton (at the Cypress Swamp Cafe at the Trenton trailhead which was built in an old 1925 Coca-Cola building and offered salads, sandwiches and deserts) and then a stop at Fanning Springs just to enjoy the green waters of the spring. They experienced some damages from the hurricanes here, but fortunately for us the waters returned to their natural green color last week.  If you’re lucky you’ll see some manatees here.  The springs are a constant 72 degrees.

Trenton Train Depot

Fanning Springs

Added Note: Suwannee River Hideaway throws a big halloween Party every year – and they even put together a “haunted house”.  If we’re ever back in that neck of the woods in late October, I want to remember to check it out.

November 14, 2004

Tallahassee, FL

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:48 pm by diandy2004

Well, we’re back in Florida. We crossed over the border yesterday. After setting up camp, we toured the old Capitol building yesterday and was quite surprised. After visiting Oklahoma’s and Texas’ Capitols we were expecting marble and grandeur. Our state capitol (the old one) more closely resembled a plantation home with red and white striped awnings over each window and a grand staircase in the lobby. No marble, no ornate woodwork. But pretty in its simplicity. Even the stained glass in the dome was simple. The new Capitol built in 1977 is a 22-story skyscraper without a dome at all. What’s a capitol building without a dome? We weren’t able to tour the new capitol building since it was closed on the weekends. But from what we saw, if I was Jeb I’d much prefer to work in the old capitol.

Old Florida Capitol from 1902

Old Florida Capitol from 1902

Inside the Capitol

Inside the Capitol

New Florida Capitol from 1977

New Florida Capitol from 1977

After touring the capitol we walked around downtown Tallahassee for a bit.  We had hoped to hit some more museums and the like, but it was after 5pm so everything was closing up.  We’ll have to revisit the city another visit.

Today we took a nice long bike ride on the Tallahassee-St Marks Historic Rail Trail. Sixteen miles each way with a lunch stop in St Marks. I was happy to see that the Riverside Cafe actually offered vegetarian items in this tiny (2-cafe)  fishing village near the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately it was quite chilly (high 50’s) and windy (15mph + and in our faces…both ways) making it feel even colder. So much for being in sunny Florida. But it was a nice ride on a paved bikeway with trees most of the way. At one point I was chased by a small pug shorter than my knee. Actually, I think it was more of a ‘race’ than a ‘chase’. He didn’t seem as much interested in biting me as he was in just beating me. I clocked the little guy at 20.8 mph – unbelievable for tiny little legs like his. It’s been a long time since we’ve ridden 32 miles. We’re sure we’re going to feel the pain tomorrow. Got to keep practicing though so we can keep up with Melissa when we get home to Boca!

November 13, 2004

Arkansas to Georgia

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:47 pm by diandy2004

Four states in a week. Only spending a night or two in each location. At this rate it looks like we’ll be in Orlando for Thanksgiving with Andy’s brother Joe and his family.

Our first stop after leaving OKC was Russellville, AR. We stayed at Lake Dardanelle State Park and paid an extra $2 per night for a lakeside site and a clear view of the nuclear plant’s cooling tower across the lake. That sounds bad, but it was still a beautiful view and we had some great sunsets here. It was very peaceful. Feels like forever since we were able to sit outside in short-sleeves and just relax.

Sunset View from Campsite

Sunset View from Campsite

We spent two nights here. Initially we thought about kayaking the lake, but we prefer narrow waterways to the large open lakes. So we drove up to Mt Nebo State Park for a view of the surrounding Ozark Mountains instead. At 1,350 ft elevation, it didn’t seem like much of a mountain in comparison to the 8,000 plus ft mountains we’ve seen but it was a nice side trip. The road up to the summit was a hoot. Vehicles over 24′ not permitted. The switchbacks were so sharp, short and steep they should’ve just put in a spiral staircase instead.

Crazy Road to Mt Nebo

Crazy Road to Mt Nebo

View from Mt Nebo

View from Mt Nebo

From Lake Dardanelle we moved on to Memphis. We had our mail delivered to a UPS store downtown so after setting up camp outside the city at T.O. Fuller State Park we drove into Memphis. We primarily stayed in “downtown” Memphis walking the streets, ate dinner out, and had a beer. On the way out of town we drove through Graceland but neither of us are enough of Elvis fans to feel the need to go in. Curious about the crime rate here in Memphis. Although downtown was neat and clean and the people were dressed to the nines, there were a lot of homes with bars on the windows. Even the state park’s registration office/visitor center rolled down hurricane shutters at night. Are they afraid someone is going to steal all their brochures? We decided to only stay the one night.

Beale Street, Memphis

Beale Street, Memphis

As we continue deeper into the southeast we are noticing that drivers tend to speed more. Birmingham, AL was an absolute mess with cars speeding and tailgating, usually at the same time. We stayed in a town south of Birmingham primarily because they allowed us to wash our RV. Most RV Parks won’t allow it either because of water shortages (in the desert) or they don’t want soap residue going into the ground, etc. And Spirit and Ele both desperately need a good washing. It’s an all-day affair washing the RV and car, so it was a good thing there wasn’t anything tempting to do in Jemison to distract us from our duty. We also wanted to spend a night in Alabama so that our state sticker on our travel-map would be legitimate. Jim and Chris had informed us that to be legitimate we had to sleep in the state. The first time through Alabama we had only driven through it, so now we are legit.

We then spent two nights at Seminole State Park near Donalsonville, GA. Down by the Florida border. Some of the first signs that we were almost home: a warning sign stating alligators were present; it was raining and sunny at the same time; it was warm enough to put on shorts; and the swimming beach actually had sand, not dirt.

Lake Seminole is actually in both Florida and Georgia. This was a great kayaking lake. Lots of fingers with marshy edges hiding hundreds of birds. Saw one of the largest Ospreys I’ve ever seen – close to a five foot wing span I’m sure. There were moor hens, egrets, and blue herons. But the most enjoyable were the hundreds of red-winged blackbirds that hid in the cattails until you kayaked too close and they would take off in waves of about 50 at a time. The pulsating whoosh of their flapping wings as each wave took off would vibrate in your body. The sky would become full of black dots as they would dart and dip into the next bunch of cattails.

Kayak Put-In

Kayak Put-In

Turtles

Turtles

Another great plus about this state park was that our super-sized campsite was lakeside and we were able to launch our kayaks right from our site. We never even had to detach the car. We kayaked for hours feeling the heat of the sun on our skin. It sure does feel like we’re almost home.

Our Campsite from Land

Our Campsite from Land

Our Campsite from the Lake

Our Campsite from the Lake

Tomorrow, we should be in our home state of Florida.  The end of our trip is near.

November 6, 2004

Oklahoma City, OK

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:46 pm by diandy2004

Since we got delayed those extra days in Palo Duro due to the snow, we knew we were going to have to make up some time.  That means, longer driving days and shorter visits.   So we bypassed Red Rock Canyon State Park, and drove through to Oklahoma City.

Spent the day in downtown Oklahoma City. We toured the capitol which had beautiful stained glass in the ceilings, an ornate dome, and lots of marble. There was even a lady playing the piano in the rotunda.  That added to the ambiance.  It is also the only state capitol built on top of an oil well.

Capitol on an Oil Well

Capitol on an Oil Well

Capitol Dome

Capitol Dome

I Just Loved this Painting

I Just Loved this Painting

We also went to the OKC Bombing Memorial to pay our respects. Just walking the grounds was extremely moving. We couldn’t muster the energy to go inside the museum. There was a lot of symbolism throughout the memorial. 168 chairs sit empty on the grass for each loss of life. Smaller chairs represent the children killed. Names of each person is etched into the glass bases. 9 rows of chairs represent the 9 stories of the building. The placement of the chairs represent the offices and their locations in the building. The grassy area is the same footprint on which the building stood. Loblolly Pines are planted on the perimeter, which will grow to 90′ the same height as the building. A reflection pond now sits where 5th Street used to be, before the truck drove up in front of the Murrah Federal Bldg. Some of the walls of the bldg remain, as the grassy playground where the kids used to play. The gates on either end of the reflection pond are stamped with 9:01 and 9:03 to represent the minutes before and after the bombing. The original fence is still up with the momentos left by family and friends.

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

After leaving the memorial we visited the Myriad Botanical Gardens housed in the “crystal bridge”.   It was a peaceful stroll after the emotional visit to the bombing memorial.

Flowers on the Bridge

Flowers on the Bridge

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Myriad Botanical Gardens

And then after that we walked around Bricktown District and the canal that meanders through this area of shops and restaurants.  This area is a renovated warehouse district.  The canal flows for one mile thru this district.

Bricktown Canal

Bricktown Canal

And now we’re off to Arkansas…

November 4, 2004

Canyon, TX – Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:39 pm by diandy2004

We drove 290 miles to Canyon, TX with the wind at our back and ‘downhill’ most of the way. With these conditions we got the best gas mileage yet – 11.11 mpg. Our destination was Palo Duro State Park, just south of Amarillo. One thing we’re learning about Texas – it keeps secrets about it’s beautiful areas and Palo Duro is one of them.

This is the second largest canyon in the country at 120 miles long and 800 feet deep. The State Park offers 30 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails down in the canyon. The drive down to the campground is a two-mile long road with a 10% grade and switchbacks. The canyon walls consist of reds, purples, yellows, and whites. The canyon floor is a multitude of greens. There were hoodoos, caprocks and “spanish skirts” at every turn. An absolute feast for the eyes.

Overlooking Palo Duro Canyon

Spanish Skirts

My Favorite Caprock

Our initial plan was one day in the park, but after hiking and biking on Saturday, we knew it just wasn’t enough! The problem was the weather. Weather reports were calling for a “dusting of snow” on Monday and high winds around 35mph. So we couldn’t just stay one more day, it would have to be two – one for fun (Sun) and one to “hunker down” and wait out the bad weather (Mon). So Sunday was spent biking around the park. These were some of the best biking trails we’ve been on – well-maintained, challenging, but doable for someone of Diane’s skill-level. Some trails were also for biking only which is a rare find.

Colors of Palo Duro

But here’s what really happened with the weather and why we’ll never trust weathermen again: Sunday was overcast, not sunny as forecasted; Monday was cold with high winds but it did not snow; Tuesday it snowed…and snowed…and snowed; Wednesday, the road out of the canyon was coated in snow and slush (remember 10% grade) and the highway out of the park was reported as impassable. The snow in the canyon melted quickly on Wednesday morning since it averages 10 degrees warmer at the bottom, but we hiked up the road to the rim and found 6″ still sitting on top. Weather reports stated a nearby town got 13″ of snow, so I guess we were lucky? The State Park was officially closed for the two days – with 4 campers and 2 camphosts stuck on the bottom. We weren’t able to drive out til Thursday. Jim and Chris – you guys don’t know cold til you follow our Tour de America. We got excited when temps went above freezing!

But what a place. And what an opportunity to see it draped in snow. The contrast of colors: the deep reds and purples covered in white. The contradiction of a desert’s prickly pear cacti and agaves buried in snow. Coyotes howling and yipping in the distance. We couldn’t resist hiking in it on Tuesday. Once, in the middle of the snow storm with winds howling at 40 mph and snow blowing sideways. And then later when it slowed down just prior to sunset. Now we understand why the Red River (which carved this canyon) is called the Red River. Normally it was brown, but with the new precipitation it was red from the fresh erosion process. And now there was lots of little streams or trickles where there were none yesterday…all deep red…against the white snow.

Let it Snow!

Snowball Fight!

Red Dirt and White Snow

Hiking in Subfreezing Temps

Hiking in the Snow

Since we were trapped on Wednesday, we went hiking again to see the changes. Again, most of the snow melted quickly so the trail was thick with mud in spots. The sandstone cliffs were visibly and noisily calving away from the weight of the snow and water. The park road has six river crossings, but now was closed at river crossing number four because the red, muddy water is flowing over the road.

Sloshing thru the Mud

What a visit. What a park.

Palo Duro is one of the places on our list to visit again. Try to get there yourself, but don’t tell the Texans we told you…

…it’s a secret!



There are more pictures on the Web Albums. Just click on any of these pictures and you’ll see them bigger and you can see more of this park.

October 28, 2004

Albuquerque, NM

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:52 pm by diandy2004

Well, Andy has been asking for “the desert” again (meaning warmth and sunshine) and we’re definitely here. Red rock, buttes, canyons, and cactus. We’ve had sunshine, but not necessarily warm weather (nights are going to the 30’s still).

Jim and Chris arrived shortly after we did.  We had them over to our RV for dinner – they are our first dinner guests!  It was great to see them and incredible that this is the third time since buying our RV that we’ve crossed paths with them. We just spent the night catching up and comparing our trips and the such.  It’s nice to meet up with friends on the road.  We were glad that they were able to detour slightly on their trip from Santa Fe to Roswell to spend one night with us here in Albuquerque.

Our First Dinner Guests

We had more good news! We talked with a Ford dealer who could finally get the recall repairs done. Ahh, nothing too imperative – just that the RV can catch on fire even when it’s not being operated.  We’ve been trying since Washington to have this done, but none of the dealers had the right parts til now.  So we decided stay another day or more so we could take the rig in for the new parts for the anti-lock braking system.

On October 27th we drove our RV to Bob Turner Country Ford and had to wait a whopping 12 minutes for them to make the recall repairs to our ABS. We spent more time trying to find a dealer who had the time or parts than it took these guys to fix the darn thing. But thanks to their speedy work we arrived at our next RV Park in Tijeras (east side of Albuquerque) by ten o’clock a.m.. We were lucky to be in such a dark area to enjoy the lunar eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse

We spent the next day playing around in the Sandia Mountains. We hiked the Embudo Trail in the morning and the Pino Trail in the afternoon. We were “taste-testing” the different areas of the Cibola Nat’l Forest. Both trails were nice with a combination of desert plants, oak trees, pinon pines, and rocky cliffs or large jumbled boulders. Both trails also went up…as in uphill, increase in elevation, up around 7,000 ft elevation. The elevation was bothering us here – rapid heart rate, tiredness, etc. Even though we’ve been at high elevations, we’ve also been along the coast for so long now I think our bodies re-adapted. We would’ve loved to have taken the Tramway to the top of the mountain and hiked down, but the Tram was closed for repairs the week we were there (of course).

Snake Sunning Himself

Overlooking Albuquerque

Hiking Embudo Trail

On the Pino Trail

** There are more pictures on our Web Albums – just click on any of these pictures and scroll to see others.

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