Saturday, April 28, 2012

Howdy y'all!

That's our Texas talk we learned from The Cowboy (aka John) and The Rebel (aka Cathy).  We first saw them driving on the Willow Creek Loop (an amazing 13 mile drive through ranches overflowing with wildflowers) near Fredericksburg and then fortuitously ran into them hours later in Luckenbach ("Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach").  There's not much in Luckenbach besides the Post Office (mostly a General Store), a dance hall, a bar and a hat shop.
John (The Cowboy) and Cathy (The Rebel)  :-) Hey, guys!

Lots and lots of wildflowers along Willow City Loop - the scent was intoxicating!

A few longhorns along the drive - stand back!

Do I look like a natural or what?

We took a quick day trip to Austin where we strolled the streets of the Live Music Capital of the World, perused one of Lance Armstrong's bike shops and waited on the bridge (with hundreds of others waiting with us) for the  nightly appearance of the Mexican Free Tailed Bats.  We waited...and waited...and waited...when finally they decided to come out (ever so slowly) AFTER dark.  So the incredible cloud they are supposed to display was not to be seen that night.

One of Lance Armstrong's bike shops

waiting on the bridge for the bat display

several waiting on the water for the bat display
(not pictured - 100's on the bridge with us and in the park below the bridge)

view from the bridge...while waiting for the bat display

San Antonio - River Walk and The Alamo - of course we couldn't leave Texas without stopping by to see these famous sites.

The Alamo - picture taking prohibited inside

Tom's making sure we have a safe time in San Antonio  :-)

We had a great time in Texas and then headed out for our two day drive across the state through New Mexico to Arizona.  Let me just tell you there is NOTHING in western Texas between San Antonio and El Paso.  It's beautiful but it's remote!  

We are currently residing in Casa Grande, AZ approx. 40 miles south of Phoenix and we are loving this area and all of the hiking!  Let's first talk about the heat.  Ok, you easterners...we all talk about how it's dry heat out west.  Well guess what - it's still HOT!  We drove through sleet and freezing rain when we entered AZ, then wore our jackets for the first few days in the area and then shed everything during the 104 degree days last week.  Wow!  The sun is beautiful and they rarely get rain or clouds out here.  We did actually have a cloudy day on Thursday and even a few minutes of rain which quickly was soaked up and evaporated away.  

I won't bore you with details but instead just show you a bunch of pictures from our hikes so far. feels good to finally be back on the mountains.  

Picacho Peak State Park - a scary climb with many cables but well worth it!  

on top of Picacho Peak

Saguaro National Park (west side) - gorgeous cactus in bloom 

Peralta Trail in Superstition Mountains - what an amazing area this is!  We drove 7.5 miles back a dirt road to reach this tucked away trailhead.  We'll definitely go back to this area to explore several more of the  many trails here.  
Longhorn - not just in TX

Our Phillies were in town so we had to check out a game at the air conditioned Chase Field with my nephew, Timmy.  Seats 4 rows back and a win (7-2) made it the perfect day!  

final score 7-2!

We've really been enjoying this area and spending lots of time with my brother and his family.  We'll be here another 2 weeks before heading north to the Sedona area for 3 weeks.  Come visit!

Til next time...Happy Trails!
notice the sign  :-)