Wednesday, June 29, 2011

At Last!

I just got a call from the new maintenance supervisor at the college and it looks like we are finally going to get a new air conditioner for the downstairs.  We had to replace one last summer and the one they used to replace it has just NOT done the job. It barely cools one room and we need it to cool our entire downstairs. They'll be bringing us the new AC this afternoon. I know it's not the most efficient way to cool a house, but it's worked pretty well for the time we've lived here.  I could have gotten them to put another AC in the front of the house, but we have wiring issues and we thought it might be too much of a strain on things to have two units working at the same time.   (During certain cycles of the washing machine the house lights will dim and flicker. Weird.)

When this house was originally built, there was no air conditioning, but it was built with the windows and doors in strategic places to take advantage of cross breezes to keep the house comfortable. Unfortunately for us now, we can't open all the windows, so without air conditioning it would be unbearable in the house during the summer.

I think I've mentioned before that we don't own this house. It belongs to the college where The Professor is employed.  It's been a nice arrangement for the most part, but on the other hand, this house is pretty much low priority for maintenance and improvements.

I would love to live in a place where I wouldn't need the AC in the summer Flagstaff! Or up in the mountains of North Carolina around Maggie Valley.

Maybe someday...

Monday, June 27, 2011

There and Back Again, Part 1

I have come home from our vacation with renewed appreciation of the great state of Arizona.  I loved it the first time we visited, and now I love it even more.  If it had a coastline, I think it would be the perfect state!  

We spent the first week of our trip in Flagstaff, seeing the sights and hiking.  Flagstaff is at an elevation of around 7000 ft. and we had wonderful temperatures in the '70s during the day.  What we had a bit of difficulty with was getting used to such dry conditions. We had to up our water intake drastically.  

We rented a cottage I found on VRBO :

Here's the little cottage we rented in Flagstaff.  It was so CUTE, inside and out!

We could walk to the historic district from our little home-away-from-home and we were close to good restaurants and  grocery stores, etc.

Besides making sure we were drinking a lot more water, we also had to take into account the higher elevation while on our hikes. We had to go a lot slower and stop to rest a lot more.  On our hikes that took us up over 10,000 ft. The Boy and I experienced a bit of dizziness and nausea at the higher elevations.  This was not fun, but we recovered as soon as we moved down to lower elevations.

Along the Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop Trail. I don't know what the elevation was here, but  the place where we stopped for lunch was over 10,000 ft.

After lunch, The Boy and I are ready to hit the trail again. Look at that view!
The day we attempted Humphrey's Peak, which is at 12,637 ft. all three of us decided that we really didn't have to hike all the way to the Peak, so we stopped at the saddle, which is at something like 11,805 ft.  It was a challenging hike, even though the trail wasn't any rougher or more steep than trails we are used to in the Smoky Mountains.  After about 15 minutes at the saddle, I could tell that I would not do well at all on the last push to the top.  

The trailhead sign up on the saddle.

One of the views from the saddle on the Humphrey's Peak trail.

The Professor and The Boy taking a rest before we head back down.
On the days we didn't hike we went to local museums, visited cliff dwellings and other ruins, took a day trip to the Grand Canyon and found a great used book store.  We found plenty to do in Flagstaff and I actually wish that when I had to rearrange our travel plans I had extended our time in that area instead of moving on.

More to come...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

We have arrived home to something we didn't experience at all on our wonderful vacation....


Posts and pics will be forthcoming.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Unexpected Development

I've been busy, busy, busy the last few days getting ready for our upcoming vacation.   We've been planning our trip to Arizona and really looking forward to our trip - especially the time we were going to spend in the White Mountains in the eastern part of the state, close to the New Mexico border.  Every thing was planned, reservations made well in advance, trails and hikes discussed, as well as places we wanted to make sure to get back to again.

Then, in the early part of last week we heard from a friend in Phoenix.  The Professor had sent him an e-mail telling him about our plans and our friend sent a message back telling us about a wildfire right in the Hannagan Meadow area.  It's the Wallow Fire and it's been burning since May 29 and so far it has burned over 140,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern AZ.  The lodge has been evacuated, as well as several other communities in the area.  Wednesday I called one of the ranger stations in the national forest to ask if we should even plan to come to that area at all, and she said, "Stay away...there's no telling when this fire will be under control."

So, what to do?  We had to make plans and reservations for the second half of our trip with just a few days before we head out.  The Professor is SO disappointed about having to make changes. He was looking forward to being out on the backside of nowhere, in the cool and beautiful mountains.  Instead of remote, beautifulk Hannagan Meadow, we are now going to be spending time in beautiful, but definitely NOT remote, Sedona.

I used my favorite vacation rental site,  VRBO and TripAdvisor to make some last minute reservations and I think I was very fortunate with what I found.   We're all set now, about to embark on a very different type of vacation than we had originally planned, but that's life. It's all about making the best of unexpected developments.

We are very grateful to God that we did find out about the fire in time to make other arrangements before it was too late.  We are praying for the firefighters and the residents of the small towns that have had to be evacuated.  As far as I know, no one has been injured or killed in this fire, which is a great blessing.

I'd better get back to packing.

By the way - if you happen to notice any unusual spellings or grammatical errors in this post, it's because I'm writing this without wearing my glasses.  I definitely need to remember to wear my glasses while blogging!