April 2008
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April first was the "magic" day.  A very large number of Palm Creek winter residents departed for their other homes.  Since that day, even more residents have "hit the road" and we've heard from many of them.  Some of them are sorry they have moved on as they have experienced, cold, rain, snow, ice and gloomy skies.  Meanwhile, here in Arizona, we continue to have warm and sunny days.  Slowly, our happy hour numbers dwindled as neighbors and friends joined the exodus.  We noticed a drop in the crowds in the stores, on the roads, on the golf course and finding tennis partners was a little more difficult.  But, we persevered.  We had a brief visit from Reid as he found a couple of days off from rafting on the Salt River about three hours from us.  He brought his new toy - a kite - and we took advantage of a windy day to watch him play.  As the days were warmer, we enjoyed being able to stay outside longer in the afternoons and into the evenings.  This allowed us to enjoy some more impromptu pot-luck dinners.  Somebody would ask "What do you have for dinner tonight?" and we'd go from there, usually coming up with a pretty good spread.  And we cleaned out our refrigerators in the process.  Mary also had the opportunity to re-connect with a friend from grade school and high school, Bev Cowgill, who was staying at Palm Creek for a while.  They had some nice visits and we hope to cross paths again another time.
 
 

Reid's new kite is about 3m long.  It was so strong it could pull him along the runway at the Palm Creek airport.
...enjoying the evening and another Clean Out the Refrigerator Night dinners
Mary's friend Bev, on the right, and her sister Shirley, on the left, who live in Michigan near the Ohio line, visited for a short while at Palm Creek.

 

Some couples celebrate their wedding anniversaries with a dinner out, an exchange of gifts, a trip, a party or a cruise.  We decided last year to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (which was actually last October) with a special river cruise.  Our travel departure did not occur until April 20 of this year.

   Here's the boat......                                                                      Here's the crew.....                                                                           And here's the river.

It's an inflatable raft...37 feet long, weighing 6 tons, powered by a 30-horsepower Honda outboard engine and capable of carrying 20 passengers, 3 crew, all the gear and enough fresh food for a week.
Our crew were "second mate" Jacob; trip leader and pilot Angie; and "third mate" Chelsea.
The river is the mighty Colorado...we rafted from Lee's Ferry, AZ about 300 miles through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead.  It was a 7-day, 6-night trip.

We couldn't have asked for better trip weather.  The days were hot and sunny and the nights pleasant with a full moon and plenty of stars.  Our travel group was 15 people from Palm Creek and five others from Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New Mexico and Washington.  We met on Saturday night, April 19 at the Holiday Inn in Flagstaff where had a meeting to go over details of the trip.  Bright and early Sunday morning we rode a bus to Lee's Ferry where we met our crew and took off down the river.  The following Saturday another bus met us along the shore of Lake Mead and took us back to Flagstaff.  In between.....Oh, what a trip!  First of all, we can't say enough good things about our crew.  Our son has told us all about his job as a river guide, but until we witnessed a crew at work on a multi-day trip, we never realized just how hard they work and how multi-talented they are.  Not only can the crew drive the boat down the river and through the many, many rapids, they are gourmet cooks, first aid providers, historical story tellers, scientific geologists, engine repairmen, safety experts, hike leaders, and all-around fun people.  They love what they do!

Most of us slept in tents as we stopped along the river each night...sometimes on sand beaches, sometimes on rock ledges.  During the day, we made several stops to take a hike up side canyons to check out waterfalls, ancient village sites and survey remains of unfortunate earlier river runners.  We also stopped at the Phantom Ranch which is the major destination of those who hike from the rim to the bottom of the canyon (as some of our group had done last month!)  We got wet going through the whitewater rapids and took a dip in the waterfalls and pools we found along the way...but we were still full of sand at the end of the week.  Our evening meals were prime rib, grilled halibut, grilled chicken halves, burgers and brats, fajitas, and steaks - all with salads, side dishes and deserts.  Breakfasts were various varieties of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, muffins, and fresh cut fruits and melons.  Lunches were gourmet sandwiches and wraps.  Could we have asked for more??  Our fellow travelers got along very well, shared stories, helped each other and made sure we all had a good time.  Best of all, however, was the scenery.  The Grand Canyon is more grand than words and pictures can tell.  It was an adventure of a lifetime!
 
 

On board the boat...crusin'
in the Marble Canyon section
another great vista
prickly pear in bloom
home sweet home
"in and down"  ...  a big rapid ahead
Splash!
Here's another big one!
Whew!  What a ride

We have lots and lots of photos, to say the least.  We hope to do some editing and get some of them posted on-line.  But, for now, this is a taste of our adventure.  We'll let you know when more are available for viewing.  We returned to Palm Creek on Sunday, April 27 and began the process of cleaning sand out of all our gear and reorganizing "stuff" in the RV.  We had another brief visit from Reid so he could hear all the details of our trip.  Its been a good season on the Salt River, and he'll be moving on to Colorado in a few days.  Likewise, in a week or two, we'll be heading east.