March 27, Albuquerque & San Diego

Last time I wrote was February 14; I'd say I'm a little overdue. We had a fine time in Albuquerque with several good visits with Shannon. My brother Richard and wife Beverly joined us for a week while we were there and that was fun. Shannon went with us on trips to Petroglyph National Monument, the Albuquerque Biological Park and Aquarium. At the Petroglyph park, we walked up a pathway viewing petroglyphs along the way; at the top we had a great view of the city and of the three Albuquerque volcanoes. The Biological Park had a beautiful Japanese Gardens with several waterfalls, bridges and beautiful trees. We had planned a trip up the tramway to the restaurant at the top of Sandia Peak, but it snowed during the night and when we got to the tramway, it seemed like everyone in the city was there using the tramway as a ski lift. There was a long wait, and no visibility at the top due to a cloud that was sitting there, so we opted to let that adventure pass until another time. Instead, Shannon took us all to a very good Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was a very pleasant time.

Richard, Shannon, & Beverly atop peak at Petroglyph NM


Riley and Margie at Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden waterfall

We did a lot of bird watching with Richard & Bev, making a trip back up to Sandia Crest to see the Rosy Finch, to the Rio Grande Nature Center SP, and out to Bosque del Apache NWR. All 3 trips were successes in that we saw all the birds we expected to see plus a lot more. Before going to the wildlife refuge, we had been seeing the Sandhill Cranes flying overhead for several days, starting their trip north. Sure enough, when we got the refuge most of the cranes were gone--we saw only 2 small groups--and the snow geese had flown with them. We saw only one Ross' Goose and maybe ten Snow Geese. This when there had been tens of thousands there from November thru January. We also made a trip to the very interesting Hot Air Balloon Museum and the Art Museum. This was more museum visiting than Riley and I usually do, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

Bev, Margie & Richard in hot air ballon

Riley at Balloon Museum

We watched the Academy Awards again this year and again I was unimpressed with the host, John Stewart; this was his second time. I really think this is a position they could easily do away with; all the host ever does is tell bad jokes and introduce some of the presenters. They could use the voiceover announcer to do all the introductions of the presenters, and the presenters could do the jokes. It was fun to watch but we hadn't seen many of the movies. Before leaving Albuquerque, we went to see "No Country for Old Men" and "Sweeney Todd." Both were fairly depressing movies on the whole, though the singing tones it down a bit in Sweeney Todd, besides which Todd does have a sort of dark humor that one can laugh at now and then to relieve the tension. I found No Country a very hard movie to watch with no particularly sympathetic characters. I've always thought of Tommy Lee Jones as invincible and seeing him a broken man at the end was disconcerting. I liked Sweeney Todd better than Riley--he finds throat-slitting very disconcerting. I found it not so bad since Depp was singing as he did it, so it was easy for me to overlook the slitting. Only the very last scenes were so full of blood and gore that it could not be ignored. We also went to see "Charlie Wilson's War," which we both liked very much.

We spent a spent a pleasant afternoon with Riley's cousin Mary Ellen and her husband Wayne. They were in good spirits and told us they were in the process of looking for another place to live; hopefully, cheaper and closer to their daughter.

After leaving Albuquerque on March 2, we met our friends Dick and Earin in Montezuma's Well National Monument in Arizona. Unfortunately, Earin was sick and we didn't get to spend a lot of time with her, but we did have a good time visiting with them. Montezuma's Well was a wonderful place for birds, as well as being an interesting place both geologically and historically. The "well" started out as an underground limestone cavern that filled up with water. Over time, the top of the cavern was eroded away by the water until finally it collapsed, creating a deep pool/well. The prehistoric indians who lived there dug a channel from the well in order to use the water to irrigate their crops. We made the Dead Horse Ranch SP our base for the time spent with the Dick and Earin.

Montezuma's Well

Riley & Dick at top of Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon wall

Dick, Earin & Omar at Dead Horse Ranch Lagoon

Next, we headed for San Diego, making a detour through Tucson to have a very nice, but short, visit with Randy and Ginny. Their grapefruit tree is growing well and they gave us some grapefruit "to go." I can't eat grapefruit because of medications, so Riley got to enjoy them all. They also loaned us their copy of the BBC series "Planet Earth." We watched the last episode tonight and consider it an excellent series. Seeing so many places and animals that we are not likely to ever see in person was truly awesome. We recommend this series to anyone who has not yet seen it.

The first thing to do in San Diego was go to Johnny's robotic competition. His team, the Devil Duckies, had some trouble with their robot and so didn't do so well, but all looked to be having fun. We had a lot of fun watching them and the game was a bit different this year.

Devil Duckies' Mascot with Alyssa, Justin, Sarah & Briana

Johnny working on the robot

San Diego was enjoying some lovely spring weather and the birds were migrating through, so we had plenty to look at, especially since we stayed at Campland on the Bay again. My grandkids, Justin and Alyssa spent a lot of time with us and we were pleased to have them so much. Great-grandson Cleric (six months old) is really growing, and seemed happy to see us. Of course, he seems happy to see everyone. Ashley brought him over to see us several times, and we enjoyed our visits with them, as well as with Lara and Juan.

Alyssa & Justin at Campland Beach

Ashley holding Cleric

After San Diego, we spent a couple of nights at Jalama Beach, finding they had raised their rates--a common occurrence these days. Arriving at Pinto Lake in Watsonville, we found it too had raised rates. Boo! We spent a day motorcycling with Eric and a friend of his named Mark. We went down to the Big Sur area on Hwy 1 then went inland on a very curvy mountain road (fun!) to come back on Hwy. 25. All were good motorcycle roads so we had a good time. I had hoped to see the Condors again when we were in the Big Sur area, but no luck. On Sunday night, we had dinner at Eric's with Wendy, Tyler, Lindsey, Jonathan, and Ryin. Four month old Ryin is just beautiful, and we were happy to meet her, and to visit with everyone. It was a pleasant evening all around.

Lindsey, Jonathan holding Ryin, Tyler, Wendy, & Eric

Lindsey holding Ryin

We are now in Harris Beach SP on the southern Oregon coast. We plan to spend a couple of days on the coast and then be in Portland to visit Luke and Amy and meet five-month-old Naomi on Sunday.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

(Previous Page)   (Next Page)

(Back to 2008)    (Back to Home)