December 1, From San Diego to Texas

On leaving San Diego, we headed straight for Tucson, making a stop in Yuma to have a short but pleasant visit with granddaughter Channie, who moved there recently from Colorado Springs. She likes her new school and has already made several friends, so I think she will be happy there. In Tucson, we spent the weekend with Randy and Ginny, always a pleasure. We walked the dogs with them in the nearby washes and watched the sunset from Finger Rock Trail, so we managed to get some much-needed exercise. Riley even went swimming at Randy's health club. We also got to eat at Macayo's, our favorite Mexican restaurant--green corn tamales with Baja sauce, yummy! Sunday, Ginny cooked a turkey and we had a Thanksgiving preview--what a luxury! I've since learned that I will be cooking for Christmas this year--think it may be something besides turkey, now that we've had it twice. :-)


Ginny creating desert art.

Ginny, Randy & Summer in the wash

Margie & Riley

Sunset on Finger Rock Trail

Randy, Margie & Ginny waiting for sunset

On Monday, we drove down to one of our favorite Arizona parks, Patagonia Lake SP, and stayed there for four days. We took bird walks near the camping area and also over in the Sonoita Creek Natural Area, where the Montezuma Quail had been spotted recently. We, however, didn't see them once again. We're still hopeful that some day we will. One day, we rode the motorcycle on a loop thru Nogales up to Madera Canyon, across the mountains and back down to the park. Madera Canyon is another of our favorite birding spots, and the road from there across the mountains is quite beautiful--dirt, so a bumpy ride but well worth it. We have been distressed to read that drug war problems in Mexico have now spread to the Mexico-side Nogales, and many people who visited there regularly are now staying home in the U.S. I have been to Nogales with Ginny several times, and always found it to be a friendly and fun border town. I certainly hope the Mexican government finds a way to deal with these problems soon. On a similar note, I've missed going down into Baja, but right now, it is just not a safe thing to do.

Sonoita Natural Area view across park

Open pit mining operation in eastern Arizona

On our way to Albuquerque, we stopped at Bosque del Apache NWR. The snow geese and the sand hill cranes were there in the thousands. It is truly an awesome sight to watch the snow geese taking off and landing in groups in what looks like a coordinated rotation. They are very noisy birds. We also saw a pair of bald eagles sitting in a tree right next to each other, like love birds. A Sungrebe had been seen here the week before, but we were not lucky enough to spot it. This is the first sighting of a Sungrebe in the U.S., so all the park personnel were very excited about it. They were trying to find out if perhaps it was an zoo "escapee," but so far it looks to be wild. The Crane Festival was going on all week, so there were a lot more people there than on previous visits.

Sand Hill Crane at Bosque del Apache

Snow Geese

Two bald eagles on tree
I got to spend quite a bit of time with Shannon in Albuquerque and so really enjoyed our time there. Shannon had us over for Thanksgiving and did all the cooking with help from her friend Dresden, who was visiting from Victoria, B.C. It was a great meal. A storm was passing through the area, and during the afternoon it began to snow! It was over 40 degrees, so naturally it didn't stick to the ground but it was fun watching the snow while it lasted. Next day, we went to see the new James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace." There was a crowd and we ended up on the front row, which was way too close to the screen. We enjoyed it anyway--lots of action--fun. I think Daniel Craig was a good choice for the new "tough guy" image. Jenny, Shannon's step-daughter who lives with her at the moment, joined us for dinner that night at Sandiago's, a very good restaurant that serves "killer" Mojito's. Love 'em.

Shannon and Seven ("psycho cat")

Dresden, Shannon, Jenny and Margie outside Sandiago's

We also visited Riley's cousins, Wayne and Mary Ellen, and their daughter Karlyne, one afternoon. Mary Ellen had lots of family pictures to show us, and we spent a pleasant afternoon reminiscing with the pictures as guides, as well as catching up on current events.

Karlyne, Mary Ellen, Wayne & Riley
We are now in Texas, will be spending the next couple of days in the Davis Mountains, and will most likely visit Big Bend NP after that. We will be in Crosby (near Houston) on December 17 to take care of Mom while Nancy and Jim take a much-needed two weeks off to spend Christmas in California.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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