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Beware My Alter Ego!

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Thor, of Norse mythology, hammer wielding god of thunder, lightning and storms?

Or is it Zeus, Greek god of the sky and thunder? 

While Zeus’ image is cast in stone, mine is captured digitally, showing my powers, as I prepare to unleash my mighty bolt of lightning.

In actuality Mark Nowery caught this un-staged image of me just as the light streamed into the motel room in Payson, having me holding the sunlight looking very much as though I am capable of casting bolts of lightning.

This past weekend was spent with friends in the cool pines of Payson, AZ, where we enjoyed cooler temps, a small car show, a BBQ dinner hosted by friends Mark and Steve, lovely weather and beautiful scenery.


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Although he is not what one would call an outdoor type, Mark was game and agreed to join me in a little off road exploration to the top of Mt. Ord. Bouncing and rolling along the rocky road, Mark hung on and endured the long haul up the mountain. The last half mile required a moderately steep trek up the road to the summit and several communication towers and a fire lookout tower. While we could not ascend up the lookout tower, the views were, nevertheless, quite beautiful. Being a bit hazy, we still could see for miles beyond including sight of the furtherest end of Roosevelt Lake. In addition to the views, both of us marveled at the old growth juniper trees with their alligator bark, tall pine trees, and some very unusual frogs/toads.

Mark may yet become a hiker (but I won’t hold my breath).

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In the distance, the norhern end of Roosevelt Lake


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Instead of taking the direct route back to Phoenix on Sunday, I offered to take Mark on a route he had not experienced, which is Rt. 188 that winds through a valley east of Mt. Ord, past the little settlement of Punkin Center and then along the far end of Roosevelt Lake. At the intersection of Rt. 88 and 188 is the Roosevelt Lake bridge and Roosevelt Dam (which was completed in 1911). On Rt. 88, The Apache Trail, the road is unpaved winding its' way over narrow mountain roads, up and down steep inclines, sharp hairpin curves, but mostly smooth enough for any passenger car. Along it’s route are two other lower lakes, Canyon and Apache, both very popular with boaters, fishermen and other recreational enthusiasts. The Apache Trail is one of my favorite destinations for showing visitors a real taste of rugged Arizona. Views are awesome, the ride is often breathtaking (literally), while offering a glimpse into some very remote, historic and treacherous backcountry. 

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However, I choose to not take the Apache Trail route, instead opting for the paved Rt. 188 leading us to the town of Miami, AZ. Known for the copper mining operations in the area, Miami has definitely seen better days. But going a block north of the highway one finds a revival of sorts in this downtown area with many antique stores, restaurants and old buildings, though abandoned, holding on to much of their charm and glory. At the Miami Rose Antique store, we talked with the owner Randy, a lifelong resident, who told us stories of his growing up in this town; the YMCA building next door (now closed), the Mexican YMCA several doors down, restaurants, what was the old Pontiac dealership across the street and other fond memories of his hometown. At some future time, we offered the possibility of driving our old cars for a show and weekend of discovery in Miami and surrounding area.

After departing the Miami Rose, and being parched, we next stepped into the Soda Pops Soda Fountain shop, a more recent renovation that is chock full of nostalgia and memorabilia. Enjoying a malt and a shake, we relaxed and absorbed the sights within the shop’s walls, including its’ tin ceiling, vintage juke box, stained glass, advertising signs and original fountain bar.

After a few more antique shops, the time to leave and return to Phoenix had come. Along the way we passed several mining operations and as the road cut through the mountains, high cliffs rising on either side, the beauty of the weekend was hightened.

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 UPDATE:

The trip to Peru is just 8 days away! We will be exploring for all of October, returning to Phoenix on October 29.

Tom and I have both gotten our vaccinations (Yellow Fever and Typhoid), plus a small pharmacy of other drugs that we may (or may not) need during our travels in Peru. Malaria meds will be started once we arrive in Peru, and altitude meds and others will be used if needed.

This weekend I plan to have my duffle bag packed and ready to go before we depart on Thursday, Sept. 28. The weather is early Spring in Peru with highs in the 60’s to 70 and lows in the mid 30’s to 40’s. Dressing in layers will be our best protection against any cold weather. 

I’m hopeful that I will find adequate wi-fi receptions while on this exploration and update our adventures.


A New Adventure on the Horizon

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Early morning light over my backyard

As the summer heat here in the desert Southwest has continued to broil us, I have been keeping a very low profile and have not ventured outdoors as much as I have done in past years. This summer has found me indoors more than some of the past heat seasons. 

Be that as it may, you can rest assured that I have been planning something over the past several months.

A BIG adventure!

Together with my friend Tom Spear, we have talked over several years about a bucket list trip to a place that has intriqued us all of our lives. In the planning for this destination, we found many other sites along the way that will be included in this adventure. Some of those places will require a good amount of physical effort and endurance. We both have been preparing for this and feel pretty confident that we will be “in shape” for some strenuous activities in the next month.

So, you might ask, "where will this latest adventure be taking you"?

Peru.

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And if you know anything about this South American country, you would rightly guess that at least one of our destinations will be to visit the ancient Inca Indians' city of Machu Picchu, high in the Andes Mountains. However, Machu Picchu ruins will merely be a small part of all the other discoveries we will be experiencing. Starting in Lima, Peru, we will head south along the Pacific coast, where we will take a speedboat out into the ocean to visit Ballestas Islands, a mini Galapagos Islands to see some rather exotic creatures, then some sand boarding on white sand dunes as we continue down the Pan American Highway. Another really exciting part of this month long adventure will to fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines, gigantic figures etched into the earth and most clearly visible from the air. These are still an unsolved mystery that were created over 1000 years ago. 

Our transportation will mostly be in tour buses, allowing us to enjoy the passing scenes and rest along the way. 

Other points will be Colca Canyon (deeper than the Grand Canyon) where we will trek down and out over several days and where we will witness, up close,  the flights of the condors from a cliff top observation point.

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Several days will be spent on and near Lake Titicaca, the largest navigable lake in the world, a region known for it colorful and finely woven fabrics. As in several other locations we will lodge with locals and gain better insights of their lives.

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Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and a separate hike up Huayna Picchu, the VERY steep mountain behind Machu Picchu (narrow steps, no handrails, and precipitous drop offs from the path- vertigo anyone?). Exciting!

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Manu National Preserve in the Cloud Forest will take us into a part of the Amazon with several days exploring and witnessing many exotic animals and colorful birds, including a rafting trip (I hope there are no Piranhas).

Before returning to Lima, Tom and I are very thilled to be able to experience another, more remote and little known Incan village that is still being excavated. This will be a 5 day hike in and out taking us up to at least 12,000 feet into the Andes. This ruins is Choquequirao (Cho - k- key- raw) and will be a definite highlight of the entire journey. 

A flight back to Lima will allow us a final day for the opportunity to further tour this old colonial Spanish city with cathedrals, markets, monuments, Colonial houses and palaces before heading back to Miami and then back to Phoenix.

I’m not certain about internet service, but guess that it will be spotty, so any stories I write will probably be sporadic - until I return home. Our month long exploration in Peru will extend through all of October.

Accomplishment of this expedition will complete a lifelong desire to see, first hand, many of the places I have just written about, and most likely the grandest adventure, yet, of my life.


Cuba, February 2017

2016 trip to Ohio and back

kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012