Not again! Wild weather in July

We drove eight hours on Saturday to get the bulk of driving done after our anniversary trip in Park City, Utah. Our goal was the Little America hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. I love the Little America. It was our home away from home in Salt Lake City while my daughter was at the University of Utah.

As I drove across Navajo land to Flagstaff, I noticed dark gray clouds building over Flagstaff. I pulled over and let my husband take over. After 35 years in the desert, I freak out driving through a storm — and I grew up near Seattle!

A few miles from the hotel, we witnessed huge lightning strikes, thunder and a downpour so intense we lost most of our visibility.

“Welcome to Flagstaff in July!” I told my husband. We both laughed and drove slowly to the hotel with our windshield wipers on blast.

Last July we spent our anniversary in Flagstaff. This is what I wrote:

Hail storm on the way to Flagstaff, July 2021 before we lost all visibility.

Friday we left for a two-hour drive to celebrate our anniversary in the cool mountain town of Flagstaff, Ariz. We were looking forward to getting out of the heat, exploring a new area, hiking, dining, and staying at our favorite hotel brand, Little America.

Halfway to Flagstaff, we were entranced with big dark clouds that had long threads of rain hanging from them. Then there was a thunderclap and it started to rain. The rain turned into hail within minutes. It sounded like our car was being hit by golf balls. I was scared out of my mind.

My husband asked me to turn on the hazard flashers. My hands shook so badly I couldn’t do it. I began praying the Hail Mary!

We saw cars pull over on the right shoulder of the two-lane highway. But there was a cliff on that side and the visibility was getting awful. We were in the left lane where there wasn’t room to pull over, just a ditch.

Visibility went to zero. My husband drove at one mile per hour. He said he didn’t want to stop in case someone barreled into us. He followed a foot behind a semi — the tail lights the only thing we could see.

Looking back on that drive in July 2021:

We didn’t know — until we got to the hotel — that our car was dented from the front to the back bumpers and everything in between. It looked like someone took a hammer to it. The car went into the shop for two months while we waited for the chrome trim to be delivered amidst supply chain issues. The insurance company was so inundated with claims from that storm that they flew in insurance adjusters from Texas and Oklahoma.

Our friends who live in nearby Prescott said they found four dead deer in their yard killed by hail. They also had tens of thousands of dollars of damage to their home.

What we saw on the news yesterday before we headed home:

Video of flash flooding in Flagstaff.

Good news!

In the end, we arrived home safely from our 2021 and 2022 anniversary trips. I’m up to do it again next year!

What type of storms have you experienced that seemed wilder than normal? Did everyone stay safe?

Park City views

Park City view
A view from a morning walk of the ski slopes/hiking biking trails in Park City.
The best lobster roll in the world.
Freshie’s lobster roll.

My daughter and I discovered Freshie’s while she was in college at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. We follow a blog Female Foodie that highlights the best food in nine areas of the country, from New York to Los Angelos — and even Salt Lake City. That’s where we first heard about Freshie’s.

Freshie’s won a contest for the “World’s Best Lobster Roll” which is held in Maine. Who knew you could get the best lobster roll in the mountains of Utah? They fly lobster in from Maine daily. If you’re ever in Salt Lake or Park City, Freshie’s is a must.

Bear statue on Main Street Park City, Utah
That’s me hanging out on Main Street, Park City. Main Street is where you’ll find an abundance of shops and restaurants. I posed with this bear and my daughter a few years ago.

Airbnb condo on the ski slopes of Park City.
The airbnb condo where we’re staying. We stayed here in 2020 also, but had our daughter and a sister of our son’s girlfriend staying with us on that trip. That was a much busier week!

Breakfast at Tiffany's art
I really liked this Audrey Hepburn art in a gallery on Main Street. If I had an extra $7,500 laying around, I might have brought it home with me.

I love Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always been a fan since I watched “My Fair Lady” as a young child with my parents. When my kids were ages five and two, I would borrow Audrey Hepburn VHS movies from the library. I laughed so hard when we were watching “Sabrina” and my son said “YOWZA!” when Audrey Hepburn returned from Paris as a beautiful, sophisticated woman.

The heatwave may be over. We’re supposed to get thunder and lightening later today. This view is from the swimming pool with the ski slopes/hiking trails in the background.

Where are your favorite vacation spots? What are some of your favorite old movies and actors?

Things are going swimmingly

Main Street Park City.

Things are going swimmingly except for a heat wave. It’s cooler than back home in our Arizona desert, but it’s too hot to hike in the afternoon.

We visited the same week of July in the summer of 2020. In the afternoons, when my husband was done working, we would hike on trails that wind through the ski slopes.

This year, we’re doing a morning walk to Main Street along a tree-lined path with a bubbling creek. We did the same walk in the 2020 mornings, too. This year, the morning walk is the highlight of my day, because the afternoons are too hot for the mountain hikes.

Poison Creek along the walk to Main Street.

Instead of sitting inside reading or watching TV, we’re hitting the pool to cool off.

Yesterday afternoon, the pool was filled with several groups of families and kids. I found a spot along one wall where I could swim. I watched two sisters in the deep end throwing a ring and diving after it. The older sister, a teen, got out when she saw me attempting to swim laps.

“Who am I going to play with?” little sister complained.

“That woman is swimming,” the teen explained.

I thought, “I’m swimming on one edge of the pool. They have most of the deep end to continue tossing the ring and diving.”

My husband decided to sit on the steps. I plowed on determined to get my exercise.

“Little sister” would do a backward somersault right in front of me every time I reached the deep end to turn. I had to swim around her. Next, a nine-year-old boy named Oscar would cut in front of me across the pool swimming as fast as he could. It seemed to be a game for him to push off across the pool and barely miss me.

“Why won’t you join me and swim?” I asked my husband.

“I don’t have the patience you have,” he explained. “I’d end up saying something and look like an asshole to the kids.”

I finally gave up after about 20 laps of dodging little sister and Oscar. We headed to the jacuzzi. Strangely, as soon as we got out of the pool, the kids did too. I guess I was their entertainment. They weren’t having much fun without harassing the middle-aged woman who was trying to swim laps.

I think if I was “little sister’s” mom, I would have asked her to swim and play away from the lap swimmer. The mom and dad were on chaise lounges relaxing. They didn’t say a word.

What would you have done if you were the parent? If you were trying to swim laps, would you have continued like me or not try like my husband and let the kids play?

Hiking to ruins

View from Sears Kay Ruins
A view looking south from the Sears Kay Ruins in the Tonto National Forrest

A neighbor told me about a couple hikes close to home. One is called Seven Springs and the other is a short one-mile jaunt called Sears Kay Ruins.

We left the house yesterday before football began to explore the area. I suggested the one-mile loop because we weren’t wearing hiking boots and what I read about Seven Springs — it was more challenging. Also a much longer hike.

On the hike, we learned about the Hohokom people who built a fortress on a hilltop with 40 homes in 1500 AD.

Sears Kay Ruin offers the visitor a glimpse of a distinctive lifestyle that existed long before Columbus. Self-guided 1-mile loop trail will take you through Hohokom Ruins. The site of Sears Kay Ruin was first occupied about 1500 AD. Point of Interest along the Great Western Trail. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tonto/recarea/?recid=35235

The views were spectacular and I’m sorry the iphone doesn’t do them justice.

Desert Living marker at Kay Sears Ruins.
One of the markers at Kay Sears Ruins.

I’d like to go back again whenever we have an hour to do a short hike. I love that it’s a quick drive from our house. Next time, I’ll wear hiking boots because the trails is rocky and it’s a steep climb up the hill to the ruins. First, I want to find out more about the Hohokom.

We wondered why the Hohokom would live in such an isolated place on top of a hill. We read the signs and learned that the Seven Springs were close by and the hilltop gave the Hohokom protection from other tribes thanks to the fortress they built around it. Life sure looked hard having to hike down a steep cliff for water and food.

Kay Sears Ruins
Ruins.

This was a historic site along Great Western Trail — something else I’ve never heard of before.

What have you discovered close to your home that you haven’t seen before?

Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?

saguaro cactus
stately saguaro cactus in the preserve across the street.

Last year on this exact day, I wrote about my goals and resolutions — and if they work. Take a look of what I had to say:

This year, I’ve decided to not make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that they haven’t worked for me in the past, so long as I kept them small and not overwhelming. I view New Year’s Resolutions as a “don’t do this list” rather than “try something new.” Although that’s not totally accurate, it’s how I’m looking at it for 2021. Here’s the difference between resolutions and goals I found online:

Essentially, a resolution is something you will constantly be working toward, while a goal is specific and finite. Resolutions are made up of goals. While there is a difference between goals and resolutions, they are relevant and intertwined.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS …

I’ve decided that I’d rather make a list of goals, not resolutions. Mostly it’s learning new things, seeing new places. In my new home, I want to learn about the birds I’m seeing, the plants, the trails and mountains.One of our first hikes in AZ at Cave Creek Regional Park.

So, a few of my goals — besides getting my house unpacked and in order — are:

  1. Start birdwatching — I already put a bird feeder in the backyard.
  2. Learn about saguaro cactus and other species of native plants.
  3. Hike on a new trail each week.
  4. Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  5. Explore areas like the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
  6. Take a photography class online.
  7. Sketch or paint some of my new scenery.
  8. Begin a new manuscript, in a genre new to me.

Update Jan. 5, 2022: Out of my goals from last year, I did a lot of them, including enyoying sunsets and sunrises — and writing an entire manuscript in a new genre. I am birdwatching and learning about the native plants. We haven’t hiked a new trail each week, because we discovered the preserve across the street where it’s too convenient to hike and skip a 30-minute drive to get a trail. We haven’t been to Sedona or the Grand Canyon yet since we’ve moved to Arizona, although I’ve been to both in the past. That can be a goal for this year. I didn’t take a photography class, but I’m practicing on my own. I got out my sketch book and I’ve been sketching sporadically.

I think those were good goals and ones I’ll continue with in 2022.

What do you think about the difference between goals and resolutions? Do you have any you’d like to share?

desert sunrise
Desert sunrise from my back yard.