Friday, December 31, 2021

"Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us." -- David Cameron

We hope you were able to enjoy some family time over the holidays! This was our first Christmas in Boston.  Chris also was able to join us.

Due to plane changes, Pat and I ended up on a red-eye on the evening of the 23rd. Left Phoenix at 10 p.m. Weds. and arrived in Boston after 4:30 a.m. Thurs. Not bad.  

We had gotten rid of most of our winter gear but layering-up kept us plenty warm.  I invested in a pair of waterproof gloves and long-johns.  Our hiking boots kept our feet warm.  We had a wonderful time but I still don't like cold weather!

Chris returned home on Sun.  Pat and I were scheduled to leave Boston Weds. at 4:45 and, with a 2 hour drive back to Tucson, should have been back to our RV by midnight.  A delay didn't get us back until 2:30 a.m.  but at least none of our flights were canceled like so many others were.

We had so much fun doing things and just being together.  Josh prepared lots of good food.  Of course there were family pictures.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. 🎶

Although very little, there was some snow.

Hanging of "The Instruments."

My Mom's cookie cutters.

Chili on Christmas Eve.

The Night Before Christmas!
Christmas Dinner

Guess who got the monkey!

Lots of fun and games including snapchap, cards, video, and board games.  The kids enjoyed the "ghost" game.  

Object?  Don't get caught by the ghost.

We went to Frog Pond in Boston Commons for some ice skating and then listened to music provided by the School of Honk at the park.  Even if people don't have a musical background or instruments, this community band will have them playing on their first day!

In the summer the Frog Pond is a wading pool.

Josh is in the yellow coat playing the sousaphone ("School of Honk" cover).

A trip to the Boston Museum of Science is always fun.  Lots of exhibits, some I remembered and, of course, some new ones.

The exhibit "Arctic Adventure:  Exploring With Technology" had a real ice wall.  Below, one exhibit allowed you to program a machine to pick up gems in tunnels.  You forgot to add a "light" to find the gems?  How will you see them?  Try again.

After we left the Science Center we walked along the scenic St. Charles River.

Longfellow Bridge
Where are the Piepers now?   A picnic area east of El Paso, beside I-10.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

Not sure what the bear saw, but we saw some beatiful scenery on the 4.7? mile Brown Mountain Loop Trail west of Tuscon on Saturday.

We took the short trail from the picnic area to the loop trail.  Left or right? Pat picked right.  A mountain biker was just coming off the trail, which also allowed horses, but no dogs. Were cats ok?  It seemed like everyone picked the other way and had gone clock-wise, at least we met a lot coming from the other direction. Hmmm, getting suspicious!  It was a beautiful day for a hike though, sun was out, kind of cool, and a breeze.  We reached the half way point in an hour, sweet.  Lots of cacti close to the trail.  After our hike I noticed people posted that they had been "attacked" by the jumping teddy-bear chollas.  We escaped with only a few thorn scratches.

Then we climbed up the first peak, nice switchbacks, not real high, then down quite a ways and back up to the 2nd peak, about the same height.  Then there maybe 3 more peaks?  We didn't have to go way down and back up on those.  Nice, comfortable hike.  No animal sightings.  Not sure if this disappoints me or not.

My 2 poles saved me MORE than a couple of times, especially on the descent.

Pat said our RV Park was down there somewhere.

Pat got out the binoculars but still couldn't find our park. 

Final peak!  All smiles.  Now for the descent.   It should be a breeze from here.   Au contraire!  Down hill is sometimes harder than going up, well, this gave a new meaning to harder.  We definitely should have read the reviews and gone left, going uphill first.  Someone said they counted 100 of the TALL stone steps.  Whoever made those steps did not have short legs or bad knees!! And the path was very rocky and seemed like it would never end.  There were more switchbacks going down than going up, but it was a steep descent.  Another mountain biker as we get to the bottom.  Pat noted a bike fall on those rocks would have been bad, as well as the landing in all of the thorny cacti.

Hope!  Our car is down by the picnic structure on the right.

A glimpse of our car on the right behind the tree.

The picnic area is no longer in site.  Are you SURE this is the right path Pat?  

We finally completed the loop and are on the trail back to our car! 

We were beyond tired and at least MY dogs were barking!  We went back and collapsed.  Then?  4 loads of laundry, followed by a trip up to the laundry room to dry.  At this park we aren't allowed to use dryers or electric heaters.  At 10:30 p.m. the clothes were put away and we crashed.  I much prefer washing a load and then throwing it in the dryer in the RV before going to bed.  So thankful Pat didnt listen to me when I said I didn't need a washer and dryer.

Below on the left are my Oboz ankle hiking boots that I got before we started traveling. The previous 2 pair of hiking boots I'd had were narrower at the toes.  Pat says my feet are just "wrong," a long big toe that curls up a little.  My big toe has worn a hole in many a pair of mesh sneakers, lol.  I've had surgery for a tailors bunion from shoes that were too narrow in the toe-box area.  Not cheap, but this was the only lady's specific boot that I found that advertised a wider toe-box, with a regular width in the rest of the boot.  I LOVE them!!  The ankle height is great. No longer are my ankles sore.  So far, i havent had any issues turning my ankle from the shorter height.  The width is great everywhere and they don't compress the nerve on the top of my foot.  They have been comfortable from the moment I put them on.  No breaking-in period and never one blister!

My last pair I remember well.  The first time I wore them we went on a hike around Lake Darling in Iowa with Pat's sister Sally and her husband Mike.  It was a flat hike and I don't think that long, but I had so many blisters I could hardly finish the hike, and squished toes.  They never did feel great.

Pat recently bought a pair of  Merrill boots to replace his Adidas hiking boots.  For some reason, after 20 or 30 years, the soles fell off.  He loved them though and even tried gluing the soles back on, only a temporary fix.  His new boots are taller than mine, but maybe not quite as tall as his last pair.

We both noticed the soles of our new boots  may not be as thick or firm as our older ones.  I really like that aspect and think it contributes to the comfort of mine, but we both felt the rocks under our feet yesterday, which ranged from small, to fist size, to boulder, and all sizes inbetween, and LOTS of them.  Here's were my new trekking poles were a blessing.

Oboz on the left, Merrill on the right

Looking forward to having Pat's sister Sally and her husband Mike join us in January for a month in South Padre.  Congratulations on your new travel trailer!
Where are the Piepers now?  Tucson, AZ