Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Workplace Tour and Visit From the Kids

I have been here in Flagstaff for nearly 3 weeks and have been working, mostly in this place.  It is the Rec (Recreation)  Bay.  We have our meetings here and there is a small cubical where I can use the computer for the research that I am doing to create a program about LNT, Leave No Trace. 


This is the view from just outside of the Rec Bay.  Off in the distance is Flagstaff Mall.  It’s not very far.


This another view from same place, just looking towards the Ranger Station.  That long flat thing in the middle is a drying rack for fire hoses.  The building that I am in is shared with the Fire Suppression Unit


This is a better view of the Ranger Station.

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Just to give you an idea of how far I am from work, that white spot in the middle, between the trees is “My Spot II”.  The picture is taken from the entrance door to the building that the Rec Bay is in.


This is where I have been working, but that will change.  This coming Saturday I will be heading up to Arizona Snow Bowl for PSAR (Preventative Search And Rescue).  PSAR mans a tent at the trailhead there to give visitors access to their information and about the area as well as LNT, which I will be giving.  In addition to this, there will be times that I may be going out into the field to share this information with groups that request it.

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, Mellissa came up with Robert and Katie.  After breakfast, we headed up to Snow Bowl, with a short detour past Lowell Observatory.  I will have to check that out later.

Since we ended up by the observatory by missing our turn to Snow Bowl, so we just checked out where it was and took a couple of pictures.

Below is the Northern Arizona University Campus, where Robert wants to go for college.

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Just another view towards Mount Elden where the Ranger Station is.


This is the road to Snow Bowl with beautiful stands of Aspen.  They are beginning to leaf out.  Last week when I was there only bare branches.


Welcome To Arizona Snow Bowl

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and Mount Humphries.

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Mellissa and the kids took a short hike to get a better view of the mountain.  It was really windy, so didn’t stay long.

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We’re on our way back.  There are a lot of areas where dispersed camping is allowed.  I guess that’s what those vehicles are doing.


Another view of the Ranger Station from Highway 89.  Camp Elden is just to the left at the foot of Mount Elden.


Well that’s about all for last weekend, except for their trip back to Phoenix, a normal 2 hour trip, took over 7 hours because they got stuck for over 5 hours, due to a multi-vehicle accident on I17 with no alternate routes.  They didn’t get home until 11:45 pm.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2880  I sure love to go for rides.

Susan and Angel

Thursday, May 11, 2017

First Week At Work


First of all this is the view from my door. There are several sites in Camp Elden waiting to be filled by other volunteers.  So far there are three of us. one couple is here for only 3 weeks.  Jack came in the day after I did.  He will be working in the wood shop.

I met with Paul, the volunteer coordinator on Tuesday. He told me what his plans were for me.  I will basically be working with PSAR (Preventive Search And Rescue) on Friday Saturday and Sunday.  PSAR maintains a pop up tent at the Mount Humphreys trailhead throughout the summer.  With PSAR I will be talking to hikers and Suggesting that  they might want to bring enough water, wear proper shoes and register so that if anything happens, we’ll know where to look for them.

He explained that this is something new,  I will also be promoting LNT (Leave No Trace), going over the seven principles of LNT.  He would also want me to develop some programs for outreach aimed at school age children either in schools or day camps.  That part will prove interesting. 

Paul brought out five large containers that had all kinds of material to use.  I went through and sorted all of that to find out what was available.

In addition to all that I also had to take a Defensive Driving Course, which took up most of Tuesday and then Wednesday I had to take the LNT Awareness Course.  I needed to pass both with minimum of 80% to get certified.  I did!!!  I did my 24 hours and was off for the weekend.


Above is the Snow Bowl ski lift to the top of Mount Humphreys over 7,000 feet.

Saturday I went to an event that was put on by the Coconino Forest and Fire Services where I made a couple of contacts for my research.  Afterwards I decided to check out where I would be at the trailhead.  The ski lift is open year round. 

Below is some scenery on the road to Snow Bowl.



One of these days I may check out the Pioneer Museum.  Below is the train that is there.


From there I went back home,

Below is the picture of my four kids and me.  I didn’t have it to put in the last post.

Mellissa, Ted, Heidi

Me and Sandra


I guess that that gets you up to date.  Tomorrow I will do more research and print out some activity cards.

I hope that you all are having a great week.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2834  Just taking a nap.

Susan and Angel

Friday, May 5, 2017

Weekend Before Work

IMG_2829     “My Spot II” at Camp Elden

So,       since almost everything was put a way before Brian came back we took the break to tour the Rec Bay and the rest of the facility that is shared with the fire crew.  There are showers and a weight room, mostly used by them, but any one can use them.  The Rec(reation) Bay is a meeting/ work room with an office and the wood shop, which is mainly where the signs are made. 

When we got back to “My Spot II”,  I finished putting things away and fixed individual Quiches for dinner and packed an overnight bag for our trip down to Phoenix.

We met with Mellissa (#3) and her kids, Elyzabeth, Robert and Kaitlyn for breakfast.  Then we dove to Sky Harbor where Ted picked up a rental car.  I just dropped him off and went on to Heidi’s (#1) house where we would be staying.  When I got there out of the hallway popped Sandra (#2) who lives in Ft. Worth and I certainly didn’t expect her to be there.  This was their surprise for me for Mother’s Day.  It would be the first time that all four of my kids have been in the same place at the same time in 17 years.  We had a great visit.  On Sunday my grandson Nick would be coming, however Sandi called Jen, his Fiancee’ , and they decided to come up from Tucson to surprise Heidi.  We had a full house, wall to wall bodies at bedtime.  Of course, we all had a really GOOD time before bedtime.

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Breakfast came much too early.  Nick had to meet with his dad for lunch, so we girls, Heidi, Sandi, Jen and I went to get a pedicure.


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Later we were also joined by another grandson, Chris and his girlfriend Bo and a little later Mellissa and kids. 

I didn’t want to leave, but wanted to get back to Flagstaff before dark.  Ted and Sandi both had flights on Monday to go back home.  

It was just after dark when I got back home.  Unfortunately I had not left the outside light on.  I was wearing sandals and stubbed my toe on the last step going into the coach and ripped my left big toe nail off.  I was so tired that I just did some basic first aid and put on a gauze bandage and sock on and went to bed.

IMG_2825   I know TMI  yuck!

Monday was spent going to urgent care for my toe.  The doctor took the nail completely off and bandaged it and gave me a special shoe to wear.  I had to stop at Walgreens to fill a prescription for antibiotics.  I didn’t need any pain medication. The rest of the day I just rested with my foot elevated.

Well, that takes care of the weekend.  I would be meeting with Paul (the volunteer coordinator) in the morning to go over what I would be doing this summer.

Next post will be a summary of my work week.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2782  this is the only place I wanted to be while traveling

Susan and Angel

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Moving On To Next Gig


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I left a beautiful State Park.  I really enjoyed staying there for the last 6 months, however it was time to leave.  It was beginning to get warm and busy.  I picked Ted up in the city of San Francisco on Wednesday when he got off of work. 


After stopping for something to eat in Sausalito (to wait for traffic to clear) we got back to China Camp and started to prepare to leave in the morning.  I had most of the packing and securing done already.  Ted unhooked everything except the power. 

Slide was in and we were ready to roll out at sunup.  Oh no! the engine wouldn’t start.  Ted checked everything, the batteries were fully charged.  as it turned out the connection wasn’t good.  He finally got it started and we were on our way.


We headed east over the I 580 bridge to Hayward where we picked up a car dolly for my Mini Cooper.  We made good time and our goal was Kingman AZ for the day.  We stopped for gas once before we got there.  I believe that we were getting decent mileage for the size of rig that I have.  We got into Kingman just after dark.  We tried to find a place to park in a truck stop, but they were all crowded and noisy.  Fortunately, we found a lot that said truck parking (not sure what it was for), but there was only one truck and an RV parked, so we stayed and had dinner at JB’s.  We must have been really tired, because we slept through all the noise of the trains going by 200 yards away.


In the morning Ted got out some tools and fixed the battery connection.  It now works every time.  We were back on the road early and got into Flagstaff about 10 am.  The only mishap that we had was with the high winds.  I’m sure they were at least 50mph+.  All of a sudden the whole rig started to shake.  We thought that we had a tire blowout.  I had just replaced the two front tires ($606.00) I couldn’t replace all 6 at the same time.  Fortunately, it wasn’t a tire.  With the high crosswinds, they went under the cowling covering of the awning and that was what was vibrating.  Of course Ted pulled over immediately and checked the tires.  When he figured out that it was the awning, he got out some zip ties and climbed onto the roof.  It was so windy that he had to crawl or be blown off the roof.  Talk about scary.  He zip tied the cowl in several place in addition adding more ties to the supports and carefully climbed down.  That seemed to work as we had no more problems.

We arrived at the Ranger Station at 10 am.  I had a meeting scheduled at noon with Brian who would help me get into my site.  Since we had to wait, we found Mary’s Cafe  about a mile away where we had breakfast and then drove around to see what was available in the area.

We went back to the Rangers Station to wait for Brian.  When he got back, I met with him for a few minutes where he gave me an overview of the job and then he showed us to my site and got us parked.  The site is big, with the only level concrete pad.  They got everything hooked up except connecting the water.  It was turned off in the entire campground because of the freezing nights. When it gets turned on all I need to do is turn it on at my spigot.  I set up all the chairs and stuff outside and then went inside to start putting everything away. It was almost done when Brian came back to give us a tour of Camp Elden and the rest of the facility where I will be working when I’m not in the field. 

I think that I will like this gig. There will be a lot of public contact and a lot more challenging than any of my previous gigs.

To be continued………..

In the meantime

Thanks for visiting

Susan and Angel

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I’m Back

Has it been over 4 months since my last post?  No excuses, just been busy camp hosting at China Camp in San Rafael CA and taking watercolor painting classes.  Every day seemed to be a repeat of the previous. 

I have moved on to Flagstaff AZ.  My next gig is with the Coconino National Forest for the summer.  We left China Camp in San Rafael CA early Thursday morning, stopped in Kingman AZ to get some sleep.  We were so tired, we even slept through all the trains that went by a few hundred feet away.  We arrived in Flagstaff AZ Friday morning.

I had to meet with   Brian who took us to the site I was assigned.  After recovering from the “earthquake mode” we put “My Spot II” back together and got everything hooked up except the water which wasn’t turned on because of freezing nights.  I even got all the table and chairs out.  About and hour or so later, Brian returned and gave us a tour of the facility.  Tomorrow I will be meeting with Paul to find out what my duties and schedule will be .

The trip was quite tiring, so we went to bed early as we were going down to Phoenix, first to meet with my youngest daughter and her kids for breakfast. We had a great visit. We then headed to Sky Harbor. I dropped Ted off to pick up a rental car.  I then continued on to my oldest daughter’s house.  Ted got there about a half an hour later.  When I got there I was surprised to find my number 2 daughter, Sandra, who lives in Ft. Worth.  Everyone wanted to give me an early Mother’s Day present.  When Mellissa got there on Sunday, it was the first time that all four of my kids were together in 17 years.  Great surprise! Great gift!

I left Sunday to get back to Flagstaff.  Both Ted and Sandra stayed until today (Monday) to fly home.

There is more, but for some reason I wasn’t able to insert pictures, so when I’m able, I will expand on the trip and I’ll be able to tell more of what I will be doing.

In the meantime,

Thanks for visiting,

Susan and Angel

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Rain, More Paintings And Surgery


                    Sure looks like a river, but it is actually trail. 

The rains and the winds come and go.  Fortunately there are a few days in between storms where the water can drain away from the campground.  For the most part we are staying dry.


                Just sharing a picture of a couple of my neighbors.

With all the rain, there isn’t much to do except watching TV or working on my painting.  Below are some of the latest watercolors. 


This is the view out of the front window of my MH.  If you look close, there are three deer in the meadow.


These guys were on the side of the road and I had to stop to take pictures.  The deer in the park are so used to people that I was able get pictures as a resource. They were only about 20 feet away.


           This is the campground parking lot.  My MH is to the left of this view.


In our watercolor class there is always a small still life to paint if you aren’t working on something else.  This is one of them.  Those are supposed to be pomegranates.


As most of you know, three + years ago, I fell and broke left arm and they had to put a titanium rod in the bone to connect the ball to the shaft.  Even after my arm healed , I experienced pain and have tried to get the doctor to remove it.  It has finally happened. Yea!  This is what was in my arm.  The rod is 10” long.


No wonder it bothered me.  Now I just have to heal from the surgery.  I was fortunate that my son, Ted was able to take the day off to take me to the hospital and get me settled in at home.  Surgery was scheduled for 3:00PM and of course it got pushed back because of previous surgeries earlier in the day and it didn’t get started until 6:00PM.  It was out patient surgery, so I didn’t get home until 11:00PM.  Whenever you have to have surgery, try to be scheduled as first in the morning.

I will probably take a couple of weeks to recover from the surgery and of course I will have to build up my strength to get back to where I was three years ago.

I hope that you all are staying warm and dry and are having a great 2017.

Thanks for visiting


Susan and Angel

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Might Need Water Wings Soon


Good Morning China Camp!  Yes, this is what I woke up to.

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Just to the right of the camp host sites is the creek that flows from behind our sites.  My car is in the picture on the right.

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The road into China Camp Camp Ground has been flooded at high tide.  The picture on the right is at the entrance and just past that car is a dip in the road that today was 2 1/2’ deep.  Ranger Dan called to check on what’s going on here and to tell me that he wouldn’t be stopping by until later when the tide goes back out.

Even with all the rain I have been able to get to my painting classes.


18”x24” acrylic painting of Angel burrowing  under a faux fur rug


the view out of my front window   (unfinished watercolor)

I haven’t had to break out those water wings yet, but sometimes I wonder if they may be needed.  The winds have been sever here and a lot of things have been blown over.  The whole coach really shakes and the sound of the rain is so loud that I cant even hear the TV.  Angel doesn’t like the storms either and is happier in my lap.  When I leave and don’t take her I have been putting her in her crate.

I hope that you all are staying warm and dry.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2579 Mom’s lap is soooo comfy.

Susan and Angel