Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 1 - 7, 2014 - AZ

Thursday, December 4. Today is my youngest brother, Russell's 50th birthday and nobody in the family knows his whereabouts.  We do know that he is struggling with alcoholism and homelessness somewhere in Cedar Rapids, IA..  It is so sad, that after so many attempts to help him get his life together, he just can't do it.  I hope that he is finding a way to stay warm.

Guess what?  It's raining and it has been for most of the night.  My timing is impeccable - I'm going camping for the weekend.  The weather channel says that it should stop by noon and it might not even be raining where we are going.  Me and Connie, my next door neighbor, Tom, Chris and Norm and their friends Gary and Jeannie, Pat and Roger all have campsites together at Usery Mountain Regional Park.  Each party will provide 1 meal.  I'm so looking forward to it - we might even get to see water in some of the washes - that would be a first for me and I've lived here for 5 years now.

What a crappy night for sleeping.  I have been awake since about 2:00.  I woke up with pains in my left hip and shoulder and just couldn't settle down.  I read, then I surfed the Internet, took an 
Advil, knitted, and nothing worked.  Finally, at 6 am, I got up.

Rita and I are working on arranging a family reunion for next summer.  Rita called yesterday to see if the Basswood Resort in Platte City, MO had weekends already booked and learned that there were only 3 weekends available for a group our size.  Dang - now we have to Fastrack and get reservations made quickly.  The place looks very nice, wooded, with several lakes, family activities, and a lodge, cabins, RV sites and tent sites - something to fit every budget.

Sunday, December 7.  My weekend of camping was a good time.  I was a little concerned on 
Thursday, when it had rained most of the night and continued all morning until about 11:30.  I called the park and they said there was no problems there and possibly a little trickle of water running in some of the washes - that sounded good to me - I'd like to see that some time.  

Running man Cholla

Chris and Norm, Jeanie and Gary, and Connie and I arrived on Thursday, got settled in, and Chris and Norm provided dinner that night - sloppy Joes, potato salad, etc.  Jeanie made a breakfast casserole and coffee cake for the next morning and we had it after attending a talk about wild birds of the area.  

Pat and Rog and my neighbor, Tom, got there on Friday.  I made dinner that night - beef stew.  We took a few short hikes, sat around the fire, and told stories - lots of laughs.  The next morning, Tom made us a burrito breakfast and in the evening, Pat provided the ingredients for us each to make our own zip pack (foil wrapped dinner) that we cooked on the open fire.

Norm, Roger, Jeannie, Pat, Connie, Chris, Chris, and Tom

Some of us took a ranger led Full Moon Hike on Saturday night.  It was enjoyable for some of us, but the trail was rocky and we had to look down at the ground to keep from stumbling and the pace was a little fast for us.  We packed up and left fairly early the next morning.

The mountain looked a lot different when the sun came out paste in the afternoon on Saturday.