Monday’s Blog, a Sky of Wonder

Some goals take years to come to fruition and one of those goals has been met.  My husband Paul and I managed to spend 4 full days in the Grand Canyon National Park. I am sure many of you have visited the park at some time in your lives and have fabulous memories and marvelous photos of your adventures. It is impossible to photograph this vast canyon without allowing the shutter finger to work overtime or to take meaningful pictures while cramming so much into so little time. I have good “record” shots which has become a standard way of shooting (recording these adventures) lately while covering so many of the wonders of the world on a tight schedule. 

Today, we took a wonderful drive toward Desert View Tower exploring the many breathtaking vistas along the way. What set today apart for me was the spectacular sky that served as a dramatic backdrop to the indescribable vistas around every curve. The winds were playing games, firstly with us land lovers trying to hold on to our hats and holding tightly on the steering wheel while driving down the road or trying to open or close car and RV doors without being blown in or pulled out of the vehicle. Secondly, mother nature played “wind wars” above us as the abundant currents painted fabulous cloud pictures in abstract against the deep blue sky. What a gift of a day. I share some of the photos with you here. 


We were due to leave Grand Canyon the next day, reluctantly because we had missed some sites but rationalized that we would just have to make a return visit. The next day dawned. we packed up and prepped the rig to depart the campground for the Four Corner area and beyond. Fate stepped in. Our passenger side slides would not come in and our levels would not lift; faulty operation in the Hydraulic system. Paul tried several possible remedies and then called our roadside service and send messages asking for anyone with experience or knowledge to help us solve the problem. Within an hour Paul received a call that a roadside RV “Doc” was on his way from a nearby town. For Paul’s blog about our default day see his blog at change-of-plans.html

Instead of reacting with consternation or dismay about the problem we were cool and calm and even collected. We signed up for another night at the Grand Canyon Camper RV park and realized we could visit the Kolb Studio along the blue shuttle bus route, a visit we had wanted to make. Now we had our chance, by default to see these historical sites. The RV Doc Randall arrived, After much time, he ultimately tried to jumper two wires and Viola! the slides and levels worked. That made 3 happy people. We jumped in the Jeep, still fighting heavy winds and drove to the Visitors Center and the Blue route shuttle bus. It was there waiting for us when we arrived. What a lucky day. There were were at the Angel Falls Trail head and the Kolb brothers photo and movie studio of great reknown.

What a wonderful dive into the history of the development of Grand Canyon exploration in the early 1900’s. These brave, daring and somewhat crazy brothers took off in a small boat with bulky film and motion picture cameras of the era and made a movie of the “float” down the Colorado River. Remember, this river is rough and tough and offers abundant  and fierce rapids. They survived, producing a long and memorable film that offered them a career and great presence in the history of this country. If you are not familiar with the history visit  the Kolb studio at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/art-exhibits.htm or look up more about Kolb Studio and Lookout Studio. Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls,a pioneer in the development of the hospitality industry in this country, and Mary Coulter, wonderful architect of the era.

How fortunate we are to have such a fabulous National Park system and how often we praise the design and approach to saving and presenting the history and hands on adventures of our national heritage.

Monday’s Blog, belated and post Bar Mitzvah in LA

I do like riding Ferris wheels, (George Washington Ferris, a civil engineer from Illinois, invented the Ferris wheel in the 1890’s. The first Ferris wheel was built for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.) the really tall and slow to rise Ferris wheels especially. I liken the ride upward to life’s special adventures. You ride slowly upward toward the summit to an adventure, an expectation or a special life event. Hopefully you linger on the top for a long while, suspended in air, savoring every moment, hoping it will last forever. 

The summit this past weekend was our youngest grandson (of five) and his Bar Mitzvah. We rode the two years of preparation thinking the July 4th weekend of 2016 would be a long time in coming. And indeed it was, all in due time then suddenly we reached the pinnacle and we lingered there for several days with family members and friends arriving, Kabbalat Shabbat welcoming guests and a glorious Shabbat, the Bar Mitzvah rituals done with fervor, high emotion, expertise and joy. Avi chanted beautifully as did his Abba or father Yechiel and his older brother Azriel. Avi, our talented musician, gave a post Shabbat special concert on the Sax playing with feeling and love for the family to savor and enjoy. Zayde the grandpa (my husband Paul) nicely covered details in his blog;   http://xctraveler.blogspot.com/2016/07/time-compression.html 

Avi’s Ima or mom, our daughter in law, Miriam planned the days to perfection and beyond. I will be glowing with joy for a long time to come over Avi’s special day and the 4 grandson’s that have celebrated their bar mitzvah through the years as well as the planning of each event of a lifetime to perfection and long lasting memories. (Malena planning her son’s bar mitzvot with the same joy) How lucky we, the Bubbe and Zayde remain, filled with a lifetime of pride and anticipation as our grandsons become adults. 

Savoring the love, respect and good family relationships that our greater family is lucky enough to enjoy is a gift and certainly incorporates hard work, understanding and good will among all members of our clan. I still remain at the pinnacle of that Ferris wheel and will descend slowly, disembark and head down the road to more life’s milestones, adventures and stories to tell. Many folks have asked me to share some photos (believe it or not, taken with my smart phone not my big honking camera) of the Bar Mitzvah celebration and I will do so for those who wish to see them.  

We have departed our long term campsite in Southern California for points eastward through the heat of the summer and are stopped in Roses Campground in Quartzsite, AZ (a town known to other RVers) but in the summer it is deserted and quiet. One can turn right or left onto the highway without waiting for many minutes and can park in a campground for reasonable prices and lonely hookups. Already, I anticipate the next adventures along the road and hope to have many Monday Blog stories to share. 


I will send more images to individual family members and friends and to Marilyn Levy, the talented maker of the special Kippot designed for the four younger grandsons for their bar mitzvot.