Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Tent and A Trainride Help Find Happiness

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Koenig

Wise words that I often forget. This week I have a chance to get take a little time and appreciate the ones in my life who truly bring me happiness.

The minions are off so we are going to take one last trip up to the high country. Taking the dirt bikes will allow me to get a little fun in as well up in the backcountry.

Even for a short 2 day trip, the Tundra is loaded. The price I pay for having a small army of minions now smile

The ride takes up out of the valley up the Interstate to Camp Verde before turning East and climbing up to the Rim. We take a nice 40 mile road from the rim over to Woods Canyon Lake to camp

Now I have no love of camping in the MOST popular camping spot in all of Arizona, but if you go in October and on a weekday, it is cool and there are about 20% of the people in the area that you get during the summer months. All in all a worthy time to enjoy this gem.

We set up the tent pretty quick and the kids are settling in good

The hounds seem to be enjoying themselves as well besides the whole being tied up rule.

Laura takes care of the paperwork with the lovely Camp Host

I love the fact that my Colyn is here with us.

And the fact that there really are no child labor laws applicable in the camp ground.

The boys set off to go fishing, Colyn and Laura settle in with some nice books, and I take out the Kawalski for a little run about the woods.

The roads are pretty empty, but it is cold. As usual, I don't bring my heavy riding jacket so I am a bit chilled up here at 7000ft.

So off it is back to camp, where I set up the air mattress and do some reading as well.

We are really roughing it out here. These are my new Cabella's 0 degree bags that zip together nicely for Laura and I to sleep in. WORTHY.

The boys are finding that fishing can be cold as well as fun. Not much biting but they are bonding in a way that I know will mean a tighter relationship somewhere down the road.

So as night falls on the campground, we cook some really good Turkey Burgers and share some quality family time. After getting a good fire going, we decide it is time for the making of the SMORES.

Mom and Michael have a glorious time along with the little ones making perfectly good foodstuff go up in flames.

But they sure are pretty to watch.

Finally it is getting later and later so we decide to turn in.

Michael is old enough that we let him stay out and watch the fire for a bit longer. He is quickly growing into a wonderful young man and deserves a little slack.

The minions are settled in and it makes me laugh that the hounds also have decided to get under the covers to stay warm.

It may be a castle with walls only 1mm thick, but hey I wouldn't trade it for the greatest Keep in all of Europe. Night all.

The next morning we have leisurely breakfast, break camp and make our way down back into the desert. We decide that it is probably best if we take the kids down to the desert to ride since it is still cold up here and they have no winter riding gear. Something I need to fix.

We unload the bikes and get them started for the kids.

Colyn has a natural gift for riding. The little minion can ride with the best of them!! Now we just have to get her to shift more smile

Jackson still follows in his Pops Footsteps and loves to get tossed around in the sand. He will get the hang of that stuff yet!!

Michael is already starting to do a lot more on the KLR. The kid is really good for what he knows and is now exploring the back ways around the truck and climbing up hills. Proud of him.

Mom enjoying the Yammie

A stellar trip and next up is Nick coming into town with the Mrs!

Wow, back 4 days already from camping and this morning we are setting off to meet up with Senay and Nick to have breakfast, see the Heard Museum, and go for a Train Ride!

We get to First Watch and have a hoot having breakfast and catching up. Always fun when Uncle Nicholas is in town!

We head over to the museum and spend a few hours exploring. If you have any interest in Native American Art, the Heard is an amazing place to spend a few hours. Having grown up, I am amazed about how little I know about all the different tribes in Arizona and their history. The Heard has some great exhibits that speak to the Indian Boarding Experience, Native Mainstream Art, and a really great hands on exhibit for the kids to learn about all the tribes in Arizona. We got a lot out of it.

Jackson thinking nobody would notice one less piece wink

The following are some of the pieces that really caught my eye.

There is a HUGE wall of Hopi Kachina Dolls. They are amazing to behold.

This little guy looks spooky alive to me. Amazing!

Totally Glorious I tell ya.

The kids are having a hoot, but we have a train to catch to have lunch at a Turkish Place in Tempe so it is time to head out.

We catch the Light Rail outside the museum and head over to Tempe. Laura and I have used public transit a lot here and in Europe, but this is the first time for the kids. They think it is totally cool!!

Jackson and his favorite Uncle. Funny how much fun those two have together.

The Lake (almost full again after the dam breaking) means we are coming into Tempe. Time to get off.

Senay and Nick stay out of range as the minions play in the fountain. It is a great day!

I still wax nostalgic for those college days.

I found the title to this film fitting for my pal from Princeton and MIT. Only later will I find out that movie is really about something completely different.

In the end the return train is arriving and it is time to head home. Senay is tired from having flown in today and I have to get Michael back to go see Grandpa.

But I am very very Happy that I had a grand week doing simple things with those I love.

Take Care All.

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