Note to readers:  Our Website provider, GoDaddy.com, recently "upgraded" their software and effectively destroyed our website.  The template we have been using for nearly 6 years on this site was declared obsolete and removed from their database.   My TSSS (Technical Support Staff & Supervisor) has been working her little fingers to the bone over the last 10 days meticulously reconstructing the entire site.   Many of the Updates and a few other pages still need to be rebuilt and uploaded to the site.  We have decided to publish what has been completed thus far and complete the reconstruction process over, we're guessing here, the next two weeks, more or less.  Meanwhile, enjoy the new look!

Normally I am not at a loss for either words or material with which to generate one of these missives but I certainly don’t have a lot to choose from in composing this one.  Though a wildly creative writer could pen the story of a weeklong stay in an old folks home on a diet of prunes and strained peas and spin it into a high seas adventure engaging buccaneers while dining on gourmet sea fare freshly caught from the stern of the ship with fishing pole in one hand and a cutlass in the other, I ain’t that guy!   Throughout the past 2 weeks, we have both been dealing with a particularly nasty cold/flu/scurvy which has kept us pretty much home-bound and lacking in enthusiasm for any form of outdoor activity or, for that matter, any motion whatsoever beyond that of a common garden snail.   We have been racking our brains trying to figure out where we were and who we were with two weeks ago when we contracted this illness and we always come back to this...

   Sunny Arizona                                                               March 1, 2011

THE brother-in-law and his bottom-dealing card-shark playmate spent a few days with us en-route to their annual exile in a seaside enclave for American derelicts and castaways in San Carlos, Mexico.   We began coughing and sneezing within hours of their departure.   Need I say more?! 

Prior to the onset of our current malady, we did manage a bit of 4-wheeling on the Mt Lemmon Control Road en-route to a couple of other off-road trails.   Unbeknownst to us, the road was closed at the 25-mile marker and wasn’t due to re-open until March 1.   My bride, a glass-half-full sort of gal, made the best of the situation and still managed to snap some shots of what’s left of a ranch in American Flag, a former mining camp turned ghost town at the base of Mt Lemmon...

Most cacti are very sensitive to cold weather and the saguaro, in particular, cannot survive temperatures below freezing for more than 18 hours.  Approximately two-thirds of the original saguaro population from 1933 has been depleted due to several periods of freezing conditions throughout the years and I believe we are about to lose a few more...

Tucson is also home to Saguaro National Park...

A saguaro cactus usually hits its seventy-fifth birthday before sprouting its first appendage.  This guy has apparently been around since the age of the dinosaurs.  The site was originally set aside in 1933 as Saguaro National Monument and was expanded and designated a National Park in 1994.  Although the saguaro cactus is the most prominent within the Park, there are many other varieties within sight of the road or a short walk from one of the many pullouts and picnic spots...

Imagine our surprise when we awoke Sunday morning to find our campground covered in snow.   Welcome to sunny Arizona!!   Until next time, fair winds and following seas, me hearties!!   Hugs, Captain Snuffleuphagus and First Mate Sneezle