Thursday morning started like all the others. I can say that things really are back to normal and it's nice to be able to get out when I want and go when I want. These first two pictures were taken with the same camera (Nikon) but the second one I used the flash. That made the sky just as I was seeing but I didn't care for the bright fence the camera captured. Thursday proved to be a very interesting day and Stella provided most of the entertainment.
I wasn't planning on riding my bike while I was drinking morning coffee but I was planning a road trip back to a town I had visited in June with the two hounds. The problem was it was too hot to keep the hounds in the car while I walked around to check out Patagonia. So we drove through it and around it then but just a quick look. Yesterday I went alone and looked a little bit closer.
So far the mornings after riding my bike the previous day a little further each time, my hip is feeling normal. No signs of swelling, no soreness and and no pain the hip area. It seems like I have been doing something active almost every day and in my mind that can't do anything but help getting those hip muscles stronger. Yesterday was Day 60 since my surgery. They say that hip joint where the ball fits into the pelvis takes two to three months to totally heal, so I might have another month go to go.
Heidi has come up with her own routine after breakfast or after the sun comes up. She will smell the entire fence line so slow it's almost like she is taking in each rock.
Once she reaches the corner of the backyard fence she will then cut diagonal towards the house.
I decided I would do test #2 with Stella. I mean what did I have to lose, just time to have the installers come back and install any vertical blinds she might tear down? I still thought she would be okay even if I were away for three to four hours. Everything was set up the same way as Wednesday when I was gone for a little over two and a half hours. Now to some this might not seem blog worthy but long time readers will remember she has driven me crazy with her destruction at times. It is totally random when she does this.
It was a great day to take a drive. This is heading west on Hwy 82, a highway that has turnouts just at the right spot to take some photos.
When I was searching for a small town to move to in Arizona I'd asked my friend that lives in Phoenix and at one time traveled the whole state for a job he had years ago. I would mention a town I found and he would give me a review in full detail. At times he would suggest some based on what I was looking for. Patagonia was a town on my list until I decided I needed more conveniences. I was tired of having to drive 25 miles to get to the stores I liked. I would have had to drive further than 25 miles in Patagonia.
I like traveling in this open country as I have mentioned before. I find the scenery beautiful and the open skies are beneficial to me.
Just past the 82/83 intersection in Sonoita there is a rest area that the hounds and I stopped at in June. Today I stopped for different reasons. I needed to make a point of getting out of the car and stretching my lower back and hip area. Sitting too long in a car or a chair is not a good thing, so this rest area is the perfect place to get out and walk around a little. Of course there are mountains to look at on both sides of the car.
I was a little surprised just how short of a drive it was from the house. The trip meter said a little over 35 miles. As I entered the town, the small high school was there to greet me. The orange and black school colors of the Patagonia Lobos. There is something about seeing a small school baseball diamond that makes me want to pull over and watch a little bit of the game ... but no baseball is being played today, it's November.
The biggest change I saw as soon as I pulled into town, a LOT less people and cars than what I saw in June. Tourist season was over and parking spaces were basically anywhere I wanted to park. I decided to start my exploration at the west end of town and walk eastward. The RAV4 drove smoothly, very quiet even with the off-road tires on them. My gas mileage is almost at 28mph from the time it hit the showroom floor.
This nice park splits Hwy 82 and the main street of town. I could have sat here for hours but I wanted to this to be a four hour trip for Stella's sake not eight hours like I would want. Even with the main highway next to the park, it was extremely quiet. It wasn't quite 10am and it seemed like I had missed the morning rush.
The health food store on the right was tempting to go in and take a look around but what caught my eye was the lot next to it that had all kinds of stuff for sale. No plans to buy anything and no cash in my billfold for a reason, I decided to go take a look.
There must be something about me and bicycles. What are the odds of walking into a 'flea-market' type of business and finding a very nice and very expensive 'road' bike in a place called Patagonia? I knew it was expensive so I asked the business owner David, "how much?" ... He was told by a friend that gave him the bike to sell it would bring $2,000. It would have cost much more than that new but this is a used bike, a good used bike. I had NO plans on buying this bike under any circumstances. Besides, I could tell the frame was too big for me and I was right ... I ride a 54cm-57cm depending on the bike and this bike was a 58cm. Yes ... that 1cm makes a world of difference.
I didn't bother looking around at much he had for sale. I wasn't in the mood to buy anything but he had some great stories about Patagonia and the area. He had 33 years worth of experience in that town and it was amazing to hear all of the changes that he had seen from the time he moved there. I had the impression he did not have any interest in having his picture on my blog so I didn't ask.
To get a 'feel' for a town, especially a small town, is there any better place than stopping in a coffee shop? I thought I saw something and headed that way. Luckily the coffee shop was that second business building with the yellow painted building. As you an see in this town you will find all kinds of vehicles, from 'vettes to FJs. As I was lining up this picture I dropped my month old overpriced iPhone ... the Tech21 case not only protected it but helped it bounce a couple of times off that hard dirt gravel you see. No damage and not even a scratch on the corner of the case itself. I immediately looked at the three lenses for the camera ... not even a scratch.
I was not even inside the door when I could smell good coffee and good food.
Of course that friend I told you about that traveled the state of Arizona for his state job years ago, stopped in this place many times he said and if nothing had changed, just their basic house coffee would fit the bill. As I stood in that short line to pay I came up with another plan. The food they were carrying out of the small kitchen just to the left of those coffee cups (were for sale) looked fantastic.
I knew I had time for two huge pancakes and their 16oz cup of coffee. They tasted just as good as they looked.
Somewhere during that time spent in the coffee shop I lost interest walking to the other end of town. There is a large old hotel just down the street but I had seen that in June. The park on the east side looked just like the west side, so I turned left and slowly headed back to the car.
This town has some nice old buildings, a few run down buildings and a few 'fixer upper's for sale.
One thing I do miss where I live is the butterflies. I might see one occasionally on our morning walks but nothing like I would see in August while walking through the field behind the house in 'in the tropics'. For those that are reading this blog from a computer instead of a phone, you can search "butterflies" and find all the photos I took of them while taking our afternoon walks.
It was the wrong time of year, I didn't see one butterfly anywhere near the "Butterfly Garden"
Well it was time to go. My inner clock told me I had seen enough of Patagonia and it was time to hit the road home. I had one more stop to make though .. Elgin AZ, just a few miles off of Hwy 82. This is another place my friend suggested I check out when I was trying to decide where to move. A short trip on Google Maps satellite view last winter, told me all I needed to know ... beautiful area but I am not sure the word "town" would apply. They do have a very nice large vineyard outside of town after passing through what I guessed to be the town.
With little traffic I was able to stop the car to take his picture. I love all the formations out here in the high plateaus.
By the time the wheels pulled up in front of my house I had been gone a little over three and half hours. I noticed the window was still intact and the blinds were still hanging in their proper position but I didn't see Stella at the fence gate nor did I see her at the window looking for me. I quietly opened the door and neither hound came running to greet me. Heidi was back on her bed sleeping and I could see looking straight ahead that Stella was out cold with her afternoon nap.
So again ... no damage for the 2nd day in a row.
That would all change a couple of hours later. I had the urge to ride my bike so I grabbed my helmet, I let Stella sniff it and from that she knows I am going riding. In fact she knows so well that she walked down the hallway to the bedroom thinking I was going to put her in her crate like I had done before every bike ride until the past two weeks.
I didn't do laps around the neighborhood where she could see me pass the house every 7-8 minutes. I rode 38 minutes through residential streets as I slowly increase my time on the bike. I suspected nothing was going on at home while I rode the bike. She never had issues with me leaving before and would stand by the window waiting for my return ... with the window open and a cool breeze coming through the screen window.
I was probably a block or two away from my house when I noticed something about Stella's color was over on one of the driveways but at that time I could not tell what it was. Once she raised her head with drool hanging from each side of her mouth I knew it was Stella. She was trotting nervously on the sidewalk to the next garage door ... she was looking for me I guess.
When I called her name she looked confused. She stood motionless looking at me and didn't move toward the bike. I kept riding and she followed. Once I stopped and gingerly moved my surgical side leg up and over the seat of the bike ... she came up to me wagging her tail a mile a minute, happy that I was home.
I was so happy that I saw her before she got any further away. The school buses had arrived a few minutes after we were inside letting kids out to walk the sidewalks to their home. Stella would have followed any kid that wanted to take her home and of course she would have stayed if they had any kind of food. So I felt very fortunate that I found her when I did.
When I looked at the screen window that had been pushed out I was really happy that the screen had not been torn out like she did in Indiana 4 years ago. I was also happy that the window went back into the window frame with ease and was not bent beyond repair. Funny that a few months ago I tired getting that screen out to clean it and it wouldn't budge. They probably had not been taken out of the frame for the age of the house.
She was able to take the screen out of it's track with no problem at all.
So will I leave her out to roam the house while I am gone next time ... yes I will. Only I will continue to close that window so she cannot get to the screen. Will I let her roam the house on my next bike ride or a walk to the mailbox? Yes I will ... only this time I will close that window every time I leave so she can't get to the screen.
If she finds a way to bite the door knob and get out that way ... then all bets are off and back in the crate she goes every time I leave ... but the difference here than the door in Indiana where she did open a locked door ... this door as a deadbolt that is locked.
No matter, what it was a great day on Thursday in the Wild West.
Do you like the change of the new post first thing in the morning or at the end of the day writing about that day? I find I have more time to write in the morning than I do at the end of the afternoon. I also don't stay up as late as I use to, so posting late at night about the day doesn't seem like an option. So at least for now, this is how I am writing ... about the previous day and posting early in the morning.