Heading Home!

I watched this storm arrive …

Monument Valley, UT

… and realized it was a good time to be leaving the area and heading home. A stop in Sedona, Arizona to visit friends and then home to the Tucson area. I traveled thousands of miles through 22 states, visited with many friends, family and local people, plus 43 new birds added to my bird life list! Only one van windshield replacement needed and a sliding drawer to be fixed when I get home. I have been safe and fortunate to travel with ease.

Thank you to all the people I visited with, stayed with and newly met while on the road. I love to travel, to see new places and to meet people who have like interests: the outdoors, nature, and photography. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and will continue to do so as long as my heart is in it. It is not easy to be on the move day after day, yet I think I have continued to learn what pace is best for my own travel. So in that sense, I will remain smart and travel on! Maybe I’ll see you on the road … or a path … till then, be healthy and enjoy life!

Utah ….and Monument Valley …. WOW!

From Grand Junction, Colorado I traveled Interstate 70 west and a route south toward Moab, Utah. I have fun-filled memories of time spent hiking, mountain biking and camping in Moab with my partner many, many years ago. The town has exploded in size since our visit here. When we visited Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park and Dead Horse State Park years ago, we never needed on-line reservations ahead of our visit. Now, if you have plans to visit any of the parks, be sure to do your research and know if you need a reservation for a specific day’s timed-entry into a park.

Anyway, I grabbed sandwich-makings at a supermarket and continued on to Monument Valley, Utah where I was camping the next 2 nights. As I passed Bear’s Ears National Monument, I realized I should have added a couple of days to explore that area … next time! 

I arrived at my Utah campground and saw a guided tour was leaving in 15 minutes. I hopped on it. There is a huge advantage to have a guide drive their vehicle over the dirt, washboard-like roads in the Monument Valley Tribal Park which is located in Arizona. An extra benefit I discover, the guide takes us into the back-country where other visitors can only drive on the basic scenic loop. Our Navajo guide was great in explaining things, driving through the sandy areas on the road, and stopping numerous places for us to take photographs. Seven customers, out of 12 of us, were from Europe. Our biggest challenge was the wind blowing sand all around. Thankfully I wore glasses and even put on a face mask so less was in my mouth and nose. Shout out to the “Clean Life, No Rinse Bathing Wipes” I used after the tour! Since it was windy and rainy at 8:30pm when I got back to camp, I used those wipes and could not believe the amount of sand in my ears!

Climbed up the sand dune … heart-pounding work!
Looking back down – just to give you perspective!
See the face?

The next day I drove about a 15 mile loop on a road a local person suggested when I asked for a place to explore. The majority of the distance was on a very sandy, washboard-like dirt road and my van rattled like crazy! I saw 4 other local people on the road and I eventually passed Olijado, Utah. In Navajo it means “moon over water”. Two different locals told me that meaning. Here are two photos:


Only town on the road
Beautiful sight to see!

I returned to Monument Valley Tribal Park … to check out the visitor center and then to participate in another tour. This was a sunset photography tour with a Navajo guide. My first hope was for a sunset worth photographing since the previous day was so windy, cloudy, gray and eventually rainy. Oh no … This evening began with a major downpour of rain and wind-blown sand! I thought what a disaster this was going to be! Two other people were on the tour with me and we remained hopeful. 

Finally the storm passed! Thankfully it was a three hour tour and our guide knew where to drive for good photo opportunities and to not drive in clay areas where we would be stuck in it in our vehicle. (No cell service out here!) The other huge advantage was our vehicle had windows we could close. I felt so sorry for the people in the open-sided vehicles! No rain gear would keep them dry with this storm! 

Our guide was very good. He spoke Navajo, so we could hear the language, and explained what he was saying. He had many interesting stories about his life and the Navajo tribe. It was nice to have a small group on the tour. Photos are below.

If you are interested in visiting Monument Valley Tribal Park, which is in Arizona, you can stay at the campground, cabins or The View Hotel, all on tribal land. I stayed at a Utah campground just outside the area and paid $8.00 per day as I visited the tribal park, plus the fee for any tour taken. I am looking forward to a return visit!

Monument Valley Tribal Park
Monument Valley Tribal Park
Monument Valley Tribal Park

Visiting Colorful Colorado!

Interstate 76 from Nebraska to the Denver area of Colorado is beautiful; so much green! Spring has truly sprung in colorful Colorado!

My original Colorado plan was shortened. Rain was moving in for 3 days in the Denver area, so I nixed my cycling in the Fort Collins area. I did however travel south of Denver to visit with friends and enjoy dinner at the Sherpa House in Golden. Wow, this place brought back my memories of my Nepal – Everest Base Camp trek in 2001! The “house” really looks like a lodge you would find in Nepal and the food was delicious!

Fortunately my friends have a quiet neighborhood so I slept in my van. This worked perfectly since one left for work at 5:30am and the other one was enjoying the morning to sleep in. I wanted an early morning start too. I was off to Grand Junction, CO.

Interstate 70 west travels through the Rocky Mountains, thus tunnels and beautiful towns on the forested mountainside during the first half of my travel. I birded at a rest area … pleasantly surprised to see an American dipper at the creek’s edge. Then the landscape scenery opens up to flat land with mesas in the distance and a drier look to the land.

I arrived in Grand Junction relaxed. Last year I drove through the National Monument located here and with rain sprinkles, once again I hd to nix my idea of bicycling. (If you have not visited the National Monument, add it to your “to do” list.)

Next morning I birded at Grand Valley Audubon Nature Preserve. It is a wetland area. I decided to only stay an hour since I still had a 4.5 hour drive ahead to Monument Valley, Utah. On the road again….

Here are a couple of photos from my birding. I spent time watching this osprey bring in food, and watch the other adult feed the 3 young, but one young always seemed to be missing out on getting food.

Not a great photo, but osprey is bringing a fish to its nest.
Three young and 2 adults at the nest.

Discovering Nebraska

Last year I had pinpoint focus on seeing sandhill cranes flying in and roosting along the Platte River near Kearney at the start of April. This year my goal was to visit Omaha and Lincoln. Here’s how those couple of days turned out:

Late afternoon, almost a half hour before the Omaha area:

Ordered a Reuben sandwich with fries, on-line from the Crescent Moon Ale House, and picked it up as I arrived in Omaha. Why a Reuben sandwich? I love Reuben sandwiches, but purchasing one from this place had some history. Was the sandwich created at a 1920’s poker game in Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel by Reuben Kulakofsky? Currently the Crescent Moon Ale House is across the street from where the Blackstone Hotel stood. Reuben and the hotel’s owner would want midnight snacks and supposedly Reuben Kulakofsky created this sandwich. It had corn beef on marble rye bread with Swiss cheese, a secret sauerkraut blend and thousand island dressing  …  named a Reuben sandwich. My sandwich was tasty, but I am used to having more sauerkraut on one. Isn’t learning history fun?

Next day in Omaha area:

My birding was at Hummel Park Nature Center. I was beginning to think I would only see the usual birds, nothing new, when a wood thrush hops on a tree branch!

Wood thrush

Then drove to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. I walked across it, memories once again like my last post. This bridge is 3,000 feet long, crosses the Missouri River, connecting Omaha, Nebraska with Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Missouri River is a tributary of the Mississippi River. The Missouri River is 100 miles longer than the Mississippi River! (BTW, Bob Kerrey … former Nebraska governor.)

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

I drove to the Old Market area of Omaha, finally finding a parking spot and downloading a QR code to pay a parking fee. After walking a few of the brick-paved streets, window-shopping, watching people in horse-drawn carriages, I headed out. 

Time to discover a runza. I saw fast-food joints named Runza and didn’t think anything of it till my partner shared Nebraska info with me, runza was one item. I stopped at one of the establishments and discovered they sell hamburgers, but also runza. A runza is a pocket bread with ground beef, cabbage and onion. I ordered a runza and added mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Well it was an experience!

Next day in Lincoln area:

Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska and definitely has a different feel from Omaha. There are parks, International Quilt Museum, National Museum of Roller Skating, Nebraska State Prison and it is a college town. My first stop was Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center. I spent hours hiking the trails, heard a couple of northern bobwhites, but never could get a photo of them.

Drove to Sunken Gardens and across the street was Hamann Rose Garden. Sunken Gardens had many people visiting and the other garden very few people. Sunken Gardens was constructed in the winter of 1930-31! Hamann Rose Garden was created in the 1940’s and has more than 100 roses. I could see either place being perfect for a wedding or a photographer wanting beautiful photos of flowers!

Sunken Gardens
Hamann Rose Garden

Next stop was Sheldon Museum of Art, the outdoor sculptures. The museum, on the University of Nebraska- Lincoln campus, was closed, but I was interested in what sculptures they had. Always interesting seeing creative projects.

Time for dinner: do you know there are many, many Mexican establishments in Nebraska? Of course, there is Runza, and all the fast food places, but I stopped for a gyro sandwich. I spoke with the owner who has lived in Lincoln for 42 years and he loves it. He was telling me it is a very safe city. 

Next day in Wahoo area:

A friend wanted photo of a Wahoo sign and I was heading west. I enjoy driving backroads and did a quick stop at Memphis Lake State Park. Did not stay since I was looking forward to an applesauce donut made at Wahoo Bakery. Nope, they were closed!

So I headed over to Mocha C’s and had a delicious breakfast. This was the place where everyone knows your name! Wahoo is a town of less than 5,000 people – definitely close-knit. I was welcomed back whenever in the area.

I walked to Dollar General, a couple of blocks away, to buy a step stool since mine collapsed. The store’s manager and I got talking and then she explained the history of the building. On my way out, she wished me she travel and said, stop in again.

I had been intrigued by very tall concrete buildings, looked like silos to me, and seen many places in the state. I decided to stop in a store named Wahoo Meat Locker (Home of the Famous Wahoo Wiener). The woman at the cash register could not answer my question so she asked the butcher. As I stood on the other side of his counter, the butcher and a meat customer explained they are grain elevators. Then the customer explained why Nebraska’s beef is the best … “the cows eat grain, not barley and other such stuff they feed them in California and Washington”. I will say, I bought the Wahoo beef jerky and it is the best I have ever had! Before the customer left, he came into my aisle and wished me a good trip. 

I walked back to my van and thought to myself, well what does today’s interaction with three different people/places tell you about this small community? I know what I think; what do you think?

This night’s Harvest Host location in North Platte, Nebraska: Pal’s Brewery. Great place for beer, to play corn hole, participate in trivia night and have a quiet place to sleep in their grassy area. I met a woman, Reba, who rode the historic 76 day, 3,000 mile “Bikecentennial ’76” or known as the “Bicycle Birthday Party”. My research indicates about 2,000 riders accomplished the entire length that year. She had also cycled from Maine to Florida in those days. Love meeting people … everyone has a story!

My Challenge: eBird Checklist Per Day For a Year!LAb

My 2023 challenge is to submit an eBird checklist per day for this entire year. I am now halfway through the year and realize what a challenge this is, day in and day out!

When I am at home, comfortably looking at the birds visiting our various backyard bird feeders, it is simple to record my observations! Always a minimum of 15 minutes per observation, I easily knock off my daily checklist challenge. When a greater roadrunner or other bird captures my attention, I can find myself spending more time watching their behavior from the comfort of my armchair. 

While traveling, I scope out nature centers, local parks, wetlands and any place where I know other birders have made some interesting observations. Visiting 27 different states during this current trip allows me to add 43 new birds to my life list. None of this is as easy as observing birds at my home feeders and recording my list there.

Once I know where I will bird on a particular morning, I try to arrive in the early morning when birds are most active. Often I am walking a few miles with my camera on a tripod. I like to stop and listen for about 5 – 10 minutes before moving on. I use a 200 – 500 mm lens on my camera since birds are often at tree tops, on electrical lines, or so small within tree branches the zoom lens is best for any photo. Other times it may be the middle of the day because I had to travel to a location a distance from my campground. 

After a couple of hours birding, I download my photos, process any photo I am interested in, and record the number of species and photos in The Cornell Lab’s eBird for my daily checklist to be complete. Depending on the day and my plans for the rest of the day, it varies where I get all that accomplished. I sometimes do all that work in my van and use my iPhone as a hotspot. Other times, especially if I am very hot, I may complete it all at a Starbucks while also enjoying an iced mocha! Whatever the location, there is plenty of work to be done. Some birds l know as I observe them, but others I will photograph even when unsure of their identification. For those, I thankfully can use the Merlin Bird Photo ID to help identify a bird for me. If I did not have that Merlin Bird ID app, I would be spending many hours flipping through bird guide books to identify those birds! 

Another benefit of the app is the Merlin Bird Sound ID! How many times have I arrived at a location, heard birds, but seen none? That is the perfect time for me to set my camera on its tripod, turn on the app, and simply relax. At some point, birds will fly to another tree or walk on the ground so I can see them and maybe even take a photo. It’s important to see the bird that is listed on the app and not assume the app has the correct sound identification.

Of course many times I think to simply list the birds at the campground. I could do that, but only a few times did I do that. They were days I had many miles to drive or the weather was going to be stormy, rainy or a challenge and I wanted to get my checklist completed for the day. Otherwise, off to find a new location!

So I am halfway to completion of my 2023 challenge … just another 182 days to go! See you at the end of the year. Aren’t challenges fun? Do you have any challenge keeping you busy this year? Let me know … please tell!

Common yellowthroat

Hearing Sad News While in Iowa

My sadness had nothing to do with Iowa. It just happened to be the state I was in when I received a phone call; my best friend of 40 years died shortly after midnight. I knew my friend’s death was a matter of time. I spent many days, the month prior, with my friend as she lived as best she could after more than a year of cancer treatments and recent major surgery. 

I sobbed while I listened to my friend’s daughter tell me the sad news. Moments like this are horribly sad. But it is a time to pause and realize how fortunate we are to be alive and to ask ourself if we are living our best life. My friend had a very full life … and one which she and I had opportunities to share either together or to talk about with each other during our 40 year friendship. I was always proud of her accomplishments, some of which were: starting law school at age 50, learning to play the piano, helping local organizations, improving upon her ice skating and golfing skills, and being a public school Board of Education member. We both loved books, people, the outdoors, hiking, jogging, travel, Broadway shows in NYC, drinking tea and wine. We always seemed to make things work. And we talked, as we jockeyed around work and family responsibilities which demanded much attention at times.

And here I was in Iowa receiving this sad news. There was nothing I could do to soften the sadness, except to let my tears flow as I drove. I got on with my day, and eventually arrived in DesMoines, set up camp, and connected via zoom with my partner and a friend. Talking with others helped me.

The next day I arrived at my starting point for a bicycle ride on the High Trestle Trail. This rail-trail is 31 miles long; however, I wanted to ride the portion where the trestle is high over the DesMoines River. As I stood at the middle of the trestle bridge, which is 130-foot-tall, I had a flashback of a previous year’s trip with my best friend. My goal was for her to have an adventure away from her home and a break during her monthly chemo treatments. Months ahead, I asked her to choose a place for us to escape to for a few nights and I would arrive from the west coast to take her on an adventure. She chose New York State’s Hudson River Valley. In the scenic Hudson River Valley, we drove by historic homes, walked at Poets’ Walk Park, had dinner at fine dining establishments, and walked the pedestrian bridge over the Hudson River. She wanted to walk the entire mile long bridge. To accomplish that, we started at one side of the bridge and walked to the middle and back; the next day, we started on the other side of the river and walked the bridge to the middle and back. While exhausting for her to accomplish over the 2 days, she did walk the entire bridge!

Now 14 months later … memories of my friend, such as this memory, are sure to happen often … I know this for sure! How can one ever forget 40 years with a wonderful friend, our shared adventures and varied happenings during all those years? I will remember!

My friend at Poets’ Walk Park!
My friend walked the entire bridge’s length!

More to Explore in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state I wish I could spend more time in, but I usually am only passing through as I head from the east coast home to Arizona. My last trip I spent time in the Milwaukee area, this time in the Madison area. Here was my 2.5 day itinerary:

I arrived in the afternoon at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha to do some birding. The previous day in Illinois I added a bobolink to my “new bird list”, but I wanted to get a photo of the bird. I spent a couple of hours here and did get a photo.


I camped at a campground I had already visited in the last couple of years.

Next day:

I hoped to bicycle ride a section of the Glacial Drumlin State Trail; however, I woke to wildfire smoke. I did not know how bad the air would be at the trail so I ate breakfast at a restaurant close to my starting point and decided on plan B.

I drove to Aztalan State Park in Jefferson. It looked to be an interesting park but it required an $11 park entrance fee. I decided it would be worth it on a visit when I might spend 4 hours or more. This day was not going to be it.

I drove to Goose Pond Sanctuary in Arlington, a place I had been to in past visits. I wanted to walk alone and observe what I knew would be few birds, but I simply wanted quiet. My brain and heart were with craziness; I needed time to think, feel and process all that was going on within me. Time in nature allows me to grapple with emotional hardships … and I was having one of those moments. Days earlier I left my best friend of 40 years and knew she would die soon. My heart ached. I needed time to think and understand what was best for her. It was no time for me to be selfish, yet why do such friendships ever have to end?

Time to understand life and death.

I left the sanctuary needing to discover a new place. I visited Olbrich Botanical Garden and Bolz Conservatory in Madison. Wow, was it all amazing! For $6 the conservatory had a rainforest from Peru. It got me wondering if these little birds were one of the 100 birds I had seen when I was in Peru’s Amazon. A Madison man has a protected place in Peru and is linked with the conservatory.

Peru’s orange-cheeked waxbill

The outdoor gardens are free and so magnificent that I would think local people would walk here often. Each garden was representative of a different area of the world. The Thai pavilion and garden was beautiful too:

Thai Garden

I discovered a bicycle trail not far from the Olbrich Botanical Garden which had ebikes for rent. I was almost tempted to rent one, but with the smoky air I returned to my campground about an hour south with less wildfire smoke.

My second night at this campsite. A van as small and basic as mine prompts people to ask me about it. Tonight a woman asked about travel itself; she is new to RVing. I met her at her camper after I cooked my dinner and she walked her dog. Over a glass of Malbec wine, I offered some things I learned while on the road. It was nice to chat about outdoor life and how to be safe as a single woman on the road. She was contemplating Harvest Hosts for possible nights to save some dollars. The main thing I learned is to definitely read the reviews written by others who stayed at a particular Harvest Host location. She had seen the movie Nomadland and I encouraged her to read the book to understand the whole story. I could not suggest dispersed camping or boondocking. I believe it is important for at least a campground staff or Harvest Host to know I am on property. I had no problem being off by myself backpacking in the middle of nowhere in a forest, but these days on the road it is quite different. Safety is the priority!

Next day:

Relaxed morning start. Bird-watched while I ate breakfast at my picnic table. Organized and cleaned the van. Took a shower. Washed and dried clothing at the campground’s laundry room.  Charged my Apple Watch and Goal Zero. Spent time writing before leaving for LaCrosse, Wisconsin to meet a friend for dinner and to stay at Pearl Street Brewery, my Harvest Host location for the night.

No wildfire smoke has been in this area of Wisconsin so I had 2 good nights while sleeping. I hope my luck continues. Once again I cannot head north to northern Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota. The winds from the 400 wildfires from British Columbia to Nova Scotia are blowing into the USA. It’s a good reminder of how we are all connected!

Iowa, here I come … another new day … another new beginning!

Indiana Dunes National Park, Ever Hear Of It?

Indiana Dunes National Park was mentioned to me a year ago; so I planned this year’s travel to visit the park. I am so glad I did. 

There is much history in how Lake Michigan’s lakeshore property became a national park … from botanist Henry Cowles’ 1899 scientific article till 2019 when 15,000 acres was designated Indiana Dunes National Park. I drove past steel mills and power plants as I approached the park. Within the east and west sections of the park is the Port of Indiana and obviously prime industrial lakefront property in the past and today. How could it happen to have industry, a port and a protected area within a few miles of each other on this prime real estate? Only with the organizing of supportive local people, the hard work of some politicians, and congressional action did this area, soon to be a the national park, come to reality. 

Not only is the history of the park interesting, but also the geology. The glacial activity formed Lake Michigan which had former shorelines and created sand dunes. The highest dune was 200 feet at one time! Unfortunately it was mined for its sand before the national park designation. There are other dunes, such as 126 feet tall Mount Baldy, and other places of interest: Cowles and Pinhook bogs, beaches and lake views to explore. I could only visit a fraction of the park during my day’s visit and fortunately remained 20 minutes ahead of the rainstorm moving through the area.

The park has an informative film at the visitor center and then I headed to the Great Marsh Trail. Despite it looking like rain, I walked to an observation deck to observe wood ducks and other birds. Fortunately I was back at my van when it poured rain!

Great Marsh Trail entrance to observation deck
Beautiful area

I drove west, ahead of the rain, to visit Long Lake and West Beach. Unfortunately this meant I was missing the bog trails! Once at the West Beach bathhouse, I determined there was no way I could complete the “Diana of the Dunes Dare”, more history here, before being caught in a rainstorm. (I will need to visit this park again.)

Dunes, beaches and bogs … to see another visit.

I left the park in the rain and for the next hour of travel I was caught in rain, thunder, lightning storm, and hail! Water flow was coming up the road drains, not down, and I had one moment when I worried about the depth of some water on the road. The hail stones were the size of grape tomatoes and had me wondering if they would crack my new windshield. 

My windshield was so buggy. (I often stop at Costco gas stations, but they do not have ways to clean windshields. Earlier in the day, I checked interstate highway rest areas with gas stations, only to discover they do not have ways to clean windshields either.) During a lull in the rain, I tried to clean my front window better with a squirt of windshield fluid since I made sure fluid was within the containers at the start of this trip. I discovered the windshield fluid went right over the top of the van; not a drop on the window! First chance I got to stop, I pulled out my taller step stool and discovered the windshield guys (remember, I just had it replaced while on the east coast) did not punch the lower part of the window framing in. As a result, any fluid coming out was totally misdirected. Glad it all happened on a local road and not an interstate!

Visitors to the park come year-round. Birders are here in May and October. There are so many places to visit in this park that stretches for miles along Lake Michigan. I would imagine at least a 3 day visit would be best when I plan my future visit. Camping is available at the state park and the national park’s Dunewood Campground. Probably need to get reservations months prior; and now I know! You know now too, so visit if you are in the area.

My day ended southwest of the storm at a Harvest Host location just over the Indiana border in Illinois. The family has a farm with bee hives, cows, goats and chickens. It was a quiet night. Nice way to end the day!

Keep A Watchful Eye Open & See….

Of course I am always looking around while walking in a parking lot or on a hiking trail. I never know what I will see! While visiting Ohio’s Mentor Lagoons, I saw 29 different species of birds, many purple martins at their nest, and a chimney swift tower, but they weren’t the most interesting things to happen during my hike!

I was deep in the wooded area, more than an hour from the parking lot, and decided to call it a day. On my way back, something caught my attention … and so I looked closely … do you see it in the photo below?

At a distance, at first I was unsure what I was looking at.

I zoomed my camera in to see the raccoon climbing up the tree! It made it to a hole in the tree and then explored within the hole! The hole was at least 15 feet up!

I wasn’t around to see if the raccoon worked itself own from the hole.

I arrived at the parking lot and decided to walk along the lagoon’s edge toward the bridge since I had not checked it out upon my arrival. I saw a couple of great blue herons and a few red-winged blackbirds. Red-winged blackbirds are very protective of their nests. I know this first-hand from various experiences I have had where they tried to bombard me … literally flying at me! Well this is what they were doing to one of the great blue herons!

Attack-mode from the red-winged blackbird!
And again the bird is back to harass the heron which does fly off!

On another note: If you are interested in knowing what a chimney swift tower looks like, it is in the photo below. Ohio is trying to provide habitat for these birds which have declined 72% since 1966. Fifty thousand swifts can roost overnight in large industrial chimneys!

Chimney swift tower

Family Time!

My family was meeting in PA to spend time together. In a previous week I visited with my mom and now how wonderful for her to join us all in PA. Besides relaxing, eating, drinking and being sure the alpacas were cared for by us or others, we decided to take on a few special activities.

Day trip:

Visited High Point Monument in New Jersey. I first heard of the place from one sister and recognized it when I read Grandma Gatewood’s Walk book. Grandma Gatewood hiked the Appalachian Trail in the Delaware Water Gap area her first time in 1955 and mentions this high point at 1803 feet above sea level with its good views. The monument is a veteran’s memorial commemorating all veterans of all wars. While there I did see a new bird: a prairie warbler! We stopped at a winery and another place for dinner. It was a good day.

High Point Monument
Quite the view!
Prairie warbler, bird was a distance away and photo taken with iPhone.

Another day: None of my sisters or myself wanted to see animals in cages, so we went to a wildlife and safari park, called “The Preserve“, in Harpursville, New York. This place has 100 acres of land where we could drive through and feed the animals. Specific directions were given on how to and what to feed the animals. I found the emus the most aggressive animal! It was fascinating to visit here! Stopped at a brewery after all that fun!

Of course, the low key social family time is fun, but we had a competitive moment while I introduced my sisters to pickleball at a local park. Our tennis swings wanted to really take over which screwed up the pickleball swing. In time though each may find the game fun.

Always fun to stay connected with my family. My parents raised four very independent individuals. It is always interesting to see what each is up to each year and to actually spend time together. It was fun!