Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just a short update of what's new in the Alves home.
Zach is getting to the point where he will be crawling really soon. Right now he's in the scooting backwards stage. He's also quite whiny. It's funny how each kid is different. Adri was a pain in the butt when it came to bed time. She wouldn't sleep on her own and when we would put her down she would wake up within a couple minutes wanting to be held. Zach is good at bedtime. We can put him down and he'll go to sleep on his own. However while he's awake he always wants to be held. And then he even gets picky on who gets to hold him or he'll cry until he gets his way.
I have left Rural Metro. A few months ago Tek Systems called me seeing if I wanted to find a new job. I told them I wasn't interested in the moment because I was going to go permanent at Rural Metro. Well they were taking too long to make that happen and hundreds got laid off in billing a little more than a month ago which made everyone a little nervous about their own job. When that happened I called Tek Systems back. They got me an interview with a company called One Neck. I did well and went on to a panel interview. I was supposed to get an answer by the following Monday. However when Tek Systems called me they said it looks good but they will be waiting until Friday to decide. Now this was for three open positions so I was kind of thinking they were having second thoughts about me. But that Thursday I got a call saying that I was the only one of several interviewd that got hired. So I was pretty excited about that. It's a direct hire too so I won't be working for Tek Systems. Finally for the first time in my career a direct hire.
To celebrate the family went out to Rock Springs to eat at an old café that loves to advertise their pie. Everyone knows, Joe loves pie and they make over 300 a day. They gave me a complimentary berry pie with dinner. I'm not normally a fan of berry pie unless it has ice cream on top but this was pretty good. I then ordered a peach crumb with vanilla ice cream and stole some of Natalie's banana cream. Both were really good.
I finished up my last two weeks at Rural Metro yesterday. When I left my boss said he really appreciated everything I did and even said he is going to look into bringing me in as a contractor on the side. So I might now have one full time job and two contracts. I am supposed to meet with him next week to discuss that. It's good leaving a job on good terms. He knows how it is there. I wanted to stay there for a few years but after coming out of bankruptcy a year ago they just don't have their staffing situation worked out yet. So moving on. I got a nice deal out of the new job and it should really help out my resume. If this country holds together and I still want to go back to Florida in a couple years I should be able to land a nice job there and be able to get by living in our house without Natalie working. That's if I decide to go back there, we'll see. I'm also thinking of selling the house and moving a little further north in Florida.  
This morning we decided to go to breakfast again at Rock Springs Café. I don't normally go out for breakfast but I decided to give this a try. They have really good sticky buns so Adri has been excited about it all week. So we went there this morning got some sticky buns, biscuits and gravy, and I got a huge stack of pancakes. I'm not used to eating a big breakfast so by the time my pancakes got there I was already feeling full. I only ate about 1/4 of my pancakes, and that was while sharing with Adri.
Other than that the only thing interesting around here is that it has rained, a lot. We had a tropical storm hit Baja a few weeks ago and we got drenched. A couple weeks before that we got a soaker as well where some parts of Phoenix got up to six inches. When the tropical storm hit, Sky Harbor got over 2 inches in one day, an all time record for the airport. So yeah, it's been wet and now it's very green here. Another reason I like driving up to Rock Springs. Looking out towards the Tonto National Forest the hills are very green and it makes a nice relaxing drive. We were supposed to get more rain from another tropical storm a couple days ago but that all went to the southeast part of the state.
The Zach man the night we went to Rock Springs Café for dinner.

Zach playing his piano.

Earlier this week I was cleaning the garage and came across this lil guy. It's a Western Banded Gecko.
Zach trying to crawl.

The last day at work I came into this. The whole team is in denial of who did it.

I took this picture this morning. Right outside of the Café. That is some good advertising right there. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Daisy Mountain & The Rattlesnake

So lately, in an effort to lose weight, I have been getting up early on my Saturdays to hike up Daisy Mountain. Last week we were doing our Walking Dead Marathon and we stayed up til long after midnight and I still managed to get up at 5:30 for my hike. This morning I got up at 4:20 and was on the trail by 5 hiking with a flashlight until it got light around 6.

The first couple times I hiked up Daisy I went down the same way I went up. It's just over 6 miles that route. The thing is it's hard to stay on the trail going down the south side. Every time I would get off trail and it was a pain trying to get back. So last week I discovered the trail going down the backside. It's a longer route, close to 7 miles, but the descend is a lot faster.

Well this morning after getting down the mountain I was nearly down to the road where the hiking gets easy. Just below where the trail splits, probably about 100-150 feet from where I found the horny toad a few hikes ago. I was walking on the right side of the wide trail and I heard a rattlesnake and it was close. It scared me so bad instinct kicked in and before I knew it I had jumped back a foot and had my .45 halfway out of my holster. Then I looked 5 feet in front of me and there was a big 4 foot + Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Had I not heard it I would have stepped on him two steps later.

So I thought about my options and decided to let this guy live. He was a veteran snake, had about ten layers on the rattle, and he did give me a warning. So I snapped a few pics and then threw some small rocks to get him off the trail. Only problem is he didn't really want to retreat and he just decided to hang out in a bush next to the trail. I didn't have a long enough stick to mess with this thing anymore so I decided to just leave.

So since I had aggravated this snake I decided it was only fair to give everyone fair warning it was there. A couple minutes later I ran into a girl (wearing ear buds, listening to music). I really don't understand this stupidity. The first hike I had I was walking behind a middle aged woman for 5 minutes and she had no clue I was there because of her ear buds. When I passed her she was startled. Good way to become a rape victim, or get a rattlesnake bite, or attacked by a mountain lion. So anyways back to today. I warned the girl about the snake, it was in a location that is easy to describe, and she said "That's why I don't like hiking here when it's hot". Um how about just not hiking with ear buds? I don't know if she put them back in when she continued down the trail. A couple minutes later I ran into another girl with ear buds. Her music was so loud she couldn't hear me talking until she pulled them out. She got so scared she turned the other way. And then I ran into the first guy I have ever seen hiking there with ear buds. He looked like a chick with his two telescopic walking sticks looking like he was skiing on a wide dirt road. Haha. I had to warn him. I couldn't help but shake my head at the stupidity. Had I been wearing ear buds I would have spent my day in the ER. The only warning that there was a snake in my path was the rattling.

From the top of Daisy Mountain
 From the second peak. I had to go down from the first one a couple hundred feet to get back up to the second one.

 These pics are from this morning. I was nearly at the peak by sunrise.

 Between the mountain and Tonto National Forest.
 The rattlesnake I ran into.
 Another pic of the snake. He's in the middle between the rock and the bush.
 In this one he's in the middle at the very top again between the rock and the bush.
Video of the rattlesnake. this lil guy was very loud.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Red Rock State Park

This Labor Day weekend we made the mistake of taking a trip to Sedona. I say mistake because the traffic Sunday morning sucked. I also say mistake because we had plans to go to Crescent Moon Ranch and swim in Oak Creek. Who would have thought the park would be packed on a holiday weekend and they wouldn't be letting people in?
So we made the best of it and went to Red Rock State Park where we threw some burgers on the grill. I have to say, I make some really good burgers. Afterwards we walked around and took pictures of the kids. I had bought both kids camo a long time time ago and I wanted to take pictures before they no longer fit in them. Well I think we were too late. Adri's dress is now a shirt. Zach was able to get into the pants but the shirt wouldn't go over his head. Natalie stretched out the neck but we could only get one arm in so we had to give up and let him go topless.
So here are my half naked kid's pictures. Put both this kids together and you have a complete outfit. A nice redneck incomplete family picture.
Also I got bit by an ant four times while walking out the park. Being how we were planning on going to the creek, not hiking, I only brought sandals. The bite was so nasty I had a dark ring around my toe for a week.

Before we put Zach in Camo. I gave him a fohawk.

Pictures at Oak Creek. Yes the same creek, a mile away from Crescent Ranch, but no swimming allowed here because it's protected for wildlife.

The Apache Fire House Ruins

Adri and I were playing a game. Throw leaves in the water and see who's goes downstream faster.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Daisy Mountain Peak

This weekend I decided to drag my butt out of bed early and go on a hike around Daisy Mountain. I had planned to take Adri but when reviewing the trail last minute I decided it wasn't a good idea. It was definitely a good idea not to take her, although she was disappointed. I'm going to have to find an easier trail for this kid.
I started at 7:26 am on a 3 hour 12 minute hike. It's six miles round trip starting at about elev 1,900 hiking up to elev 3,140. It was a long hike on a hot morning. When I got just about half way up the mountain I saw something jump in front of me and take off into the bushes. At first I thought Gila Monster. But once it stopped I could see it was a horny toad. This is the first horny toad I have seen in Arizona and it blended in perfectly with its surroundings. I snapped a couple pictures of it and went on my way. About 25 minutes later the trail got confusing and I ended up hiking up the mountain cross country. When I finally got to the peak it was hot, I was half way through with my water, and I realized I forgot to put on my sunblock before I left. So needless to say I didn't get to have my juicy mango at the peak. Instead I took a couple pictures and took off.
I thought going down the mountain it would be easier to stay on the trail. I was wrong. I was descending fast but after 10 minutes I lost the trail. I could see the trail on my phone but I was still having a hard time staying on it. I was looking around and nothing seemed familiar and it looked like going to the trail I could see on my phone was completely off course. I don't know if it's because it's a different trail or this one really wrapped around the mountain that many times. I'm still confused.  I probably got off trail at least 3-4 times. Finally I found a spot that I remembered from earlier and I knew it would be easy from there on. As I was one step from getting back onto the trail a rock came out from under me and I ate it falling on my right side. Lucky for me I have heavy padding on my holster so my Glock .45 broke my fall and kept me from possibly sliding past the trail. I managed to get up, shake it off and, and hike the 2 miles back to the car. Maybe it's time I invest in a life alert?
This was a fun hike but definitely a lot harder than I was expecting. I would have to say this is the second hardest hike I have done so far in Arizona, after the Flat Iron. Without a doubt its harder than Camelback especially since its so hard to stay on the trail. According to my phone I burned 1700+ calories on this hike, plus it doesn't take into account the heat. I think it was a good use of a Saturday morning. I burned some calories without going to a gym, got to enjoy nature, and got a really good view of the entire area. I only ran into a couple people on the entire hike and I was the only person that made it to the peak that day, at least as far as I know. There was one crazy kid walking up alone as I was halfway down with just a small water bottle (as the temperature was approaching 100).
The horny toad.

I think this was the back side of the mountain.
Looking towards the community center.
That's a majority of Anthem. Our tiny town of 20,000.
That's actually a pretty big hill over there. Doesn't look so big from up top Daisy Mountain.
We live right in between the two hills in the center of the picture. If you zoom in you can see the cell tower where I hike.
Tonto National Forest.

Looking towards Tonto National Forest.

The highest guy around.

From the top of Daisy Mountain.
From my phone. On the fourth pic you can see how lost I got at the end of the trail.