Stalzer/Obele Family Blog

Getting ready for the flight back

Today was our last morning in Arizona. In about 3 hours our plane is leaving to Los Angeles then on to Düsseldorf and finally to Palma. We will be approx. 22 hrs on the road (or on the planes / airports).

After a hearty breakfast with French toast and scrambled eggs we are ready to go. I just want to share a short conversation with the waitress today in the morning

  • Me: “What kind of coffee do you serve?”
  • Waitress: “We have American regular”
  • Me: “Do you have any Espresso, Latte Macchiato or…”
  • Waitress (puzzled look): “Sorry sir, we don’t carry that kind of stuff”
  • Me: “Oh well, what kind of tea do you serve?”
  • Waitress: “Ice tea”

We are now back in our room, the bags are packed (almost) but there is always time for a quick photo.


Road trip from Peach Springs to Phoenix

Our first part of getting back home was a little road-trip from Peach springs to Phoenix.

After packing and rearranging our stuff, we put everything in the trusty, ‘ole Mustang, kicked the tires, fired up the engine and we were on our way. In Peach springs, the temperatures were quite comfortable, so we opened up the roof and had a good time on the road.



We finally left the Hualapai reservation…


…and rode in the sun


Several groups of Harley drivers came our way


We also saw some of the trains whose “Hoooting” we could hear all night.


Once we got to Seligman, we just needed to stop and make some more photos of the “Route 66” showcase Zwinkerndes Smiley I’ll just add the pictures


We were also in a nice memorabilia shop where I got a real Espresso (actually the first really good coffee since two weeks) and we had a nice talk.


Next stop was Prescott. On the way there, we noticed a large pile of smoke from one of the sides of a hill. There was basically half of a hill burning. Hope everything turned out well.


In Prescott, we did some shopping and get some stuff. On the road back to Phoenix we stopped at the Sunset point to take some pictures. This is a picturesque rest area.


Another 60 miles and we were in Phoenix again and in a big city. 6 lanes of highway, thousands of vehicles and… a traffic jam (bummer).


We found the Hilton and enjoyed the suite. It is a fairly large suite with living room, kitchen and bedroom.


The hotel is close to the airport, has a nice pool and we can hear the train (this is sort of the mantra for this week…)


We went to the restaurant for our last dinner (of course some burgers) in the ‘States and are going to bed early.


The new Rock Garden


While Thomas and Max are gone, Felix decided to do a little home improvement project. He thought of a stone garden near the entrance.

It was really hard work to move a lot of stones with these high temperatures. Fortunately yesterday (Tuesday) the temperatures dropped and we went off to get more potting compost and plants.



The result looks very nice. We hope the plants will grow strong. I am sure Felix is taking good care of them.

Great job Felix!

Rafting at the Colorado river

Today we had to get up early at 06:30 because our bus was leaving at 07:30 to the Grand Canyon to go rafting. We waited at the first of many giftshops for our bus to arrive.


Finally we heard the horn of a modern, high-end transportation medium Zwinkerndes Smiley


We drove on some dirt roads to the Grand Canyon. As the bus had eco-friendly open-window air conditioning, we got a full blast of the sand and dust of the road.


The road was guarded by some donkeys which only cleared the road after getting some apples.


We made a quick stop half-way down for some photos


Finally we got to the launch site of the boats




After putting on the life-vests – off we went. BTW – we are about to get wet.

This is Randy  - our captain for the day. After approx. 10 tries our engine was running.


Not long after the start, we got our first rapids. And we got wet! The air temperature was around 43°C and the water approx. 17°C. It was more than a cold shower.



Please note the water droplets on the camera, the wet clothes and the happy face


The rock formations along the canyon are impressive and we had a good time


and off we went to the next rapid. We did all-in-all 7 of them.


We stopped at a little beach. We climbed out and went on a little trail to cave with a water-fall. We had to climb up a slippery ladder,with slippery shoes while being slightly sprayed at with water.





At the prospect of the next rapids, we went back to the boats.



Again the rock formations were impressive



Then came the biggest rapid of them all. It is named “232 – The hole”. This is a accurate picture of the rapid.


The other boats passing the rapid also got their share of the water


After getting into more quiet water, Max and two other boys decided to take a swim (Please remember Airtemp: 43°C and water 17°C) Fortunately I had to hold the camera and could not get in. Comment from Max: “At one point we were allowed to jump in quick the water was fffffffrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeezzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg.”


At this point, the battery of our water-proof camera was empty and I was too scared to take out the iPhone. We had lunch at a river-back and we continued mostly in calm water.

We were for almost 5 hours on the Colorado river before we reached the end of our “cruise”. Helicopters were transferring people in and out of the canyon every minute.


After about 20 minutes it was our turn. Max and I got to sit in the front row of a helicopter next to the pilot.


and off we went…




Next on our agenda was the visit to the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a bridge made out of glass which extends about 30m into the Grand Canyon. If you look down, you’ll see the valley some 1.200m below. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos on the bridge (They want to sell their own pictures for horrendous prices)


After all these adventures, we had still a 2 hour bus ride to the hotel. The bus was a lot more modern than the one from the morning. However, most of the ride was “left some desert, right some desert…)



We just had dinner and we are now ready for bed after this adrenalin loaded day…

Get your kicks on route 66–from Prescott to Peach Springs

After a major repacking of our bags and a delicious breakfast, we got on the route north to Peach Springs,AZ. Peach Springs is just a little south of the Grand Canyon where we will be going to do a “1-day Rafting” trip tomorrow.



Also some interesting investment opportunities.


…and more road…



Then we got to Seligman, our entry point to Route 66. Seligman “commercializes” the theme Route 66 pretty well.


Please note the eyes in the windshields of the cars. It kind of remembers of the movie “Cars”.


and some more pictures


One picture we had to have was our Ford Mustang on Route 66 !!


and some more pictures



We had a little snack in Seligman before we hit the road again.


We got back on the road and drove to Peach Springs. Our running gag with this name is that there is a little canon in the ground that shoots up peaches for the kids to catch…


The Route 66 theme is so perfect that even the quality of the highway is 50s.


and even more pictures


See how the highway disappears in the horizon


Double mirror sun/flash reflection or just a beautiful picture.


Finally we got to Peach Springs (a couple houses in the desert). When our GPS told us that we are at our destination, we were next to a big field. Fortunately, common sense told us to continue a little bit longer and we found the hotel with no problem.

The hotel seems o.k., the rooms are nice and we are looking to our trip tomorrow.


Back in the more or less civilized world

After sleeping almost 12 hours the last night, we are back in our hotel in Prescott.

Max and I spent the last 2 days on a “living the aboriginal way” class in the dessert. On Saturday morning, twelve brave adventurers met as a tribe at the ALSS in the Hope street at Prescott,AZ with Cody Lundin. Cody stars in a TV-show called “Dual Survival”.

Max’s comment on the name Hope street is – “Once you go on a class, you’ll hope you’ll come back”.

The bags were packed on a jeep and off we went to the Arizona dessert. After almost two hours (where the last 30 minutes were over rock and stones) we got to our starting point.


The backpacks came down from the jeep and we filled our bodies to the rim with water and got ready to hit the dessert.


Then we said “good-bye” to civilization


We hiked to the bottom of a valley


First, we needed to decide to “where are we are going to setup our camp”. We formed two teams to look for possible sites and then make a group decision. Cody was making some comments however it was a group decision.


Our basecamp was between two large trees (to provide shade). However it still needed work. Nevertheless, the first task was to fill up the water bottles. I think, I never drank so much water.


We started on building a roof out of Willows, Cattail and other plants we found around the river. (We used willow bark as lashings)


These are some before–after pictures. See the difference?


Once we had shade, we started on the next skill – making fire with friction using a bow-drill.


We started making the bow-drills, making the burn-in hole and preparing all the other things we need like (juniper-bark nests, etc.)


It was getting dark fast, so unfortunately Max and I weren’t able to complete the task. Luckily for us, some other tribe members had some more experience in making fire so we had a fire going for light.


We had a good sleep and the morning sun woke us up.


The next morning we continued with learning more skills. We started of with making some stone knives. You hit stones at a certain angle and the chips (or knives) fly of – at least in theory. I had a couple stones break in my hand and you had to be real careful.


Max tested the sharpness of one of his knives and “Whooosh” had a cut in his finger. So – yes – you can cut things with it Zwinkerndes Smiley (The cut wasn’t too deep… We didn’t have to evac).

Next we did some bowls out of wood. We used fire to burn a depression in some logs. But first, we had to split them.


We had to cut a little depression in the center to….


… to place a hot coal and used a straw to have it burn in the direction we wanted.



Some took the job seriously


After washing it and cleaning it, we had some decent bowls.


These are the results


The next task was making strings. We took leaves from Yucca plants, smashed them, cleaned them, parted them, washed them and then wove strings from the fibers.

Max made a real nice bracelet for himself.


By now it was getting late in the afternoon and we started to prepare for leaving the shelter that was our home for 2 days.

We had to clean out our fire pit by putting in water and removing the coal. It was quite amazing how deep the hot earth was and we still got water to boil.


We took down the roof



picked up all the little bits and pieces we made.


The goal was to make the place look like that there has no-one been.


We packed up our stuff and started to walk back. We still had about 400m height difference to climb on a 2 hour walk in 40°C sun.


But is always time for a picture Zwinkerndes Smiley


“Long march 2013”…


Once we were back up on the plateau, we could look down to the river. The green part of the valley is the place we were.


After a two-hour car trip, we were back in “Hope” street – WE MADE IT !!

Everybody got relaxed and started to joke around


Mark handed out our certificates (YES!) and after some photos we headed back to our hotel to shower, get some food and rest.



Thanks to Cody and Mark who did a really great job on these two days.

I did not mention Mark Dorsten that often but he is a member of the ALSS team and was also part of these two days. We learned a lot from Mark and he took his time to explain to us the basic principles of living “the Abo way” and to survive as a tribe in harsh conditions.

It is HOT


When I went to pick up Felix from school today at around 4:40 pm I could not believe it - the thermometer in the sun next to the pool showed more than 50 degrees Celsius.

Normally, we get these kind of high temperatures in August. Technically speaking we are still in spring.

I an anxious to see what summer will bring Smiley.

Felix’s wonderful Fish

While I was copying our barbecue and breakfast photos from the old camera. I found some impressive pictures of Felix fish. Aquariums, bettas, and aqua scaping are Felix favourite hobby. He is very good at it and has successfully bread some beautiful bettas.

I just put a few of the pictures that I find impressive – I am sure Felix could explain a lot about them.





That is his little baby fish.


No – not a fish – but a very stylish cat.




Sunday morning brunch

Felix decided yesterday that he would like to make pancakes for breakfast. So after a refreshing swim in the morning he prepared all the ingredients. Felix is a very good cook – my only job is to assist and find and bring all the things he needs.


We found an interesting recipe which used yoghourt, mixed everything and soon enough Felix was cooking pancakes.


They were extremely delicious, super fluffy and irresistible – Thanks Felix.


I guess now we will relax a bit.

Our tasty Barbecue

We didn’t do much all Saturday afternoon as it was simply too hot. We worked a bit, watched TV, talked, etc. When it was a bit cooler we went for another refreshing swim in the pool. After we were refreshed it was time to water some plants. Felix takes very good care of the plants he planted on the casita’s terrace and also on the upstairs terrace. The plants are thriving.


In the afternoon we had made the delicious marinade with coconut milk, honey, cilantro, garlic, and many other spices and put the chicken wings and drumsticks inside.

Finally at around 9:30 pm we felt it was cool enough to start the barbecue and at that time we were really hungry.

Felix helped to set up the grill. While the grill heated up we prepared the rest.

Felix was watching the temperature.


… and a bit later we had yummy chicken wings and drumsticks sizzling on the grid-iron.

When it started to get dark bats were hunting over our heads. This is also a sign that summer has started. Each year they come around this time and spent the summer.


Felix was trying to catch them on a photo but they are way too fast.



We turned on the “sun” lights and enjoyed our delicious meal. While we were eating we were wondering how Max and Thomas day was. In Arizona it was about 1 pm in the afternoon and we asked ourselves whether they would be enjoying a juicy rattlesnake ragout with crunchy scorpion legs.


The barbecue was delicious and we decided to repeat this recipe when Max and Thomas are back.

After having eating (… too much) and tidying up the barbecue area we decide to relax a bit on the upstairs terrace.


At night the view is even more spectacular than during daytime as you can see the sparkling lights of Palma and the Palma bay … what a terrific evening. The only thing missing were Thomas and Max – we would have loved to enjoy the evening together with them.

A wonderful Saturday in Paradise (Mallorca)

While Thomas and Max are exploring the “new” world, Felix and I are enjoying nice days at home.

This morning (Saturday) we were woken up at around 7 am – way too early for a Saturday morning (even for Felix Zwinkerndes Smiley). Thomas and Max called via Skype to let us know what they did and experienced all day. Arizona is 9 hours behind – so for them it was time to go to bed.

I just love Skype  - with the video option we could see their hotel room and what impressive knives they bought to survive in the wild. On the other hand, Felix could show his school certificate which he got for “fantastic science achievements” – great job Felix!!!

Well, after that way too early wake-up call we went back to bed to sleep a bit in. I don’t know exactly how long Felix slept but at the time when I finally got up he already changed water in one of our aquariums, repotted some plants, played with the cat, did some homework, etc.

Here in Mallorca summer has really started = it is hot and not a single cloud anywhere to be seen. We first went for a refreshing swim. While I slowly swim my lengths Felix goes for speed and distance. By the time a did 10 laps he was way in his thirty-something lap. He really enjoys swimming and is very good at it. After being refreshed and (for me slowly waking up) we were hungry.


While I setup our breakfast table outside, Felix made some delicious scrambled eggs.


We listened to music turned on the fountain pump for the gold fish and enjoyed life. Krümmel, our cat also found a shady place and had this “what do you want”-look on her face when we woke her taking a picture.

Then we went a bit upstairs to the terrace.

I think we are truly living in paradise: the view is simply spectacular !



Felix had helped me yesterday evening to carry up the furniture of our lounge corner to the upstairs terrace. Thank you very much Felix – I could not have done it alone.

We are looking forward to sitting outside a bit after the sun has set and it is not so hot anymore.



20130615_143121 At around 3:00 pm we decided to go inside as it was simply too hot outside.

The thermometer showed 47.1 degrees in the sun. Felix has some work left to do on his homework and I decided to blog what we did so far.

Felix decided yesterday that we should barbecue some chicken wings. For these we found a delicious marinade with coconut milk, honey and spices that we will prepare now. After that we probably relax a bit till it is time to take another swim and start the barbecue.

Country festival in Prescott

We got some icecream after dinner and went for a walk around the town hall. Today there is a country live festival (at least better than the Karaoke / Idol competition yesterday…)


Our hotel is right behind the stage, so we see and hear the Music from our room - YeeeeHhaaaa

Picture for Claude

When we came back from dinner – we found a bunch of Harleys parked in front of the hotel. There are quite a few Harleys driving around.


We also saw a couple of other cars (Monstertrucks, modded cars)



Free day in Prescott

Today we used our free day to look for the meeting point tomorrow – so we drove a bit around in Prescott and found some unusual signs, cars and impressions


After having prepared everything for tomorrow, we went to the museum of the Smoki people, an indian tribe that lives in the Prescott area. We were the only visitors and the people from the museum took their time with us and explained everything.



Max got to try out some of the Indian tools like e.g. pump drill.


Max participated in the Smoki Bingo, where you had to find about 25 items in the museum. Max found them all and got a arrowhead made from volcanic glass (you can also see his “good luck” mark he got from the powdered stones he drilled)


Then we went of to the Watson Lake and started to hike around the lake.






A lot of those stones looked like as if they are going to top over really easily and make “Tsunamis” in the lake Zwinkerndes Smiley

We found out, that you could rent canoes on the lake. So we went on the lake for an hour. It was hot but very beautiful and gorgeous.


We are both pretty tired right now. We are going to relax a bit and then go off for dinner.

Preparing for the survival trip

We just bought all the stuff for our survival course with Cody Lundin. We got knives, insect-repellent and sun-hats at a local store here in Prescott.


We went to a super-market and bought some granola bars for energy through out the weekend.


This a picture of the door to our hotel room, each room has a different theme. eg. Prospector, Trails, Rodeo, etc.


Here is a nice a picture of the hundred-year-old window in our room

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