Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Change in Plans


Although we had intended to stay in southern Utah for another month, health issues have again changed our plans. Jim has been having problems with heartburn for several months and it just isn’t responding to medication. He has a history of hiatal hernia but the meds have always worked in the past. Now that he’s on the blood thinner Xarelto, which causes an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, we decided it wasn’t a good idea to wait another month until his annual scheduled doctor’s appointments at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. We hated to leave the gang but he got an appointment this week and we are now at McDowell Mountain Park, after 3 days of driving with a one night stop at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, deep in the heart of the Navajo Nation near Chinle, AZ and the next night at the Home Depot parking lot in Payson.

This is Canyon de Chelly. The following night at Home Depot wasn’t quite as scenic. We first visited here back in April 2009. At that time the campground was free, but now it is $14/night with no senior pass discount. They do have flush toilets, water and a dump station.


We took the scenic drive along the south rim to several overlooks, where we could barely make out ruins on the other side. We forgot our binoculars but the camera has a good zoom.




This is Spider Rock, towering 800’ above the canyon floor.                                         


Being sacred Navajo land, all access to the canyon is by guided tour, except for the 1.5 mile White House Ruin trail, which switchbacks 600’ down to the bottom. Of course we had to go.


The White House Ruins were thought to be occupied from about 1070 AD to 1300 AD.




We spotted some ancient rock art.

Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, AZ

And some that was a bit more modern.




It was a beautiful spot. I can see why they chose to live here.


Fast forward to Monday, when we arrived at McDowell Mountain, settled into a lovely site, and went for a bike ride on a couple of the trails.


Yesterday was Jim’s appointment with the Family Practice nurse practitioner, who got him scheduled for an endoscopy this morning, took him off Prilosec and changed him to Protonix, a prescription drug that inhibits stomach acid secretion. And although he doesn’t see the gastroenterologist until the 29th he received a report after the test that all looked normal, but they took several routine biopsies. That was good news, but doesn’t answer the question about what is causing the heartburn. Jim did speak with the hematologist’s office, and they decided to switch his blood thinner from Xarelto to Eliquis, in case that is contributing to it. So after just two days at least we feel like some progress has been made.

We got home from the clinic about 11 this morning, and after feeding Jim a bowl of cereal and getting him in bed for a nap (he was pretty goofy!) I went out for another bike ride. This is a great place to be stuck for a while.


  1. Welcome back to the valley, but sorry you're missing out on more Utah. Hope Jim gets to feeling better soon. Shout if you need anything.

    1. Thanks, John. We sure are enjoying this cooler weather!

  2. We tried to go to Canyon de Chelly one year. We got part way there and a terrible snow storm came in. WOW...did it come down fast. Thanks for the great photos.

    Prayers for Jim. Hope they can find the cause of his discomfort.

  3. Hope Jim gets this worked out and you're both out hiking together soon.

  4. Hopefully, the doctors can solve the mystery and do something about the heart burn. The photos of Canyon de Chelly are great!

  5. Bummer. Glad Jim is in capable hands and that all looks good so far. Keep us posted...

  6. It's not fun when the change of plans involves medical/personal stuff rather than a new adventure. We hope Jim feels better soon and you'll be off exploring and hiking again. Take care.

  7. Hoping for a positive outcome.
    Good luck

  8. Best wishes and a speedy recovery

  9. This is not good news, but it seems you are in the right place. Fingers crossed there is a simple fix and Jim will be good as new in no time!

  10. So that's what blue sky looks like! I almost forgot :)
    Last day of clouds here in Capitol Reef. Loving my 1x verizon to death. Hurry "home," now :)
    B. C. Bro Mark

  11. Good to hear you didn't wait to get Jim checked out. Hopefully, the switch in meds will be what Jim needed:) Wishing him the best.

    We've never been to Canyon de Chelly, but it is on the list! You are right about McDowell not being a bad place to have to spent some unplanned time. We look forward to what you discover:)

    In response to our would have been so neat to have information placed where movies were filmed. We are off in coming days armed with photos from Django Unchained and the information to find some of the scene locations. Of course, we will do the auto hike through the various movie sites, as well:)

  12. Had very same problems Jim. Please consider going off gluten for a few weeks/month and see if heartburn and hiatal hernia subside. I had years and years of problems that were getting worse. Tried a diet elimination and found gluten to be my problem. Once off, ALL my stomach issues were gone, no heartburn and hernia has receded completely. Its easy and worth a shot. Gluten is a problem that even if you haven't had a problem with it in the past, can become a problem later in your life.

  13. Hope Jim gets better with the change in meds. It is hard but smart to change plans when you are enjoying yourself. Got to keep him around and healthy for a long time.

  14. Beautiful pics of that sacred place - the colors are amazing. Heartburn is just the worst, can't imagine not having relief :-( Glad Jim could get in quickly and that they are already making some changes - hope they fix him up fast!

  15. I remember paying $5 and then $10 at Canyon de Chelly. It goes to show, when you are the only one in town, people will pay the higher rates.

  16. We know all about “sorry to interrupt this program” for medical issues. Maybe it's Utah LOL, it happened to us last year but we had to travel much father for the medical care. So glad to hear that all looks to be ok. I hope the reports turn out as well. We seem to be always waiting for blood results or something. Have you tried the gluten idea? We will keep you in our hearts.

    We just loved Canyon de Chelly. We did both the White House and a private Navajo tour. It was all very powerful and I was so happy to see how pristine the area was because of its sacredness to its people. Your pictures are just superb, so sharp and gorgeous color. Wonderful for me to see such a sacred place again. Thank you. I really want to return there.

    1. Since we already eat a vegan diet, Jim is going to wait and see what the gastroenterologist says before restricting our diet even more by cutting out gluten. It may be worth trying, though.
      Canyon de Chelly was lovely. We had to get in one last red rock fix before heading to the desert!

  17. Your photos of Canyon de Chelly are just gorgeous. It's been many years since we've been there and it's definitely time for a return visit! Hope that Jim is feeling much better soon.

  18. Better safe then sorry. Hope the medication change makes a difference in the way Jim feels. No doubt you are "stuck" in a beautiful place!! Enjoying your blog and photos!

  19. Sorry to hear about Jim's heartburn. If you weren't with Mayo, you'd have to wait weeks for an appointment. Hope it goes away soon.

  20. Keeping you and Jim in our thoughts/prayers, hope that your 'regular programming' is restored quickly with healthy outcomes well in hand. Love your photos and though I don't comment much, greatly enjoy keeping up with your travels. We're encamped with friends in Napa and Sonoma Valleys through November 10; Pete performs the last Farmers Market on Sonoma Plaza on 10/27 and a bunch of private gigs. All best to you guys.

    1. Thanks! Good to hear from you and glad Pete is staying busy performing. Not sure yet but we may be back at Jojoba sometime in early 2016.

  21. Is McDowell closer to Mayo than Usery Mountain Regional Park? We're going to Mayo on November 9th, staying at Usery for two weeks. Will you still be in the area around that time?

    Any tips about Mayo? It's our first time there.

    Virtual hugs,


  22. Hi, Beautiful pics! Hoping all is well with Jim and he is feeling better. We are planning to be at Jojoba approx January 15-20, 2016. Hope to cross paths with you there.
    Take good care
    Marti and Charlie

  23. We have visited Canyon de Chelly many times and it never fails to take our breath away. So glad to hear that the news about Jim has all been good. We are sending positive thoughts your way.