The adobe and stucco building protected by a steel roof Casa Grande

We recommend the Casa Grande National Monument in Windsor, Arizona. This area was home to a large fourteenth-century Native American settlement with an elaborate and extensive irrigation system, and many different kinds of adobe buildings. Casa Grande itself is four stories tall, and may have had religious and astronomical purposes. The National Park Service has erected a giant steel roof to protect the building from rain erosion. The museum at the visitor center is modern and quite complete.

We continued to Laughlin, situated at the southern tip of Nevada on the Colorado River. Possibly our good luck in the casinos helped convince us that Laughlin was a lot friendlier than Las Vegas; it certainly is smaller and easier to navigate!

Ridgecrest, California had their annual Christmas parade during our visit, in which we breakfasted and lunched with many old friends. To those who Little girls dressed as angels ride the blue and white Xmas float Ridgecrest Christmas parade monitor our idiosyncratic restaurant recommendations, we suggest the Cottage Cafe for breakfast and the Golden Ox for Mexican lunch. Neither is lo-cal, however!

After a flying visit to appreciate our second son's new home in Lompoc, we immersed ourself (literally, it seems) in the monsoon. We've written about our harrowing drive north; after a brief and beautiful sunny respite a second powerful storm hit the coast. We've had to cancel one luncheon date because of the weather, and some meteorologists are claiming that El Nino has returned. Yesterday we saw our eldest son's new home in Alameda. After hearing about the many exertions of our family, at work, home, and in school, we were quite exhausted, and grateful that we can enjoy a slower pace in our retirement! Today we're staying holed up in our room, catching up on paperwork and preparing for a long trip to England at the end of January.