Rich And Denise Heinrich’s 2018 Christmas Letter

It was a dark and winey night in Flagstaff, Arizona. The world’s first International Dark Sky City, an award designation given for “exceptional commitment to and success in implementing the ideas of dark sky preservation and/or restoration, and their promotion through quality outdoor lighting.” Perfect for exploring the universe with the SkyView Lite app

New paragraph because my Luddite brain can’t figure out how to put a period after that app link. Click on it for a demonstration. It uses your phone camera as its viewfinder with a 360 degree view to gaze at stars, planets and constellations. If you click on something, you receive information and facts on it. So back to the story. We’re sitting out in a charming little courtyard surrounded with trees, flowers and tiny white lights at an altitude of seven thousand six hundred feet. Stars that go on forever everywhere! Our very dear friend is exploring the night sky with this app when she starts jumping up and down claiming she sees the ISS! Our red wine fuzzy brains make us slow to comprehend. The International Space Station! Now the rest of us jump up excitedly to see it. That’s when we realize that her phone was pointed directly at hubby’s privates. Insane laughter takes over the universe. She is seeing the ISS but it’s on the other side of the planet from where she stood. Meanwhile, hubby is as embarrassed as if he had farted in public (don’t tell me you haven’t been there), spilled red wine on a guy’s white suit, fallen on a treadmill at the gym, farted and sneezed simultaneously in church or barfed on his best friend.

In all this chaos, our friend again erupts into hysteria shouting that she sees the Hubble Space Telescope. This causes me to start laughing and yelling Hubba Hubble as loud as I can and as much as I can. The reason? I had recently designated hubba hubba as my husband’s latest nickname (he has many). But he bashfully rejected it. What can I say? It was a very magical, winey , winey, dark sky starry, starry night!

In early summer, we had a life-changing experience. Grand Canyon river rafting in an RV. It’s a coach, it’s a boat. Ya just put the road transmission into neutral position and the marine transmission into drive position. Steering is by joystick in the cockpit with built-in navigation systems. The front wheels are used in conjunction with the rudders to improve the steering in tight maneuvering rapids. The motorhome had a three and one-half foot draft and a three zone bilge pump system. It’s not intended for ocean use, just fresh water. Average speed is 7 knots and the sonar system warns you of rocks ahead. But if we did hit them, no worries, we just drove over them using the road transmission. Surprisingly, the motorcoach is not top-heavy. Weight and balance calculations were done on everything (even the marble tiles) to ensure stability in the water. It was equipped with all the necessities: a plasma tv, entertainment theater with satellite receiver and six-channel surround stereo, DVD, MP3 and a 600-watt stereo. Needless to say, some of this was quite  distracting, especially when we were running the rapids. Turn the tv off! All eyes on deck! Granite and marble was everywhere along with an electric toilet, sixty inch jacuzzi/shower combo with eight jets. The bedroom even had a mirrored ceiling with roof lights and a picture window that doubled as an emergency exit. The padded ceiling throughout was so appreciated when we were bouncing along on rocks.

There were moments of pure thrill. Serenity. A connection to nature. Togetherness. The sounds of rushing water echoing off the canyon walls. The thrill of white water rapids followed by stretches of calm water. The canyon sunsets from the aft deck with cocktails in hand followed by the quiet of the canyon at night with a blanket of stars to entice us to sleep on the roof. Pristine waterfalls and mile high cliff walls were candy to our eyes. And the wildlife. Wow. Eagles, condors, bighorn sheep, coyotes, foxes, and mule deer. The human party dogs were the wildest!

When we came to the end of our adventure at the haul-out marina ramp, people came running up asking if we were in trouble. Did we need a tow truck? Guess it was their first coach boat. Next year, we plan to raft the canyon in a Camaro or a Ferrari, 125 mph AND 46 knots on the water!

 Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And the memories that we hold.

In 2019, may you always have:     

Friends that Care
Health to Spare
Love to Share

All the best with love,

Denise and Rich













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