Archive for the '2014' Category

Mar 13 2014

Tombstone

Published by under 2014

Yesterday we drove to Tombstone for the afternoon.  I don’t remember being there since sometime in the early 60′s with the family.  They call themselves “The town too tough to die” which it appears they still are.  There were a fair number of tourists wandering the streets and shops,

I seem to remember that they used to stage reenactments of the shootout at the OK Corral right on the main street in town, but it is now held in a separate location where you have to pay to watch it.  It’s kind of like the Old Tucson set.  There are guys dressed in period outfits all over town trying to get you to go see the show.  There’s also the OK Corral itself, (which you have to pay to visit) and the Birdcage Saloon, (which you have to pay to visit) and some other historic buildings, including one with real “ghosts”,  (which you have to pay to visit).  I think you get the picture.  Every building is either a shop selling tourist trinkets or someplace you have to pay to see.

We wandered the streets and read all the signs explaining what each building was, but we didn’t visit a single shop.  I guess we’ve just seen too many tourist traps like these in our travels.  We did  shell out $5 apiece to visit the Tombstone State Historical Park in the old courthouse.  It is now a museum and quite well done.  It has displays and artifacts explaining the history of the town and Southeastern Arizona.

We also made the obligatory stop at the Boot Heel Cemetery.  It is owned by the city and is free, but you can only enter and leave through the gift shop of course.  Almost all the headstones have been replaced with standard sized and freshly painted boards that I suspect bear little resemblance to their originals.  Still, it is a real cemetery, and the people whose names are on the markers are actually buried there, even if it did feel like Disney built it.

It was a simple and inexpensive outing, only an hour from Tucson, and we learned something about the town and area.  Still, I wonder what the future holds for them long term?  My generation grew up with cowboys, Indians and outlaws from the old west on TV.  There were more westerns on TV than cartoons, and not just on Saturday mornings.  Westerns made up a good portion of the prime time shows as well.  But that changed with my kids, and the subsequent generations.  I venture to say that very few kids today have ever heard of  ”the shootout at the OK Corral”.  Although it is spring break this week, and we did see a few families in town, the vast majority of visitors were our age.  That can’t bode well for “the town too tough to die.”

 

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Mar 08 2014

Organ Pipe National Monument

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In an attempt to follow up on my recent return to blogging, here’s another post already! Will wonders never cease?

After dropping off Dale at Colossal Cave for his continuing journey on the AZT, we moved out to a boondocking location about 2 miles south of Why. One really does need to ask why. There are a few houses, a gas station, a cafe, a couple RV parks and lots of Border Patrol agents. There’s not much else.

On Thursday we drove about 15 miles south to the Visitor Center at Organ Pipe. We watched the 15 minute movie, took the very short nature walk, and then took the 21 mile loop dirt road around Ajo Mountain.  Some of the road was in pretty good condition but there were places a Jeep would have been a better choice than a Lexus.

We stopped about half way around and took a 2 mile hike up Arch Canyon.  There is a double arch, one above the other, that is very interesting to see.  On the loop we saw plenty of organ pipe cactus.  This is the only place they exist in the US but they do grow further south into Mexico.  Although the arms look a lot like a Saguaro, they have a very different internal structure.   Instead of the wood ribs that form the trunk of the saguaro, the organ pipe has a single wood like shaft in the center.  It’s quite large in comparison to the ribs of the saguaro.  They appear to be up to 3 or 4 inches in diameter.

Friday we drove about 20 miles up the road to Ajo.  It was built as a mining town in the early 1900′s and is architecturally interesting.  There is a central plaza that reminds me of Santa Fe, and the old school, which is now an apartment building workshop space for artists, is also interesting.  The entire Ajo area is dwarfed by the huge piles of tailing from the mine and smelter.  We drove up to the open pit lookout but it was closed.  Nonetheless, we were able to see almost all the way to the bottom from another vantage point.  It is one huge hole.  The mine closed down in 1985 but the town seems to be going relatively strong.

Today we moved back to Tucson and are staying at the Pima County Fairgrounds.  We plan to be here about a week before returning to Mesa.

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Feb 27 2014

What Have We Been Up To?

Published by under 2014

It appears that some regular readers think we are overdue for an update.  Perhaps.  It’s just that we typically post about new adventures, and most of what we have been doing for the past few months is just living our normal lives.  While our lives may seem like an adventure to some, when you have been full time RV’ers for nearly 15 years it’s just business as usual.

After our Blue Ridge trip in late September we spent a couple weeks in early October travelling to Elkhart, Indiana where we had some maintenance work done on our trailer.  The suspension system was worn out so we had the manufacturer  replace most of the main components with new and upgraded parts.  It is also the center of the RV industry in the country.  We visited the RV Hall of Fame and Museum and generally enjoyed our time there.  The weather was nice and we were able to see most everything by motorcycle.

Elkhart is Amish country and we enjoyed visiting the sites and eating good food.  We arrived just in time to visit two “floral quilts”.  They are created from pots of mums which are arranged in quilt designs.  They were most impressive and very lovely.   We celebrated our 45th anniversary by going out to dinner and seeing a play, “Annie Get Your Gun”.

We then returned to Tennessee and stayed until after Thanksgiving.  It was the first time we have spent Thanksgiving with Darin and his family in a long time.  We really enjoyed our time with them last summer.  It was fun (and a lot of hard work) working with Darin and Diane as we whipped their new house into shape.  They now have a very nice place to call home for many years.

The day after Thanksgiving we left for Texas to spend Christmas with Dayna’s family.  It was nice as always, but you can keep North Texas weather in December.  Snow and ice storms are not fun.

After spending New Years with the Jennings, we made our way to Arizona to spend the rest of the winter.   We spent a few days in Mesa visiting Mom before moving to Quartzsite for a couple weeks.  Dale went with us and watched our trailer for a couple days while we went to California to see Greg and Tina who were visiting from India.  Greg now works for a company in Chennai, India.  We had a chance to see Marie and Adam’s twins who were born on April 1, 2013, as well as the rest of Dianna’s Southern California family.  My brother Don was making a trip to Wisconsin that weekend so we were not able to meet up with him at the time.

We spent several days in Quartzsite before moving down to Yuma for a couple weeks.  We did some hiking and also visited the old Territorial Prison.  After that it was back to Mesa for another 14 days, and then to Tucson where we are now.  We are staying in a boondocking area known as Snyder Hill.  It is just off the Ajo Highway near Ryan Field.

Dale rode with us to Tucson but the next day we took him to the beginning of the Arizona Trail near Sierra Vista.  He’s hiking part of the trail this spring.  You can read more details about his adventure on his blog.

While here we have visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum which is always interesting.  We also made a trip to Kitt Peak.  There are many more telescopes up there than the last time we visited.  It was a pretty cold ride by the time we got to the top of the mountain, but we were prepared for it.

We made a short, quick trip to Albuquerque last Sunday and Monday to attend the memorial service for Joyce Stepp.  She was the wife of our pastor in Edgewood and a dear friend.

Since our return we have made a trip to Saguaro National Park where we hiked to see several petroglyphs and then rode around the Tucson Mountains, coming back down Sliverbell and over Gates Pass.  Tucson has changed so much since I grew up here that things are hard to recognize.  In addition to good conditions for growing cactus, Tucson obviously also has good conditions for growing houses (you wouldn’t believe Marana today) because they have sprung up everywhere.  I think the only thing that has not changed in the past, nearly 50 years is the roads.  It appears that they have not been repaved or maintained since then because they are some of the worst we have run into anywhere.  It is a big contrast with the roads in the Phoenix area.

There you have it.  You’re all up to date.  We plan to see a few more things while we are here this time, and then will probably head out to Ajo and Why for a few days before returning to Mesa.  We do have plans to make another trip to California at the end of March for the twins’ (Sydney and Noah) first birthday party.  After that we have made tentative plans to spend the summer volunteering for the Forest Service in the mountains north of  Payson, AZ.

 

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