Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our last week ...

We've had a good time here and it's sad to be packing things away for our trip home.  But we do plan on a little side trip along the way back home again to Indiana ...  We will leave here Friday a.m. and journey to the Marfa, Texas area to reconnect with some church friends we made there two years ago.  Wendell attempted to reserve a room in the El Piassano Hotel but they were full because of a wedding.  So we will be staying 20 minutes north of Marfa at the Limpia Hotel in Ft. Davis.  Should be interesting; it's an old, historic hotel and right on the main street of Ft. Davis.  But actually, Ft. Davis is such an out-of-the-way place that I don't expect trouble sleeping due to noise!

Monday Don & Nancy came for lunch and a visit.  It was a good day and beautiful weather-wise.  The weather is back to normal after a snow "storm" last week (they don't know what a storm is ... either rain OR snow).  We get a kick out of the weather people on TV ... they really have to stretch to find anything to worry their viewers with.

Last week we went to the Chiricahua National Monument, east across the valley from us.  Again, just a wonderful day trip!  I'll put pictures top right.  First stop was at the visitor center where we watched "the film" ... there's always a film.  Then we took the drive up to the top!  WOW!  I drove up but made W. drive back down; I worried about me burning out the brakes.  The view from the top was outstanding!  It was somewhat cloudy but still you could see all of the way across the Sulphur Springs Valley to Cochise Stronghold!  That's about 30-35 miles.  You get a 360 degree view from on top.  There are just not enough descriptors to tell you about  the beautiful rock formations we saw along the way and from the peak.  After we spent some time up there, we headed slowly back down, stopping often for exploration and picture taking.  When we got back to the bottom, we had a picnic lunch.  There were lots of scrub jays around, begging for crumbs by the picnic tables.  After lunch we took the 2:00 tour of Faraway Ranch, which is right there within the national park.  They have volunteer tour guides and ours did a great job.  As an aside, we wish we had his life ... he gives tours in three different locations for three months each, then spends three months back home; a very interesting man to talk with!  He gets to stay in a wonderful little historic log cabin right there in the park.  The ranch house and out buildings have been carefully restored and they are fortunate to have many original artifacts from the family who lived there for three generations.  That tour experience just made the day wonderfully complete!

Then, last Saturday, we went to Gammons Gulch, a re-created western town built for filming lots of the western movies you have seen on the big screen and made-for-TV.  The owner, Jay Gammons, gave us the tour along with several other people from such varied places as Canada, Iowa, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Texas.  He is a hoot and a walking encyclopedia of Western movie lore.  He and his wife live right there, in the "hotel".  There are several buildings and he takes you into almost all of them.  The place is very interesting.  And the countryside out north of Benson, where the ranch is located, is just beautiful.  My favorite part was the trip up to the mining camp.   Next door to the Gulch is a burro rescue ranch; what an interesting part of the country we are visiting.

Tomorrow will be our last full day and I am not looking forward to the clothes packing part but it's gotta be done.  Pray for us that we have a safe trip back to Greene County.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My eyes are tired ... and I've ran out of adjectives.

What beautiful country we are seeing!  [pictures at right]  This past week we've been on several outings and I think I've said "Wow!" more times than I can remember in my life.  This area is by far the most beautiful place we have ever stayed since our retirement.  But if you do not like the desert and mountains, you would not agree.  (I have an acquaintance who does not understand how we could choose the southwest over Florida ...)

Last Wednesday we took county roads over the mountains, through Tombstone, and through the next valley west to Sierra Vista.  Did a small amount of shopping, looking for a particular magazine and visiting a health food store.  Had lunch at the mall (!).  Then went to Fort Huachuca (pronounced wa-choo-ca).  It is a large working Army base but we went there specifically to visit the Ft. Huachuca Museum, located on the oldest part of the base, right at the foot of the mountains.  The museum is housed in three of the older buildings.  The main museum building was the old officers club and quarters.  The building we enjoyed the most was the Intelligence Museum Annex.  (Intelligence gathering technology is what is happening on the base today.)  Very interesting; we spent most of our time in that area.  In an old theater building, we enjoyed larger exhibits that explained early times at old Ft. Huachuca when the Buffalo Soldiers were housed there.  The main museum building contained all-encompassing displays telling the whole history of the post, and we enjoyed a pretty good film with lots of old photographs.

The next day, sort of unplanned, we took the Middlemarch Pass Road over the Dragoon Mountains, just west of us.  Wow!  (There I go again ... lol!)  That was the most beautiful drive we have taken.  Words can not express.  You know, I took some pictures from up there but photographs (at least with my little digital) cannot capture what you see with your own eyes.  How anyone can see such things as we saw that day, and not believe in God, I do not know.

Last Friday we went to Tucson to the Rock, Gem and Mineral Show.  It is a huge show that runs 14 days.  We visited only one site.  The show is spread out over several locations.  We walked and walked and saw some really beautiful things.  Everything from $1.00 strings of glass beads to multi-thousand dollar huge minerals shaped into pieces of art.  It really was overwhelming.  The area we visited was at the Kino Sports Complex.  Honestly I have never seen so many large tents in one location before.

Then Sunday was our anniversary.  Our 50th.  It was just a great day.  Started with church and we had a husband and wife gospel team.  They were really good musicians.  What I liked the most was that all of their music was original.  After we left church we went to Willcox to Coronado Vineyard for lunch.  We ate on the patio overlooking the vineyard.  It was just a wonderful meal!  After lunch we took a drive north toward Stafford but west through the mountains to Ft. Grant, then back south through Willcox and on "home".  Just a really good day.  We missed spending this special day with our children but got to talk to them  and know that when we get home, we'll have a special celebration.

More later ... our time is running out here.  But every day is good.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Is it almost mid-February already?

Am posting more pictures on the right.  Writing this is a struggle because our little computer is acting up.  It bugs me that I can't post the pictures right HERE. 

I'll work my way backwards ... today we went to see three houses that are for sale around here.  We really like the area but it is so dang far from "anything".  But I have been thinking ... I have to go at least as far as Linton to shop (20 minutes) and if I want to "really" shop I have to go to Bloomington (40 minutes).  So how would that be any different than Benson or Willcox?  Or going into Tucson would be equal to going into Indy back home.  Just sayin'.  So there is that ...

Besides checking out the area I've been traveling in my mind, too, these past few days.  Fifty years ago I was getting ready for our wedding.  It just doesn't seem possible that all of those years have flown by already!  That sounds trite but there it is.  We had a simple ceremony.  Wendell wouldn't have a big wedding because he didn't want to "stand up in front of all those people" so just our IMMEDIATE families were there.  Plus we had little time to prepare anyway so I let him get away wih it.  (I should have known right away, shouldn't I?)  He was between Alaska and Florida (Air Force).  And we had 30 days to get r' done.  I made my wedding suit -- white wool.  Ordered my little cake from a friend.  Arranged to rent an organ (my big expense; my church only had a piano).  Hired an organist.  Rented ferns because we could not afford lots of flowers for the church altar.  Rounded up a "cast".  Etc,etc,etc.  My parents could not help out financially so we did it on the cheap.  Thank goodness I had a little saved up and Wendell did, too, or we would have had to stand up in front of a judge!  The reception was at my parents home.  My brother Don was our official photographer.  His wife Nancy and my Aunt Glenna were the servers and my friend Vesta was at the gift table (the dining room table).  I know it sounds different from today's multi-thousand dollar weddings, but that's the way it was for us.  And it lasted.  That's what I've been thinking about.  Now we just have to think of some way to celebrate when we get back home...

So, what have I been doing lately?  Well, besides reading a lot we've been checking out more attractions around here.  Also visited my brother Don and wife Nancy in their new digs in Green Valley.  Wow!  They have a wonderful winter home there.  We are so happy for them.  It was also fun taking a quick drive around GV before we headed back 'home'.

One day we went to Ft. Bowie and hiked back to the fort ruins.  It was a pretty strenuous 3 mile round trip hike for us old codgers!  We both felt good at the end of the day about still having the ability to do that hike.  Going in it was all uphill.  Gradual but still uphill.  That last 1/4 mile was pretty much all 'up' and I was huffing and puffing by the time we arrived at the visitor center!  Hiking back to the car was a breeze.  Took some good pix that day.

We spent a day in Bisbee.  The weather was really good that day!  Had a wonderful lunch downtown then walked UP the main street and checked out lots of the neat little shops.  There are several galleries and also lots of antique shops in Bisbee.  Came home through the country on some back roads with awesome views.

One day we went out on what is called Ghost Town Trail.  There are three ghost towns along a 16-mile stretch of dirt road, starting with Pearce which is just south of us, next is Courtland, and then ending at Gleeson.  In Pearce and Gleeson there are still a (very) few people living (says "Population 15" on the Pearce sign) but Courtland is just plain deserted.  There is a lot of open range on that drive and I took some pictures of black Angus on the roadway.  They sure don't run away from vehicles.

One day we went down to Douglas, a border town, and went east of there about 16 miles on a country road to the Slaughter Ranch.  It is an historical landmark and it's right on the border.  Saw LOTS of border patrol on that trip; also two remote BP camera locations.  The border fence was always in view, and now and then you could see vehicles zipping along a highway just inside Mexico!  I loved that ranch tour!  Texas John Slaughter lived there 'in the day' and his house and outbuildings were pretty nice for those days.  He sounded sort of like a Rooster Cogburn character.  Lots of signage to read and we ended up being the last people out of there!  There is a very large pond there which is unusual for the area.  It's fed by an Artisan well.  They had several longhorn bulls along the fence near the barn and I think they fed them there just so the visitors could see how awesomely handsome they are!  (I would love to have a set of those horns for our wine room!)

Yesterday we went to see Les Miserable -- wow; I loved that movie but Russell Crowe was poorly cast.  And he can NOT sing.  Even Wendell enjoyed it.  It was at the Willcox Historical Theatre, an old movie house ran entirely by volunteers struggling to keep it open.

Well, enough of my ramblings.  Hope you're enjoying hearing what we've been up to lately.  God bless you all and I hope you have a good week.