Archive for February, 2011

We Blew Into Junction, TX

February 27, 2011

Yes, that title is correct.  We blew into Junction, TX this afternoon.  There were high winds and humongous sand/dust storms today, and they certainly provided a  good tail wind.  My poor husband had to get fuel for the RV, and he came back into the vehicle looking 10 years younger.  Why???  Because the sand storm was so bad, his hair was full of the stuff.  So was his mouth, his nose, his ears, and his clothes.   He stood up, and it cascaded down his body.  

It took 3 glasses of water to get it out of his mouth, and visibility at the gas pump was about 10-20 feet.  Fortunately, visibility was much better on the road, and we finally outdistanced the high winds about 80 miles before Junction. 

The first thing he did when we arrived at our RV park was take a shower, and the first thing I did was take photos:

Yes, that is water you see behind us.  We are parked along the banks of the Llano River, and it is so nice to see some water in this dry state.  Arizona and Texas are experiencing severe drought conditions, and we were very happy to see there is still some water in Texas. 

It is now 10pm and the high winds have caught up to us.  We will be rocked to sleep tonight.  Yes, the wind is so strong it’s actually rocking our parked RV.  We’re both hoping it will subside by tomorrow. 

We plan on doing some grocery shopping tomorrow morning, getting some ice cream at the Dairy Queen – yes there are still Dairy Queens around, and it is way hot here.  It’s definitely ice cream eating weather.  It was 77 the last time I checked, and that was around 9pm – now that’s hot!!!   Then we’ll head to San Antonio – where it’s even hotter. 

And no, I’m not complaining.  Sunshine is lots better than snow in my humble opinion.

Hugs…

Tombstone Quilt Show and Triangle T Ranch

February 25, 2011

We spent the last 3 days in Tombstone doing all the touristy things, and I will spare you the pictures you can see online if you google Tombstone.  What I do have to show you are a couple of pictures from a quilt show that was going on while we were there.  This one won first place:

And I liked the arrangement in this one:

It was very nice to see this quilt show in the Tombstone Art Gallery, and a nice break from doing all the touristy things.

We enjoyed walking up and down the streets that Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday did and did plenty of spending in the little specialty shops.  I have a brand new cowboy hat and my husband bought a humdinger of a belt buckle.  Now he has to find a belt worthy of the buckle. 

You have to pay to visit just about everything in Tombstone, and we thought all of them were worth the money except for Helldorado, and The Old Bird Cage Theatre.   The re-enactment of the shoot out at the OK Corral was really good though.  The actor who played Doc Holliday was outstanding. 

The last day we were there, I spotted Tombstone Lily:

Is that dog adorable or what?  She has a six shooter on each hip and little saddle bags.  The saddle bags are used to collect donations for the no-kill animal shelter in the area, and of course we gave a donation.  She’s been “walking the streets” of Tombstone for 11 years now and I should think she’s earned a lot of money for the animal shelter.

We are now at the Triangle T Ranch – first place with really good internet access – and this is the view I see from the front window of our RV every morning:

I feel like I’m in heaven.  We are way up high in the mountains, and after taking a walk about the ranch, we are very happy to be camping here. 

We went to the Chiricahua National Park today, and it was breathtaking.  I’ll share some pictures with all of you tomorrow.  I haven’t transferred them from the camera to the computer yet.

We had a very good meal at the “Saloon” on the ranch, and are now happily relaxing in our RV planning what we will do tomorrow.

I absolutely love Arizona.  Between the constant sunshine and the warm weather, this is truly a wonderful winter destination.

I hope you are all snug and happy in your various locations and

Hugs…

San Xavier Mission, Presidio Trail, and Sabino Canyon

February 21, 2011

Still major issues with the internet, but we’ve been having so much fun in Tucson, that it’s hard to take time to be on the computer anyway.

We visited San Xavier Mission also know as The White Dove:

It is a beautiful mission.  I took a lot of detail pictures of the inside – despite taking an embarrassing fall.  I’m the only person in existence who could manage to fall off a ramp inside a church.  Thank heavens I landed on a pew.  I lit a votive candle for my mother and mother-in-law, and then went to visit the museum, where I managed to injure my knee.  There was a sign saying the floors were uneven, and they sure were.   My knee popped out backwards, then back into place.  Oh the fun of having lousy knees.

We still managed to continue sight seeing for the rest of the day.  I figured moving would keep my knee limber, and it worked.  The next morning wasn’t so good, so we stayed put, and I iced it.  It worked like a charm, and we were back happily exploring all the wonders Tucson contains. 

We headed downtown next, and spent all day walking.  We visited St Augustin Cathedral, walked the entire Presidio Trail, and explored the Barrio District.   I fell in love with the architecture and the colorful houses in Tucson:

We were walking on Convent St, and as I was taking pictures, a contractor came out of home he was buidling, and asked if we wanted to tour the house.  Never one to say no to an opportunity to see the inside of a home, I happily agreed.  This house was about 12′ wide, but very long.  It was room after room of beautiful floors and ceilings.  One room had a vaulted ceiling, and while it was new construction, everything in it had been reclaimed from old homes.  It was a masterful reproduction. 

There was a little courtyard that had a palm tree planted.  You have to dig 5′ deep to plant a tree like this in Arizona, and it’s beyond me why people try to grow something that really is not suited to the climate, but I guess  rich folks want their palm trees.  Did I mention the house was going to be listed for over a million dollars?  The outside was painted 4 different colors.  It is going to be a gorgeous home when completed.

We had a wonderful lunch at a little outdoor cafe.  I loved my grilled eggplant, mushrooms, gouda cheese with a  pistachio pate instead of the usual mayo used as a sandwich spread, on 12 grain bread.  It was yummy.  I’m going to have to learn how to make pistachio pate when I get home.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a lot of fun sitting outside to eat in February.

Well fortified, we headed for the Presidio Trail.  We walked the entire trail enjoying the history and sunshine.  I would have loved going into the art museum, but that would have been an all day, or more likely quite a few days visit,  and my husband wanted nothing to do with being inside on such a gorgeous day.  I couldn’t blame him.  The weather was perfect, and we could always go back on a rainy day – which didn’t end up happening, as it never rained during the day for us the entire time we have been in Tucson.

Sabino Canyon was the next day’s excursion:

That’s a picture of a small dam, and yes, that is water flowing.  This is such a rare sight in Tucson.  The canyon is very deep, and there is water flowing through it for most of the year.  It comes from the scant rainfall Tucson gets, and the snow melting off the mountains which still have snow on them.  It was quite something to see.  70 and sunny on the ground, and you look up to see snow on the mountains.  What a difference elevation makes. 

We have one of those gold park passes, so were able to enter the park for free, then paid $8 each for the tram ride to the top.  You can get on and off the tram all day long if you like.  There are 9 stops and we rode it all the way to the top, then back to the first stop, then back up and got on and off at the stops where I wanted to take good photos.  The tram is rather bumpy, so all the pictures I took while riding it are out of focus. 

This is a great park for hikers.  You can walk the paved road up and down, or go off road and hike through the mountains.  Now I hiked miles and miles in the desert, but this was too much for my knee.  Flat walking is doable, but anything involving elevation changes is a challenge.  I still managed to walk between 2 short stops,  but knew if I kept that up, I’d need another day of rest, and who wants to spend their vacation with their knee propped in bed with an ice pack on it?

We’d still go back though.  We didn’t realize the park had picnic tables, and so many restrooms scattered at different stops.  We’d bring in our lunch and stay the whole day instead of only the 4 hours we did this time.  The weather was perfect again, and it was a beautiful park. 

Did I mention there was a movie crew on location?  The movie Goats was being filmed.  Being the ever inquistive person I am, when I saw all the  cameras set up, I walked over to the crew and asked what was up.  They were happy to share that info – after all, I was a future box office ticket buyer. 

Every day after sightseeing, we would go back to our RV resort and head for the pool.  I did as many of my aqua therapy exercises I could remember, then lolled in the hot tub for 15 minutes.  It is so nice to enjoy the perks of a pool and hot tub, without any of the maintenance. 

Yesterday I went to the local clay shooting range with my husband.  He had fun shooting while I stayed in the RV, and read a book.  Then we went back to the RV resort, did our laundry, and headed out to supper.  It was our last day in Tucson, and on the way home from the restaurant it started to gently rain.  I felt like Tucson was crying in sympathy for us because we were leaving the next day.  It was all I could do to stop myself from tearing up. 

Yes, I’m a wee bit dramatic.  I don’t make any excuses for it.  It’s part of who I am.  I’m going to miss Tucson.  I loved everything about this city.  All the little touches, from the brightly colored homes, to the floral and iron bus stops, to the mosaics decorating so many bridges, waking up to song birds every morning, the sun – so much sunshine in February, the friendly people, etc…  I could go on, and on, and on. 

But another city, and another adventure beckons.  Tombstone here we come!!!

Hugs…

Old Tucson Studios, Tohono Chul Park and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

February 18, 2011

It took me 3 days to make the last post, and we’ve been busy seeing the sights here in Tucson.  Hopefully, it won’t take me another 3 days to post this.  I really, really, really need a better way to connect to the internet when we travel.

Old Tucson Studios is a mix of the rich movie history filmed at the studio and corny skits – so corny they are funny.   The actors are great gymnasts and we enjoyed the day – most likely because we like Westerns.  I walked the same streets John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Kurt Russell and Michael Landon did.  This studio has hosted close to 300 movie and television shows over the last 70 years and we enjoyed seeing clips from lots of them.

The front half of Main Street is original from the late 30’s.  The workers made thousands and thousands of adobe bricks to construct the buildings and it’s a close replica of actual pioneer days.  Unfortunately, the back half of the studio was razed in a fire, but a lot of it has been rebuilt.

This train was used in quite a few movies and I think there are only 1 or 2 still in existence:

Tohono Chul Park is a beautiful desert park in the city.  There are 39 acres and lots of trails, and we walked every single one of them.  It was hot and sunny and after our exploration of the park, we ate in the tea room.  We split a meal as everything I wanted on the menu had been sold out.  It was not an especially good meal, so I’m glad we didn’t have to pay for 2 mediocre meals.

This is a circle of saguaro cacti with a beautiful statue in the middle:

I have lots of close up pictures showing more detail and will post them to the blog when we get back home.

Next was the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.   Another hot, sunny day and we walked on every trail, and only missed 2 exhibits.  We especially liked the shows in the Warden Oasis Theatre.  The raptor flight in the afternoon was thrilling for people who never see hawks, but we see them all summer long in our own backyard, so while we enjoyed the show, it wasn’t something new to us.  

I didn’t like my lunch at all, but my husband liked his.  Now when I order a grilled veggie wrap, I expect my veggies to be grilled and warm.  Nope, that’s not what I got.  I got a whole bunch of cold – barely grilled – almost raw, diced veggies on a lot of greens – in a wrap.  There were at least twice as many greens as “grilled veggies” and because they were diced, they kept on falling out of the wrap. 

My favorite part of that museum was walking the trails.  I have come to discover I love the dessert.  I love everything about it.  Who would have thought? 

 My least favorite part of the museum is seeing all the animals in cages.  I flat out don’t like zoos.  I know, I know, that is not a popular opinion.  I just hate to see mountain lions in a cage:

There is a mountain lion in the above photo.  If you double click and look at the center  of the photo where there is a little circle of light (that’s a window that people were tapping on to get the lion to turn his head) you should be able to see him.   Unless an animal can not survive in the wild, or is in danger of becoming extinct unless it’s in a zoo, then I don’t like seeing anything in a cage.  Unpopular as that opinion is, it’s mine and  I own it. 

This has limited photos because of the trouble I’m having posting to my blog.  Hopefully, I’ll have one more post before we move to our next destination, because we most likely won’t have internet again for another week – when we reach San Antonio. 

We are having a wonderful time, enjoying all the sun, soaking up the warmth, and I’m using the pool and hot tub every day when we come back to the RV resort after sightseeing. 

Hugs…

Tubac Festival of the Arts

February 14, 2011

I’m behind in posting on the blog because my internet connection here is the pits.  I keep on getting dumped, and sometimes it won’t work at all.  I’m going to ask Santa for a Verizon internet connection before next winter’s vacation.  It seems to be the favored company of most RVers.

Yesterday we attended the Tubac Festival of the Arts.  It was  the most organized art festival I’ve ever attended.   There were a lot of police directing traffic, a lot of volunteers, and they all kept everything moving smoothly.  We were thrilled they found such a nice spot for us to park with our little RV.  Even though it’s small, it takes up more than one car space, and some venues won’t let us park in their lots.   We were both impressed by the entire effort.

The city streets were blocked to traffic, and tented booths were set-up  on both sides of  the streets, plus most of the little shops and galleries were open for business.  As we walked towards the festival, we passed a woman playing the guitar and singing, then partway through there was a great band, and as we sat to eat our gyros for lunch, we sat across from the stage where a talented duo were singing. The sun was shining, the crowd watching was top notch, and the booths were filled with wonderful pieces of art.

This is a juried show, and everything from hand made soap, leather goods, jewelry, pottery,  hats, tie-dyed, batiked and hand woven clothing, photographs, paintings, and my favorite – netal work was well represented.  There was one artist who made the most amazing copper pieces.  They were all large pieces or one would have come home with me.

These artists were not afraid to use color.  Some flowers:

Pigs:

Even some of the buildings are decorated:

And I couldn’t forget this dragon:

Maybe it’s something to do with all the sunshine, or the unbelievably turquoise sky in Arizona, or the proximity to Mexico and the vibrant colors of that country.  All I know is these bright colors were oh so joyful.  I loved them.

A new to us experience was being stopped by the border police for car inspections.   On the way home from the festival, all the traffic along the road was stopped, and each and every vehicle was inspected by police dogs who smell around the vehicle, and the border police ask everyone their place of birth.   After spending such a carefree day, it was a reminder of just how hard it is to protect our border.  The border patrol police have a tough job even in such a sunny, seemingly carefree vacation spot. 

Hugs…

Dust Storms, Tumble Weeds, and 2 Days at the Gem Show

February 13, 2011

On the road again – I’m singing that Willie Nelson song right now, but luckily for you, my blog doesn’t have audio – for the final leg of our journey to Tucson.  It was bright and sunny and I got a good photo of the Mescalero Canyon before we came across our latest driving challenges.

Winds were gusting to 45mph and we saw all these signs about dust storms.  Dust storms in the USA?  Surely, not here.   Dust storms belong in Lawrence of Arabia, not here.  Then I realized that parts of New Mexico are sand,  lots and lots of sand, and it was on the move:

There are mountains behind that dust cloud, but you’d never know.  Visibility was reduced, but we persevered only to be presented  by our next challenge – tumble weeds.  Now you might think that tumble weeds are picturesque, and I did too with the first couple that rolled across the road, but then they started multiplying, and bouncing, and slamming into us:

Tumble weeds come in all sizes and shapes and we encountered every one of them.  They don’t just roll across the road either.  They bounce with wild abandon.  They bounce so high, that we saw some lodged in the tippy top of a big metal electric structure – the big kind that look like teepees! 

Some of them look like they have small trunks attached to them, some of them are small, some are as big as child’s bean bag, and every variety rolled and jumped right into us – repeatedly.  The jumped over fences,  they piled up against fences and box car wheels:

These were tumble weeds on steroids.

We pulled off the road to get some fuel and there was a kid lying on the ground, kicking the tumble weeds off his car grill and the bottom of his car.  I suggested we eat lunch and maybe the wind would die down.  Happily, it did, and the menacing tumble weeds stayed put for the rest of our drive.

We arrived at our next RV location and are thrilled with this location.   Our RV is next to a cactus museum .  On one side of our RV there is civilization, and on the other is a beautiful cactus park:

We walked around the park and are really looking forward to spending some time in the pool and hot tub, but we came down here for me to do some buying for my business too. 

We spent our first two days at the G&LW Gem Show.   All I can say is I spent a lot more money than I thought I would.  I’ll take pictures of the beautiful beads after we get home and put them on the blog then so you can all see what was purchased.  I don’t have my photo editing program on this computer, and the lighting in our RV is not great for taking photos of beads.

The weather is glorious – mid 60’s with lots of sunshine.    Oh happy days!!!  It was wonderfully comfortable going from tent to tent shopping for beautiful beads and stones. 

Hugs…

Texas and Some Fiber Content

February 9, 2011

The next leg of our trip took us from Fort Worth to Abilene.  The  landscape was primarily flat, and there were lots of cows, and cacti to see. 

We made great time and had the afternoon to sightsee so visited the Texas Heritage Museum:

This was a wonderful museum and we practically had it entirely to ourselves.   I’ve never been in a museum that had such an automated presentation.  We entered a theater and got an introduction to the history of Texas from tens of thousands of years ago to the present.  A cowboy hologram narrated the story, and then we moved on through the museum to view each display – each with its own hologram telling  his or hers real life personal story.

I won’t spoil it by telling each person’s story, but everyone was represented – Indians, buffalo hunters, settlers, ranchers, cavalry, and freed black slaves.  There was also a long corridor  full of display cases about Poncho  Villa.

As you walked through the museum you triggered sensors that gave you various experiences of living in pioneer days.  One was an Indian attack.   I didn’t know it was coming, and it sure made me jump.  Then there was a cattle stampede with so much lightening, we had to close our eyes.  The saloon hologram was funny, and the last feature was in another theater that had stools.  They swivled so you could fully enjoy the 360 degree show.  Texas did themselves proud with this museum.

Then back on the road towards Hueco Tanks State Park.

Gertie had another meltdown around Midland, TX –  road construction issues again – and we ended up getting lost.  It was the best thing that happened because we went on roads less traveled.    That is my kind of road trip.  If it was up to me, I’d stop at everything that grabbed my attention, but we’d never get to Arizona if I did that.

We saw lots and lots of oil pumps:

windmill farms – I never saw so many before – and we do have some in Upstate New York:

and lots of cotton fields.  That’s a cotton field in front of the windmills.  My husband was a dear soul, stopped driving, and picked up a piece of some 100% American grown Texas cotton from alongside the road for me:

See?   I managed to get something fiber related into this post. 

We reached our next campsite after passing through this glorious view:

Those are the Guadalupe Mountains.  This time I got out of the RV, walked to the middle of the road, and took some photos.  My husband was in charge of letting me know when a car was coming.  As I’m still here writing this blog post, he did a good job!!!

We  happily camped in Hueco Tanks State Historic Site Park next.  This is a picture of what we saw when we look out our front window:

There was no water available though as the area had a week of horribly cold weather, and there was widespread water pipe damage.  There was a boiled water warning in effect for those who still had their water pipes intact, but since we bring distilled water with us, we were in good shape. 

The weather was actually beautiful for us.  We took a hike through the park and didn’t even need jackets.  I was disappointed about not being able to see many of the cave drawings though.  So many of the dreawings were in  guide only access, and we had to leave to get to Tucson, so couldn’t wait for the scheduled tours.  It was a lovely place to camp though, and I’d go back.

Hugs…

Arizona Here We Come

February 6, 2011

This is what it looked like outside my bathroom window the morning we left on our Arizona/Texas adventure:

That’s a pretty normal view for February in Upstate New York.

One day later, this is what it looked like in Louisville, KY:

 Not exactly pretty, but did you notice no snow?  Yeah, this is step in the right direction.  Green grass had to be coming next, right?  Not exactly.

This is what we woke up to in Little Rock, Arkansas:

Sigh.  We thought we would be done with the white stuff by the time we got to Arkansas.  Nope, it seems they are experiencing one of the coldest winters in over 20 years. 

We were happy we made it to a safe place to sleep, and waited till most of the snow melted the next morning to head to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

All started well, until we got caught behind an accident on I-30.  You know it’s bad when people get outside of their vehicles and start building snowmen in the median.     

Our GPS gal – AKA Gertie came through for us though and after a mere 2 hours – that’s how long it took us to get to an exit ramp – she led us through a detour that got us back on track for Dallas/Fort Worth. Yeah for Gertie!!!

Dealing with traffic in Dallas on a normal weekend is trying, but between the Super Bowl traffic and even more snow on the ground than Arkansas had, the roads were wet, messy, and the sun glare made for challenging driving. 

We missed an exit ramp and ended up circling the DFW airport signs 3 times.  I kid you not.  Gertie kept on trying to get us to take exit ramps that didn’t exist.  You see Dallas is building a few new roads, and lots of exit ramps don’t exist anymore so Gertie had a bit of a meltdown – which matched the meltdown we were having. 

We made it to our destination, but we decided we never ever want to drive in Dallas again.  I’ve been in NYC and that city makes more sense than Dallas.  I’ve driven in Toronto and had no problems.  Dallas – nope, never again.

Oh, and here is where we slept in Dallas:

We both wanted to shop at Cabelas and we ate supper there too.  I had an elk sandwich that was really good, and my husband had a bison burger.  Unfortunatley, his burger was overcooked, and dry as could be.   Being a good soul, I shared some of my sandwich with him.  Then we headed to the fudge section in the store.   As far as I’m concerned the entire store should be full of fudge.  We bought some tiger eye, raspberry chocolate, maple nut, butter pecan, heath bar, and last but not least turtle nut fudge.   It kind of made up for where we stayed.

My husband thought the overnight parking at Cabelas would be full of people in their RVs who would be attending the Super Bowl.   As you can see, there was nary an RV in sight, except for us in our teeny tiny Winnebago ERA.  It’s one of the smallest RVs you can purchase, but just right for us.  It gets between 20-22 miles to the gallon, so the environmentalist in me is appeased.  We almost purchased a 32′ RV a couple of years ago.  It was perfect for us.  We loved the layout, there was a lot of room, but when I found out the darn thing got 7 miles to the gallon, and 6 if you towed a vehicle, I started getting heart palpitations.  I could not leave that big a carbon footprint behind me. 

I’m starting to ramble, so will sign off.  Whenever we have internet on a road trip, I consider it a minor miracle.  There probably won’t be another post from me for a couple of days.  We’re heading to Hueco Tanks State Park tomorrow and hoping it won’t be snowing up that way. 

Hugs

Art Quilt Workshop 3

February 1, 2011

Here is the latest picture of the art quilt I’m making:

 

I really like the addition of those tiny bits of accent color.  They help carry your eye across the light areas of the arrangement. 

I apologize for taking so long to give the results of my MRI.  All is well.  Enough said about that.  LOL  It’s lots more fun talking about my upcoming vacation. 

My husband and I are setting out for the Bead Shows in Tucson, Arizona soon.  We’ll visit some state parks, the OK Corral, stay at a ranch, and then head for San Antonio.  This will be the first time for us traveling to Arizona, and hopefully, I’ll be able to blog about it a bit.  I’ll try to focus on the beads I see, and a quilt show I’ll be attending so the blog stays remotely fiber related, but I’m sure some scenic photos of a landscape that is totally foreign to me will appear too. 

We delayed our start because of the massive storm in the USA right now, and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in it’s path.  May you all be safe and snug in your homes, and I hope nobody loses their heat or electricity. 

Hugs…