Monday, January 26, 2015

First Outing–Willcox, AZ

The weather has not been the best since we got to Arizona, but there was nothing we could go about that so decided we just needed to get out and make the best of it.  The cold front that moved in the first of the year has just seem to hang around and it is cold and wet but off we went to Willcox, AZ which is about an hour drive from Roper Lake.  It is an old railroad town that was established in the 1800.  The area was known as cattle country for years and is still a major agriculture area, but I-10 has now replaced the railroad.  The railroad still runs through town and as we were there we saw Amtrak pass through and many other trains but none stop anymore in the town.

The town has retained it old western look and still use many of the buildings as museums, restaurants and the old movie theater is still in use.

Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor.  There is a museum dedicated to him so with the weather wet and cold inside we went. They also has information about his son and how he carried on after his father’s passing.  It was a very interesting museum.

The back room also showed may other “cowboys” that were of note in the area and how they had shaped the area.  There was a room that was dedicated to other western cowboys of the past, many I am sure you will recognize from the pictures.

Then we went to the Marty Robinson Museum another known “cowboy” from the area.

For lunch we went to a place that other park host had told us about in a red caboose.  They make their own hamburger buns and have home cooking.  They are called The Dining Car but show they have big Texas BBQ.  We had burgers and did not try the BBQ this time but will be back to see what it is like.  The food was good and fresh so we have to try the BBQ next time.  It was a neat place.







After lunch we made a visit to the Chiricahua Regional Museum.  What an interesting place.  There is so much history here about the area, the Apache Indians through the Pioneers Days.  I love these sort of museums and really enjoyed it.  The area is where the Chiricahua Apache Indians were so lots of history about them and it chieftains Cochise and Geronimo.  In the area I would highly recommend a visit.

Time was catching up with us so it was time to head back to the coach.  We will be making more trips here at this is also the wine country for the area.  There are over 10 different wineries in the area so we have a lot of tasting to do!!!  Until then – on to our next adventure . . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Granddaughter update–National Champs!

DSCN7936Have to throw this in as we are so proud of our youngest granddaughter.  She is seven years old and has been doing competitive cheerleading – now in her second year.  Last year her team did really well and won a number of competition. 

This year she is a “flyer” (the one being lifted up all the time) and just loves it.  She was so excited when she got to be a flyer that she practiced everywhere she went – could not take her picture without her posing. 

Last week (January 17-18) her team was in New Orleans for the Mardis Gras National Competition.  This was their first National Competition for the season and they took first place.  We are so excited and proud of her and her team that I just had to share. 


The link above will show you their routine, but I have to share some of her of course.  Needless to say I am a proud grandma!!!

She is competing in NCA Nationals in Dallas at the end of February and this time Grandma has already got her airplane ticket to be there!! 


Her Dad (our son), Mom, Nanny, and brother are always there to support her and very proud of our girl also.  She is always looking for sponsors so if anyone is interested let me know and I will send you the paperwork so you can be one of her sponsors!

Roper Lake State Park, Safford, AZ

DSCN8754Time has come for us to move into our winter location for 2015 and start our volunteering again.  We are really both looking forward to it as it has been a while since we did any volunteering.  We are in Bensen, so our trip will be short as Bensen is just north of where we are heading.  The weather is horrible, windy and cold but onward and forward. 

DSCN8772Back to I-10 to Hwy 191 North takes up to Safford and Roper Lake is about 5 miles south of the City of Safford and across from Mount Graham.    Mount Graham  reaches 10,720 feet  in height and is the highest peak of the Pinaleno Mountains in the Coronado National Forest.

IMG_3607As we were traveling to the park it starting snowing on us.  This was our first time traveling in the coach in the “snow”.  It was snow but it was wet and not sticking to the ground as it was just not cold enough at the elevation we were at to stick.  For us it was exciting and another first in our adventures in our coach.  It only lasted a few minutes but it was exciting while it did.

Roper Lake State Park is about 30 miles off of I-10 so it really did not take us long to get there once we turned on to Hwy 191.  When we got here everything was ready for us and we were welcomes with open arms.  We came a couple of days early as we had changed our plans due to the weather so we had so time to get set up and to look around. 

The park is really nice with 3 camp areas; one for primitiveIMG_3611 camping and two with water and electric hook ups.  There is even a natural hot springs hot tub located on the park available for use.  It is really cool as it is all natural, the hot spring mineral water is constantly flowing in and the tub area is all natural rock.  It is not very big but is nice.  The lake is really nice and is being stocked each month currently so by the time we leave here the fishing will be great.  Fred is really looking forward to that.  There is a lot of hiking trails all around the park; up mesas and on flat land.  There are also cabins that will sleep 4-8 people available with beds, outdoor kitchens and AC/Heaters around the lake for rent.

Fred and I hiked up the mesa and this is where I took that picture from.  As you can see there is an island in the middle in the middle of the lake that serves as a swimming/day use area that is very popular.  Really nice as one side you can fish from and the other side is swimming with lots of covered area for picnicking.  There also is a lot of birds around the area so is a great place for birding











Our volunteer time here will primarily consist of working the entrance gate/visitor center.  We are registering guest as the check in for the day and/or the campers as they come in plus handling sales in the visitor center.  It has been really fun and we are getting to meet a lot of different people.



Three miles south of Lake Roper is a sub-unit of the lake called Dankworth Pond.  We also at times will be working the entrance gate.  Dankworth is a day use area with a playground, picnicking area and fishing.  There are trails around the lake and even a trail to a re-created Native American Village.  Of course there is a lot of wildlife around the area to watch in the area. 

The views around the area are something as the sunrises/sunsets are specular.  Mt. Graham is across the street is really neat and I tell you when that sun goes behind that mountain in the evening the temperature can drop fast, but the view of the sunsets are just unreal.  We are going to be here until the end of April and are looking forward to exploring the area and volunteering at Lake Roper.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Years Day 2015

New YearThis year we spent New Years Eve in Bensen, AZ at Butterfield RV Resort.  We really did not do much for New Years Eve, during the day we were at Mt. Lemmons with our friend Peggy Rudman but that evening was just a quiet evening with Fred and I. 

Peggy was coming back to have lunch with us on New Years Day so I was getting things together.  My son called that night and what a surprise I got.  He was with his family and his wife’s parents in Phoenix visiting with members of her family over the holidays.  They were heading back to Houston the next day and were going to be driving right by Bensen so they wanted to stop and have New Years Day lunch with us also.  Of course mom said yes, I was not going to let them have lunch with Spam and Sauerkraut; lucky I already had enough food planned already.  We talked to the office at Butterfield and were able to get the clubhouse as our coach just would not hold 10 people and 3 dogs for lunch.  So New Years Day had become exciting to me!!

DSCN8742We woke up New Years Day and found that it had snowed that night so our new year started with about an inch of snow on the ground. 




It was a perfect way to start the day as we have not really seen a lot of snow being from Houston and this was just the right amount.

I spent the morning cooking our traditional New Years Day lunch of Ham, Cabbage, Black-eyed Peas and Cornbread.  Peggy came over about 11:00 and we moved things over the the clubhouse.  I had all my things cooking in that the NuWave Oven was cooking the ham; Black-eyed peas were in the crockpot; cabbage was in the pot on the induction burner and in the electric skillet (cooked it two different ways); and cornbread in the convention oven.  I made devil eggs that morning for the grandkids and Fred. 

My son and his crew all showed up about noon so I started finishing up all the last minute details.  The grandkids were all excited as they really had never seen snow over just some flakes falling; never any staying on the ground.  Needless to say they headed outside to have some fun.







We all had a great lunch and had some fun visiting and just enjoying the day.





Peggy took some pictures of my son with his family and us while they were there.  Of course the kids were kids and we had to have a crazy shot. 






What a great way to start off a New Year!!!!  We are looking forward to 2015 and our travel plans.  After all the stuff during 2014 we are thankful the year is over and we are more than ready to move forward with a new year!!  May everyone have a truly blessed 2015!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mt Lemmons, Tucson, AZ

DSCN8708It was great to see Peggy again.  We had been park host with her in the valley at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park.  Peggy is a great photographer and loves birding so we learned a lot from her.  She is park hosting at Kartchner Caverns State Park this year, which was just up the mountain from us at Butterfield in Bensen, AZ.  She came an met us at Butterfield and took us out to see some sights.  We went to Mt. Lemmons, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 m), is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains located in the Coronado National Forest just north of Tucson. 

It was simply a magnificent drive with wonderful views. It is known for the Saguaro Cactus that grow everywhere.  As we drove up the mountain we noticed that the saguaro disappear at about 5000 - 6000 feet elevation.  Here are some interesting fact I found about them in trying to learn more as they are interesting.

DSCN8697Saguaros grow naturally only in a small part of Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert.

The saguaro is the largest cactus in the world.


It is estimated that saguaros can live on average 150-20DSCN87000 years. The record is held by a giant saguaro with 50 arms found at the Saguaro National Monument.

The flower of the cactus is Arizona’s state flower.

The stem of the saguaro measures between 18 and 24 inches.

DSCN8703The saguaro cactus will have holes cut out by birds. These holes were used by native Americans as water containers.

The saguaro’s roots are just 4-6 inch deep. There is only one root that goes under the ground 2 feet deep.

The cactus’s arm grows only when it is 70 years old.

The saguaro flower has one of the most powerful fragrances. TheDSCN8706 flowers only open up at night and it closes during the day.

The flowers appear on the saguaro when the cactus is 35 years old.

The cactus is considered adult when it is 125 years only.

The saguaro is one of the heaviest plants. Because it consists of water mainly, an adult saguaro can weigh up to 8 tons.

As we traveled up further the landscape changed with less vegetation and then changed again with spruce trees and then changed again to rocks.  We only went up about 7000 feet before it just got to cold and with the wind and some sleet we decided to come back.  Elevation is about 9200 feet and at the top is a small town and a skiing area. 

The views looking back over the valley was wonderful and really pictures cannot tell you the beauty that is there.  Here are other pictures of different parts of the mountain. 

Once we got down the mountain we went into Tucson for lunch and a drive around Tucson.  She took up by the bone yard of Air Force planes for just a taste and now I have to get back so we can go through the bone yards.  Just driving by has me excited to go back to see them. 






Time to say goodbye to 2014 and to start looking forward to 2015 . . . .. 

New Mexico on to Arizona

As I stated earlier our plans had been to go to Carlsbad Cavern for the New Year but with the cold front that came in things changed.  As it turned out we were glad we did make the change as Carlsbad got in the single digits and had lots of snow.  We ran into some people traveling from there and they told us they were glad they were able to get out as things were really bad.  I believe this end of the year cold front has really caught a lot of people off guard.

So now on to Plan D or is it E.  The joy of this life, you always have to be flexible and will to change your plans at any moment.  We were not schedule to be at Roper Lake State Park until January 4th so we decided to go to  Bensen so we could visit with a friend that was park hosting at Kartchner Caverns State Park.

When we cross the border into New Mexico there was more flat open land but there were still mountains off in the distance.






The one things that surprise me was the signs along the road warning of dust storms and high cross winds.





We made a stop at a neat looking rest area for the dogs and for us to just take a break.  There was a neat looking hill across the road and the picnic table were covered in a unique way. 

OurRoadrunner RV Park next stop was just for overnight in Deming, New Mexico at a neat RV park called Roadrunner RV Park.  Nice place for a overnighter and there were a lot of them that night.  Gravel sites but really level and was quite at night.  They also had a nice dog run area for the dogs so we were happy with that (the dogs were also). 

We were up early the next morning and headed on into Arizona.  The trip was easy and uneventfully, we just enjoyed the views and the change of the land.  This country  is truly wonderful and really is neat to see no matter where you travel from or to.  We got to Butterfield RV Resort on December 29th and were staying here for the rest of the year.  Butterfield is a really nice RV Resort and even has an observatory in the park for star glazing.  The cold winter weather was catching up to us so we never got the chance go view the stars.

Once we got settled, we contacted Peggy Rudman, our friend at Kartchner, and made plans to meet up the next day for a fun filled day of sightseeing.  More to come. . . . . .