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It’s Island Time!!!

Jan 26-28

On Tuesday morning we left Mission TX, after a quiet yet enjoyable week. It was before 9 am and we headed out in our shorts and T-shirts for a short 85 mile drive south to the Gulf of Mexico and South Padre Island. Mission is at the north end of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) and as you head south you pass through McAllen, Pharr, Mercedes, La Feria and Harligen. It’s a metropolitan area spanning about 40 miles with 750,000 people. In Texas, the word “snowbird” is not heard often as they prefer to call the northerners’ coming down for winter as “Winter Texans”! That term alone accentuates that they are more appreciative than other southern states. They really understand the economic value that is brought in each year for 5-6 months and truly appreciate it. So, we are in the middle of our stay in Texas as “Winter Texans”.

South Padre Island (SPI) is a strip of land off the mainland with a long stretch of white sandy beach (34 miles long). Due to its beach component it is built around tourism. The main town Padre is about 4-5 miles long and a mile or less in width. We arrived early as you cannot reserve a site in Isla Blanca County Park unless you are staying for a week or longer. We were only staying two nights. With 600 sites, we were where told earlier in the week that they were only about 80% occupied. We got site 129 close to the beach and the bay.

After setting up, it was near lunch so we took a quick walk over to the beach and as we crossed the parking area, low and behold we met up with Oscar – a 4 year old Double Yellow Amazon parrot. (see pic) An older couple from Minnesota had brought him out for the day to get some sunshine and socialize. We spoke with them and Oscar for 15 minutes and learned a bit about SPI since they have been coming here for 22 years. As we were looking for food, they suggested Dirty Al’s for the best shrimp on the island. They also told us about the free shuttle bus that runs up and down the main strip in town. Both pieces of information proved useful!

As we were hungry at that point, Dirty Al’s was just outside the park and yes the fried shrimp basket and secretly spiced fries were excellent. Hmm,hmm… After lunch we walked out of the restaurant and spotted the free shuttle. SO, we jumped on it and headed to town and took a ¾ loop and then got off for a cold beer at Wanna wanna beach bar (see pic)

Afterwards, we walked along the Gulf Blvd looking at all the condominiums, thinking this may be a future option to escape winter for a couple of months.

We picked up the shuttle later in the afternoon and headed back to camp to enjoy the warm weather and the sunset. (See pic)

Wednesday morning we woke to a very heavy fog of think sea air. Everything was dripping salty water but was soon gone when the sun finally came out in full force. Today’s plan was to bike into town in the morning and go up Laguna Blvd. The Island has 3 main Blvds. – Laguna, Padre and Gulf – pretty self explanatory! After returning we had a quick lunch and headed off to the beach for afternoon. Temps were mid – high 70’s, lots of sun and a slight breeze. Back to the rig late afternoon to watch the sunset and BBQ pork tenderloin!

No complaints from the perch this week! Yes, Jazz had fun too. Check out her pic’s of the new friends she made.

Enjoy your weekend!

Squawk later

 

 

South Padre Sunset
South Padre Sunset
Pelican silouette
Pelican silouette
Jazz found another friend right at our site-A Texas Jackrabbit - they grow them bigger
Jazz found another friend right at our site-A Texas Jackrabbit – they grow them bigger
Another SPI sunset
Another SPI sunset
A statue (Padre) in our park honouring all the ships that left area and where lost at sea
A statue (Padre) in our park honouring all the ships that left area and where lost at sea
Oscar - a double yellow amazon parrot @ the beach for an outing with and older couple
Oscar – a double yellow amazon parrot @ the beach for an outing with and older couple
Make the best of it...
Make the best of it…
One part of the beach that spans 34 miles on South Padre Is.
One part of the beach that spans 34 miles on South Padre Is.
Jazz checking out a new feathered friend
Jazz checking out a new feathered friend
Beach day!
Beach day!
A nice breeze at the beach for kite flying
A nice breeze at the beach for kite flying
Wanna wanna beach bar
Wanna wanna beach bar
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We are a little too young to be old!

January 20-27/15

We arrived at Seven Oaks RV Resort in Mission Texas last Tuesday. It is a 55 Plus park so Rob had to sneak me in since I haven’t reached that age yet!! lol

As soon as we arrived, we were warmly greeted by many of the Winter Texans who spend their winters here. In fact everyone here has been so friendly and welcoming . We wonder if many of them just like talking to us as we likely remind them of their own kids as we are probably closer in age to their kids then we are to the people in this park.  (that’s maybe a bit of a stretch but not too far off)

One of my goals while in Texas was to learn how to Line Dance. This park offers Line Dancing lessons on Wednesday and Friday mornings so both days Rob and I went to the class and learned how to dance. The first day Rob was the talk of the park as he was the only man in a class full of at least 30 women. The Teacher was very kind to us the first class as she went over the dances several times and didn’t teach anything too complicated to learn. The second class didn’t go quite as smoothly though as we were taught harder dances and had a lot less practice time before dancing to music. When you have to learn 5-6 different dances in 1 hour it is difficult. Rob felt a little more comfortable during the second lesson though as one other brave man joined the class that day. (See pics of our lesson)

This park has many social events on it’s weekly calendar. On Saturday night we attended one of them which was ” Italian night “. It was a 5 course Italian dinner put on by some of the park residents. They had been cooking for several days leading up to the dinner. Once again, we felt very welcome. We were invited to sit with a group of people from Wyoming and we had a delicious dinner and good company.

The weather this week has not been quite as hot as we had hoped it would be. When we arrived last Tuesday, it was in the mid 80’s so we thought that was great. The warm temps lasted 2 more days after that but then cold weather  and very high winds blew in for the next 2 days. The wind was blowing so hard, our rig was rocking back and forth like a boat on water. Yesterday we had temps in the low 70’s and today is promising to be in the mid to high 70’s so it will be a pool day today!

Tomorrow we are leaving Mission and heading to South Padre Island which is about 60 miles away. We plan to spend 2 nights on the Island which we are really looking forward to as we have heard great things about the location.

We’ll be back on the perch with more droppings towards the end of the week so stay tuned.

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LD-4

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FINALLY – WARM WEATHER

January 20, 2015

Arrived in Mission Texas mid afternoon today to hot weather in the 80’s. We may be off the blog waves for a couple of days as we spread our wings and enjoy the fine temperatures. It has taken almost 4 months and getting to the south tip of Texas (near Brownsville) to find the tropical weather!

We are SQUAWKIN>>>>>>>>>>>

 

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Old History-New History

Jan 16-19

San Antonio, Texas  (7,080 miles/11,328 kms.)

Friday morning was a short drive of about 75 miles from our previous night’s park(aka-Walmart). We had a relaxed start with a breakfast of sausage and eggs and arrived at Traveller’s World RV Resort about 3 miles south of downtown San Antonio about 12:30 pm. After setting up and having lunch we hopped on the bus around 3:30pm heading downtown for the night.

History lesson #1 – San Antonio was founded around a group of missions (5) started in the early 1700’s with 4 of them still active churches holding catholic mass. Spaniards from New Spain (Mexico) travelled here to set up and colonize in their Spanish tradition. At the time the Native Indians roamed the area and they brought them into these missions to convert them to Catholicism. They would be fully converted from their traditional customs, languages, food, dances and beliefs. They were taught Spanish for talking and Latin for worship. I guess as a pun, this was their “mission”!! These missions were for the most part self contained with nearby fruit orchards, ranches for raising livestock, etc..

Where we are parked, it is in the heart of the mission district which is basically an 8 mile park along the San Antonio river. The first mission was the Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Valero) in the downtown core, followed by Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. We are 1 mile south of Concepcion and about 1 mile north of San Jose. The city has miles of bike and walking trails and we are right next door to the river trail system linking all this up. They have done a fantastic job in this respect.

Ok, back to Friday afternoon….after a 25 minute bus ride we are in the heart of downtown and immediately embarked on the river walk, one of the big attractions in San Antonio. History lesson #2 – The “river walk” stems from a solution to solve a problem back in the early 1900’s. With the river flowing right through the downtown core, erosion and flooding were a constant problem, so an architect at the time decided that a good solution would be to cement over the miles of aquifers and also develop hotels, restaurants, offices along the route. The cementing wasn’t finally approved until the 1940’s but further development didn’t really take off until the 60’s.Now it is a thriving tourist districts with markets, restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc.. stretching 8 miles. Many of the 8 miles are purely nice walking trails along the river. The interesting part is that all of this (except the high rise hotels) is 20 feet below the city streets.

On our initial walk, we found the San Fernando Cathedral in the Main Plaza. It was the first church that the city of San Antonio started building around. We arrived back at the RV around 8:30 that night.

Saturday, we decided to get the bikes out and tour along the paved (cement) trails along the river heading south to Mission-San Jose – called the “Queen of Missions”. (see pic)  Finally some tourist attractions that where free! All the missions are free. After seeing a short film and touring San Jose, we headed further south to San Juan. Much smaller in all respects, but interesting to see just the same. We had left around mid morning, so it was time to get back to Jazz as it was around 2 o’clock now for some lunch and some sun at the pool. We also had lots more to see in the area, so a bit of brochure reading and planning for Sunday was in order.

Sunday, our first plan was to visit the historic King William District. This was about 4 miles towards downtown on the riverside bike trails. We headed off around 9:30 and within less than a mile discovered that the bike/walk trail had been commandeered that morning for a ½ marathon. The alternate for us was the Mission Trail Parkway, which also landed us on some less than desirable biking roads for short distances. We eventually found the hub of the historic area and obtained some street walking tour maps. History Lesson #3 – King William District…. It is an area established around the turn of the 1900 century, primary by wealthy German immigrants. There are many grandeur homes in the area – see pics, but also a considerable sprinkling of so called cottages – which were much smaller and also more eclectic. In this area we also found and toured the Guenther House and grounds. This family founded and still own and operate the Pioneer/White Wing flours mills beside the house and elsewhere in Texas.

After touring the area for a couple of hours, we retreated back home, now able to use the river bike trail – 4 miles back. The cement trail is marked every 1/10 of a mile. We fried up some hot dogs and onions for lunch and took Jazz for a quick walk to the park. By 2:30 we were back on the bus to finish our “tourists” plans for San Antonio. First off, back in downtown, walk to see the Spanish Governor’s Palace. From the outside, it was a one storey adobe that wasn’t impressive, so we kept the $5 admission charge and headed to the Alamo. History lesson #4 – The battle at the Alamo goes to the root of Texan history – in short they lost the battle as they only had around 200 men to fight against an army of 2,000 Spaniards from New Spain (Mexico). It was a 13 day siege. A few weeks later a much large military was able to defeat the Mexican army, and Texas finally gained its independence. The battle at Alamo was in the spring of 1836. There are lots of history books on it if you want more details. The church (now a shrine) (see pic) and the stockades are all that remains from the original site.

Lastly, before finding a place for libations and dinner, we walked to La Villita – the city’s first artisan district dating back to the 1930’s. Once again, many stores were either not open or vacant. It was a nice looking area, just off the river walk, but sadly no one was there. It was late Sunday afternoon, so maybe that’s why. We went out for a steak dinner (after all we’re in Texas) and were back home to relieve Jazz by 8 pm.

Monday, was a morning to do some research and planning for the next few weeks as we head to south Texas tomorrow morning. Sunning at the pool was in order for the afternoon.

Talk to you soon from the Gulf of Mexico!

Friday aft-"The River Walk"
Friday aft-“The River Walk”
San Fernando Cathedral-Main Plaza
San Fernando Cathedral-Main Plaza
Entombed remains of Travis, Crockett and Bowie - commanders at the siege at the Alamo (yes it was Davie Crockett)
Entombed remains of Travis, Crockett and Bowie – commanders at the siege at the Alamo (yes it was Davie Crockett)
Inside San Fernando Cathedral
Inside San Fernando Cathedral
Inside San Fernando Cathedral - this wall a donation from immigrants from the Canary Islands
Inside San Fernando Cathedral – this wall a donation from immigrants from the Canary Islands
The River Walk - Friday night
The River Walk – Friday night
Some of the bike trails
Some of the bike trails
King William District - several streets of large grandeur homes and cottages
King William District – several streets of large grandeur homes and cottages
King William District
King William District
King William cottage
King William cottage
Cool window sign in King William area
Cool window sign in King William area
Yep-more King William
Yep-more King William
More King William
More King William
Trees with exposed root structures that look like they are melting
Trees with exposed root structures that look like they are melting
King William home
King William home
Pioneer/White Wing flour mills - still operating under the Guenther family ownership
Pioneer/White Wing flour mills – still operating under the Guenther family ownership
San Antonio turtles-along the river bike routes
San Antonio turtles-along the river bike routes
A monument outside the Alamo
A monument outside the Alamo
The Alamo
The Alamo
Open air theatre on the Riverwalk - stage on one side the river; seating on the other
Open air theatre on the Riverwalk – stage on one side the river; seating on the other
Riverwalk
Riverwalk
On the "Trail Again"
On the “Trail Again”
The grounds of San Juan
The grounds of San Juan
Inside San Juan
Inside San Juan
Private residences of current day Franciscans
Private residences of current day Franciscans
San Jose
San Jose
Outside San Jose
Outside San Jose
near the Grist Mill - outside San Jose
near the Grist Mill – outside San Jose
Inside San Jose
Inside San Jose
Inside San Jose Mission
Inside San Jose Mission
The "Rose Window" - and my "Rose"
The “Rose Window” – and my “Rose”
San Jose Mission-The "Queen of Missions"
San Jose Mission-The “Queen of Missions”

 

 

 

 

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The “High Point” of our Trip so far (Elevation 5300 ft)

 

 

January 12-16, 2015

We arrived at Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee Arizona before noon on Monday. Bisbee is approximately 10 miles away from the Mexican Border.

We had originally planned to leave Tombstone and arrive in Bisbee on Sunday, January 11th however as we were getting ready to leave we discovered that we had a flat tire on the RV. Time to try out our CAA RV road assistance coverage. Within an hour we had an AAA service tech at our campsite. As the tires on our RV had not been touched since new, it proved to be somewhat of a challenge to remove the lug nuts on the chrome ring on the tire due to rust etc. Finally, the tire was removed, the spare put on and all was well again. By this time though it was close to 3 pm so we decided just to spend another night there and headed to Bisbee the next morning.

Here is a little history of Bisbee: In 1887, a reconnaissance detail of army scouts and calvarymen were sent to the Mule Mountains in search of renegade Apaches. What Lt John Rucker and a civilian tracker Jack Dunn found instead were signs of copper. The first mining claim was staked in what would later become the City of Bisbee. This claim along with a multitude of others sent mining prospectors scurrying to Mule Mountains in hopes of striking it rich. The city was named in honour of Judge DeWitt Bisbee from San Francisco who was a major financial backer of the mine. During this time miners from England brought their 2000 year mining experience to Bisbee. They also brought legends of little people known as “Tommy Knockers” who were said to warn miners of danger by knocking on rocks.

Bisbee was a rough and tumble mining camp and in Bisbee’s famed red-light district, Brewery Gulch boasted nearly 50 saloons and almost as many brothels. It was once considered the wildest street in North America. (See pic) Bisbee’s mines closed in the 70’s but Bisbee has entertained millions of visitors since. It is a National Registered Historic District that chronicles the Old West.

Today, it has transformed itself into a quirky, artsy town offering historic lodging, fine dining, museums, art galleries and antique shops.

Naturally, the first thing we did upon arriving in Bisbee was go for a tour of the Queen Mine which was only a couple of hundred feet away from our RV Camp thus it was very convenient. (see pic) We took an original mining train into the mine until we were 1500 feet inside. We had to wear Hard Hats, miners coats and miners lights. There is 143 miles of tunnels in the Queen Mine alone and over 2000 miles of tunnels in all of the mines in Bisbee. The miners life was very hard. At the start of their shift they were each issued 4 candles which was their only light source originally. Miners were paid anywhere up to 36 cents per hour depending on their job and they were able to double their wages if they were more productive by exceeding their daily quota. Originally, the miners had to push 1 ton carts of Ore out of the mine to be sent on to nearby town of Douglas for processing. Eventually, they used Mules to haul the ore out of the mines and mules could pull 4 carts as opposed to only one that people could push thus significantly increasing productivity.

Bisbee’s mines produced more than 8 billion pounds of copper as well as gold, silver and zinc. It was one of the most productive mining districts in the world from the late 1800’s until it’s closure in 1975.

After the mine tour, we took Jazz for a walk around town and checked out the funky streets, shops, etc. The whole town is built on the mountains so the streets are up and down all over the place. There are many sets of staircases all over the town to allow access to the higher streets.

The following morning we learned from the RV Park Manager that at 11:30 pm the night before, there had been 2 EMS vehicles in the park attending to a park resident who had been cleaning his gun while in his little Bolar type trailer and his gun fired as he was doing so. He shot himself in the hand and the bullet continued on through the wall of his trailer and entered through the wall of the RV beside him. The bullet went right through the bedroom of that RV and out the other side. Fortunately the occupants of that RV were already in bed so the bullet missed them and just damaged the 2 walls of their RV. These 2 RV’s were just across the small RV park from where we were parked – about 200 feet away.  Too close for comfort!!

That morning we walked through town without Jazz and were able to go into the many artsy type shops and we of course had to check out a couple of the saloons in town as well. On Brewery Gulch, was a saloon called the Brewery Saloon. In 1914 due to prohibition, this saloon was forced to close its doors. A Brokerage and Investment firm moved into the vacated premises of the saloon. This firm joined the New York Stock Exchange and had a board installed and a ticker tape sent from Manhatten. The original board is still in the building and is the only board ever used and affiliated with the NYSE in Arizona. In the late 80’s the Stock Exchange Saloon opened in the premises. (See pics) and we enjoyed a pint in the 100 plus year old surroundings. As it turned out, we could have brought Jazz with us as this saloon was dog friendly.

We left Bisbee in the morning of January 14th and spent the next 2 days driving between 350 and 400 miles each day on our way to our next destination, San Antonio Texas where we will spend 4 days. To get there we drove through New Mexico in which we encountered very cold temperatures and actual snow flurries as we drove. We got out of there as fast as we could but the cold temps stayed with us into Texas.

Yesterday when we woke up in the parking lot of a Flying J Truck stop in Van Horn Texas, it was 27 degrees F, outside. This is the coldest temps we have encountered on our entire trip. This morning (Jan 16th) it was 31 degrees F when we woke up in the Walmart parking lot in Kerrville Texas. (70 miles northwest of San Antonio)  Brrrrrr!!!

Off we go searching for warm climates in southern Texas. Have a great weekend everyone and we will squawk to you next week and let you know about our adventures in San Antonio. DSC_0635

Downtown Bisbee
Downtown Bisbee
Open pit Copper Mine right at the edge of our RV Park
Open pit Copper Mine right at the edge of our RV Park
Open copper mine
Open copper mine
Bisbee City park-all concrete
Bisbee City park-all concrete
Residential area of Bisbee
Residential area of Bisbee
Portable mine toilet- 2 holer
Portable mine toilet- 2 holer
Mine wall wired with explosives - ignited at end of shifts
Mine wall wired with explosives – ignited at end of shifts
Explosives cart
Explosives cart
Deep inside the mine
Deep inside the mine
Riding the trolley into the mine
Riding the trolley into the mine
The miners heading into Queen Mine
The miners heading into Queen Mine
Bisbee's Copper mine history
Bisbee’s Copper mine history
The shops-Downtown Bisbee
The shops-Downtown Bisbee
Entering Downtown Bisbee
Entering Downtown Bisbee
Famous Brewery Gulch - dozens of saloons, gambling and crib houses(brothels) in the late 1800's
Famous Brewery Gulch – dozens of saloons, gambling and crib houses(brothels) in the late 1800’s
Town of Bisbee from our park
Town of Bisbee from our park
Queen Mine RV Park-Bisbee - no frills but right in town
Queen Mine RV Park-Bisbee – no frills but right in town

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Pyramids in Texas??
Pyramids in Texas??

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Small desert palms and cacti with ice on them
Small desert palms and cacti with ice on them
Woke to hills with frost/ice
Woke to hills with frost/ice
Brrrr! -frosty hills
Brrrr! -frosty hills

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Wild West

Jan 8 – 10

 

Entering Silver mine boomtown
Entering Silver mine boomtown

We left Benson early Thursday morning heading south for about 10 miles reaching the Kartchner Caverns. Unfortunately when we went into the caverns, no purses, camera’s, cell phones, etc. were allowed to go. It was a fascinating tour inside a limestone cave that was only discovered back in 1974 but not open to the public until 1998. It is a living cave with over a 1/2 mile of walking trail. It has 3 air locks as you get into the caves to protect the environment and control the temperature and humidity at all times. The underground tour lasted 1 hour. Best to go to this website if you are interested in some of the sites we saw. http://azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/index.html

We left the Caverns around 11 and headed about 25 miles further south to the town of Tombstone. Tombstone is a National Historical site, so it’s best to describe the town now as a museum. On Thursday afternoon we just hung out at the park oriented ourselves for the area and future destinations. The day was a wet drizzly day anyway with Friday and Saturday promising better weather.

A “short” history lesson to understand the town. It was founded back in 1879 by a silver prospector. Over a short couple of years many silver sites where found and the “boom” started going from a few hundred people in 1880 to 12-15,000 during the mid 80’s. Along with the silver boom came miners, saloons (110 at it’s peak), gambling, prostitutes and of course outlaws! Silver miners in the day could make $3/twelve hour day. Prostitutes could make $30 in an evening! It has been named the “Town too tough to die” which comes from the fact that half the downtown burned down not once but twice between late 1881 and May 1882. (6 months apart) Both times, it was rebuilt bigger and better.

On Friday we took the parks shuttle into town (less than 1 mile) and began with a Stagecoach tour. Then we headed over to the infamous Birdcage Theatre that holds lots of history which I won’t get into. It was basically a place for theatre with lots of gambling but it was also a popular brothel. See the “birdcages” were local ladies would pull the drapes and “entertain” guests for the night. See pic. We then headed over to the Courthouse for some more history of the area including Chief’s Cochise and Geronimo. Lots of historic artifacts everywhere you went in town. We also toured the Epitaph – the towns newspaper that is still operating. Back home later in the afternoon for a quiet Friday evening.

Saturday’s plan was to go into town mid afternoon, have diner and spend the evening (last shuttle pickup is 9 pm). I met Mary in the morning who is the one in the pic below walking her pony and donkey – with a Colt 45 in her holster! She is quite committed to them since she has to make 2 trips to/from Illinois to bring her RV here and then the horse trailer. (3 days driving each way)

We headed in around 2 pm with the main goal for the day being to see a reenactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, some shopping and saloon hopping.  Prior to the gunfight, there was an interesting  25 minute historama. Once into the corral, they had many more artifacts to look at. We also dressed up in some  “period” costume while in town and get a picture taken. (see pic) With that and the shopping out of the way, it was time to check some of the saloons. We decided to go further down the main street (Allen)away from the touristy area and checkout a couple of “local” ones. Crazy Annies was first. Small and quaint and very friendly. We met Crazy Annie and her husband Smokin Joe! An older couple who use to live in Ohio many years ago and have good friends in Georgetown! After some great conversation, we headed over to Johnny Ringo’s (a famous outlaw) and met some more locals and had a homemade pizza for dinner. Back in town, we had to check out the country band at Nosey Kate’s saloon. Nosey Kate was the first prostitute in Tombstone who also started the first brothel. She was also Doc Holliday’s girlfriend for a long time.

That’s it from Tombstone! Sunday morning we’re heading further south toward the Mexican border to stay in Bisbee, AZ.

At our park, some walk their dog while Mary walks her pony and donkey AND that's what she calls them
At our park, some walk their dog while Mary walks her pony and donkey AND that’s what she calls them
Stagecoach tour--tourists!
Stagecoach tour–tourists!
Inside the Birdcage Theatre - note the 14 "Birdcages" along both walls
Inside the Birdcage Theatre – note the 14 “Birdcages” along both walls
Inside Birdcage
Inside Birdcage
Faro table
Faro table

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Boothill Hearst-The Black Moriah-used between 1881 and 1917
Boothill Hearst-The Black Moriah-used between 1881 and 1917

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Basement of the birdcage was used for gambling
Basement of the birdcage was used for gambling
BAsement of Birdcage
BAsement of Birdcage
Zoom in and read the "Shady Lady" ordinance
Zoom in and read the “Shady Lady” ordinance
You had to obtain a license to be a prostitute in Tombstone
You had to obtain a license to be a prostitute in Tombstone
Local paper - still operating
Local paper – still operating
Famed Crystal Palace
Famed Crystal Palace
Courtroom
Courtroom
Behind here is where the infamous gunfight occurred
Behind here is where the infamous gunfight occurred
Outside the infamous Birdcage Theatre
Outside the infamous Birdcage Theatre
Self explanatory
Self explanatory
Courthouse-1882
Courthouse-1882
Gunfight at the OK Corral reenactment
Gunfight at the OK Corral reenactment- Doc Holiday, Wyatt and Virgil Earp
Miss Kitty stepping out
Miss Kitty stepping out

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Miss Kitty entertaining a patron
Miss Kitty entertaining a patron
Inside the Crystal Palace Saloon
Inside the Crystal Palace Saloon
Nightfall on main street Tombstone
Nightfall on main street Tombstone
Saturday night in Tombstone - selfie
Saturday night in Tombstone – selfie

 

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Rocks and sand

Jan 5 -Jan 8

After leaving El Cajon(San Diego) area on Monday morning we finally started to headed east and leave the West coast behind. Shortly enroute we began to climb elevation, the wind picked up and still some lingering snow along the side of the road shielded in shade by rock. Soon after with the wind still blowing, gripping the wheel with both hands, large signs displayed – “Warning-Strong Winds for the next 45 miles” . At least they warned me and continued as we counted down the miles. Luckily we only went through about 15-20 miles of this. After heading through a Border patrol checkpoint (which we have seen several of) a strapping noise from outside the ring began, so we pulled off quickly as I though it was the awning having issues after all the wind we experienced. It turned out that the trim around the side door had come out of it’s track so we had to push it back in.

Back on the road, and still in California we started passing through a desert area that looked like the Sahara – sand, sand and more sand(see pic). In this area there were many RV’s pulled off and parked randomly in the desert so they could play on the off road machines. That would be fun.

We pulled into our camp for the night in Gila Bend, after losing 1 hour due to time zone change around 3:30 pm. No wind and 73 deg weather-ahhhh! We took in the rays for a while and once the sun was down, 6 loads of laundry and 2 Breaking Bad episodes later, we hit the sack.

Wednesday morning we woke to another sunny and eventually warm morning. The temperature swings in the desert are quite dramatic going from 75 during the day to near freezing at night.

We arrived in Benson AZ around 1. The park we stayed at have there own observatory (free), so we signed up for the evening session. We grabbed some lunch and headed over the pool and spa for a couple of hours of R & R. After an early dinner we headed to the astronomy dome (see pic)and enjoyed a 1 hour hands on presentation. The park has two amateur astronomers who take turns. There was 14 of us in the dome, and the presenter talked a lot bout planets, moons and stars. The dome has a university grade telescope in it hooked up to a computer/GPS tracking system.  He would hone in on one then discuss it and they we each took a turn looking into the scope. Fun and interesting!

The next morning was housework then off to the pool for some more rays. I took a bike ride around town then caught up with Kathy at the pool. It was a great park with putting green and driving nets (although I didn’t use them).

Next stop – the Wild West!!! –

Stay tuned.

Rock and more rock east of El Cajon - toward Arizona border
Rock and more rock east of El Cajon – toward Arizona border
sand, sand and more sand
sand, sand and more sand

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Nothing but open road
Nothing but open road
An airplane cemetery-one of many in the desert
An airplane cemetery-one of many in the desert
1st Arizona Sunset
1st Arizona Sunset

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The astronomy observatory - Butterfield Resort
The astronomy observatory – Butterfield Resort
This weeks golf cours
This weeks golf cours

 

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Happy New Year – Goodbye California

Dec 29 – Jan 5

Monday morning we packed up the rig, filled up with gas and propane and trekked about 135 miles down to El Cajon to spend a week with our son Bryn and his girlfriend Melissa. I must say that the continued drop in gas prices is nice and has been a blessing as it helps offset the higher CAD/US exchange rate. (1.20 at time of writing today).

We left the desert behind, at least we thought so, but discovered southern California is pretty dry and baron as well. El Cajon is about 25 miles east of San Diego and about the same distance from the Mexican border. We arrived around 12:30 expecting them to be waiting for us as they landed around 10:30 am. By the time we had set up, they had arrived after getting lost a bit and stopping for lunch. Bryn was happy with the warm weather that day and quickly put on shorts and flip flops. After a visit we headed out to stock up on groceries for the week, although several meals, we would eat out. That evening the weather turned cool (mid 50’s daytime temp) as it would stay for the next several days.

Tuesday was a planned quite day for the travelers to recoup from a 5.5 hr flight and 3 time zones. We checked out El Cajon and went back home for some board games later in the afternoon. Scrabble and Rummikub were the games of choice. It rained that evening and quite hard at times and with our guests sleeping in the front “suite”, their heads were about 3’ from the roof, it was a little louder at times.

Wednesday was a planned golf day for Bryn and I, so we booked a tee off at 10 am. The next morning we woke up to reports of snow only a few miles away and only 45 miles north were we had come through on Monday had 18” of snow – yes inches. We called the course to see if they were open and they hadn’t received snow, so we headed off with the temp at about 45 deg. The first 9 holes were cold and then the sun came out to warm us a bit. All in all it was fun to be out golfing on the morning of New Years Eve! Meanwhile after the girls dropped us off they headed off to a nearby Outlet Mall in Alpine.

We had decided earlier in the day to celebrate New Years with the “east”, so our ball drop was at 9 pm. Meanwhile, we went out to a nearby Italian restaurant and had a nice meal that was VERY filling as only the Italians know how to serve food. We were still full the next morning.

New Years Day – headed off around 9:30 am for San Diego Zoo. The temp was in the low 50’s but sunny and dry so it was quite pleasant. By the time we left at around 4pm we had pretty well covered the Zoo. It is a pretty old Zoo and ranked as one of the world’s best. Being older, it is much more compact that the Toronto Zoo. One of the highlights, was seeing a baby gorilla that had been born only 6 days before. Laying on it’s mother’s stomach with the mother’s hand on it. (see pic) With a zoom lense, needless to say, I took my share of pictures, but I widdled it down to only a few for the blog. Back home to relieve Jazz and have a nice steak dinner for the group of tired walkers.

The plan for Friday was to tour the coast a bit so we did a bit of a loop heading north in the interior to Escondido then heading west over to Carlsbad CA. The coast drive was only about 25 miles but it showed a lot of wealth and beauty. By the time we arrived in Carlsbad it was time for a short beach walk and a coffee and snack. We headed further down the coast arriving at Del Mar – time for lunch outdoors in the sun which was nice. After a short walk around Del Mar, next stop was Torrey Pines – a famous golf course on the PGA tour. A beauty, right on the coast! We checked out the pro shop for some TP swag and took a few pictures outside then continued on the La Jolla which was almost next door. La Jolla has a massively wide and long beach and with the nice weather and many people still on holidays, it was fairly busy. After a walk around, we headed home once again to relieve Jazz. She was a good sport all week! Tonight was Bryn and Melissa’s turn to make dinner, so we had our popular chicken and leek pasta. Good comfort food. More games that evening.

Saturday, Bryn and I had another golf game booked at Mt. Woodson. This is an older course up in the mountains. You had to have a cart to play this one as it had multiple levels but the views and the holes were fantastic. Meanwhile the girls had booked a spa session. We reconnected mid afternoon as our round was a slow one, but thoroughly enjoyable. Back to the RV for a quick change then into the San Diego Seaport Village for dinner. It’s about a 25 min drive. Games again that night. Rummikub was becoming popular.

Sunday was our final full day together, so it was decided a big hike in the morning was in order – with Jazz of course! The weather was starting to get really nice by this point with us leaving in shorts and T-shirts to hike up Iron Mountain about 15 min away. We didn’t go all the way to the summit which was about 3 miles but made it up to about ½ way which took close to an hour. The trail was quite busy.(see pic). Sunday afternoon was a day to relax by the pool and spa and take in the last rays from the “California sun”. Dinner was BBQ chicken and ribs along with a salad including pomegranates. Mel had to go to the internet to learn how to get the berry’s out of this fruit. Boy there were a lot!

Monday morning we were up by 7:30 as they had an 11:50 flight back to TO. As usual the week always goes quick when you’re on vacation. They headed off to the airport by 8:45 and we packed up the rig and hit the road by around 10 am. We left California after being in the state since November 18th. Destination for the night was Gila Bend Arizona. More desert coming up!!!

See ya!

 

My golf buddy (Bryn) @ Mt. Woodson Golf Course - a tough course in the mountains
My golf buddy (Bryn) @ Mt. Woodson Golf Course – a tough course in the mountains
Sunday morning trail hike - Iron Mountain. Near Ramona CA
Sunday morning trail hike – Iron Mountain. Near Ramona CA
Iron Mtn - made it as far as the Heli-Evacuation site
Iron Mtn – made it as far as the Heli-Evacuation site
Bryn and Mel-Iron Mtn.
Bryn and Mel-Iron Mtn.
The traveler-Iron Mtn.
The traveler-Iron Mtn.

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What a cutie!
What a cutie!
In the Hummingbird Avary
In the Hummingbird Avary
Tortise # 5 is 160 years old!
Tortise # 5 is 160 years old!
Many others aged 48 years to 160
Many others aged 48 years to 160

 

Kuala - Nap time
Kuala – Nap time

 

Polar Bear - A healthy snack
Polar Bear – A healthy snack
Panda-Nap time
Panda-Nap time
Artic Fox
Artic Fox

 

Look at the cute eyes
Look at the cute eyes
Momma Gorilla with 6 day old baby on chest
Momma Gorilla with 6 day old baby on chest
Mommy Oranga tang with Baby in hammock
Mommy Oranga tang with Baby in hammock
Daddy Oranatang
Daddy Oranatang
California Condor-7' wing span
California Condor-7′ wing span
The "Zoo crew" -New Years Day 2015
The “Zoo crew” -New Years Day 2015 San Diego Zoo
Golfing-New Years Eve Morning-only around 50 deg but fun
Golfing-New Years Eve Morning-only around 50 deg but fun
Our Coastal tour - Carlsbad CA
Our Coastal tour – Carlsbad CA
Del Mar CA - park and beach
Del Mar CA – park and beach
Coastal  drive toward La Jolla and Torrey Pines - famous PGA golf course
Coastal drive toward La Jolla and Torrey Pines – famous PGA golf course
Torrey Pines (famous PGA Golf Course) in background
Torrey Pines (famous PGA Golf Course) in background
Golf Pro's-Torrey Pines
Golf Pro’s-Torrey Pines
La Jolla
La Jolla
The Beach at La Jolla
The Beach at La Jolla
La Jolla - Beautiful unique homes and large plants-with Mel
La Jolla – Beautiful unique homes and large plants-with Mel
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