Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's been a long while....

Funny thing about writing a journal is that once you get out of the habit, it is hard to get back in to it! So, here it is, almost the 4th of July and the Grand Tetons National Park has been the lastest excursion. Quite probably the most beautiful place we have been, displacing Acadia National Park and the Porcupine Islands that has long held that title for us.

Grand Teton viewed from Menor's Crossing on the Snake River
The winter spent in Yuma was almost perfect; the weather was really nice, warm and sunny ALL the time. There were many folks wintering there and lots of fun happy hours most days.

Leaving Yuma, we spent the month of April in Congress, AZ, just north of the cowboy town of Wickenburg. This Escapees Rainbow Park is really delightful and the folks there make it even more so. The weather was pure springtime...except for one Saturday when we awoke to rain and there was 5" of snow on the mountaintop of along with TS and Harrell and Denny and Susie, we drove up and had breakfast at the RanchHouse Restaurant and watched the white fluffy stuff fall all around us...a little winter wonderland in the midst of the high desert!

Mountain top Yarnell, snow covered in May

The little town of Wickenburg is a true 'uptown' old west town and we found several little cafes to share lots of great meals and explored the cowboy legend and lore there.

Along about the first of May we flew back to Virginia for Mother's Day and it was the most special Mother's Day ever for me, as we got news that I am going to be a GRANDMOTHER! Words cannot tell you how exciting this is and I just can't wait...I'm quite out of practice, but just know that it is going to be amazing. I think my name will be Nan...but whatever I am called will be just perfect! December 26th is the time and Catonsville, MD is the place... I will be there!!

The rest of May was spent in Cottonwood, AZ where we spent much time with Bob's brother, Ronnie, who had most of his foot amputated (diabetes) and we cooked many meals and shared lots of days together.

One fascinating event while in Cottonwood was the annual sheep drive that comes thru the Verde Valley Preserve. Each year, since the late 1880's, a herd of about 1200 sheep are driven north from Casa Grande to the Flagstaff area for summer grazing.

Sheeps crossing Verde Valley, AZ

The shepherds drive them down the Verde Valley and cross the Verde River a few hundred yards from our site. It was a sight to see!! Complete with sheep dogs, donkeys and shepherds, it was like a step back in time!

Visiting Sedona,Prescott, Jerome and the Red Rock Coconino National Forest to explore early Indian petroglyph sites and ruins, we learned much about early Indian farming and survival techniques and gained a new appreciation for these heritage sites and natural beauty of the red rock formations that grace the area.

Bell Rock in Sedona Red Rock country

V-Bar-V Heritage site petroglyphs illustrate planting,harvesting, and the passing of years in Indian life in central Arizona

Leaving Cottonwood near the end of May, we traveled north to Flagstaff, crossing I 40and traversing the Navajo Reservation on Route 89. This high plains desert area was virgin territory for us and the stark beauty was a most pleasant surprise.

The road never ends...towards the Vermillion Cliffs

The road stretched endlessly before us and the landscape was almost moon like. The Painted Desert lies just to the east and Grand Canyon to the west of this route. Along the way were tiny Indian huts where the Navajos sold jewelry made of mostly imported beads. There were a few creations made from the cedar berries gathered on the plateau tops, strung and dried. A cedar-strand eye glass chain looked like a good choice so that I won't be leaving the glasses behind so often now!
Climbing the mountain to Jacobs Lake, near the north rim of the Grand Canyon brought us into the ponderosa pine area and lovely cool weather. We had learned of Sharlot Hall, early 1900's champion of Arizona and southwest culture, and following her footsteps along this trail brought the history to life as we viewed her beloved Vermillion Cliffs along the Utah/Arizona border.
Arriving in southern Utah in the town of St. George around the end of May, we found lots more sunshine, warmth, a rich history to explore and many friendly folks. Keith and Donna joined us in St. George, Utah for a couple of weeks and we all managed to gain a pound or two trying out all the cafes in town. We also shared some nice meals with Paul and Mary who were also there to visit Zion National Park.

Zion, Cedar Breaks and Bryce National Parks and the Mormon Trail were the highlights for June....and highlights they were, indeed! It was a great month spent with good friends and amazing sights...then it just kept getting better as we traveled further north thru Salt Lake City and into Idaho and Wyoming.....Jackson Hole, Tetons, Yellowstone are yet to come!

Forgive me for not writing regularly; Hugs and love to all!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Down in the Southwest corner of the USA

Yes, that is where you will find us in Yuma, Arizona; over 300 days of sunshine each year; warm and arid…not too shabby for spending the winter!! Mid seventies most days, so life is pretty good.

We spent almost two pleasant weeks in Benson, AZ at the SKP Saguaro Park. A lovely park terraced upon the hills, with an amazing view of the Dragoon Mountains. Keith and Donna arrived a day or two after us and we spent lots of time enjoying the surrounding areas. We also got to spend a little time with Ken and Cindy and Doug and JoAnn, and Glenn and Sylvia which was a nice treat. We all drove down to the old mining town of Bisbee, which has become a delightful and modern little eclectic town in it’s own right. Breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club was great fun then we did some touring and shopping.

Bisbee shopping

(Photo by Joann! We loved our bags!)

Tombstone is another fun, old west mining town of Doc Holliday fame. It is very much a step back in time to the old west and we visited Tombstone several times with different folks.


We left Benson around the middle of January, headed to Quartzsite, AZ to camp in the desert with a lot of other RVing buddies. Donna and I claimed the wheels, driving thru Tucson towards Q, so those rigs were driven by estrogen most of the way. We arrived in Quartzsite to meet Denny and Susie (and a bunch of other folks) at the Escapees Happy Hour site, where we played in the desert for many days, sharing campfires, stories and great meals everyday.

The desert and mountains surrounding it, provides such a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Despite the dust that does wear on you after a week or two, it is one of the loveliest of natures icons, and we love spending time, off the grid there in the Arizona desert.

Q campfire

And it is a lot of FUN! Since I am remiss in keeping up with my diary (blog), please visit Dennis and Carol to see a few of the shenanigans from our weeks in Q. (or blogs from some of the folks above!) Just remember, what happens in the desert, stays in the desert!! Smile

Hugs and love from sunny Yuma!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Texas holiday behind us


Tommie Sue planned a wonderful Christmas week in Texas with fine seats in the magnificent Majestic Theatre to see the original Tuna Christmas. We laughed until we thought our sides would burst! It was a picture perfect day, sunny and seventy or so and we had a Mexican brunch then walked the Mercado….

…and strolled along the River Walk as twilight fell….


to view the lovely yuletime lights. Indeed, we had to stop for dessert at one of the cafes along the walk….

IMG_5790…more yummy treats!

Then we strolled to the see the Alamo in Christmas dress…


…and the Cinderella-esque carriages frequenting the square.


TS hosted a nice traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas day…it was a wonderful day, but I did miss the kids. Tiff requested her reservations for next year already and we made a date!! I’m pretty sure it won’t be in Texas…but Rio would be nice too! :)

Later in the week, we trekked to Llano, Texas to Coopers BarBQue, with Ken and Jan Tilton and Jo and Pete Peters and few other Spring Branch folks.

coopers 2Coopers

Now, THIS is a barbque place! Bob had one of those two pound pork chops…it was fabulous!! They smoke EVERYTHING…brisket, sirloin, pork, chicken, sausage and even goat!! After stuffing ourselves with smoked meat, we had to stop at the Bluebonnet Café in Marble Falls for Pie Happy Hour. I’ve heard about this place for several years and it was everything we'd hoped it would be…every kind of pie you can imagine…I had german chocolate and banana crème (1/2 of each!)…delicious!! A few more fun memories were made!!

And we had a lovely lunch with Paul & Mary and Sandy & John in Boerne before we left Spring Branch.IMG_5863IMG_5864

It was fun sharing laughs and conversation and we’ll see them before long down the road a ways, I’m sure.

So, the holiday season is over and the new year is here…West to Benson, Arizona is where we’ll be for a little while!!

Hugs to everyone!