Friday, January 29, 2010

The other day, while staying in Hauchuca, AZ, we decided to take a little ride to Bisbee, AZ. Bisbee was a copper mining town and over 100 years old. The houses were built in the hills but no roads were built to get to the houses so they decided to just put in stairs from the town to the houses, at whatever level they were on. Many people today still live there and to get home, get groceries home, etc. they have to climb as many as 30 stairs to get home! This first photo is a tunnel we had to go through on the way to Bisbee. The next photo is Bisbee showing the houses built on the hillside.

The main street through old Bisbee is very narrow yet just wide enough for a lane each way. The street is lined with original building dating over 100 years old and featuring many art galleries and antique shops.

I had to get a picture of the B in the hillside but it wasn't a good day for taking photos plus I don't know how to get a non-blurry photos sometimes. You see the B, kind of, in the hill in the photo below.

Below is the copper mine.

Here's a photo of just one of the sets of steps to houses above. This particular set of steps had a plaque on it calling it "1000 steps" but we're not sure why because we climbed them and there were 96 steps to the top. We also needed to climb them to find a geocashe which was hidden at the top. We DID find it.

This bar, St. Elmo, is the oldest and one of the first bars in Bisbee. It's the longest continuous operating bar in the state of Arizona, too. Of course, we had to have a beer in there. Chuck couldn't he is waying at me. AND that's not a purse. That's a Europen shoulder bag! LOL

Here's another set of steps. I thought the house at the top along with the steps would make a good photo. We didn't climb these so don't know how many there are.

This next photo, the building with the columns, is the original sheriff's office and courthouse. It's beautifully preserved.

There's a Catholic church there with about 20 stain glass windows. This one is 25' high and there were two of them. The rest were about half that tall.

We were walking down the street heading to the 1000 stairs to find our cache, when a young girl approached us with a little flyer on lunch at the theater called Curtain Call Bistro. Soup, sandwich and dessert for $6.95. We told her we'd stop by later. And we did. When we walked in we wondered if we did the right thing. There were very few tables but they were nicely dressed in white cloths and had a lovely centerpiece. We were the only ones in there! A young man, who turned out to be one of the performers at the theater, gave us our menu and brought us some coffee.

This wonderful place is run by a man that studied cooking in France! We were in for a real treat! Coffee was served in a beautiful cup WITH a saucer! I had the ham and cheese on wholewheat and a bowl of chili. Chuck had pulled pork sandwich and bean with bacon soup. It was presented beautifully and garnished with sliced strawberries and melon. It was all excellent! Then it was time for dessert! A piece of chocolate cake served with whipped cream on top, a pool of pink cream and more strawberries! It was all lightly dusted with powder sugar.

All this for just $6.95! We wanted to return Friday night for their theater presentation and dinner but we weren't going to be in town. It was to be a comical one-man story about Bisbee. Would have been awesome! We saw the dinner menu........very French but oh so delectable. Wish we could have gone. All that for only $28 a ticket!

We stayed in this RV park for only three nights. It was called Quail Ridge. There wasn't much for me to do in the clubhouse but it was a perfect place for walking. It was one mile all around the park and I walked it a couple times. We left there this morning around 9am and are now in Benson, AZ. The last city in AZ for us. We'll be here for one week till Feb 5th. Then we'll be in Vado, NM for one night and Fort Stockton, NM for one night. We'll be in Del Rio, TX the 7th. We wanted to visit Chuck's brother, Mark, in Gonzales, TX, but he won't be home at all this year. From Del Rio, we'll head to Rockport, TX which is on the gulf. We can't wait to see that.

More later.............

Monday, January 25, 2010

This is what it looks like out in the desert near Quartzite. This doesn't even look as bad or as packed as it really is. This is looking across the street as we were leaving.

We heard the weather was turning really bad so after about 3 nights out in the desert, we left for Apache Junction. AJ was pretty nice, actually. The weather the first few nights was really awful......something like 3" of rain in one day! There was lots of flooded streets as they really don't have storm drains. Their storm drains are actually called "washes" which become little rivers when it rains like that. We did wind up having some beautiful weather once those storms blew threw.

We left Quartzite just in time. That night of the worst storm, it hit even harder and worse than in AJ. There was even a tornado touch down in Blythe, remember just about 30 miles away.

I walked a few times in AJ. It was flat flat flat and the blocks so square you couldn't get lost. Nice easy walking and I walked over 2 miles each time. We visited the VFW one evening. We went to see Avatar while there, too. Fabulous movie but it would have been better if we could have sat even farther away then the back row. We went out to eat a few times and had breakfast in the clubhouse one morning.

While in Quartzite, we went to a huge huge RV show! Most of Quartzite is swap meet tents/vendors and not much else. A few restaurants here and there but not many grocery stores and the closest WalMart was in Blythe or Parker, both more than 30 miles away. Parker being a little bit closer.

Here, if you click on the map to make it bigger, you'll see where Hauchuka, AZ is. That's where we are right now and will be for three nights. Then, shown on the map, we'll be heading to Benson, AZ.

From Quartzite, we went to Apache Junction, shown on the map. We just pulled in about 1:30 today. The weather is gorgeous here today. There's so much to do around here and so much history. We'll have 3 fun filled days for sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You can kind of see where we've been, where we are and where we're going.

We started in Bullhead City, went to Earp, then Yuma, Quartzsite and now Phoenix and are in Apache Junction. CLICK ON THE MAP TO ENLARGED IT.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How can you not love Arizona? Look at yet another amazing sunset.

I love the reflection of the sunset on the motorhome.

Today is Monday, Martin Luther King Day, and the 18th of January. Just wanted to update everyone on what we've been up to.

The last few days at Pilot Knob we went back to Algodones one more time for some medications and for lunch. We got some Vodka, too. That doesn't seem to be much cheaper down there but a little bit.

Here we are at lunch in Algodones, Mexico. There's a couple in the background of my picture that took this for us. They sure were nice folks. We chatted with them for a little while.

Chuck took this one of me............

I took this one of him..............

We went to a MASA program in the clubhouse and for attending we got a free burger dinner. MASA is a medical transport insurance thing. We met a super nice couple at dinner and wish I could have met her sooner. They are from Ontario, Canada and that night her and I played bingo. Neither of us won anything. It was hard to say goodbye to her after such a short time we had together.

We left bright and early from Pilot Knob, which is Felicity CA, the resort book says it's in Winterhaven, CA. and is part of Yuma, heading for Quartzsite, AZ. We arrived here in the middle of the desert on BLM land.

This is what it looked like as we drove in. We are in the middle of a desert, actually, with thousands of RVers. It's so hard to really see what it's like and all the RVers but it's amazing how many are here for the RV show in Quartzsite.

This, above, is just across the road from us.

Jen, chocolatinis are wonderful! We added a little fat free cream after it was frozen and ready and blended it up so it's like ice cream! Try it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The other day we decided to go for a ride to Imperial Valley where they grow dates. We stopped for a famous date shake and it was amazing! So yummy. Along the road were these sand dunes I just had to take a picture of. This is ATV country!

Here's one of the date groves.

Another date grove.

Then we decided to find a cache as long as we were out. This one was in Slab City along the canal. We were told it was at the base of the tallest tree. We were ready to give up when we dicovered it under a branch that must have fallen from the tallest tree. But under the tallest tree for sure. Chuck found this one but let me open it up.

Here's what the cache looked like. Many use ammunition cans like this one. Along side on the ground is our gps and my notebook and a view inside the can.

When we signed the log we put the can back as we found it.......under bark and sticks.

Here's the tallest tree and you can see the fallen branch where we found the cache below the tree.

This is Slab City. It was a WWII military base but all that's left is many many concrete slabs. Trailers, buses, RVs, etc. have moved in and people live there now. Many of the people looked like they were still flower children and living in the 60s.

Many get creative. Why anyone would do this, I don't know, but do this they do.

In three different areas there were couches and chairs all in a circle around a makeshift stage and there were signs saying there was live music every evening at dusk. You can kind of see the row of couches, can't you?

Then there's a little, skinny little man, who said he's 77 years old that has been building and painting this monument to the Lord. It's taken him 12 years he said. My camera went dead but some nice people said they'd send me more photos. Around the right side he built a cave like thing using hay bales and adobe mud. Of course, everything is painted bright colors. We walked up the yellow stairs to the top where the cross is. He was very very proud of his work. We were a little scared to even go into the property but we were glad we did. He said he used to get about 10 people a day and now since he's been on Google, he gets 450 people a day coming in and taking pictures. He is so proud that people would come see his art work.

This is a truck the same little man decorated with whatever........It used to be a dump truck. Wish I had gotten a better photo.

Chuck and I were fortunate yesterday to ride along with a couple that do mission work down in Mexico. They didn't have to go far into Mexico to find the horrible living conditions. What we saw just blocks from the tourist attraction of Algodones, where we spent so much time having fun and money, is what you'll see in these photos. AND it's far worse than these photos can begin to show you.

Our first stop was at Anna's. This little gramma was left raising her daughter's children alone. I don't know how many there were but I saw about 5 little kids. There were two pit bulls on chains for protection. The chain link fence is their clothes line and the men in the mission group came along to measure for a new fence for Anna. The little kids were given snack bars and oranges and they ran up to Marylou giving her hugs and kisses. She's Mama and Jack is Papa to them.

I took the picture from the van. Many love their picture taken but I didn't like to let them see me taking pictures of their house.

This is just another area where there are the cardboard houses. This is a neighborhood. How does it compare to yours?

Another neighborhood.

The next place we visited was Gramma's place. These people have built their houses out of anything they can find. It is situated at the dump! When we got out of the van, the kids came running. They hugged Marylou and gave her kisses. We all peeled them a little orange and the kids sat and ate them. Marylou is the lady in the picture.

This is Ramona's house. Made out of wood and cardboard. She wasn't home the day we were there because she was out in the fields working. There were so many little boys and I only say that one little girl.

When you look inside these houses, the floor is the dirt of the desert, cardboard tacked to the walls and, of course, no electricity. I didn't look inside this house, it just didn't seem respectful even though she wasn't home, but Gramma took us inside her house and she did have mattresses. Wall-to-wall mattresses, not very clean and crumpled up blankets and clothes, none very clean. They wash everything by hand and have to carry water up a steep hill for drinking and doing the wash. Supposedly it is a natural spring so is supposed to be clean enough to drink. But what did we find on the hill right above the spring? You guessed it. The outhouse!!

This is the outhouse. You can see the bush behind with white plastic bags stuck in it. That's a tree that is growing below the outhouse as the outhouse is on top of a hill overlooking the clean water! ?

All the clothes you see laying around is the laundry that needs to be washed. It is piled up all over the place!

This little boy, the one in the striped shirt, is Jerry. Jack, on the left, kept teasing him calling him Joe and Jerry kept saying, "NO, that's my sista!" He spoke pretty good English because he works in town shining shoes. We asked him where is sister is and it was her turn to go into town and shine shoes. I didn't get the other little boys name. They told me, but I couldn't understand him. I would love to have taken Jerry home with me. A snappy dresser and so adorable!

Then all the other little kids came running. They LOVE to have their picture taken! Jerry had to get Mickey in the picture. They just got Mickey and they were showing him off. These little kids have nothing and yet laugh and play like they own the world!

Behind the boys is a new room being added on to Gramma house. I think it's another bedroom.

Below is a picture of Gramma and all of us in her kitchen. Yes, that's right. That's Gramma's kitchen. Open-air, wouldn't you say? They said she cooks on that barrel with wood and keeps burning her kitchen down so they don't put up the walls anymore. BTW, she's the lady in the red sweater and dark blue scarf on her head. Whatever she was cooking smelled wonderful!

Gramma is so proud of her house she invited us all in. Her house is two rooms of beds. The floor is dirt! She has a TV in the corner and doesn't understand why it doesn't work!

As we drove around, I took these photos. Sure makes you feel blessed with what you have.

The next photo is another area. Sorry, it's so hard to see. There's another cardboard house built back in the bushes.

After we left this area, we stopped at a veterinarian store/clinic. The couple that took us into Mexico have a dog with an eye problem so they ran in to make an appointment. $20 for the appointment, I might add. I took this picture while inside, which smelled really really bad. They had a peacock and some roosters outside in a pen. This guy was inside in a pen.

They took us to the brick making area where many of the men work. This is a stack of bricks. They make roof tiles, too.

They lay the bricks out to dry before firing.

This is the kiln where everything is fired.

From there we visited another family. The mom is the lady in green. The man with the cowboy hat in the doorway is Jack the missionary. This is a very nice house compared to Gramma's and Ramona's. The front is brick and you can see the tile roof. Her door is just what you see........blankets hanging there. They get very little rain but when it does rain, it's a huge problem. The other two ladies also rode along with us. I'm sitting in the van when I took this photo.

We went to a rehab facility next and it just didn't seem right to take any photos. It's a lock-down facility; you ask for their help which is completely free, you are there for 90 days and there's no leaving. While you're there, you help out as much as you can and when you're better and the 90 days is up, you help some more. We met some really nice people that had a bad start in their lives but have turned things around and are truly wonderful people.