Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We are home!

We watched the weather from the Phoenix area and decided we could slip north through a window of fairly nice weather Thursday and Friday.  And, we did.

The route is the most direct according to our GPS.  It is Phoenix to Holbrook AZ, then east on I 40 to Tucumcari NM and north, northeast to home.  We stayed in Ute Lake State Park just north of Tucumcari—at least that’s what the sign said, we never saw anything in the daylight—in after dark and gone before sunrise.

We needed to hustle because we wanted to get home before dark so we could unload and re-winterize. We stopped for a few things from the Overbrook grocery store and by the time we got everything unloaded, it was cold enough that  the water from the drained lines in the PW froze on the cement.  That’s cutting it close.  And to think, we were in shirt sleeves only 36 hours before. 

I do have a few observations and pictures from the drive home.

How many cars on a Texas Coal Train?  120

Along the highway in Guymon, Oklahoma, there is a drive in theater.  Well, that and a restaurant and RV park.  According to this web site, Eric and Alka Lammes reopened the drive in after it set vacant for 25 years and incorporated an RV park on the land.  How cool would it be to be able to watch a drive in movie from your RV.

Further up the road is Hooker Oklahoma.  According to their high school sign, they are the Horney Toads.  On the way out of town we passed the Hooker Inn.

Then there is Mullinville, Kansas/ IMG_6928and MT Liggett’s Whirligigs.  True folk art!


There’s even more on the other side of town.


Read more about Mr. Liggett’s art here.  He is a unique individual.

I’ll step back a couple days for the ATV ride in the Arizona hills in a day or so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wait, I thought you were going home

That’s probably what Kay and Lynn said when they got my text that we were still in town.  We thought we were headed home Monday morning and it is Tuesday evening as I write this.

When we checked the weather at Berryton on Sunday evening it said snow and very cold temperatures.  We decided not to brave bad roads and just stay put for a couple more days.

Anyway, we needed a day of rest. Monday was that day.  The only thing we did was go to the new Cabela’s store near the dome where the Super Bowl was played.  That trip made us realize how big this city actually is. 

Here we are in this picture telling Kay and Lynn goodbye.  What a good time at their home.  Good food and talk just as it is with old friends.

Here they are in front of their beautiful home


The adventure isn’t over.  Today we visited the mountains up close and personal. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tortilla Flat and Olive Oil

We  visited Tortilla Flat before.  Frankly, it is pretty much a tourist place.  It is a pretty drive getting there and beyond, though.  Here are several pictures from that drive this morning. It was a surprise to me when I first saw these rugged mountains so close to the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, all the Tonto National Forest campgrounds are closed.   It’s too bad because this would be a beautiful place to stay a few days. 

IMG_6833 IMG_6847 This afternoon, Lynn, Dan and I drove to the Olive Mill.   We ate a whole loaf of olive bread dipped in vanilla Bean Olive Oil.  Oh my was it good.  There was live music setting up as we left around 4:30.  They had wine, of course olive oil and lots of other things to eat.   Definitely a great place to visit.

photo (2) What a treat to see  fresh vegetables growing in this container garden. 

photo (1)

Once again Lynn & Kay prepared a delicious meal.  We are getting spoiled.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Copper Mine, Farm Store then Arizona

The trip from our creekside mountain campsite to warm sun took about six hours.  We weren’t in a big hurry so we stopped by a Tractor Supply store in Silver City NM just to see what people in this part of the country buy at a farm store.  One thing notably missing was lawn mowers—no surprise there.  Lots of horse gear, but no baby chicks. 

Another stop before seeing New Mexico in the rear view mirror—and it is a big one—is the Chino Cooper Mine near Silver City.  This is an open pit mine IMG_6822 and they have essentially moved an entire mountain.  It all started in 1799 when an Apache Indian showed Jose Manuel Carrasco a outcropping of copper.  Since that time, the mine has gone through multiple owners and from small underground mines to the massage pit it is today.  The huge trucks hauling the ore look like ants down below.  And they are moving 24 hours a day.  

We are parked in Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction Arizona.  This state park is a jewel.  Absolutely breathtaking view of Superstition Mountain.  Pictures and activities with friends later.

Monday, February 09, 2015

New Mexico top to bottom

We were planning on staying the night last night in Raton NM, but only made it to Trinidad, CO.  I think it was the coldest night we have ever spent in the PW.  We woke up at 5:30 am and decided to move down the road a while.  It was a good idea because here is what awaited us as we entered New Mexico. 


At Santa Fe we turned south on the Turquoise Scenic Trail.  One of the more interesting small towns with past mining history and now artist community was Madrid.  It would have been a good place to spend a little time, but we knew we had miles ahead.  The Trail is rich with history including Cerrillos which was once New Mexico’s capitol and historical locations of Indian missions.  Between the small towns were   scrub pines and cactus with mountain ranges far in the distance.  Or, there would be a small mountain thrusting out of flat terrain.  



About 100 miles north of El Paso, we turned west on scenic 152 over Emery Pass in the Mimbres Mountains.  Emery Pass was named for Lt William Hensley Emery who in 1846 scouted the then Mexican territory for the United States.  The mountains in this range are made up of  Tertiary Volcanic and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks.  Although parts of the drive reminded us of Colorado, the small trees and Yucca like plants that we’ve since decided are a miniature palm set it apart. The horseshoe turns and steep drop offs took us up to the 8,000 foot pass. 

We knew the campgrounds were all closed for the winter through this pass, but we were able to snag a scenic off road spot anyway. 


We have enjoyed this beautiful drive but tomorrow will be headed to what our friends Kay and Lynn call Land of the Sun.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Warm Sunday in Colorado

It has hardly seemed like are in Colorado in early February.  We’ve been outside in shirtsleeves and shorts.  Crazy.

What to Coloradans do on a warm day in the winter?  Hike.  So that’s what we did—only they did a easy one for those in the group who were not used to the altitude (and a little more than out of shape).

Everyone went except Trent.

IMG_6732 Even little Eve.  What a trouper with those short little legs.

IMG_6739 Look out Gunner is shaking!  Eve isn’t sure of the water yet.  She’s interested though.

IMG_6740 After a fried fish dinner, we loaded up and are off for points further south. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Western Museum of Mining & Industry

We are out on the road again for a while.  I always look forward to these roadtrips.  We are headed southwest so it makes sense that we would first spend a couple days with our Colorado kids. 

We did a rough calculation on the way out and decided there is a chance we’ve made this trip 50 to 60 times.  So, you would think we have seen everything interesting and fun around the Colorado Springs area.  However, there is one place we’ve missed over the years—the mining museum. And it is only about 10 minutes from Monument.

This museum was incorporated in 1970 with the intent of preserving the mining history of Colorado.  That it does very well for the $6 - $8 admission, which includes a tour and a chance to pan for gold.

The tour begins with a walk through a simulated mine tunnel where we were shown how the veins of ore are broken out of the rock and brought up from the ground. 

First, it begins with how the men were dropped down into the mines.  Then we were shown the steps in blasting the ore and finally bring the ore back to the surface. Throughout we were reminded how dangerous this whole process was and to some extent still is.  Men lost eyesight and hearing not to mention their lives. Men who work in the mines, especially in the early days of mining,  were brave, strong and fearless. 

The second part of the tour we were shown the machines used to crush the ore, to provide power to bring the ore and men up out of the mines and provide air. 

IMG_6722This was just one of them.  It’s hard to capture how  big this flywheel actually was. This part of the tour was interesting because each of the machines actually ran.

After we watched a short movie about the history of mining in Colorado, Trent & Carly panned  their gold—really they both found some tiny gold. 

IMG_6727 Finally, we were introduced to Nugget and Chism.  They are the two resident burros.  Before steam power, burros were used to pull ore out of the mines.  They were often the only companions of the early gold prospectors.

IMG_6730  Definitely the Mining Museum should be a destination for anyone in the Colorado Springs area.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Looking for that camera angle


I promised to show my little secret to the picture taken last night. I know, a little hokey.  But, if no one is around to take shot of us in the scenery, you have to admit,  this is the ticket.

Taking pictures of ourselves is not the reason I put out the $8 to purchase this extension, though.  I am excited to try it taking pictures from unusual angles.  How about over a cliff…or out the window…or over the top of a fence!  There are so many possibilities. 

My big camera is way too heavy.  I can barely hold my little camera still enough for a good picture.  Maybe it would help if I set the timer for a shorter time. 

I can’t wait to try this—I may get an opportunity in the next couple weeks!   

Happy Birthday to me!!

It was a great day.  I may be a bit prejudice when it comes to hard copy birthday cards.  It might be due to the fact that it was my job for so many years to bring those little bits of joy to birthday celebrants when they opened their mailbox.  And, I still love getting them.

I will have to admit, though, that it is a lot of fun to find those “Happy Birthday” wishes from Facebook family and friends.  What I like about social media is that it brings those who probably would otherwise never know it is my birthday  back into my life for just this short time.   All those positive thoughts came though to help make this day special.

Tonight neighbors came by for pizza and dessert.  We were glad we didn’t have to get out because it was cold and miserable with the snow today.  In keeping with the trend, here is our selfie—taken with a selfie stick, which I will write about later.


Wait—I just noticed Steve is taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.  Fun evening! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hedge Fence Posts

Another chore accomplished in our short span of warm weather was removing a short section of old barbed wire fence. It no longer was needed and had become an eye sore.  The hedge posts were interspersed with steel fence posts and the barbed wire was barely strung
I thought it would be a piece of cake to get the hedge posts out.  The above ground part of them were thin and spindly looking. I did not realize those old posts were like a iceberg.  The upper part of the posts had been worn down by the elements and fire.  Under ground they were like new and deep.

Here is another picture--so much better.
We estimate the posts have been in the ground at least fifty years.  Hedge is amazing wood.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January28th and 60 plus degrees

Unbelievable!  Both the temperature and, as of today, my garden is plowed.

As far as I am concerned, the garden has needed to be plowed for years.  Maybe that is old fashioned, and probably it doesn’t need to be done every year, but I am hoping turning the dirt over and a good hard freeze might help with problems of unwanted pests borrowed down in the soil.  Although it will probably freeze out a garden surprise.

photo (3)

There was a time when this was a day after day late summer chore.  It’s just been in the past 20 years or so that no till has become common, at least around here.  photo (4)

This nicely plowed, black dirt plot makes me excited for real spring.  I know we have some more winter—lets get it over with!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bad Food

Dan and I try to eat pretty good.  I would rate us an 7 or 8 out of 10 for overall healthy eating. 

We have our bad habits though.  Like these Simply Cheetos that were on sale today at Dillon’s. 


They are in the health food isle and here’s probably how they landed there.  They are gluten free, made with expeller-pressed sunflower oil (?), no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, made with sea salt and baked.  Still, there are 150 calories in 32 pieces.  Of that 150, 80 calories are fat.  Not only that, there is 290 mg of sodium per serving.  I intend to parcel these out—we’ll see.

Dillon’s also had pop on sale.  Last summer, I almost quit buying pop.  We got along just fine.  However, we are currently more or less craving Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Ginger Ale.  Neither are good.  Turns out we are doomed if we do—sugar—and doomed if we don’t—aspartame. 

Then there is coffee crack—at least that’s what I call it.  Nestles makes a hazelnut creamer we really like.  Currently, we are using a knock off brand that I picked up in Dollar General.  It has 35 calories in 1 tablespoon.  It is hard to determine exactly what this stuff is.  It has 1.5 grams of fat and no sodium.  The first three ingredients (which are listed in order of most to least) are water, sugar and hydrogenated (!) soybean oil.  All in all, not good.  We would be better to use milk and sugar than this.  If we would use better coffee then we wouldn’t need anything to make it taste good.  We read recently drinking coffee helps the brain.  Great, just so the creamer doesn’t get us first.

Since Christmas, we are not eating candy.

Ice cream is another matter.  We’ll work on the other things first.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19 Spring

After splitting wood, we decided to get the Ranger out of the barn for a January ride.  We don't have a windshield so riding can be cool even on a summer evening.  Granted I had a heavy jacket, but it was a beautiful ride.

The movie shows all the Robins coming in to nest.  It's hard to describe how many there actually were. They literally came in on waves.

Dan is dumping a trash can of ashes because we cleaned the stove.  The sun is still far enough in the south that it is warming the house nicely without the stove right now.

We'll love these days while we can because-----we know we are on borrowed time.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Cleaning out the closet

For every family, there is a closet.  That one closet that houses those mystery boxes. Boxes so long ago opened that no one exactly remembers what is inside. 

Some years back, Doug and I emptied the closet and he took what few things that were his.  Since he did not particularly like to read nor did he have any dolls, there wasn’t much. 

The other day, Kim and I once again emptied the closet.  This time we left the games and VHS tapes.  Many of the games should be either thrown away for lack of completeness or donated.  I have an old VCR hooked to the downstairs television and we are going to rewatch and then toss VHS movies. 

Way back in the back was the box of dolls and books.  Well, that and the awesome giant owl wall hanging I crocheted sometime in the 70’s.  I’ll have to hang it and take a picture for old time sake one of these times.

The box of books were Kim’s horse books.  She was a avid reader and loved horse stories.  She received books as gifts and probably bought a few herself.  Her three boys tend to read the more modern futuristic stories so we transferred the books to a plastic dust proof tub and shoved them to the back of the closet for another time. 

The three generations of dolls are not pristine.  Mom’s could possibly be 100 years old as she was born in 1915.  They all show signs of vigorous hair combing.  Some of the bodies have disintegrated to the point that they were not worth saving.  This is rather disturbing…


If you can get past the fact that there is no body, the pretty little face is actually in good condition.  This was my doll.  When she was put upright, there was a little thing in her chest that said, “mama.”  We had to throw it away, though—the rubber disintegrated.

There is a hippy family the size of small Barbie dolls—the daddy has a beard, long hair and wears boots.  The momma and little girl wear long skirts and sandals.  There is a doll that has hair that grows, a Betsy Wetsie and a doll that I think was made around the time of  Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.  They all went back into the box.  There was no getting rid of anything there.  There were even handmade clothes out of feed sacks my mom made for my dolls. 

Kim took one doll—so unique that I am not sure a description would do it justice.  Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan left for North Carolina today.  It will be a busy time with unpacking and a new city to find their way around.  When things get settled down, I’ll have Kim take a little video and send it to me.  I’ll just say this little doll transforms from a little girl to a woman in a twist of an arm!

Safe travels for our family as they make their way south and a new chapter in their lives.