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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Red Rocks of Sedona Area

Lots of clouds and overcast yesterday morning. But that was okay we hadn’t planned on going any where any way. There were two soccer games on we wanted to watch. Both games ended in ties.
While the games were on Bill wound a couple of my yarn skeins into balls. He does it so easy – says he always rolled his Mother’s yarn. Must be like riding a bicycle – you don’t forget. Glad he does it cause I make a mess of it.
Changed the blog header – just a teaser picture.
We did go out in the afternoon. Drove into Sedona – such a beautiful area.
Just some teaser photos of the area. Took these from the road. The sun was just peaking out here and there.

Went to the Visitor Center and got lots of information. We’ve been here lots but there is always something to see. Got a map of the 4 x 4 trails around here. Also information about the train ride. The Visitor Center had these neat xylophones/wind chimes out front and every one was making music. Nice music. I want one.

Took a road out towards one of the nice rock formations. Through a beautiful neighborhood. Wouldn’t mind living there.

Today don’t know what we’ll do – depends on how Bill feels. But the sun is out and the sky is blue. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Now in Verde Valley - no closer to home though

We left Amado yesterday around 8:30 and got to Verde Valley around 2:00 – 245 miles with a stop for gas and lunch. Seemed strange to be driving on a highway without having to watch for cows crossing the road, topes with people selling birds or dried shrimp and toll booths. It’s good to be in the USA again.
Really enjoyed the scenery. Along the road. Especially all the flowers. Some yellow ones.
Orange ones
And purple ones. 
They aren’t real clear but had to take good shots when traveling at 60 mph. I was using my old Sony – as with the new Fuji all I would have would be blurs.
It is definitely shorts and t-shirt weather here – and not supposed to get real cold at night – I hope. [no furnace on this morning.]
I like all the over passes here in Arizona they have been decorated so pretty. This one was unusual with the black background. 
When did Phoenix get so big? I thought we'd never get back out to open desert. 
As we came over the hill into Verde Valley we saw a lot of clouds over the mountains north of us – and what looked like a heck of a rain storm.
Quite a view with the red mountains of Sedona in the background.
Heading down the hill into the campground.
I was wondering if the MiFi would work because all the RV spots are on the valley floor. Direct TV came up with no problem and the MiFi works when it wants to. Have to find the right place in Jennie to put it – when I put up the silver sun block in the windshield it stopped working altogether. Coincidence or????  Working fine now as I moved it closer to the window.
We didn’t do much after getting here. Did make obligatory trip to WalMart. What is with Arizona? Saw another guy with his gun strapped on his hip in this WalMart too.
Today we will be watching two important soccer games starting at 10:00 – so this afternoon we’ll go out and about some. Maybe make reservations for a train ride. Or go to the Visitors Center to get a map of the 4 x 4 trails and Indian Ruins around here.  
Love being in this area - it is so beautiful. But to come here we added more miles to our trip home. Oh well. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Visit to Saint Xavier del Bac Mission

Getting ready to leave – and no change in plans after all.  Well maybe - we'll know for sure when we reach the I-10 cut off. We are headed north about 250 miles to a 1000 Trails campground in Verde Valley – near Cottonwood, AZ. Lots of pretty and interesting stuff to do around there.
Yesterday we took a drive up the highway to the Saint Xavier del Bac Mission on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. It is a National Historic Landmark. The mission was founded by Father Kino in 1692 as a Catholic mission. Construction began on the present church in 1783 and completed in 1797. Well almost completed.
This is a picture of the church in 1887
Here it is now – notice the tower on the right – still not finished. 
One of the legends about the building is a myth suggesting that early taxation laws exempted buildings under construction so the builders left one dome unfinished. Another explanation is that the second tower was left unfinished until the “Excellent Builder” comes to finish it.
The left side of the church has been restored, the right side is being worked on. The concrete stuccoing put on in the 1980s is being removed because it trapped water inside the church and that was damaging the interior decoration. It is being slowly replaced with traditional mud plaster that included pulp from the prickly pear cactus. This material breathes to allow excess water to evaporate. The downside is this material requires regular inspection and higher maintenance costs.
A closer look at the intricate work on the front of the building.
One of the statues is missing his/her head.
The interior of the church is filled with amazing original statues and mural paintings. This is the lower half of the wall. An intricate almost 3-D painted design.
Looking through a small door into the room where the Baptismal font is. The painting on the lower part of the wall was started but not finished.
One of the statues – this one shows some wear. They are made of a cement type material and painted. The painting is amazing – it looks just like cloth.
A huge painting on one of the walls. Frame and picture are painted right on the wall.
One of the ceiling domes. Again wonderful paintings.
The wooden head of this figure is as smooth as silk from being rubbed by so many people over the years as people pray to him. 
Resources were limited so materials such as marble, glazed tile, fabric and wood are simulated using trompe l’oeil technique. The work can be appreciated in this picture.
There are two of these statues one on each side of the main altar. Cannot find any information about them.
The top of the main altar. Very intricate and very colorful. Sorry it didn't turn out better. Guess I didn't hold the camera still enough. There are over 300 images of angels and 50 statues in the church.
A side altar – more statues and fantastic painting and colors.
The exterior of the church has cactus gardens planted all around it. Just some of the plants growing there.

Every time we go there I want to go back because I know I missed so much. Truly an amazing place. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Visit to Old Tucson movie town

Well we both paid for our fun yesterday. Bill’s cold got worse and my whole foot was aching. When I favor the sore toe I aggravate the old break in my arch and it acts up. As the saying goes “ age doesn’t come by itself.” But today is another day and we are both FINE – that’s for you George. Probably just going to do laundry (horrors first time I’ve had to do it in four months) and get ready to leave tomorrow.
So the rest of yesterday’s adventure – we had no trouble finding Old Tucson. 
It is a movie set – over 300 films and television productions have been filmed there since 1939. A bunch of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and other western classics – remember Rio Bravo? And McLintock – who could forget that mud fight?
This is hard to read but it talks about the mercantile building and what films it was used in.
The building.
Thought this sign was interesting. Especially the one about donkeys sleeping in the bathtub. Really they need a law for this?
And this one too – Invigorator Corsets – doesn’t that sound fun? Corsets for kids and boys?
Just a panoramic shot of one of the streets. We were all waiting for the obligatory gun fight.
The sheriff and one of the bad guys. 
This is the blacksmith building used in several movies. In Rio Bravo it was where Dean Martin waited for the bad guys to ride into town. It was also used in El Dorado – a younger James Caan bought his gun here.
The Mission used in many, many films and also used for the daily stunt show. There is no building there just the facade. 
The stage coach ride. It kept busy. No we didn't take it. But it was included in the price of admission. 
High Chaparral set.
The hotel used in McLintock – Maureen O’Hara came off the balcony into a hay wagon.
Inside one of the buildings. Just took this because of the Montgomery Wards catalogue from 1895. I used to love to look through all the catalogues – Sears, Penny’s and Wards. And the kids would fight over the Christmas catalogues with all the seasons’ toys. Things our grandkids will never experience. 
We enjoyed sitting down (!) and listening to the "Coozie" talk about the chuchwagon and life on the trail. 
The cook was second in command of the trail drive. On the drive the cowboy’s average age was between 16 and 23. When they were working cattle at a ranch they carried enough food in their saddle bags for a day or two. But when the drives from Texas to Kansas started there had to be another method to feed everyone. An ex Texas Ranger Charles Goodnight came up with the idea of the chuck wagon in 1866. A Studebaker wagon was used as the base a "chuck" box was added to the back of the wagon. It had drawers and shelves and a hinged back that came down for cooking. This box went to  the first rib – used to carry two days supplies and utensils used daily was added. The remaining part of the middle and front of the wagon carried the rest of the supplies for the trip. And the cowboys personal items like sleeping bags. 
The cook with his wagon conferred with the trail boss to decided on that days stopping place then the chuck wagon went on ahead to set up. The cook fixed breakfast – among other things beans and coffee. Lunch was biscuit sandwiches wrapped up and stuffed in the cowboys pockets to be eaten during the day. Dinner was more elaborate. Some canned foods were taken – of course there was usually beef. By the time the cowboys showed up dinner was started. Cow chips were used as kindling - 
After eating the cowboys put their plates etc. into a wash tub. I water was not available the dishes were “washed” with sand which did a very good job.
Coffee was very important. And most coffee was called Arbuckles. [Like kleenex today] This crate held 100 one pound bags of coffee beans. The cowboys were happy to help the cook grind the beans as a piece of peppermint was packed inside each bag. Here's an interesting web site about the Arbuckles coffee history  Coffee Link
And there was always the jug of medicinal whiskey. Cook also acted as doctor and dentist.
When the drive was over everything in the chuck wagon was sold as was the wagon it was cheaper to start with a new one for each drive.
After leaving Old Tucson we stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things. I just noticed this designated parking area. Golf Carts – guess they are legal to drive on the roads here.
Then back to Jennie to nurse our respective ailments.
Oh Oh there might be a change in tomorrows plans. Plans are made to change right?