We awoke today to a forecast of severe weather in the form of very strong winds and dust storms. We have been seeing the signs along the highways warning of the possibility of zero visibility in strong winds and dust storms. Today we had the “opportunity” to observe what they were referring too.
Despite the forecast, we decided to head to Palamas, Mexico, since Anneke has never been to this country. We did the quick tour and enjoyed a good lunch at the Pink Store, but retreated early back across the border, as I had all the dirt I could eat for one day. On the way back, we dodged the hundreds of tumbleweeds that were rolling across the road in the high winds.
We will likely remain here an extra day, since the forecast is for more high winds and dust storms tomorrow. These are not perfect driving conditions and the motorhome is not the ideal vehicle for dodging tumbleweeds.
I thought I would add one final note from Arizona with some pictures including a picture quiz. We had our first wild animal intrusion into the motorhome the last evening at St. David. Anneke had gone for a walk and left the screen door open. I was busy at the computer and looked up to find a roadrunner walking around the motorhome. It was not the least perturbed when I got up to encourage it back out the door. If I had more presence of mind I would have grabbed the camera before I finally got it to leave unhurriedly down the steps. I found out late that this bird had become specialized in mooching from the RVers. One of the coaches apparently regularly feeds it hamburger. So, it likely did not appreciate the short shift I gave it.
There was a great sunset for this last day as well.
Finally, a small quiz for those who are into mechanical devices from the early 1900’s. I will provide a hint that both of these items were used for many years in the food industry. Any guesses??
On our last full day in Arizona, we made one last tourist excursion into the desert to visit Gammons Gulch. We heard about this place just a few days ago from an article in Arizona magazine. This a is privately run homestead, movie set, collectors haven and story telling adventure run completely by a husband and wife team. They have been working on this adventure for around 35 years. This has been Jay Gammons dream for a long time. He had his first part in a John Wayne movie while his father was working as bodyguard for Wayne on the set of a movie. His life long passion for historical things and movies has resulted in Gammons Gulch.
It is in many ways a completely opposite kind of place from Tombstone. There are no gift shops or people in costume to entertain you. What you get is a personal tour from Jay, who will explain all of the exhibits and their history and will answer any questions that you may have.
This is not an historical site, as it was built by Jay and his friends over many years. But it does have a lot if history to see and an immense amount of enthusiasm from Jay and his wife that they enjoy sharing with the visitors.
Just when you think you have seen all that is worth seeing in the area, you find something else to tickle your imagination. Now I can only wonder what else I have missed.
We are underway tomorrow, planning on meeting friends in the hill country of Texas to find more interesting things to do and spend some time relaxing and hearing the newest stories from Mardi Gras in NOLA.
The last few days have been spent relaxing and visiting and hiking in some nature areas. We visited the White Water Wash preserve, the Patagonia Preserve, Fairbanks Historic Town Sight and San Pedro Riparian area, and finally the birding area of the Holy Trinity Monastery.
The sights included some of the largest and oldest Fremont Cottonwood trees in the world, deer, creeks with actual water in them, and lots of birds. There are literally tens of thousands of Sand Hill Cranes using the White Water Basin and they darken the sky as they come and go at dawn and sunset. Also, a town just 20 miles from Tombstone that was not too tough to die, and has left very little left to show it was there.
It has been great weather for hiking along trails and observing the wildlife and desert and grassland environments. We also made one more visit to Tombstone to see the Boot Hill Cemetery, where many of the infamous and just forgotten of the hay day years of Tombstone are buried.
Despite our extended stay in the southwest, we have not yet become immune to the wide vistas and stunning sunsets. I still have to spend at least a short period every evening staring at the vast and intense night sky with the stars that are as bright and clear as they appear many miles to sea, far from the lights of civilization. It also helps that we are far removed from the winter blasts that are hitting hard back home. There is something definitely to be said for being able to take your home to any place that strikes your fancy.
We are having a great time on the road, but it has been more expensive then we thought. So Anneke has been inspired by her tour of the Birdcage to go out and find some work. She had her fitting for her new uniform today.
Next we visited the Chiricahua National Monument located in the Northwest corner of the Chiricahua Mountains. The apaches called this the land of the standing up rocks. The valleys surrounding these mountains were a favorite hunting area for these hunter/gathers. This 12 thousand acre monument has 20 miles of hiking trails and roadway for viewing nature’s wonders. The monument also now controls the Faraway Ranch, which was donated to the Park Service when the last of the original settlers passed on. One of the small ironies of this ranch is that the new immigrants from Sweden, who homesteaded this land by simply registering for it, did so just two years after the last of the apaches who had roamed this land for centuries where forced onto reservations.
The natural beauty of this area is stunning and despite the many “rocks” we have looked at over the last months, it is still a very impressive place to visit. It was also easy to see on the drive to the monument why the apaches were so fond of this area. Unlike many parts of Arizona, this area has flowing grass lands and necessary water to support the wildlife that they depended on for their survival.
The 400 year homeland security efforts of the Apache nation finally failed; let us hope that we can do better.