Monday, February 8, 2021

More Days Pass - And Snow!

January 22 - February 7, 2021
Tombstone, Arizona

I'm not sure how time continues to move along so quickly even when we're not doing much to keep busy!

Our big excitement is the two days of snow - real snow that lasts on the ground :-)

I'm in town when the drizzle starts getting serious.

Heavy snowfall covers the roads quickly, and by the time I get to the house the world looks completely different!

For a few hours the snow comes down sideways.

For many in the country the white stuff is not something to get excited about, but for us this is great fun! The very few times I've been in falling snow (I can count them on one hand), I'm always in awe at the quiet it wraps around me. 

Tessa loves it too, but her zoomies are so fast I can't catch a single pic. Within minutes her tracks are covered.

The next morning brings the sun and we're treated to a bright white wonderland. It doesn't last much past noon, but it's beautiful!

Wish he was here to play in our snow, but Ezra is enjoying his own back in California!

Before it completely disappears I take a drive to capture the snow through Gleeson, take a peek at the Chiracahuas, and enjoy the Mules across the dusted plains. What a treat!!

"We're always this color!"

So crisp and clean!

Although we're unclear on when we'll be able to get our vaccines (hoping for the next phase so at least Bill can get his), I spend a couple days finalizing reservations through July 17. I'm especially excited about the notification from Harris Beach State Park in Oregon that I secured the week in May I was on the waiting list for! A few days near my cousin recently "found", and the July 4th weekend are also confirmed. 

It's sounding less and less likely that we'll be able to get into Canada the end of July so I finalize an alternate route that gets us to Deer Lodge, Montana, on the same dates. With a week's reservation at Henry's Lake near Yellowstone in August it's important to keep to a plan that keeps us en route for that. This includes a few days in Polson, Montana, to explore Flathead Lake. Glad I checked availability as I get the last site in the area (for weekdays, water and 30 amp!). This is not a summer for "winging it" I'm afraid.

Of course now I'm even more anxious to get back on the road!!

Bill and I spend a few hours gathering rocks for our dry riverbed, enjoying the wide open spaces we have available to us. He and Donnie play Cribbage at least once a day, usually again in the evening. Grocery pickup and take-out trips to Sierra Vista, and an occasional drive to Bisbee for something "different" round out our current days.

When dining rooms are closed........

I always think that old San Francisco must have resembled present day Bisbee.

A happy surprise is finding Steven and Debbie (Down the Road) in our little corner of Arizona! They make the drive over from the refuge for an afternoon visit before they continue north. It's amazing how many of the same people we all know - all friends we've made since we hit the road! Great to get caught up until the next time :-)

We stay home for the Super Bowl this year. Just as well, it's disappointing with a lackluster half-time and so-so commercials (haven't they become just as much a reason to watch?). Our good friends include us in the annual pool and I win two of the quarters so that's a silver lining! Just five months until Bill's Cowboys and my Steelers play the Hall of Fame game........

Growing so fast, Elliott rocks a new 'do!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Three Weeks in January

January 1 - 21, 2021
Tombstone, Arizona

While it was shocking to watch the attack on the Capitol, on the people who were confirming the vote of millions of Americans, on the democratic process we hold so dear, it didn't shock me that it happened. That it was allowed to happen. Investigations, arrests, charges and sentences will confirm what we already know.

Here in Southeastern Arizona little changes. We stay home 99% of the time, piddling around the property, mostly being lazy. Check-ins from family and friends confirm all are doing fine, coping as best they can, staying safe and healthy. Several have received their vaccines without issue. It's all we can hope for until the vaccines do what we all pray they will.

Last month we finally found good Internet service which has added a whole new level of entertainment access, and a whole new level of laziness I'm afraid. We still "need" satellite tv for the NFL Channel, otherwise we mostly watch Amazon Prime Video now. It's something we're likely to miss when we're back on the road, but we'll get over it being able to travel again!!

Speaking of the NFL......I can't remember any team taking such a dive after being the last undefeated at the end of 11 weeks as my Steelers. That last game was beyond embarrassing :-( Now we're just hoping Tampa Bay doesn't make it all the way!

Speaking of traveling again.....we drop the motorhome at Camping World in Tucson for a list of minor repairs and replacements needed before we leave this Spring. It's still strange to leave it for an extended time rather than returning to sleep in it!

On the way home we take scenic Hwy 83 and finally make the drive into the historic Empire Ranch. I've seen pics from other bloggers in the past, but forgot that it was such a big place with access to the grounds and the house. With bright sunny skies, warmer temps, and no one there but the guy cleaning the restrooms, it's a perfect day for a bit of exploring.

Different colors and textures designed by age and weather.

One of many large barns.

The rooms are stark with little done to create a feeling anyone lived here.

More effort in the dining room.

At the end of my wanderings through the house I find myself where I was supposed to have started. The walking tour pamphlet would have been nice :-)

In addition to the barns and corrals, the grounds include several outbuildings and trails.

Along Empire Creek is the Cotton Wood Gallery. Like at the San Pedro River, the trees here are enormous.
The ranch is part of a larger conservation area so we take our time through the old growth trees and yellow plains, making a loop back to the highway. 

Minimal but informative signage.

A large herd of antelope cross in front of us, we give them a wide berth until they've moved on. Beautiful animals.

Ongoing efforts to remove the invasive mesquite that grew up after overgrazing stripped the plains. 

Unique geology surrounds the area.

One afternoon I remind myself that I'm a member of our little Amerind Museum and that I can go anytime! Less than an hour away, it's a nice drive east of Benson. Not another visitor shares the space with me, making for a safe, quiet, and very enjoyable few hours. No photos allowed inside, I take my time absorbing the beauty and history collected here. They will be changing some of the exhibits soon and I'm excited to see what's to come.

Huge old doors from a church in Mexico, circa 1660.
Tucked in among the beautiful rocks and trees of Texas Canyon, the museum grounds are one of the best parts of having access to this space. Without the worry of rattlesnakes (one is still smart to keep an eye out on warm, sunny days), it's wonderful to meander the short trails.

This arachnid-looking "creature" startles me as I come around a corner!

Jeff and I take a drive to Bisbee to take photos but the light is wrong so we end up with a yummy breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club and a bit of window shopping. The BBC does a nice job of separating diners, mandatory masks, one-use menus (one per table), and lots of sanitizing. And their food is still wonderful!

I have to confess that one window did turn into actual shopping in a little store with no other people.

In our house January 20 was a day of celebration. A day of relief. As much as hearing words of compassion and hope from our new president, I was encouraged by recognition of our losses to COVID, Eugene's honor, Amanda's power, and even Bernie's mittens. I see a bright future in spite of the hate that continues to bubble.

Big boy Ezra on a warm day at his mountain home.

Sweet angels

Happy, healthy and (almost) 3 month old Elliott.

Stay safe, choose happy, be kind to others, 
be kind to yourself.