Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ghost Towns, Museums and Family - Life Goes On

September 15- 25, 2020
Tombstone, Arizona

Not sure what distracted me while writing the last post, but I failed to post the pics from our Pearce visit. There isn't much there, but I did remember to take a few photos!

Lots of old mining equipment can be found in our area. Wish they all had descriptions!

Need a project? This grand ol' lady is for sale.

On one of our day trips this summer we passed the Amerind Museum in nearby Dragoon. Set in beautiful Texas Canyon, it's a place I'd heard of from other bloggers before we moved here. But I had forgotten all about it until we saw the sign. Sounded like a place I needed to visit, so on a warm weekday I headed off for a solo adventure. 

The site was chosen to embrace the building and it definitely feels like it was always here.

No photos inside the museum or the art gallery so I spend my time (hours!) absorbing the history and beauty collected here. Many permanent exhibits and a few seasonal contributions provide a lovely background to the story of this area. Early native tribes, Mexican villages, pioneer towns, mining and agriculture, conservation and protection - it is a rich and diverse history. 

The art gallery showcases historic collections and new artists. From paintings to sculptures to photography and jewelry, everything is presented in a simple and open setting. With only two other people visiting and always in other areas from me, it felt like a private showing with no pressure to "keep moving". Seating is provided in each gallery, allowing for quiet contemplation of any piece that might move you. There were several for me!

One favorite are the 15 large scale aerial photos of ancient sites from around North and South America. Legendary photographer Adriel Heisy has captured both the remoteness and the archeological wonder of these places from the unique perspective of the Eagle soaring above.

Paquime, Mexico - a site with its own large exhibit in the museum.  Photos of gallery and museum interior from  Amerind website.

The gallery that most moved me was the mixed media art of Gabrial Ayala, a Yaqui activist whose pieces depict the travesties forced upon his ancestors. These are simple yet powerful glimpses into a history too long denied.

Most are painted on old ledgers and sheet music. The people are all faceless, no explanation necessary.

At the back of the museum is the beautifully curated walk-through exhibit on the town of Paquime in Chihuahua, Mexico. Archeologists have been studying the dig for over sixty years and their discoveries are shared in this large compilation of artifacts and replicas. I have to come back to really absorb all that is offered here.

Thick adobe walls inspired by the site at Paquime.

Amerind is only recently reopened to the public with strict mask and distancing rules in place. Volunteers are scheduled to return in October. But they have not been "closed down" during the pandemic. They have maintained a series of remote lectures and presentations, staying in touch with the community.

Knowing I'll want to return often, I purchase a year's membership, and look forward to learning and experiencing more of the history of, and hope for, this beautiful area.

Outside is the magical world of Texas Canyon. Large boulders define this unique place with trails through open plains and around old growth trees. I can't wait to come back post-snake-season to explore.

All the kids and grands are doing well, making the best of what 2020 continues to dish out. We appreciate regular photos and videos and occasional live chats, keeping us connected to their growing-up-too-fast lives. 

Henry is getting very mobile - such a cutie pie!

Reese is already 10 months and more precious than ever.

Mason and big brother Maximus love spending the day at the beach!

Part of what his parents have included in his remote kindergarten, Ezra has a weekly check-in from "Mission Control". They make it even more interactive by having family members call in to give him the update. Uncle Jeff, PopPop and I have all taken our turn at reading the week's script which provides instructions for how to solve a pending "problem" on his journey. Great fun, and Ezra has the perfect set up at home!

Captain Ezra ready for his update.

Listening to Mission Control Nawma's instructions.

Even captains find time for kitty cuddles.

We moved the motorhome into the driveway to load up (such a weird experience after being fulltime for years) for our New Mexico adventure. Can't wait to get those big wheels rolling down the road!!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Holding Our Breath

September 14, 2020
Tombstone, Arizona

Certainly all the fires in the west contribute to many wanting to hold their breath. Here in southeast Arizona we're surrounded with haze, often blocking all of our mountains to the west and south. 

Huachuca Mountains hidden under smoke from far away fires.

Yet that's not the breath-holding I'm thinking of. 

Almost half way through our seventh month of this unreal reality, it seems perhaps it could go on forever. Even making plans for next summer with great optimism and enthusiasm, I'm reminded that it's possible they will all be cancelled. I never even considered that the northern border might still be closed until a few comments on the last post raised the possibility. 

Another ten months??? Good lord.......

We've already held our breath hoping and praying and wondering and crossing our fingers for such a long time. In April I certainly thought that by August we'd be looking at the end of the threat, that we could breathe normally again. Instead September is sending mixed messages of flattening curves, increased hospitalizations, and possible mutations at the same time vaccine readiness dates are bandied around. 

Sanity requires finding humor where we can.

Political and social justice battles fuel human fires around the country while entire communities are destroyed by killing flames. I hold my breath every morning nervously wondering "what's next?".

Local postal workers remind us they are under attack.

Our new grand baby is coming in early November no matter what the world is doing. Life does go on. 

We continue to get a few projects done in between a whole lot of laziness. Monsoon season has moved on without giving us much water. The San Pedro River is dry in most places, reduced to a flat trickle under the bridge on the drive to Sierra Vista. Our desert is green and beautiful, and most days we have 20% humidity. But it still feels much dryer than last year at this time.

Last year!?! Yep, we've now been here a year. It was October when we moved into the house, but we opened escrow and were mooch-docking at our friends' in early September. Hard to wrap my head around how different our lives have been being off the road. Not bad at all, but certainly different!!

I did finally get the bedroom done and am very pleased with how it turned out. Updating the hardware in the kitchen makes that room feel more complete as well. Bought paint for Jeff's room, and will probably start on that after our trip to Santa Fe.

In between permanent window coverings I used lap blankets. Jeff said it "looks like an opium den". I don't ask how he knows this......

Having lived in earthquake country all my life, I like soft things above the bed :-)

Fun to decorate with my photographs.

The original plan was just the plain blinds, but they turned out "too" plain so I added the curtains to soften the feel. 

With a large yard we have lots of large and small projects to keep us busy during cooler weather. On hot days we still get out to "find" rocks for landscaping and focal points. It's the desert, we have a large selection to choose from :-)

In search of large rocks, we find a new-to-us trail to follow.

Colorful cliffs on both sides.

Erosion shapes interesting canyon walls.

In addition to living in a national historic town, we're surrounded by several smaller vintage townships. Not surprising, Ghost Town Road takes us through several ruins to what remains of Pearce, Arizona. It's a pretty drive on one of our hotter days.

Old mining tailings along Ghost Town Road.

Visiting hours are over at the jail in Pearce, Arizona

Jeff and I take a rare drive to Tucson to pick up a few items we can't get locally. Limiting our exposure to others we're back home in just a few hours. So many places I thought we'd be exploring in our closest city, so many things I thought we'd be doing......

One thing that is less than perfect at our little Arizona home is the lack of decent Internet. We added ViaSat to our AT&T MiFi and we still can't stream movies or TV shows with any regularity. Frustrating with all this time and access to Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu that we can't enjoy. We have satellite with 900 channels, and maybe 12 that aren't complete crap. First world problem admittedly, and maybe one that will get resolved while we're holding our breath :-)

At least football season has started, and while it's a slightly different experience, it's still wonderful to watch games again!!


Back in SoCal Ezra starts Kindergarten at home. Shalise has done a lot of preparation to make sure he's getting the full curriculum. Like all kids, he's missing making new friends and having humans his own age to interact with. Soon Ezra, hopefully soon!

I love that he wants to be a "demolition expert"!

Miss Clover is Ezra's new house companion.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Remember to breathe :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

I Made Reservations!

September 2, 2020
Tombstone, AZ

Hmmmm....nice of blogger to return this font size. Unless of course I made some error on the last couple posts (doubtful of course). Always nice to have one less thing to be concerned with :-)

While I'm finding peace in focusing on the Now, I've found great pleasure in doing some real travel planning this week! I realize that some people find this piece of RV life stressful, but I've always loved it. Since Bill is happy to go where I route us, and since any routing "oops" affects me more as the driver, it's a very fun project for me. This time there's the added bonus of doing something I love after having had to wait seven months! Patience is definitely not my strong suit.

I now have five maps saved with lots of favorite stops, and a few brand new ones. Leaving in mid-April we'll head north through the center of California and over to the coast just north of San Francisco, all the way to Astoria, Oregon. Then we'll move inland to Gig Harbor, Washington, for that can't-wait visit with my newly found cousin David. North through Port Townsend, Washington, into Canada where we'll finally see Jasper and Banff before continuing south into western Montana. Some stops in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah before we return to Arizona and back to the house in mid-October. Secure reservations for a couple of the holiday weekends, and two summer weeks at our favorite spot on Tillamook Bay, Oregon, is a good start to feeling like we can really make this happen!

One other route is finalized for the week in Santa Fe. Being post-Labor Day I was surprised that getting reservations was a challenge. I didn't find any events happening, but apparently it's a popular time in this favorite city. I'm already preparing my taste buds for stuffed sopaipillas!! 

Cafe Castro in Santa Fe does it right!
Although we enjoy local eateries during our travels we still plan to do only pick-up and delivery rather than exposing ourselves in restaurants for this first trip. I'll stock up with more groceries and supplies than usual to limit my interactions. Bill will continue to stay "in" for now. Since our greatest pleasure is road trips - on and off the highway - we'll find plenty to keep us entertained. Maybe I can find some grass for Tessa's zoomies :-) 

What's odd is that I find I'm nervous about heading out. All the whining, and now I'm anxious! Can't really put my finger on it......maybe I wonder if we'll still know how to "do" everything :-) I suppose the pandemic and all the changes it has wrought is foremost on my mind. I've gotten comfortable with our little world here in Southern Arizona, and how people do or don't comply with safety measures. Trusting a whole world of people "out there" is a bigger step than I thought. But this is our world now, and while vaccines may be in our future before the end of 2020, we won't know their effectiveness for months afterward. I do feel more confident about our 2021 travels, yet who really knows at this point?

Happily my excitement overrides my concerns, and I'm feeling optimistic about returning to the road. 

We did venture out to a birthday party at our dear friends' house. We sat outside for much of the time as there were over a dozen people (a veritable crowd for us) in the house, but it was fun to celebrate with good food and friends for a short time.

Daniel, Rose and Gary ready to make their birthday wishes.
Monsoons continue to take the rain around us most of the time, but we did get one day of steady rain and temps in the low 70's. The smoke has moved out of our views and the blue skies are even sharper with the big white clouds floating by. Heavenly!

I never tire of this view (or any of them all around us!).
I'm finding that most places aren't yet taking 2021 reservations so I'll be planning for several months. I'm looking forward to filling in the calendar!!