Archive for April, 2008

Journey to Flagstaff

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

About this time last year we experienced truck overheating when we scaled almost any incline.  After several attempts to have the system checked and flushed the problems continued.  Of course, nobody could duplicate the problem because they weren’t towing anything.  Before heading into Mexico we made a decision to replace the radiator.  That decision has proven its wisdom on numerous occasions.  None more than yesterday. 

The short, 160 mile, trip began just north of Phoenix at an elevation of under 2000 feet and passed through elevations of 7330 feet.  Most of the climb took place over a 30-mile stretch of I-17.  There were several 6-mile stretches of 6-percent grades.  The climb plus wind gusts up to 60 MPH made for an interesting day but no overheating issues.

The elevation wasn’t the only change.  The landscape changed from the normal desert brown …..

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To pine trees, snow capped mountains, and even patches of snow in shady spots under trees.

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The mountain in the distance is Humphreys Peak that stretches skyward some 12,633 feet.

We’ve apparently broken our rule on staying where it is warm.  Williams, Arizona (Elev. 6766) is located about 30 miles west of Flagstaff and we’ve chosen this spot as our base for the next few days of exploration.  We’ll be visiting Sedona, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, and Meteor Crater.

Tombstone

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Click for Tombstone, Arizona Forecast

Happy birthday to Justin. We’re very proud of you.

A few days ago we headed to Tombstone with about 15 of the Montana Rally attendees.  We were quite impressed with the town’s efforts to promote their historical image.  Many locals wandered the downtown area in period clothing.  When you look down Allen Street it appears that time has stood still.

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In the mid to late 1800’s Tombstone was an important silver mining town and even a destination for people suffering from asthma.  There are historical attractions throughout the town.  The world’s largest rose tree, silver mine tours, Boot Hill are among the many worthwhile points of interest.  Unfortunately, time didn’t allow us to visit those.

We did, however, take a tour of the Epitaph Newspaper office, the longest continually printed paper in Arizona.  The equipment was quite amazing for the time.

One of the most infamous spots is the Birdcage Theater.

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The birdcage was a combination saloon, theater, and brothel.  These box seats were used for more than watching the entertainment on the stage.

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This huge painting of “Fatima” hung in the saloon all these years and has about 9 bullet holes in it.

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The Birdcage is now a museum displaying everything from hanging nooses to hearses.  This early dentist chair looks more like a torture chair with its foot pedal drill.

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This hearse carried all but two of the current residents of boot hill to their final resting place.  This gold trimmed carriage cost over $8,000.00 in the late 1800’s.  That would have been a fortune in today’s money.

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There are several saloons in Tombstone with magnificently ornate bars.  This one is from the Crystal Palace.

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We decided to have lunch at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.  Of course there was another huge bar with ornate glass work.

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The stained glass windows

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This must be a flattering portrait of Big Nose Kate.  Here nose doesn’t look that big to me.

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There is an old spiral staircase that leads to downstairs from the bar.  Here you will find an entrance to an old silver mine.  The mine’s security guard slept at the entrance.

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When visiting Tombstone, one of the first stops should be the the O.K. Coral.  Every half hour there is a showing of a movie that gives a good overview of the history of the town.  Of course, one of the main events is the recreation of the world’s most famous gunfight.   Volunteer local residents portray characters from the Gunfight at the O.K. Coral.  Proceeds go to local charities. (Click on picture for large image.)

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The 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Coral was a 28 second skirmish between Virgil Earp, the Marshal of Tombstone, along with his deputized brothers Wyatt Earp, and Morgan Earp with Doc Holliday on one side and the Claytons and McLaurys (some unarmed) on the other.  The result was the death of two Claytons and two McLaurys.  Everyone else involved in the gunfight was injured except Wyatt Earp.  Wyatt left town later after being charged with murder in another incident.

One way to get an insight on the history of the town is to take a stagecoach tour of the town.

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Time didn’t allow for more than this passing shot of Boot Hill, but , for a nominal charge you can go and receive a grave map and wander the grave yard.  The wooden crosses have obviously been replaced to mark each grave location.

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If you’re in the southern Arizona area, be sure to take a trip to Tombstone.  We thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Moving on Down the Road

Monday, April 14th, 2008


We put on our presentation about Wintering in Mexico on Wed night.  Rick made the power point for the presentation.  The group seemed to like it and many commented about how much they enjoyed it.

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Although, it is much better with our fine narration, a slightly modified version of the slide-show can be found here: Mexico-PDF.  (NOTE: This was posted in April 2008)

We are glad it is over so that now we can devote our time to the dreaded INCOME TAX.

Our last night with the Montana Rally we all met at Macaya’s Mexican Restaurant for dinner.

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When we woke up on Friday morning Montanas were pulling out heading home or other destinations.   It looks pretty lonesome around  here without all our Montana friends.

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We were waiting for the return of our exhaust brake controller so we decided to stay over one more day.  For some reason, when we had the ABS sensor replaced, the exhaust brake ceased operating.  Banks Engineering replaced the controller under warranty.

Friday night we met our friends, Roland and Karen, at the Agave Restaurant which is located on the Desert Diamond Casino grounds.  It was an absolutely fabulous meal.  We will meet up with them again in TX in a couple of months.

As we laid in bed early Saturday morning we heard the whistling of the AZ winds.  We got ourselves up and out in that wind to get the rig ready to leave.  What fun!!!  At least the wind would help push us to Phoenix.  We arrived in the Phoenix area about 2:00 PM with temps in the low 90’s.  Our type of temperatures.  We will be relaxing in the area for a few days and while here will work on our agenda for the next few weeks.  Our next stop will be Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

Tucson, AZ – Montana Rally Spring 2008

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008


I know!!!  I know!!!  I  know!!!  It has been a long time since we wrote a blog about where we are.  We apolgize.  We have been busy enjoying the USA again.

Rick got several regular things done to the truck like oil change, alignment and etc.  The day he did that he dropped me off at a real MALL.  Getting the truck worked on took most of the day.  Believe it or not, I got so tired of shopping and walking around the mall that the last hour I went outside and sat on a bench and waited for him.  I guess I am out of practice!!!!

We moved east across Tucson to attend our Montana Rally.  Our 5th wheel is a Montana.  We are staying at the enormous Voyager RV Park.  The Montana group has planned activities and seminars every day.  Of course, one of the activities is eating!!!!!!!  We have been preparing to present a seminar on Wintering in Mexico tonight.

There are about 30 Montanas here.

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Sunday night we met several other bloggers at the Blue Willow Restaurant.  We all read each other blogs so it is really fun to meet face to face.  One couple, JoAnn and Doug, we had met before and had dinner at their place last week.  They also have a Montana and are attending the Montana Rally.  We met Jim and Ellie who had traveled to San Carlos, MX with Jo Ann and Doug.  Attending our blogger dinner was Froggi Donna, who is a solo traveler and blogger.  She is well known throughout the blogger world. (Click on their names to go to their blogs)

There are pictures of the dinner on JoAnn and Doug’s Blog – http://www.mytripjournal.com/ev/329104

Beaudry RV Sales brought over 6  2008 Montanas so that we could walk through them and  dream of owning a brand new rig. 

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A representative of Keystone, the company that makes Montanas, was here yesterday to answer our questions and go around to each rig and discuss any problems we might have.

We still are discussing where we are going when the Montana Rally is over.  We probably will go up to Flagstaff and then to the Grand Canyon.

Catch-22 and Time

Friday, April 4th, 2008

 In 1970, the movie Catch-22 was filmed, in part, at Playa Los Algodones in San Carlos, Mexico.  The beach is some of the most beautiful white sand dunes that we have seen.  You can see that new construction is cropping up on the northern edge of the beach.

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Looking to the south, the dunes stretch back about a quarter of a mile toward the road.  Apparently the Mexicans are trying to be diligent about the preservation of the dunes.  Their efforts may be sending the wrong signal.  There are signs at the beach that you can’t ride horses or 4-wheelers on the beach or in the dunes.  To enforce this, a police officer was perched on top of the dunes with his 4-wheeler.

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I’m sure that back in 1970 you could look out over the bay and see nothing but sand.  Here’s what Playa Los Algodones looks like today from the hills to the south.

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In another 38 years you probably won’t see anything but condos and hotels.