Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

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.

A Little Work, A Lotta Fun

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

 We’re getting settled into more of a routine now that we’ve reached Tucson.

Our refrigerator, that went out on us around the first of December, has been repaired.  We had All RV Service perform the repair.  The cooling system was covered under warranty and replaced after a new one showed up from California.  They removed the unit from the 5th wheel on Tuesday of last week and we returned  on Friday to have it re-installed.   It’s nice not to be living out of a cooler.

Final truck repairs from our fire mishap back in October are being completed today.  It turned out that both anti-lock brake sensors were smoked and not just the left one as we had assumed.  The story of our harrowing experience can be found  by clicking here.

Last Saturday we got together with Ken and Marilyn for some swimming and sun now that the weather has heated up a little here.  We met Ken and Marilyn at Ron’s RV in Lo de Marcos where they spent the winter.  They just arrived in Tucson on their way back to British Columbia.

We are very close to the Saguaro National Park and very old saguaro cacti can be found everywhere.  It takes a saguaro at least 65 years before it develops any arms.  More information can be found at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/

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We were able to get this shot of an old town set that was used at a dude ranch. Click on picture to enlarge.

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On Sunday, we traveled across town to the Diamond J RV Resort about 10 miles outside town off of the Ajo Highway.  We were invited to dinner with JoAnn and Doug, who are also full-timers, formerly from Florida, and also Montana 5th wheel owners.  The food was wonderful and we had a chance to talk a little Mexico, computers, and RVing.  We look forward to seeing JoAnn and Doug again at the Montana Rally in a couple of weeks.  They are fellow bloggers and their adventures can be found at “Living Our Dream.”   Thank you JoAnn and Doug for your hospitality.

San Carlos to the US Border

Friday, March 21st, 2008

To be truthful, if you have made it south as far as San Carlos, the condition of the roads will only improve as you head farther south.  That said, we had heard reports from people that headed north ahead of us, that the road condition from San Carlos to the border was littered with huge potholes.  Apparently the word got out and road crews have filled the potholes in all but a few stretches.  It still is one of the bumpiest rides that we have experienced.

It was bumpy enough that our microwave, which sits in a rather well engineered bracket and is held on place by a frame screwed to the cabinet, showed evidence of abuse.  The frame had been jarred by the jumping microwave and snapped the plastic around the screws, leaving the screws and plastic rings in the wall and the frame on the floor.  One leg of the microwave was sitting on top of the bracket.  The clearance is so tight that it is extremely difficult to get the oven out of its bracket when that is your intent.   We need to order a new frame to replace the broken one. 

Between San Carlos and Hermosillo recent activity has closed off stretches of the road for actual resurfacing from scratch, not just patching.  From KM 61 to KM 69 was one of the largest being worked on and we shared the northbound lanes. 

We witnessed the aftermath of a truck rollover in the southbound lanes.

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It is quite amazing the way traffic reroutes itself without the assistance of law enforcement or emergency personnel.  All of a sudden, we noticed southbound traffic heading our direction in the left hand lane.  It is really a rather efficient way to operate.  Traffic that is being blocked simply crosses the median and continues traveling until they pass the accident.

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We left San Carlos at 7:30 AM and by 9:30 we were approaching Hermosillo.  The traffic in Hermosillo was quite heavy but kept moving.  There is a stretch of Hwy 15 that follows city streets and there are unmarked topes (speed bumps) waiting for you.  Fortunately, we spotted them all.  There are also a few critical turns that, if missed, could cause delays.  Generally, the road is marked quite well.

The last 100 KM north of Hermosillo to the border is pretty uneventful.  There is one Mexican government inspection point that was quite busy.  Every northbound truck and all vehicles containing Mexican nationals was thoroughly searched.  Buses were emptied and cargo was examined.  They were even inspecting beneath vehicles and even dismantling areas where contraband could be stashed.  US and Canadian residents were simply waved by and around the inspection.  (A couple of days earlier we were subject to a fruit and vegetable search at the Sinoloa and Sonora border.)

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The spot where southbound traffic stops to pick up their permits known as KM 21 checkpoint and is quite busy in the mornings, but by noon it is nearly empty.

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Northbound, this is the point where we turn in our vehicle permits.  It is important to do this because if you don’t, it could make it impossible to enter on a return trip.  We parked just north of the permit point so that we could cross the road to the Southbound checkpoint to go the bank to trade in our pesos for dollars.

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As we approached the border, we came up over a rise and were greeted by a line of stopped vehicles on the downhill side.  Reduce speed when within a few kilometers of the US custom and immigration checkpoint.  There are truck lanes and auto lanes.  If you are in an RV, be sure to get into the auto lanes.  Signage will eventually get you in the proper lanes.

This picture was taken when we got into line at the border.  From this point, it took two hours to clear immigration and customs.

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Guess what we encountered next, yep you got it, more vendors.  Unlike the beach vendors, these vendors realize that they only have one chance at you and are a little more aggressive.

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This continued all the way to the border. 

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We only opted for a windshield wash.  We picked a guy with both a soap bottle and a rinse bottle.  He did an excellent job.

Once we reached the checkpoint, immigration was a snap.  We were directed to head to a customs waiting area for inspection.  We were, of course, truthful and mentioned our two bottles of tequila.  Since our refrigerator was broken, we didn’t have to worry about much in the way of food, but did fess up to having some eggs.  The inspector peered into our warm refrigerator and ignored the few cans of beer and snagged our eight eggs.  By the way, fines begin at $300.00 for contraband items, if they find them and you didn’t declare them.

After two hours, most of it in line, we were on our way toward Tucson and smooth roads.

We spent our first night back at the DeAnza Trails RV Resort near Green Valley, just south of Tucson.  We had made our reservations online and check-in was a snap.  We would recommend this stop.  For some reason, the water hookup is on the wrong side of the rig, but well within hose reach.