Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rattlesnake Ranch in Gleeson AZ

Yesterday we visited Rattlesnake Ranch in Gleeson AZ. It's about 15 miles east of Tombstone...and all 15 miles is gravel/dirt road! I don't think I have any shocks left on my car...even going 5 miles per hour. The ranch was well worth the ride, though...it was amazing! It was started back in 1979 when John and Sandy Weber quit their day jobs in Illinois and started a new career in rattlesnake hunting. They have thousands of crafts made from rattlesnakes, ie. keychains with rattlesnake heads and rattles, wallets and purses made from rattlesnake skin...the list goes on and on. Their website is:

In addition to all of their crafts, they have created an outdoor museum of all of the artifacts they have collected in and around the ghost town of Gleeson. The museum is spectacular with thousands of fascinating artifacts like skulls, toys, hardware, tools, military helmets, rifles...and again, the list goes on and on! Often, there is no one there to purchase items, so there is a sign to leave the money or check in a basket.

The trip back to Benson was a bit easier...we took a different route and we were on the dirt road for only about 5 miles or so. On the way home, we stopped at a little grocery store out in the middle of nowhere that had an awesome display of spices! I bought a packet of ground mustard, which I use in my poppyseed dressing, and Ed bought some jalapeno pistachios that have definitely cleaned out his sinuses!

Thanks to Cathy and Richard for showing us this out of the way treasure!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tanque Verde Swap Meet

Yesterday we went to the Tanque Verde Swap Meet (fleamarket), located in Tucson AZ. We haven't been to Tucson yet so it was a great way to start. As far as fleamarkets go, this one was mediocre. It took us about an hour to get through the whole thing and we didn't find anything worth purchasing. We decided that since we were in Tucson, we'd detour through the Saguaro National Park, home of the Saguaro cactus, which is the universal symbol of the west. That was worth the whole trip to Tucson! We took the 8 mile Cactus Forest loop...it takes about an hour to drive because you can stop all along the way and take pictures. The views included the Rincon mountain range that surrounds the park. The Saguaro cactus are very majestic, but are dwindling, thus the creation of the park to preserve and save the remaining cactus. It takes at least 75 years to grow one of its cactus arms, and the cactus can live 150 years or more. The Saguaro blossom is the Arizona state flower. Gila woodpeckers and gilded flickers build nests in the holes on the sides of the cactus.

Today we attended mass at the San Xavier Mission on the San Xavier Indian Reservation about 10 miles south of Tucson, AZ. The website is: http://www.sanxaviermission.org/History.html.

The current church was built from 1793 - 1797 and is a beautiful and ornate church, affectionately known as the 'White Dove of the Desert'. It has been undergoing restorations for years, and the Italian artists who worked on the Sistine Chapel traveled to Arizona to help with San Xavier's interior restorations. It was definitely worth the 50 mile trip.

Tomorrow we're heading down to Tombstone again with our friends to visit the famous Rattlesnake Ranch. Sounds interesting!

More later!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his hame shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" - Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family! We're having a very nice, peaceful Christmas out here in Benson, AZ. Last night we spent an evening with friends listening to karaoke... Richard is big into karaoke! Then we went to the midnight service at the local Catholic church. It's a very small, quaint church, with a lot of charm. And the service was literally at midnight! It was a nice way to welcome in Christmas.

Today we participated in a potluck Christmas dinner at the San Pedro RV clubhouse, which began at noon. The clubhouse was packed and the food was delicious! We met a few other RVers and were invited to sit at their table, where we met a group of very nice people and enjoyed their conversation and the meal. We brought a grape salad...I got the recipe from a friend in Naples last year....it was really good!

Now we're enjoying the afternoon...I'm reading and watching TV and Ed's watching football. Emma's playing with her new toy that she got for Christmas...it's a tennis ball attached to a rubber pull. We gave it to her last night and she had almost eaten the tennis ball within 15 minutes! We also got her a fuzzy blanket to keep her warm while she's sleeping with us on the bed, as well as some dog treats and a cheddar spread for her food. She had a pretty good Christmas!

Tomorrow we're thinking about going to a large weekend fleamarket located in Tucson...we haven't been in that direction yet, so we're anxious to go...should be fun!

Happy Holidays and safe travels!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lobster dinner!

Wanna know what heaven on earth is?? It's eating 2 New England lobsters delivered live by Fed Ex from Ed's beautiful daughter Kristin! What a great Christmas present! Seafood in Arizona is nothing compared to New England! And as an appetizer, we grilled clams (also thanks to Kristin!) on the grill and then covered them in butter, garlic, bacon bits and parmesan cheese...mmmmmmmm!!!!

Before pictures:

After pictures:

Now we're sittin' back and relaxin'! Doesn't get better than this!

Thanks again Kristin! And tell everyone at Stanley and Carol's hi and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

San Pedro RV Park and Tombstone AZ

This is our RV at the San Pedro Resort Community in Benson AZ...a very nice park close to everything we want to visit!

Yesterday we took a drive down to Tombstone AZ...what a treat that was! The first place we stopped was at the Boothill Graveyard, where all kinds of famous and not so famous people are buried. The lady behind the counter was very informative and told us that her inlaws are descendents of one of the cowboys that was hanged in Tombstone for going on a killing spree in Bisbee (about 30 miles south) back in 1884. No one in her husband's family is allowed to name their male children Daniel (that was the cowboy's name). Then we took a self-guided tour through the graveyard and read from a brochure about each person that was buried there...very interesting!

From there, we drove down to the main 'drag' in Tombstone and it was like going back in time! All of the buildings look just as they did back in 1881, which is when it was a booming metropolis! Tombstone was actually a very wealthy town for several years from silver mining. Many of the buildings are the original structures..just the businesses have changed. We stood on the ground where the gunfight at the OK Corral occurred. The Earp brothers and Doc Holliday shot it out with the McLaury brothers and the Clanton brothers...only the 'bad guys' died (that would be the McLaurys and the Clantons). We took a self-guided tour through the oldest still running newspaper in Arizona..the Tombstone Epitaph. They displayed several articles written the day after the gunfight and printed several of the testimonies by eye witnesses...and I can't decide who where the bad guys and who were the good guys! The newspaper tour was really fascinating!

From there, we took a tour of the Courthouse, which had various displays of how it was back in 1881 and that timeframe. We saw the gallows where the 5 cowboys were hung because they shot up the town of Bisbee and read stories about the folks in the town back then. I personally love all the old photographs of people...it makes everything more real! I wonder how these people would adjust to our society...!

Tonight we're going over to the VFW with our friends Cathy and Richard from Florida...it's karaoke night and Richard sings! Should be interesting! Have to bring an appetizer...I'm making a sausage dip...mmmmm!

We're sticking around the RV for the weekend..we like to play tourist during the week when there aren't as many other tourists playing tourist!

Be safe this week of Christmas traveling! Hope everyone makes it to their destinations!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Benson, AZ

Yeah! We made it to Benson, AZ around 1:30 today and really like the RV park. We haven't found our friends Cathy and Richard yet...they recommended this park to us. But they might've changed their minds and decided to stay in FL again this year...we'll have to go to the front desk tomorrow. Anyway, there's an indoor pool and I'm going to try out the line dancing lessons next Wednesday! Our site is at the end of the row and it's extra large and very peaceful. The weather is supposed to be in the 70s through the weekend so we plan on sitting outside tomorrow and reading and maybe take a swim in the pool!

There's alot to do around here...enough to keep us busy for the month that we're here. We plan on taking trips to Tucson, Bisbee, Tombstone, the Biosphere, the Kartchner Caverns...and more! As much as we loved Las Cruces, it was time to move on and see more...no time to relax on this trip!

More later!

Hugs and kisses to all our grandkids, great granddaughter, and nieces and nephews!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Carlsbad Caverns

Today we went to the Carlsbad Caverns...unbelievable! Did you know that the caverns were discovered by a man named Jim White when he was 16 years old? He was a farmhand and was mending fences, when he saw what looked like smoke. When he went to the source, he discovered that the smoke was really a 'cloud' of bats coming from a huge hole in the ground! His curiosity got the better of him, so over many years, he inched his way down into the cavern, using homemade latters, rope, and torches (he used a tea kettle filled with oil and a roll of burlap as a wick for a lantern). Today, the Bat Flight occurs every evening during the summer until late October, when they migrate to Mexico for the winter. Unfortunately, we missed their flight out of the caverns...maybe another time! (The picture on the right is one of the pools in the caverns; the picture on the right is the Natural Entrance which goes through the bat cave)

We started with a self-guided tour down to the Big Room via the Natural Entrance (right through the bat cave...no bats tho...remember they have migrated?). We could've taken the elevator instead, but we were ready for the hike. The Big Room is about 750 feet below the surface of the earth so the trail zigzagged from side to side to prevent it from being too steep. The hike was really very pleasant and the caverns are amazing! The Natural Entrance tour ends in the Big Room, where we did another self-guided tour. The Big Room is over 2 acres! Again..amazing! The temperature is about 56 degrees year round and the air comes from the Natural Entrance 750 feet up...the cold air flows down and the hot air rises. (The picture on the left is the Queen's Draperies)

Finally, we did a ranger-guided tour called the King's Palace tour, which included 4 rooms: the King's Palace, the Papoose Room (the picture on the right), the Queen's Chamber, and the Green River Room. We saw all sorts of formations: stalactites, stalagmites, popcorn, and draperies, to name a few. At one point we all sat on the wall and the ranger turned off the lights...just to show us how dark it really is when you're 830 ft underground. Believe me, it's lighter when you close your eyes than it was down there...it was DARK! Your eyes don't even adjust to the darkness...you don't see A THING!

We thoroughly enjoyed the Caverns and if I was braver, we would've done a few other tours that require kneepads, gloves, and helmuts with lights on them...they involve rope ladders and crawling through water...don't think so!

Tomorrow we head back to Las Cruces for 3 days and then on to our next adventure in Benson AZ! We're ready to move on now!

Love to all!

Carlsbad, NM

This past week has been pretty uneventful. It's been a bit chilly and we've hung around the RV park doing chores and packing up for our trip over to the Carlsbad Caverns, which we made yesterday. It was 187 mile trip and we decided to stop at an RV park directly across from the Caverns entrance. The park is called the Whites' City RV park and it got lousy reviews on the website that I check for all the parks that we go to. The bathrooms are terrible, the landscaping is awful, etc, etc. However, there were a couple of recent reviews that were decent. These reviewers felt, like us, that if we're in a motor home, we don't need the bathrooms and the landscaping. All we need is 50 amps (preferably), sewer, and water...and this park had it all! No, the landscaping isn't great but we're here to see the Caverns, not to enjoy the park landscape.

We got here about 1:00...perfect timing...enough time to set up and relax for a little while before we drove 20 miles up to Carlsbad to have dinner and take a boatride up the Pecos River to see all of the Christmas lights. Apparently, it's been an 18 year tradition, where all of the houses along the river decorate to the hilt and there are boat rides to see the decorations. Here's a website that might be interesting to you: http://www.christmasonthepecos.com/about.html
Click on the photo gallery to see all of the lights that we saw last night! It was really beautiful and the people were very friendly! Oh yeah, before the boat ride we split a cheeseburger and a frito pie at the hamburger stand where we took the boatride. A frito pie is a layer of fritos topped with green chile and cheese....it was delicious! The waitress couldn't believe we'd never heard of it!

Today we're heading over to the Carlsbad Caverns. We're going to take the Natural Entrance self tour (about 1 1/4 miles and an hour tour) and then hopefully take the King's Palace guided tour (about 1 3/4 miles and 1 1/2 hours). Here's the link to the Carlsbad Caverns Natural Entrance tour: http://www.nps.gov/cave/planyourvisit/naturalentrance_selfguided_tour.htm, and the King's Palace guided tour: http://www.nps.gov/cave/planyourvisit/kings_palace.htm. It should be a lot of fun!
More after the Carlsbad Caverns!

Have a safe trip Jan, Bob, AJ, and KB!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow in Las Cruces!

Last night it snowed...do you believe it?? All of the locals tell us it hasn't snowed in years...the park manager at the Leasburg Dam said it's been decades (maybe a little exaggeration, perhaps??)! It was also VERY cold! The outside faucet froze and the heat pump didn't work. Luckily, the propane furnace performed beautifully so we were very comfortable! But...we had to bring the RV over to the propane store and fill 'er up with propane...apparently it takes a lot of propane to keep a propane furnace running! And New Mexico passed a new law last year that propane companies cannot bring propane to the RVs and RV Sales Centers can't sell propane. So the only option is to bring the RV to the propane company. So it was a busy day because, of course, we have to lockdown everything loose in the RV and then when we got back to our site, we couldn't put everything back until every countertop, table and shelf was cleaned and the floor vacuumed! But now it's nice and clean and we're toasty warm! And tonight we learned our lesson and disconnected the hose and shut off the outside faucet...we'll use our fresh water tank if need be.

Tonight we went to an art show in Old Mesilla that was hosted by the Cultural Center. We had met the director, author Denise Chavez, about a month ago because we wandered into the Cultural Center after dropping off some packages at the Post Office. She's quite a character and has written several books: 'The Last of the Menu Girls', 'Face of an Angel', and 'Loving Pedro Infante' to name a few. Anyway, she told us about this art show so we decided to see what it was all about. So after a fantastic dinner at Peppers Restaurant (unbelievable cheese wontons for an appetizer!), we walked to the art show. It was in a very small building so we didn't stay long, but headed from there to the Culteral Center, which was providing an amazing array of food! The cake was one of the desserts!

Now we're home relaxing and contemplating what we'll do tomorrow...not much I imagine...we try not to battle the crowds on the weekends...after all, we have the whole week!

Happy Christmas shopping and stay warm!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fort Seldon and Leasburg Dam State Parks

Today we took a drive out to the Leasburg Dam State Park...they have RV sites and we wanted to take a look around. It's only about 15 miles north of Las Cruces and it was really quite nice. Some of the sites are first-come, first-serve, while others are reserved. About 1/2 of them have water and electric...and the fee is only $14/night if you get one of these sites! We stopped at the visitor center and spoke with the volunteer hosts, who were very helpful and friendly! If we don't go to the City of Rocks on our way to Benson, we'll probably head here for a couple of nights.

About 100 yards down the road is the Fort Seldon Ruins...so of course we had to stop in! Again, the staff was extremely helpful and friendly! After a 10 minute movie which explained the history of the fort, we browsed the indoor museum and then walked through the ruins. In a nutshell, the fort was built in 1867 to protect settlers from the indians. It was abandoned around 1890, when indian raids settled down.
Back to the scramble!
Yesterday we decided to take a trip to the Stahmann Pecan Farm and see if they'd 'bumped' the trees yet. This process is performed sometime around Thanksgiving and I'd checked a few times over the past few weeks...but when we got there, we were told they had bumped the trees last week! It would've been fun to watch...they use big trucks that grab the tree and shake all of the pecans out of it. Then a huge vaccuum truck sucks up the pecans, along with all of the leaves and branches and blows the pecans into the back of the truck and blows out all of the other debris onto the ground. Ah well, we tried! And Ed was able to get a few good pictures of the pecan orchards...with bare trees!

This is a picture of a tree shaker that I found online.

Ed took these pictures at the Pecan orchard.

After our visit there, we decided to go to the Farm and Ranch Museum about 4 miles away. Our friends Judy and Sam had gone and said it was great...and they were right! After a self-guided tour inside the museum, starting with the creation of the Bracero Program, which brought Mexicans into New Mexico and other states to do the jobs that were left behind by Americans during WWII. Other displays included a history of the agriculture in New Mexico, farm life, a display of a general store, a common kitchen, the progression of coaches and buggies, and a fascinating display of biographies of people, dead and alive, who lived in NM during the late 1900s and early 20th century. After walking through the museum, we were driven around the ranch in a golf cart by a wonderful, extremely knowledgeable woman who had been working at the museum since it's inception 13 years ago. She showed us their livestock and explained the differences between the Texas Longhorns, the Angus, Hereford, Holstein, and I'm sure many more that elude me at the moment! Did you know that testosterone is a horn growth inhibitor?? We saw a variety of sheep...some used for their wool, some for their mutton. And this woman knew more about the livestock and the history and the agriculture...she was amazing! You could tell she was very proud of this museum, as well as her state of New Mexico!

Our two excursions took us through most of the day, so went home to our nice warm RV and I made another batch of scramble! I plan on making 10 batches...a huge task, since I can only cook a 1/2 batch at a time...2 hours per each 1/2 batch...you do the math! I'm hoping to get them all mailed in the next 2 weeks so that they get to their destinations by Christmas! Keep your fingers crossed!
More later!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snowy Organ Mountains

Well, we got zip for snow last night or this morning, but the Organ Mountains, about 10 miles from us had a beautiful covering of snow!

Ed took these pictures in the morning...I must admit he did a much better job than I did with the sunset pictures! But neither set did the mountains justice...they were absolutely gorgeous!

This is the only sunset picture that looks halfway decent...I don't think I had the correct settings...you'd think after having this camara for over a year, I'd be better at this!

It was a very chilly day, but when the sun came out it warmed up nicely! It should be in the low 60s for the rest of the weekend and through the weekend. Tomorrow we're heading to Stahmann's Pecan Farm to see if they've started shaking the pecans off of the trees. From there, we're going to the Farm and Ranch Museum...Judy and Sam went and said it was pretty interesting.

Hugs and kisses to all, especially MM, AM, AJ, KB, LG, and LC!