Monday, March 19, 2018

Moving again

We never got the boat into the water this season and we are now back to land cruising in the RV. If you want to keep up with us, check out my other blog:
It just didn't see right to be posting non-sailing posts here. I'll be back next fall!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tombstone, AZ

Tuesday we made a trip up to Tombstone, AZ. The last home of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate and numerous other interesting characters.
The Shady Lady sells corsets and gee gaws.

It took a bit over an hour to drive from Tucson and by the time we arrived our stomachs were hollerin’ for some vittles so we sauntered into the first establishment we came to…the Longhorn Restaurant. The “Too Tough To Die” Burger was mighty temptin’ but I went for the “Longhorn” burger instead and an ice cold beer to wash it down. Chris, bein’ the city slicker that he is, opted for the roast beef sandwich. 
Here comes the stagecoach.

After we’d replenished ourselves it was time to take in the town (such as it was). There was a heap o’ shoppin’ available with everything from spurs to corsets to gee gaws galore on display. The stagecoach rumbled into town while we were there so we were careful to stay on the boardwalk so as to avoid being run down.
Trouble a'brewin'

As we got close to the end of Main Street it looked like there was a bit of a ruckus startin’ up between some fellers with sidearms and a clodhopper out in the middle of the thoroughfare. Sure enough, it turns out there was some sort o’ disagreement goin’ on and soon enough the shootin’ commenced out back at the OK Corral. 
The OK Corral - before the lead starts flyin'.
Purt near everone was kilt or wounded in the fight. All but Sheriff Wyatt Earp who somehow escaped without a scratch.
The McLaury's - died in the OK Corral gunfight.

Well, by now we were ready to saddle up and head back to the bunkhouse but there was one more stop to be made. A visit to Tombstone wouldn’t be complete without a wander through Boot Hill to pay our respects to those who are moulderin’ in the ground.
George Johnson - In the wrong place at the wrong time!

That Ormsby was an ornery cuss. Red River Tom wasn't the only guy he plugged.
This says it all!

Guess a six-shooter wasn't enough!

 It soon became apparent that there was a lot of shootin’, hangin’ and murderin’ goin’ on back in them days. 1881 seems to have been a p’tickular bad year.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Saguaro National Park

Having never been to Saguaro National Park, and since one of our goals is to visit as many National Parks as possible, we spent a few hours on Tuesday at this interesting place.
Lots and lots of Saguaro
Mind you, I am more of a water girl than a child of the desert, and this place is definitely desert. It is hot, dusty, sandy and plenty prickly. There is a pretty ridge of mountains (the Rincon) on the eastern edge of the park and looking at them made me wonder how distressed the pioneers must have been as they came over that ridge to be confronted by miles of pokey things in their way. Chris tells me that there are actual waterfalls up high but they sure looked bone dry from my vantage point.
Lots of pokey things but no critters.
In the visitor’s center we learned about many of the critters that live here. Deer, Javelina (which look like pigs but aren’t), Bobcats, Cougars, Gray Foxes, Coyote, Packrats, several types of toads and lizards, lots of birds and, of course, snakes (shiver!). They clearly don’t actually stay in the National Park as the stories of finding them in backyards and neighborhoods are numerous.

After leaving the visitor’s center we drove the loop through the park and looked at lots and lots of stickery things but didn’t see a single animal…not even birds. The weather wasn’t that hot (only about 80) so they must have just been avoiding us.
I can’t even begin to name all the different kinds of pokey things that grow in this desert but here are some of the more common characters.

Not surprisingly, there are lots & lots of Saguaro Cacti and they are the most interesting. Each one is an individual and very different from the others. Some are quite symmetrical. Some are tall and skinny. 
Slender Man wanna be?
Some are a little into overdoing it. 
Overkill and then some.

Some are just zen-like. 
A Couple "Zen" Cacti beside the road.

They don’t start getting their arms until they are around 75 years old and because they grow in such weird shapes and numbers, and are sort of human-like, it’s kind of fun to make up what they look like they are trying to become.

There are numerous different kinds of Cholla cacti in this desert place. There is a pretty purple one named a Staghorn. 
Purple Staghorn

There are two versions that are very fuzzy looking. One is deceptively called a “Teddy Bear” (Warning: Don’t try to cuddle it.) and one is a “Jumping Cactus” which comes with the caveat that you only need to get CLOSE to it to find yourself full of owies. 
"I'm a Teddy Bear but don't hug me!"

We also saw quite a few Chollas that were sort of droopy looking but I couldn’t find out if they are a specific variety or just really short on water. Chris tells me that regardless of the type, they all have a deadly aim when it comes to inflicting pain.
Droopy Cholla (trying to inspire sympathy?)
We came across a few Barrel Cacti that were showing off with some pretty yellow buds.

And there were lots and lots of Prickly Pear Cacti (self-explanatory) with lethal looking spikes.

In addition to the stickery stuff, there is a pretty amazing array of flora given the fact that there is a lot of heat and very little water here.
Mesquite Tree with Mistletoe hangers on.
Mesquite trees are kind of bare right now but many of them have these bushy looking messes attached that look like bird nests but are actually Mistletoe (you know, the stuff you stand under to get kissed at Christmas).
Palo Verde everywhere.
Palo Verde seems to be everywhere. Even though Palo Verde is Spanish for Green Tree, the plants were all covered in a pretty yellow foliage this time of year.
Another oddity is Ocotillo. These plants normally look like just very tall, dead sticks (covered with thorns, of course) but when it rains, within hours fat little green leaves and a beautiful bouquet of red flowers pop out all over the sticks.
Ocotillo sticks
Even though I am not really into the desolation and amount of “to be avoided” things in the desert, there are plenty of people who love it and I’ve been amazed at the plethora of seriously up-scale homes built around the edges of the Park. I have a lot of trouble understanding the logic of living in such an inhospitable environment but since I am quite comfortable on a boat with nothing but water in all directions, I guess it is just a different personal preference.