Friday, April 29, 2011

Tombstone and the Gun-Fight at the OK Corral

A must see in the Tucson area is a visit to Tombstone where we spent a day packed with entertainment.    The town, which is authentic, is geared for tourists but it was a fun day.

We started by visiting Boot Hill graveyard as it was on our way in to town where we bought a self-guided tour booklet.  Most of the people interred there seem to have shot one another or the odd Indian got them.  Very few out of 250+ died of natural causes.   The main street remains a very wide dirt road. All the locals are dressed as cowboys and cowgirls - the buildings are the genuine 1800s.  It is quite a big town with shops and restaurants.  The first thing we did was buy tickets for the 2pm “Gun-fight at the OK Corral“. Then we walked to a restaurant called “Big Nose Kate“.

Big Nose Kate’s story is quite fascinating.  She was the daughter of a Hungarian doctor who was enticed to the USA with promises of riches.  When Kate was 12 years old her father and mother died within a month of one another, subsequently her guardian made her pregnant and left her at a convent.  After giving birth she abandoned her child and ran away from the convent. In time she became the common law wife of Doc Holliday (of OK Corral fame) who taught her how to gamble and play cards which is how they made their living.  When he died she married an Irish alcoholic named Cummings and after he died she joined a friend who ran a brothel in Tombstone.  She lived well into her 80’s in a State sponsored home in Prescott, where we will be going on Saturday.

Then we crossed the street again to see the “Gun-fight at the OK Corral” played by local cowboy actors.  To this day there is controversy as to who fired the first shot and whether it was the good guys or the bad guys who were killed. Interestingly, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were charged with murder and exonerated.

We then saw a movie show on the history of Tombstone that gave an overview of what the town looked like in the early 1900’s. We walked around the town under the shade of the overhangs and looked at the shops.  There were 3 old stagecoaches giving rides around the town. 

As we sat and ate an Ice cream before heading back to Tucson a group of tourist cowboy and cowgirls rode into town…the perfect ending to our day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dessert we loved

Some photos from our hike through the Joshua Tree National Forest of flowering Cacti, a Joshua Tree (holding Adele up) and two Iguana who wanted to view humans walk by.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cruisin Arizona

Finally, we made it out of California and are now in Tucson. RV-wise this is as far south we intend to go on this stage of our journey around the USA.
Before arriving here we stopped at Yuma just inside the Arizona border; where the sand dunes are. As we had minor RV problems there we did no sightseeing. After the stabilizers had retracted that morning they would not descend.  We had no trouble getting someone to repair them but we needed to hang around and wait for them to turn up - you all know that scenario.
Then we moved on to Casa Grande where we visited the site of the “Casa Grande” in Coolidge which is an Old Native America village/town site of the “Ho-Ho-Khum” nation. The village/town was walled with one, two and three story houses, with a plaza and ball court in the center.  They developed an innovative irrigation system for the time 1000 AD to 1350 AD by constructing canals and diverting water from the Gila River to water their crops. For a still unknown reason they just moved on around 1350. 
There was a horned owl nesting under the roof and that was a big attraction too.
So, who guessed where I was all dressed up in the posted photo?
Tom took that photo of me in “St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery” a few miles south of Florence.   I had read their website and knew to wear a long shirt, long sleeves and a scarf but when I got there my skirt was too fancy, the cardigan was too tight as I had it buttoned up, the scarf passed muster.  There are Greek women just outside the shop that nab you to make sure you are appropriately dressed. After this you enter the shop where a monk gives you a map and instructions for the self-guided tour.  The grounds are magnificent – it was like walking around a little bit of Greece; fountains, churches, little gardens, a rose garden (in the desert), it is simply an oasis.
Across a road, still on the Monastery grounds up on a hill with lots of steps up to it there’s a white Greek Church.  I can well imagine that this is where they shot the movie “Momma Mia”.  I could just picture Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing their way up those steps.
So now we are in Tucson at a lovely campsite owned by an Irish family called O’Leary.  We had dinner last night with parents of a friend in a beautiful home overlooking Tucson. They loaned us several books about the history and people of Tucson.  We are enjoying reading them.    I hope to see Rhoda and Larry Geisel later in the week
Today we visited the” Kartchner Cavern” in Benson 35 miles southeast of Tucson (Cave means one; cavern means more than one cave).  These are wonderful caves that have been beautifully preserved and are open to the public about 10 years.  These caverns were so long in the making (at least 250,000 million years) they make mankind look like we just recently landed on this planet.   
This made us both realize just why we are on this odyssey - we want to see America which has so much to offer in terms of this planet as a living organism.  We just happen to live on the top layer.
Thursday, we’re off to the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” in Tombstone!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Many of you wondered and commented that it is some time since we last posted to the Blog.

Well the reason is that we have been very busy for the past few weeks.  It has made us realize that keeping a blog going is time consuming. In the movie Julie Julia, Julie’s life must have been totally consumed between cooking, writing her blog and still going to work every day. 

Our intention was to stay a week in Palm Springs and then move on into Arizona; but here we are 4 weeks later and still in the Palm Springs area.  We spent a lovely first week here and visited old friends Carole and Bob Kase for dinner.  Carole was in my first Newcomer’s lunch bunch. We had dinner the night we arrived in Palm Springs with Beth and Tom Feldman. This is their second year coming here for the “season”.  I have decided to call it that because it looks like most of Canada (East to West) and lots of Americans come here for the 3 months after Christmas.

We loved walking to downtown Palm Springs and experienced lots of funny incidents the principal one; one Saturday night a religious group was preaching at the Plaza pedestrian crossing when two 6’4” tall transvestites in full regalia, big blonde wigs, very short sequined dresses and 6” platform boots arrived to cross the road. As you can imagine the crowd was enjoying the scene – preachers preaching while the transvestites whooped and hammed it up for all it was worth.  Free entertainment at its best!

We went to the “Follies” a show in the historical old downtown Theatre.  To qualify to be in the show the actors and dancers have to be 55+, with the oldest at 81.  It is a wonderful show as all these dancers have had careers on Broadway, TV, Movies and Vegas. The MC was fantastic.

My brother John called to say he and Tess were coming to Palm Springs as it was raining in Vancouver BC and would remain raining for the next week.  So we had a great St Patrick’s few days together; it was John’s birthday and Tess and John’s wedding anniversary on St Patrick’s Day.  That night Carole and Bob took us to their Country Club for a St Patrick’s Dinner/Dance.  We also met Sue and Bill Piche, Mike and Candy Belanca for lunch; while they were here on vacation from Los Gatos.

The next week my nephew Luke (aged 15) who had been scheduled to go to Japan on a school trip arrived, also from Vancouver.  I bought him “James Bond” silky dark olive sheets; we laughed a lot at those sheets as we had to fold away his bed every morning.

We enjoyed having him; he and I played lots of tennis with new friends of mine.  We played golf one day and another day we had a camel ride in the “Living Desert” (it is a desert zoo in Palm Desert).  On a hot day we had a ride on the aerial tramway (the floor revolves as you climb).  It climbs through 5 different climates to 8,500 feet from where it is an unusual sight to look down to the desert from up in the snow.  Lots of snow up there this year.  We stayed in the snow until six o’clock.  It was too hot to come down.  

By then Tom had started our Taxes and we realized we needed to return to Los Gatos to get documents so off we set the day after Luke left.  Our engine overheated as we climbed the Grapevine just north of Los Angeles. We pulled off at a little town called Gorman and as we rolled down the off ramp the engine cut out and the steam started to flow out from under the hood.  We were lucky there was a garage with a mechanic in the town so we pushed the car the 500 yards to the garage.  We did not want to wait for AAA.  We hired a car from “Rent a Wreck” and left my precious Bluebug with the mechanic and headed on with our journey.

We stayed with Eileen and Carl who have been welcoming and gracious hosts every time we are in Los Gatos. We searched for the documents in storage next morning.  I knew they would be either near the front as we might need them or back at the back safely put away.  Lucky us they were right at the front.  We saw our 2 grandsons and they loved seeing us, it was hard leaving them especially as they had me by the legs and would not let go. Mellissa is looking well now and studying to be a teacher.

We had dinner at Maky & Mark’s; Grainne & Patrick’s; Anjali & Amit’s; Sally & Gerry’s and met Cearull & Leslie, Tony & Stella also for dinner. We did not have a free night thank you to all our wonderful friends. Wednesday I went to the Newcomer’s book club and meet lots of friends and they had an author from North Carolina attending the book club meeting.  Impressive!

In the meantime Tom got the taxes completed and filed!

Now we are back in the Palm Springs area after having collected the car in Gorman.

On Monday we will, finally, be on our way out of California and into Arizona.