Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Keeping busy in Arizona

Hi all,
Pretty busy week for us, we got in a drive to Globe with co volunteers Bob and Rose last Friday. Globe is about 70 miles northwest and gets you into the lane of saguaro cactus.
We wanted to visit the Pickle Barrel a indoor- outdoor decorative store with some antique items and you never know what else you may find store. A neat old time place that is fun to walk about.
 We checked out a couple other shops on the main street enjoying ourselves but not buying much. We then had a nice lunch at an Italian restaurant.
 Along the way home Bob drove us to see a old impressive dam that had been built back in 1927. The work and artistry that was put into the dam was pretty impressive and finding it at this out of the way location seemed surreal.

 On Wednesday the volunteers and staff gathered for a pot luck turkey dinner. Pot lucks are great and a fun get together, we were all stuffed when we left.
 Thursday during our shift I stepped out to register a incoming camper and after I write the vehicle license number down I realize it was a South Dakota number and from the same county we are registered to. Well as I look up I find it is Al and Nancy, a couple who we have volunteered with in Custer the past three years. They knew we had worked at the park previously and were just stopping to check it out for possible future work.
 Wendy and I stopped over to visit later and we decided to get together for a drive the next day. We headed to the Gila Box Riparian Area.  A 2300 acre area with four waterways feeding through it making a refuge for birds and wildlife.

 We drove the narrow winding rode grateful not running into any other traffic. We stopped a bunch of times taking some short walks enjoying the sunny warm day.  After we stopped at Casa Manana in Safford for some good Mexican fare.
  Al and Nancy are from Minnesota had started at Custer the same year as us, went full time as we did, and are our age so we seemed to have some good stories to swap. They had been working exclusively  in the visitor center at Custer and are planning to host in one of the campgrounds this year. It was fun getting to know them better and we look forward to meeting up with them again down the road.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ride to Wilcox

Hi all,
We started our work schedule this week, Monday and Tuesday were our maintenance days. Our first assignment was clearing the overgrowth along a couple path ways. There is a nasty fern like plant that grows fast and gets very thick. We also cleaned fire pits and did some trimming around a few sites. The second day was finishing up pruning and cleaning the walkway to the day use island.
 We found out one thing, we are out of shape! We have been walking quite a bit but bending and raking left us pretty sore, we both were hitting the advil. Oh well I guess it should be a good exercise plan for us as the holidays approach.
 Our plan while here is to at least once a week take an interesting drive to a hike or something. This week we headed to a drive we had done before that crosses Mt. Graham on the south side across the Coronada National Forest. We got a nice sunny day with a good breeze, pretty much the norm so far.
 We didn't get a chance to hike as there were quite a few hunters about so we thought maybe not a good time.
 We remembered an old cemetery that was a bit off the main road so we thought something to check out. It sure looked to need some TLC, quite a bit of tall grass growing about. Still it was neat as one of the areas was dedicated to a young girl and contained a swing set and many toys.
 Instead of returning on our drive the way we came we decided to drive towards Wilcox and circle back. The map showed the road may be dirt but we thought who cares. I had just cleaned the truck so that is about right. Turns out the road was all paved.)
 The area turns into a large flat expanse and a big agricultural area. We had seen large green houses from the mountain top and now got to see them close up.
greenhouses from top of Mt. Graham
Wow, more green house than we had ever seen we looked for a sign to see if we could find out what they grow. We found the sign said Nature Sweet Tomatoes and employ 700 employees with the biggest sell being the small cherry tomatoes you get in plastic containers. Wendy looked up the place online and found out it was 318 acres of green house, pretty impressive.

 We also saw groves of pecan trees, and fields of corn. I got excited and had to get a picture of the chili peppers in one field. I really had to resist just grabbing a bunch and running.) Not that I would ever do anything like that.

 After that we ended up in Wilcox and found a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. Wilcox is a small old looking town. Most stores were closed and we decided that we could explore it another day.
 Our drive home was back on I-10 and up 191 nothing exciting.  Overall we had a good day and enjoyed some new sights.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Roper Lake State Park

Hi all,
 We're finally here, Roper Lake State Park 6 miles south of Safford AZ. our home until March.
While it is nice to see new places there is something about returning to a place where you spent a time that brings a smile.
 We actually drove in a bit of a different route this time driving up Hwy 70 from Lordsburg. It was quite scenic reaffirming why we need to spend more time here.

 Pulling in we got a nice welcome from Michelle, who two years ago was the assistant park manager and volunteer coordinator. She has interviewed for the now open manager position and hopefully will receive good news soon.
 We got a different site this year and it looks pretty good. It does have a nice shade tree that blocks our mountain view some but not to bad. We have had plenty of the cool quail visit already, they are Gambel Quail and so fun to watch. Bob told us that they are trapping and relocating some believing we are overpopulated in the park.

Yellow headed Blackbirds
 We are also next to Bob and Rose who were here last time. Glenna and Milton are also back in our Hacienda Loop and Pat who was our neighbor last time also returned. The staff is down a bit as they wait for some seasonal rangers to come on board. We look to have a pretty full staff of volunteers with three more couples to arrive in the next month or so.
 Sounds like our duties will be pretty much as last time. We will work two days doing light maintenance projects and two days in the visitor/gift/ entry station. We volunteer 4 days a week 4-1/2 hours on those days. And whoo hoo we are scheduled for Fri, Sat, and Sunday off.
 While most things look the same around here some are a bit different. They added some nice concrete surface around the hot tub, previous was dirt and tricky exiting while wet. The water level in the lake is also way up, two years ago the level was pretty low so now up to a good level.

It also might not last but there was fresh snow on nearby Mt Graham. Mt Graham is a 10,000 ft mountain about 3 miles from the park.
 We made a drive up the mountain as soon as we could. They close some of the road Nov. 15- Mar. 15 and they had a light snow up there already. Wendy got some of her first pine needles up there for baskets and is starting to run low.
 The drive is 35 miles with the last 12 unpaved making for some slow going. We had a beautiful sunny day but a pretty stiff wind made the 45 degree temp on top feel cold.

 The drive up ends at Riggs Lake and campground. This is national forest so no hook ups or amenities. As we drove about the campground we saw about 8 wild turkeys and 5 deer and one brave camper in a pop up. That's pretty rough trying to keep a canvas sided rv warm at the 30 degree nights on the mountain.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mesilla, New Mexico

Hi all,
Onward we go, we left Alamogordo with a few days to go before needing to be at Roper Lake. We picked the Dreamcatcher RV Resort in Deming, N.M. Dreamcatcher is a Escapee Park and we had stayed here two years ago on our way west. A no frills park we planned to hang out a few days catch up on wash,eat some New Mexican fare and clean up the rig.
 We had one day where we planned to drive to Las Cruces and hit up a farmers market and craft sale that Wendy had read about. We set the GPS  and off we went for the 50 mile trip. We found a nearby parking area and followed a good crowd of younger folk thinking they must know the way. Well we sure couldn't find or see anything that looked like a market. We finally came upon some folks with RV club jackets and figured they would know. Well as it turns out they occasionally run the market on evenings and sadly this was one.
 Well on to plan B, Wendy had read of an old New Mexican town nearby that had some shops and museums we could check out.
 Mesilla is one of the most colorful and historic towns in New Mexico. In 1861 Mesilla was declared the capitol of New Mexico and Arizona territories. In 1881 the railroad wanted to go through Mesilla but was denied by the people. Las Cruces allowed the train passage and was soon grew while Mesilla population tumbled, it wasn't long before Las Cruces took the role as county seat.
 Mesilla had a rough and rowdy past with lawlessness and much bloodshed. Billy the Kid and many outlaws also contributed to the wild living. Billy was tried in a building on the south side of the Plaza.
 He was tried and sentenced to hang for the murder of Sherriff Brady. He was taken to the courthouse at Lincoln, N. M. where he escaped.

 The Mesilla Plaza is now a registered national monument. Many of the old adobe buildings are now shops and museums well worth a nice stroll through. While there Wendy and I had nice meal at La Posta Restaurant & Cantina, one of the oldest continuing restaurants in New Mexico
 Plan B turned out pretty good again showing sometimes the best plan is not always  the most planned.