Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Friends and Morenci

Hi all,
Things keep rolling along at Roper Lake State Park. We are now being called short timers as we are down to our last month here. Three months have flew by quickly though the weather has been a bit under the norms for the most part. Our departure is set for March 1 although they keep telling us we are welcome to stay on if we wish, don't know if we will take them up on that??
Mt Graham from front of our campsite
 We had a great surprise this week, Thursday morning Wendy and I had gatehouse duty and realized we had a camper coming in that wasn't on the roster from Wednesday. We recognized the last name as some friends of ours but the first name was different. We looked at the invoice and realized it was Tim and Renee whom we had first met at Custer and periodically have kept in contact with.
 They picked the perfect time to come as we got done working just after noon and would be off for three days. They arrived about 2 and not even knowing had a site just a few sites down from us. We chatted some then decided to get together for dinner. After dinner we chatted more and they introduced us to the game of Pegs and Jokers.
 The next day was suppose to be a sunny 70 and we thought to take a ride but then just decided to hang in the park, chatting, and basking in the Arizona sun. We decided on a fish fry at our favorite restaurant(Manor House) and then more Pegs and Jokers, I think they got us hooked.
 Sadly they only planned to stay a couple days so were leaving Saturday. But not to sad because as we chatted about our plans we both were planning on heading to Utah about the same time. So we got together before they left and made reservations to camp together then.
 Saturday afternoon we joined Bob and Rose for a drive to Morenci. Morenci AZ is a small town about 45 miles north of Safford. Morenci is home to one of the largest open pit copper mines in the United States. The small town is almost all owned by the mine so if they deem necessary they can relocate housing and business to mine there. Huge is all you think as you see this, the mine, the piles of discarded rock, and the equipment used. They have a couple look outs where the public can view the goings on.

Bob and Rose
 One really neat thing we passed was the Old Morenci Catholic Cemetery. This is the only remains of the original Morenci. It is built on a steep 36% grade hillside in mostly rocks and gravel. Some of the graves have been washed loose and are sliding downhill.

 We drove a bit of the mountain drive beyond Morenci that goes to Alpine, this is 83 miles of twist, turns, ups, and downs that we will have to start out early one day to complete.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hiking n More

Hi all,
Weather has been slowly getting warmer and as long as the winds don't blow it feels good. It also encourages us to get out and do stuff.
 Last Sunday Wendy and I ventured to Fort Bowie for a hike. Fort Bowie was created in 1862 to protect the vital Apache Pass and Apache Spring part of the Butterfield Overland Mail route.
 To reach the fort remains requires a 1-1/2 mile hike unless handicap access is needed.
 The hike is a well maintained trail with excellent signage along the route telling of battles and situations that occurred with Chiricahua Apache first led by Cochise then Geronimo.
 The hike also served to get my mind off football as our Packers humbly exited the playoffs.(
Full Packer on grillin brats b/4 the game

 Our work week was pretty good not having to bundle up so much to work outside. On Monday everyone gathered for cake and ice cream for Michelle's (park manager)birthday. On Wednesday we gathered again for a pot luck luncheon. These gatherings are always fun as sometimes with different schedules we don't always see everyone.
 On to this week again with decent weather we headed to Chiricahua National Monument for a hike. When we made this plan we knew there was road construction going on in the park but things said a pace car would allow traffic albeit with some slow downs. Well once there we found no traffic was being allowed access beyond the visitor center. There was one trail that we could hike so off we went.

 The hike went up into the Chiricahuas steadily gaining elevation. The trail also laid on the north side of the valley and still held some snow and icy patches. We went as far as we deemed safe, one hiker that we passed had said he fell three times in one area that was enough for us.
 We love this park and hopefully can return when the road is opened and ice gone.
 Saturday Bob and Rose asked us to ride along to the Amerind Foundation, a museum of Native American culture. Located just off I10 near Benson, AZ in the Texas Canyon. The museum was founded in 1937 to promote knowledge and understanding of the Native Peoples of America. There is also a art gallery to explore.
 We enjoyed the museum but sorry they did not allow photography there.
Unique posts along the route from Ft Bowie

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Out and About

Hi all,
The weather seems to be slowly creeping up. We have been getting into the mid 50's with sun and if the wind is not blowing not to bad and better than Wisconsin.(sorry homies)
  It has been a different week for us as we actually went to see a couple movies and we could hardly remember when we went to a movie last.
 We had been interested in The Revenant since we first seen the trailers. So as soon as it came out we thought lets go. We asked our neighbor Bob who was on his own for the day to join us, happily he agreed. This week Bob asked us if we wanted to catch The Sisters movie, as we had nothing going we said sure.
 For our reviews we gave both a thumbs up.)
 Our entertainment for the week was not done yet, we had attended a concert with some of the other volunteers in December and had agreed to attend the January show. The show this month was a tribute to John Denver. Jim Curry who says he is not an impersonator put on a impressive show with his versions of the music and short stories of Denver's life along the way. They also had a big screen behind the band showing footage of John Denver and scenery as most of Johns music involved. A good time was had by all.
 Friday on our first day off the weather was not super promising but we wouldn't let that hold us back. Seems like we had not ventured out lately so a good drive was in order.
 We headed northwest past Globe to a scenic highway called Desert to Tall Pines Scenic Road. It drives along the Salt River Mountains up into the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. With views of majestic saguaros and Roosevelt Lake in the background we found it stunning. The map had showed this a dirt road and we figured we would return when we hit dirt. We drove quite a ways and never did run out of pavement but decided time for us to return for home.

rare crested saguaro cactus

Arizona Packer fan yard deco

Salt River

One lane bridge crossing the Salt River

Roosevelt Lake

I'm told they call this soldier hill
            As you can tell we really love seeing the different cacti.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

El nino Go Away

Hi all, I'm back
 Well pretty much better after that nasty upper respiratory infection. Thanks to all for the well wishes.

 The park was pretty full over New Years though not really the best of weather.

What's wrong with this pic?
We have had a lot of rain and snow on the mountain. It has crept down to 4000 feet. (the park is at about 3000 ft) We took  a drive through a pass on the south side of Mt Graham. Very pretty but Wendy says it can melt now.

 Over New Years we had a couple from our Wisconsin camping club stop in. John and Rita had joined the club about the time we went full time and as we only make one of the club outings a year we didn't know them real well. That has all changed as we played cards a few nights, ate out a couple times, and really had some fun trading stories. We took a ride with them to an old CCC camp just north of Safford. It was a cool day but the sun started to shine and that alone made things feel better. The Sanchez Civilian Corp Camp was only used for two years in 1935 & 1936. Efforts from the camp were mainly soil conservation in the area. I love checking out CCC stuff and am always amazed at the work accomplished by them. Still left here are partial walls of some of  the structures and some rocks outlining barracks. Also kinda cool we were able to check out where they had dumped the camp garbage. It still held many old steel cans some odd shaped glass bottles and even a few plate pieces.

We had a great time with John and Rita and look forward to seeing them down the road.