Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, February 29, 2016

Off We Go

Hi all,
Finally on the road again. The hitch itch was really setting in this past week, although we had been pretty busy time was really starting to crawl.
 We feel we had a pretty good time at the park and were glad we returned. The best part is all the nice people that work and volunteer here. Four of the volunteers had also been here two years ago when we worked here.
 The weather this winter has been a little on the cool side up until this last month.
 The past week we gathered for one last pot luck with the other hosts and staff. Those sure are great and I surely didn't want to offend anyone and not try there fare. I always overdo it and feel so bloated later.
 It was a nice gathering and as we have three host leaving at this time, it was a good going away party. We were nicely recognized for our time by the park manager and each presented  with some token gifts from the park.

 Friday we had one last outing planned with Bob and Rose. They wanted to take us to Mesa Market. A big tent sale in Mesa, Az. Although a 3 hour drive, for the most part pretty scenic and we had nice sunny day to do it. We really enjoyed it as this market contained mostly new stuff and not the junk you see at some flea markets.
 It was pretty large and took us 3-4 hours to take it all in. We had a good time and felt we did a good job to help out the local economy.)
 Saturday we gave the rv a needed bath and got other stuff put away. Later in the day Rose called and wanted to know if we wanted to go out for a prime rib dinner. Well, it was that or chicken leftovers you can guess which one we chose. So a short 70 miles to Benson to the Horseshoe CafĂ© for their 15.99 Saturday special. We hadn't done prime rib for some time and thought it was pretty good.
 Sunday was final laundry here and get ready for departing on Monday. Mondays destination was to hook up with Nancy and Al at Gilbert Ray County Park in Tucson.
Our new backyard
 Al and Nancy are coworkers with us at Custer State Park and had stopped in here in November for a visit. Turns out they had put in a application at Roper and will be volunteering there next year.
We will spend a couple days touring around here and then head over Yuma for a week or so.
 Wendy will be sorely missed as the ladies won't know what to do with there extra money. Wendy had sold about 21 pine needle baskets while working here. She was really cranking em out and working hard to complete some special request before we left.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Family Time

Hi all,
What a great weekend, our weather was great and we got to spend the whole weekend with our daughter.
 Mandi was scheduled to arrive Friday but a work meeting canceled and she was able to change her flight plan and arrive Thursday.
 So being almost her first time in AZ we wanted to give her a good show of it. Wendy had a rough plan of what we wanted to do but we left a few options for Mandi to decide.
 Friday we jumped in her rental and headed off to Tombstone. We walked the streets and browsed through the shops.

 Next up was Bisbee, the old mining town with narrow streets and picturesque old buildings. Again browsing some shops trying to help out the local economy a bit. We stopped for a cold one at Old Bisbee Brewery. Then stopped for views of the copper mine that has not run since 1974.
 Next up we changed our trip home to drive to Douglas, AZ. We had never been there and thought seeing different roads would be nice. Douglas lies right on the Mexican border and though we didn't have passports to cross Mandi thought it neat to be so close.

We enjoyed a Mexican dinner and then back to home to enjoy a campfire with some of our volunteer friends at Roper.
 Saturday was a busy one, off to the northwest town of Globe getting her first glimpse of Saguaro cactus. A stop at the Pickle Barrel for some shopping mostly looking and then on to Tonto National Monument. The drive to Tonto is pretty cool, saguaros everywhere and beautiful views of Roosevelt Lake. Tonto National Monument boast two areas of cliff dwellings, one tour by reservation only. The other dwelling is a pretty decent walk up to, but along the way are many signs telling of the different cacti and other plant life.

  Next we headed back to Globe and then off to scenic route on Hwy 77. I think we gave Mandi her fill of saguaros.) The drive also was mountains and canyons and a view of one of the large copper mines in the area. The Ray open pit mine spans 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 miles and still in operation.
 The scenic drive continues on circling back to Globe. From Globe back to Safford we got held up in a bad accident requiring flight for life. After 40 minutes we finally were allowed by. Whew! what a day, we finally got home just before 8.
 Sunday plans were a bit sketchy, Mandi has a bucket list to get a pic in each state so being close to New Mexico off we went.
Wendy and I had so wanted to show her Chiricahua National Monument but road construction in the park prohibited that. Not wanting to make a long drive today we made a quick stop in Lordsburg New Mexico then headed back to north Safford to drive through the Gila Box Riparian. A pretty drive along a old twisty road going back and forth to the Gila River.

 We made a quick stop to Dankworth Pond the day use extension of Roper Lake State Park.
 Monday Mandi was flying back to Dallas for meetings and we headed off to begin our last week of volunteering here.
 Mandi said she should have a good 1000 miles on the rental when she returns it, that's how vacations with us roll. It was great Mandi was able to be here and we were so happy to spend time with her.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Out of our Gourds

 Hi all,
Whoopee the weather has really gotten better. While Phoenix is experiencing all time highs of around 90 we are happy to just see 80. So as our time here dwindles down to two weeks, we should have nice weather to get out and do some things.
 Our work days in the park have been doing a lot of painting. We painted picnic tables and now are working on table shelters on the day use island. The park was full for the Valentine weekend everyone enjoying the change in temps.
 On Friday Wendy and I got in our first festival of the season. A short 3 hour drive and we were at Casa Grande, AZ home of the13th annual Running of the Gourds. Who would know how big a gourd fest could be? We were impressed, over 100 booths with carved, painted, and elaborately decorated beyond imagination.
 They also had judging for various teqniques including wood burning, vases, wearable gourd art to name just a few. They also had divisions set up for kids and intermediate to grand masters.
 The fest is put on by the Wuertz family farm and they also featured a large assortment of dried gourds so you could go home and adorn your own.
 We thought one thing neat there was them allowing photographs being taken. Usually with artist involved they prohibit such. I guess if they think you can reproduce their work with a pic go ahead and try.)
 Some of the work was just amazing and we even saw quite a few with pine needles catching Wendy's eye.

 We picked a great day as the temp neared 90 really making the cold beer taste good. Entertainment there was a mariachi band playing in the courtyard and a singer on stage nothing to extravagant.
 Saturday and Sunday Wendy and I just opted to relax in the park. Wendy has gotten a few orders for baskets to make for a couple ladies here so she has been putting a lot of time to that.
This was a creation Wendy had made a using a gourd
 I have used some idle time to make a few golf club roadrunners to give as gifts to the other host here.

 We are excited for the upcoming weekend as our daughter Amanda will be in for a visit.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Whats Up and a Surprise

Hi all,
We didn't get much work in last week, rain through Sunday night then cold and wind pretty much kept us from doing any maintenance work outside. That only left our two days in the gate house as our work week. Oh well they didn't mind and don't require us to make up the time.
 On Tuesday we gathered with the other volunteers and staff to celebrate Wendy's birthday.
 Weather did improve toward the weekend so a drive was in order. Black Hills Byway was the destination. The byway is a 21 mile dirt road between Safford and Morenci. Along the route is a area that is rock hounding friendly so Wendy and I gave it a short go. We found a few fire agates mostly small, but we are really not schooled in rock hounding so on we went.
 It is a pretty rough road but there are some great views.

Mt Graham

View of Morenci mine

Signage about the mine

 On Saturday Tim and Renee had invited us down to Sierra Vista for the 24th annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering. Not totally sure what to expect we thought why not?
 Sierra Vista is a good two hour drive so we opted to attend the Saturday afternoon 10 to 4 pm event. It was held in the high school with different programs going on in nine different class rooms or auditoriums. They blended the entertainment well with poets and musicians taking turns doing their things along with some insightful storytelling mixed in.
 It was pretty cool how it was set up and giving us a good chance to hear many different performers. It was nice meeting up with Tim and Renee again and we really enjoyed the shows.
 We also got a big surprise this week our oldest (Mandi) is coming in for a visit. She has multiple work meetings and thought instead of being flown home for a weekend she could come here. How cool, we can hardly wait. She hasn't seen much of Arizona and we can't wait to show her around.
 Mandi is a busy girl, she is the head accountant at Pilgrims Pride in Live Oak Fla. She also bought a small farmette that we stayed by last winter helping her get settled in. Well things on the farm are a growing, she now has 17 goats, 2 donkeys, and soon 3 dogs( a new puppy on the way). Her husband Pat who had spent the last 10 years working on the Nascar circuit has now taken a job at Pilgrims so having him home more will help.
Latest additions to the family Thelma and Louise, Nigerian pygmy.