Saturday, April 19, 2014

You Have Got to See Sedona!

I don't think Pam and I have ever been through Sedona.  The more we read about the gorgeous red rock formations and canyon monuments, we decided we had to come and see it for ourselves.

The approach to the area reminded me a little bit of the Grand Canyon.  You know you are close to the area, but there is no big visual clue until you are on top of it.
It is about a 25 minute drive from Cottonwood, AZ (Dead Horse State Park) and we stopped at a scenic overlook to see some of the canyon vistas in the distance.

But once we got into Sedona it was stunning!  The redness of the rocks and the famous rock formations are right there --- seemingly closer than they really were.  I just couldn't keep from saying, "Oh My!!" or "Wow".

We took the main 89A highway through town and went to the 'Visitor Center'.  It became apparent it was a commercial place pretty quickly with offers of RV camping near by and helicopter rides available and jeep rides through the canyon to see it all up close.

We opted for the scenic overlook up Airport Road which was a right turn off the main drag and up the hill.  Then the valley and all its majesty below...
 The Coffee Pot

 The Sphinx

 Chimney Rock

 I have no idea but it was beautiful...

 Devil's Bridge

We took lots of pictures and tried to take it all in.  And then quickly we had a couple of helicopters fly  by.
If you can't take a helicopter, the Airport Road observation point is really a good alternative.

It was getting to be about lunch time and we wanted to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It was  a couple of lights and round-abouts away off highway 179.  A few minutes later we were in the parking lot and eating our lunch before we climbed the small hill up to the Chapel.
Since my brother Brad is an architect and a Frank Lloyd fan, we note his creations and see them when we can.
The idea was conceived in 1932 but not actually built until 1957.  Small, quaint, elegant and interesting.  Read more about it here.  A prayer service is held there on Mondays, but all Liturgies are at the Parish Church in Sedona.

As we drove back through town, I decided to get up early the next day and see the sun rise over Sedona with the Red Rocks as a back drop.  It was pretty chilly but worth the hour of picture taking.
The sun seemed like it was taking forever to come up but finally did.
And then we had some hot air balloons in the distance

Sedona is now on "One of My Favorite Places" list and we will have to come back.  There is a lot more to do and see here.

Thanks for joining us on our day in Sedona!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Montezuma Was Not Here

We visited  Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well a couple of days ago.  They are all in the Verde Valley near Cottonwood AZ and the Dead Horse State Park where we are camped for a few days.
Tuzigoot is Apache for "Crooked Water" and is the name given pueblo ruins that were discovered in the 1930's.
Work crews under the supervision of archeologists uncovered a series of connected Singua structures that are the largest and best preserved buildings of its type.
From Toozigut, we drove over to Montezuma Castle which was about 25 minutes away.  It was much more crowded and it was time for lunch so we ate some sandwiches Pam prepared.  We do that more often than not -- fix some snacks and or lunch to take with us.

The name 'Montezuma Castle' was mistakenly attributed to the Aztec god by American settlers in the 1860s.  In fact, the grounds were abandoned by the Singua people 100 years before Montezuma was born.  But the name stuck.

We went through the Visitor's Center and .3 miles down the walkway to the back side of the cliff and saw the castle.  Pretty remarkable cliff dwellings.
As with the ruins at Toozigut, researchers and archeologists have gone back and 'reconstituted' the grounds to what it was probably like hundreds of years ago.  Sadly, erosion and souvenir seekers have done a lot of damage over the years and it has been restored to what it probably like.

The Singua people, northern Arizona cousins of the Hohokam, built these prehistoric dwellings (circa 1400 A.D.) near the Beaver Creek.  Rooms here were thought to be as large as able to accommodate 45-50 people.
Teddy Roosevelt made it a National Monument in 1906.  Early visitors could climb ladders and actually walk around in the room but that was discontinued in 1951.

It was quite an impressive area and one that our family came to see on a day trip back in the 1960's.   As an 8 or 9 year old, I don't remember too much about it except we used to have some black and white photographs of it.

On the walk back to the Visitor Center, we stopped in and looked around the displays which we always try to do.

Then we were off to see the Montezuma Well which was another 15 minutes down the road.  This display was a self-guided walk of about a mile to the well and the river on the other side of the hill.
This unique site is where 1.5 million gallons of water emerge each day from an underground spring.  The pool of water that is created is about 10 times that amount.  In the underside of the cliff wall, you can see more cliff dwellings and what is thought to be almost 50 rooms that were inhabited by the Singua peoples.
Down the way from the well is a walkway to the river and a canal that has been rebuilt many times over the hundreds of years since the original inhabitants built it.
By the time we finished the walk, we were ready to go back to the campground.  Some times it takes some practice and a personal approach to viewing and trying to digest so much historical information.   Part of the reason for my blogging about these sights is to note it and remember what we say.

The National Park Service and volunteers have done a good job in this area of depicting an explanation of history and sure make it easy for tourists like us to enjoy another great outing!

Thanks for joining us today on some of Montezuma's? old stomping grounds.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning Ride Through Jerome

We haven't spent much time in the Jerome/Cottonwood/Sedona area so we traveled to Dead Horse State Park to do that in the next few days.

Yesterday we drove up to Jerome and took lots of pictures.  When we lived in Phoenix in 1962, I remember this was one of the day trips we reluctantly took on a Sunday.  Three of us kids packed into a 1958 red American Motors Rambler station wagon...

It was different this time in our 2009 Honda.  A few weeks ago were took a day trip from Mesa and went to see the mining area near Globe/Miami Arizona.  Then I learned Arizona still ranks as the #1 copper producing state in the U.S.

It started back in the 1880's when miners from the last remnants of the gold rush were in the area.  Jerome became one of the largest mining operations anywhere.

Our first stop was near the Jerome Historic State Park.  Not really wanting to pay for another entrance fee, we stopped near the front gate and took a look at the Audrey Headframe Park. How's that for a catchy name?  But it was very interesting to learn about what went on here back in its heyday.
The 'cage' goes 1900 feet into the ground making it taller than the Empire State Building.  Built in 1918, this is the largest headframe still standing in Arizona.  Over the years, this shaft hauled 360+ million tons of ore including 320,000 tons of copper, 190 tons of silver and 5.3 tons of gold.

At its peak, Jerome had 22 mining companies in the area and a population of almost 15,000 people.  Then the Depression hit, prices dropped drastically and eventually most mining operations closed down.  The town became a tourist attraction after the mines closed in the early 1950's and relies heavily on that industry.
We drove around and made sure we drove down each of the main streets that were hanging on the side of the mountain.

We stopped at the historic Jerome Grand Hotel.
It was a hospital called United Verde Hospital which opened in 1927.  Not great timing as the Depression hit a few years later and the hospital closed in the 1950s.  It was bought by the Phelps Dodge Corporation and turned into a hotel after rehabilitation began in 1994.

Since Jerome was built on the side of the mountain there are a number of vantage points to view the scenery down through Verde Valley.
It was a good way to spend a couple of hours and we're glad we got to see historic Jerome.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roadrunner Reflections: The Last Few Days

The last few days were pretty great in Catalina State Park.   We have been able to enjoy a good mix of getting things done and enjoying life.

We really consider ourselves very fortunate.  More than once in the last month I have heard other RVers say, "Isn't this great? Aren't we lucky?" --- to be doing this.  Whether they are snowbirds or those that travel and see new places all the this time -- we echo the same thought:
We are very fortunate to be doing this at this time in our lives.  We are very thankful.

And I am very thankful to YOU.  I know there are hundreds and hundreds out there that read this every week.  And a much smaller group of you that send a note and/or a few comments.

 but I want you to know how much I appreciate it --- 
Thank YOU!

I think I would be writing a blog even if we had no readers or commenters.  I started out doing this for a lot of reasons.  But believe me, it is lots more fun knowing that you are out there!

On another subject, I have been doing work over the last few days and some of my routine has been to go to a Starbucks and use their internet instead of mine.  I am able to usually put in a good two or three hours 'before the day gets started'.

I don't know about you, but some of the fun is seeing some interesting people at these places.

Then, when I am not working, we've especially enjoyed hanging out with my brother Marty and his wife Elena.   That is the real reason we came back to Tucson/Oro Valley -- to see them.

We played golf a couple of times and I keep saying I am going to be more competitive, but I wasn't this time.  For as little as I practice, I don't get too excited about playing poorly (like all those 3 putts...ugh!)
The great thing about golf is that when you least expect it, sometimes a good shot happens.

Marty and I were also able to do a project.  Like put together a PVC banner/sign hanger for his display at a Women's Business Networking gathering last week in Tucson.
He's a Dental Business Coach and also offers Sacred Money Archetype assessments for folks on how they view their money.  He said it worked fine at the event with a couple of small tweaks.  Job done.

Another day we had some laundry to do and I was able to get some more work done at the same time.
Then too, we watched every round of the Masters.  I love that golf tournament more than any other of the Majors.  After the first couple of days, my favorite did not make the cut and I had a number of others that I was interested in seeing do well.  It was great to see Bubba Watson win a second green jacket.

So - as I look back at our time in Catalina SP, I will remember the great campground and great times we had for a couple of weeks with Marty and Elena.  And once again I am grateful and thankful to you our readers.

That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  More next time from our stay a couple of hours north of Tucson.  Until next time...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Time at HFH - Tucson

We decided it was about time to get with it and check out the nearest Habitat for Humanity (HFH) build. It has been far too long since the last one - May of last year.

I went to the Tucson HFH web site and found the Volunteer page.  And a phone number.  I called Rebecca, the Volunteer Program Coordinator, and found we could join a build on Thursday.  On Wednesday we stopped by the home office.

The office is quite the facility.  It was an Army warehouse at one point and was also an Opera Center before it was secured with generous Habitat supporters.  With some architecture and design work in the last few years it is really a first class facility.
Rebecca gave us a tour and showed us around.

Early the next day, we got to work.  Like on the job site at 0700 hours.  We arrived at the Copper Vista subdivision, not too far from the Tucson Airport area of town.
We met Pat who was welcoming and friendly and got us checked in our her phone app.  We signed up online and it showed up on her phone app and she finished checked us in.  Then we talked with Chris, the Construction Supervisor.  He wanted us to join the folks in the house where they were putting up sheet rock.

The Tucson affiliate is one of the largest and best organized affiliates we have ever worked with.  On this day there were about 30 volunteers, working on there nine homes that were in various stages of development.

"Many hands make light work".  I don't know who said that but it sure is easier to make good progress when there is lots of organized help.
 It didn't take long to find a couple of guys or another person and just come along side and help hold and measure or pound nails or whatever.  If was fun to meet and work with Jim, John, Dale, Ron

I spent some time sweeping up with a small broom and a shovel.  There is always something to do if you just look around.
We didn't have to do much heavy lifting since the ceiling was already up.  Mostly we worked on the walls and closets.  Then came the 0930 break.

Pat came in and announced it was break time and that meant 'Stop Work'.  We assembled out in the shade around some tables and took it easy for a few minutes.  A couple of folk from the front office had a presentation to make to Jim.

He was awarded the "Legacy Award".  I believe it is related to including HFH Tucson in your will.
Our friend Pat with Jim's award
And I got a picture of Pat, Pam and Isonalya - a homeowner who was putting in some sweat equity hours.  
She has four kids and put in her initial application last March.  She has a scheduled move-in date of October 2014.  Pat was great - she remember us from three years ago when we were here.  She is very very active here and on the HFH Board in addition to a number of committees.  Its people like her that make it a great experience for people like us who 'just show up'.  A lot of work goes on in the background to make it a smooth running operation.

After the break, we make more progress on the house and had it almost finished by the time we left.
It was a fun day and a motivating day.  We are looking forward to the next build in the coming months.  

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time.