Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Trip Begins

We will be spending December in Texas and we began our travels Monday, driving from Gold Canyon to Willcox, Arizona. There are interesting sights along the way. These are the rock formations in Texas Canyon along I-10.

Today we drove from Willcox to Anthony, Texas, just west of El Paso.

We saw these mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

This roadrunner statue was on a hill above the interstate.  The real roadrunners are one of the wonderful sights in Texas.

It is still fall down here, with trees turning yellow.

These mountains lined the route east of Las Cruces.

 These yucca plants were the tallest vegetation in Southeastern New Mexico.

Not far from Anthony, we passed a sign that read "Eat More Ice Cream, Drink More Milk." It wasn't long before we came to this dairy farm.

The wind picked up as we approached the El Paso area.  We could hardly see the mountains and realized there was a lot of dust in the air.  Then we passed a sign warning of dust storms for 15 miles.

We have a lot more to see and do between now and Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks

We are thankful for our life together, our life of traveling and sitting still in places we enjoy, for Doug, Eric, Liz and our grandchildren, as well as the rest of our extended family. We are thankful for our health and our country and our faith in Jesus Christ.

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving at a dinner with our neighbors. We are really becoming a community here in Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas.

I hope all of you had lots to be thankful for on this truly American celebration.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Another hike

Tuesday we went on a hike with friends Barbara and Ron. Our destination was the Cats Peak and Cat's Peak Pass in Usery Mountain Park. The desert there is just beautiful.

There was a forest of cholla cactus.

Barbara likes taking pictures of the cholla, too.

Here are my three hiking companions.

It was a great hike and we finished with lunch at Village Inn in Apache Junction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Family and Friends

Southern Arizona is a wonderful place to come during the colder part of the year. We know all about that. Our first winter visit was 9 years ago. It seems we see more of our Colorado friends in Arizona during the winter than we do during our summer travels to Colorado.

Yesterday our niece Tina and her husband Vance came for dinner. They have been to the Grand Canyon and are now visiting friends and family in the Phoenix area before returning to work this weekend. We had a good time talking to them and showing them around our resort.  Who knows, will they become snowbirds in the next few years?

Our long-time Colorado friends David and Alice have a winter home about 3 miles from our and they came for lunch yesterday. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of them. I know we will see them again this winter so I will have another chance.

We look forward to catching up with other family and friends in the next few months, as well.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cooking on the Trail

We have been traveling around in the country in an RV since 1988. Most of the time I prepare our meals in the trailer. So I guess you could say we have been cooking on the trail. But that has been going on for long before we began. Saturday we attended the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off where contestants prepare meals as the folks driving cattle did in past centuries. They have built authentic chuck wagons and cook as people did then, over an open fire built in a trench in the prairie.

Each team prepared a meat, beans, biscuits, potatoes and a dessert. In our current trailer we have a 3-burner stove. Some have had 4 burners. But look at all these pots--several ovens as well as pots cooking like I do on the stove top.

About half the wagons served chicken fried steak; the others cooked beef tips or chili beef. One wagon was cooking a meal for the contestants to eat after the contest ended. They were roasting pork.

Do you think those biscuits are a little over-browned?

Cowboys and cowgirls need beans and potatoes, of course.

An odd factoid we learned.  Do you know why iron spoons like this are twisted?  It is so the heat from the bowl of the spoon doesn't make the handle hot.  This cook said he learned that from his 8-year-old granddaughter who had attended a class in blacksmithing.  (He checked it out with another blacksmith, as well.)

And then there are the chuck wagons.

We had a fun day. This is the third time we have attended this cookoff. It is getting so popular that the line to buy lunch tickets begins forming at 9 and tickets go on sale at 10. Only 550 tickets are sold. Each wagon serves 50 meals. By the way, the food is good. Those cowboys on cattle drives must have eaten well.

Friday, November 11, 2016

John's Been Busy

John likes to carve. He makes figures, relief carvings and walking sticks.  He really enjoys removing the bark from diamond willow sticks.  We use them when we hike. And look at this great bouquet of diamond willows in our living room.

About two years ago he started making a nativity set. Part of it was available for us to display last year. Look at it now! And he's not done yet.  I love it!

(I am having computer problems. Would you believe I did this post on my phone.  I don't recommend it but I wanted to post something.  I look forward to seeing it on the computer when it's fixed.

M ,

Friday, November 04, 2016

The River

Four major rivers have their headwaters in our home state of Colorado: Rio Grande, Arkansas, Platte and Colorado. We have camped or hiked at the headwaters of both the Rio Grande and the Colorado, camped along the Arkansas in Arkansas where it is the route of major river barge traffic, walked along the Rio Grande in New Mexico and experienced it in Texas where it is the international border with Mexico.

We have rafted on the Colorado in Grand County near where we lived in the 1980s and in Glenwood Canyon.  We have seen the beautiful work it did in creating the Grand Canyon. The river supplies water to 7 states and Mexico and we know there is not always enough to go around. So we were surprised at how much water there was in the riverbed at Laughlin. This was our first glimpse of the waterway.

The water is amazingly clear.

Several of the casinos in Laughlin are on the waterfront and there is a Riverwalk giving people access to a view of the river and the casinos. One casino had murals depicting the history of the area and the Colorado River is prominent in many of them.

Here are a couple of views of the river showing a scenic cruise boat and the marina.

In other places, there is a lot of green along the trail.

The Riverwalk was a good place to get away from the traffic while getting some exercise.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Smokin' Competition

The BBQ competition in Laughlin was the second such event we have attended. The first was in Kansas City and it was huge with lots of well-known chefs, some we had seen on TV. The one in Nevada was not that big and we didn't recognize any of the chefs. We are familiar with the towns  several came from. Participants were mainly from California, Nevada and Arizona. The names of cooking teams are colorful.

The competition was held in one of the parking lots at the Laughlin Riverside Casino.

Jim and Gayle, did someone borrow your RV for the weekend?

This was the most interesting BBQ wagon.

When we walked among the contestants Friday evening, they were prepping their meat for smoking--cutting off fat and injecting with marinade.

Judging began at noon on Saturday. Before turn-in time styrofoam boxes were artistically filled with parsley and other greens then the portions are prepped and carefully displayed. Each contestant must submit chicken, pork shoulder and pork butt and beef brisket entries with at least 6 servings of each.

Entries are taken to the judging tent at the last minute so the meat will be hot. But being on time is important because late entries are not accepted.

When we attended the Kansas City cook-off we were disappointed we couldn't taste any of the entries. This time there was a people's choice competition. We each tasted several of the entries. We like most of them, not all. But I would hate to have to decide which was best. We didn't go down Saturday evening to find out who won.