Wednesday, November 25, 2015

To Phoenix

November 16 -17, 2015:

It had rained heavily overnight and was windy and overcast in the morning as we departed Globe, Arizona.  The ride was a rough one, it’s a tough drive between Globe and Miami through Devils Canyon and over rugged mountains.  The wind was wicked also and didn’t let up; I had to fight it all the way to Phoenix.  It was Route 60 west to Route 10 west all the way across the kamikaze stretch of highway across Phoenix.    

Our destination, the Leaf Verde RV Park, is a huge antiseptic snowbird parking lot with the usual snowbird amenities and activities.  I’m not a fan of these places, in case you didn’t notice.  

We went straight to the assisted living home where Mom was moved to recently and had then taken a sharp turn for the worse.  They were giving her morphine to make her comfortable and she had been unconscious for the past couple of days.  This decline came on very suddenly and she died peacefully the early morning hours of November 17th.  She was 97 years old, lived a good long life, but it’s still difficult to accept.  I feel like a part of me died also.  I will end this post on this note without getting too goofy about the sanctity of life and death. 

Life continues in the Valley of the Sun,
Twinkles and Slick  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Globe and Miami, Arizona

November 13- 14, 2015:

It was all route 70 west from Safford to the Gila County RV Park in Globe, Arizona.  This will be our third time in Globe and second time at this RV Park.  This is a poor depressed town with lots of history, struggling to develop some tourism. A few years ago they had an excursion train running out of a beautifully restored station here that attracted decent ridership.  The train was sold a few years ago and the restored station now sits vacant, not sure what happened?

Apache Country

We took a walk around town, not much has changed in a year, not sure if that’s good or bad, but it’s comfortable here and good to be back. I was looked for new photos, but there wasn’t much, I ended up taking the same ones over again. Globe was a few good stories to tell such as that of George W.P. Hunt, mayor of Globe.  He came to Globe as a poor prospector and went on to become the 1st Governor of Arizona.  He eventually served as Governor of Arizona for seven terms, more than any other governor in any state.


The old Bank is a great one

A classic old sign in Globe

Art on a freight car near the campground

George W. P. Hunt and his wife

A favorite sight in Globe

I went out on Friday night to check out the “Drift Inn Saloon", one of the most classic old western saloon anywhere. It was built in 1902 and is one of the oldest continuously operating saloons in Arizona.  It has a great mural done by F.A. Olsen painted on one wall.  It’s always a weird crowd, a mix of Apaches, Hispanics and a few cowboy types.

The Drift Inn, love that sign

Old western mural on wall

I heard live music playing across the street at the "JammerZ Bar" which has a really nice outside patio area with fire pits and comfortable chairs.  The duo playing was doing a lot of Pearl Jam and Nirvana songs from the 1990’s and it sounded really great. It was unusual as about half the people were smoking either cigars or cigarettes, not used to the smoke anymore, but it's common here.


Outside of the bar

The Band

On Saturday, we took a ride to the nearby town of Miami.  Miami is a very sad place, sort of a ghost town, very poor, in spite of the billions of dollars worth of minerals still being removed from the surrounding mountains.  One thing is certain the mining companies have done little to nothing to support this town. There are a few antique shops here with good stuff, along with a few restaurants and a nicely restored ice cream parlor.

Miami Ave

Amen !

Don't think the VFW meets here anymore -

or stays here anymore -

They don't have advertising this interesting anymore -

or gas pumps of such design and character -

or soda fountains like this

but Coke has survived somehow ?

A most touching story, but Central Drug is 
now just another vacant building

We also went to the nearby Apache Gold Casino to test our luck.  Twinkles won a few bucks, I lost an equal amount, but it was fun.  As usual, it seemed like the entire Apache tribe was there gambling on the slots.

We had planned to make a couple of other stops before going to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, but have now decided to go straight to Phoenix from here without delay as my Mother has taken a sudden turn for the worse.

Next stop is Phoenix, Arizona;
Twinkles and Slick

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Safford, Arizona on the Salsa Trail

November 11 - 12, 2015:  

This move was about 150 miles from Silver City, NM to Safford, AZ.  We took route 90 from Silver City to Lordsburg, NM and then I-10 across into Arizona and then route 191 north to Roper Lake State Park.


Racing this freight out of Lordsburg, Arizona

We weren’t too sure what to expect at Roper Lake State Park, but it turned out better than expected.  The park is a natural lowlands area with a lake partially fed by hot springs, they even have a natural spring fed hot tub in the park.  The lake is reputed to have good fishing and there are hundreds of ducks.  We did a 1 mile loop trail to a small mesa top adjacent to the park where we are seeing many old familiar cactus types again.  This is a large farming valley surrounded by mesas and mountains in the distance.

Roper Lake

There were hundreds of these ducks

Twinkles on the trail

Stafford is the largest local town with a small old downtown area surrounded by the usual unattractive commercial district.  There are several other nearby small towns along route 70, most settled by Mormons. There is a huge Mormon Temple that looks much out of place.  The desert area here has been transformed by irrigation into a a major Cotton farming area famous for it’s world renowned Pima Cotton.  They also call this area the Salsa Trail, a bit of a local tourist marketing strategy.  There are many good Mexican restaurants here that all claim to have the best Salsa and they have a Salsa festival in September.  We had lunch in downtown Safford at the “El Coronado Restaurant”, where I had an excellent  green chili chicken enchilada, highly recommended.

Mural in Safford

Safford Theater

Safford County Court House

Twinkles hanging out

Safford downtown view

Cotton fields are all over this area

We are now entering Apache country, next stop is Globe, Arizona:
Twinkles and Slick

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Silver City, New Mexico

November 4 - 11, 2015:

It rained overnight, but is nice in the early morning, which prompts me to get one more walk in at The City of Rocks.  It then clouds up, gets windy and begins to rain again.  So, we wait it out awhile, it’s only 30 some miles to Silver City.  Conditions approve about 10 and we are off a few minutes latter on route 180 to Silver City RV Park.

Rain clouds on the ride

We are spending a week at Silver City RV Park, they have a good weekly rate and it is within walking distance to downtown.  We check out the library’s WiFi which is very good and then take a quick downtown tour.  Happy to say, things look better than last year, except for the sad old Buffalo Bar that is remains closed.  They held a Day of the Dead festival here a week ago and the town folks congregated outside the Buffalo Bar to set up a shrine and swap stories about good times at the bar. This town really needs to get someone to save the place, maybe have a “save the Buffalo” benefit as it’s the soul of the downtown.  This town is as cool as I remembered, except for the lack of a “real down and dirty downtown bar”, uppity brew pubs, cocktail lounges and restaurant bars don’t cut the mustard.

The County Courthouse is a beauty

The newly restored Gila Theater will open soon

A Silver City mural

A city mural project window

The Buffalo Bar

This building remains closed

Yankee Creek coffee and arts area

Another beautiful theater under restoration

Signs in arts district

Friday night we go to the Buckhorn Opera House in Pino Altos to see a singer songwriter, Heather Maloney, perform.  She is a young songwriter who has a great voice and charming stage presence who is on her first tour as a headliner.  It seems that she caught a lucky break doing a rendition of Joni Mitchells song “Woodstock” that was caught on a video that went viral, propelling her from mediocrity.  She sang the song and it was Ok, but nothing that great.  It's funny how some poeple make it and others with more talent do not.  I’ve heard Mary McCrink back in Asbury Park, NJ do it far better.  We did enjoy the show and the house was mostly full.  This is an indie / folk concert series sponsored by the Mimbres Arts Council who seem to have a dedicated, but older, member base.

The Buckhorn Opera House was a major disappointment to me.  This is a very historic building, an actual Opera House attached to the Buckhorn Saloon.  The Buckhorn Salon was built in 1895, but the Opera House is a more recent addition to it.  I’m quite sure the building was mostly ruined over the years, but the restoration effort, if you want to call it that, is terrible.  It looks like a low budget, do it yourself, project by someone with a poor taste. Regardless, it is still an excellent venue for a music concert and most people are probably impressed.

Inside the Opera House

We did a walk through the Pinos Altos cemetery which has a multitude of old pioneer and modern graves.  Many of the graves are not marked and we wondered if anyone has a record of the burials, would be very interesting.

The Geronimo quote was interesting

I did a solo 4 mile loop hike on the dragonfly trail at the Ft. Bayard Historic Area.  It was mostly flat terrain covered with Juniper trees and Pinon Pines.  The trail eventually runs into the Twin Sisters Creek which has cut a interesting rocky canyon.  I found the canyon very interesting with many Collarded Lizards in the rocks.  They are like scale model dinosaurs, fascinating.  A spur trail runs along the top of the canyon where the actual Dragonfly petroglyphs are found.  These petroglyphs are from the Mogollon Indian period about 800 years ago, amazing that they are still visible.


A trail view

Twin Sisters Creek

Poster on tree on the trail

Dragonfly petroglyphs

One of my favorite places in Silver City is the Yankee Creek Coffee Shop, not that I care much for the coffee, just the ambiance of the place.  They have live music usually on Sunday afternoons and this week it was “Devon”.  He really knew his 1960-1980’s music which I expect was his prime period and he did them all well.  The crowd there is aways a little weird, but friendly and it’s kind of like hanging out in someones living room.  They had handmade flags on the walls done by a local 4th grade class that were big fun to read.

Inside the Coffee shop

We liked this flag the best

Monday Twinkles and I take a beautiful scenic drive on route 15, the “Trail of the Mountain Spirits”, which is a crazy narrow, tightly curved, up and downhill roller coaster of a road to visit that Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  The Monument was created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.  It is a one mile loop hike up through a forested area to the Cliff Dwelling area.  This dwelling site was built into natural caves in the mountain about 800 years ago and is well preserved.  The Mogollon people inhabited this area from about 1275 to the early 1300’s and then mysteriously left as happened over much of the southwest. It would be nice for the environment if a some people, developers mainly, would leave today !

View of the Cliff Dwellings

The cliff dwellings up close in the sun

The view from inside the dwellings looking out

A room in the compound

800 year old corn

A Collared Lizard

Another shorter road trip was taken to the town of Bayard and along route 356 that travels through an old mining area.  We ended up taking a walk along an abandoned railroad track next to a mining site with lots of mining debris, it was more like a trash dump.  You can access some interesting areas by walking along abandoned rail lines.


One of Twinkles great i-photo shots

Old mining area

Twinkles walking the tracks

Sunday evening we treat ourselves to a good Mexican meal at one of the most popular restaurants in Silver City called the “Jalisco Cafe”.  It is beautifully painted and decorated inside, immaculately clean and with great service.  Oh, and most importantly the food was equally good too, highly recommended  !

We also ate at the closest thing to a real bar in town, the “Little Toad Creek Brewery”.  It’s a very nice place and the food was good, but the service is goofy at best.  Our food was delivered, but then we had no forks to eat with.  We got the waitresses attention, who then told us that they didn’t have any clean ones just then, she would go check.  OK so a couple more minutes go by, still nothing, then finally they locate some for us.  The staff there just seems to wander around with no concept of how to serve customers.

That’s it for New Mexico, our next stop is Roper Lake State Park in Safford, Arizona;

Twinkles and Slick