Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We Go In Search of Warmer Weather--Tucson, Green Valley and Ft. Worth.

The goal: sunny days, wonderful skies.  This, near Tubac, AZ

Editor's Note:  This rather lengthy tome is mostly for our kids, who wonder what we're really up to when we venture off like this.  Mostly, we have fun.

February 20th, 2015:  We set out early in the morning through snow-covered fields in Ohio, hoping to get past St. Louis by late afternoon.  

We made it, but it didn't matter what time it was, we were headed west.  Jane took pictures, I drove.

Actually, the first day was pretty easy.  It was interstate travel, after all; the roads were smooth and clear.  We had big plans; a stop in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Tucson.  The trip usually takes me about three and a half days if I keep to a reasonable speed, stop early enough to get a good dinner and some rest in a nice motel.  Pretty standard stuff.  I've done it a lot of times.

This time was a little different.

 For instance, this was Jane's first visit to the "Cowboy."  

The first glimpse as you enter the museum takes your breath away.  It's a full size "End of the Trail."  Look at it awhile, consider it, and it will bring a tear to your eye.

I've been a member of the museum for a number of years, falling in love with it as soon as I walked through the door.  I've seen everything the Smithsonian has done and this is as good or better than any of it.

The Cowboy tells the real story--what it was like to settle the west and to work in it.  Only one gallery is devoted to the movies..most of the vast museum deals honestly with the way it really was..and still is..done.  I can only imagine what it took to make your way in the early west and the responsibility that goes with managing it today.  Cowboy is too light a word to describe the people who do it. The museum makes that clear.

It has a great restaurant, too.


Every journey has its potholes.  We found ours at Amarillo, Texas.

Freezing rain and then all-out snow forced a stop whether we wanted to or not.  We had hoped to make Tucumcari, NM from OK City, but Ma Nature had other plans.  We spent two nights "stranded" in a very nice Residence Inn at Amarillo.
It was the prudent thing to do.  The road rises as you go west and I'd rather be stranded like that, than sitting in a snowbound car waiting for rescue.

Travel Tip:  Always carry a good book.


We got to Tucson on February 24th:

In the Saguaro National Forest, Tucson.

But there was another hitch.  Somewhere along the way, My right foot  picked up a case of cellulitis. It was red and swollen, hard to walk.  I was afraid something was broken.  So I paid my respects to the Tucson medical establishment, who x-rayed me, poked me and pilled me.  I would be OK, they said, but it would take about two weeks.  

Hey, this is supposed to be a vacation!!
What're you Gonna Do?
Trying to be a good sport, I posted the picture above on Facebook.  My son, Marc, who is a professional artist, thought he could do better.  So I stand corrected...and royally photoshopped.



We persevered.

My cousins, Dale and Betsy Robinson, put up with my hobbling around.  Dale took Jane on a tour of the wonderful Saguaro National Forest, lending his great knowledge of the desert.  She was entranced.  We promised to come back next year a little later in the season when the desert is in bloom--but what we saw was spectacular.  We also went to the theater--Tucson's famous old Gaslight theater, where we saw a mellerdrammer about the old west--and we went to my favorite restaurant, Casa Poca Cosa...Mexican cuisine to die for.  Boy!


My old buddy from NASA days, John Taylor and his wife, Marsha have a place in Green Valley, south of Tucson.  

John's like me, a student of the old west, but moreso.  He can take you where the movies were you where John Wayne stood, tell you about the battles and tribulations, and take you where the best art is made and sold.  

He also walks out in his backyard and picks breakfast.  Dale did that, too.  It make me wonder why I live in places where they can't do that.  

Tucson's a lot warmer, too.

You may have seen this picture before.  Les Moore's grave is in Boot Hill at Tombstone, Wyatt Earp territory.

John and Marsha are usually up for a trip to Tombstone.  The history's rich and the shopping's good.  There are a lot more restaurants and jewelry stores in Tombstone than old Wyatt ever saw.  In his day, it was a silver mining camp and the main street was saloons and cheap hotels.

Wyatt didn't go to Tombstone to be a law man.  He figured on doing some gambling and buying into the establishment.  The law thing pushed itself on him and well. you know the story..

But things have calmed down since then.  Jane met Wyatt (L) and his brother, Virgil, on the main street.  They took her under their wing(s).

Old Tombstone today.


By the way..did you ever see a picture of a smiling Tom Mix?  Me, neither.  I found this one in the Oracle Inn at Oracle, AZ. Just sayin'..


We moved on to Ft. Worth, Texas to visit Jane's relatives, Jan and Dale Moore, heading east through El Paso, turning left through Oil Country..going diagonally across the state.  A loooong haul.

We went to Justin, Texas, and we bought boots.  What else do you buy in Justin?

We went to the Ft. Worth Stockyards and went through Billy Bob's Texas--one of the world's biggest Honky Tonks.

Jan and Jane did some line dancing.   They could have played pool, if they wanted.

Down the street, they could  have saddled up:

Could've gotten some "tack" (L) or a sombrero:

   They could have bought a horse a cookie..

But they didn't.

Everybody just had a great time.

And we plan to do it again. 

 And again..

Try it.


Seeya down the road.


March 18. 2015