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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Crickett and I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to our family and all our friends and followers out there in blogger land.  We wanted to take this opportunity to convey our Holiday Wishes and also provide a recap and summary of our recent trip.

We left home on July 15 and returned on November 17, just over 4 months.
We traveled a total of 15,542 miles, of which over 8,000 were towing the rig.
We traveled through 21 states and 2 provinces in Canada.
We took a total of 8,724 photographs.
There were 7,741 page views on the blog.

This was by far the longest trip we've made and in case you couldn't tell from the blog, we had a wonderful time.  It made us realize there is just so much to see and experience in our beautiful country that it would take several lifetimes to see it all, although we did put a sizable dent in it!  We also realize how fortunate and blessed we were to be able to make this journey. We want to thank our good friends, Al & Pat Kralovic, who were our traveling companions the majority of the trip and say a very special thanks to Pat for sharing her wonderful cooking with us. We also want to thank all of you who shared your comments with us.

We are planning on going to Florida in January for several months and if we happen to come across something blog worthy, we will share it with you. We are taking about the possibility of another trip next summer and will definitely post a blog of that trip.

Love to all.......Pop and Meemee


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Heading Home

Hi All:
We left Carlsbad, NM Tuesday and are presently in  Boerne, Tx, near San Antonio. Our sight seeing part of the trip is pretty much over, and we’re on the way back home. We're still about 1500 miles from home and will take us about a week or so to get back. We have intentionally turned further south on our route home to avoid the wintry weather, but is still cold here. It’s 37 here now with a low of 27 predicted tonight and tomorrow night’s predicted low is 17!  That’s PDC (pretty dang cold) for southern Texas in mid November. We’re pulling out in the morning headed for an overnight stop in Beaumont, Tx. Our plan is to follow I-10 until we get to Alabama and then turn north to head back home. We should be back home in about a week or so. We might post another blog between now and then if we see something worthy of sharing. There will be a final blog after we get back with a summary of the trip.We sincerely appreciate all the comments you've shared with us and hope you've enjoyed sharing our journey.  
Joe & Crickett

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Aircraft Boneyard and White Sands, New Mexico

Hello from Las Cruces, New Mexico!  We left Tucson about 10AM Friday and had a good trip here to The Coachlight Inn & RV Park  in Las Cruces after a trip of almost 300 miles. Almost all of our journey was on Interstate-10 across mostly desert conditions, but did pass through several mountainous areas. We made our normal hourly pit stops and arrived here about 4:30. 

Our last day in Tucson was spent at the Pima Air and Space Museum where we took a tour of the famous military aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base which is adjacent to the museum.  This base is well known as the main storage facility for most  military aircraft that are not in service. The aircraft stored here are not necessarily doomed to never fly again. They are being held in reserve in case the need should arrive, or in some cases are being stored as a source for replacement parts that are no longer available. In fact, they have received some new aircraft that have never been put in service as they weren't presently needed. Tucson's dry climate and alkali soil made it an ideal location for aircraft storage and preservation. I came across an excellent you tube video of a similar bus tour which you can view here, or I'm posting some of the better pictures I was able to take from inside the bus. The tour is coordinated through the museum and cost $10/each.

Today (Saturday), we drove about 50 miles north on US Highway 70 to the White Sands National Monument. White Sands is better known for being home to the  US Army Missile Test Range where many important events have occurred, including the site of the first atomic bomb detonation, but we were there to view the snow white sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument. Actually the name White Sands is a misnomer in that the sand is not sand at all, but is fine particles of gypsum.  Gypsum is a mineral prevalent in the mountains surrounding the area and the water running from the streams in the mountains carries the gypsum into lake beds that dry up. When the water in the lake evaporates, the  gypsum forms crystals and is blown by prevailing winds until the cystals are formed into tiny granules that resemble sand. The wind carries the granules into the valley forming dunes that are forever changing. The gypsum granules, unlike sand, are water permeable and will adhere together when wet and then stick together after drying making it easier to walk or drive on. We saw many folks sliding and playing in the sand, er gypsum, that were having a great time.

Our next stop is Carlsbad, New Mexico where we plan to explore Carlsbad Caverns. From there we're planning on cutting the trip short and start heading back home towards North Carolina.We want to be home for Thanksgiving and our time is running short since we are still over 1500 miles from home.

Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson.

I can't recall the ID of each of these aircraft. Bet a lot of you folks out there in blogger land will recognize a lot of them. 

Think these guys are C-130's. They told us these planes are still in production today.

Engines that have been removed.

More C-130's.

Plane that was painted in Soviet camouflage .

They even had a Blue Angel plane.

A-10 Warthog. They had 3 squadrons of these stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB

The stealth F-117

These were tankers of some type. Must have been several hundred of them.



There were a lot of C-5A s
Highway 70 from Las Cruces to White Sands

Visitor's Center

Walkway into dunes.

Looks like snow.

Unusual but effective picnic table shelters.

The kiddies were having a great time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saguaro Cactus and Tombstone

 Well, it took us 2 days to get here, but we are in Tucson, Arizona at the Mission View RV Resort, a 55+ community. We divided the trip from Lake Havasu City to here into 2 days since it was close to 350 miles. We spent the first night in Gila Bend, Az. at Augie's Trail RV Park, and made it here to Tucson on Monday. We had a good safe trip with no events or problems.On a positive note, we purchased diesel for $3.35/gallon here, which is the cheapest we've bought since our trip began. The park here is a senior park and has many permanent residents in park models rvs, but still has lots of space for transients, like us. The park is very nice with full hookups and is a Passport America member which means we're getting a bargain at $19/night.

Tuesday we decided to explore the Saguaro National Park. Now, for those of you who are asking what is a "saguaro", it's a tall stately cactus that only grows in certain desert elevations and climates and is widely recognized as a state symbol of Arizona. Btw, the correct pronunciation is "sah- wah -ro" or "suh- wah -ro." I have a particular fondness for the Saguaro for no particular reason, I just like the look and stature of them. There are actually two different Saguaro National Parks here in Tucson. One is on the east side of the city and the other is on the west, separated about 35 miles. The eastern park is at a slightly higher elevation and has older more diverse mature plants than the western park, which has a larger quantity of Saguaros. We went to both parks which are both awesome.

Today (Wednesday) we went to the famous old west town of Tombstone, about 60 miles southeast of Tucson. Tombstone is widely known as "the town to tough to die" and is probably the most famous old west mining town with its' colorful history of characters, gunfights, and hangings. The town was established on a mesa above the Tough Nut Mine. Within two years of its founding, although far distant from any other metropolitan city, Tombstone boasted a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dancing halls and brothels. All of these were situated among and on top of a large number of dirty, hardscrabble mines. The most famous event in Tombstone's history was the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which didn't actually happen at the corral, but in a vacant lot on Fremont Street. On October 26, 1881, members of the "Cowboys" had a run-in with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with help from Wyatt's friend Doc Holliday. 24 seconds and 30 shots later, Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were mortally wounded. In many peoples opinion, it was this one event that has kept Tombstone alive for all these years.

Entrance to western Saguaro National Park.

Visitor's Center

View out back window of Visitor's Center.

The Seguaro's grow to be 150 to 200 years old. They usually don't grow arms until they're around 75 years old. One without any arms is called a spear.

Closeup of new arm sprout.

This one looks like rabbit ears.

Octillo Cactus. They sprout leaves within days of a rain then drop them as moisture disappears.

Masonic building in Tombstone.

Cochise County Courthouse in Tombstone.

Stage coach tours around town.

We took this tour. Very interesting and informative.

Main Street

Famous Bird Cage Theatre.

Painting on wall inside Bird Cage Theatre

Other end of Main Street. Notice anything missing?  That's right, no people!  The whole town was pretty much deserted when we were there even though all the stores were open. Guess it must be the end of the season.

Plaque at street corner

Looks the Earp brothers are back in town!

Fire station that is now senior center.

OK Corral where famous gunfight was held. There is a photo of the sign on the wall 2 photos down.

Boot Hill Graveyard.

Old Hearse