Arizona to Wyoming

On a cloudy, rain-soaked morning we packed up and left Arizona heading to our summer destination in Buffalo, Wyoming. Jim plotted our journey with the punctiliousness of an expedition to the North Pole.

Because of Lucy we decided to take a week to travel with days of driving no longer than six hours. Jim planned for nursing stops and had mapped out all the gas stations that we could easily navigate. He also found interesting roadside attractions along the way.

Our first attraction was in Hatch, New Mexico known for its hot peppers.

Hatch, New Mexico

Hatch, New Mexico

Hatch, New Mexico

On day two we stayed in a KOA in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was the best campground of the entire trip. The children played on the playground and in the games room.

KOA Santa FeThe next morning I convinced Jim we should go into Santa Fe and do some site-seeing before resuming our trip. We were told there was a parking lot downtown where we could park our camper, we just had to find it. After several wrong turns we ended up on a dead end street and that is where, after maneuvering a 35ft camper attached to a 12 passenger van backwards down a narrow street between parked cars, Jim earned the well-deserved title of Master Driver with Expert Skills of Driving in Reverse. It was a sight to behold, but one I hope I won’t have to behold again.

After making our way through New Mexico we headed into Colorado and stopped at Grampa Jerry’s Clown Museum. Not so much a museum as a small one room house packed with clown themed paraphernalia.

grampa jerry's clown museum

Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum

Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum

Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum

I’m still having nightmare about this one. 😉

Finally in Wyoming we stop at our final roadside attraction, the Chugwater Soda Fountain. Wyoming’s oldest operating soda fountain and the only reason to stop in Chugwater.

chugwater

Chugwater Soda Fountain

I have never been to Wyoming and had you asked me where Yellowstone Park is located I would have hung my head and admitted that I had no idea. And if you would have told me that it is in Wyoming I might have questioned your geography because when driving through eastern Wyoming on I25 you could have more easily convinced me that I was on the surface of the moon.

Wyoming is the least populated state in America and parts of it are extremely flat and bare, but as you get closer to Buffalo the ground begins to rise up in rolling green hills and in the distance the snow covered peaks of the Big Horn mountains appear on the horizon.

Big HornsThis breathtaking land is where we will be spending our summer.

Old Tucson Studios

When I first looked into visiting Old Tucson I assumed it was a historic site containing the original buildings of present-day Tucson, but I was wrong. It’s actually a movie studio  originally built in 1939 by Columbia Pictures for the movie Arizona. Since that time, over 300 movies and commercials have been filmed there.

Old Tucson

Not being a fan of Westerns I have only seen one movie filmed in Old Tucson, The Three Amigos. This adobe facade is from that movie.

 

Old Tucson Hotel

We visited on Easter Sunday and attended a church service here in the Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon.

The Reno

The Reno was built in 1872 and was purchased by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer in 1945. Old Tucson Studios purchased it in 1970 and since then The Reno has appeared in more than 100 films.

Medicine man show

There are several live shows in Old Tucson, but this was the only one I was able to watch (Lucy and I were having a little trouble with the heat that day).  A medicine man comedy. It was very funny. The guy on the left is in a documentary series called Legends and Lies.

The Loop Rawlins’ One Man Wild West Show is an amazing display of cowboy skills, or at least that’s what my family told me. (I think I was in the hot van nursing Lucy at that time, she’s worth it though)

Old Tucson

I just added this one because it’s pretty.

The Saguaro National Park

This post was written by two of my daughters and the artwork is from my youngest son. I took the photos.

Today we went to the Saguaro National Park. I know that most of the time when people picture the desert they think of dry sand and dead grass. But in the Saguaro Park I was very surprised with how many bright yellow flowers there were. They really brightened the place up.

What I learned and thought was really cool is that the Saguaro cactus can live up to 200 years!

Dad got me two books, one about coyotes and the other about desert life. I also learned that people call the Saguaro cactus a bird hotel because birds make nests in the cacti by making holes in them.

Written by Willow age 9.

Saguaro National Park

Cacti and flowers cover the ground in the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ.

These spiky cacti look like something you would see in cartoons or old Westerns. They’re not the friendliest of plants. We each got stuck by them while hiking.

Walking down the trails we saw beautiful flowers of orange, yellow, and purple.

Some of the cacti look like they were getting ready for a boxing match with the position of their arms. Some of them looked like they lost and had their heads knocked off.

It was really awesome!

Ivy age 12.

Saguaro Cacti

butterfly

Oliver's painting

Oliver’s painting of the desert. Age 7.

Back in Bisbee

Bisbee

On a recent Sunday afternoon Jim and I decided to have a little alone time. Well, almost alone, Lucy and I are pretty much inseparable right now. So we headed back to Bisbee after a brief sojourn in Tombstone… again. Jim loves Tombstone; I almost think that he would stop all our travels today if I would agree to settle down there.

But, back to Bisbee. Old town Bisbee isn’t a large town, but without super-charged children who just want to keep moving, you have a chance to leisurely experience it.

Like this lovely little shop.

Free Store

Yes, the Brewery Gulch Free Store. Everything you need in one convenient stop. A poster of Lady Gaga, a 1990’s monitor, some ribbon, a bottle of mouthwash… there’s really too much to list here. All kidding aside could you explain to me the mindset of someone who leaves a nearly empty bottle of mouthwash? Seriously, I can not imagine my mouth ever tasting so bad that I would dare raise that bottle to my lips. But, at least it’s free.

Bisbee, AZ graffiti wall

 

I’m not usually a fan of graffiti. I generally can’t see it as anything but vandalism. But there is something about this wall that I like; it just fits some how.

 

Moondragon truck

Moondragon Truck

After asking the local glass blower we found out that the owner of this ‘truck’ is a Mr. Moondragon. Being someone who lives full-time in a caravan, I totally dig this truck. I wouldn’t want to live in it, but I dig it. : )

Inn at Castle Rock

This is the lounge at the Inn at Castle Rock. After a day of exploring Bisbee, I would love to curl up in one of these chairs and read for hours. And, from perusing a few entries in the Ghost Encounter journal, written by the hotel guests, I might even have company.

When we say goodbye to Arizona, I’ll miss Bisbee the most.

Bisbee, AZ

About seven years ago I was reading an article about the best small towns in America and Bisbee, AZ was listed there. I was immediately drawn to the description of this arts colony nestled in the mountains and boasting “The best year-round climate on earth”.  Of course the article neglected to mention the pot smoking hippies (are they still called hippies?) that call this old mining community home.

HippyBut I digress. Bisbee is a fascinating little town; with it’s narrow, winding main street, homes tucked into the surrounding hills, and these 1950’s sci-fi giant man-eating flies.

 

Bisbee Flies

The flies decorate several buildings in Bisbee and it’s not just because they’re so cute. In the mid to late 1800’s Bisbee suffered through repeated epidemics of typhoid fever and the house fly is a carrier of that disease. (This is why I tell Oliver he can not make a pet out of a fly; though he keeps trying.) So in 1912 the Commercial Club of Bisbee held a fly-swatting contest in hopes of lowering their population. The winner killed nearly 500,000 and won $10.

As far as I know they no longer have a typhoid problem,so there’s no need to fear, but I think it has more to do with them not throwing their sewage into the streets than with fly-swatting contests.

Bisbee wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it’s certainly an interesting place to visit.

Bisbee Angel Sculpture

Hello Lucy, Goodbye New Mexico

Two weeks ago, on Valentine’s Day, I was lying in a hospital bed surrounded by my husband, a nurse, and a midwife being encouraged to breath through the pain and push. After about fifteen minutes of this Lucy Valentina left my womb and entered the world! She then proceeded to turn that world upside down.
If you happen to be keeping count that now puts us at seven people living in a 35′ trailer. Chaotic? Yes. But joyful!

Lucy

And here she is. The only one of us to be born outside of Indiana.

We spent six months in New Mexico waiting for Lucy to come and once she did we were all itching to move on. Our plan was to leave at the end of March, but when snow was predicted and I just happened to mention that maybe we should spend the rest of the winter in southern Arizona, Jim ran with the idea and in one day we were packed and ready to go. A good thing to because the day after we left the park looked like this.

Desert Rose in the snow

It looks like a lovely postcard doesn’t it? But when you’re trapped in a camper with five children it looks more like a prison yard. So we are now in Huachuca, AZ enjoying daytime temperatures of 60+ degrees and the children are free to leave the jail cell and run off some of that pent-up energy. And I am regaining a bit of my sanity.