March 12-24, 2010 – Our Time at North Ranch

Hard to believe it has been almost 2 weeks since I updated – time really does go fast!!   So what have we been doing??

We were able to spend some time with John and Sharon before they left the park and we hope to see them next season.   Steve has come back and we have also spent some time getting caught up with each other.   And of course the beading ladies – it is great to see them again and get reacquainted and meet new beaders – plus a number of the folks we met at Boomerville are here for Woodcarver’s Week (now) and Bead Week (next week).

We have been doing some work on the motorhome – cleaning, rearranging, etc.   I was going to do a deep cleaning because that desert dust gets in everything but decided not to… we will be home in less than two months so I will give the inside a good scrubbing then!  We did have the motorhome in the shop for a new rotor and seal – oh my!!!

One day we did a road trip to Prescott.  There are two ways to Prescott – the mountain road and the valley road (we did the loop).  The mountains are still as beautiful as they were last year!!  Prescott is a neat little historic town and they have a wonderful historic district.  We first stopped at the visitor center, then had lunch at the Palace Saloon.   The Palace Saloon  is the oldest bar/restaurant in Arizona.  A little info from the internet:

The Palace Bar
first opened its doors in September 1877. Although Whiskey Row was known for its many saloons. The Palace was much more than a fancy "watering hole". Men came in to check for notices of work available; it served as an election central for several area political races and cattle spreads; and mineral claims were bought and sold over the bar. The Palace is still the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona and the most well-known and historic restaurant and saloon in the state.In the late 1870's, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday were patrons of The Palace. Virgil and his wife Allie lived in Prescott where Virgil owned a saw mill at Thumb Butte and was Town Constable. Wyatt and his other brother, Morgan, visited Virgil in Prescott before they left for Tombstone.  Doc was on a winning streak on Whiskey Row (possibly at The Palace) where he won $10,000 in Poker.  He joined the Earp's eight months later in Tombstone.

On July 14th, 1900, The Palace was destroyed by the Whiskey Row fire. The ornately carved 1880's Brunswick Bar, which is still in use, was carried to safety across the street to the plaza by patrons.  In order to rebuild, the owner Bob Brow formed a partnership with Ben M. Belcher and Barney Smith, owners of the former Cabinet Saloon, also destroyed in the fire. 
By 1901, The Palace Hotel and Bar, complete with Chinese restaurant and barber shop, was back in business.  Today's Palace owners have done extensive remodeling to restore the Palace to its grandeur of 1901. Although still a frontier saloon, the addition of dining makes The Palace the gathering place it once was.

And another:

The frontier spirit of the Prescott residents may have been best exemplified when a devastating fire destroyed the entire downtown business district in 1900. Within hours, make-shift shelters were erected on the Courthouse Plaza and businesses began rebuilding. The old-timers tell us that when the fire started, the drunks in the Palace Saloon drug the massive bar across the street to the Courthouse Plaza. When the Place was rebuilt, the old bar was re-installed and remains there today. Fact is, in 2000, the 100th anniversary of the great fire, the moving of the massive bar was re-enacted. Only this time, there were different drunks. The Palace is now one of Prescott's better eating establishments.

We were greeted at the door by these gentlemen:

 03-20-10 A The Palace in Prescott 001

The famous bar – it is huge – I cannot imagine people carrying it outside:

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The restaurant:

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Check out the ceiling – it is the original tin ceiling (well, from the rebuild after the fire):

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The famous Whiskey Row:

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The picture above was taken from the town square.  There are some really neat statues around the courthouse area.  This is the All Veterans Memorial:

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This is the Cowboy at Rest Statue:

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After lunch and a walk around town, we took a little drive around the area.  One of the things I started to do is to check the RoadsideAmerica internet site which lists offbeat tourist attractions.  Here is Big Johnson, one of the Muffler Men located in various parts of the US.

03-20-10 C Big Johnson in Prescott 001

And a little info on him:

Many longtime residents probably remember the 20-foot tall fiberglass statue that stood on Fair Street for more than 30 years.
Darl Johnson said B.J. came to life in Venice, Calif., during the mid-1960s.  B.J. was a marketing tool for the Phillips 66 gas station chain to promote new service stations in northern Arizona, according to Darl.  Johnson believes B.J. originally held a rifle in his hands.  Darl and Janath bought B.J. in 1973 and moved their real estate office and bookstore to its current home across from the Fry's market.
"Big Johnson" was the nickname neighbors gave to the first generation of Johnson men to grow up in the area, according to Darl.  Janath said that Darl's uncles were around 6'6".
B.J. originally stood level in the parking lot. But he now stands in a hole about a foot deep because the city raised the street level and parking lots along the street. Janath said they were going to move him, but if they did, he was going to violate the city's sign ordinance.  "He's just been a good landmark and everybody loves him," she said. "I think he looks wonderful."

Here is link to information on the types of muffler men (heck, I never knew they existed – LOL):


We did make a stop at one of the campgrounds (Yavapai) in the National Forest.  

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Yes, that is snow.. 

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We came back thru the valley and it was all so beautiful!!  A really nice day!!

So besides the above and beading, reading, socializing, computer stuff, and watching/waiting for the cacti to bloom – that has been our two weeks – LOL!

Bead Week starts on Sunday and ends Friday.  We plan on leaving here the 5th or 6th of April and doing more sightseeing as we head east..  so stay tuned!

I will leave you with one more picture:

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Isn’t he beautiful!



March 9-11, 2010 Gila Bend and Wickenburg, Arizona

Tuesday morning we left our nice spot at Organ Pipe Cactus National Park and headed north.  We arrived in Gila Bend right before the wind picked up and boy was it windy the rest of the day.

We are at Holts Shell RV Park – great little place to take a break and the laundry is great.  Today I spent some time going thru the motorhome: reorganizing and de-cluttering.  It is amazing how we end up collecting things and every so often I need to go thru a purge – and today was a good day for it – :-))))

We did stop by the local Elks Lodge after supper and met some really nice local folks.  Great time!

Stats for Tuesday:

Miles Traveled:  80 Miles

Routes Traveled:

Arizona: SR-85; I-10; Butterfield Trail

On Wednesday, we woke to sunny skies and just a little wind.  After the laundry, Andy and I decided to check out some Days End places.  Days End places are those that are $15.00 or less (and many are free).  In our travels, we have used them quite a bit and I really appreciate having the list.  (Guy, if you are reading this – thank you!).  One of the places we checked on was the Buckeye Falls Regional Park.   A really neat place but we ended up getting lost in the park – LOL!!!!   Overall it was neat to see some of the different places (some still there, some not!)

Thursday: This morning we left Gila Bend and traveled to the SKP Park near Congress – North Ranch.  How about this – green grass in the desert:

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John and Sharon are here (we last saw them at Imperial Dam) and we spent some time this afternoon getting caught up.  But Steve was just leaving (we last saw him in Casa Grande) – we hope to see him again next week.

We did a quick run into town to pick up our mail – THANK YOU TINA!! 

We will be here until Easter.  We want to do some things around the motorhome, hopefully do some sightseeing and on 3/28, Bead Week starts – YEA!!!

Stats for Thursday:

Miles Traveled:  115 miles

Routes Traveled:

Arizona: Butterfield Trail, SR-85; I-10; Sun Valley Parkway; SR-303; SR-60; SR-93; SR-89

So how did our little Dusty do with the travels?  Well, he hid – but at least he didn’t panic!!

Stay tuned – :-)) and have a great day.


March 6-8, 2010 Why, Ajo, and Organ Pipe

On Saturday (6th) was just a kick back day since it was VERY WINDY.  Saturday night, the rain started and continued until about lunch time on Sunday.  When it ended we headed out…. Our plans were to go to Ajo to the Mining Museum but we did not make it.  We did check out the BLM lands and Coyote Howls East in Why – as future places to stay…   We ended up at Bill’s Roadhouse in Ajo for a late lunch (the meal was okay) and then just headed back.  So we have a couple of things to do for next season when we are here – :-)))

Today (Monday, 6th), we decided to hike the trail to the Victoria Mine Site.   Victoria Mine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as one of the oldest prospecting sites (copper, lead, gold and silver) in southwest Arizona. I had some trouble locating some history on the mine but here is a link to some great info on it:


The stone building is actually Levy’s store (although their is some conflicting stories on this also):

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One of the shafts:

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The hike overall was 5.3 miles from our campsite (not bad for 2 old folks) and the scenery was …..

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More strange Saguaro shapes:

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And the flowers have started to bloom (and some will be shortly):

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So tomorrow we are heading back to Gila Bend to the same campground as last week (if we can get in).  There is some more cleaning that Andy and I both want to do..


March 5, 2010 – Ajo Mountain Tour and Stars

Today we took the Ajo Mountain Tour run by the Park.  We could have done this on our own but it was nice to have an interpreter there to tell us about things along the way.  So here goes:

This is the spines left after a Saguaro dies – it was and still used by the native peoples to build houses, etc.

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An unusual organ pipe:

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Another unusual organ pipe.  Our guide told us this may have been caused by periods of moisture and periods of drought:

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This is the jojoba plant.  The sides of its leaves face the sun (rather than the top of the leaf) to prevent moisture loss.  The plants produce nuts which have long been used as a medicine by local Indian people.  Today the plant is grown commercially for the oil which is used in many cosmetics.

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And how about this arch. This arch in Arch Canyon was formed by the freezing and thawing of water and the carving force of wind.  The arch is 36’ high, 90’ wide, and over 720’ from the road.

03-05-19 Ajo Mountain Loop - OPCNM 097

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And the flowers are starting to bloom.  These are Mexican poppies:

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Notice the light strip in the mountain.  This is made from tuff which is compressed volcanic ash spewed out in volcanic explosions.  This band is more than 30 feet thick.  Now think about this – Imagine how much ash fell to have it compressed to 30 feet.  WOW!!

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Unusual Saguaros – notice the arms:

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Just nice pictures:

  03-05-19 Ajo Mountain Loop - OPCNM 039

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And my favorites:

    03-05-19 Ajo Mountain Loop - OPCNM 129

03-05-19 Ajo Mountain Loop - OPCNM 115

What a great tour and we learned so much more about the desert and how the plants and environment was and is used by earlier settlers/native peoples as well as the animals.

And tonight’s ranger program was on the stars and the night sky in the desert… oh my!