Our fifth wheel and the truck

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cold, Colder, Bl**&^ Freezing!

Welcome back one and all. This week’s blog is marginally more interesting than last week’s one. At least we did more than sit around!

We stayed in Casa Grande till Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We had some errands to run and had to pick up the quilt top. Now that was a bit of a hoot! Unbeknownst to me, the phone had run out of minutes and I couldn’t receive or make a call. And it wasn’t until I tried to call Barbara to find out if she had finished the quilt that I realized that we had no minutes left.

The quilt was supposed to be finished on Saturday but as I hadn’t heard from Barbara I thought it wasn’t finished. So, on Tuesday I decided to ring her myself and that’s when I discovered the problem. I immediately put time back on the phone and rang Barbara. I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before she started. She was going to ring the police because we were missing and no one knew where we were and someone might have done something nasty to us and no one would be any the wiser. She was frantic as she had been trying to ring since Saturday with no joy of course. Anyway she calmed down when I reassured her we were safe and unhurt. Needless to say when we went to get the quilt she got stuck into me again. She really had been very worried about us and I really do appreciate her concern.

Lesson learned! Family wouldn’t have been able to contact us by phone so needless to say I will be keeping an eye on the phone in the future!

Thursday was our first experience of Thanksgiving and a very sincere thanks to all the residents in Casa Grande who made us feel so welcome.

It was an interesting experience! Did you know that you can have pumpkin pie and baked pumpkin as vegetables with your main meal and then you can have pumpkin pie as your dessert? This is so different. Yes I know we can have baked pumpkin and some sweet things like pumpkin scones but this is so weird! Regardless of that however, the food was really lovely and soooo much of it. The company was wonderful and a good time was had by all.

For the shopaholics amongst you, I have to tell you. The shops were opening the day after Thanksgiving and some were opening at 6.00am, some then said 4.00am while others chimed in with opening at 3.00am. It was absolute madness when one shop said they would be opening at 12.01am. Apparently, the day after Thanksgiving is called ‘Black Friday’ even though it isn’t the 13th. It is called that because the shops hope that with the start of the Christmas spending they will be in the ‘black’!

Friday we set off again, a bit late by the time we had said all our farewells, for Deming in New Mexico. We have been assured that it will be warmer there than in Casa Grande which was in Arizona. Yeah right!!!!! Oh yeah, we passed three buses with Andre Rieu & the Johann Straus Orchestra written on the side on our way from Arizona. I had a look on the internet and discovered they were doing a concert in Glendale, AZ on Monday night. Had I known, I would have begged Norm to go. Having been to their concert in Perth last year, I would have loved to go again. Oh well - another time.

We arrived Friday afternoon just in time for social hour in the bunkhouse at the RV park and made ourselves known. The conversation got around to the weather and it was with absolute horror that Norm and I learned that we should disconnect the water hose from the tap and our RV as it was going to get down to 17F overnight and the water in the hose would freeze causing burst hoses and possible damage to the RV! Shock! Horror! It is supposed to be warmer than Casa Grande!!!!

Well we did as told and, sure enough, the next morning the water in the tap was frozen solid. So no water for the RV and no shower till the ground warmed up enough to thaw the water.

We headed off for a day of sightseeing and as Norm went to have a drink from his water bottle, we discovered that the water in the bottle was frozen solid. The bottles had been in the truck all night!!!

Our destination for Saturday was to make it to the City of Rocks State Park and also to the Gila (pronounced Heela) Cliff Dwellings.

What always amazes me as we drive through this country is the diversity that seems to be just around each bend in the road.

We left Deming surrounded by flat country (with the inevitable mountains in the distance) covered with low, sparse vegetation with lots of yuccas. There was some farming and some cattle.

We turned off for the City of Rocks and were absolutely amazed at these monoliths stuck in the middle of nowhere and just sticking out of the desert. While nowhere near as big as Uluru they were, none-the-less, absolutely fascinating. Picnic and camping areas had been located in amongst the rocks and provided private little camping areas. An absolutely great place for kids! Of course the camera was very busy the whole time we were there. You take one photo and then another one and then another one. I was fascinated by the shapes and arrangements of the rocks.

From the City of Rocks we headed north through more desert like country when we came upon what looked like a water course with lots of trees that looked like they were dead. (We figured it out that they were deciduous and had just lost all their leaves for the winter.) The road seemed to follow the line of trees and eventually we were able to catch a glimpse of a small creek. We continued along the creek and without warning found ourselves in the Gila National Forest and we were climbing mountains.

It is absolutely amazing how the countryside can change so dramatically in such a short space of time! The next thing we came around a bend to a sign saying Lake Robert. Yep we thought that would be just right, driving through what can only be described as desert and then the next thing there is a lake. We took a half mile drive down to the lake and it was just gorgeous. One of the guys fishing, assured me that they catch trout in there although he wasn’t having much luck that day!

We continued through the mountains to the cliff dwellings. It is believed that the dwellings were built and then only inhabited for about thirty years but I tell you what! Whoever built them or used them had to have mountain goat in their blood because getting to them was really difficult and we had the advantage of some bridges across a stream. The cliff face is nigh on vertical with no undergrowth or trees to assist a climber. And the way down is just as bad! Archaeologists believe the caves have been used since the 1200’s however the smoke on the roof of the cave has been carbon dated as far back as 30,000 years.

Most (80%) of the construction that remains is authentic however small parts have been repaired with respect to the traditional methods of construction. There are small parts that you can tell are not original simply because of the colour. The original construction has weathered and changed colour a little while the new parts are still very clean looking. It certainly does not detract from the amazing detail in the dwellings or from the awesome effort that must have been put into building the dwellings in the first place.

I just love this country!!!!!

Today (Sunday) we decided to visit the Rockhound and Spring Canyon State Parks and to go south to Columbus (3 miles from the Mexican/USA border) Museum. The weather forecast for today is windy so we have been warned about the dust! What is a little dust you say! Wait till you see the photos!!!!!

The bag limit at the Rockhound park is 15lbs per car or per person, I am not sure. But just to reassure you all, neither Norm or I reached the bag limit! The bag limit is on the rocks that you can remove from the park!!!!!!

We took a hike around the park and as I said to Norm, I could have stepped on a diamond in the dust for all I know about gemstones! The park was fascinating but I think that if you were a serious rockhound you would leave the trail as it has probably been picked over by thousands of other rock hounds before you. We stayed on the trail!

From there we headed for Spring Canyon and took the half mile (hahahahaha) walk to Lovers’ Leap. After about a mile along a really, really rough, single lane goat track I had had enough, and while we didn’t make it to the Leap, it was a nice stroll - NOT and the views were really beautiful!

If I ever, ever forget again, please, please remind me that the Americans have real difficulty measuring distances for hike trails!!!! We have had this problem before but had forgotten - lulled into a false sense of security! It is probably half a mile as the crow flies which is great if you happen to be a crow!!!

We made it to Columbus - only just! As we were driving down State Highway 11 there were sections of the road where the visibility was down to next to nothing because of the dust whipped up by the wind. In fact, I tried to take a photo at one point and the only way I could give any indication of the visibility was to take a photo of the white line on the edge of the road! I have included it and some of the other photos especially the ones with the tumbling tumbleweeds! They really do dance across the road, and in many places, the only thing that stops them are the fences along the highway. The fences are piled high with them.

We stopped at the Columbus museum which was very interesting especially the things relating to Pancho Villa, a Mexican who achieved some status as a leader in the Mexican army but who ended up being a brigand and attacked the town of Columbus in 1916 in search of horses, food, clothing etc for his small band of outlaws I guess you would call them. We decided not to stay too long as the wind was picking up and the dust was getting thicker if that was possible so we headed home.

We are heading off again tomorrow back into Texas so my next report will see us having come full circle. Or maybe that is a figure eight?

Anyway whatever! We are having such a wonderful time and do you know something? We don’t ever have to go back to work and can live like this as long as our health will allow because that will fail before we get sick of this nomadic life. There is just so much to see in this country and the world in fact! We are just so lucky to be able to live this life.

Take care my dear family and friends. We think of you all often and wish you all health and happiness. Be kind to you.

Love and hugs from both of us.

P.S. We have learned to work the furnace while here in Deming!!! Had to, it has been so cold!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment