Monday, December 31, 2018

A Few Friends

Can you tell that I really don't want to do this blog at this time?  It is so hard to tell friends Goodbye, to have a last meal in a favorite restaurant, to see the last spectacular Arizona sunset for a while.

My friend Jayne, flew over from Austin and we spent a day together seeing Tucson with 'visitors eyes'.

Then friend Lynda decided we needed to explore the very unusual town of Arrivaca for a day. (No she is not color-blind--just styling.) She had been to Arrivaca before but I had not and I was curious.

The first turn off the freeway came to this restaurant.  There were workers getting it ready for the winter snowbirds from the north so we didn't stay for lunch.

 No Soliciting
We are too broke to buy anything,
We know who we are voting for,
We have found Jesus,
Seriously, unless you are
giving away beer...

But I liked their sign. 

Leaving the freeway we drove about 30 miles west along a very winding two-lane road through lots of open desert before arriving at the town of Arrivaca (Population approx 150).

Arrivaca is a town very near the Mexico border.  

(Welcome to the oldest bar in the oldest inhabited townsite in Arizona)

The town is occupied in equal parts by ranchers, volunteers leaving water and food in the desert for illegal crossers, and border patrol agents and their sympathizers who are determined to stop the humanitarian aid.  It all makes for a very authentic 'old west' feel.  The guns were real and I felt sure a Wyatt Earp incarnation would walk in at any minute.

Lisa lives in Arrivaca, is Lynda's friend,  and is one of those volunteers providing humanitarian aid and information.

We had lunch in the bar and visited with Lisa.  All I can say is that she leads a life far more challenging than mine.  I truly admire her passion and dedication and for her sake as well as for our country's I hope we find a solution soon that we can all embrace.


Thanksgiving was my last weekend in Tucson and I spent Turkey day with friends Suzie, Bill, Nancy and more....


It was a cold day by Tucson standards but croquet was still a hit.

Nancy offered her home for the festivities and provided an absolutely amazing meal.

(Suzie and Bill)
Suzie has been a dear friend for over fifty years.

One last morning watching the hot air balloons float over the desert..

....and one more spectacular sunset.

Both Daisy and I said, "Goodbye and good riddance" to the vicious Jumping Cholla. 

Just before crossing the border into California I pulled off the road to give Daisy a quick potty break. As we walked along the deserted road a second dirt road joined us.  Yes, I was tempted.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Goodbye to Arizona--for a while

The last few months have been a long and exhausting preparation for the move to Southern California where I will share a house with my son, Ron and his wife, Loretta.

Isn't it strange how we move into a town and a state and take it on as part of our identity?  I have been 'Toni in Tucson' for 17 years and now I am changing into 'Toni in Encinitas'.  Somehow it doesn't have the same poetic rhythm.  But all the same I think it will be interesting and very different.

I am still planning to travel every summer--at least until my kids pry the keys from my gnarled and feeble hands.

As I returned from Ft Worth this fall I decided to further explore Arizona.  I had somehow missed a large swath of the state in all my travels so it seemed time for me to see what Eastern Arizona had to offer.

I drove from Santa Fe, NM into Arizona on Interstate 40 then turned south and entered the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.

This is only a small portion of the Painted Desert. It extends over 7,500 square miles across northeastern Arizona and contains the Petrified Forest National Park.  

Remember the old western movies of cowboys, riding for days, running out of water,  dashing madly toward a small muddy pool of fetid water that magically appeared through the dusty haze, throwing themselves into the brown muck, then sinking--slowly? If they were bad guys they just disappeared.  If they were good guys then their horse saved them.

Daisy was enthralled.

Petrified Forest is the only National Park in the country with a portion of Historic Route 66 within its boundaries.

Was this someone who didn't make it across?
(I think it is time to check my tires.)

Petroglyphs were everywhere.  Like teenagers with a spray paint can, tagging was common 2000 years ago as well.

Petroglyphs are created by chipping through the rock's natural black patina to reveal lighter colored sandstone beneath.  

The images represent ideas rather than a language.  

The exact meaning is unknown, but collaboration with contemporary American Indians provides insight into the significance of these glyphs.  Modern groups interpret petroglyph themes to include family or clan symbols, territorial boundaries, important events, and spiritual meanings.  The movements of the sun, moon and stars are also charted in a special group of glyphs used to manage ceremonial and agricultural calendars.

 Here is one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in the park.  It is called Newspaper Rock and contains more than 650 images carved into these boulders.
These petroglyphs were created by ancestral Puebloan people.

Leaving the painted desert we began to climb until we were surrounded by forests of pine trees and refreshingly cool air.

After the horrendously hot summer in Ft Worth, I wanted to park here for at least a month.

The trip through Globe, Show Lo and the Salt Canyon, was beautiful.  It took me a week but it could have been done in only a day or two--if one was in a hurry. 

Some of the cooler areas are a mere hour from Tucson and a favorite for Tucsonians to escape the unbearably hot summers.

What a shame I had waited so long to explore this lovely area.  Well, I will be back.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


There is  a lovely new home waiting for me in Encinitas, Ca. in which I can claim a bedroom and a bathroom.  The house was built by my son Ron and his wife Loretta and I will be headquartering there for the future winters. No, I am not giving up my traveling--at least not yet, but I cannot think of a  more inviting place to spend the cold winter months than with them in Southern California.

What this move to Ca. means is that I will miss some very special people like these two ghostbusters. Don and Nancy have been great friends for many years now plus they  are famous for throwing some of the best parties.

They are both engineers which means they have the expertise to turn their front yard into the most exciting graveyard seen outside of Disneyland.

Everything talks, moves, lights up or jumps at any unsuspecting children who dare to venture to the front door to ask for candy.

The night before Halloween, Don and Nancy invite several hundred of their closest friends and neighbors to come for a 'test run'.

There is revelry, card games, karaoke, a fire pit, and great food shared by all....

...even a few ghouls.

This guy was somewhat anti-social.

Why are clowns so creepy? 

I took Daisy out of the RV to see this stuff--it really spooked her.

A real plus about living in an RV is that I can spend the night parked in front of their house and don't have to worry about having that last glass of wine before driving somewhere.

Anyway, the hard part of every new adventure is leaving behind so many friends.  I will be having Thanksgiving dinner  with Suzie and Bill; Ron will come the next day to rent a truck and help me pack up the last of the stuff in storage; then I am headed west.  Tucson has been my home for 17 years, but I will be back to visit.