Monday, February 8, 2016

Tucson Gem & Mineral Show--day one

Tucson has one major event that comes each year the first 2 to 3 weeks in February--The Gem Show.  This event takes over the city and offers the most amazing array of 'stuff'--stones, rocks, gems, jewelry, fossils, crafts, makings for crafts, food, people watching, and a chance to meet visitors from every nation on the planet.

This year there are 45 venues.  If this show continues to grow I am not sure where they will find space for many more.  Each venue is made up of dozens of exhibitors from every part of the planet.  Andrea and I met people from France, Morocco,  China, India, Australia and all over Africa.

Every hotel or motel in town is either full of exhibitors or their exhibits.  We spent hours at a Ramada Inn just going from room to room.

Some of the hotel rooms were well laid out...

Some were just crazy.

I wonder about the weight of the luggage put on airplanes coming to Tucson.  And because of the weight of so much of this 'stuff' the prices on everything will drop drastically the last week of the show.

So if you are just dying to add to your collection of fossils you have lots to choose from here. 

Dinosaur Poop for Sale.

Pooped Pets not for sale.

Nature in all its glory is on display here.   

The color in this piece was exquisite but my silly little camera hardly does it justice.

The really big venues with the most expensive diamonds and emeralds are at the convention center and are only open to wholesalers the first two weeks.  The final week they open up to everyone.  Andrea accompanied me to four of the lesser shows but that took two days with hours of walking.  Some people actually spend every day of the three weeks traveling from show to show to see it all.  

Pyramids ?

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

Southern Arizona weather has returned to those spectacular winter days for which it is famous. My friend Andrea agreed to join me for the lunch buffet at the Tanque Verde guest ranch.  The day could not have been more perfect.

There was still a little snow on the mountains...

and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees.

Neither of us had ever been to the ranch before but we knew of its reputation. The ranch is only a few minutes drive from the edge of town but it feels as though you have traveled far out into the desert....

and many years back in time.

How does one collect so many wagon wheels?

Driftwood chairs...

and pieces of dead cactus...nothing goes to waste around here.

Take a look at that rock (?) in front of me.  
The city of Tucson is hosting their world-famous gem show the next few weeks and those gem filled rocks will be on display all over town.

Tanque Verde ranch is known for its healthy buffet,  so we were eager (and hungry) to check it out. 

Just inside the main door of the dining area we spied this cozy little room.  I could just picture a few old  cowpokes sitting around that table playing poker. Later we learned that the owner of the ranch at the turn of the previous century was hanged from that overhead rafter by some disgruntled hombres. (sore poker losers?)  The victim did not die right away,  however several days later he succumbed to complications from the hanging.

Well, the buffet turned out to be as good as we had heard.  The deserts you see above are the ones we ate and were merely a sampling of the desert table alone.  We wanted to taste everything there and took two hours to eat but still missed a lot.  

Afterwards we decided we needed to walk the ranch and try to rid ourselves of a few calories.

The ranch is huge, with lots of horses for trail rides.

What a clever way to build a corral.

Note the columns.

There is a small museum at the ranch.  That Javelina skull with its teeth gave me chills. 

But these gave me nightmares. There are two rattlesnakes in the picture above all cuddled together with  the heads side by side. How sweet!

We learned the snakes were all found on the ranch...

After the museum we became much more cautious as to where we walked.

Even the signs made us jumpy.

Now, this is an unusual sight in Southern Arizona.  

It was a tranquil spot...


Just perfect for a picnic.

Please note those spiffy boots.

This was my first big outing following my surgery and it really sparked my desire to get back on the road.