Friday, December 29, 2017

On the way to Aunt Louise's

I am sorry to be slow in posting but I have been out of wifi range for some days.  Oh how I hate driving through West Texas!

Yes, I have chosen to drive to Ft Worth--the longer way.  First of all, Aunt Louise is now in Hospice but is showing very positive signs of rallying.  Of course, we all know that's what Aunt Louise does best--rallying when the doctors have thrown up their hands and said, "there is no way she can recover from this."  Her attitude is, "I can recover if I want to and no little, wet-behind-his-ears doctor is going to stop me!"

She is a 97 year old phenomena who informed me two days ago, "When you get here we are going to take a trip to Tennessee."
I asked, "Why do you want to go to Tennessee?"
She answered me as though I should have known the answer--"Because I've never been there!"
I think we'll wait a little while before planning that trip.

Now I am stuck in a rest stop on I-10 about 300 miles west of San Antonio.  The weather is cold and overcast, and there is a dense fog that is keeping me from getting out on the freeway.  Daisy has been outside for her morning walk but she was back inside and into her bed in mere minutes.  Inside the RV is comfortably warm but there is a very cold front that will be here by Sunday. That front is keeping me from turning north toward Ft Worth so I will wait.  I fear the RV cannot withstand temps in the teens for many days in a row.

More later, if the wifi signal comes through the fog.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day from Tucson

Today is Christmas Day--I hope it is wonderful for each of you reading this.

For me it is becoming sad.  Aunt Louise has been in the hospital the last few days with, what appears to be, a small TIA.  Suzanne took her home last night and this morning she woke to congestion in her lungs.  I fear that her very ravaged little body is about to give up so I am beginning to prepare to fly to Ft Worth.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Not much to blog about these days. The rounds of doctors, dentist, vet and the RV service center have kept me running in circles.  In the end, Daisy, Spirit and yours truly are all just fine. Now I have cleared my schedule and hope to take in a few activities worthy of blogging about.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

One day my friend Lynda and I drove about an hour east of Tucson and 1/2 hr south of Tombstone to this small wetland area.  It is a winter stopover for the Sandhill Crane and we were able to see a few thousand of them.

There is an easy pathway out along the water and we got a fairly good look at the birds.

In January there will be more than 30,000 of the cranes in this small slough and I hope to get back to see them.  

There were only a few thousand on the day we were there but enough that I felt the trip worth it.

The cranes are good size birds-- up to 4' high and larger than I expected.    
There is a camping area for 5 or 6 RVs so I may come back in Jan. and spend the night. 

From the wildlife area we drove back to Tombstone for lunch.

I really like that cars are forbidden on the main street.

It is not hard to imagine what it was like here when Wyatt Earp was the sheriff....

...and Doc Holliday gambled in the saloon.

Rush Hour

I do not think some apparel has changed much in 150 years.

We indulged in two of my favorite things:  Fudge....


....and sunsets.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Camping at Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area

The summer heat in Tucson is sometimes nearly unbearable.  But Tucson has a natural air-conditioner--Mt Lemmon--a 10,000 ft high mountain that rises straight up from the edge of the  city. At the top there is the very cool town of Summerhaven and the southernmost ski area in the U.S.

I was standing at an overlook less than 1/4 of the way up the mountain and looking south toward Mexico when I took this picture.  That litter you see all over the valley floor is actually the houses of Tucson.
The word Tucson comes from the Tohono O'odham language.  It translates to "At the foot of the Black Hill."

Humans probably entered the Tucson valley over 10,000 years ago in search of large animals still present at the close of the Pleistocene era.  Later inhabitants adapted to drier environments and eventually began farming.  Hohokam settlements thrived from about A.D. 200 to the 15th century.  The Tohono O'odham are likely descended from the Hohokam.

I was on my way to this campground to meet some fellow camping ladies for the weekend.

Bev, Myrna and Candy

These ladies do a monthly weekend camp trip somewhere in the close proximity to Tucson.   


This was a lovely weekend complete with hot dogs, marshmallows roasted on a stick and a huge skunk that wandered casually through our campsite without the least bit of concern that one of us might attack him.   

Good thing that Daisy had gone to bed before Pepe Le Pew arrived.   

This park was covered with ruins from what had been a Japanese internment camp during the second World War.  

The park and camp were named for Gordon Hirabayashi, who at age 24 challenged the internment of Japanese Americans. He was convicted of violating a curfew being imposed on the Japanese Americans  (all citizens of the U.S.) and was sentenced to this work camp.  

Prisoners built the structures that were here along with the highway that goes from Tucson to the top of the mountain.

 Many prisoners had been convicted of breaking tax or immigration laws.  Others refused to join the military for moral or religious reasons.  The conscientious objectors included Hopi Indians and Jehovah's Witnesses. Some, Like Hirabayashi were citizens who protested the internment of Japanese Americans.

At first, prisoners had only picks, shovels and wheelbarrows to use . Roadwork progressed faster 
 when jackhammers, bulldozers and tractors were added.
After the war the camp became a detention camp for wayward youth. The camp finally closed in the 1970s.


The largest forced removal and incarceration in U.S. history was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt  (Executive Order #9066) on February 19, 1942. Some 117,000 people were sent to ten internment camps in remote parts of the country. Their homes, businesses and belongings were left behind and lost forever.

"I was always able to hold my head up high, because I wasn't just objecting and saying 'no,' but was saying 'yes' to a prior principle, the highest of principles."
Gordon Hirabayashi

His case was reopened in 1987 and it led to an official apology from the U.S. government for the mass incarceration of 117,000 Japanese American citizens.

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, which acknowledged the injustice and apologized for the internment.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hattie's Typepad is no more!

It is with the sadist heart that I must type this announcement.

Marianna Scheffer (of the Blog, Hattie's Typepad) died on November 29th after suffering for almost one year with lung cancer.

Before her retirement Marianna taught (alongside my sister) reading, math and high school equivalency for ten years at Kulani Correctional Facility, the prison on the Big Island.

 It was a year ago, in January that Marianna and her husband Terry came to Arizona for a visit.  It was the last time  I saw her though I will always be grateful that I spoke with her on the phone two days before she died. During that call she was laughing and joking but all the while, brutally honest about her condition. 

On the Arizona trip she showed symptoms of the disease and received confirmation of cancer when she returned home to Hilo, Hi.


Marianna was much more than a fellow blogger.  She was a friend of the family, my friend  and my sister Mary's best friend.

She was an artist, a potter, a writer, a linguist, and she raised some amazing orchids.

Her family included husband Terry, two daughters, four grandchildren, a cute black kitten, and many many friends.

Her daughter Alice posted the following on Marianna's blog on November 30th:

"My mom died peacefully in her sleep last night with my sister Julia and my father Terry by her side.  ....
   I don't have any eloquent things to say but I do know that you all and this blog were an important part of her life."

 My sincerest sympathy goes out to Terry and Marianna's family. She was a special lady and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

From Ft Worth to Tucson

Milestones:  I have now covered over 100,000 miles in the last 6 years of traveling.  I have had more than 200,000 views of my blog, I have traveled through 44 states, 4 Canadian Provinces, Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands, (Hawaii and USVI by plane), and I've lost count of the number of museums, botanical gardens, monuments, parks and oddities I've seen. The most freedom I have enjoyed has been this summer when I  had to pay for only a dozen nights (out of 210 possible) due to my wonderful solar panel.   

One paid night was a campground in Oregon, a few more were in the National Parks in Utah, then there were two additional nights on the trip from Ft. Worth to Tucson.  It happened because I was determined to find something pleasurable, or at least interesting, in West Texas--and I did.  

Leaving the freeway at Abilene I headed south,  passed a delightful little town called Buffalo Gap, and found Abilene State Park.  This was also a busy weekend so the park was full but the Ranger suggested  an out-of-the-way parking area with no hookups that I could have for $10.  I took it.  

Daisy and I were completely alone except for this herd of feral pigs that surrounded us and drove Daisy crazy.

I couldn't let her out, and frankly, there were enough pigs that I did not feel I could safely walk her.  So she dashed from window to window for an hour with her nose twitching wildly.

Another milestone:  After open-heart surgery two years ago this month, a pig valve is now riding in my chest.  

Modern day science is absolutely amazing! And I somehow feel a strange kinship and gratitude towards these creatures.   

We had a nice sunset...

...and the next morning woke up to a herd of deer.  Not a bad night for only $10.

Southwest of Odessa, and further down the road,  we stopped at the Monaghan's Sandhills State Park and paid $20 for another  quiet, though a bit sandy, night.

Daisy was thrilled with the sand and dug dozens of holes to bury her balls. 

She didn't seem to notice me going behind her and digging them up again.

These sand dunes are remnants of the inner sea that once covered this area. The night sky  was velvety black and sparkled with stars. 

It is so surprising what vegetation can find footing and enough water to survive.
My next drive to Ft Worth will include these two parks; they are nice relief for the monotony of the trip through west Texas.

There was one night spent in Lordsburg, N.M. that was both sad and sadly common in much of our country.  The heart of this town is almost dead. the vast majority of the businesses are boarded up, and there is no sign of a rebirth.  

I found an open restaurant for dinner then went to this truck stop to park for the night.  I did not realize until the next morning that the man in that car nearby was homeless, he had two dogs that slept under or around his vehicle, and that crow (or raven) was not afraid of the dogs, Daisy, me or the man in the car.

I watched the crow harass the dogs, jumping on their heads then back on the car.

From time to time, the man inside the car would reach out and hand feed the bird. 

 Before getting back on the road I took Daisy for one last walk, and suddenly she displayed a lot of excitement including standing on her hind legs.

The crow was following us and trying to get Daisy to play.

The best part of this Odessey has been seeing so many friends and family, making new friends, and discovering what a huge and diverse country this is. 
I am back in Tucson for the winter,  seeing doctors and dentists, and preparing to move my stuff into my son and daughter-in-laws new house in San Diego (my new winter retreat).
I am making plans for next summer...any ideas?