Sunday, January 31, 2016

What did we find in Bisbee, AZ?

A quirky Europanesque town on the side of a hill.

The Wanderer was parked overlooking the town on one side and the Queen Copper Mine on another side.

Located not far from the Mexico border, Bisbee was once a prosperous mining town that became a ghost town. In the 60's hippies moved in and, well some of them never left.

We found stairs, lots of them 

(Our running friends might want to check out the Bisbee 1000 race where the participants run a course that takes them up and down 1000 steps.)

and a vibrant art community with fine art, repurposed art, jewelry, graffiti and everything in between.

We found Bruce at the RV park.

 A self-described old hippie (age 77) from Minnesota, Bruce stays in Bisbee six months of the year. The other six months he says he lives in a nudist RV park in Minnesota.

Bruce told us about a jam session at the old Moore's Storefront on Monday evenings. Okay, we are on an adventure so we decided to check it out. Steve, the owner is not only a woodworking craftsman but also an artist. On Mondays he opens his shop for local musicians to hang out and jam. It was incredible! There were 25-30 musicians with a huge variety of instruments, some of which we had never seen.

 At the jam session we found Keith, who invited us to stop by his studio.

Keith (also known as The Blues Wizard) builds guitars using re-purposed items. He especially likes using vintage suitcases as they are made with wood. 

While we were in Keith's studio, a friend dropped in, the friend said he lives in a cave just on the edge of town (apparently that is not too unusual.)

 Captain explored the Historic Queen Copper Mine.

What else did we find?

Old Bisbee Brewing Company,
Best stout we have ever tasted, as smooth as a porter.

 a lot of support for "Bernie",

community information board,

 music from the locals almost every evening,

Bisbee Coffee Company and  Roaster,

Screaming Banshee Pizza (seated by the wood fired oven, Captain took notes on pizza making,)

and of course, a farmer’s market.
We found in Bisbee what we hoped to fine as we explore this diverse country of ours. We found folks that dance to the beat of a different drum. While we are not inclined to join the aging hippies permanently, we totally enjoyed our time here. 

Good-bye for now, Bisbee; we will return.

Today we will head north toward Tucson and none too soon. While we have enjoyed temperatures in the 60’s with plenty sunshine, the weather forecast for Monday is high 40° with a high wind and a snow blizzard warning.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Davis Mountains

Exactly where are the Davis Mountains? They are located in west Texas, right smack in the middle of Nowhere. Located in the mountains is Fort Davis, an old frontier military post and also the town of Fort Davis, population 1200.

Davis Mountain State Park is where we parked The Wanderer for a few nights.

Looking through the information provided by the park service, we chose to drive the 70-mile Scenic Wildlife Loop. Basically it was 70 miles of views very similar to this,

And a lot of rocks.

We did see one road runner, one mule deer and a free range bovine bull.

We hiked up a mountain for the scenic view
  (and for cell phone service)                                      
and back down for a 4-mile pretty rugged hike.

Located about 16 miles from the campground is the McDonald Observatory where we attended a Star Party (no celebrities or wine, just star gazing.) Captain thought looking at the moon and stars through the huge optical telescopes was pretty cool.

Saturday night we lined up with a couple dozen 18-wheelers and half a dozen RVs at the Walmart in Deming, New Mexico. Sunday morning we discovered a flat tire on The Wanderer. Since we were in a safe area, the weather was nice and our next destination was only about 3 hours away, Captain decided this was the perfect time to try changing the tire himself. Success! It was convenient that this Walmart had a tire center. While Captain was changing the tire, ABN made arrangements for the tire to be checked. We left the tire, walked over to iHop for breakfast, when we returned the tire was ready. The tire was fine, as Captain expected, the valve stem extender was leaking. Oh, and Walmart did not charge for looking at the tire.

For the next week, we will be based out of Bisbee, Arizona. What's in Bisbee? We don't know yet, we just got here.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Crossing the Lone Star State

Headed south, but not quite out of the "deep freeze", we spent our first night out in a Walmart parking lot in North Little Rock. The overnight temperature dipped to 25ยบ. We were quite comfy in our sleep sacks and fleece blankets. The following morning, we started the generator to heat the coach, crawled back into our sleep sacks and woke slowly while drinking coffee and reading our local newspaper online. One of the best parts of retirement is waking slowly. (right Roger?)

 Wandering across Texas, we were delighted that our long time friend and one of our favorite people could join us for dinner one evening.

 Tipsy Tuesday we found ourselves at Abilene State Park near Abilene, Texas.

 Joining us was a fellow Texan.

 We had the campground almost to ourself. The quietness was a nice respite from the sound of traffic, 18-wheelers and parking lot cleaning.

 Near Monahans we discovered a most unusual rest stop, complete with an abstract representation of a WW II bomber, computer games and a really cool playground.

After three days of driving, we decided to stay a few nights at Davis Mountain State Park. As we see Facebook posts about the snow and ice at home, we are enjoying daytime temperatures in the 60's and lots of sunshine.

We have no cell phone service and a very slow internet connection at the campground. Slow internet is the norm at most campgrounds due to the number of campers it serves. As an early riser, ABN has found she has a faster connection to download the local paper and do some blogging before others arise. But not fast enough to upload photos. As suggested by an interesting volunteer at the campground, we headed into town to visit the local library.

Ahhh....., yes much better!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Winter, kiss my glass!

One week ago. 
This is not part of our retirement plan! Tonight's temperature is expected to be in the single digits. 

The Wanderer is packed and pointed toward the Southwest!

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Celebrating in San Antonio

New Year’s found us celebrating on the River Walk in San Antonio. Captain's mom and brother joined us as we toured the "must visits when in San Antonio." 

Captain and brother stroll through Historic Market Square bursting at the seams with colorful Mexican artistic and ethnic products.

Mom watched a magician show while the guys stood in line to buy pastries at Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery

The Guenther House for lunch. You know those biscuits from our kitchen that some of you are fond of, they are made with the Pioneer Biscuit Mix, the mill was renamed Pioneer Flour Mill in 1898. The former Guenther Home is now a wonderful restaurant, shop and museum. 

ABN was pulled into the historic LaVillita Art Village where she poked around for a couple of hours. (Mom and the guys headed back to the hotel to watch football and play cards.) There are some exceptional works of arts here.

You can find more photos and information over on the Craftingfrom the Underground blog.

Oregon and TCU were in town for the Alamo Bowl.  Their pep rallies were held at the outdoor theater which included a battle of the bands. While both bands were good, neither rivaled the Fighting Texas Aggie Band (yeah, we know, our bias is showing.)

The River Walk was beautiful with Christmas lights that presented a festive ambiance for New Year's Eve.

Since our last visit, the River Walk has had some expansion, including a 4.5 mile section known as the Museum Reach. We noted that at about 2 miles was the Pearl Brewery. If you know Captain, then you can pretty well guess what happens next; we couldn't miss an opportunity to sample some local beer, now could we? After Mom and Brother left on New Year's Day we started off on a somewhat damp and cool, but interesting walk toward the brewery. 

The Pearl Brewery we discovered is no longer a brewery but a neighborhood with restaurants, shops and a farmer's market. Of course all the shops were closed so we stopped at the Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden for lunch.

What does one do on a rainy Saturday in San Antonio? ABN spent the afternoon at the McNay Art Gallery.
Favorite painting in the museum by Ben Shahn

Most interesting piece was an entire art studio made from cardboard. This is just one wall. 
Captain took the opportunity to see The Force Awakens at the cinema.  That didn't go as planned, Captain decided to forgo the $1.50 online advance purchase fee, arrived at the theater to find the movie was sold out. He elected to hang out at Chili's and watch football.

Our best meal in San Antonio was the Crepas de Pato / Duck Crepes at Acenars.

Looking forward to new adventures, especially in The Wanderer in 2016!