Cave Dwellings: February 2010
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Magical Moon and Sunset..Rainy morning

We were a tad depressed about our immediate surroundings last evening, but no matter where a person is, the heavens remain unflappable and will put on a show no matter what your location….We found that out last night at sunset…

100_5700 100_5699

100_5694   100_5695

(clik the pik to enlarge)


…What started as a mystical cloud bank, ended up as a fabulous reflection of the sun as it was setting far in the West..Believe it or not, I took these pictures through our back window…I refused to go outside…imagine that…



Then Den went outside just after dark to get the grill ready for Italian sausage, and he ran in and grabbed the camera…He found this “magical” moon.

100_5702…This picture was taken by ace photographer Dennis, A.K.A. McGuyver…I must make note that no tricks, nets, ladders, ropes…nor tripods were used..(Heck,we don’t even own a tripod)..  …AND, he did it by lying the camera against our truck to steady it.  I know I never could have gotten THIS one from inside the camper!!!

I slept fitfully last night.  It started raining in torrents (and in Amado, too) and the wind blew most all night.  I know I heard thunder shortly after we retired. I awoke thinking yesterday was just a bad dream, but, alas, I peeked out my window and knew otherwise. This morning was a gloomy, chilly, rainy wake up call. This is NOT what I need to improve my mood about being here….The cloudy skies do nada to improve it. Maybe a cup of java will help..and I think it did help some.

We checked our favorite blogs and worked on crossword puzzles….(one of our more exciting days). This is not a good day to do any sightseeing, so we decided to check the weather for tomorrow.  Yea!!! Tomorrow looks sunny and 65 degrees, so we will plan on going up to the Pima Air Museum in Tucson.

After lunch, I needed some milk and remembered the convenience store at the park office, so I grabbed my hooded jacket, gloves, camera and wallet, and took the long way .  I was hoping to get a  couple good shots of the gorgeous mountains to our East.  I was becoming increasingly crabby by all of the obstacles between me and the “purple mountain majesty”, but I did manage to get a few off…

100_5704 100_5705 100_5706 100_5707

….I was standing behind a barbed wire fence, which I didn’t even attempt to climb.  I would like to walk around in the desert beyond here, but Dennis restrained me, saying it could be private property…I have been known to bend a few rules in my life….OK, maybe a lot of rules, but I didn’t want to waste precious time in the Pima County jail, so I listened to Den (for a change).

I got my milk and did a brisk walk back to the camper.  I am frustrated by so many views and so little places to get a good picture from the park.  I finally used my zoom lens, and with a little help from the cropping techniques on Picasa 3, I got this….again from my camper window..


  I know we will be driving all over this area, and I can get lots more photos, but I find it a real pain in my whatever when these mountains are at my doorstep and  I have to twist myself into a pretzel to get a photo..

…It is getting close to cocktail hour, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it is close to 5PM, that means I may just start early today.. We are working with  our water on board, so my Navy shower techniques will have to be fine tuned for this week. It is now 4PM and I am exhausted from doing absolutely nothing..Hang in there, kids…More tomorrow….

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Well….here it is….



Of course, you knew I would purchase a piece of authentic Native American made jewelry.  I opted to go with the one that first caught my eye, the turquoise and onyx necklace…I fell in love with it when I first saw it…kind of like when I met Den.

I need to change my habitual sloppy wardrobe of jeans and a T-shirt in order to wear this necklace as it deserves to be worn.  I would have kicked myself if I had passed it up.  I gave a thought that I should have taken a picture of Chris John, the young man who made it, but the Native Americans are not fond of having their picture taken.

We said our few good-byes before we left.  The couple on the left are Cheri and Buddy Cobb from New Mexico.  They were our neighbors for the whole 2 months. …and we had to stop as we passed by Ray’s house with our rig…In the picture on the right, that would be Ray’s brother-in-law (his name escapes me…sorry sir..), and Marcia, Ray’s wife holding Colby the dog, and, of course Ray on the right end…They are all good, fun people…I will miss them.

100_5671 100_5672

It was 10:15AM when we waved good-bye to Hickiwan Trails and turned the HitchHiker East on Rt. 86 toward Tucson.  The ride was good. This road took us about 112 miles to pick up Rt 19 and go South toward Amado. It was a lovely drive…


On the way, we passed Kitt Peak Observatory.  Six years ago , when we had a Keystone Cougar, we visited Kitt Peak, pulling our 5th wheel up a 12 % grade to the top of the mountain..This is NOT advisable. Going up was interesting…going back down was frightening…We had a 10,000 lb house pushing us down the mountain….Den kept his hand on the trailer brake at all times…Don’t ever be as dumb as we were… RV’er wanta be’s at that time…



Here are a few photos I took along the way…



This is the Mission San Xavier del Bac in the distance. I have hopes of visiting it this week…

The next photos are the Pima Mine….I see by the signs that they give tours…Den says he thinks it is a copper mine….and I think Dennis knows EVERYTHING.., so that’s what it is…


100_5688 100_5687

There is snow in the distant Sierrita mountains, but our temp on the truck says 71 degrees…aren’t they pretty?? I love seeing the snow without the shoveling.


We stopped at the Walmart at Sahuarita to get my drugs…FINALLY!  I have been without one prescription for one month…It’s just a good thing it isn’t  Valium, or Prozac, or Dennis could have been seriously in jeopardy.100_5690

We wandered around the WalMart, checking out the place. This is where we will get groceries this Thursday…and, much to our delight, we found that they also carry beer, wine…and Rum!  I do like an occasional Rum and Coke for happy hour, and their price was within my cheapskate budget. While we were there, we picked up some charcoal and checked out the grocery area…The only thing this WalMart didn’t have was a Murphy USA gas station..and we were hoping for one..Oh well…We jumped in our truck and pulled our house down Rt. 19…

I have to say that eventually everyone runs into some horse’s ass ahead of you on the road….

100_5685I’m really sorry about that….no I’m not…I thought it would be pretty darn funny…

We found our RV park and checked in…Let me just say this…We will be doing LOTS of sightseeing away from this place…If it is anything, it is convenient to lots of great things to see and do…and that is ALL I will say about this park..there will be very few photos taken here…

100_5692  100_5693


….Dennis met the Rottweiler next door…need I say more??? Notice this was taken by me..from INSIDE  the camper…




OK, so we have landed for the week.  There is ONE nice thing about where we are..the mountains around us are beautiful, and I will take pictures of them tomorrow.  Thanks for coming with us, and don’t worry, we won’t leave you alone at the RV will be with us every place we go..and we will go LOTS!!!…More tomorrow….

Friday, February 26, 2010

Last Day At Hickiwan Trails….

   Today is our last full day here. We have certainly had a good time!! In many ways we hate to leave, but the reason we bought this rig was to travel!!…and we are ready to begin again.  Last night late, I heard something in the distance that sounded like heavy gun artillery, and I smiled to myself…those Air Force guys are still playing at war….and practicing for reality…I swear that those sounds helped lull me into sleep.

   Last night the sunset was pretty, but not very colorful.  It did light up the Ajo mountians in the South, and it really emphasized the many layers of rock that made up the mountain..


…and I had to take one of the moon coming up over the mountains behind us….I am a bit sad to leave this place…


We got up  this morning and had our coffee.  I peeled myself out of my recliner and MADE myself get the vacuum from under the bed.  Of course, once you start on the cleaning project, you must finish, so I made did… in record time…1 hour…my personal best (but maybe not the camper’s).  We went for our walk and the sun was shining through some high wispy clouds.   One of the dry washes up by the casino had green grass all around it..


The park was pretty empty, but we heard there were 14 RV’s coming in this evening, so we may see Ray running around doing his best at valet parking..some people need someone to actually get in the rig and park it for them..(I shouldn’t talk..that would be me if I was asked to back this buggy in.)  Den decided he should fill our now sanitized tank with fresh water for our next stay. About half way through the water fill, I pulled out my drawer under my stove and checked for “puddles in pans”…Thank God, there were none this time!!

   The clouds moved in about noon and the wind picked up along with it.  Since I was in shorts and tube top, I quickly made the decision that this was not going to be a sunning day for Donna. After our lunch, we drove into Ajo and I stopped to pick up a necklace for my granddaughter.  We stopped at the local liquor store for Den’s beer. I went to the Rum aisle and was just checking it out, when I noticed Den standing in front of the beer cooler, looking like he just lost his best friend…I walked back and he turned to me and said,”I think they are OUT!”..OH NO!!!!OH PAIN, OH TRAGEDY! Shake it off, Den….either that, or get the regular instead of the lite…Alas, it was not to be. We climbed into the truck with nary a sack in hand, and headed to Olsen’s to get fish and fries.

This was not to be our day…Basically, it was my fault that we left without fish and fries. They advertised them for $5.99 and when we got there they were $6.99…and I am just tight enough that I didn’t want to pay almost $15.50 for 2 orders of fish and fries WITHOUT cole slaw…Not to be denied my seafood craving, we strolled past the frozen food aisle and picked up two boxes of fried clams….For the low, low sum of $7.99, we can have clams…and I will make the slaw and potatoes….I am one cheap “sombitch.”…

  We went back up toward the RV park and pulled into the casino/gas station/convenience store to fuel up before we leave in the morning. I noticed a tarp set up off to the side and smelled the unmistakable scent of mesquite smoke.  Den began to fuel the truck and I almost broke my neck climbing out of the truck to see what was going on….I was sooooo happy to find that the Native Americans were selling their homemade jewelry.. and also cooking stuff…

100_5658 100_5659

The young man sitting down in the corner in the photo on the right was making earrings right there on the spot…They had some fabulous necklaces…I saw Den was getting ready to leave, so I jumped back in the truck…,( but not before I had found out they only take cash or check. tee hee..) We drove to our camper, put the clams into the freezer and I dragged Dennis right back down with me to look at their jewelry again…We looked at everything (I had a few favorites)…their prices were really good.  They were kind enough to explain the stones, their meanings, and took a lot of time with us.  No, we didn’t buy anything….YET!! I found out that they will be here until sunset….hmmmm…I may just have to go back later.

I took one last picture of ol’ Flattop mountain….


So now, I have a decision to make…To buy or NOT to buy…That is the question….Den says get whatever I want…that is what he always says…and I just told you how tight I am…but this stuff was quality silver and gemstones…handcrafted…pure silver…great turquois….carved bison bone…need I say more??  OK, it is time to pack it up for today. I will try to get a short blog in tomorrow after we get set up at Amato…Just think, loyal followers, different pictures….FINALLY!! Thanks for putting up with the repetitions…and stay tuned to see if I bought any jewelry….

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Counting Down and Tidying Up…

   Yesterday late afternoon the military was definitely having some kind of war games and bombing practice.  Every so often the camper would shake with a low rumbling boom.  You could also hear the roar of the Fighter Jets and the A-10 Warthogs playing in the clouds.  Call me crazy, but I get a warm and fuzzy safe kind of feeling from knowing they are honing their skills overhead. I cannot imagine having to actually be involved in the REAL war games they are practicing for in Afghanistan.

   Last night’s sunset was a non-event…Ol’ Mr. Sol dove behind the mountains without his usual orange/ red/purple nightshirt.  I was just as glad. I think one more commando raid for a sunset picture and I will be banned from the park…just kidding. Ray wouldn’t ban me…he understands my insanity. He can identify…This morning, however, I was again on my worst behavior, dodging dog walkers in my nightshirt and slippers, but being rewarded by a pretty nice sunrise over the mountains behind us…

100_5632 100_5636 100_5637

(clik on pik to make bigger)

We had our java and took our walk.  What a gorgeous morning…sunny and no wind.  The park was beginning to empty out fast. The whole group 0f 8 campers from California were gone now, and a few more people were hooking on and heading out. Our view opened up again…Den and I are ready and anxious to continue on our adventure this Saturday..we have the wanderlust again.  We went into Ajo and got our groceries.  I got my last cheap meat for the year. I swear I have never seen such meat sales (and GREAT meat) anywhere…ever! I also picked up some fresh salsa, making sure they mixed the medium and the hot together for us..I am a bit of a sissy when it comes to the hot salsa down here.  We also got some fresh made Italian sausage .  Last time we got that in the hot form also, and I couldn’t feel my tongue for days.  What is it about the people in the Southwest that allows them to chew and swallow that stuff..crying and sniffing the whole time..In my humble opinion, some of this hot stuff should be used to pry top secrets from prisoners!! And…don’t allow them any water!!  I’d sing like a bird!

We were hoping to stop at Indulgences to get Den some more beer, at a good price…But, this place apparently doesn’t open until noon..OK, whatever. We are coming back to Ajo tomorrow to do some shopping and pick up our last fix of fish and fries from Olsen’s Marketplace…and now it looks like we will pick up some beer too. On the way back from Ajo, we noticed how hazy the Ajo mountains looked in the distance.


…They are calling for a few showers Saturday morning…Probably about the time we will be folding up and getting ready to leave…That would be about our luck. When we got back from groceries, I was outside and met our  new neighbors to the North.  They are from Alaska, and are full-timers for the last two years…and they100_5645 are driving a huge Mountain –Aire  motorhome…We had a great talk about Alaska.  Den and I went there in 2002, before we ever had an RV.  We had a 1999 1/2 ton Chevy Silverado, short bed, standard cab.  We left August 18th and returned September 18th…1 month and 11,000 miles later..  We drove all the way to Prudhoe Bay and the oil fields..What a trip!! That is actually when we started thinking of getting a camper.  We kept seeing these people parked by a stream, fishing and enjoying the outdoors….seeing Alaska a very different way than we were.  That next summer, we sold our underpowered Chevy, bought our 3/4 ton GMC extended cab AND our first 5th wheel, a 2004 28’ Keystone Cougar…and we have never regretted becoming mobile!! We hope to get back to Alaska in our HitchHiker someday, but this time we will definitely take much longer than 1 month!!

Did I just get off on a tangent about going to Alaska???…You must forgive me, but it is totally on my bucket list.

We began the task of tidying things up and putting a few things away for our travel.  Bird feeders, candles, hanging spinners, portable picnic table…which meant I had to sort yesterday’s rock collection and stash it.

100_5643 100_5644

  Crystals on the left…and roses on the right, some of which are questionable.   I wonder if my rock collection will affect our mileage?????

Den pulled out our awning to let it finish drying from our few sprinkles we had a few days ago. If we forget to let it day out, it becomes an awning of mildew..not very attractive.

100_5641 100_5642

I am sooo rambling on about absolutely nothing of any significance today, so forgive me…my mind is already in the truck and on the road.. Two months in one place is long enough. Tonight I put some boneless skinless chicken thighs in the crock pot with white wine and mushroom soup…they will be smothering some noodles later.  The Grillmaster is not on call until Saturday night, so he put his little Smokey Joe away…(that is our one and only grill and we love it!!)  Tomorrow I will shovel the dust and dirt out of the camper and make a feeble attempt at cleaning. I will certainly blog one last time from here…feeling a little sad to leave this place..but  it’s on to new places and adventures….


Don’t forget to jump in the truck Saturday morning, but be careful not to sit on the Hughesnet transmitter/receiver!  That thing gets special treatment and rides INSIDE the truck…just scoot it over and jump in!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

McGuyver Rides Again!!!

   Yippee!!! It’s laundry day again..Seems like I did it just a few short days ago..My, the time does go by out here.  We got up about 6:50AM to be “front row Joe” at the laundry. I know lots of people are leaving tomorrow and I had a suspicion that there would be lots of peeps at the “4 washer, 4 dryer” laundry…and I was correcto-mundo!! I barely got my 4 loads in and someone was in the door right behind me. After that, there seemed to be a revolving door at Ray’s Laundorama. Since we are leaving Saturday, I wanted to wash our little light rugs we put on our steps..This desert dust is ground in, and they WERE a light cream color at one time, but had become a drab beige in no time.

   Dennis rigged me up a clothesline to dry our rugs…I don’t like to hang stuff outside, but lots of people do it here, so why not?…and now we look like the traveling Clampetts…  100_5627 

You know, having an RV is very similar to having a precocious child…Sometimes they are angels and you brag them up and tell everyone how great they are…But…sometimes you want to throttle them and trade them in…Today was one of those “throttle and trade” days with little Miss HitchHiker..Here’s the story…

  Dennis wanted to drain our fresh water tank and refill it so he could sanitize the tank..We will be using our water on board at Amato next week.  Anyway, he drained it and refilled it.  Just as we were about to go into the desert, I opened the drawer under our stove and found it had become a swimming pool for pots and pans..Oh McGuyyyyyver!..What the #@*~# happened?? I emptied the drawer of wet pans and Den took it outside and emptied the water out of it..Then he got down on his belly, looked under the stove and said a typical McGuyver remark..”What the F----?? Apparently the vent hose that goes from the fresh water tank had broken , and water was overflowing into my drawer…nice.

To make a long story tolerable, I will tell you that he drilled a 3/4” hole in the fill door where you hook up the fresh water hose.  He then pulled the hose up and through the hole. So now, when he tries to put the hose clamp on the end, we can’t shut the door because of the lock…(Have I lost you non-Rver’s yet??). Sooooo…He takes the lock apart and retrofits it so that it locks from the top down….and he made his own little hose clamp from some wire, using pliers to twist it tight…(I hope there is at least one person who read this far)….Bottom line….We are good to go, and.. I was forced to clean out my pan drawer..

After all this, I dragged McGuyver out in the Sonoran Desert for one last walk. Here are some pictures…Notice the burro in the distance of the first one…(remember, you can “clik the pik to enlarge”..

100_5595   100_5596   



I call the above Ocotillo Row…..


  100_5623100_5620  100_5626 .



And yet another HUGE Organ Pipe Cactus!! We walked around for about an hour and a half. I could have stayed out there longer, but it was almost noon, so we headed in the direction of the RV park. You could see it in the distance. The reason it takes us so long to do 2 miles in the desert, is that we are so busy looking for rocks, we stop every 3 ft…..I swore I wasn’t going to pick up any more roses or quartz…But…by the time we DID get back, I had my pockets full…and I do NOT need anything remotely resembling saddlebags hanging on each of my hips…I have my OWN….


When we got back , I fixed us cheese and crackers…and I hit the sunshine..Today had turned into a beautiful day..and I intended to take full advantage of it….I dumped my rocks into a plastic dish filled with water to soak the desert dust off..the I use a toothbrush to scrub them off…

100_5628…That pink in the background is my tablecloth on our picnic table…left over from Xmas…I need to change that…These are just the rocks I got yesterday ..when I was by myself…Oh, you don’t wanta know how many I have!!

OK, so now it is time to jump in the shower…Tomorrow is another fun day…Our life is soooo busy….Don’t lose faith…We will leave Saturday for new surroundings…and different pictures..You have been very good about not complaining about 18 different photos of Barrel Cactus..Hang in there…!!!