OUR FIRST OF MANY BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS AT THE RANCH
It was the sound of the Aspen leaves rustling in the early morning breeze that caught my attention when I stepped out of the motorhome in the pre-dawn hours. This whole area is an Astronomer's paradise & despite the moon high in the west I was still able to stand outside in my pajamas & identify some favorite constellations. What a beautiful land this is & what a beautiful night sky it is for the few people who take the time to see it.
EARLY MORNING MIST IN THE CANYONS OF THE CHIRICAHUAS
Rusty had told us the previous day there was a group of Astronomy buffs living over near Portal. What made this unique is that a desert community was created for people interested in Astronomy. Lots were sold & people built homes with their very own in-house or attached observatories. Obviously very wealthy people. A community of stargazers with their very own community. We took a drive over to the location & I took some photos from the car. Other observatories could also be seen dotted in the mountains. Some of the shiny white domes were mere specs in the distance.
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO RUSTY THIS MORNING
We said our good-byes to Rusty this morning & rolled out of the Park at 9:50 a.m. heading south for Douglas, Arizona. As usual there was no traffic & the highway was clear for as far as the eye could see in both directions. It was another reminder of why the southwest is so attractive to us. Mountain ranges on both sides with the open road ahead stretching to the horizon. A smattering of wispy clouds gave the sky it's morning personality & it was a great feeling inside to share that feeling with the rest of the day. I thought of the long boring summer I just had & was so grateful to now be out here in nature's wonderment with Mother Nature herself pointing out her handiwork ahead, to our right, to our left, to everywhere we looked.
ON THE ROAD TO DOUGLAS, ARIZONA….A QUIET & PEACEFUL LAND
As we approached Douglas I recognized old familiar shapes. Coronado Peak loomed out of the haze on the far distant horizon & reminded me of the morning we drove up a steep narrow road to a parking lot where we proceeded to hike high atop a hill last March. A sweeping panoramic view stretched out before us as we easily gazed a hundred miles deep into the heart of Mexico. Another formation of rocks brought back memories of a drive to the Texas John Slaughter Ranch. Over another rise & I was looking across the Sulphur Springs valley where the ranch is located. A glance in the direction of the Mule mountains told me where the little picturesque alpine like town of Bisbee was located & that brought back more pleasant memories for me. A mine tour, the BBC...Bisbee Breakfast Club, & the park with all the old vintage travel trailers. It was a great 60 mile drive from Rusty's to Douglas & it just re-affirmed my love & desire for the American southwest.
Topped up our propane tank in Douglas & was surprised that we had only used $11 worth of propane since leaving Ontario. Our fridge, hot water heater, stove, & furnace all run on propane but luckily we bought a Legacy Blue Flame heater a couple years ago so never had to use the furnace. RV furnaces are propane gas guzzlers. We were hungry so parked in a Wally World lot & walked to a Church's Chicken place. We normally never eat that kind of food but to-day we made an exception. We hadn't had fried chicken since last March when we were in this very same place. Luckily the owner had a friend with a front end loader who was able to scoop up Kelly & I with the bucket & haul us over to Wal-Mart afterwards. He had seen us waddling out the door I guess. It will probably be a very long time before we load ourselves up with a lot of greasy chicken again!!
OOOOOOOOH, I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ATE THE WHOLE THING!!
We were on familiar turf in the Douglas Wally World so it didn't take us long to pick up a bunch of groceries & stuff. That big chicken dinner weighed me down like an old bag of cement & it wasn't long & Kelly had to tip me over & dump me into the cart with the groceries. When the clerk tried to run me through the scanner a message flashed up on his screen saying, 'this old sack of potatoes is out of date......reject & apologize to customer for any inconvenience!!' I hauled myself off the conveyer built & told the clerk, "no apology necessary, I'll look after it!!”
HANGIN OUT AT WALLY WORLD
It was 20 miles to the ranch & for the first time on our trip we had to kick on the A/C to kick out the daytime's 85F temps. We all had our tongues hanging out including the dogs. McNeal Arizona looked the same as it did the day we left here last March. It was good to see the ranch come into view because it marks the end of our journeys first phase for now. Jeanie & Ray with our two old ranch pal dogs, Gleeson & Mr. Pearce came out to greet us & it was really great to see everyone. Had some catching up to do & then it was time to set up the rig. Jeanie & Ray walked over about 5 & we all headed off to do the afternoon chores. Main gate to be locked, water on cold nights to turn off, 8 chickens & 2 dogs to feed. And a funny thing happened when I fed Gleeson & Pearce. Gleeson barreled into his food but Pearce hesitated & stood there looking at me. I had forgot to give him his smooch. I was in the habit of giving him a smooch every time I fed him over 7 months ago & he remembered that. Now how's that for one smart dog. He remembered but I had forgotten. So, a big smooch it was:)) I’ll get some pictures of the guys to-morrow.
THE CHIRICAUHUA MOUNTAINS SUNSET PROFILE
J & R are rolling out Friday morning & driving over to California to board a cruise ship for Hawaii. They will return to the ranch in about 3 weeks for Thanksgiving & are then taking off in their 5th wheel so the Bayfield Bunch will be at the ranch for awhile. Not as much work this year because the 2 boarded horses from last year have gone home & the 3 donkeys, Sarah, Nellie, & Poncho will spend the majority of their time in the pastures grazing grass. Only time we have to feed them is if the weather gets bad & we bring them in for shelter. We're going to have a lot of time on our hands so we'll be busy scouting out new day trips & Kelly has talked me into going with her for free Yoga classes in nearby Elfrida & McNeal. Well, it should be a bit easier than the 108 moves Tai Chi I was doing a few years ago anyway.
Anyway, that was it for our first day at the ranch & we're really glad to finally be here. And, so are the furry guys because now they have free range to come & go from the motorhome whenever they like. There is coyote proof fencing for quite a few acres surrounding the ranch house so we're comfortable with letting the guys out to roam. Plus, they have their 2 Arizona ranch cousins, Gleeson & Pearce to keep an eye on things & show them around too. Oh, & you may have noticed that we are back in the land of beautiful sunsets again......:))
GROANER'S CORNER:(( Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. However, all the league records were unfortunately destroyed in a fire. Thus we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.
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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.