Sunday, 5 February 2012

Texas to AZ

Wow, 2 months have passed very quickly since our last post.  We spent the first half of December 2011 in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.  It was amazing that even though we were about 60 miles from the Gulf, we could feel the higher humidity.  Big Band music is all the rage in this area, so we took in a couple of Jam Sessions - which were very good.  Great music.

We left Texas in time to get to AZ for Christmas.  Sandra's Son Damon's Mother in Law was visiting a friend and we were invited to share Christmas with them - which was very thoughtful.  We had a lovely visit and enjoyed a wonderful meal.

(The following pictures are a bit out of sequence - and Sandra has not figured out yet how to correct this - so bear with me!)

A South Texas version of a 7 Eleven.  We thought it was a former car wash turned into a convenience store - then noticed that they are everywhere - even in the country - and new ones were being built in this style.  We did not shop here but found it interesting that there were always cars driving through to pick up supplies.

Barry securing the luggage load in the "Billy Goat".  We were so pleased to be able to be a shuttle for the kids.  Ronan was happy I think not to have to drive in the crazy traffic in the LA / Anaheim area - we just hope Barry's driving wasn't too scary when he had to torque Big Blue up to navigate the traffic!

Surprise - Dayna and Ronan knew we'd be at the airport to meet them on January 3 but the girls did not.  They were surprised and at first thought we just 'happened to be there" - then another surprise - Grandma and Barry are going to enjoy Disneyland with them too.  What a special time!

Have to have a picture of Big John at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County!

Beautiful rolling hills (Mnts) en route to the LA metropolitan area and Anaheim

En route to Anaheim we passed through Quartzite where you say many rigs like this or toy haulers - hauling the 'toys' to play in the dessert or in the sand dunes!

Christmas / New Years - Happy Holidays!

California - we've now been in close to 25 States

The I 10 passes through this valley just West of Palm Springs - do you think it might be a bit windy??  We don't like high winds - so will likely avoid this area.

More Windmills

While in the Mesa / Tempe area for Christmas - we stayed in this lovely park - Val Del Oro - the only place in the US that we've encountered that has designated recycling bins for more than just aluminum!  We just cannot believe how much recyclable material goes into the garbage and landfills generally down here.  Maybe this Park is an indication that things are slowly changing.

As we crossed into AZ from New Mexico this dramatic skyline greeted us.  We were travelling cross country on a good 2 lane highway into hilly/mountainous countryside.

The cotton has been harvested and is waiting for pick up for processing.  We thought these were bales, but apparently they are called 'modules'.

We only passed through New Mexico on this journey but hope to return in future to explore some of the Northern parts which are quite beautiful and interesting we've been told.

The USA/Mexico Border Fence.  As were were leaving El Paso Texas we had a good view over the fence into Mexico.  It seemed kind of eerie - seeing this fence!

Moving Day!  During our travels we have encountered many of these 'moving' vehicles.  We were always a little nervous about how secure or not these loads might be!

Anne Frank - while in El Paso, TX we visited the Holocaust Museum - originally started by a Holocaust survivor.  We wondered at the location down here in the South for such a museum - but this particular gentleman made El Paso his home and had the support of a very sympathetic and supportive Philanthropist.  The Museum was very well done and discrete, respectful and  tasteful - if one can call such a museum 'tasteful'.

A map depicting the concentration (Ghettos) and Death camps in Europe prior to WWII and during.  We learned details that we did not know and were appalled at the numbers!

While in El Paso we toured along the Mission Trail through three of the oldest communities in TX.  Three of the missions are still standing and active.  People are leaving the worship service here at the El Salizar Mission.

Patron Saint of the Sorocco Mission.  The Missions were built originally in the 1600's - and suffered some damage over the years from floods and fires - but have always been restored.  The story has it that this statue was being transported up from Mexico in the late 1600's when the wagon became mired in the mud - a sign that the statue was to remain in this area!

Sorocco Mission

A  beautiful mural of the Missions on an overpass embankment along the Mission trail in El Paso, TX

Ysleta Mission

This area of Texas was occupied first by Spain, then Mexico and then the US.  The Pueblo Indians still live in the area and are keeping alive the rich history and culture of the area.

The journey from San Antonio Texas to El Paso was long and desolate.  It was a day and a half of steady driving to get to the El Paso area.  From San Antonio to the Mesa area is close to 1000 miles.  An alternate route to the South is apparently more scenic and interesting.

Some section of the I 10 were interesting and somewhat pretty en route to El Paso

An example of efforts to beautify the route of I 10 between San Antonio and El Paso

A Pueblo Indian Art Quilt - Depicting the story of their people over the years

Another scenic section of that long long Interstate 10 between Texas and New Mexico/ Arizona

And more - it looks like they literally cut the road through these rocky outcroppings

The side view of the South Texas version of a 7 Eleven!
New Years was spent in our old RV Park in Casa Grande - reconnecting with our old friends there before heading over to California for a special rendezvous with Sandra's Daughter Dayna and Family.  More about this special time in the next post.  Meanwhile a few pictures to round off the end of 2011.

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