Friday, December 19, 2014

Busy Day In Arkansas

As usual the days seem to fly by when I am home in Arkansas.  We spent a lazy morning before heading over to Hot Springs with all the rest of the Christmas shoppers to exchange some clothing for my Mom.  To Sandie and others who remember Mom’s accident this past summer—she is doing well.  Her shoulder is healed as is her forehead laceration.  She is having some issues with her back—probably the accident aggravated old injuries and her doctor is doing some tests.

Michael and Emmi held down the fort visiting with Danny (my BIL) and with Ross (my brother).  I’m not sure he accomplished much else and that is strictly OK! 

My niece Niki and her husband Eric have two daughters, Elizabeth and Leah.  Elizabeth is 12 years old and accompanied us to Hot Springs—oh, my—been awhile since I’ve been around a 12 year old!  They are both beautiful girls and fun (at times Smile).  Elizabeth is a good teacher—she taught me some things about my iPhone I didn’t know! 

Our family calls this farm Barnes-Hill.  Our family name is Barnes and my sister married into the Hill family, thus Barnes-Hill.  The land belonged to my paternal Grandfather and passed on to my brother Ross.  My entire immediate family lives within about a mile radius—around the corners and through the woods! 

I will try to remember to take some photos tomorrow, it’s to be a sunny, nice day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quick Blog

Well, Rod, you were correct, we made it to my family home in Arkansas about 5pm this afternoon.  We traveled hard all day in a misty rain, making tracks!  Not only were we anxious to see family but we also had a goal—make it to the co-op fuel station my brother uses in Sheridan, AR before it closed.  We filled the coach with diesel at $2.80/gallon!!!  How long has it been since we’ve seen diesel that low priced???  The gentleman running the co-op told me he had sold 6000 gallons of diesel TODAY!! 

Emmi is glad to be running loose again and we have started seeing all the family—Mom had made some of Pioneer Woman’s corn/shrimp chowder—delicious, it sure hit the spot!  My great niece Elizabeth had a basketball game which they won—so all the attendees, my sister and her husband have straggled in tonight after the game.  I am sure that by tomorrow night the entire gang will have gathered and we will be doing what we do best—eating! 

Thanks for riding along with us on this trip.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Are On The Move

By the time we moved the trailer to the RV park storage lot and dumped our tanks we were rolling by 9:30.  I think the cowboy is ill—we only traveled 340 miles today!!!!  We ran into some nasty road construction just outside Artesia, NM—the road crews responsible for setting out the warning barrels forgot that something bigger than a Volkswagen might use those roads!!!  The left hand side of the road dropped off sharply and the barrels were way, way too close, Michael struggled to miss each one but we did clip two or three of the dang things—no damage to the coach thank goodness!! 

We traveled through cotton fields:

IMG_0108and multiple small Texas towns—some prosperous, many with empty store fronts.  A couple of the towns had brick streets, I remember my Dad always thought it was so cool when a little town still had its brick streets.

IMG_0111We passed by this anatomically correct critter Smilestanding watch over the highway—he was huge!!:

IMG_0501We are settled into a little city park in Throckmorton, TX—full hookups, $15—can’t beat that!!

Onward tomorrow, depending on weather, roads and traffic we might or might not make it to my family home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas On The Pecos

IMG_0449Beautiful, stately homes line the Pecos River here in Carlsbad and one of the must sees in this area is Christmas On The Pecos.  IMG_0448Bundled up against the winter chill a group of us from the RV park boarded the boats and stared in fascination as we glided past millions of twinkling lights, animated displays synchronized to music, and simple displays with a message.  The wonderland of lights is created by more than 100 Pecos River homeowners and corporate sponsors who invest much time, effort and money into creating these spectacular displays! 

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We spent the day getting ready for our departure tomorrow, heading to Arkansas for Christmas with family.  Our big cargo trailer is remaining here at the Escapee’s park and we are just towing the jeep—much easier for this short a trip. 

Laundry was on the agenda—this park has a unique way of regulating the laundromat use—you have to sign up for a time on the hour.  Works like a charm!!  With that checked off my to do list I bathed Ms. Emmi and cleaned the coach—we are ready to roll. 

Lora and SantaAnd look at our happy little Ms. Lora!! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns

We are all fresh out of adjectives!  The winding road leading to Carlsbad Caverns travels through what our imaginations led us to believe was the landscape of all New Mexico.  Our kind of country—rugged, craggy, hills, cactus and yucca.  It was a beautiful morning when we left the campground and headed down 750 feet into the earth.

IMG_0444-001We’ve never left Emmi any longer than six hours thus our time for getting there, seeing some of the caverns and getting back was limited—so we took the elevator!  You can walk into the caverns through the natural entrance and walk back out—up the equivalent of a 75 story building we were told. 

Stepping off the elevator is a bit of a shock—seeing a dining area and restrooms in the bottom of a cave!!

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In 1912 a sixteen year old New Mexico boy named Jim White discovered and begin exploring the caves using candles and kerosene lanterns, ropes and stick ladders.  As you can imagine he had a hard time convincing anyone what was below the surface of the ground.  He finally convinced a photographer to follow him into the cave—the photographer was so impressed he came back and brought assistants with materials (magnesium) to create enough “flashes” for photography.  The photographs were published and in 1923 President Calvin Coolidge declared Carlsbad Caverns a National Monument even if one of the photographs was published upside down.   In 1930 the Caverns became a National Park. 

Can you even imagine exploring something as vast and mystical as Carlsbad Caverns with candles and lanterns???  and on rope ladders hanging 90 feet above a huge hole??? 

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Entering the cave is entering another world—eerily quiet, mystically lighted, creature like formations, water dripping, green pools, bottomless pits—a whole other world, full of hang-y down and stick-y up things as Ranger Eric explained it! Smile

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We opted to take a self-guided tour of the Big Room and totally lucked out—there were very few people today allowing us to wander at our own pace, stop and take photographs (I took 198 photos) and enjoy the mystical atmosphere of Carlsbad Caverns. 

IMG_0249See the tiny person in the center of the photograph—the Big Room is that big—we were standing on the opposite side when I took this photograph.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the cave canteen then joined our ranger led tour of the Kings Palace.  Ranger Eric was passionate about Carlsbad Caverns presenting us with so much information about Jim White and the geology of the cave.  Our group was only 30 people (tours can have as many as 40 people) and it was a quiet, older group of people with only one child—a very pleasant youngster named Michael Smile who had the honor of pushing the button to turn off all lights so we could see how dark it was.  The man sitting on my left said, “oh my, it’s darker than when you have your eyes closed at night!!”  Ranger Eric had left little Michael beside “the button” and had wandered down past the row of people talking as he went—he blew out the candle lantern he carried, let us sit in the dark for a few seconds then said to Michael, “push the button and turn the lights back on.”  This little voice speaks from down the row in the dark, “I can’t find the button!”  We all died laughing, Ranger Eric quickly found his flashlight and helped the kid find the button!

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In our humble opinion, Carlsbad Caverns is not to be missed—we made it back to Ms. Emmi with 30 minutes to spare in our allotted six hour time frame!  (Bet you thought you were going to have to look at 198 photos didn’t you?? Winking smile)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Honey Do’s, Quilting and Sunshine

Back in the bedroom of our coach we have several large drawers.  Since owning this rig, one of the drawers will always slide in and out as we start and stop, now another of the drawers has started doing the same thing—so it went on the cowboy’s “list.”  Success—we now have drawers which will stay closed. 

During the night the wind started and this coach was rocking but at least when we woke this morning it was to bright sunshine, not fog!  The wind blew and blew hard all day—it was making me a little seasick at times! 

I spent the morning cooking making two Pioneer Woman recipes—her Restaurant Style Salsa and Chicken Enchiladas.  Wow—we dined well for lunch—I like corn tortillas and the enchilada recipe calls for corn instead of flour tortillas.  This afternoon I finished piecing and attaching the borders to the little Winter Solstice blog sew-a-along quilt.  It felt good to finish that little project—I do have to scrounge some red fabric from my Mom when we get there, seems I forgot to cut four 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch squares which are used for cornerstones on the border.  Other than that, the quilt is pieced.

Michael has also been in a creative mode lately—before we left home he started doing some leather work again and yesterday he finished up a wallet—completing the stitching. 

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Tomorrow we are headed to Carlsbad Caverns, we have a tour scheduled and we also hope to do a tour on our own.  Off to Arkansas soon!

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Peter Hurd Mural

When we arrived at this RV park the office presented us with a packet of information about the area.  One of the pamphlets detailed a walking tour of Artesia, NM with one of the points of interest being the new library built in 2013.   A very beautiful, modernistic structure with lots of steel and glass also holds a huge curved mural painted by American artist Peter Hurd.  IMG_0233

At one time Peter Hurd lived in this area and had a studio in Artesia, dying in Roswell, NM in 1984. He was a war correspondent for Life during World War II.  Hurd painted what was to have been

(photo from Wikipedia)

an official portrait of President Lyndon Johnson except the President didn’t like the painting calling it, “the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.”  In 1952 Hurd painted the  mural, The Future Belongs To Those Who Prepare For It inside the Prudential Life Insurance Building on the Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, TX.  

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The building was owned by MD Anderson Cancer Center and scheduled for demolition in 2008.  The murals’ worth was judged to be about $4 million and the Cancer Center was offering the mural free to anyone who would move it.  An anonymous benefactor paid the approximate $500,000 moving and restoration cost to bring the 16x47, thirteen ton mural to Artesia.  IMG_0235

The mural was lowered by crane through the removable roof of the new library and placed on steel and concrete columns.  The mural is illuminated and visible at night through the huge windows of the library. 

(photo borrowed from internet)

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We loved the mural, it was stunning!—Artesia is an amazingly wealthy little New Mexico town—lots of oil money and jobs here creating a strong sense of community.  Now if they could just do something about this fog! Winking smile