March 23, 2011

Southwestern Arizona Bits

In February we stayed at the Benson, AZ Saguaro Escapees Co-op for two weeks and liked it. It offers a desert view and lots with casitas that augment, not replace, your RV home. Amazing what you can do with 288 sq feet and a porch! It’s an active community. Could we settle here? Hmmm.












Two Escapees birdwatching and bluegrass musicians I jammed with recommended a visit to Whitewater Wash. We drove out beyond historic Tombstone to see the sandhill cranes that gather daily in winter. It was great! At the parking lot, the ranger said Get out there by noon to see 18-20,000 birds fly in, so we hit the trail! Many of the daily flock were already there, yet long lines and V formations continued to sweep in during the next hour and more. We needed the binoculars and a long lens camera! Our camera is only 10x, but it did a fair job.















As often as I drop that camera, we should be able to buy one with a longer lens before long! But darnit, it’s awfully durable.

A great horned owl half asleep in the shade shed was keeping an eye on visitors.





We drove into Tucson so that I could meet and work with a wonderful group of rug hookers at Bella Quiltworks in Tucson. My first hook-in! Everyone was generous with suggestions for this new hooker, showed me their work, and let me try out different tools. Exciting! I look forward to seeing them again.




Also in Tucson, the Arizona State Museum annual Native American Crafts exhibit featured hundreds of Native American artists from western states. Fabulous. The artists seemed as happy to talk about their art as to make a sale. The ceramic artist comes from a large family of potters. The woodcarver took up his craft at age 40.








The sand painter was too intent to talk to his many admirers!







Tucson’s Rodeo Parade Museum has a huge collection of horse-drawn carriages & conveyances that are used in the annual Rodeo Parade. You can smell that good horsey sweat on the tack! They’ve sulkies, surries, stages, traps and more. 














I was shocked to learn that one of my elementary school idols, the Cisco Kid, was in his 50’s when I thought him so young and daring! (Well, ah… to be 50 again, myself…) He was daring in real life, too. A Spanish orphan, he worked as a stoker on a Brazilian coal ship to get to the US, overstayed his entry permit, and was pardoned by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Driven by several artistic talents and personality, he ended up in film and on TV. 

Finally, the horse-drawn lawnmower:









And a real Arizona sunset!