Monday, January 29, 2007

Coming out of the cold

It’s been a while since we have posted. The weather has been cold, highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s so we have been hibernating inside.
The recreation room has become our oasis from the cold. To keep ourselves entertained we have had a number of indoor bocce ball tournaments on an official court made of carpet, 60 feet by 12 feet. (You can see for yourself in the pictures to the right) For those of you not familiar with bocce ball, a small white ball, the jack is thrown out onto the court, then you take turns throwing out colored balls, the closest one to the jack gets the points.
We also had a movie night in the recreation room. What movie would a bunch of people in RVs watch? Well RV, of course! After the movie with silly singing (John did not sing, THANK GOD!) and dancing around, Patti managed to break her right leg, OUCH! (although she didn’t think she broke it at that time.) Being late we managed to get Patti back in her trailer for the night. (The hospital is in Alpine, 80 miles away) The next morning John and June made the trip to the hospital with teammates Gary and Patti. After Patti was all patched up, in a cast, we had to stop for supplies at the grocery store and head back for pizza at Long Draw Pizza, with Ruster singing for us. That Patti is a real trooper and no way was she missing out on the fun at the Long Draw! (Russ is the guy who wrote, with our help, and sings our song Redneck Desert Rat Trailer Trash NOW ON CD to be purchased). First its back to the RV (house) Gary, being the good husband, wanting to back his truck in, just right, to make it easy for Patti to get in and out. It seems he had a little trouble, missed the driveway and hit a water faucet, breaking it off and flooding the area. (Wait till he gets the bill for that one!)
We did manage to get in a barn dance, on one of the warmer nights, with a local band playing for us. A good time was had by all!
After several days of not going anywhere it was time for a road trip up into the Basin for lunch. The Basin is a low area up in the Chisos Mountain range and is surrounded by mountains. At the Basin is a camp store, a hotel, a Ranger Bob station, and a restaurant. The trip to the basin was uneventful until we started the drive up the Basin road into the clouds. The temperature was 29 degrees (41 back at camp) and the fog was freezing on all the plants and trees. This frosting is called hoarfrost. As long as there is fog and freezing temperatures the frost continues to build, weighing the plants down like ice would, only it has that frosty look to it. (Here is a web cam, located in the Basin, if you would like to take a look: http://www.nps.gov/archive/bibe/webcam/basincam.htm )

FINALLY WARM WEATHER!
With things drying out and temps in the 60s it was time for a hike. We all loaded up and headed into the park to Swirl waterhole. This rock formation is a water fall, when there is water enough to flow and is an old Indian camp. On the walk in we found a number of pieces of chert, rock consisting essentially of microcrystalline quartz. Chert was used by the Indians to make arrow heads. This rock can be broken or chipped like glass and formed into arrowheads. The pieces we found are chips from this process. We also found a number of fossil oyster shells. (This whole area was an ocean during two different periods.)
What to do after a hike with a big appetite? A fish fry, of course, with fresh walleye caught in Wisconsin by another friend Larry and his wife Dawn. With Roger and his brother, Troy doing the cooking. What a great meal!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Staying Warm

The weather here hasn't exactly been cooperating. We have had some rain and if you can believe it, freezing rain, and SNOW, BRR.
The girls have been exercising, in the Rec room.
I worked on my honey do list, replacing 2 drawer slides with the 2 we got for Christmas. (We have been replacing drawer slides as the factory ones, with a lot of weight in them, keep breaking)
This kind of weather puts the damper on hiking. Hmm, what to do????
Sounds like a party, not letting the weather get us down the Grimm Trailer hosted a party.
Roger cooked a big pot of stew and June made rolls, using a recipe that she got from Roger’s mother. Boy it sure was good, nice hot stew with warm rolls fresh from the oven!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Short Update

What have June and John been doing?
There is a cast iron cook off on February 3rd. June, Roger, and Sue will be cooking in the competition and need practice.
Just check out June’s buns in the pictures.
Today Roger cooked barbecued chicken cordon bleu, his wife, Sue, made chocolate lovers delight cake, and June made rolls.
What a great dinner!!!!!
The rest of us decided that they need to practice more. (Someone has to eat those practice meals, right?)
Ray made a sign for our road. (Yep, click on the slide show for a look see.)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Cattail Falls

Arriving at Big Bend Motor Inn is like coming to our second home, after all it’s our fourth year and we just love it.
But there is work to do, we need to do the obvious, level up, make all the connections, and decorate!
Yes, June has a special tree to put up, plant her garden, and rake up the site.
The Internet satellite dish has to be set up, Direc TV connected, (Yes we are camping and roughing it) and the outdoor rug nailed down. (Yep, it gets windy here in the desert. The wind can come fast, hard, and out of nowhere. RV awnings are torn off on a regular basis)
We like to spend a day or two to settle in before we go off on adventures.
Some of our old friends, Larry, Polly and their two grandkids have been here for a while and decided to hike into Cattail Falls while we settled in.

Cattail Falls is one of the areas where the occasional rains drain down from the mountains. We have hiked back into the falls several times and only to see a wet rock cliff. The trail is an old one and is no longer marked on any park map. It is also an area where the Park Service collects drinking water for the park.

When Larry and Polly returned and told us that water was flowing over the falls, we got excited, and plans were made to hike out there the next morning.

The weather was a little different than when Larry and Polly went in, about 35 degrees cooler. But we all layered up and made the hike in, moving fast to keep warm. We actually heated up enough to shed a layer. As we rounded the bend, where the wash leading up to the falls is, we could hear and see the falls. It was really great to see water coming down over the falls.
Even with this water coming down it goes underground a short distance down the wash.
It is worth noting that during very heavy rains a lot more water flows down, as was evidenced by trees piled up on big rocks, in the wash down from where it goes underground.
The walk out was cool as the wind had picked up and it was sure nice to see the truck.
Once we got back June made some hot chocolate for us to warm up, with a splash of Baileys.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Kartchner Caverns

After enjoying the family for the Holidays and ringing in the New Year it was time for another adventure. (Besides we were recovered from the New Years celebration)
On January 2nd it was time for June and John to head east, back to Texas. But, we needed to pay a visit to the newly discovered (in cave terms) Kartchner Caverns, in Benson, Arizona.
With tickets that John’s mother had picked up the clan headed to Benson for a tour (Clan meaning: John’s folks, sister, brother in law, and niece, or Earl, Dorothy, Marie, Vic, Darcy, and of course June and John!)
Our tour was scheduled to start at 9:40AM, but we had to be there by 8:40AM, hmm.
Anyway the plan was for June and John to take the tour, then head east. So the trailer was made ready, hooked up and pulled out at 7:00AM for the hour and a half trip.
The Clan was gathered at the appointed time and place with an hour to kill. What to do for an hour? We looked at the various exhibits, that took about 20 minutes, now what, oh yes, the gift shop, guess we will look there, too. (Now I know why they want you there an hour early)
This cave was discovered in 1974 by two guys, Tenen and Tufts, who search for caves. It was kept a secret, even from the land owner, Kartchner, as these guys have seen the vandalism that can be done to caves.
In 1978 they decided to tell the Kartchners and in 1988 arraignments were made for the State of Arizona to purchase the property and open it to the public.
Learning from such caves as Carlsbad Caverns of their mistakes in caring for the caves extra measures were taken to protect this one.
A mining company was brought in to dig tunnels into the cave through the rock and install air locks to maintain the natural temperature and humidity in the cave. Special walk ways (wheel chair accessible) were put in designed to be washed down every day and the waste water pumped out.
Special instructions were given to touch only the hand rails, if you touched anything else, by accident, tell Ranger Bob, and he would mark it for later clean up. Oh yes, you probably noticed that there were no photos of the cave in the Blog, yep, another rule, NO PHOTOGRAPHS. (You guessed it, photographs can be purchased in the gift shop!)
If you want to see a cave in pristine condition, still making formations, complete with bats, this is the one. If you want to see more and get a better look at cave formations, go to Carlsbad Caverns. If you go to Carlsbad, make sure you listen to what they have done to screw it up. Like paving a parking lot over the top of the cave, which stops the flow of water down into the cave, remember, the water dripping makes the various formations over many years.
You can read more about Kartchner Caverns here: http://www.azparks.gov/Parks/parkhtml/kartchner.html If you look real close at the clickable map you can see pictures inside the cave. (Taken before picture taking was outlawed)

After the tour June and John headed east, stopping in Deming, New Mexico, to stock up on grub at the Wal Mart, of course. Then on to Las Cruces, yep the same place again, for the night, and yes they remembered the broken down crew. Wednesday it was on to Terlingua, with a slight delay on I-10, seems that Texans can’t drive on ice. There were about 20 pile ups across some 30 miles of highway, west of Van Horn, closing the road! Anyway we were only held up for about 30 minutes. Arriving in Terlingua about 2:00PM where we were met by a number of friendly faces and part of our Texas family, (Larry, Polly; Roger and Sue). (Kinda feels like home)