You are currently viewing archive for December 2012

2012/12/31: Last Day of the Year

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today was a hang around the trailer day. I want to take the bikes over to the bike path by the river one day, so Ed decided that we needed to shake the bikes down before we do a ride away from the trailer. The RV park backs onto one of the canals in Yuma, and it has a dirt roadway where you can walk or ride your bike. So the canal path it was. Would you believe there are some geocaches along the canal? As we were out for a bike ride we didn't take a camera with us. When we decided when wanted to take a photo we remembered the cell phone. These picture phones are handy inventions.

The first geocach had the clue "these Russian dolls are stacked.

This geocache was called Arizona wind chimes .... those are shot gun shells.

We had crossed sides on the canal when Ed realized that he had missed a cache, he went back to get it.

Wasn't sure what to expect at the casino. We arrived about 7pm and went straight to the dining room for the prime rib and seafood buffet... it was pretty good. After dinner we wandered around the casino and noticed that it had begun to fill up while we were eating .... lots of people at the tables (expect for the minimum $100 black jack table) and most of the machines were occupied. The room for the band and the dance wasn't full but all the tables were occupied or saved. When the band started playing it was so loud we were happy to leave. The Karaoke bar was the next stop, better volume level and after about 10 minutes we managed to score a table. Just before 11pm we decided we had had enough of the casino. Zaph, Ed and I welcomed in the New Year together in our trailer.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Not sure how Ed and I missed the sound, but a hot air balloon flew over our trailer this morning. Luckily, Carol heard it, alerted John, who knocked on our door. It was only a matter of seconds before Ed was dressed and out the door with camera in hand. Zaph and I were a little slower.

View from the trailer.

The pilot landed the balloon on the shoulder of the road. When Ed and John talked to the pilot he told them you have to be careful where you land as the farmers don't want the balloons in their fields. Apparently, south of here white trucks will chase the balloons telling the pilot that the balloon is not allowed to land in their field. Don't think the balloonist have as much trouble at home, but I do remember getting a call from a balloonist (after our flight) as the owner of the field where we landed was claiming the balloon had frightened his cows and he wanted some type of compensation.

Taking the balloon down.

There is a farmers market on Sunday's at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park. John caught Ed and me buying cauliflower and broccoli. Very fresh and couldn't beat the price.

There are a number of buildings at the park, some depict old homes, others are filled with antiques and one has information on the canal system that runs through Yuma. Part of the canal system goes under the Gila and Colorado Rivers. John was very interested in this old cement mixer.


You can find this locomotive at Pivot Point. This is the spot where the first rail bridge was located. The bridge was a swing bridge and the cement pivot point is still in place.

The pivot point overlooking the walking trails and the river. Old photos show the Colorado River almost reaching the pivot point. Dams and irrigation have reduced the size of the Colorado River.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
There are three flea markets in town. The first one is the Yuma market that we went to shortly after we arrive in Yuma. Today we managed to go the indoor market and the Park and Swap market. The indoor market are booths set up in what was a large store at one point in it's life. It's all very neat and pretty. The Park and Swap market is pretty much the opposite. To start with there is a $1 fee (you get a door prize ticket) to get in. This market is more like the Mexican markets in Mission, Texas except with a little less junk. It was a successful day as we all came home with a few treasures.

One of the entrances ...

Looking down one row of the market.

2012/12/28: Fresh Vegetables

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
We seem to go wild one day, packing in all kinds of adventures then the next day we seem to run out of steam and not manage to accomplish much. Thinking this may be one of the signs of getting old.

Today we drove around town checking out the two local casinos. The thought is to spend New Years Eve at a casino. The Cocopah Casino seemed the least smokiest (probably not grammatically correct but hopefully it gets across what I mean) and the casino restaurant is doing a prime rib / seafood buffet. Think this is the one.

Ed had his camera with him and was able to get some photos of picking the cauliflower crop.
A special wagon is pulled out into the field. I think it is moved as the field is picked. The crop is picked, brought over to the wagon, extraneous leaves removed, wrapped and put into boxes. We saw this done for cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce. An efficient way to get vegetables to the stores quickly.

One of the "pickers" resting in the cauliflower field.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The Imperial Sand Dunes are located in the southeast corner of California. They are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. The heart of the dunes is about an hours drive from Yuma.

Picture yourself in 1912 trying to cross 6 miles of desert in your automobile. The first man to traverse this "road" used 6 horses to pull his automobile. A more reliable way to traverse the sand hills was required and the "plank road" was born. In 1915, it took two months to haul and lay down two parallel plank tracks, each 25" wide spiked to wooden cross pieces underneath. The wheel path floated across 6 1/2 miles of shifting sand. The plank road took a lot of abuse and a new plank road (similar to the one in the photo) was built in 1916. This road was used till 1926 when it was replaced by a asphaltic concrete road.

The dunes are a popular place for people to come and play.



There were hundreds of RV parked in a number of "campgrounds" in the dunes. We talked to one fellow who said he's been spending Christmas in the dunes for the past 27 years. In total, he spends about 70 days a year in the dunes. And yes, we saw a number of decorated Christmas trees by trailers.

When you have villages of people you need stores. At the entrance to one of the camping areas is a store area where you could rent ATVs, buy groceries, buy flags and just about anything else you would need. We also saw water trucks, ice cream trucks and the honey wagon driving through the campground area.

There were lots of left over possibilities for dinner but when Carol popped over to say her and John were going for Mexican food we decided to join them. We were warned that the tortilla soup is addictive but we ordered it anyway. We're pretty sure we'll be going back for soup and Margaritas (even Carol thought the Margarita was good).

When we left the restaurant we saw a lot of flashing lights, turned out it wasn't an accident but a number of "wide loads". The buildings from a Christmas display was being move.

The water tower by the mission was all lit up.

The Ocean to Ocean bridge was built in 1915. It was the final link that allow vehicular traffic to drive from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

2012/12/26: Happy Boxing Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I think I've started a tradition .... this is the 3rd year in a row that we are cooking a turkey dinner on Boxing Day (that's the 26th of December for you non-Canadians). Neither John or Ed have smoked a turkey, so they decided this was the year they were going to do it. We guesstimated that it would take about 7 hours to cook a 12 pound turkey so by 9:30 the smoker was turned on and the bird was ready. Ed and John spent the entire day outside smoking the turkey .... what this means is they relaxed, talked to people walking by on the canal, drank a couple margaritas and spritz the turkey every half hour. Smoking is hard work!

The city water in Yuma has a bit of a salty taste so we buy water from a machine --- 5 gallons for 50 cents. As Ed and I were almost out of drinking water and Ed was busy smoking, Carol and I went for water and a drive. We stopped at the Peanut Patch which turned out to be a store selling nuts, fudge, chocolate, preserves and jelly beans. As we were paying for our treats, we saw a herd of sheep walking down the road. I think there were 2 men on foot, one man driving a truck and a number of dogs. The man leading the herd had a ram on a rope which the rest of the sheep were following. The dogs were fun to watch as they ran around the sheep keeping them all together and making sure the stragglers caught up. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me and I forgot my cell phone can take pictures.

On the smoker

Smoked and ready to eat

John was the center of attention while he was carving the turkey.

Happiness is ...... OK maybe the entire room full of balls.

2012/12/26: Merry Christmas

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
December 25, 2012

I miss the sun shining on a white landscape, but there is something to be said about sun and 60F. I did hear that it was 86F in Mission this Christmas. The park we are staying in has a Christmas Pot Luck dinner. We decided that it would be fun to meet some of the other people in the park so we signed up.

Santa was good to Zaph as usual.

Zaph with his new toys.

Cait and Zaph is their Christmas finery.

The food table. The park is smaller than Oleander Acres in Mission. Just over 50 people showed up for the dinner. A very nice couple from British Columbia sat at our table.

John and Carol not only enjoyed a wonderful dinner but also won one of the door prizes and the gift basket.

2012/12/26: Christmas Eve

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
December 24, 2012
This morning we returned the car, then we went to Frys (a grocery store). I think everyone else also went to Frys. It took a little longer than we had planned but we managed to find everything we needed and didn't need to go to any other stores. I decided to make Cioppino (a fish stew) for supper and as it served 6 to 8, Michigan John and Carol joined us. By the way, it was very good.

Caity got into the Christmas spirit with Zaph's antlers.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
December 23, 2012

When we planned the trip to San Diego we promised Zaph that we would go to the beach. As we are leaving later today, the beach was the first item on the agenda today. Zaph, Barry, John S, Ed and I piled into the car and drove to Dog Beach at Ocean Beach. The best way to travel with three people and two large dogs is for one person (me) to sit in the back seat between the dogs.

The backseat of the car ... me and my buddies.

Zaph was overwhelmed by all the balls, people and dogs. Within the first couple of minutes he had snagged himself a big colorful ball which soon had the owner dog attached.

I've got it!!!

The whales are migrating south to Mexico, so it's a good time to go whale watching. John S, Carol S, Ed, myself and Barry went on a three hour whale watching trip. Barry doesn't really enjoy boats and even enjoys being on the outside deck even less but if Carol was going so was he. Barry felt a bit better when a couple kids started petting him.

A view of San Diego from the ship.

This sea lion found an interesting place to lounge.

The captain of the ship was quite excited to see this pod of Risso's dolphins. Risso's dolphins are one of the larger members of the dolphin family. They are usually an offshore dolphin whose inshore appearance is uncommon.

The dorsal fin is tall, curved and located near the middle of the back. The Risso's dolphins are typically 10 feet in length with an average weight of 650 pounds.

There were a number of gray whales in the area. The gray whale is a "coastal" whale that migrates along the North American Pacific Coast between arctic seas and the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico.

The gray whale has no dorsal fin. About 2/3 of the way back on its body is a prominent dorsal hump followed by a series of 6-12 knuckles along the dorsal ridge that extend to the flukes (tail lobes).

The sea lions claimed the dock.




After supper Ed, Zaph and I drove back to Yuma. For once Ed was happy that I fell asleep on the drive --- there was no one to complain as he had fun driving the car through the hilly windy road.

2012/12/26: Out for a Walk

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
December 22, 2012

John S, Ed, Barry, Zaph and I decided to go for a big walk around downtown San Diego this morning. First stop was the bakery with the wonderful croissants and good coffee (according to Ed). Second stop was the market in Little Italy. There were crafts, specialty items, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh baked bread, pastries, dips, samosas, cooked foods, preserves, flowers, well just about everything. As we were full of croissants only the samosas tempted me .... yum.

I think 4 or 5 blocks of the Date Street were closed to traffic for the more the 150 booths that make up the the market.

I saw this little fellow walking and asked his owner if he was a Welsh Terrier. The owner was shocked that I knew his dog was a Welsh ... I told him that Zaph's best friend is a Welsh.

After we walked through the market we headed to the waterfront. The Star of India is sailed once a year. It is also open for tours.

The yacht Luna is the private yacht of Roman Abramovich (he's a billionaire 12 times over). The yacht cost $185 million USD, was delivered in 2010 and is 377 feet long. There are two helipads, several small boats, one covered swimming pool and has a crew of 40. The windows are bullet proof.

Walking along the Embarcadero. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and around 60F so lots of people were walking around.

Zaph was thirsty after walking for more than an hour. John S found a washroom building that had three fountains --- one for adults, one for children and one for dogs. Zaph and Barry thought this was great.

20121226-20121222__MG_2048.JPG 20121226-20121222__MG_2056.JPG
On the left is the dome on top of the new public library. John S thinks that dome is to give a bit of sun shelter to the windows of the reading rooms. The building on the right is John S and Carol S's condo. Their unit is one of the ones with the pointy balcony.

After a rest Ed, John S, Carol S, Barry and myself went for a drive. Only five would fit in either vehicle so Zaph got to rest at the condo. Barry is Carol S's service dog so he needed to come.

2012/12/26: San Diego at night

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
December 21, 2012

This morning we drove over to Enterprise and rented a car. It's been a long time since we rented a car and it was easier and less expensive then in my memory. We hung around the trailer waiting for Ed's package till 4:30. Michigan John and Carol had finished their outings and would be at their trailer for the rest of the evening and could collect Ed's package --- the package finally arrived at 9pm! Guess UPS is really busy this time of year.

The drive through the desert then the mountains to San Diego took about 3 hours. It was a nice drive till we hit the tail end of San Diego rush hour and that really wasn't too bad. It's great to see California John and Carol again. I'll refer to this John and Carol as John S and Carol S.

Think it was close to 11pm when John S, Ed and myself took the dogs, Zaph and Barry out for their evening walk. We wandered through a restaurant / bar /club area where a lot of people were just starting their evening. The big city is certainly different from Walkerton where I think the streets are rolled up and put away for the night by 11pm.

The evening was a little chilly but lots of people were out to take the bike cabs.

The big boy toy store. Lots of exotic cars for the boys to drooled over.

2012/12/24: Merry Christmas!!!!

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed, Zaph and I had a great weekend in San Diego. Lots of stories and photos to share but Ed hasn't downloaded the photos yet, hopefully tonight. So I'll tell you about San Diego in the next couple of days. In the mean time we want to wish everyone who takes the time to read this blog a very Merry Christmas.

20121224-christmas card.jpg

May 2013 be good to you.

2012/12/20: Hanging Out

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today is a very quiet day. Ed placed a couple of orders over the Internet and we are waiting for one of the packages to arrive. Ed did slip out a couple of times, once to walk Zaph and once to look for a couple of geocaches within walking distance. Of course the package arrived just after 5pm.

Most of tomorrow is going to be pretty quiet as well as another package is due to arrive. Would have been nice if the packages had been scheduled to arrive on the same day. The day will be a little more exciting than today as we have to go out in the morning to pick up a rental car. We're going to San Diego for the weekend and are leaving after the package arrives or John and Carol are home for the evening.

I'm sure you are wondering why we are renting a car as this is out of character for Ed. It's actually quite simple, the truck won't fit in underground parking at John and Carol's condo and we're not comfortable leaving the truck parked on the road overnight.

2012/12/19: Yuma Prison

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Yesterday, some fellows had come through the park asking if people wanted their trailers washed. John opted to have his trailer washed. They did a good job and price was reasonable so we decided to have our trailer and truck washed.


The Yuma Territorial Prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876. For the next 33 years 3,069 prisoners, including 29 woman served sentences here for crimes ranging from murder to theft to polygamy. The prison was located on a rock hill where the Colorado and Gila rivers meet.

The view from the prison.

The east cell block was the first section of the prison. Over the years, the prisoners constructed cell blocks, a library, physician's quarters, etc.

Six prisoners were housed in each cell. The cell contained two three tier bunk beds and a chamber pot.


There is a city park at the bottom of the prison. Think this is an organ pipe cactus.

Across the river from the prison is St. Thomas Indian Mission. It is an active Catholic church.


Statute of Padre Garcés


2012/12/18: Los Algadones

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
After arriving in Yuma we sort of stalled out or perhaps it'll sound better if I say "stopped to relax and reflect on the past month of travel".

On Sunday the 16th, Ed, Zaph and I did a quick trip to the Yuma market as the trailer needed an elbow for the sewer connection. Zaph really enjoyed the market as people were happy to stop and pet him.

On Monday the 17th, Ed and I drove around Yuma to get our bearings and to do a few errands. Yuma itself hasn't changed too much in the six years since our last real stay here but the Foothills area has. The Foothills are just east of Yuma and is full of RV parks, new homes and a huge new shopping area. As we planned a slowish day, smoking pork tenderloin was on the agenda. Yum, they were really good.

Today we drove to California then Los Algedones Mexico, about 16 km from Yuma. Los Algedones is a Mexican tourist town similar to the town of Progresso we visit when in Texas. Lots of dentists, eye doctors and pharmacies in town. What we did notice is that medicine for pets is harder to find (only one place and it's at least 10 blocks from the border) and there are fewer restaurants, though the one we ate at was quite good.

There were lots of vendors willing to sell you jewelery, purses, haircuts, hats, ponchos, etc. Interestingly, there were no DVD's for sale.

20121220-20121218_IMG_3714.JPG 20121220-20121218_IMG_3717.JPG
The restaurant we ate at was in a courtyard and had entertainment. A couple of guys sang and this woman danced.

2012/12/15: Moving to Yuma

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today is moving day. It took us about 5 hours to drive to Yuma, then a few more hours to set up, clean the trailer and do laundry. As we are staying Yuma for a month, set up is a little more involved. The bikes came off the back of the trailer and readied to ride, mats out, cargo bay rearranged. It feels good to be settled. Now it's time to make the "To See" list. Wonder what I should start with.

2012/12/14: RV Show

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Winter has come to Tucson, but the good news is it won't last long, so they tell us. Today is cool (high 50'sF, low 10'sC), cloudy with sunny breaks and the occasional shower. An RV dealer in Tucson is having an RV show at the fairgrounds this weekend, so we decided to have a look around. The dealer does this a couple of times a year as it saves people the city of Tucson taxes as the fairgrounds are in the county not in the city.

Ed and I are thinking about switching trailers as Ed doesn't enjoy pulling the current trailer over mountains. The trailers seem to be getting bigger every year, so there weren't a lot that met our criteria. May need to rethink our plans.

Beautiful rainbow.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
As Carol and I had seen Saguaro National Park - East and were a little disappointed with the number of Saguaros, we decided to see what Saguaro National Park - West was like. It was a good decision on our part --- there were a lot more saguaros. The saguaro has a wood structure and is filled with jelly-like substance, so I find it very interesting to see all of the contorted shapes the arms take.



20121213-20121213__90P6423.JPG 20121213-20121213__MG_1793.JPG
John found out the hard way the reason the cholla is called the jumping cactus. The "wonder tool" Ed carries in his pocket pulled most of the thorns out and the information center had an appropriate tweezer that removed the remaining thorn. Carol and I named this saguaro "bunny ears".

20121213-20121213__90P6439.JPG 20121213-20121213__90P6443.JPG
We were waiting for the saguaro on the left to start walking .... a little reminiscent of some horror movies. The saguaro on the right is almost the perfect saguaro from drawings --- just need to photo shop the arm in front out.

Had to laugh when I saw this photo .... it looks staged but it wasn't.

We could be wrong, but Carol and I think this is a baby saguaro. There were a quiet a few young cacti of different varieties.



A red-tailed hawk in a dead saguaro. I was pretty impressed with myself that I spotted the hawk as we drove by.

This small rock outcropping is full of petroglyphs believed to be over 800 years old.



The weather man predicted rain for this evening and he was correct. You can see from the photos that the day started out sunny and clear, getting cloudier as the day went on. Just before 8 pm the rain started. Funny part of the weather forecast was listening to the snow report, Mount Lemmon on the edge of Tucson is expecting 1 to 2 feet of snow.

2012/12/12: Shopping Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today should have been moving day but we decided to stay in Tuscon for an extra three days. There's a couple of things we still want to do in the area plus you can't beat the cost per night.

One of the items on our "want to do" list was visit Costco. There are several Costco stores in Tucson but none in Yuma, so we needed to go to get our Costco only items (Ed's coffee). John and Carol have not had the pleasure of shopping in a Costco so it was an experience for them. As usual bought more than we went in for. We also introduced John and Carol to lunch at Costco, first the free samples, then a hot dog and drink --- best deal in town.

After all the errands were completed we came back to the RV park. Zaph and Caity were ready for some action so Carol and I took them to the big grassy field to play ball. Thought they should enjoy it while they can as I don't know if we'll find anything like it in Yuma and I know we won't in Quartzsite. The boys went off to check out the Go-cart track. Think there are three or four different tracks associated with the fair grounds.

2012/12/11: Mission and Missile

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.

The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church's interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is still an active church today.

San Xavier del Bac

Our tour leader was very passionate about the mission. One of the stories she told us was about the cat and the mouse. There are two spirals in the top of the middle section of the facade of the mission. On one spiral is a mouse, on the other spiral is a cat. It is said that if the cat ever catches the mouse, Armageddon is happening, ie. the mission has been destroyed.

The main alter in the mission. The mission is an interesting blend of traditional Catholic church and native north American beliefs. The Franciscans ran out of funds before the mission was completed causing the architects and artisans to depart leaving the local residents to complete the mission.

The mission is being restored to it's 1910 (or thereabouts) condition. A lot has been completed but there is still more to be done.

A view of the mission from a nearby hill.

Food stands were set up in the mission parking lot.

Carol and I enjoying "fry bread". First time I've tried fry bread and I thought it was very good.

During the cold war a number of Titan Missile sites were built in the United States. One of the sites south of Tucson has been changed into a museum. This preserved Titan II missile site, officially known as complex 571-7, is all that remains of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were on alert across the United States from 1963 to 1987. Able to launch from its underground silo in just 58 seconds, the Titan II was capable of delivering a 9-megaton nuclear warhead to targets more than 6300 miles (10,000 km) away in about 30 minutes.

We signed up for the director's tour .... one Tuesday a month the director of the museum and former Titan II Missile Combat Crew Commander takes guests on a tour of the site.

20121212-20121211__90P6303.JPG 20121212-20121211__90P6309.JPG
Going down into the command station. All of the missile operations were below ground. It was here that I abandoned the tour. Being 35 feet below ground with only one stairwell out caused my claustrophobia to make itself known (hadn't even considered it when we booked the tour). Did it ever feel good when I got back to the surface. Ed took lots of photos and video so I could see what it was like.

The command room.

20121212-20121211__90P6331.JPG 20121212-20121211__90P6337.JPG
The hallway to the missile and the missile.

Back on the surface. The missile doors. One side has been modified so you can see the missile below.

Looking down on the missile.

2012/12/10: Ying and Yang

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today the girls did their own thing while the boys went off to spend the day at the Pima Air and Space Museum.

Our thing included doing some jobs around the trailer like cleaning, baking cookies and walking the dogs, then a bit of shopping and lunch and finally a tour to the Saguaro National Park East. In case your interested Saguaro is pronounced sa-WAH-ro. This cactus has really grabbed my attention.

20121211-20121210__MG_1643 baby saguaro.JPG
Saguaros are a very slow growing cactus. In Saguaro National Park, studies indicate that a saguaro grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life. This one is in the garden at the visitors center. As baby saguaros are small, look like a hedge hog cactus and grow under other trees they are very hard to find.

20121211-20121210__MG_1646.JPG 20121211-20121210__MG_1645.JPG
The photo on the left is of a "teenager" (that's what Carol and I decided to call them), probably over 20 years old. The photo on the right is in the garden at the visitor's center. We were shown a photo of the cactus when it was 50 years old in 1966 --- it didn't have any arms and was about 6 feet tall. Now 46 years later it is about 25 feet tall and has arms. That's Carol looking up at the cactus to give you an idea of it's height.

There are a lot of other cacti in the park like this Barrel Cactus

20121211-20121210__MG_1664 staghorn cholla.JPG
and this Staghorn Cholla.

An adult saguaro is generally considered to be about 125 years of age. It may weigh 6 tons or more and be as tall as 50 feet. The average life span of a saguaro is probably 150 - 175 years of age. However, biologists believe that some plants may live over 200 years.

Saguaro cacti only grow in the Sonora Desert and only in portions of the desert. The range of the saguaro is limited by freezing temperatures in winter and by elevation. A couple of years ago Tucson experience a few days where the temperatures drop to around 14F damaging and killing a number of the saguaro.

Ed and John left the trailer by 9:15 and didn't return to 5:45 --- I think they had a good day. The museum offers two hour long walking tours through the hangers and an hour long tram tour through the outdoor exhibits. The boys did them all plus walked through the entire place on their own. Ed chose the following photos from the over 350 photos that he took.

20121211-20121210__90P6122Pratt & Whitney Wasp 28 cylinder radial CornCob engine.JPG
Prott & Whitney Wasp 28 cylinder radial CornCob

20121211-20121210__90P5855 starr bumble bee worlds smallest true airplane.JPG
Starr Bumble Bee, worlds smallest true plane

20121211-20121210__90P5863 bd-5j microjet worlds smallest jet plane seen in 007 octopussy.JPG
Microjet, worlds smallest jet plane. It was seen in the James Bond,007 movie Octopussy.

20121211-20121210__90P5873 20 Kilo-Ton nuke.JPG
20 Kilo-Ton nuke

20121211-20121210__90P6002 b377 super guppy.JPG
Super Guppy

20121211-20121210__90P6016 b-36j   10 engines  Six Turning and Four Burning.JPG
This plane has 10 engines, six turning (propeller) and four burning (jet)

20121211-20121210__90P6042 sikorsky ch-54a skycrane.JPG
Sikorsky ch-54a Skycrane

20121211-20121210__90P6058 sr-71 blackbird.JPG
SR-71 Blackbird

20121211-20121210__90P6093 b-24 liberator.JPG
B-24 Liberator

20121211-20121210__90P6096 b-25j mitchell .JPG
B-25J Mitchell

20121211-20121210__90P6107 german V1 buzz bomb.JPG
German V1 Buzz Bomb
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Since we've been in Tucson, we've being hearing adds about the 4th Avenue Street Fair. Apparently, the street is closed for about 6 blocks and artisans and vendors sell their wares. The fair sounded like fun so off we went along with a lot of other people. By mid afternoon the street was full of shoppers and luckily we were ready to head back to the RV park where there were to be smoked.

It's a huge fair, we talked to a vendor from Kansas, one from Colorado and of course ones from Tuscon. Just about everything you can image was for sale including pottery, clothing, leather goods, metal goods, jewelry, photographs, paintings,food, wooden goods, etc.

There were also a number of musicians. This one played garbage cans.

This band included a saw.

20121209-20121209__MG_1633a.JPG 20121209-20121209__MG_1640a.JPG
Unfortunately, the robot didn't work. It was a "piggy" bank. The Easter Island head belonged to a bar.

By the way, the ribs were outstanding. Ed and John out did themselves.

2012/12/08: Old Tucson Studios

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Old Tucson Studios was at the top of the list on the "clipboard of fun" today. Old Tucson came to life in 1939 when Columbia Pictures chose a Pima County-owned site on which to build a replica of 1860's Tucson for the movie Arizona. Since then it has been used for a number of movies, TV shows and as a tourist attraction. In 1995 a fire destroyed a portion of the studio including buildings, costumes and memorabilia. The occasional movie still shoot scenes at Old Tucson but it is primarily a tourist attraction. Some of the buildings can also be rented for meetings and parties.

Stop by the saloon for some refreshments, to hear a sales pitch or watch a show.

The dancing girls were very entertaining.

Outside of the town hall there was a dispute between two gamblers. Started as a fight and ended as a gun fight.

Ed managed to find this fellow running around (road runner). Don't think he was there to see any shows.

Another show at the saloon.

You could even ride a stage coach around Old Tucson. As I've never been in a stage coach, Carol and I gave it a whirl. On smooth roads it was bumpy, can't image the ride on a pot hole filled road.

The TV show High Chaparral was filled at Old Tucson. The walking tour guide, pointed out the mountain behind the sign and said it can be seen in most of the movies and shows that have been filmed in Old Tucson.

While the boys were busy taking pictures, Carol and I had fun. We road on the Merry-Go-Round...

drove the sport cars ....

and took the train. Even went down the haunted gold mine.

Some of the old movie props left in the desert.

The Quick and the Dead was one of the movies that was filmed in Old Tucson. At this set, a scene from the movie was reproduced.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed and John think it will take them an entire day to see the Pima Air and Space Museum, so they decided to do the 309th AMARG Tour (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center) separately. AMARG or the "boneyard" is a place where military planes are stored for one of a number of reasons: 1) the plane has been temporarily pulled out of service either due to not being needed at the moment or needing upgrades; 2) the planes are no longer being flown by the US but are being flown by other countries, so plane parts will be sold off to the other countries; 3) the planes are being cut up and sold as scrap. Tucson was chosen as the location of the "boneyard" due to the climate and the soil conditions --- there are no rain or humidity issues and the dessert soil is hard enough that the planes can be parked on the soil --- no tarmac required.

Ed's art shot at the entrance to the Pima Air and Space Museum.

I really liked the look of this plane with the extra propellers and the radar.

Size doesn't matter, there are big planes and little planes at the "boneyard".

I find it amazing to see the row upon row of store aircraft. The white wrap is used to prevent the sun from damaging sensitive parts of the aircraft.


I believe this plane was a prototype. The nose cone is a chemical laser. We heard that the nose cone will be put in a museum and the remainder of the plane will be cut up for scrap.

The wheels and other parts of the planes have been removed. Many of the pieces will have been sold for parts and the remainder of the plane is being cut up for scrap.


After we finished our AMARG tour we drove back to the trailer, put on warmer clothes, loaded the dogs into the truck and headed for Mount Lemmon the highest peak in the area at 9157 feet. We heard it can be 20 to 30 degrees F cooler at the top of the mountain than in Tucson.

The first part of the drive took us through saguaro cactus country. The hillside was just covered in them. Saguaro grow slowly, perhaps an inch a year, but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.


As we drove higher up the mountain, the vegetation change. The saguaro disappeared and trees and rock formations appeared.


Near the top is the village of Summerhaven and Ski Valley, a ski hill. From the parking area at the ski hill you can look down at the valley and hills in the distance.

Summerhaven is a cute village of small homes and cabins. There was evidence of a forest fire. Searching the Internet, I discovered that a devastating fire occurred in 2003 when over two thirds of the homes in the town were destroyed. The scars of the fire are visible with the remains of the burnt trees dotting the landscape and only foundations standing where homes had been. A number of the homes have been rebuilt but it will be a long time before the memory of the fire disappears from the landscape.


2012/12/06: Catch Up Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
It's been about a month since Zaph had his blood tested, so we made an appointment to have it done at a local animal hospital. I'm happy to report that Zaph's platelet count is in the normal range so all is well.

Don't know if I already mentioned it or not, but our Canadian satellite no longer works in the southern USA. A new satellite was launched in the spring and the signal can be aimed more accurately thus covering only Canada and a small area of the USA. After doing some research Ed found the Dish Network has an RVers package that allows you to pay on a monthly basis. Even better it's actually affordable, so Ed spent part of today activating and setting up the new system. Ed's still going to miss Canadian news but at least he has the SCIFI channel.

As we are going to be in Tucson for a week, John decided that it was worth unpacking the smoker so we had smoked salmon for dinner ...... yum. It was as wonderful as I remembered it.

2012/12/05: Tucson

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Packed up the wagons and headed west out of Tombstone this morning. In less than an hour we had arrived at our destination, the Pima County Fairgrounds on the south east edge of Tucson. The RV park at the fairgrounds offer full service sites for $100 a week, a real deal when you realize that most of the RV parks in Tucson charge $35 or more for a night. It's not fancy, but as there are only about 20 units here it's quiet, clean and there's lots of places to walk the dogs. The driving to stores and attractions maybe a bit further but most of the things we want to see are on this side of Tucson, so it should work out.

Yes, it's a big parking lot but I can actually see grass and trees from my window so it's all good. Due to the desert climate, a lot of parks in Arizona resemble parking lots.

After setting up, lunching and roughly planning our time in Tucson (figuring out what was only open on weekends and what was only open during the week) we headed out to camping world and dinner. Both us and John and Carol were needing some new RV hoses, etc and Tucson is the first place we've stopped with a Camping World. As today is Ed and my 26th wedding anniversary (can't believe it's been that long) I got to choose the restaurant. As we had enjoyed Red Lobster last year for our anniversary I opted to try it again and again it was very good. We all decided to try Red Lobster's four course meal option and only Ed was able to eat the entire dinner (but he didn't have room for any of my dinner). I probably don't get out enough, but I was very surprised to see Chuleigh's Apple Crostada on the menu. Chuleigh's is an apple orchard in Milton Ontario not too far from us when we lived in Campbellville. Just seemed a little weird to be eating something from Milton when I'm in Arizona. Yes, I ordered it and it is in my refrigerator waiting for me to eat it. When we got back to the trailer I went online and found out that Chuleigh's is doing very well and sells to many grocery chains and restaurants including Red Lobster.

2012/12/04: Fairbank

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
About 10 minutes outside of Tombstone is the ghost town of Fairbank. Located on the San Pedro River, the town of Fairbank came into existence in 1881 with the construction of the New Mexico and Arizona Railroad. Fairbank was the nearest train depot to the rapidly growing Tombstone and quickly became an important transportation and supply hub, eventually serving three rail lines. The town had an elegant hotel, with a restaurant and a bar, a post office, several businesses and a schoolhouse. Fairbank lived on after the other mill towns along the river died and the Tombstone mines flooded in the late 1880's. It made it through the 1887 earthquake. It made it through the 1890 and 1894 floods. Fairbank remained a transportation hub until after WWI, when the price of copper dropped and both the mines and railroads decreased operations. In the 1960s Southern Pacific Railroad abandoned, the Fairbank Station. The Depot was torn down in 1967. The last residents left in the mid 70s. Today only a couple of buildings remain standing. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Friends of the San Pedro River have repaired the old schoolhouse which is now a store. The main commerce building has had work done to the walls, a new roof, doors and windows replaced. (borrowed from a brochure available at the town).

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Friends of the San Pedro River have repaired the old schoolhouse which is now a store. The main commerce building has had work done to the walls, a new roof, doors and windows replaced.

The Fairbank graveyard has become overgrown.

The remains of the Grand Central Mill about a mile and a half out of Fairbank.

More walls at the mill.


Ed spotted this little fellow in Fairbank. Think it is a tarantula. I stayed far away from it.

One of the old rail beds.

Instead of going straight back to Tombstone we decided to make a loop driving down to Sierra Vista then Tombstone. Sierra Vista surprised us, we were expecting a small town and found a city. Think we saw just about every fast food chain there is including Dairy Queen (just love those blizzards), most major restaurants and stores. Also a number of oriental restaurants which is attributed to the military base near by. The drive to Tombstone was quite pretty as we went through a mountain range. I had always assume that the people living in Tombstone either shopped in Bensen or Tucson (an hour away) but now I think they go to Sierra Vista, just 20 minutes away.

2012/12/03: Tombstone Revisited

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
There were a few things we didn't see in Tombstone on Saturday and some photos John wanted to have a second crack at so we hung out in Tombstone today. Carol and I went to the Rock Shop and purchased some rocks .... must have rocks in my head to actually buy rocks. But, these weren't ordinary rocks that we purchased but rocks that contained crystals. One of mine has some malachite and the second one has Azoribe crystals. Both are very interesting looking. I also stopped by the Credit Union to buy some quarters (time to do laundry). Pretty sure the Credit Union is in a relatively new building but the inside was set up to look like a bank in the late 1800's.

First stop was Boothill Graveyard. It was sad to see so many markers with only the word "Unknown".

With all of the cactus growing Boothill Graveyard is quiet pretty.

Ed managed to sneak in a little geocaching .... think he found three caches. One was just too easy, take your photo in front of the OK coral with a GPS in your hand and e-mail to the cache owner. Another one was down by the old train cars.

A couple of real "tourists" complete with bottles of sarsaparilla (root beer).

We stopped by the Tombstone Epitaph, looked at the old printing presses and read the original newspaper articles about the gunfight. Reporting styles have really changed over the years.

Two of the Earp brothers walking away from the Clantons and the McLaurys just before the gunfight.

The boys thought they would like some night shots of Tombstone, so we decided to walk downtown for dinner at the Crystal Palace Saloon.

The outside of the Crystal Palace.

The bar.


2012/12/02: Bisbee

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Bisbee is about a half hour drive south east of Tombstone. It’s claim to fame is the Copper Queen Mine and being the county seat for Cochise Country. The mine closed down years ago but the town survived. A couple of men saw the tourist potential of the town. The Copper Queen Mine was reopened as a tourist site (after a lot of work and money to ensure it was safe), the hotel altered to attract visitors and many artisans moved to town. Currently, there are a lot of antique shops and jewelry stores. Many of the jewelry stores make a lot of the jewelry they sell using minerals found in the mountains around Bisbee.

Old Bisbee in built in Tombstone Canyon (at least I assume it is Tombstone Canyon as the main road in town is called Tombstone Canyon Road) and thus is very hilly. A view of the town from the hillside as you are driving into town.

Outside of the museum is a train that was used in the Copper Queen Mine. Ed figured it was appropriate for him to drive the train was he is an "engineer".

There are no flat or straight roads in town.

The houses are built up the side of the mountain -- resulting in skinny, curvy roads and many stairs. When we were leaving town, we thought we would drive up one of the side roads and followed a pickup truck that seemed to know where it was going. Didn't take long before we realized this wasn't the best idea we had ever had. The road was narrow to start with and in some places vehicle were parked on the side of the road, in a few spots we squeezed by with an inch or two to spare. Finally near the top of the road we found a road that went back down. This one was a little better if you forget about the couple of hairpin turns and the steepness of the road.


20121203-20121202__90P4834.JPG 20121203-20121202__90P4843.JPG
Some of the many stairs we saw in town. In October of each year, the "Save Our Stairs 1000" event see many people coming to town to complete in the walk/run/stair climb. A statue honoring the copper miners.

The Copper Queen Mine was a huge open pit mine.

After driving to Douglas to see a very deteriorated historic district we returned North and found Lowell just outside of Bisbee. John talked to the two guys who were busily working away and found out the buildings on this street were mostly owned by these two men who were working on restoring vehicles and other memorabilia.


Across the highway from Lowell John spotted the Shady Dell. The old trailers and one boat are now used like a motel, renting by the night. On the Shady Dell's website I found that it is only open in the spring and fall. This one reminded us of Lucy and Dezi's trailer in the movie The Long Trailer.


What some guys will do to get a good photo.

2012/12/01: The Old West

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
We spent the day in Tombstone getting the feel the old west. After talking to some of the town folks we found out that they love living here. In fact a number of them volunteer to dress in period costume and walk around town visiting folks. Of course, some of the people in period costumes are in the different shows and are trying to entice you to go to their show.

We decided to start the day with a trolley ride followed by a gun fight. The trolley driver was quite knowledgeable and imparted lots of interesting information.

Note to self: do not sit in the front row. I was selected to participate in a contest with Ringo --- the bad guy. Thought I might get to hold the gun myself, but the sheriff also held it --- guess they wanted to make sure everything was safe.

20121202-20121201__90P4617.JPG 20121202-20121201__90P4628.JPG
Later in the program, outlaw Ringo was fighting with miner Jenny. Ringo had found Jenny's mule and sold it. Jenny wanted her mule back.

Downtown Tombstone


Stage coach rides are available.

The Earp brother's and Doc Holiday walking to the OK Corral for the big gun fight. The street walk gets a lot of attention. Our trolley driver told us that the gun fight did not actually happen at the OK Corral, but a newspaper reported that it did --- so that became the legend.

Isn't Ed cute. Maybe we should buy him the hat and a black leather vest to go with it.

Big Nose Kate saloon.

This is not in character with the old west, but I was suitably impressed when I saw it. We don't see a lot of recycling when we're traveling and I find it hard to throw recyclables in the trash as I live in a town that can reject my garbage if I put recyclables in it. Think I'll walk my recycles down to one of these cans.