Gary and Connie Northup's
Trip Around
The Country in 2004
And Later Trips to California and Phoenix

Northup Family Quick Access

Connie and Gary's   Chuck and Eydie's   Frank and Judy's   Rick and Donna's  
Paul and Diana's   Tony and Dee's   Mike and Nita's   Ron and Sheryl's  
Frank and Mari's   Darien and Lafern's   Dean Northup's   Helen Northup's  
Larry and Allie's   Brian and Jeana's   John and Cheryl's   Jake and Julie's  
Vyron and Laurie's   David and Lisa's   Curtis and Faith's   Jamie and Joanna's  
Ross and Beth's   Amanda's   Terry and Linda's   Ben Hanson's  
Don and Sharon's   El and Molly's   Max and Judy's   Denny and Denni's  
Justin and Tami's       Dawn's  
  Annette Campbell's   Theresa's   Cindy Miller's  
Claypool's   Laurel's   Kevin and Traci's   Shari's  
Gary and Connie Took several short trips with the Vixen prior to Connie's retirement and the big 21 state trip around the country in the year 2004. The first of these was to Roseburg, Oregon, where they visited many waterfalls in the rain forest. These pictures are taken from Rick and Donna's Collection.
Gary, Rick, Josh and Connie At Colliding Rivers Connie and Josh at Colliding Rivers Donna and Josh at Susan Creek Falls Above Fall Creek Falls
Big Tree At Fall Creek Crevasse At Fall Creek Rick, Josh and Gary In The Crevasse Fall Creek Falls
Another Shot of Fall Creek Falls Donna Above Fall Creek Falls Josh On a Huge Rock at Fall Creek Gary and Connie at Toketee
Lower Toketee Falls (We were too close to get it all on one shot.)   Toketee Falls From Above a Little More   Gary, Connie, Josh and Rick in Some Trees at Toketee   The Stairs We Had to Climb to Get to Toketee Falls  
This Trip was Mostly Up The Umpqua River   TheNarrows on the Umpqua   Gary Took This Picture of Rick and Donna Right at the Base of Watson Falls   Watson Falls  
Another Angle of Watson Falls   Connie at Watson Falls   Gary at Watson Falls   Clearwater Falls  
Then, they got together again with Rick and Donna at Cousin Tom Northup's cabin on Lake Quinault, on the Olympic Penninsula. Barb was a great hostess, and Tom took us all to the beach at Clearwater and to the old Northup Homestead there. Then, a quick run up the Queets River, for some nice shots of the Olympics, and a little ride around Lake Quinault.
Washington State; Pacific Coast Beach Near Clearwater An Ancient Beach on the Pacific Coast Washington Beach Over-Look Tom and Gary; Beach-Combing
Gary and Tom at the Beach Donna and Rick, Tom and Gary at the Beach Josh, Gary and Tom
We Take A Trip Up The Queets A Shot Of The Olympics; Up the Queets A Shot Of Mount Olympus; Up The Queets
Josh And Gary At Tom And Barbs House on Lake Quinault   Out On Lake Quinault   Donna and Gary With Tom Giving Boat Rides   Tom Takes Donna and Rick Out In The Boat  
Rick, Josh, Donna, Connie and Tom   Close-up of Mount Hood in Oregon   This is Another Shot of Mount Hood   This is the Shot of Mount Hood the Close-Up was Drawn From  
This is Gary Driving During the Trial Run to Oregon Gary Next to the Vixen Before the Trip Was Started Gary and Connie at Home in the Vixen The Map We Filled With 21 States Visited
Josie, Lauri and Elissa at Di and Paul's House Gary, Di and Vyron at Paul and Di's House Gary, Di, Paul andMatt at Di and Paul's in Warren, Minnesota Gary, Di, Paul, RonII and Vyron at Di and Paul's House
Frank, Matt, Darien and Chuck at Mom's on the Way Through PV Around Mom's Table On the Way Through Pleasant Valley
A Lot of Family Sitting Around Mom's Table   This is Julie's Kane at Rick and Donna's House   Donna and Julie at Rick and Donna's on the Way Through Minneapolis   Donna in Rick and Donna's Living Room  
After Judy and Max put our pictures on the Shutter fly site, we saw Gertsie's baby sister, Donna Lou in Wisconsin and the Dean/Linda bunch in the Chicago area. So, here are a few shots of that to enjoy.
Gary's Aunt Donna Lou        
Three Guys Sharing Memories   Dean and Gary at Dean's Table   Gary and Dean at the Rose Garden   Connie and Dean in The Rose Garden in Montgomery  
Linda, Tami and Dawn at Dean's House     Gary at Niagra Falls   Connie at Niagra Falls  
Over The Rail At Niagra Falls     At Cape Cod   The Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachussetts  
New England Descriptions Go Here.
Fall In Vermont   Kennebunkport   Nauset, Massachussetts   Sunset In Portland, Maine  
New York City Descriptions Go Here
The UN Building   A Fireboat In The Hudson River   Times Square   Broadway  
This trip was NOT the way to see the world. It is the way to be sure you see some of the things you've always wanted to see if you're not sure you'll get another chance. We saw about all the people we had hoped to see except Ben Hanson. The weather cooperated wonderfully and we were just ahead of or just behind storms in almost every case and had mostly sunshine with just a couple of overcast days. We stopped at Sturgis (Michigan, not Dakota). It's the home of the factory that builds most of the U.P.S. and FedEx trucks and Gary has a son in law who drives for U.P.S.. If you haven't seen Niagara Falls - do go up the Canadien side. It is so-o special. They seem to think the river side should belong to the public. And private property (tho' sometimes quite extravagant with mansions and extensive grounds), must be on the other side of the road. The river side is sometimes just grass, well groomed, but frequently little parks with docks and trees and benches. And the falls themselves are HUGE. You really can not imagine until you stand in (and cannot escape), the wind and rain off of the falls, even on such a beautiful sunshiny day. We had been next to Portland, Oregon when Rick and Donna were out to Washington, and now we have gone all the way to Portland, Maine just three weeks later (amazing, from ocean to ocean in that short of a time span). The New England states had a late Fall color change due to the lovely mild summer. But, we saw so many mansions (including the main factory and fancy homes of the people who started the famous Welch's grape juice), on their wonderful narrow, winding roads with rock fences, rock retaining walls, rock fireplace chimneys and just plain old rocks here and there. They are so well endowed with good rock that they do not have concrete curbing - it all seems to be granite (on bridges, on sidewalks, on freeways). Most of the houses, even the fancy ones, are in the salt box style. The biggest ones do have pillars, but amazingly few porches are to be seen. Doing Cape Cod was so-o special. We spent a night at Provincetown on the very tip of the Cape, and then drove through many of the little, and not so little, villages (like Hyannis Port), on the Atlantic side, on our way back out to visit the famous Plymouth Rock and the replica of the Mayflower that floats in their harbor. And if we thought the special houses in the rest of New England were big - ! And then we found a little restaurant with the very best clam chowder either of us had ever sampled (almost right across the road from Plymouth Rock). Now we must go through the traffic capital of the world to get to our next stop, New York, New York. In order for Gary to actually enjoy the sights, we stay on Long Island and take the Long Island Railway into town. We met a most lovely Polish lady, who's stepfather had helped them escape the German invaders during the II World War by way of Turkey. They eventually ended up in Hawaii and so were allowed to enter the States at California. She told us how to manage the New York bus system and said "never take the subways - they are too dangerous". So much to see here it is mind boggling. We started at the Empire State Building (not only to be there, but also to get our bearings). You can see the Statue of Liberty (way in the distance), the United Nations Building, Hackensack, New Jersey, Times Square, Central Park, The Hudson, the East River (and we joked about every green penthouse rooftop being the little golf course Regis says he had installed :-). Then we walked through Times Square, past Madison Square Garden, down theatre row , and took a bus to Central Park. We saw the Guggenheim and the Jaqueline Kennedy reservoir, and lots of the famous stores on 5th Avenue - Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, etc. (we had already walked on the entrance apron of the original Macy's which is close to Times Square). The trip out of New York is also traffic, traffic and more traffic all the way to Washington, D.C. We did go to Jones Beach on Long Island before we left (a man of vision planned to make this area an escape for the great city he expected New York to become and it is quite unbelievable the boulevards and stone bridge overpasses and recreational facilities with acres of parking). We crossed Staten Island, drove over the Verrazano Narrows and went on south toward Washington, D.C. We got in to Washington just as the sun was going down. By the time we got to the National Mall and parked, it was pretty dark but we took some pictures any way. The fountain is part of the World War II Memorial just recently completed. The reflection of the Washington Monument was taken from the front of the Lincoln Memorial about the place where Martin Luther King gave his famous 'I have a dream' speech.
Gary at the Lincoln Memorial   Fountain in Washington D.C.   Washington Monument at Night   Washington Capitol a Little Blurry  
We arrived in Washington, D.C., on a Monday, as it was getting dark. The traffic had slacked off a bit so we assumed rush hour was about over and drove down Capitol Avenue to the National Mall. We parked on Constitution Avenue and went over to take our first ever, in person, look at the Capitol of the U.S. of A. It was a bit dark for good pictures, but we tried. Then we went back to the motor home and drove further down to park closer to the Washington Monument. We checked out the World War II Memorial, strolled along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial and back up through Constitution Garden, taking pictures all the way. It was a very special, solumn occasion being in such a place, and walking streets so many important (and world famous), people have walked. During our stroll back to our vehicle, we decided that the morning traffic might be a bit much. So we drove out into the countryside, along the commuter train rails and found a station near which we could park and ride. The next morning, we discovered someone had stolen our front license plate during the night (probably while it was parked next to the National Mall and we were out of it sight seeing). They probably think they're a big wheel now - a Washington D.C. person with a Washington State plate! Our commuter train had a stop right on the National Mall and less than a block from the original Smithsonian Building (it is primarily used as an Information Building now as there are five separate National Museums with half a dozen galleries and special exhibit buildings). First we toured the National Air & Space Museum and then the National Museum of American History. Even Merle Haggard's family had contributed some of their pioneer ancestor's belongings to that one! There is so much to see and admire and learn - - -. A person could spend a whole day in each building and not totally take it all in. Alas, we are getting a bit wore out with all the walking. We catch the Orange train back to Vienna, Virginia and our portable house just in time for the evening meal (which we prepare and eat in our parking space to let the rush hour traffic thin out), and then we drive south another hundred miles or so before we stop for the night. At about 6:30 in the evening of October 5th we see an Asplundh truck convoy going north - fifteen so far. Have they been helping to clean up after the hurricanes? Sure enough, the next morning we saw several more groups - gas company trucks, electrical service trucks, electronic specialty vans, it looks like many states sent crews to rescue their brothers. We're almost at the southern most edge of South Carolina and the road sides are just beautiful. They have wide swales on each side of the freeways and plant great swaths of cosmos and sometimes poppies in them. When there is water and cattails in the low places, there are egrets hunting. We arrived in historic Savannah, Georgia in time for a stroll and lunch on the Savannah River front. The city seems to be filled with very old gnarled trees whose festoons of Spanish moss wave cheerfully in every gentle breeze. The very narrow, old streets and warehouses (now converted to little shops and restaurants on the street level), are built mostly of ship's ballast. So a building will have massive walls of odd size, shape and color of rock with brick corner areas framing them, and elegant, intricate, wrought iron balconies and trims framing the openings in the walls. After totally relaxing in Georgia, we begin to tense up again in northern Florida as we start to enter the hurricane devastated areas. The bill boards are mostly skeletons when they're up at all. And there are a lot of the highway signs laying in the neighboring bushes or folded in half against their posts. The trees look pretty brown compared to Georgia, tho' it hasn't been dry here - it's just that they are mostly missing their foliage. The suburbs are decorated everywhere with blue tarps, especially the mobile home parks. The businesses haven't fared as badly. We drove out to Cocoa Beach to walk again in the Atlantic, and then drove on to Lauderdale by the Sea where a cousin and her family live. After a special evening visit, she treated us to breakfast at a wonderful beach front cafe with open sides as if we were on a boardwalk with tables. We strolled through the downtown (and an occasional store), on the way back to their condo. Our next goal is the farthest south a person can drive and still be connected to the United States mainland, Key West. We got to the end of the Keys in time for their usual sunset party. What festivities! A little more drinking and dancing then we're used to, but the majority of the attendees were having a great time. We bought giant Ben & Jerry's ice cream cones and checked out the shops and store fronts on the way back to our Vixen. We have a rented spot at Bahia Honda State Park. Our Vixen looks out over the Gulf of Mexico as we sleep, and the next day we play in the Atlantic surf on the opposite side of the park. We aren't in the water more than a minute or two when I found a wondrous shell about three inches long - alas, it was occupied. I threw it out several feet from shore hoping to give it a fighting chance from those who seemed to be hunting shells this am. Bougainvillea drapes over hibiscus hedges near palm lined driveways. Brown pelicans fish in the tidelands while egrets stalk their prey in the coastal brush. It is all so beautiful that one could almost forget the hurricane damage farther north. It is time I stop again for the night. Hope to see you all again tomorrow.
Mike and Ardy With Connie   An Egret in the Park at The Florida Keys   Gary Walking On Cocoa Beach    
In New Orleans. (Someone send me the Text Message, Please.)
In The French Quarter   Another Shot In The French Quarter   Still Another Shot In The French Quarter   A New Orleans Lighthouse  
Now that everyone is home from their Thanksgiving parties and a bit before we get into the really frantic Christmas times ?, I'll share the last, very scenic part of our trip with you. We left our brother Frank's home and headed for Austin, Texas, to visit the state capitol. Austin is easy to negotiate and we drove almost right to the capitol mall. The town is pretty and clean and it was a lovely, warm, sunshiny day. The capitol is quite impressive, with the outside all built of an appealing, light reddish granite. We strolled around the grounds and the rotunda, where there is a picture parade of past governors (including George, of course). Gary loves the architectural designs great domes have and here is the Texas star in the top of their Capitol's rotunda. He also found a great cannon! We admired and read the engravings on their monument to those states which had formed the Confederate States, and then went to spend some time in the information and history museum which is also on the capitol grounds.
Franks House In Katy   At Frank's House   Frank and Connie at the Pool   Another Shot of Frank and Connie By Frank's Pool in Katy  
The Capitol Rotunda at Austin, Texas   This is the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas   A Cool Cannon at Austin, Texas    
Haven't heard too much about if I'm sending the right size groups of pictures? I know breaking up the narrative like this will make it more difficult to save as one piece (tho' I do have it as one piece if any are interested?), but thought this would make the pictures more fitting to what was just read. Our next destination was Carlsbad, New Mexico. We spent the night in a nearby town so we could have most of a day in the caverns. They are so-o amazing - bigger, more intricate, such variety - if you haven't been, it is hard to imagine that such a thing even exists. There is a huge limestone mountain ridge that was apparently an ancient sea bed and immersed in water for ages past. The geological layers below it had the chemistry to dissolve lime and percolated huge holes along the fault lines inside the limestone monoliths. The biggest room is in the ground as far as a 75 story building, but the bottom of that room is still 46 feet higher than the main desert floor we drove across to arrive at the mountains. And this room is as long as several football fields and 255 feet in the highest place. The park service has put in over 1200 lights that create a glow in many areas as they highlight specific formations. Of course, the space would naturally have a total absence of light so the pitch black corners make one want to speak in whispers. Most of the visitors seem to have an almost reverent demeanor as we feel like we're in a natural cathedral, in the presence of one of the great wonders of the world. That's me over looking the nipple :-). It is hard to tell how big the formations are, but some of these pillars are actually several feet thick and since they're all the way to the ceiling, they just tower over us. This particular cave is in a sort of suspended animation at this moment in geologic history as the area surrounding these mountains has been quite dry. If the climate changes and the years are very wet, it reactivates the dripping water and the column and icicle building resume.
Carlsbad Stallactites   Massive Formations in Carlsbad Cavern   A Huge Column in Carlsbad Cavern   Connie by a Formation That Resembles a Huge Breast in Carlsbad  
We head north to Roswell (supposedly the place where aliens with bald, teardrop shaped heads and huge eyes crash landed). As we drive west to Ruidoso (home of the Annual All American Quarter Horse Race for the best quarter horses in the entire U.S.), through unpopulated, mountainous terrain with no services, we almost run out of gas. The fuel pump is immersed in the gasoline, lubricated by it and cooled by it, so it is protesting by the time we fill up. We stay in Ruidoso that night. The next day the gasoline pump is still making itself heard, but we drive to Ruidoso Downs and onto the grounds to look over the track. Roswell and Ruidoso are both places we had heard a lot about and just wanted to say we had been. We drive over a 7,935 foot high pass coming out of Ruidoso to Alamogordo, a bit bigger town, where we buy a spare fuel pump and a screw gun to carry with us in case we need to do an exchange along the road somewhere. But, the miles seem to make the old pump feel better and it gets quieter as we drive. We'll be watching the tank level a bit more closely from now on :-). White Sands, New Mexico is our next stop - another almost unbelievable natural phenomenon. A piece of that same ancient sea, now an almost dry lake, sits upon a gypsum deposit (the stuff drywall is made of). Since gypsum is water soluable the lake water is saturated with it. Along the edges as the water evaporates, it leaves gypsum crystals - very tiny, and very light crystals that swirl away in every breeze to form these famous brilliant white dunes. We made a picnic to eat at one of the picnic/play areas the park service keeps snowplowed out of the middle of the constantly shifting, slowly moving dune field (don't you Minnesota people feel a bit like it's ice fishing time on a local lake?). Gary needs a nap so we park near some of the bigger dunes and I hike off on one of the marked, interpretive trails. From the tops one can see way out over the dunes and they go on like a snow field with occasional patches of vegetation, clear to the horizon in one direction. But, behind me, it is amazing to see the very definite, scalloped line where the white dunes are encroaching into the much darker greys and greens of the desert landscape. And I just had to have a picture of the wonderful, totally desert plants growing right out of the white sand as if to prove it is really sand.
A Cool Picnic Shelter at White Sands, New Mexico   Connie in a Neat Shelter at White Sands, New Mexico   Dunes of Gypsum at White Sands, N.M.   Plants Struggling up Through the White Sand in New Mexco Desert  
We drive on southwest towards El Paso, Texas. It didn't seem like a very pretty town. That may be mainly because an enthusiastic wind was stirring up the dust and a smoky pall hangs over the entire city. We did go clear down into the old town, and maybe their city planners don't believe in planting trees or building parkways with flowers or bushes in the middle? (this is desert after all). Out towards the edges of town, there are many newer corporate headquarters that do have trees and ground covers in their landscaping, but El Paso in general seems uncared for and dirty. After our special, quite curcuitous route through the southern edge of New Mexico, our original plan was to take Highway 10 west through Tucson, Arizona and across to San Diego, California. But, the rig is feeling more unpredictable with our recent gas pump complication and the cruise control only wants to work part of the time. That makes driving a lot more work and Gary seems to be getting lower on energy with each passing day. He lays out the atlas and draws a diagonal line northwest to Seattle, showing what would be the quickest route home. Driving north on Interstate 25 means we will see quite a bit more of New Mexico, which has some wonderful sights on up the road. We stop in Truth or Consequences and spend the night at Elephant Butte State Park. It is on a bluff overlooking a big reservoir of the Rio Grande and is so-o beautiful. We sleep in peace, surrounded by quiet and clean air. In the morning we take our juice and hot oatmeal out to a picnic shelter and watch the pelicans fish in the water far below. We continue north all day and arrive in historic old downtown Sante Fe after touring several local neighborhoods. There are old looking pueblo, territorial style buildings on every hand. Many of the new subdivisions are also built in that style in several different earth tones from pale sand to almost milk chocolate. And that seems to be the only building style the city presently allows in the older part of town as even the parking garages at first appear to be hotels or forts of some kind. The stores are full of things with silver and turquoise decorations, even on suede vests and pants. Silver and turquoise jewelry is displayed under every counter and in lots of the windows. The choice of clothing is quite elegant, satin, lace, velvet and fur drape most of the mannequins (Yen (a friend of mine from Seattle University), would love to shop here and may have already :-). We drive north to Taos, New Mexico. This is ancient pueblo territory, many tribes descended from the Anasazi (the cliff dwellers), live in this area, some still in the old pueblos, making their jewelry, drums, pottery and textiles in the old ways. The one in Taos has been continuously occupied for about as long as any place in the entire United States. The first picture is the White Sands Park Service headquarters while the second is an Indian casino in that same typical pueblo style (and it is situated up on a hill so we could get a pretty clear shot). The last two are the main parking garage and then the oldest, still standing, and the first business ever in downtown Santa Fe.
The Park Service Building in White Sands, New Mexico   A Pueblo Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico   This is a Parking Garage in Santa Fe, New Mexico   This is One of the Original Buildings in Santa Fe, N.M.  
Next we go on to Durango, Colorado, the closest town of any size to the Mesa Verde group of Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. We choose to tour the Spruce Tree House which has a large rock overhang so it is very well preserved compared to many of the ruins that have been found in this part of the world. It has over one hundred rooms and probably housed about one hundred to one hundred twenty five people. We see the spring at the head of the canyon that was the little village's water source. Nearby are several smaller rooms built into high cracks in the walls that precede the town proper. Archeologists say these were probably secure places where corn, beans, squash and such were stored for the winters. Some areas had sandstone slabs near the doorways, too heavy for squirrels or raccoons to move. As we walk in front of the main village, we can peer into several of the rooms, down what was the central walkway of the little town going back about ninety feet to the rear wall of the cave, and are allowed access into a restored kiva (the original roofs had a layer of poles across them, with a second layer of branches and then mud to make them solid enough to walk on - those roofs had all fallen in over time). These pueblos are quite beautiful, built multistoried of very light colored sandstone blocks, that seem to be inviting us in on this warm, sunshiny fall day. The green coat is the Park Ranger and we're looking down the length of the ruins (a couple of ranchers first found this when they were out rounding up stray cattle, and they climbed down a big spruce tree from the mesa top). Then I'm at the opening they call the main street, Gary is going into (or coming out of?), a kiva, and the last shot is from the parking lot above
Spruce Tree House   Connie At Main Street   Gary Enters a Kiva   Spruce Tree Pueblo From the Parking Lot  
We spend the next night at Moab, Utah, close to the Colorado River and just down a huge, rift canyon from the Arches National Monument. What a place that turned out to be! Giant red cliffs and outcroppings, all of the darkest red sandstone on a layer of yellowish, shinier and harder stone that shows off these natural red sculptures to great advantage. It is not the best day to take pictures, overcast with occasional sprinkles, but we see a lot of territory and take some pretty good pictures, considering that the sun does not come out for us. We drive past three pillars that look like old fashioned ladies in outlandish hats (dubbed The Three Gossips), toward Balanced Rock (it is right by the road and we can see another balanced rock in the distance as we frame a picture), and a road that leads to a cluster of sights including Turret Arch, and the North and South Window Arches (adjacent to each other on the same sandstone wall). Then it's on to the Wolfe Ranch and a trail to see Delicate Arch. Gary stays in the rig while I hike to an overlook and take a picture. Next is the main campgrounds area where several little cul-de-sacs are snuggled in amongst huge, red rock outcroppings with a natural amphitheater and Skyline Arch as part of the unbelievably beautiful scenery. After some hiking and driving and looking, we drive on to the Devils Garden Trailhead. This area has a lot of hiking trails to nine or ten separate arches. Gary takes a nap while I hike in to see the Tunnel Arch and the Pine Tree Arch. It is amazing how these huge walls can be so tall and yet so thin - it's a good thing they're not in earthquake territory! First we have the Three Gossips, and then the Balanced Rock and Gary walking towards the North & South Windows. The last one is one of the campground cul-de-sacs.  
Three Gossips   Balanced Rock with Second Balanced Rock in Back Ground   Gary Heading For the North and South Windows   Camp-Ground Cul De Sac  
     
When we get back down to the Arches Visitor Center, some other people said they had gotten to Mesa Verde the day after we did and were told not to drive up the mountain without chains as the higher elevations were all covered with snow. The drizzle is the leading edge of a big storm, they say. We decide we should be going home as quickly as possible. We do see snow in several places as we go but seem to be mostly just ahead of the worst of it. One pass is 10,535 feet high, but bare and dry as we go over the top. On another pass, snow is softly falling and blankets every slope surrounding us. The flurries are thick enough to begin sticking on the main road just a few minutes before we start to wonder, where is the highest point? and then drive downward out of it. Later we heard the storm dropped a lot of moisture and brought flooding to several areas we had recently visited. It is so-o good to be safely home :-). Hope you all enjoyed this saga and thanks for listening. Love, Connie The pictures at Arches seem so dark but, do look pretty good when viewed on a TV screen. The first shot is called the Pine Tree Arch (there is a big one to the left of it), and it doesn't seem to-oo impressive (and maybe moreso when we can't see the top of the wall). But, you can get an idea of how big it is in the second shot since I am standing inside of it taking a picture of the opposite wall ten or twelve feet away. The second is looking back towards the Devil's Garden parking lot and I came through a wide path between two of those walls. The last one, was so peaceful before we thought we might have more snow than we could handle :-).
Pine Tree Arch   Inside the Pine Tree Arch   Devil's Garden   Snow In The High Country  
It is another rainy Winter in Seattle, and when we heard Rick was going to be in Phonix, we decide to spend a month there as well, and since Mom is in San Diego, we head down the coast to California, intending to visit there a week or so planning to eventually get to Phoenix for a month in the desert. This batch of pictures is all from San Diego, Dee & Tony's house, the boys checking stuff on Tony's computer and Mom's trip to the zoo with Gary, Dee and I. The topiary elephant that Mom is in front of is one of a pair that flank the entrance.
At Dee's House   The Boys Around the Computer   Mom's Trip to the Zoo with Gary Dee and I   Gary and Mom Resting   Mom in Front of the Topiary Elephant  
When we got together with Rick in Phoenix, the weather was beautiful for a trip around to the backside of the Superstition Mountains that form the eastern horizon of Phoenix, Arizona. A narrow, twisting, non maintained road through desert landscape with gem like, deep blue lakes in the valleys takes us around the base, and precariously at times clinging to the side of the mountains (the shortest road in miles and the longest in time), to the bridge above the dam on Lake Roosevelt. Just around the corner from the dam, we have Gary and Rick almost up to the cliff dwellings (last occupied by Saludo Indians over five hundred years ago). There is a higher, bigger and more complete village in an adjoining valley that requires a Ranger guided tour (we didn't go there, but it can be seen on the internet).
One of the Lakes   Lake Roosevelt   A View of Lake Roosevelt From the Visitor's Center   Gary and Rick Up By the Cliff Dwellings   Another, Wider Angle  
That last picture of the Tonto Rim Cliff Dwellings shows how close the village space is to the top of the cliff. Some like Montezuma's Castle are in about the middle of a cliff face and many in the Mesa Verde area are almost to their canyon floors. After we left here, we drove down through Globe (near a huge mining area - mostly copper, but lead, silver and gold are also commercially extracted here). We go through the very tiny town of Claypool (do you suppose David, Mike, Jeff and etc. know they may have relatives here?). We continue on to the Casa Grande area. This is a large complex covering several acres. The natives of the era left remnants of many small villages, a ball court, evidence of irrigation canels and a huge gathering center that originally included a wall around several separate buildings and a large, many storied main building. Hundreds of years of weather have mostly destroyed the rock and mud construction, but it is amazing to imagine how huge it once was as you can see when Rick and I are near the base of one wall.
The Main Casa Grande Building, Close Up   Protected From the Elements   Analyzing the Situation   Spectacular Sunset   In Our Park, Amazing Saguaro  
As you can see, I lo-ove sunsets (included in the last set and forgetting to mention it :-). Here is a pretty standard saguaro found in the park Gary and I stayed in. They only grow about an inch a year (this one looks like it's been pretty spoiled tho'), and don't branch until they're about seventy five years old. And here is our little Vixen in it's space and another gorgeous Arizona sunset. Then wonder of wonders - Dee, Tony and Nita decided they were missing out on the fun. Where did we take them? Up the same somewhat scary, winding back road to the Tonto Rim Cliff Dwellings !
I am Standing by Our Vixen   Another Gorgeous Arizona Sunset   Dee, Tony and Nita Get to see the Cliff Dwellings   Just Inside   Back at the RV Park with Rick  
Editor's Note:
This sort of got messed up, mostly Rick's Fault, because he changed from four Pics in a row to five, and Connie is sending mostly four pictures at a time, so her narration is getting offset from the pictures. Also, the Botanical Garden Pics were from Gary and Connie's earlier trip to Phoenix in 2005. I hope you are all enjoying this combination of Pictures and Narrative, unique to what Connie is doing. Anyway, Here's what She had to say about the Botanical Gardens:
Our visiting in Phoenix included taking the whole bunch to the Desert Botanical Garden at Papago Peak (the entrance area railing is made almost entirely of rebar with polished stones set in concrete as the handhold - some places the stones were in patterns to look like bear or coon tracks). We walked and looked and looked and walked until everyone was pretty cactused out.
Entrance Railing   Gary Standing Next to a Very Unique Specimen   A Variety of Much Smaller Cactus   This Spot was Designed for Taking Pictures   Another Amazing Variety  
There are lots of varieties of miniature cactus too - the first picture covers an area about ten feet long. On the other hand, the second picture shows Rick's maybe favorite type? Can you just imagine trying to get your pack animal through a stand of this? After most of the day hiking, we went to a Mexican fast food place and then back to the library at the mobile park Gary and I had been staying in. We were ready for a rest physically, so played a game of something like rummy with rules we took turns making up. All together a great time for the four siblings and a couple of well known husbands :-). love, Connie
Snarly Mess of Cactus          

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