Posted in Birding, Desert, Scenery, Travel

Contemplating Another Blog Post

I was thinking about what to write for my next blog post, when my husband Bill and I were in Marana Arizona. We had stopped in to see our daughter and granddaughters.

Our daughter, Shannon, mentioned a place she’d just visited near her house. It was a great place – beautiful! And it had access to hiking trails, which she had taken. She’d hiked to the top of Sombrero Peak (local term)!

This place is called Sanctuary Cove. Before leaving for home, we decided to stop by. I just wanted to chill – and think about where to go to write about my next blog. But right there before me was my subject! Wow!

Bill standing at the entrance to the parking area. We began walking uphill from there.

It’s West off Exit 246  or 244 from the I-10 Freeway just North of Tucson. Then from Silverbell Road, there are a few turns further West to get to its entrance off N. Scenic Drive. Check out the map:

There’s a little shaded area near the car park, if you want to stop for a picnic when arriving. Lots of parking cubby areas are available. We were the only ones there – it was a weekday though. We walked uphill along a dirt roadway toward a building. It was beautiful Sonoran Desert scenery.

We walked up to the Chapel.
Sanctuary Cove Marker Sign

The Chapel is very beautiful, if small. We walked around it. We saw it had a few signs located on the rear wall. The first one we observed spoke of the Mission Statement – its purpose:

Sanctuary Cove Mission Statement

They call themselves “A Desert Place Apart – set aside and donated as a retreat for meditation and prayer Dec. 15, 1955 by Elmer Amos Staggs. Dedicated to all of humanity. May you be inspired in this place toward your highest spiritual attainments. All Creeds Brotherhood Inc. Dec. 26, 1957. State of Arizona”

It’s certainly an inspirational place! It got me thinking right away about including it into a blog. It was inspiring – just walking around here. We noted that people could hold activities here – such as weddings or memorial services. I think it’s quite suitable for either of those.

Very modest, small interior of the Chapel. Lectern, benches, fireplace.
Call to schedule your event.

We walked around the back area, which had large amphitheater type seating. I pretended to give a lecture! But then I sat in the seating area, contemplating the view, and thinking about how I would write my blog.

I thought about the beauty and calm of the area. The natural desert environment – the cactus, trees, grasses, birds! All gorgeous! I believed it would be a wonderful place for a wedding or a vow renewal! In fact we have a 50 year anniversary coming up before too long – hint, hint (Bill)!

Outdoor Presentation Area – Here I am giving my famous lecture! Beautiful views of the Marana Valley below…
Outdoor Seating – Here I sat to contemplate while looking over the area’s beauty!


We certainly enjoyed this little side trip before heading back south to Tombstone. If you get a chance to stop by Sanctuary Cove – it’s well worth it.

You’ll find there are offshoots to hiking trails within the area. This is the specific area to access the trail to the summit which you can see behind the outdoor seating.

Sanctuary Cove, as you see in their Mission Statement, does have a service purpose. You can read all about it.  Continue reading “Contemplating Another Blog Post”

Posted in Scenery, Travel, Uncategorized

Thru the West We Go

Traveling Through the West & U.S We Go!

So You Can Know!

That is the theme of our Traveling Blog.

We are Karen & Bill – and we love to travel. We have always loved to travel, since we first met – way back!

Like Minded – We Travel

We were high school sweethearts. When we were dating, we began traveling. First it was just through our own state, and then we expanded to neighboring states.

We are Baby Boomers – children of the 60s & 70s. After we were married and had our first child, we even checked out a commune we thought about joining! It was in Massachusetts. We traveled there twice while considering it. We decided against it – but never regret trying it out. It was an interesting experience!

While living in the Northeast of the U.S. we continued having traveling adventures. We had lots of that – never stopped traveling all around that part of the country. Even getting to Canada for some wonderful trips.

Expanding Our Travels

Some of our travels began to expand travel to the Western States. We began to develop an interest in the Old West history – the Wild West! First we went to Texas. Crossed the border into Mexico for the first time ever! Then another trip, this time to Arizona. We were hooked for sure! So much so, our goal was to move to Arizona.

We accomplished that – when our kids were of high school age. Our move entailed finding what we could do to support ourselves out West. We delved into new careers.

Our travels now centered on our surroundings in the Tucson area while we had to reorganize our more limited budget as we re-formulated ourselves. But there was so much new & exciting there to see! Actually there still is – after all this time, we definitely haven’t seen or done it all.

Our careers in the health care area – as Respiratory Therapists – took off. We did well, became very experienced and had a great schedule enabling super travel time! Our next change, after a while, was an opportunity to move to Southern California to work in Respiratory Therapy teaching. We did it until it was time to retire.

Retirement Means More Travel!

And we did – retired and moved back to Arizona. To our favorite town of all: Tombstone Arizona. A center for history in the Wild West. We love it here. But we still love to travel. And love visiting all the places of fantastic scenery and history in the West of the U.S.

So – as our theme says – we travel through the West, and let you in on all the exciting things we see and do! We let you know, so you can go there yourself – or maybe even avoid it! Ugh! If it’s not your thing – or we have reasons to not recommend it!

Or if you can’t get there, you can live it vicariously! We love checking out other peoples’ travels to exotic places that we have yet to get to! Maybe you’ll love checking out our pics, too! We hope so.

Traveling Together

Let us know – what you think, and what you’d like to see when we travel in the West. What types of town stuff do you like reviewed? Thanks for any input…

Posted in Uncategorized

She shot her man

I liked reading this – and thought I’d repost it. I walk by the Oriental Saloon (now a gift shop!) at least once a week. It’s very cool to live in a town where you daily “relive” the Old West history.

Dark Hearted Women

On February 23, 1883, May Woodman was packing a Bulldog .38 nickel-plated revolver as she approached her lover, Billy Kinsman, in front of the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. At first, the two talked, argued maybe. After a few minutes, she raised her gun, leveled it on him and pulled the trigger without a blink of her grey eyes.

The slug entered the left side of his body below the rib cage and passed straight through. He clutched at his wound as if to staunch the blood and staggered backward. A witness seized her arm just as she pulled the trigger again, causing the second bullet to drill into the wooden boards of the sidewalk. No matter. The first bullet had done its job. Billy would be dead within four hours.

May and Billy had been living together, but it was a tumultuous affair. Twenty-seven-year-old May was estranged from her…

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Posted in Events, Travel, Uncategorized

Go Home??

Yes It’s a Go Home!

Aaargh!! Or Actually – a Stay Home!

Bill has had to update – or really take care of all of his building eye problems. Change/update his complicated prescription, take care of his post-cataract problem (if there’s an eye problem – it’ll happen to him!), & follow up on this other inter-eye situation that’s developed. So we’ve devoted March & April to solving all his eye issues. Hopefully by May it’ll be all improved!

Go Home to Plan a Birthday Party

Oh, but in May – one more thing! My Mom will turn 90 years old! Wow, still “young” and sprite, still a capable woman. And she’d been hinting she wanted a party! Well, she really didn’t have to hint about it. We would’ve thrown it for her. But she wanted a bigger splash than we realized!! So she’s got a 40 person invite list. That doesn’t include our family!!! I’m gonna be the major planner – so that’s in the works. Got my sister coming in from So. NJ, brother in from PA, other brother in from CO! So a great family reunion also!! Too cool! (Not literally – though!)

Go Home to Tombstone AZ

So on to the Go Home to stay at home! – We’ve taken in a few in-town happenings – let’s show you some of the stuff that go on in our hometown of Tombstone Arizona. There’s always something going on here – always something to do. That’s why I’m continually working on & updating my website TombstoneTravelTips – hope you’ll check it out!

In April, there’s 2 special events – and they happen on the same weekend!

Rose Tree Festival

It really starts with the blooming rose bush. It’s the World’s largest rose bush – it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s also quite historical – if you want… Read More

Standing Under the World’s Largest Rose Bush – Now in Bloom in April.
Look Up! From under the Rose Tree – It’s supported on a large trellis. Now you can see the white blooms – the fragrance is heavenly!!










Although it’s blooming through the Springtime months, the Rose Festival happens on a weekend in April. This 2017 it was on April 7 & 8. Friday evening they crown the Rose Queen and her court, and some other events at the Rose Tree Inn/Museum. Saturday is the big day with the parade, dinners, dances, etc.

 Here they come! It’s the Rose Parade’s start – coming West along Allen Street
Watching a Vintage Car Driven by representatives of historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church
 Here’s the Rose Queen
A Southern Arizona Folklorico Group dances down Allen Street
Friendly Dance-Hall Girls move along past the O.K. Corral on Allen Street






















The morning hours passed by, watching this neat parade. We hooked up with some friends for a little stop and chat at the Crystal Palace. We found out none of them were up for the event at the Four Deuces Saloon! Why is that?

The other event that day is called – Beers ‘N’ Balls…

Beers ‘n’ Balls – Four Deuces, Tombstone AZ

The Annual Beers ‘n’ Balls at the Four Deuces Saloon – at the corner of Third & Allen Streets in Tombstone AZ

We’d never been to it before. A few of our friends said “Never!” – one or two said, tried it once, that was enough!! Only one said he’d had ’em before, and it was alright, he’d do it again, but not this time. We talked with a visitor – a rancher from Texas who said they did it all the time when it was that time of the year! So what was it they did? What was it we were about to do? What is Beers ‘n’ Balls?

Local ranchers castrate their young male bulls – saving the testicles for food usage. They’re skinned, ground up, and turned into various food delicacies! You may have also heard them called Rocky Mountain Oysters!

Our friend Kate was talking to us about it for weeks. She was one of the cooks – getting 40 pounds of the ummm – balls – for preparation. The other cooks were getting 30 pounds. She was preparing 2 different meals – spaghetti & meat-balls, and sliders. Her husband Dan helped her with the skinning!

So we had to try it – at least once, anyway. We left the Crystal Palace, and went down the street to the Four Deuces Saloon…

Part of Third St. is roped off for the band. Tables & a dancing area are out there. An arm-band ensures only over-21. No cover charge.
Kate had a busy day!










Another friend, Gene, had deep fried poppers – hot sauce optional!
A sampler contained something from each of the six cooks – including a bowl of chili.  We chose that so we could try everything.
Bill starts on his sampler – I started on mine, too!










We looked over everything before choosing the platter. Gene even let me try a little sample of his poppers before actually purchasing. I thought okay – not bad.

The platters were supposed to be our combo lunch & dinner. Bill tried a couple of items, then started on the chili. I started alternating the poppers & other bite sized bits (slowly) with the slider. I figured the slider was most like a normal food – & a favorite of mine, a good burger.

The outcome!! — —

Bill thought the chili was pretty good. He ate it all. He ate most of his plate. But he said, one time – that’s it. Not something he’d want to do again.

Me? With each bite, I liked it less and less. It may have been mind over matter (I have taught an anatomy course which included reproductive anatomy, that may have contributed) – but I felt I couldn’t eat more of it. I sampled around the plate. I did have ketchup on the slider – but I only ate about a quarter of it. I probably ate about a fifth of the rest of the plate, and 2 spoons of the chili.

When Bill was finished, I said – I’m done too – I just can’t eat any more of this.

So it was, we were – One And Done!

Did it, been there, done that – never again!! Well, we may go again, just later in the day for the band and the dancing. They do have a grill set up for regular hamburgers & hot dogs. We’ll get that next time!

So that was our in-town day! We love our town, and suggest a visit. If you’ve never been here – it’s a great place – come on over. And again, our website – TombstoneTravelTips.com has plenty of helpful info to plan a great trip to town.

Thanks for your time! Hope you enjoyed our posting!!

Posted in Scenery, Travel, Uncategorized, Winter

The Great Snowy North!

Our son had lived in Tucson, just as we previously did ( Read More About Us) – but got a job transfer up to Flagstaff AZ a few years ago. It’s a whole different climate up there! That’s a great thing about living in Arizona. All you have to do is take a drive – anywhere from an hour to a few hours, and you can drastically change your environment and your climate.

We’ve just returned from a visit to see him & his family – wife & 2 sons. While there – suddenly a huge storm headed their way. We hadn’t even checked on the forecast up there – as down in Tombstone it was a week of sunshine & 60s. But the day after we arrived, the storm warnings came in – Winter Storm! Oh No! We’re not ever prepared for that!

Bill & I huddled inside as the snow began!
Later on the snow finally stopped – about a foot was on the ground, and the shoveling began!








Aedan ran outside to try the snow depth – & then did some shoveling.
His older brother, Evan, did a lot of the shoveling.
Most of the shoveling was done – good work boys! They both came in to warm up, and have a nice cup of hot chocolate!













I went outside & quickly snapped this pic of their saguaro cactus statue they keep to honor the desert up there in Flagstaff! It looked cold surrounded by all that snow!
Later the sun came out & we took a drive into town. A nice view of Mt. Humphreys – the highest peak in AZ – all snow covered!













Our son had to make a quick work stop on top of a building – & got this nice view of the old Coconino Courthouse tower.
The sun was out all afternoon, making snowmelt off the roof – huge icicles formed on the side of the house! Yikes!!
Later on, as the sun was getting lower on the horizon – it was Evan that was sent out to get the mail. Part of the job of being a son!













The next day the sun was out, the storm was gone. Our son Sean said he’s had enough of the snow this year. In his job he must drive miles through it – up through the mountains, over the passes – 4 wheel drive territory. Some crazy areas & situations! He keeps cell phone systems going, managing the computers at the bottom of cell phone towers – wherever they may be in all of Northern AZ.

We hit the road, mid morning that day after the end of the snow-storm. The roads were clear up that way. After about an hour South, there was no more snow to be seen! We sighed a relief sigh! We’ve seen enough snow in our life – and just enjoy viewing it on the summits of our local mountains!

Our own Huachuca Mountains, snow capped – taken from the parking lot of our local mall in Sierra Vista.




Posted in Camping, Desert, Scenery, Travel, Uncategorized

Alone – Sort Of…

We recently took our camper out for a trek into the Desert. I got out our book that tells us where we can go for free or on the cheap! Love this book. Highly recommend it, if you’re into RV camping. It’s called Guide to Free Campgrounds.

We knew we wanted to be out in the middle of no-where for a few days, and by a river if possible. I checked around areas not too far off from our home in Tombstone AZ – and found the Gila Box Wilderness. It’s a little Northeast of Safford Arizona.

We started out and found the turn-off, which crosses over the Gila River east of Safford. A good road, but once you enter the wilderness area, it becomes gravel, much more narrow & twisty turny! But our good ole RV made it through – carefully! We stopped at the first picnic area, river overlook…

Gila River below overlook in Gila Box RNCA
The turn-off has a picnic area, for those visiting for a nice outdoor lunch. Mount Graham is seen in the background.









We had our eye on Riverview Campground, listed in Wright’s book. Listed at $5 a night, with water available, no hook-ups, rest rooms, river access & hiking trails. Each site had a picnic table, shade & a grill. The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The area flora was typical Chihuahuan Desert with Ocotillo, creosote bush, prickly pear cactus, barrel cactus, etc.
Barrel Cactus at the front of our campsite.

We entered the campground, and found the instructions, put our payment into the envelope at the entrance to our very large site, and pulled in. The site’s surroundings had the same Chihuahuan Desert plants.

Entrance Area to Gila Box Riverview Campground – Board with all the instructions and area info
A view off to the NE from the entrance to our campsite.
We got our RV situated so our door was aligned with the ramada & picnic table. That left a lot of room in the front, a long way to the roadway!
You can see the Campground hosts’ RVs way down the road in the distance. There was only 1 or 2 other campers there when we were camped.














We got settled that day, and just relaxed, as there wasn’t too much daylight left. It started getting pretty chilly outside. But we tried to relax outdoors until the sun got so low it didn’t provide much more heat. Then we retired inside the RV to fix our evening meal.

Bill’s relaxing by the ramada next to our RV. View of the cliffs adjacent to the Gila River.

The next morning we took a walk along the road to explore the campground. We met the campground hosts as they were walking their dogs. Very nice people, they host here each winter. They invited us over to their site later in the day. Had a nice little visit just before dinner-time.

We asked about cell service, since we were waiting on word of a new great granddaughter! They said it’s very difficult way out here. But the one location it sometimes reaches is a rock located outside the farthest campsite! We tried – but no luck. We were in true Social Network “Alone” !!

Roadway through the campground for access to the sites – 13 of them all well spaced!
Walked by the site farthest in – Snow-capped Mt. Graham was just peaking over the hills. 







We walked over to an area of river access, where there was a small sandy beach.
Across the other side was a small slot type of canyon – sort of!








We walked on to the farthest part of the campground – where there was a group area, with some activity areas – like a horse-shoe pit. We also passed some trail-heads which we planned to get to the next day.


Group picnic area and horse-shoe pit.







We returned back to our RV, did some afternoon relaxing, and some nice reading! Caught up on some of those books! Nice way to spend time when you don’t have access to all those electronics. We could run our generator for excess electric power – there was a time limit rule for that in the campground, because of noise.

We ran it in the early evening for a short time to watch a couple DVDs. We have a whole set of the Gracie Allen & George Burns show that we just laugh & laugh over. So funny! Look into it, if you’ve never seen their TV show. What a crack-up she was!

The next day we wanted to check out some of the trails. So after breakfast, we started out our new explorations.

We started out on the trail near the beach access. We’d noted it crisscrossed some others.
We went over to the Cottonwood Trailhead – We took a small section & then looped back to stay near the campground – would love to return for the whole trail sometime!













The Cottonwood Trail is 2.5 miles long & makes a loop which includes the Riverside Campground. It’s a basic hike, great for nearly anyone. Most of it is relatively flat, but there are a few sloping areas – not bad. Some gravelly parts can be a little slippery – have good hiking shoes! We didn’t do the entire thing, since we wanted to stay within the campground this trip.

We circled back to the road and took the Campground trail.
The trail parallels the Gila River, for nice views of the riparian areas and the cliffs.










Nice views of the Cliffs – Monoliths that almost looked like ancient buildings into the cliff-side! Alien-built? Whooooo!!
This weird zip-line looking feature went across the river! We asked the hosts – they said it was to lower water testing equipment into the river!
We approached our RV in the campsite as we ended our treks. It was a good day! And a good trip. The next morning we headed out – quite satisfied with our visit to the Gila Box Riverview Campground!









If you’re interested in reading up on this area –  Continue reading “Alone – Sort Of…”

Posted in Birding, Scenery, Travel

Birding in a Tucson Park

Beginning in the autumn, as most people know, birds start their winged travel South. Birders know this happens. Right in the city of Tucson, there’s a great place to spot quite a few waterfowl. Take a trip over to Reid Park.

Ring-necked Duck at Reid Park, Tucson Arizona

Bill and I wanted to take a stroll in the park on one of our trips to Tucson for some errands. Tombstone, where we live, is a small town. We have to drive to Sierra Vista – 20 minutes away for food shopping, a small mall and other odds and ends. But there’s not a lot of options there either.

If we want specialized shopping, some of our physicians, large movie theaters, etc. – we go to Tucson. Our kids and grand-kids ♥ also live there.

Last weekend we were in Tucson for the weekend. A birthday party, some shopping, a Dr. appointment, a new restaurant! But we wanted to get in a little walking – so we went to Reid Park.

I’ve always loved birding. When I was younger, I used to do quite a bit of it. Bring our kids along to the Bird Refuge. Make a day out of it at a National Wildlife Refuge or National Park. Then serious working career days began to leave little time for those jaunts. But I still always noticed the birds around me! Kept my birding books around for consult, to stay in the loop!

Now that we’re retired, my desire is to get back to more serious birding. So I was enthralled when we went to Reid Park. I didn’t even think about the time of year! And there were all the water birds enjoying their winter home. In Tucson Arizona!

Take a look…

 There are 2 main bodies of water in Reid Park – a pond and a larger area, more a lake size. They’re connected by a nice little stream with a water-fall!
reidpkstrm                           reidpkbrdgwtrfl

The lake area has a fountain shooting a waterspout high into the air…

Human and Bird Visitors Enjoy the Lake’s Fountain!

Here are some more of the birds that we spotted – all the waterfowl winter visitors…

American Widgeons