I left home just a little bit later than planned. I had a stop to make and had to wait for the business to open. I had ordered some hair product that I was completely out of, and because of a mix-up, couldn't get it till Wednesday morning. Still, I was leaving in plenty of time to arrive with some of the day left to settle in and enjoy being there.
The trip went well. The first part of the drive on US 70 is familiar to me, but after getting past the White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, it was all new to me. I’d driven the I-25 corridor through Las Cruces, but never the east-west road. First is the amazing sight of the Organ Mountains that lie between Alamogordo and Las Cruces. It is pretty obvious why they are so named, resembling the upright pipes of an organ as you might see in a church.
What an amazing skyline they make.
In Las Cruces I connected with I-10. Driving through New Mexico and Arizona is a nearly continual wonderment to me. I know it isn’t as appealing to everyone, but the beauty of the Southwest is so obvious to me that I wonder if those who don’t love it are really looking. The contrast of the varied types of scenery is sharp. Part of the drive is through desert, some rather stark and other parts have a lot of low growth, much like the areas surrounding my home. Even then, the mountains in the distance hold promise of a different set of climate conditions. Through the whole drive, it alternates between desert, mountains, back to desert, and over more mountains.
The mountains are rugged. I love that. I never learned to truly appreciate the rolling hills of the Midwest. I grew up in the sharp, rugged cliffs of the Rocky Mountains, the place where the upheaving of subterranean layers of rock during volcanic eruptions and earthquakes which formed the mountains, can still be seen. Even a limited imagination can picture those upheavals, because the sheer, jagged evidence is in your face!
Once in Tucson, my first task was to drive out of my way to drop off the computer. I really just wanted to get to my host’s home and relax! However, being certain of getting it repaired so I could bring it home was imperative, so I took the long route. Once there, I explained the problem with the letter “D” and mentioned a couple other small things I would like them to check out. They called me just as I arrived at my host’s home and told me that their initial quick check indicated some definite problems where I had noted, as well as a couple I hadn’t noticed. To fix them a la carte would cost a great deal more than I hoped, but they recommended a package deal in which they would send it to Apple to have everything checked and all potential problems fixed at one low (well, relatively low in the big picture) price. It was more that I wanted to pay, of course, but still far, far less that any other way. I opted for that. A good choice, because there were a couple other things Apple found, most importantly, the hard drive being on it’s last leg. Whew!
That night we made an easy evening of it. We just relaxed at home, I was not overly tired, but it was excellent to just kick back and visit, visit, visit. We stayed up well past midnight.
Thursday morning we had an egg-Jim-muffin and headed south to spend the day in old Spanish missions dating back to the 1700’s. The trip was fun, all the way round. First of all, Jim treated himself to a nice older model Corvette, and a day trip (or any trip, for that matter!) is fun in a sports car. It made me reminisce about my own sporty vehicles from the past.
We stopped first at a nicely renovated Mission San Xavier del Bac. Before we toured, however, we decided to have a bite of lunch at a little cafe across the highway. We were beginning to be hungry, and definitely thirsty, but didn’t want anything heavy. We first ordered a beer, but then while looking at the menu, Jim saw a fruit-filled chimichanga on the menu, and we decided that was perfect. We ordered one filled with cherries with a little dip of ice cream on the side for us to split, and we changed the beer to margaritas! Hey, maybe the best lunch I’ve had in a long time!
As we ate, Jim noticed a Japanese flag on the wall at the cash register. He asked about it and found out the owner was a WWII vet, and the two of them had quite a conversation. Wish I’d thought to take a picture of the two of them in front of the flag. Not until I downloaded my photos (400 of them!) did it even cross my mind, unfortunately.
Across the street to the mission.
I didn't get Jim's permission to post this photo, but I 'spect he won't really mind. And if so, he's 400 miles away, anyway!! HA!
The second was Mission San José de Tumacácori. This mission has had very little restoration, making it an interesting comparison with the first.
It is interesting to think that even with 250 years of exposure and weathering, not to mention the vandals and people who remove pieces as souvenirs, these building have managed to remain reasonably intact. Of course, walls from four to nine feet deep help it to withstand part of those abuses!
Inside, looking toward the altar.
An artist's rendering of what it once looked like at the altar and what they hope to restore:
A miscellaneous shot I like.
This is a shot through a "window" to show the nine foot deep wall. There is a wire mesh on each side to keep people from crawling through and doing further wear and tear. I wanted you to see that I wasn't kidding about the thickness of the walls.
We crossed the street to the car and decided to have some refreshment at a tavern where we had parked. We enjoyed chatting with the young woman bartending, as well as a number of customers who wandered in and out. One young man was in the area from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to attend an annual convention of produce buyers and sellers. He was looking for a place, any place, that he could watch the Michigan football game on Saturday. This establishment didn’t open till 2:00, but the game was at 10:00. The bartender called a number of other places, but no one else had the right channel for that game. Jim was about to offer for him and his wife and six-year old boy to come to the house to see the game. He understood the guy's passion! Finally, the man offered the bartender $50 plus his drinks plus tip if she would come in early. After some thought, she agreed to do so! Those Michigan Wolverines fans must be over the top!
While there, we talked quite a lot with this two:
Our next stop was just down the road at Tubac, a town that has turned most of the buildings into art galleries. Unfortunately, we had stayed at our earlier stops long enough that many of these places were closed, but we visited one that was very nice, had some interesting works that I really enjoyed seeing. The owner didn’t rush us out, which we appreciated.
We headed back into Tucson, deciding on the way to stop for dinner at a steakhouse. We’d planned to have dinner there, but I’d hoped to clean up and wear those fab high heels I bought, but given the late hour, we went straight there. Oh well! It was a very good meal. And back at home, we stayed up talking till long past midnight again. Yeah, I know. I’ve been know to talk a lot, but I wasn’t the only one yammering!
I'll stop here for now. More in another post later or tomorrow. Later, y'all!