Arizona Christianity/Religion Photography Road Trip Journal

Bible Study Night in Safford

Summer road trip. Day 21, Wednesday June 22, 2011

Rebecca is checking our post office box in Crestline once a week and sending the mail we need. In the last batch, there was communication from Brother Stoneking saying he was willing to critique my manuscript: BACKSLIDING…the bitter bite of beelzebub. So, on Wednesday morning, I bundled up a copy, wrote a few thank you notes to friends, and made a post office run.

It was a very hot day, so instead of gadding about the country side for pictures, I snapped a few shots inside the post office.

The highlight of the day was the Wednesday evening service at Harvest Tabernacle. Following a good session of worship–excellent music here–the women moved into the fellowship hall, while the men stayed in the auditorium. Brother Keyes had asked Jerry and me to teach a lesson to men and women respectively. The best part! At the end of the women’s session, a backslider named Francis began fervently praying, and in a few minutes was fluently speaking in tongues! It was wonderful. As I understand it, 20 years ago she and her family were intensely involved in the church here in Safford.

A wonderful conclusion to Day 21 of our long summer trip.

Arizona Flowers/Gardening Road Trip Journal Weather/Nature

Picnicing at Gila Box Canyon

Summer road trip. Day 20 Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Picnic! I cannot remember when last we had a picnic, and I was eager for it to come around. I took our small ice chest from its place in the bay the night before and cleaned it so that it was ready in the morning when I filled it with soft drinks, cold chicken, cheese, tiny tomatoes, strawberries and grapes. I stuck cookies, chips, sourdough bread, paper plates and such into another bag I keep in the motor home for such events. We were ready when the Keyes arrived. They loaded their things into our Jeep, Brother Keyes took the wheel and we headed to the Gila Box Canyon area, where he served as our gracious tour guide for the afternoon. He spent many years of his childhood in this area, and is very knowledgeable of its terrain and its history.

First, though, before we left town, we drove to a facility here in town that interests them as a site for a new church building. We couldn’t get inside, but we peered through the windows, and Brother Keyes has a call in now to check on its availability. If you are reading here, and care about the effective spreading of the Gospel, pray for this pastor and the church congregation here in Safford that God will direct them to a new building.

Sanchez was at one time a thriving settlement, which now has little to show except for an abandoned school house, a cemetery, and a few scattered houses. There is a strong Mormon influence in this area.

The scenery was spectacular, and even though this whole area is suffering from lack of rain, the river bottoms were lush, and the Gila River was flowing.

This picnic table was situated perfectly. Although it was hot, this beautiful tree provided great shade. The river was close by, and after we had feasted, three of us walked down to the water. I waded in–shoes and all. Sister Keyes was neater than I; she removed her shoes.

Despite the dryness here, the profusion and beauty of wild flowers was amazing. A tiny bug was exploring this yellow one.

Can you believe these are weeds? So beautiful.

This last two flowers are my favorites; they look like water color paintings.

Pastor and Mrs. Kris Keyes, my friends!

Arizona Christianity/Religion Church Food Friends Uncategorized Vacation Journal

A Sabbath in Safford

Summer road trip. Day 18 Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here in Safford at Harvest Tabernacle, they have their Sunday school classes completely separate from their regular service, which begins at 12:00. Their music is excellent; great instrumentalists, as well as talented singers. Very nicely done music.

Jerry did a great job preaching, using as his text scripture the story of the four men who tore the roof off the building to get their sick friend to Jesus. What a powerful account that is. I never tire of hearing it.

It was after 4:00, I believe, when we had finished eating, and we had gone back to our motor home. The Keyes invited us out to their home for dessert later in the evening–well, more dessert–for we had already indulged at the restaurant. Around 7:00 we drove to their house, where we spent a couple of hours visiting with them, and talking about the things of God. Oh, yes! The dessert: coconut cream pie and strawberry shortcake!

Arizona Food Friends Photography Road Trip Journal

Last Day in Sierra Vista

Summer road trip. Day 16, Friday June 17, 2011

Had to happen on this road trip–it will be more than once, actually: Laundromat morning. 😦  I don’t know why I have such an aversion to laundromats; it’s really quite unreasonable. For I can gather up a two-week accumulation of dirtied clothes, stuff them into machines, push in a few quarters along with appropriate dollops of detergent, and in about 30 minutes our clothes are clean. Pitch them into those huge dryers, insert more quarters, and in 15 minutes the light weight ones are ready for folding. In little more than an hour, our laundry is finished. Quite efficient. Just can’t figure out why I dislike doing it that way. In my home, I rather enjoy doing laundry…and it takes a much longer period of time than does a visit to the local laundromat.

Anyway, Friday morning found Jerry and me at such a place in Sierra Vista, and as I waited for the machines to do their magic, I heard a siren that sounded differently from the others, that, because of the fires, we had been hearing often. Closer came its sound, then an ambulance pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall where we were, followed by this large fire truck. Probably 10 minutes later, the sirens sounded again, and the ambulance headed for the hospital. Life goes on, doesn’t it? Regular life–heart attacks, panic attacks, an impending birth, accidents. Not all the emergency vehicles are in place at the site of the raging fires; others are on standby here in the town. Ready to deal with the ordinary–the ordinary life that midst its joy and celebrations, mingle in a bit of the wretched, the fear, the pain.

Once again we went to the beautiful library where we checked our email, and I loaded pictures onto Flickr and updated my blogs. Near the entry way is a magnificent sculpture; I photographed part of it that depicts two small children reading books…once upon a time…is chiseled into a page of their book.

One last meal with the O’Bryans who have been the epitome of graciousness. Their daughter, son-in-law, and Brother O’Bryan’s parents joined us, and finally someone said, “They’ll be charging us rent if we stay here much longer.” So we rose from the table, leaving behind tasty morsels that testified to the excellence of the meal. We said our final good-byes.

Jerry had our rig ready. Saturday morning, he would disconnect our electricity, connect our Jeep to the motor home, and we would be off once more.

Arizona Photography Road Trip Journal

A Day in Tombstone and Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Summer road trip. Day 15 Thursday June 16, 2011

Brother O’Bryan gets off work at 12:30, and it was a little past 1:00 when they picked us up at our motor home for the trip to Tombstone. We were all still very concerned about the fires, and as we began the short trek to the historic town, we observed that the skies were darkening, giving the appearance that the fires were escalating. Jerry and I had been out earlier, and the skies had actually looked better than they had the day before. Now it appeared that something had changed. The winds had increased, with gusts up to 40 mph.

The O’Bryan’s daughter, Amber, and her husband had been on stand-by for evacuation for several hours. As we traveled in the car both the O’Bryans were receiving updates from their daughter and from other people in their church concerning the situation.

“Please,” I told them. “If this is not a good time to go to Tombstone, let’s just turn around and go back. We can always go later.”

But they insisted, saying there was really nothing they could do at that point, but should things change, we would immediately head back to Sierra Vista.

We made it for the 2:00 o’clock re-enactment of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, after which we went into a couple of other museum areas, and walked about a bit. Then the call came: “Mom, we’ve been ordered to evacuate.” Later we learned that propane tanks were exploding, and one service station had gone up in flames.

It was not a hard decision: We picked up our souvenir newspapers for which we had tickets and headed toward the car. We would visit more of Tombstone another day.

Sister O’Bryan had a roast cooking in her crockpot, and they insisted we go with them to their home. “I had planned all along to have you for dinner. Please come.” So, we went to their lovely home, the prized point of which is their enormous backyard. Tomatoes, squash, okra are among those vegetables growing in their garden. A couple of fountains were spraying, and one tree called a Desert Willow had beautiful pink blossoms on it. Amber and Matt had safely arrived and after we had admired the beautiful yard, we went inside and all indulged in the delicious meal.

As we were finishing up the dishes, Brother O’Bryan suggested we drive to the edge of town and check on the progress of the fires, which we did, although we really couldn’t tell too much. The skies were magnificent, and once when I wanted to pull over to get a shot, someone suggested we drove onto the post of Fort Huachuca to a certain hill that would give great views, not only of the evening skies, but of the fires. We showed our ID, and were admitted to the Post, but the road to the scenic hill site was closed. We theorized it was because it faced toward the fires.

We drove through the Post, past modern houses, and historic structures that are more than 100 years old. Generals live here as do PFCs. Children were running about, riding bicycles and playing with their animals. We saw deer and jackrabbits. The evening light was fading as we pulled up at the cemetery and got out to look around. It was a moving moment for me as I gazed at the rows of white tomb stones and considered that people unknown to me have made great sacrifices that benefit my family and me. I am grateful.

Arizona Photography Road Trip Journal

Fires in Sierra Vista

Summer road trip. Day 14 Wednesday, June 15

The smoky skies caught our attention as we drove into Sierra Vista on Tuesday. This morning we had errands to run, so we drove closer to the area where the fires are raging. They are worse today, with more persons being evacuated in the canyon areas surrounding the city. We haven’t heard whether this has included any people from the church here in Sierra Vista.

I’m posting from this beautiful library.

Arizona Art/Architecture Photography Road Trip Journal


Summer road trip. Day 12 Monday June 13, 2011

They weigh as much as five tons. Filled with water, giant saguaros embellish the desert area here around Tucson, standing as giants with upraised arms. We had Monday free to do some sightseeing, and after asking the Allens for recommendations, we pointed our Jeep west down Speedway, traveling several miles into the open desert area. We drove as far as the Saguaro National Park visitor center, where we spent quite a lengthy time observing the displays, watching a film about the area, and walking the trails that were close to the great building that housed the visitor center.

It was early afternoon when we arrived, and I had worried about the flat midday light hindering my photography, but it really worked out quite well. I was fascinated by the lines and shadows created by the splendid architecture. Once as I walked on the outside plaza, something skittered quickly in front of me, and when I looked at the edge of the cement, I saw a light-colored lizard. He was of a cooperative nature, who stayed in place for several minutes: I think he was posing. 🙂

Many birds flew about, lighting frequently atop the massive cacti. Many of these saguaros are hundreds of years old; a two-feet sized one being around 30 years old.

In the evening, at the Claim Jumper, we had our last meal with the Allens. These are absolutely precious people. Their two children are wonderful, completely immersed in the work of God. We said our good-byes on the parking lot before heading back to our rig at the church. On Tuesday morning, we would head down to Sierra Vista.

In the distance can be seen Tucson, a beautiful city of more than one million.

Arizona Food Goodness of man Photography Road Trip Journal Travel

Tempe Camera, Ross Store, and Enchiladas

Summer road trip. Day 8, June 9, 2011

After a light breakfast, I took the car and drove less than a mile away to a neighborhood mall where, earlier, I had spied a Ross store. I spent quite a bit of time there trying on dresses (none of which I bought) and buying a couple of things for Mildred’s birthday. She is Jerry’s oldest sister, who is turning 90 in July, and to whose party in the state of Louisiana we are headed. I had planned to also go to Target, which is in the same area, but while I was in Ross’s, Sister Hogan called.

“Will you be back at the motor home within an hour? I’ve made enchiladas and want to bring them over for lunch.”

So, I nixed the Target plan and went back to the church where our motor home is. Sister Hogan served the lunch in their beautiful conference room: Spanish rice and delicious enchiladas. For dessert, she had brought a pumpkin spice cake, and from a freezer near by, she pulled out a carton of vanilla ice cream. It was a treat.

Our air conditioning problem turned out to be more than just needing freon; seems the compressor needed to be replaced. We’re still here in Phoenix waiting for parts and repairs. Precious Brother Davenport has helped us out tremendously. Looks like we won’t be heading to Tucson until Saturday morning because of this little problem.

After lunch we drove to Tempe to pick up my camera where I had left it yesterday to have dust removed from its sensor.


Arizona Family Road Trip Journal RV Travel

To Phoenix!

Summer road trip. Day 3 Saturday, June 4

Jerry left with Mike before 7:00 am with plans to attend men’s prayer meeting down at the church, then they would pick up some things to do a little motor home maintenance, before we headed out. While they were gone, I went again to Staples to pick up a poster I had ordered and to take care of a couple of other things. One of the things I had to take care of is a secret from Jerry: I bought more dishes! It’s okay, though, for even though I do not need more dishes, I bought these at a thrift store for next to nothing, and aren’t we to be good stewards of our money, and I bought just a few pieces, and besides they are so cute, and anyway there were still a few inches of empty space in my cupboards…reasons like that. 🙂

As I pulled up in Mike’s driveway, I saw a commotion at the rear of the motorhome; a few feet away was parked a mobile tire repair truck. What? A breakdown already? Seems as the men were installing an extended valve stem (I think that’s what it was) something broke, and with a loud whisss… sound, one of those huge tires began flattening. Quick repair, though from a friendly mobile tire mechanic.

Our children treat us with such kindness and such thoughtfulness. Mike climbed up on a ladder and gave our windshield a final cleaning. We said good-bye to sweet Mike and Melina, Mike hooked the Jeep to the motor home, and we were off.

The drive along the Colorado River near Parker is a beautiful one. Red stony mountains rear up from the valley floor through which flows the magnificent river. Lots of campgrounds and water play in this area. As we drove, we came upon this vehicle; it was so peculiar looking that at first we couldn’t even tell what it was. We followed it quite a ways as there was no space to pass, and we never did figure it out exactly. Either some kind of a pool or a very large water toy. A couple of people seemed pretty relaxed in it.

Topped off with fuel, and because we hadn’t eaten all day, I made us a sandwich and we ate lunch in our motor home on the Pilot station parking lot in Quartzsite. Arrived safely in Phoenix around 4:30. I scurried about getting everything set up in the motorhome and preparing a little meal for our friends the Hogans who would be here around 6:00. (My new dishes looked wonderful on yellow placemats!)



Miles today: 212               Total trip miles:   462

Arizona Family Lake Havasu Photography RV Travel Travel Vacation Journal

Summer Road Trip–Lake Havasu City, AZ. (Day 1)

“Two o’clock,” I said to Jerry as I closed the door to our car and settled into my seat. “We’re half an hour early.” And so we were, as we had planned to leave at 2:30.  I’m hoping that early beginning portends smooth traveling for our summer motor home trip that will take us through Arizona, across several states, and that will wind up in Louisiana, before we begin the return trip to California.

Our Jeep was crammed with clothes, books, cameras, computers, a printer, and a few groceries from the fridge in Crestline. Mike had called and wanted us to pick up a 3-burner camp stove at Costco, so we pulled into the store in Victorville to see if they had what he wanted. They did, and while Jerry paid for it, I bought us each a Very Berry ice cream sundae at the Costco snack bar. Delicious, huge, and a bargain at $1.65.

It was around 6:30 when we pulled into beautiful Lake Havasu, and since we hadn’t eaten since lunch (strawberry sundaes don’t count 🙂 ) we stopped at Bad Miguel’s. Every Thursday after 4:00, every item on the menu is at half price at this neat little Mexican place.

Take a look at that sky. This place has incredibly beautiful sunsets.

Our motor home had been parked at Mike’s in Lake Havasu for a couple of weeks, and shortly after we pulled into their driveway, both he and Melina came out to greet us and to help unload everything into the motor home. What a help that was.

So here we are, first day into the trip, safely parked in Mike’s driveway. Jerry is asleep. I will be shortly.

250 miles today.