Arizona Money Photography shopping Vacation Journal

Shopping Spree! (Day 7 Summer Road Trip 2012)


Dillard’s Clearance Center is less than ten minutes from where we are parked here in Phoenix. Today, I shopped! Today, I found bargains! For a grand total of $49.12, I bought a beautiful red dress, two “patio” dresses, a charming hat, a practical brown jacket, and a magnificent skirt! Top that, if you can!

The cutest item is this hat.


The prettiest is this skirt.

The best buy? This dress originally $129.00, marked down to $9.99, plus 50% off=$4.99!!

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 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.


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The Picture Room

The room is upstairs and is a modest but nice one–has a sliding glass door that opens to a small balcony above our back yard, with a view through towering connifers to distant mountain ridges. No doubt the room was designed to be a bedroom, but when Jerry and I moved into our home in Crestline, we didn’t need all those five bedrooms (except when our whole clan is there, and then we need more) so we set aside that particular room to be the Picture Room. It’s neat to display our albums, plus the hundreds of sorta-kinda-at-one-time-orderly-boxes of loose pictures that the children and grandchildren from time to time paw through. In that room are pictures of my mom and dad when they were young and handsome and Jerry’s beautiful mom and dad and his grandparents and my grandparents and our babies and school pictures and funny-looking hairdos and the studio pictures Jerry and I exchanged in Tulsa before we were married. Hundreds of slides are slotted in black carousels and stacked yea-high and vacation journals are wedged side by side in the large shelves, and in that room also, we keep souvenirs that we have accumulated from our travels…and from our lives. Our marriage certificate is there, as are Jerry’s ordination papers and his teaching credentials and college year books and special notes we treasure.

The Picture Room. If I were home now, instead of being here in Lake Havasu in my motor home, I would take my camera and go up the stairs and click off a couple of shots to show you. Once when I was in an antique shop, I sighted a large weathered board with the word SOUVENIRS scribed on its greyed and rough surface. I must have it, and now it hangs over a blue sofa in our picture room. A perfect piece, it appears to have once stood outside a waterfront shop somewhere (when I go home for Christmas I will snap its lovely aged face and show you.)

The Picture Room…when we were away from our home and heard of threatening fires–has happened to us twice now in recent years–my immediate thoughts were of the picture room. For of all the treasured possessions in my home, these are the most valued of all. They are priceless and irreplaceable.

Now comes this wonderfully informative article that speaks to “cutting-edge” picture technology. I know you will want to read it–has neat ideas.

From the Best Ways to Create Digital Family-Photo Albums

by Jennifer Openshaw

Digital key chains. Start small! For as little as $20, you can get a digital key chain to display a series of 1.5-inch images. Give one with a stack of padded envelopes and a promise to update it monthly for a favorite family member. Digital photo frames. A novelty last year, digital photo frames are now mainstream. You can get big ones, up to 15 inches, and a growing feature set, including editing tools, wireless uploads and even the ability to email your latest images to someone else’s frame. My favorites, for picture quality and features, include lines from Kodak and Philips. Standard frames are generally $100 to $200, while the wireless models hit the mid-$200s. They’re much cheaper than a year ago, and if you’re inclined to put it off another year, they’ll get cheaper yet. GPS mapping tool. It’s easy to know and show when you took a particular photo, but how about where? For that big cross-country trip, wouldn’t it be nice to look at a map and connect photos to the place they were taken? Wouldn’t it be nice to organize photos by location instead of just date and time? The Sony GPSCS1KA does just that. The key chain GPS receiver records your locations over a period of time. Then, using supplied software and date/time stamps on your pictures, it connects each picture to a set of GPS coordinates. The software places map pins on a Google map corresponding to each picture. Mouse over the map pins and you’ll see your picture from that location. Online sharing sites. Photo sharing sites have been around for a while. The latest and greatest in this space is Flickr, operated by Yahoo, as the new way in sharing sites. In their own words, they are the “WD-40 that makes it easy to get photos from one person to another in whatever way they want.” I’ll let you check out the details, but it’s pretty cool.

Read all of this great article here.

The face of pictures rooms is changing, and while such progress is inevitable and certainly desirable, there is just something about pulling down albums from the shelf, sitting flat on the floor, back pushed against the couch and staring into the faces of long-ago kin. There’s something connective about the musty whiff of aged images, whose slightly familiar eyes stare back–solemn and unblinking.


My devotional blog is here.

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Durango Vacation Journal Wrap-up

The first we noticed was a man taking pictures of the truck parked next to us. “Wonder what that’s about?” said Jerry. We had pulled out from the Kit Carson RV park in Flagstaff around 7:00 Saturday morning, and at this truck plaza a few miles east of Kingman, we stopped to eat breakfast. Numerous people were running around snapping pictures, and it appeared that one man took a picture of our motor home, so whatever the nature of the event, it must have included vehicles other than 18-wheelers. After we had eaten, Jerry eased out of the lot, and we probably would have asked someone about the photography, but no one was close as we drove away. Anyone know anything about it? I-40 east of Kingman on Saturday the 15th.

Anyway around 11:00 we were home–well sort of–our RV home in Lake Havasu. DJs. The temperature on our outdoor thermometer showed 104 degrees. A breeze was blowing, so it wasn’t bad.

I have a couple of left-over thoughts from our wonderful vacation in Colorado.

I Need Hiking Boots

I wore white tennis shoes to do my “trail-work” and although the shoes perform well at home for walking and such, I found them inadequate in Colorado. They did not have enough grip on the soles. Once when I wanted to get down to some heavy equipment at one of the mines, I was a little nervous about the steep, rocky descent, but Berl said, “Here, take my hand. You can make it.” And I did, despite my slipping and skittering around a bit. When I climbed back up, I think I was so funny looking Lavelta took a short video of my struggle, and I saw Jerry standing at the very top with a sort of frown on his face. He’s gets irritated with me sometimes if I’m too adventurous. Anyway if I had hiking shoes like this, I would no doubt master mountain climbing.

We Saw Early Changing of the Leaves

It was amazing, but almost overnight the leaves started turning. Before we left, the Aspens had taken on that brilliant neon-yellow hue.

Wranglers are better than Cherokees for 4-Wheeling

Wireless internet service is spotty and often undependable when traveling. Sometimes it’s great.




Colorado is a beautiful, educational place to take a vacation.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, and I can think of no better place for a couple or a family to vacation than in the state of Colorado. Our trip was both stunningly beautiful and highly educational.

Having a camera to take pictures helps you to see.

Nikon D50

America is the greatest country in the world. How blessed I am to live here and to travel among its people and its other treasures. Meeting people along the way as we vacation is one of my greatest joys. God Bless America!


My devotional blog is here.











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Durango Vacation Journal Part 14

Thursday was our last full day of vacation in Durango, and around 10:30 Berl and Lavelta and Jerry and I were off to Silverton where we would meet up with Sue and Wes and Susan and Stan. Smedley’s Coffee Shop was the first stop in Silverton, although I didn’t have another cup. I’m not fond of forming a ladies lounge behind trees or wide bushes, so I’ve made it a habit to keep the liquids at a minimum when we’re to be out on the trails. Jerry brought out a cinnamon roll with his coffee and I shared a couple of nibbles. I thought we were ready to leave, but Sue wanted to go into one of the shops and buy a tee shirt that read, I Survived Black Bear. I don’t blame her. I’d wear one too. While they shopped and Jerry finished up the roll, I took pictures—all within one side of a block. This picture of a blue window in an aging brick building may be one of my all-time favorites.


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Taken in (See more photos here)

The trail—Araastatus–was judged to be a 4, and is the most difficult we’ve traveled yet. It ended at the Mayflower Mine. Sue and Susan began digging around among the relics and I soon joined them, for they said it was okay here. The county or the state is wanting this debris cleared out, but I wish they wouldn’t do that, but instead would just leave the historic mines in place. Berl found an old light socket I could have, pitched it out, but when I was at the top I could not find it. I brought out six rusted springs—couple inches long that were fastened onto a bed frame I “discovered.”

A couple of gentlemen, tourists from Illinois, had joined us at the mine and were poking around as were we. One quite elderly man told us: “I found this place a few days ago and wanted my buddy to see it.” They had ridden 4-wheel ATVs to the top.

Exploring over, chairs and snacks were brought out, then it was time to head back. In my estimation, downhill is the scariest part of wilderness 4-wheeling. But we made it without a hitch, though one place required such a tight turn, that with our long wheel base, Jerry had to back up to make it. I got out to be sure he didn’t back too far.

Last year on one of these trails a family went over the side, killing them all. The story is that the dad thought he had the car in reverse, but instead drove forward. We had been told this story and I saw Jerry deliberately staring at the gear shift. Reverse! Yes!

The other six went on to another mining trail, and Jerry and I headed to Animas Forks. We took the lower trail that runs along the Animas River, and it was so beautiful. I know my sweet camera has captured some lovely scenes, but nothing really compares to actually being in such places. The human eye is far superior to the finest glass in any caliber camera. The live scene is enhanced by the trickling sound of small water and the roar of a major fall, and birds who sing and flit about and floating butterflies and bees who buzz. The scent of flower and weed and of animal and of history and of the moment meld into a vision which cannot be captured.


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Taken in (See more photos here)

Animas Forks is an intriguing mining place in which several buildings still stand. I walked into one of the houses and took pictures from its window openings. As I always do in these settings, I tried to image the families who lived here, who worked so hard, who mined and reared families, who planned and focused and dreamed. And somewhere in the vast jaws of eternity they still exist…, awaiting the judgment of God.

We were all to meet back in Silverton, so after a while in Animas we headed back. Just as we approached Silverton, a Jeep pulled from a side road, and we fell in place behind the vehicle.

“I think that’s Berl,” Jerry said.

In the silver Jeep, Berl said. “I think that’s Jerry.

Sure enough, we had encountered the others at the precise moment that enabled us to take our place in the 4-Jeep parade. “It’s a miracle,” we proclaimed later. “A modern day miracle!” we spoofed.

We left the others and with Berl and Lavelta went to Black Bear Cafe for dinner. I didn’t notice the sign, but Jerry did, and it read CLOSED for certain hours. But the door was open and the waitress said, “Sit anywhere you’d like.” We ordered drinks, but no one brought menus. Then another waitress came with a clipboard saying, “Sign here. It’s $3.00 a person and put a dollar each in the middle of the table for a tip.”

We must have looked puzzled, for she added. “This is Senior night.” Seems each Thursday night the restaurant serves a low-cost meal to any senior. There were 20-30 people in the cafe when we were there. “During the winter about 10 come for the meal,” she told us.

“Does the restaurant provide the food?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, “and the State helps out.”

Seems it started many years ago, when in Silverton there was only one or two places open during the winter months. The year-round population is now around 500, but still only a few of the businesses remain open 12 months a year.

For $4.00 each we were served a tasty meal: Delicious split pea soup, roast brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, a loaf of warm bread and lots of butter. The dessert was passed helter-skelter. I drew apple pie. Can’t remember ever tasting better. Jerry’s apple pie had a few berries mixed in. Lavelta was served cheese cake, and Berl had a piece of apple pie with a three-berry mixture stirred in. It was a fine meal. It was the LAST SUPPER of our Durango vacation.


My devotional blog is here.

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Durango Vacation Journal Part 13

Street scene of Telluride, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We finished up the snacks, heard the horrific/delightful Black Bear stories, then the four of us drove out of the box canyon and into the town of Telluride. We parked, and scheduled ourselves to be back in our cars in 45 minutes. Jerry and I strolled a couple of blocks, spending most of our time in an art gallery.

There’s lots of skiing around Telluride, a town unique in that it offers a free gondola that functions most of the year. We didn’t have time this trip, but on our last one we boarded the gondola and went to Mountain Village, spent time there, and returned on the gondola. The Telluride Magazine writes:

“While anyone in America can choose to commute via biodiesel or electric car, only Telluriders can get to work on a free gondola, a commute so unique it was featured last January on Good Morning America. The three-stage system between Telluride and Mountain Village runs 275 days a year, 7 a.m. to midnight, and carries an average of 1,918,445 riders annual. Obviously, not all of these people are going to work. But those who do have what is widely dubbed as “the most beautiful commute in America.”

A few miles out of Telluride, we turned off toward Ophir, drove through the tiny town and onto the trail. During the past few days they had received a fair amount of rain, which caused the trail to be very rough. We bounced and jolted around so much that I had a hard time taking pictures. Once, though, I turned around, saw this view, stuck the camera out and clicked. I’m astonished it turned out this well. The tiny town you see is Ophir.

A long narrow shelf constitutes part of the trail…a bit scary, as you can see here. That’s Berl’s jeep ahead of us, and I took the picture through the windshield, so you can see the trail our car is perched on.



View Shirley Buxton’s map

I was still photographing through the windshield, when we came up this steep grade, and were treated with this vivid scene.

The pass is quite short, and rather soon, we came to the highway that led us in to Silverton, then on to Durango.


My devotional blog is here.

Taken in (See more photos here)


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Durango Vacation Journal Part 12

Trout Lake, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Yesterday, Berl and Lavelta and four friends they met here in Durango elected to “do” Black Bear Pass. Black Bear is rated 6 out of 10 in the difficulty level of four-wheeling. The day’s plan: Jerry and I would travel by highway to Telluride, where the Black Bear ends, then we would join them for the Ophir Pass, which is less difficult.

Our drive along Highway 145 through Dolores and along the Dolores River is as beautiful as one could ever hope to see. The picture you see at the top is of Trout Lake; it sets as a bowl among the San Juans near the small town of Ophir.

Telluride is such a spectacular place that I vividly recall the first time I traveled there. Soaring mountains surround the box canyon in which it splendidly sets with numerous waterfalls roaring over its edges at the west end of town (In every direction probably rush waterfalls, but I only observed and learned the names of two: Bridal Vail and Ingram Falls.) Its spectacular streets are marked with Victorian houses and stores, along with modern condominiums and other facilities.

We drove straight through the town and out to the place where the Black Bear trail ends and waited there for the 6 Black Bear travelers. We were in touch with them by CB, but long before we could see them, they spotted us, later saying they had waved as they stood near Ingram Falls, pictured here.

We had a visitor as we waited and as we snacked.



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Then they were down…we ate and drank as they regaled us with stories of The Crossing.

We’re off to another four-wheeling trail in a few minutes. Have to catch up in part 13. Hang on!


My devotional blog is here.



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Durango Vacation Journal Part 11

Pink and Black, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We fell into bed last night, exhausted from our strenuous day at Mesa Verde, but this morning we arose rested and fully recovered. It has been a “down” day for us, though, for we had business to tend. One negative aspect of vacationing in a motor home in which you already live is that it is hard to escape mundane day-to-day routines. I know the drawer in which I keep the bills and where the checkbook is, and I knew I had better spend a little time among such stuff if happy relationships with insurance and utility companies were to continue for the Gerald Buxton family.

It interests me greatly that as I dealt with the bills, while sitting in my motor home in Durango, Colorado, there originated from a Los Angeles radio station Dennis Prager whose voice spoke from my computer. At the same time, on same lovely Apple computer, I traveled to our bank in San Bernardino, opened up electronic pages of our checking account and computed figures. Amazes me.

So, after a leisurely start this morning, and a treat of bacon and eggs for breakfast, I tackled the bills. Jerry accomplished various tasks about the place, paramount among which was walking to the next door rig, sitting in one of Berl’s chairs and holding forth on who knows what subject. Another of Jerry’s crowning accomplishments for the day was the stretching out and careful arrangement of his body on a recliner situated pleasantly under our awning. Magazines and newspapers were at hand, as were cups of coffee and assorted other drinks. Once I went out and he looked up at me, grinned and spoke: “This is quite the life, you know.”

We did make one little jaunt in the car–to the post office, where I dropped into an official US post office mail slot the checks I had written earlier in the day. We drove a bit around the downtown area, then came home, cooked and consumed tacos. As Jerry and I stood around the outdoor grill, we looked across the meadow and saw the magnificent pink cloud you see above.

This butterfly was perched on these flowers as we visited a mine site on our return trip from Ouray a couple of days ago. The butterfly appeared tame, and hardly moved at all, so I was able to get very close to the beautiful creature. He looks to be woven of the finest silk.


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Taken in (See more photos here)

This lovely sunflower lives at the small farm near the glider airstrip down the highway. His elegant head is heavy.


My devotional blog is here.

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Durango Vacation Journal Part 10

Ramp to a Tunnel, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

This beautiful and “easy-walking” ramp led Jerry and me to the visitor center at Mesa Verde National Park, home of 4,500 archeological sites; 600 of which are cliff dwellings. We examined the displays, read history notes, and perused the listings of the tours that are available. We decided to hike to the Spruce Tree House, and to engage in some of the road tours. (Many pictures in the linked article.)

It was about ten years ago that we first visited Mesa Verde, and even before we arrived at the visitor center today we saw there had been significant change and presumed the ravaged acres must have been the result of wildfires. Inside the visitor’s center, a large poster told of the devastating and extensive fires in recent years, and a few minutes ago when I checked for further information on these fires, I confirmed that during the last seven years, five raging wildfires have burned over fifty percent of the land at Mesa Verde. Fortunately, very few historic dwellings were damaged.


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Taken in (See more photos here)

The weather, as has been usual since we’ve been here in Colorado, was perfect–the skies strikingly beautiful. This circular rail leads to the main entrance of the visitor’s center. According to anthropologists and historians, Mesa Verde is the home of the Ancestral Puebloans, and the cliff dwellings and mesa-top villages here were built between A.D 450 and 1300.

Mesa Verde is a World Cultural Heritage Park, a designation granted by UNESCO to preserve and protect the cultural and national heritage of certain international sites. Mesa Verde has also been selected the #1 historic monument in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, and was chosen by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “50 places of a Lifetime–The World’s Greatest Destinations.”

The Ancestral Puebloans created a thriving populous civilization that eventually raised towers and built hundred-room cities into the cliffs of Mesa Verde. There are thousands of sites in the area, earning Mesa Verde Country® the honor of being North America’s richest archaeological area. Many sites are open to the public for visitation, and there are local museums and institutions dedicated to exploring and interpreting this culture and archaeology. The most famous of these is award-winning Mesa Verde National Park, but visiting others provides a deeper look into the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Pueblo People.

Information taken from Mesa Verde official web site.

It is an astonishing place, and when I view those dwellings and think of the scores of families who lived here, and the extreme difficulties under which they labored, I am impressed with their fortitude, grit and intelligence. I do not understand how they lived in such places. They had to carry their water up to the cliff dwellings, and they farmed on the mesas above their homes. It’s just incredible.

Take a look at this view of one of the cliff dwellings and you can imagine how difficult their life must have been.

Suddenly, they were gone. By about 1300 Mesa Verde was deserted. Several theories are extended, but despite significant study and intense investigation no one actually knows what happened to these people. The history of Mesa Verde and its people is exhaustive–much too entailed for examination within this blog. I believe you will find it a fascinating study if you choose to delve into the history of these marvelous people.


The hike to the Spruce Tree House was a quarter of a mile, and was a fairly steep descent. We took it slowly, and almost immediately I saw very large birds in a tree across the canyon. Everyone was pointing and taking pictures, and someone said they were eagles. I was excited, snapped lots of pictures, then a ranger came by and told us the birds were not eagles, but were turkey vultures. Oh, well, they’re big and pretty. We did well hiking up, too, but we should have taken water with us. It was rather hot.

This is astonishing, I thought, as I stood here and photographed the living place of a mysterious, long-vanished people. What happened to them? Where did they go? Why did they leave?


My devotional blog is here.Includes a 9/11 tribute