Wednesday, 29 May 2013

East to Alaska!

After the hot sunshine of Arizona, it felt like we'd arrived in Alaska but really we were in Jacksonville, Florida having arrived in the middle of a Nor’easter.   This wasn't quite the weather we were expecting from the Sunshine State!
We'd decided to have some time on the beach before heading home, where, if this summer is anything like the last we’ll be lucky if we can even see the beach through the rain! 
Our first trip was to Fort George Island and the Kingsley Plantation situated along the St John’s River, it was cloudy with a strong, very cold wind blowing off the river.
The entrance road we followed winds its way for 2 miles through maritime forest that was once carefully tended plantation fields.
On each side of the gate the remains and one reconstructed slave cabin built of tabby, a type of concrete made from oyster shells

fan out in a semi-circle.

Probably the most valuable crop grown on the plantation was indigo.   One slave could plant and tend 2 acres of plants producing about 160 pounds of indigo which converted from 1761 to today would be worth about $2,000.00.   Indigo was also the most dangerous crop for the slaves to produce as prolonged exposure to the disease carrying insects and the noxious fumes meant that the life span of a slave who worked on indigo production was between 5 and 7 years. 

As most visitors to the plantation arrived by ship an avenue of royal palms guided them from the river landing to the house. 

Originally built to take advantage of cooling breezes from the river, extra rooms, a hall and fire places were added which made the house more difficult to keep both cool and warm.

By plantation standards the house isn’t a huge antebellum mansion advertising the wealth of its owner.   Back then law enforcement may or may not arrive, and expected and welcome visitors weren’t the only people who could arrive by the river, pirates could as well! 

Have fun, we are!
PS:   Yes the weather did improve, dramatically!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Heading back to the warmer weather

Our plan, (we always have a plan, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, this time it didn’t) had been to travel north of Santa Fe and visit Pecos National Park, but after the 19F morning we decided to head back to the warmth of southern Arizona.
We stopped overnight at Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming and then carried on to one of our favourite places, Tombstone Territories RV Park   It was so nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.
In between enjoying the warmth and catching up on our reading, we walked down to the San Pedro river and probably because the trees were still fairly bare we even managed to make out the adobe buildings that comprise the remains of Presidio Santa Cruz de Terranate sitting on the bluff above the old railway line.   Not that you can see them in the photograph.

When we first visited Fairbank many years ago it was possible to walk into the buildings, but now a fence helps preserve the buildings and keeps visitors safe.

Bisbee is always a must on any trips to TTRV and this time was no exception. 

Every year on the 3rd Saturday in October Bisbee holds the Bisbee 1000, The Great Staircase Climb.
I decided to climb one of the staircases, DB declined and said he'd see me when I got back.  I thought I could see to the top, it didn’t look that far.
What I didn’t realise is that there were a couple of landings along the way, so this is what I saw when I eventually got to the top. 
After being revived with a Mexican hot chocolate with lashings of cream (very diet friendly – not!) in the Bisbee Coffee Company I decided that I definitely won’t be doing the Bisbee 1000, well not this year! 

On our way back to the truck we saw this highly decorated car, isn't it great?   I can't imagine driving it though and I’m not actually sure it would be street legal at home. 

Another great day in South Eastern Arizona.

Have fun, we are!

and then.................

On a lovely, sunny but cool day, we drove down to Socorro, again no plan, apart from picking up a few supplies from Wally World and having coffee.   I tried a spiced chai, it was okay, but I’m not sure that I actually liked it. 

Trees on the plaza were starting to leaf out and looked really pretty.

As in Santa Fe, we mooched, chatted, I tried another spiced chai and am still undecided, picked up our supplies and headed back for a lazy evening after a lazy day.

Have fun, we are!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

So where were we?

I am so far behind with updating the blog that I had to put my brain into overdrive to remember where I’d got up to. 
After our trip to Old Town Albuquerque and the Botanical Gardens, the following day we again got up at something dark and silly o’clock when it was even colder, 19F!!!  I have absolutely no idea what that is in centigrade, I just know it’s far too cold for us!
This time we took the New Mexico Rail Runner all the way to Santa Fe, we had to change trains in Albuquerque so thankfully we had time for some hot chocolate before boarding the next train.   We enjoyed the train journey as it took us past places we’d never have seen if we were driving, especially as we sat on the upper deck.
We didn’t have anything special planned when we got to Santa Fe, so after we’d taken the free bus to the plaza and more hot chocolate, we decided we’d just mooch. 

Despite the cold, you could see snow on the tops of the mountains, the sun was warm so we found a seat on the plaza and indulged in some people watching.
I bought a lovely bead necklace from a charming Native American lady outside the Governors Palace who very sensibly had plenty of rugs to keep her warm.

Some of the vendors on the square had small gas heaters to keep them warm.

For us taking the New Mexico Rail Runner was a great way to get to Santa Fe as there is absolutely no way we’d’ve driven from Belen to Santa Fe just for a day trip.   On the way we also discovered that Belen is home to the third largest train stockyards in the USA. 

Have fun, we are!