Monday, June 25, 2012

Tucson, Camping, Mexico, and everything in between.

Well hello there J  I have been quite absent from this blog, and for that,  I have a very good reason! I was busy GRADUATING from high school. And well about 3 days after I graduated I left on 50 day trip. It started with a 3 day trip down to Richmond for the HEAV homeschool convention. That was very enjoyable, but passed very quickly and we were headed back to home before we knew it. We then had about 6 hours at home to repack before we went to bed to got up at 2:30 to leave at 3, to get to BWI (airport) at 4 to fly out at 6. We transferred planes in Denver and landed in Tucson around 10:30 because of the time difference. We then rented a car, drove by our old house, and headed 4 hours away up to Williams, AZ where we camped for 6 days. It was with all our extended family, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, and it was just a wonderful time. We went hiking, shooting,  touring and even to see the Grand Canyon and a “real Cowboy” rodeo. (Pictures below) The Grand Canyon was incredible. Not everyone was going, and since I had seen it once before, when I was 7, I was debating not going, but I was glad I did.  Your memory, at age 7, is just not big enough to remember all the beauty and wonder of such a big thing. I knew it was big. In fact, I knew it was huge. But when I got my first glimpse, I was flabbergasted, and just how big it was. We ended up walking about a mile and a half around a part of the rim, and then having lunch. I got very sun burnt, but it was so worth it J
The other highlight of my week was seeing the real Cowboy rodeo. Growing up in Tucson and San Antonio I had been to quite a few rodeo’s in my time, but none came anywhere close to this one. The people performing in it were “real” Cowboys. Men who worked on ranches, farms, and other places, and did things like riding horses and roping cows for a living. There were no laws or rules to limit them, and they did quite a few crazy things. My favorite event was the Wild Cow Milking. It started out with a cow being released, and a man on a horse roping it. Then one person would hold the cow down (Not nearly as easy as it sounds. Remember it is Wild cow milking) and then another person milking it into a red solo cup. Then that person would run over to a little circle and the judge would make sure there was milk in the cup. There only had to be a drop for it to count! The whole rodeo was enjoyable, and I really hope I can see another one like it some time.
The shooting day was my favorite day spent with the whole family (Most of the other days we split up into a few different activities.) My uncles set it up, and boy, was it fantastic. It was a contest, with a bunch of different categories. Everyone got to shoot in each category, and our points were added up and converted into places. One of my uncles got first place, but since he was giving on of the prizes, he for fitted. My cousin (Jessie) got second. My MOM got third place, and won a 22 shotgun! My favorite guns to shoot were the 22 and the 45 pistol. (Please excuse my wrong names. Though I can shoot a gun I am not an expert on the names J )
We ventured into Williams, AZ for a day and it is quite the quaint little town. It is on Historic RT. 66, (which I love!) and is a major tourist town. We walked through many shops, and my sister was very happy to find a fair-trade coffee shop that has some wonderful Chai tea J We ate lunch at an Italian bistro, which was delicious, and finished up the day at an old fashioned ice cream parlor.

Next we headed back down to Tucson for a couple days back there. Monday Erin, (my sister) Jessie, (my cousin) and I explored some of Tucson. We also enjoyed a wonderful evening at my grandparent’s swimming and spending time with the whole family. Also going through my late Aunt’s jewelry which she left to her nieces (most amazing Aunt!)

My family headed out and I spent a few days with my Grammy. One day we headed down to Nogales, Mexico. I really wanted to go down not only because it is a different country and I love traveling, but also because I just wanted to say I had been there J It’s only about an hour and a half from Tucson, which was a very easy drive. We parked on the US side, and walked over. I had found a recommendation for the restaurant La Roca, and so we headed over to it. It was completely empty when we arrived, and I thought it might be closed, but a waiter came over and seated us, and brought us a menu. It is a beautiful restaurant, very high-class look and feel (and incredibly reasonable prices.) I had forgotten to look up what people recommended to eat, so at the last minute I pulled out my Iphone and goggled it. At somebody’s recommendation I ordered the coconut chicken kabobs, which were really dry and not very coconuty. (I.e., I did not like them one bit.) But my Grandma got a combination plate, and I ate the Chimichanga off of her’s. It was delicious, and if you ever go, I would highly recommend it. The place was empty the whole time we were there, and even when we left only three other tables had people sitting at them. The waiter’s were wonderful; and it was incredibly enjoyable. Next we headed over to the little shopping market, and I bartered my way through many a transactions. Bartering is my absolute favorite thing to do when traveling, and I really wish there was more of it in America! After wards we stopped in a little shop for a large Coca-Cola (Mexican coke is made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup and there is no comparison!) The line to get back over the border was pretty long, but we made it back home safe! I had a wonderful time, and yes, it was pretty sketchy, but I really didn’t feel endangered once. We picked up Tortillas right before we exited, and boy, those were some good tortillas!!

On Thursday my friend Rebekah Givens arrived via Amtrak and we spent the next few days hanging with my Aunt and family, riding my cousin’s horses, and cooking a dinner to enjoy with my Grammy. When we spent an afternoon at Grammy’s we cooked up quite the storm, experimenting with some old boxed cake mix we found in the back of the cupboard. Everything turned out good!

And that, was just the first 20 days of my 50 day trip. More to come in my next post!! (Enjoy the pictures below.)  

First camp food. It was so good.  (Chili)

My mom and wonderful Aunts :)

Cupcakes for my graduation.

Pool at the campsite.

Lots, and lots of Settler's played.

Sitting in an hour and a half of traffic on our way to Williams.

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