Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of our very first stops after arriving home on May 19, was a visit to our daughter Ann who was expecting her 4th child at any time.

I went upstairs and took this picture of the baby's room, so lovingly prepared by the expectant parents. They believe strongly that it will be a girl - can you tell?
Thursday, May 19, as we drove on from St. Johns toward Snowflake we were pleased to see storm clouds gathering and indications of rain for our thirsty ranch and forest lands.

It has been a long road to and from Virginia. It was good to be back in Arizona, the state we love so well. We have seen many wonderful sights and been blessed along the way with safety, friendship and protection. This land of America is such a choice and favored land. What a wonderful experience it has been to travel across it and experience its beauty and treasures, large and small.
In St. Johns we stopped long enough for me to take a picture of a building bearing Linda's maiden name: "Burnham." She says she is unaware of any connection of her family with this St. John's funeral home.
Thursday, May 19, we left the snow covered mountains and valleys near Ramah, New Mexico and continued west , through the Indian community of Zuni, crossing the Arizona border and taking US 191 to St. Johns, getting ever closer to our Snowflake home, our journey's end!

Friday, September 9, 2011

We stopped in the village of Ramah long enough for a picture of the old Bond home, now standing vacant. This was the residence of my mother's oldest sister, Esther Burk and her husband, Marius Bond. While Marius cared for the cattle and horses and the other responsibilities of ranch life, Esther looked to the needs of her children and taught school. She was fluent in Navajo and the native tongue of the Zuni Indian children that attended school in Ramah. She was a dear Aunt for whom I had a deep love and regard. Her son Laverl, my same age, still resides in this community with his wife Mary. In this modern age of so much change it is good to know that some people stay where they were born and raised, happy and fulfilled.
At Grant's, on a whim, we turned south from the Interstate and took the road toward El Moro National Monument and Mormon pioneer community of Ramah. To our surprise and pleasure we found ourselves in a winter wonderland in the middle of May! A late Spring snowstorm had passed over this mountain range the night before.

What a pleasure us as we drove through this historic landscape with all its history for us and our pioneer heritage, covered with a fresh blanket of snow!
Thursday, May 19, was the final day of our Virginia Trip. After a overnight stay in Albuquerque we took I-40 toward Gallup.

New Mexico very properly calls itself the Land of Enchantment. It remains largely unchanged by man's mark.

This picture was taken as we drove west along I-40, east of Grant's.
Wednesday, May 18, we passed through dry and dusty Clovis, New Mexico at the Texas border and continued on toward Albuquerque.

We were back in the land of our nativity!

What a contrast these dry, wild and wide open spaces were to the wet, green and deeply forested environment of the southeastern States we had been experiencing just days ago.
Wednesday, May 18, after a night's stay in Lubbock, we made our way toward Clovis, New Mexico on US 84, saying our goodbyes to the Texas Panhandle.

This photo was taken as we traveled northwest from Lubbock, toward the New Mexico border.

We found east central New Mexico in equal need for moisture. It was dry, dry, dry!
Tuesday, May 17, we continued northwest from Lampasas, heading toward Lubbock, using the state highways. We drove through one small farming and ranching town after another.

This photo, taken as we drove through a small town north of Lampasas, is typical of what we saw mile after mile; a land suffering from lack of rain.
May 15, we stopped for the night in Beaumont, Texas. This was our last stop on US 90 as we wanted to avoid the congestion of the Houston area, directly to the west.

The next morning, Monday, May 16, we struck off along Texas highway 105 for Lampasas, some 300 plus miles to the north and west. The route we would be traveling would take us through the heartland of this great state. We didn't know it then, but we would be driving through a drought-ridden land, so starved for rain, the further we got from the gulf.

This picture was taken as we drove west along Texas 105 out of Beaumont, toward Lampasas, where we would find another lodging for the night.
This is a view of the catwalk that extended out from the Visitor's Center at the Louisiana/Texas border on US 90, giving visitors opportunity for close-up looks at the birds, reptiles and other wildlife that make this interesting place their home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yes, there just below us is a friendly Texas alligator, awaiting his breakfast. We took this picture as we walked along the elevated walkway that extends out into this swampland from the Texas Visitor's Center located east of Beaumont on US90 at the Louisiana border. We also saw some turtles moving about and a number of water fowl.
Saturday, May 14, we stopped at a very nice Visitor's Center as we crossed the border into Texas on US 90. This Visitor's Center is built on the edge of a large swamp. Walkways extend out into the swamp for considerable distance to give visitors the opportunity of getting a close-up view of the habitat and wild creatures that dwell in these plant-filled waters.

Just to make it clear, the fellow in the white T-shirt is a tourist, not a swamp creature.
Saturday morning, May 14, traveling west along US 90 from Morgan City, Louisiana, we noticed we were more and more in open farming country as we approached the Texas border. In fact, I remarked to Linda as we drove along that it seemed like we were on one of the farm roads outside Chandler, Arizona, it looked so similar.
Friday, May 13, we stopped for the night in Morgan City, Louisiana. Before our arrival in Morgan City, we stopped at one of the many cemeteries to take this picture. Here, in this part of the country the ground water is so close to the surface that the dead are buried above ground.
While driving about in the lovely town of Thibodaux, Louisiana, Linda asked if I would inquire at a famous Bed and Breakfast inn to find out what it cost and get a look inside. I was warmly greeted by the owner and his wife. They were happy to escort me about the rooms, even taking me upstairs for a look at the Presidential Suite. It was sort of overwhelming, like being in a palace. One night's stay in this place can run well over $500. We thanked them kindly and continued on our way.
On Friday, May 13, as we continued west across Louisiana, we took a short side trip through historic Thibodaux. This is typical of the homes you see in this lovely community.
The old neighborhoods of these Southern communities are lined with magnificent trees, lives oaks and other varieties we cannot identify but only admire. This was taken as we were trying to find our way out of New Orleans. Perhaps you can see the old trolley car approaching on the far side of the median.
Friday, May 13, we also missed another turn-off as we traveled near the gulf, but it gave us the opportunity of stopping at Visitor's Center near a freeway interchange to re-chart our course. While there, Linda walked among the flowering plants and foliage that surround the center. She loved seeing another Magnolia tree up close and wanted to smell the blossoms.