Vail, Arizona – December 2021 – Views From The New Neighborhood

Our move to Arizona has found us living in a town called Vail, at the far east end of Tucson. It predates the same named town in Colorado by about 100 years, but for most of it’s time was a small, dusty railroad stop. The Colorado town has nothing on the Arizona one, the mountains here have more vertical gain above the town – just without so much snow (thankfully).

In the last 30 years it has grown tremendously but still has that ‘outpost’ feel, being at the edge of town, next to the mountains and desert. This posting has random views of some sights around Vail and beyond.

While Route 66 is the most famous east-west route in the pre interstate days, in reality more people actually took U.S. 80 west to California. This route made it’s way across Southern Arizona, including a portion between Benson and Vail, on it’s way to Tucson.

U.S. 80 crosses Cienega Creek on a 1921 bridge, next to where two Southern Pacific railroad routes also traverse the creek. A cienega is a wetland unique to the Southwestern U.S., resulting in a landscape unlike the surrounding area because of the constant availability of water, with large trees lining the banks.

Just to the east is the ghost town of Pantano, another railroad stop in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Today only the water tower remains.

About 30 miles south of Vail is the town of Sonoita. As you cross the Empire Mountains the landscape changes yet again, with large fields of tall grasses, instead of the Sonoran Desert look of Vail.

A local propane dealer has a cool collection of decorated tanks.

While Saguaro National Park East has a Tucson address, it is in the Vail area. It was a good day to take the dog for a walk, and take a closer look at the cacti.

The Vail area, and all of Southern Arizona, have spectacular sunsets.

Note the full moon peeking through the clouds.

Lowell, Arizona – December 2021 – Rusted Ghost Town

Lowell, Arizona is just south of Bisbee, and today is officially part of the city of Bisbee. Not only has the town lost it’s population over the years, but it actually lost it’s land as the massive copper pit mining was expanded.

Today a portion of the main street remains, with a collection of old buildings, cars, trucks and buses – but it has a unique appeal. It is the scene of numerous photo and video shoots.

Chicago – September 2021 – Phoning In Some Murals

An unexpected, brief, trip to Chicago left me without a camera – so this posting is solely the result of an iPhone camera.

A quick internet search for some of the more interesting murals in the city, plus discovering some not on the list by chance. I like to find murals that the surroundings add to the photo as well.

Many were in locations that made it tough to get a clear photo, but the varied angles also have added to the composition, rather than a ‘directory of images’.

Central Arizona – September 2021 – Wanderings

A 3 day weekend of wanderings resulted in a number of topics for a posting, and a few random shots that weren’t enough for a single posting.

Jerome, Arizona – What was once a medium sized town for a large copper mine, the town went nearly extinct, but has returned to life as a tourist attractions as … a ghost town full of people.

Another mountain town is Superior – east of Phoenix.

Roosevelt Lake is located near the Tonto National Monument. The reservoir supplies water to Phoenix.

Phoenix – August 2021 – Architecture Tour on a Sunday Morning

While much of Phoenix is a vast suburban landscape, there are a number of architecturally interesting buildings in the area.

Tempe Municipal Building
What was once the Santa Fe Freight Depot is now the Maricopa County Assessors Office.
The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office in one of the few remaining old houses downtown.
The Arizona State Capitol
An Arizona State Government building.
What I thought was an observatory is a church.
Side view of the historic Maricopa County Courthouse, with a streetcar stop.
The Luhrs Tower dates from 1929. The building made an appearance in the movie Pyscho, and is thought to be haunted.
Arizona State University Music Building – Designed by Wesley Peters, son in law of Frank Lloyd Wright (more below on him). This is known as the Birthday Cake building.

Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked in Phoenix for many years. There are a number of his designed homes, churches and public buildings in the area.

Gammon Auditorium – Designed by FLW but completed after his death.
First Christian Church
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel
The Norman Lykes House

Signs of Change Across America – August 2021

After an entire lifetime of living in the east, life has dealt us a curveball, resulting in us relocating from Ohio to Arizona. We took the opportunity to take a bit extra time during the 2000 mile move to stop and see a few sights along the way. Some of the more extended stops will have their own posting.

Let’s start by leaving Columbus

Time to head west.

First state – Kentucky

Our first stretch break was south of Louisville at Bernheim Arboretum. In addition to the natural scenery there were many sculptures.

After a very long drive across much of Kentucky, we reached the Tennessee border in the far northwestern corner of the state.

It was on to Memphis for the night. We saw enough sights in our brief visit to Memphis to warrant it’s own posting.

The next day started with a drive across the Mississippi River into Arkansas

After extended stops in Little Rock and Hot Springs (postings follow this one), we found ourselves near the small town of Murfreesboro at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. This park is known for being an open diamond ‘mine’ where you pay $10 and are welcome to go dig around for diamonds.

The park has a sign detailing recent and records finds – each day someone find small diamonds, and every once in a while a big find is made.

We did not strike it rich so we continued west, passing Texarkana, which as the name suggests is on the Texas/Arkansas border.

Our last brief stop of the day was in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Their very nice courthouse square has a public restroom with one way mirrors, so you can ‘take care of business’ while watching the world go by 🙂

A couple more hours lead to a great sunset while arriving in Dallas.

The next morning started out across West Texas, passing the town of Cisco (must be where they got the name of the company)

Our first extended stop of the day was in Abilene (posting to follow).

Texans are very proud of their home.

The drive across Texas continued, passing wind turbines then oil derricks.

After 575 mile we were through Texas (or so we though…), arriving in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Eastern New Mexico was still oil country but it quickly transitioned to the mountains. The peak of our trip was in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

After dropping more than 4000 feet we arrived in Alamogordo, home to White Sands National Park (individual posting later).

The plan was to drive the 70 miles to Las Cruces for the night but there was a landslide, resulting in a detour adding an addition 50 miles, resulting us ending up back in Texas (briefly) again.

Eventually we made it to Las Cruces, and the next morning started on the literal home stretch.

After 2000 miles we have reached our new home state! With this move we have a fantastic opportunity for new sights and experiences, so stay tuned….