Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Mexico to Wilcox, Arizona

Today we drove to Wilcox Arizona. We stopped here because I was tired of driving in windy, rainy weather mixed in with a bit of SLEET!!

Map picture

PICT0009-1

PICT0012-1

PICT0015-1

Arizona in trying to balance their budget so, they decided to close most of the rest areas and their State Parks.

The Rex Allen Museum Willcox, Az.

This afternoon we went for a tour of Willcox, Arizona.

"The first name for the present community of Willcox was Maley, after Jame H. Mahley (b. 1850), who in 1882 was a resident of Dos Cabezas. Maley was so called because the railroad right-of-way went through Maley's Ranch. The legend concerning the change in name is that when the first train came through, Gen. Orlando B. Willcox (1823-1907) the commander of the Department of Arizona, was on board and received an ovation. Since its beginning as a railroad point, Willcox has been important as a cattle shipping center."

P.O. est September 13, 1880. Name changed to Willcox Nov. 23, 1889.

PICT0001

PICT0004

Rex Allen’s recording career was launched with Mercury Records in 1946 and spanned 30 years. The song that became his trademark, “Streets of Laredo”, sold over 3 million copies.

In 1949 Rx signed with Republic Pictures in Hollywood, the motion picture studio responsible for the careers of John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Rex Allen stared in 18 action packed westerns with “Koko” through 1954, Rex was the last of the “Silver Screen Cowboys”.

In the television years of 1955-56, Rex starred in 39 episodes of “Frontier Doctor”.

During the next three decades, Rex and Koko appeared at every major rodeo in the U.S. and Canada. His golden voice has been heard on hundreds of commercials over the years and he narrated more than 100 nature films for Wald Disney.

PICT0005

PICT0006

PICT0010

PICT0012

PICT0013

PICT0015 

The Willcox Commercial is the oldest store in it's original location in Arizona.  The Commercial offers a glimpse into the past while allowing you to shop for items of the present.  The Commercial was established in 1880.  The actual building built in the early 1880's.  The Commercial was important to the Southern Pacific railroad in the early days with sending freight to Fort Grant, Fort Bowie and Globe.  The Commercial is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Marfa Texas to Rockhound State Park New Mexico

Today we drove to Rockhound State Park in New Mexico.

Map picture

PICT0013

PICT0017

“On the western slop of the Little Florida Mountains, Rockhound State Park is popular among hikers looking for spectacular views, and among rock enthusiasts looking for unique rock and minerals. Visitors acn find a variety of rock and minerals, ranging form silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, agate, common opal, jasper to thundereggs and geodes. Visitors are welcome to take 15 pounds of rock per person from the park.

PICT0026

Our Motorhome.

PICT0027

PICT0032

PICT0033

PICT0001-1

New Mexico sunset.

At sunrise Jenna and I took these two last photos.

PICT0004-1

PICT0006-1

Friday, February 26, 2010

San Angelo to Marfa, Tx

Map picture

Today we travelled to Marfa, Tx.

 

PICT0008

PICT0011

PICT0016

These first 3 photos are taken above I-10 with less and less grass growing each time. Also windmills in the oil fields.

PICT0029

The Davis Mountains  on the south side if I-10

PICT0039

There are lots of operational  VW Beatles down near Marfa.

Marfa’s ‘Mystery Ghost Lights’

One of the things Marfa is famous for is the Mystery Ghost Lights in the desert.

The Marfa lights or the Marfa ghost lights are unexplained lights (known as "ghost lights") usually seen near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas, in the United States.

The first published account of the lights was written in 1957, and this article is the sole source for anecdotal claims that the lights date back to the 1800s. Reports often describe brightly glowing basketball sized spheres floating above the ground, or sometimes high in the air. Colors are usually described as white, yellow, orange or red, but green and blue are sometimes reported. The balls are said to hover at about shoulder height, or to move laterally at low speeds, or sometimes to shoot around rapidly in any direction. They often appear in pairs or groups, according to reports, to divide into pairs or merge together, to disappear and reappear, and sometimes to move in seemingly regular patterns. Their sizes are typically said to resemble soccer balls or basketballs.

Sightings are reported occasionally and unpredictably, perhaps ten to twenty times a year. There are no reliable reports of daytime sightings; the lights seem to be a nocturnal phenomenon only.

According to the people who claim to have seen the lights, they may appear at any time of night, typically south of U.S. Route 90 and U.S. Route 67, five to fifteen miles east of Marfa, at unpredictable directions and apparent distances. They can persist from a fraction of a second to several hours. There is evidently no connection between appearances of the Marfa lights and anything else besides nighttime hours. They appear in all seasons of the year and in any weather, seemingly uninfluenced by such factors. They sometimes have been observed during late dusk and early dawn, when the landscape is dimly illuminated.

It is extremely difficult to approach an ongoing display of the Marfa lights, mainly due to the dangerous terrain of Mitchell Flat. Also, all of the land where the Marfa Lights are observed is private property, and access is prohibited without explicit permission from the owners.

PICT0041

The Marfa Lights viewing center.

PICT0047

In 1883, the wife of the president of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad named a small West Texas railroad water stop Marfa after a character in a Russian novel that she was reading at the time.

PICT0056

Presidio County Courthouse

A landmark of the Big Bend, the large dome is visible for miles. Constructed of native stone and brick made at Marfa the stucco was added later. Built 1886 in this county’s third seat of justice. The First County Seat was Fort Leaton on the Rio Grande, the Second was Fort Davis.

PICT0061 From 2 and 1/2 stories up looking at the grand staircase in the old courthouse.

PICT0065 The Hotel Paisano

This hotel was built in 1930 and was the home to the movie stars in the movie “Giant” filmed in the 50’s

PICT0052

The movie stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean and features Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor and Earl Holliman. Giant was the last of James Dean's three films as a leading actor, and earned him his second and last Academy Award nomination – he was killed in a car accident before the film was released. Nick Adams was called in to do some voice-over dubbing for Dean's role.

PICT0053

One the the local businesses. LOVE THE NAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PICT0002

All that is left of the Stardust Motel. That is our motorhome in the background.

In the evening we went to watch the Marfa Lights and spent 2 hours in the desert with many others seeing nothing but headlights on a rural road.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

San Angelo State Park

Tonight we will stay at San Angelo State Park.

The park is located at the transition between the Edwards Plateau ecoregion, the Rolling Plains natural region and the Trans-Pecos desert. It embraces a diverse mixture of vegetation including riparian bottom-land trees such as pecan, hackberry and mesquite, which are more common in the arid plains.

P2255867

Jenna in the lead on the trail.

P2255869

P2255875

P2255878

Austin Texas to San Angelo Texas

Today we left the pine country, went through the hill country and as be get nearer San Angelo we have shorter trees and less grass.

PICT0001

PICT0002

PICT0014

PICT0016

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Road Trip to Austin Texas

Driving across Texas to get to Casa Grande Arizona for March 1st.PICT0038

PICT0039

PICT0044 PICT0041

PICT0045

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beaumont Texas

McFaddin-Ward House

McFaddin-Ward House The McFaddin-Ward House was built in 1905-06 in the striking and distinctive Beaux-Arts Colonial style. The structure and its furnishings reflect the lifestyle of the prominent family who lived in the house for seventy-five years.

W.P.H. and Ida Caldwell McFaddin in 1890's
When W. P. H. and Ida Caldwell McFaddin moved their young family, two sons and one daughter, into their house in 1907, Beaumont was still enjoying the economic effects of the discovery of oil at nearby Spindletop in 1901. Having already accumulated considerable wealth from the cattle business, rice farming and milling, commercial real estate, and trapping, the family prospered even further after Spindletop, since Mr. McFaddin owned part interest in the land where oil was discovered.

Mamie McFaddin as a young belle The McFaddin's home was one of a number of grand residences built in town by local architect, Henry Conrad Mauer, during the early twentieth century. Mauer, trained at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, incorporated local materials with the most advanced electrical, water, heating, and indoor plumbing systems of the time. The home was initially built for Colonel W. C. Averill and his wife Di, the sister of W. P. H. McFaddin. After living in the house for several months, the Averills decided to trade houses with the McFaddins, who lived near by. In early January 1907, the McFaddins moved in.

The house served as a lavish backdrop for the frequent entertainments and elegant parties the McFaddins hosted. In 1919, the McFaddins' daughter Mamie married Carroll Ward, and the couple moved into this house with her parents. They lived their entire lives there, making few changes to the house or its d├ęcor after 1950.

Today, visitors to the house receive guided tours of three lavishly furnished floors in the home. Trained guides combine family stories and local history with information about the house and its furnishings to tell the story of the McFaddin family and the era 1906-1950.

This was our first visit of the day. We were NOT allowed to take photos, but it is well worth the visit.

Fire Museum of Texas

PICT0002

PICT0018 

PICT0006

PICT0010

PICT0015

PICT0016

Texas Oil Museum

For years, Pattillo Higgins speculated that oil lay beneath the Spindletop mound, At Higgins’s invitation, Anthony E. Lucas came to Beaumont. After two dry holes on the north side of the Spindletop salt dome, Lucas finally drilled on the McFaddin, Wiess and Kyle land ton the south side. The result was the first oil gusher in the United States and the beginning of the Texas petroleum industry. This happened in 1901. (Re: the McFaddin house we visited)

PICT0031

PICT0020

PICT0024

PICT0027

Texaco = Texas Oil Company