Wednesday, July 30, 2014


We spent several days in Ruidoso New Mexico for the Ruidoso Fine Art Festival, July 25-28, 2014. Rather than an extensive write up this time, I thought I'd post photos and some captions to let them tell the story. Enjoy!


This was near Roswell, only about 75 miles from Ruidoso. But what a difference those miles make as you'll see!
Grindstone Lake, just west of downtown Ruidoso, New Mexico.
A beautiful sunset over Carrizo Creek Lake near the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort.

David took this photo of a public golf course that surrounds the Ruidoso Convention Center where the show was held.


Yes, we were in Ruidoso for more than than just sightseeing. Here are some pics from our booth at the Ruidiso Fine Art Festival. It was a wonderful show!


Since we were already there, we decided to stay over an extra day to take some drives around the area. The most memorable was doing up to Ski Apache. The views were just amazing!

Headed north for another side trip where we found a great breakfast at the Smokey Bear Restaurant in Capitan, NM. Yes, this are is the home to "THE" Smokey the Bear

AND, OF COURSE, WE SAW LOTS OF WILDFLOWERS! Here's just a small sampling...

So that's some of the highlights of our trip. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


View from I-17 north of Phoenix.
If you follow my blogs and postings, you know that I took trip to Arizona in early July 2014. My husband and I did a similar visit in February, but this time it was my sister, Sue, and I enjoying the splendor of the American Southwest. We flew in to Phoenix on a Saturday, rented a car, put in more than 1500 miles, and flew out the following Saturday. What a trip! For anyone interested, here is a recounting of this journey, sharing some of the sights we covered from Phoenix to Flagstaff and many points in between as well as west and east.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona
As soon as we landed and secured our car, we headed north for Sedona, where we were booked for the first two nights of our trip. The red rocks were calling my spirit and just the drive into Sedona did the trick. Yes, there's something about that place that speaks to me, as it does to many. After checking in at the Wildflower Inn, we drove around and through the rock canyons, stopping for an extended visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. What a spiritual place!

As the day came to an end, we ventured up to the look out at the airport where you see not only the town of Sedona but the red rocks in the distance. Yes, we were surround by the red rocks, including a view of Bell Rock from our motel balcony, which also offered a spectacular sunrise to start Sunday morning!
Views on the road from Sedona to Flagstaff.

For our first full day in Arizona, we decided to take a day trip to the north, heading up the switchback highway to the mountains of Flagstaff. After a brief walk through the downtown, it was back in the car to drive into the San Francisco Mountains and check out the Snowbowl. As soon as we reached the Aspens we knew we made the right choice for our day-trip adventure. Thick stands of the stark white-n-black trunks were surrounded by tall, lush grass and wildflowers! Yes, summer blooms of yellow, white and blues created scenes that will find their way into my paintings in the near future!
San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff.

We left the mountain top but had time for one more drive, this time taking the 26-mile Schultz Pass through Coconino National Forest. As the road turned from payment to gravel, the landscape also began to change. But this wasn't natural or mother nature's work. It was the result of what was believe to have been an unattended camp fire that consumed some 15,000 in the summer of 2010. While the black skeletons of what was once a mighty pine forest dotted the hillsides and mountain cliffs, I found comfort in the scores of wildflowers in bloom as well as small trees and brush. Still it was very sad to witness the result of one person's neglectful act some four years after the fact.
As the day was coming to a close we made our way back to Sedona via the Interstate. We wanted to spend a little time in Uptown Sedona, visiting some of the shops before bidding goodbye to the area for this trip.

Lagoon at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, AZ.
On Monday we checked out of the Wildflower Inn and headed south with Prescott as our destination for our Monday night layover. On the way, we visited Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood and enjoyed a morning walk around the lagoons there. While they are man-made, the large bodies of water with the reflections of Arizona sky were just beautiful.

Next stop for the morning was Jerome, an old mining town set on the side of a mountain. We visited the local co-op gallery and a few of the shops and then hit the road for the trip over Mingus Mountain. Switchback roads offered views of from north, where we had been to south where we were heading. Coming off the mountain and the forest of pines and into the desert was a reminder that we were still in Arizona!
We made our way to our motel in Prescott, got checked in and then set out to explore the area.
North of Prescott.
It was Monday afternoon, the day after a long holiday weekend that included a Fourth of July parade and a huge rodeo. I mention this because it has been my experience that the "Monday after" tends to be a dead time for many touristy areas. Visitors have left and locals are exhausted. Not so in Prescott! At least not for this particular post holiday. The downtown courthouse square was like a magnet! Parking was filled, people were walking into shops and galleries. As the day passed we saw folks spreading blankets on the grass by the courthouse to enjoy the afternoon. This was one of the most pleasant and inviting downtown experiences I've ever had.  Spending most of the afternoon there, we enjoyed local coffee and, at the suggestion of a man in a shoe store, had some great Thai food a few blocks from the downtown square.
White Tank Mountains, West of Phoenix
After having coffee on the patio at Starbucks while enjoying some cool temps in the 60s the next morning, we hit the road again, this time heading west and then south toward Wickenburg. We drove several hours with a few stops for photos and once to eat. Finally, when it was about as hot as you can imagine on a July afternoon in Arizona, we made it west of Phoenix and decided to take a drive through White Tank Mountains. I only mention the heat because the area was filled with photo ops and you can't do those with out leaving the comfort of the AC in the car. We took several little walks, drinking plenty of water and keeping our hats on. A longer hike to see the what was supposed to be a waterfall and some petroglyphs was out of the question. But, in the end, even the shorter walks and the drive it was worth it!

Superstition Mountains
Our next stop was the Best Western Papago Inn in Scottsdale, which we would be calling home until we flew out on Saturday.
A memorable drive that David and I took our our trip earlier in the year was up and over Superstition Mountains on Apache Pass.

This was a must-do again this time as I wanted to share it with my sister. So we headed eastward Wednesday morning. The winding gravel roads hugging the sides of the mountains and offering views as far as the eye could see did not disappoint! While creeping along a particularly narrow section about half way through we passed a car with the window down coming from the other direction. Sue rolled down her window and we chatted with the other woman for about 10 minutes, on the side of the mountain. She suggested we take a left at the end of the road just past the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. When David and I did the trip, we had taken a right there and went down to Globe. I was thinking I'd like to see what was up the road if we took a left instead and, thanks to the advice of the stranger, we were glad we did!
Mountain-n-valley view near Payson, AZ
Up the road we found the community of Payson where we had a great cup of coffee and got some free sightseeing advice from the barista, Dylan. He suggested a couple of back roads and even drew us a map. We were able to do one of them, which included driving up Diamond Point for an amazing lookout of the mountains and the valley below.

As daylight was running our we took Beeline Highway (yes, that's what they call it) back to Scottsdale, driving through the mountains as darkness fell, creating silhouettes in every direction.

With only 2 days left, we made plans for another long day-trip on Thursday and then staying closer to home base on Friday. But the mountains were calling to both Sue and I so we knew we needed to find our way back to the Payson area.  However, we would be taking the long way around to get there. So we were up early the next morning and soon on the road to Globe. Just the drive from Phoenix to Globe is scenic and interesting. But I must say that nothing can prepare you for the 2-hour haul from Globe to Show Low through Salt River Canyon! I did a quick Google and read one man's description that it was like a "mini Grand Canyon." I could not agree more! If you are ever in the area and have the time, take that drive! You'll be glad you did!
Salt River Canyon between Globe and Show Low.

We drove around the Ponderosa Pines of Show Low and took a hike to a scenic overlook on the Mogollon Rim. As we were still several hours from Scottsdale, we made the stay brief and headed west for Payson, where we ended up at the same little coffee shop, giving me a chance to thank our friendly barista for his excellent map and information the day before. While we would have loved to visit nearby Pine/Stawberry, we decided to make the trip on Beeline Highway before dark to see what we missed before. The mountains were beautiful and we enjoyed seeing the transition from pine trees back into Saguaro and other familiar cactus of the Arizona landscape.

View near Show Low and a cool 82 degrees!
Friday was our last full day in Arizona so we did a shorter day trip, this time heading for downtown Phoenix for a brief walk and then up to Cave Creek and over to Carefree. On our last trip, I signed with Wild Holly Gallery in Carefree and it was nice to see them again and to get to see my art on display there!
Every day the temps were rising and by Friday afternoon it was over 100 in the city. By the way, one reason we kept heading to the mountains was because it was an easy 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the higher altitude, among the towering pine trees!
But the Friday afternoon heat was getting to both of us and we decided that an afternoon at the mall was not a bad idea. We ended up at Scottsdale Fashion Square, whose claim to fame is being the "largest shopping mall in Arizona and the Southwest." While there we decided to take in a movie and timing was right to catch "Jersey Boys." What a great way to spend an afternoon when it's 108 outside!
Saturday morning was our travel day and we got out early to have plenty of time to gas up and return the rental car, check luggage, and make it through security. While standing in the long line to the luggage counter we learned that our flight was delayed by 2 hours. Then it was delayed another 3 hours. Then another 45 minutes. Ten hours from the time that we dropped off the rental car we were, finally, back in Austin!
As you can tell, it was an amazing trip from start to finish. In addition to the wonderful memories, I brought home tons of photos to use as reference for my next wave of paintings. You never know where the inspiration will come from! Thanks for reading about this journey!

Here I am, on the left, with my sweet sister, Sue, in Sedona.