The Sun and Fun
Back from a few fun-filled days in Arizona. Meandering through the gigantic gem, fossil and mineral shows alternated with road trips out to historic mining towns like Bisbee, shown above. This amazing place is built in a cleft in the mountains, with hardly a flat spot to be found. Homes perch precariously above one another, clutching somehow onto the coppery cliffs. One map I found revealed that at least 19 mines operated in the area (from about the 1880s). Copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc were the targets. One mine, which shut down in 1975, produced 3 million ounces of gold and over 8 billion pounds of copper.
A serene scene from behind an Indian Reservation gas stop west of Tucson.
One excursion took us to the top of a mountain range to check out Kitts Peak Observatory. It boasts the largest collection of telescopes in the world. Sadly, this little amount of snow somehow hindered the staff and normal operations there, and we found the visitor centre closed. But we were allowed to check out some of the telescopes.
And this is what the gem show is all about. This year saw the show reduced to about three weeks instead of a whole month. But the number of venues continues to increase each year, and now there are about 50 venues around the city. Most exhibitors and sales people seemed to have an average or better than average year, although some said they were down. I hooked up with some dealer friends who had a great year.
The hat tradition continues and in Tombstone I picked up the funkiest cowboy boots and this awesome hat. I had to break them in on a desert walk. That cactus over my left shoulder is particularly nasty. A local called it the jumping cactus. Once it latches on to you, it won't let go.
In the pre-game warm-up to retirement, what is the next destination? methinks it is Texas, between San Antonio and the Gulf Coast. Saty tuned for more pics from the meandering mermaid.