Sonoita, Arizona

Trip Start Mar 26, 2008
Trip End Dec 07, 2008

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Where I stayed
The Walkers Ranch

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, April 17, 2008

"On the road again..."  Now this was definitely feeling like a road trip.  The roads to Arizona were loooong and many of them very straight.  Chris drove the whole way and spent a bit of time just changing lanes for a change of scene.  We really enjoyed the scenery on this drive, quite diverse from huge bouldered hills to white sand desert.  It was facinating to drive along the border of Mexico and see all of the border patrol vehicles.  We headed through Tucson and had some dinner there, before discovering our first Walmart.  What a store!   Leaving Tucson later than planned we raced the fading sun to try and reach the Ranch before dark and managed to pull in as the sun went down.  Even in the fading light we could tell that the Walker ranch was really something special.  We came into the main house and were truely astounded to find one of the most facinating pieces of architecture I have ever seen.  I fell for this place straight away.  Jody showed us our rooms, truly beautiful in every way.  There is also a great attic room which typically all of the kids were keen to sleep in.  Age won out and Samantha is up there.  We all enjoyed a great nights sleep and the next morning had a bit of an explore.  There are cows and sheep, horses and chickens, a swimming pool, spa, sauna and fitness room, with raquet ball court complete with basketball hoop.  Could this be more like our perfect home!  Chris Cass and I headed into town, Patagonia and went to a great Organic shop there as well as having some lunch in a great little cafe, what a neat small town. On the way home a border control check point stopped us and asked for our travel documents.  We showed our drivers licenses and explained we were staying nearby and had left our passports at home.  He explained we needed to carry our travel documents everywhere with us and if we didn't we could be arrested on the spot.  OOOPS.  Very nice guy though and he was polite but firm, not too scarey but a lesson learnt. 

While we have been at Jody and Teds' ranch we have really made the most of the opportunity to relax in a really amazing setting.  It is an absolute contrast to New Zealand, really dry and at this time of the year brown, but it is none the less a stunningly beautiful landscape.  We have had plenty of down time here, Jody and Ted have the biggest video and DVD collection I have ever seen and the kids have loved that.  We all have read books and enjoyted the hammock overlooking the ranch.  The evenings have been surreal, beautiful sunsets, cool breeze and often the sight and sound of Ted and others roping calves in the arena.  With a gym and racquetball court as well as pool spa and sauna, we have had endless things to do.  

We have had our share of activity too.  We went and visited Tombstone, and saw the sites of this historic cowboy town.  We also went to Bisbee and went on a mine tour, which took us on a train into an underground mine (freezing)  Facinating to hear how these mines were operated.  We all left with a hearty appreciation of day light and no inclination to become a miner.  We took the opportunity to give the car a wash on the way home as you can tell from the earlier photos we had some pretty serious road kill on our windscreen!

We also hosted a large local fundraising evening at the Ranch while we were here, 200 people a great band and choir and great entertainment in the arena. The kids helped with parking cars in the paddocks and Samantha helped people negotiate the cow grate on the way out.  It was a neatr evening, some really lovely people and a very successful fundraiser.

One day we headed for Karchner Caverns and had a really interesting tour of two of the rooms that were open.  The biggest room closed at the beginning fo the month for the bats to breed, but we saw some magnificent live staligmites and stalagtites, columns and soda straws and many more, what a magnificent geography lesson!  The story of these caverns is facinating and I would recommend googling them to learn more.

Jody also took us for a morning to Nogales in Mexico only about 35 miles from the ranch.  Really cute town with so much shopping and haggling it was a real eye opener for the kids.  Our last night is an opportunity to help out hosting the local Chamber of Commerce, these people sure know how to stay busy.  

Our experience here has been amazing, we have met some lovely down to earth and kind people who are so genuine.  Jody and Ted are really great people and it has been such an opportunity us all to experience their home and way of life.  They work really hard and are so happy to share their life with others.  We enjoyed some really nice meals out in this area, but also some fabulous homecooked meals as well as the company of family and friends.  Arizona rocks! 

Tomorrow we head for Chandler, just outside Phoenix for a few days.  Back to the city life.

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