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February 13th 2015
Published: February 16th 2015
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Our friends ( and former neighbours) Sheila and Alvin arrived on February 7th for a visit. From all appearances, they seemed quite happy to be out of winter in Mississauga. It was great to have them to tour around and we made the most of their time with us.

Sunday we're off to Nogales Mexico which is a twin town to Nogales Arizona. They are similar in name only! It's amazing how 2 communities with the same historical and cultural background can be so different. We parked on the Arizona side and walked into Mexico with absolutely no border check. On the way back into USA, it was quite a different story and it took about 1 hour to clear customs back into USA. Alvin sharpened his skills by negotiating and excellent price on some very stylish cowboy boots for their kids while I got my haircut for $6.00 US plus tip. It's interesting, I've had my haircut in places all over the world and the style never changes!!

The Tucson Desert Museum is rated # 3 in the USA and after spending some time there, it's undertandable why the high rating. It's mostly out doors and a very
Old TucsonOld TucsonOld Tucson

Hanging with the Ladies
unique mixture of plants and animals in a desert environment. We were given a couple of informative demonstrations with live raptors which was quite educational. This is a "must return". Close by was Old Tucson which is a movie stage replica of Tucson in days gone by. It was build in 1939 by Colomibia Pictures and has since been host to over 300 Western movies starring some well known actors such as Ronald Reagan and John Wayne.

On another day, we embarked on a 9 hour drive to the Apache Trail which begins just outside of Phoenix. The most stunning part of the drive took about 4 hours with stops for pictures, lunch and touring. The road follows an old stage coach trail that meanders through the Superstition mountain range. The panoramic views and hair raising cliffs are well worth the "white knuckle" drive. My brother Daryl, who got his training as a daredevil driver on the backroads of Chipman, would love this drive, although I think he'd have a hard time finding any passengers to go with him, particular anyone who knows his reputation. General Motors use sections of the Apache Trail to test drive some of their vehicles and I think some of the TV ads are probably filmed here.

It wasn't planned, but we did go to the Gem show which turned out to be somewhat interesting. There were primarily rough cut stones at the section of the show we attended, but also some finished products that were ready to be converted into jewelry pieces. Our friend Mary Ann, who makes beautifull jewelry as a hobby, would love this show.

Sabino Canyon is another area around Tucson that offers many hiking trails for hikers of all levels. It's a beautiful part of the Catalina mountain range and we took a tram ride up the canyon which provided a good overview. Debra and I will definitely return for a couple of hikes. Many of the trails offer good facilities with drinking water and restrooms readily accessible and there are numerous places to stop for a picnic lunch along the way.

Last stop on our week long of touring around was Tombstone which is a little over an hours drive South East of Tucson. For those unfamiliar with "cowboy history", the town was the scene of the famous(or infamous) shoot out at the OK Corral. Wyatt Earp, his 2 brothers and Doc Holliday had a show down with the McLaury and Clanton brothers resulting in 3 of the outlaws being killed and everyone else except for Wyatt Earp being wounded. Tombstone is very much like Old Tucson although bigger and there are permanent residents living around the restored historical center. We also visited Boot Hill where a number of grave markers indicated many deaths by shootings or hangings. Tombstone was clearly at the center of the Wild West in the late 1800's.

It will be necessary to do more research, but it is curious there was a separate Jewish Cemetery next to Boot Hill that didn't have any grave markings but did have a memorial stone dedicated to the Jewish residents of Tombstone and their friends and allies, the Native Americans?

Sheila and Alvin left on Saturday for home to brave, once again, the wintery conditions they left a week ago. We very much enjoyed their visit and hope they found the Tucson and surrounding areas interesting.

Sadly my uncle, Ken Branscombe, passed away on February 11th after a short illness. Ken was a kind and gentle person who was adored by family and friends. This is the downside to travel as sometimes these things happen and we were unable to personally be there with family to share memories of Ken and attend his funeral service. R.I.P. Uncle Ken

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