It was a holiday of indifference. Not that I don’t enjoy the company of my two sons, but without the grandboys, Christmas just didn’t seem like Christmas. Gary, who decided to make it difficult for all other husbands, gifted a 2010 Miata to me for my being “a very good girl”. He had two mandatory weeks off from work so the combination of new vehicle and no real reason to stay home, got us out and about with mostly me at the wheel!
We celebrated the holiday with my sister who recently relocated to her boyfriend’s home on the CA coastline. The weather though a bit chilly was sunny and alluring. We had fun traversing the five villages around Pismo Beach, checking the Monarch migration, and eating and drinking to satiation and just plain hanging out. Time flew and we had plans to meet friends near Tucson at the Essence of Tranquility Hot Springs, so we high tailed it to the south the day after Christmas.
Winter in CA on Christmas day…
Anyone for a pint?
Watching some practice kite surfing.
Gary and Randy, two very handsome gents!
The CA Monarch Migration which is absolutely breathtaking!
Randy is a windsurfer and he took us to his favorite surfing spot, but sadly the water lever was extremely low. All the local windsurfers await the possibility of rainfall or any other course that would alter the dropping of Lake Lopez.
The Miata is a real trooper. It’s a blast to drive, comfortable and amazingly enough, easy to pack. Maybe my extensive motorcycle journeys had my focus on just how much one can pack in small spaces. It was somewhat like a puzzle, but we were able to get all our goodies and more into the Mighty Miata., my Black Beauty.
We left Sharon and Randy’s house fairly late so knew we probably would not get as far as we would have liked, and ended up in Indio, CA for the night in a very cute vintage motor lodge, the City Center Motel. The following clear cold morning we loaded up and headed for Safford, AZ, in the muted sun.
Our motel in Indio and it had all the three “c”s, cute, clean and cheap.
A motel version of the Sistine Chapel.
At dinner, I coerced Gary into a selfie at an awesome Mexican restaurant, the Pueblo Viejo Grill.
When we left Indio, the sun was shining, but the temperature was a whopping 36 degrees. It was the beginning of COLD morning temps and I knew just how good the hot springs were going to feel!
Essence of Tranquility is a funky place, but one that I adore. It’s probably not for everyone since there are no upscale amenities, but the water is hot, the surroundings beautiful and it is run by kind and caring people.
The casitas are clean, with shared bathrooms, a full communal kitchen and living room with cable tv and wifi. The price is inexpensive and includes as many soaks as one can enjoy! For what more could one ask?
Well…maybe no frost.
We spent two nights soaking and enjoying our friends company and parted ways at “The Thing” and infamous AZ roadside attraction.
Photo by Roxi of The Good Luck Duck.
A selfie with friends Mark and Deb as we parted company at “the Thing”.
I have been asked to describe “the Thing”, but really one needs to see it for themselves.
There is the re-creation of a torture chamber with each character made from a piece of solid wood. Hmmmmm, why??
There are plenty of these branch characters…
And though it seems sacrilege to disclose the real thing(s), here they are in all their mummified glory.
My friend Roxi said it best, “Thing 1 and Thing 2, may they rest in peace.” She also added, “Sorry, but if I was gonna see this stuff, so were you”. The photo credit goes to her!
Well, after the chills and thrills of “The Thing” we knew we both needed a pint or a margarita so headed directly to Bisbee and our new favorite watering hole, St Elmos.
Photo credit: Nina Fussing 2013
I suppose this would easily be considered a dive bar, but for us it was a great place to meet the locals, have some stimulating conversations and decent booze.
We were booked into a very nice old hotel, The Letson Loft Hotel.
Though the room was beautifully furnished and the bedding comfortable, the experience left us feeling a bit luke-warm. I believe if we had a room over the street, we would have enjoyed it more. As it was our room had a sun porch behind it, where the guests could have their provided morning breakfast and lively conversations. At 7 am, I could have done without them!
This was our first time to Bisbee, AZ, which I had been hearing about for a number of years from both friends and my father, who raved about the town. It’s really quite adorable and very artsy but built on a steep mountain and some areas could only be reached by climbing the many long stairways. I must say it’s definitely exhilarating!
There is an abundance of charm.
and some definite questions…
Some questions were answered by the downtown street images and the awesome Bisbee Museum whose state of the art displays were created with the Smithsonian’s assistance.
Much of our time was spent wandering and eating.
Dinner at the Cafe Roka was divine and though I don’t usually do food porn, I simply can’t help but show you these!
My Lobster, scallop and shrimp.
Gary’s Duck Breast
We look quite content.
After dinner we took a nice evening walk with the town still aglow from Christmas.
We left Bisbee on New Year’s Eve heading for Truth or Consequences, NM.
A last look at Bisbee, the vintage trailer motel, The Shady Dell.
The drive to TorC as it’s called by the locals was stunning. The sun was sharing some warmth but the wind began howling and by the time we reached Lordsburg, NM, it was showing its blowing desert power. Dust was billowing in the distance and though the Miata sits super low, I could still feel the strong arm of the wind.
We were staying with friends in TorC, but had booked New Year’s Eve at one of the town’s most posh hot springs, The Sierra Grande. Our friends were in Albuquerque that evening, so we were on our own!
It’s a lovely resort and they are charging for it.
The oversaturated photo provided by Google Images.
We had dinner at the Los Arcos, a local steak house that was amazingly crowded and served a good meal but with a serious over an hour wait! Gary was getting antsy, but I was just going with da flow.
It’s a tough call when Gary resorts to Sam Adams!
Post dinner soak selfie!
New Year’s Day with a light dusting of snow!
The outdoor soaking tub, where I spent a very relaxed morning!
Onward to our friend Annie and David’s home.
And the home of Merle, the best dog ever!
Gary gets a tamale session from master chef, David.
Merle oversees the effort.
While in TorC, we looked at a property for sale. We still haven’t heard the outcome of this place, but have fingers crossed to make it our own.
I can’t help but add a couple of past photos that show why I so love TorC.
We spent a few glorious days with Annie and David. Ate the best meals of the trip, played a silly quote game, and imbibed late into the evening. What a relaxing time, one we can’t thank Annie and David for enough!
While there we were treated to a glistening sight of new fallen snow.
We hated to leave, but knew it was inevitable. We headed home, knowing it would be a two day process. We did see some lovely country but as we listened to the book, The Bone Clocks, the miles flew by. Before we knew it, we were back in CA drinking in a gorgeous sunset.