Fort Verde State Historic Park

If you’re in the Camp Verde area, a visit to the Fort Verde State Historic Park is an interesting stop, especially if you are interested in the history of the state of Arizona.

The information sheet we received when we visited the park says “General Crook’s U.S. army scouts and soldiers were primarily based at Fort Verde. They were charged with preventing Apache and Yavapai Indian uprisings in the late 1800’s.

When we arrived at that visitor’s center, we were greeted by a very knowledgable young man dressed in a uniform of  a Sargeant of the U.S. Army from that time period. He asked if Bill was a veteran. Bill told him he was a veteran of the Vietnam War, but he didn’t have any identification with him to prove it. The “Sergeant said “well, we will just take your word if it”, then he shook Bill’s hand and thanked him for his service. He also gave Bill three Veteran pins. One was a Vietnam Veteran pin, and the other two were different welcome home pins they have been giving out to Vietnam Vets for the past two years. In addition, because Bill is a Veteran, we got in for half price. Very cool.

 

The visitor’s center is filled with all kinds of unique items used during the time the soldiers were at the camp. The dish shown below opens up, and one side becomes a frying pan, while the other side becomes a plate. The handle folds over the entire thing to keep it closed when traveling.

There are four separate living quarters on the grounds. The first one we visited was the Surgeon’s Quarters. Every permanent military command had a physician. They are usually on contract with the government. The doctor treated patients and performed surgeries in his home. Long term care was provided in the Hospital by the Hospital Matron.

Medicine was rudimentary with little to offer in effective treatments.

Antiseptic procedure during surgery was just being developed. There were no vaccines or antibiotics.

A severe injury to a limb often ended in amputation. A surgeon’s pay was $123.00 per month which did not usually attract top physicians. In fact, they were frequently incompetent. Some signed on for the adventure; others signed on to explore the West. Many were scientists who had contracts to collect new specimens to send back East to museums!!

The Commanding Officer was usually the senior company captain assigned to the fort. His salary of $166.00 per month made it possible for his wife to furnish the home respectably. She served as the center of fort social activities. The Master Bedroom also served as the bathing area for the commander’s wife. Men and children bathed in the kitchen. The next two pictures are of the Master Bedroom in the Commanding Officer’s Quarters.

Well now, I don’t know about that tiny bathtub… I can tell you right now, it would not be a pretty site if I had to take a bath in that little thimble of a tub… ha!

The next four pictures are of a teenage daughter’s bedroom.

A problem for parents was educating their children. Primary education was usually in the home. Young ladies were sent to “finishing schools” if possible, but generally they stayed with the family until married.

Well now, here again, I have to inject my thoughts… I have never seen any teenage daughter of mine keep her room as neat as this… Just saying.

Of course, there was always a parlor in the Commanding Officer’s Quarters. It was used for both formal and informal entertainment. Musical activities, cards, readings, and social gatherings were some of the most common types of amusement. This was also where gentlemen suitor’s would sit, and be interrogated by the Commanding Officer, while he waited on the teenage daughter to come down for their date…

The next four pictures are of the younger children’s room. Toys were often homemade, but store-bought toys were also available.

The younger children’s room also served as a multi-purpose room where the caretaker of the children could sew,

or knit, while watching the younger children.

The Commanding Officer’s Wife, often held “lavish” dinner parties. Of course, she didn’t cook the meal, but she would greet you in her finest attire, and you would be seated at a table fit for a King. When Bill saw this room all he said was “I want a piece of that chocolate cake”. Oh, that boy and his deserts! 🙂

There was also a Married Officer’s Quarters as shown in the next two pictures. While identical to the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, up to four families could live in each home. Cramped quarters were often a reality for the families of junior officers. As you can clearly see, this dinner table pales in comparison to the Commanding Officer’s dinner table… But hey, they have a big ham, and some homemade bread, so I would be good with that… :),

and, they even have a homemade pie cooling on the stove… Bill would be good with that too!

As we moved on, we came upon the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters. Unmarried officers lived a sparse, makeshift lifestyle because of low pay, slow promotions, frequent moves, and extended time in the field.

Now this was something I could never, ever, do… I could only get two holes in the picture, but this is a three hole out-house. Three holes!! I have a hard enough time going in my own home… I could never sit next to anyone and do that… No way, not this girl! I’d have to go find a big bush… 🙂

This was another fun, educational, outing for Bill and I here in Camp Verde. Our time here is winding down. We are leaving Friday morning, and making our way to Oregon, where we will spend the rest of the summer. I hope you enjoyed following our Camp Verde adventures, and that you will enjoy reading about our Oregon adventures as well. If so…

Stay Tuned!

Prescott

Today, Bill and I took a nice drive to Prescott Arizona. We have been there several times before, and we always enjoy walking around the beautiful courthouse that sits in the center of the town. This courthouse is an amazing site to see during the Christmas Holidays. The building, and all the trees are lit up, and if you were not in the holiday spirit before you got there, you most likely will be by the time you leave…

I think this memorial, dedicated to all the Veterans from Yavapai County for their sacrifice in service to their country, is as heartbreaking as it is thought-provoking. I thank them, and all who ever served, fought, and especially those that died for our freedom. And, I continue to pray for those who are serving our country today, and I also pray for a time when we will have peace on earth, and no longer need to go to war.

Hotel St Michael’s sits on the corner of the famous Whiskey Row.

In my opinion, you just can’t really say you visited Prescott unless you spent some time walking up and down Whiskey Row. That is where you will find the famous Bird Cage Saloon, The Palace Saloon, and many other little establishments where you can shop,  grab something delicious to eat, and a drink of your choice…

Bill and I were there for lunch. We decided to go to the Palace Saloon. It is a beautiful place with lots of history. Just look at that bar. And, we love buffalo burgers, and they offer them on the menu, and they were delicious!

It also doesn’t hurt that they have cowboys walking around in chaps… Now, I can’t find anything wrong with that!!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a real saloon, if a saloon gal wasn’t waiting at the top of the stairs, to make a cowboy’s dreams come true… For a price of course!

After lunch we made our way to Mortime Farms. It is an adorable country store, that also has lots of farm like activities for kids to enjoy. Take a look.

They sell everything from flowers,

to homemade fudge,

and huge cinnamon rolls that when Bill saw them he said “omg, just shoot me now…”.

Fresh made pies

and every kind of canned fruit and vegetable you can imagine…

It was another fun-filled day in our retirement world. A day I can say I was happy we were NOT hiking. 🙂 Yes, we are BOTH still real sore after the 10 mile Bell Crack hike… But little by little we are moving better… Ha!

Stay Tuned!

The High End Of Bell Trail

About a week ago, Bill and I hiked the Historic Bell Trail in the Coconino National Forest. The day we did that hike, we were not fully prepared to stay out long enough to hike all the way up the mountainous cliffs that take you to what is called “the crack”.  The reason we were not fully prepared that day, was because we did not have enough water to make the 10 mile round trip hike. Now we are prepared to take on any hike we want. Because, we purchased these handy-dandy back-packs, that include a 2 litter water reservoir. The water reservoir has a hose attached that allows you to bite and suck a little tip on the end of the hose so you can drink all the water you want while your hiking. It allows you to hike hands free, making the hike much more enjoyable. And, the backpack is large enough to allow you to include your lunch, and any gear you need… Way cool!

So yesterday off we went, on a 10 mile round trip hike up the bell trail, in search of the bell crack, that Bill really wanted to see.

 

This was a very difficult hike. Because, the majority of the hike involved climbing up, over, and around some very steep and rocky cliff trails.

I mean to say, I had to really dig deep, and suck up all my courage to do this hike. Not only because of the difficulty factor, but I am also very much afraid of heights.  OMG, the things I do for Bill… YIKES!

The payoff, other than being able to say we did it…, was the beautiful up close views of the gorgeous red rock mountains.

We stopped about two hours into our hike, found a nice rock to sit on, and enjoyed our picnic lunch and all the water we could drink… Then we hiked on to see the bell crack which, by the way…,  after all it took to get there, I didn’t even get a picture of it! But that’s a whole other story that’s probably better told while sipping wine around a campfire… 🙂

Finally, after two and a half hours of hiking, climbing up and over rocks, boulders, and just about anything else you can think of along the beautiful, but rugged trail…, it was time to make our way back down the mountain and back to our car. I was hurting all over, and told Bill I felt like my toes were bleeding. He said “I’m not feeling too good myself, but I can tell this isn’t going to be about me right now”. I laughed, but I was thinking to myself, that’s right baby, you’re the one that wanted to see the bell crack… Ha!

Well let me tell you, as much as I love to hike, I was one happy girl after four plus hours of hiking, to have my feet firmly planted back on solid, level, ground!!

Today, both Bill and I are sore to say the least, but Bill is even more sore than me, because about an hour before we reached our car, he slipped in some gravel and fell flat down landing on his hip that was already sore from a previous fall when he tripped over our car dolly!  So after that happened, I told him it could be all about him now… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Danny And Bea

One year ago this coming July, my brother, Danny, lost his beloved wife, Bea. Bea died in their home, very suddenly, and very unexpectedly.

Danny and Bea were married 28 years. In addition to being husband and wife, they were the best of friends. Bea was a beautiful person, both inside and out. She loved Danny with all her heart, and was the perfect mate for him. They both worked hard, and enjoyed the life they built together. With Bea’s passing, Danny found himself alone in their home, with just their three dogs, and memories of Bea everywhere you look.

It goes without saying that this past year has been very, very, hard on Danny. Bea’s passing was so stressful for him, he got shingles, so bad, that it got into his spine, and was in his ear, to the point the doctor was afraid it was going to get in his brain. So the doctor had to put him in the hospital, on morphine, to try to get the pain under control, and to give him anti-viral medications through an IV. The shingles caused some nerve damage in Danny’s neck that he is still dealing with today.

At her request, Bea is buried in Winslow Arizona where she grew up. Winslow is about an hour and a half from Cottonwood, and Cottonwood is just a few miles from where Bill and I are staying in Camp Verde.. Yesterday, Danny called me and asked if Bill and I wanted to go with him to visit Bea’s grave and see the headstone he bought to mark it.

We stopped along the way and bought flowers to take to Bea. Danny gave her the pink roses that have a small heart-shaped stone attached that reads “my angel”. Bill and I took the red, white, and blue flowers so she would also be all fixed up for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday. We love and miss you Bea, rest in peace sweet lady.

After a lot of consideration, thought, and research this past year, Danny decided he wants, and needs, to make a change now. He is going to sell his home in the town of Maricopa, and move to Cottonwood Arizona. He has already purchased a piece of property in Cottonwood, and is going to have a Cavco modular home built, and put on the property.

Bill and I went with Danny to see the property he purchased. Here are some pictures.

It is a large, fenced, corner lot, surrounded by big, beautiful trees. It has all city utilities i.e., electric, water, sewer, and he is going to have a 50 amp electric receptacle installed so when Bill and I come to visit, we can just plug our rig into his electric…

Danny said he will have the property smoothed out, and have the fire pit that is currently in the front yard removed, and put gravel, and pretty landscaping in his yard.

I asked Danny when he expects to move to this property. He said he hopes to have his home in Maricopa sold, and be ready to move to his new home in Cottonwood within a year. I’m so happy for you Danny, and I love the property and know that this is going to be the perfect place for you, and your three dogs to live. I honestly believe Bea would agree.

Now, I want to note here that Bea was the one sister-in-law I had that enjoyed having wine with me when she came to visit. We had many good times at my house just talking and sipping our wine. She also enjoyed going to the casino every now and then. She and Danny would go to the casino for breakfast sometimes, and she would always want to go play the machines for an hour.  So, in honor of Bea, and to celebrate Danny’s new soon to be home in Cottonwood, Bill, Danny, and I went to the Cliff Castle Casino last night. We sat at the bar and I sipped wine, Danny had some beer, and Bill, being the designated driver, played a round or two on a poker machine. And we all shared some nachos.

While we were enjoying our drinks, nachos, and talking about what all Danny wants to do to his new place, a man sitting beside Danny struck up a conversation with us. He said he was a used car salesman, and that he also had a upholstery business in Cottonwood. He was well dressed, and looked like your normal run of the mill guy. However, as we were all getting ready to leave, that man looked over and noticed we hadn’t eaten all the nachos, and asked if he could have our leftovers!!! I mean, who does that? I swear we laughed about that all the way back home. It was just the perfect comic relief we needed to end our day.

Stay Tuned!

Batter Up!

For a homemade catfish dinner.

Our daughter, Shantel, and her best friend, Jaz, love, love, love, catfish.  And oh, my, Shantel, papa and I made some this week that was melt in your mouth good.

We soaked some fresh catfish in buttermilk,

coated the fish in cornmeal mixed with some flour, Old Bay seasoning, and some other  ingredients specific to our taste, which I’m sure it will be to your liking as well. Then we pan-fried it up to a golden brown.

Of course we served it up with some fresh-baked, homemade, cornbread that had to be served with butter and honey..

And the meal wouldn’t be complete for us, without some homemade coleslaw…so, so, good. I’m sure you and Jaz would also like some mac and cheese with this as well, but papa and I were fine with just the coleslaw.

When we get back to Arizona, papa and I will for sure make this for you and Jaz.

Stay Tuned!

Historic Bell Trail

Today Bill and I took a two-hour hike through part of the Historic Bell Trail.

The Bell Trail makes for a beautiful hike. It reminds me of some of the trails in Sedona with all the red rocks. Sedona is not far from here, and is very near and dear to my heart, because Bill proposed to me standing right outside the Chapel in the Rocks, early one morning, as the sun was just coming over the red rock mountains.

Around every bend in the Bell Trail the scenery changes,

and there is something new and different to see. Bill found this rock with the images carved on it very interesting. We were not sure if someone hiking in the area did the art work, or if it might be some hieroglyphics.

The cactuses are blooming all over this area. I just love these big yellow cactus blooms.

We didn’t hike the whole 6 mile trail because we were not really prepared with enough water to stay out that long. So after about an hour and half of hiking, we turned back.

On our way back to our car, I found this nice rock to sit on and relax for a few minutes. That’s when we decided to get playful, and use this as the background for a photo opportunity that went a little wayward…

Shantel, papa was taking pictures of me sitting on a red rock, and I was turning my head from side to side, and he started coaching me like I was a model. I finally started laughing and just kind of laid back on the rock and he snapped a picture of that too. It’s not my best look, but we had a lot of fun, and I guess some pictures are better left unexplained. Ha!

Stay Tuned!

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Today Bill and I visited Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This is a beautiful park nestled in the cool climate of the town of Cottonwood. Dead Horse Ranch offers numerous outdoor opportunities for camping, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing or just wading in the cool water.

The information sheet we received when we entered the park says “Dead Horse Ranch got its peculiar name in the late 1940’s from its previous owners, the Ireys family from Minnesota. They were looking to buy a ranch and on their tour they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road outside of the property. After two days of viewing ranches, Mr. Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best, and they all agreed the one with the dead horse! Acquired in 1973 by Arizona State Parks, the Ireys family made it a condition of the sale that the park retain the name Dead Horse Ranch.”

Bill and I decided we would hike the self-guided interpretative trail. We thought it was going to be like the interpretative trail we have at McDowell Mountain Park, where we give our guests an information sheet that explains everything they are seeing on the trail, i.e., plants, mountain ranges, wildlife, etc. But, no, this park didn’t even have a map that made it easy to find the trailhead, and there was nothing to explain what we were looking at on the trail. So, Bill and I had to make up our own version of what we were seeing as we hiked along..

This little tiny sign that was almost hidden in the bush was the only thing that gave any indication we were even on the right trail.. The only way we knew that was because I remembered reading that the self-guided interpretative trail was called the Mesa Trail.

Lucky for us we know what a blooming cactus looks like, and this one had lots of pretty blooms.

Then there was this pretty flowering bush that I have no idea what it is, and some pretty yellow flowers that I don’t know the names of either… so there is that…

This was growing out of a large cactus, and I told Bill I thought it is called a century plant, but to be honest, I’m just guessing. See, it’s important that parks provide informative information for their guests, because inquiring minds, like mine… want to know.

Here are some more pretty blooming cactus with yellow flowers this time.

The trail lead us up a hill, and when we reached the top, there were very pretty views all the way around, so that was nice.

After that hike, we made our way down to see the lagoons within the park. As we pulled into the parking lot of that area, we saw this covered wagon hitched to these two big horses. Then we found out that is where you go if you want to take a trail ride. They rent horses by the hour for guided horseback tours around the park. Now that’s cool that they provide that service.

The lagoon area was my personal favorite. So beautiful, peaceful, and quiet, with only the sound of birds chirping and an occasional fish jumping up out of the water. Take a look.

And today, we found the perfect spot for our picnic lunch.

I didn’t have cold fried chicken for our picnic, but I did have cold baked pork chops from dinner last night. Add a touch of B-B-Q sauce, some chips, olives, and cheese, and it was a tasty picnic lunch that both Bill and I enjoyed.

After lunch, we made our way down to the Verde River Greenway Trail. This trail takes you right along the bank of the water. So pretty with the trees creating a canopy of shade over the trails.

Bill stopped to see if he could locate the frog he saw jump into the water just as we passed by.

While we were disappointed with the lack of information, about the different trails the park offers for their guests, we were very impressed with the overall beauty of this park. They have 100 RV/camp sites, and eight one-room log cabins. The cabins sleep up to four people with a maximum capacity of six people available for reservations.

It is such a pretty park with so much to offer in the way of activities, Bill and I decided if we ever decide to work/camp in Arizona for a few months during the summer, we would definitely consider this park.

Stay Tuned!

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