The snow is gone, the presents are opened, we’ve eaten almost all the Christmas cookies… and I can still button my jeans. That probably won’t last long, though, as we connect with friends in the area.
We started following The Bayfield Bunch (Al, Kelly, and their three dogs) last year when they camped near Borrego Springs next to Richard Dopp’s clay oven, a spot very familiar to us. They did a stint of ranch sitting for our friends Jeannie and Ray in McNeal, AZ last year, and have returned again this year to enjoy the area and animals while Jeannie and Ray take some time to travel in their 5th wheel.
Al and Kelly feel about Bisbee like we do: it is a “don’t miss” destination in Cochise County, almost indescribable – though Al does an excellent job! Al and Kelly also know my cousin Rosanna and Auntie Carol (Paws & Hooves Ranch) – we felt it was time to meet these two. Since the Bisbee Breakfast Club is a favorite of us all, that is where we finally met these traveling Canadians at 11 am this morning.
We had plenty to talk about. Al is an accomplished photographer who blogs daily, so topics ranged from photography to blogging to ranch-sitting to the great food at the BBC and other dining opportunities around town. We talked GPS, the RV park in Naco, great places to visit in southern California, and of course the weather. The time flew by, and I’m happy we finally had a chance to meet in the “real world” (if Bisbee qualifies as “real world”)…
Our next stop was right next door at the Bisbee Food Co-op where we stocked up on bulk beans and grains. Heading back to our car, a shout brought us up short. It was our friend Jeff, last seen by us at Collier Memorial State Park when we visited Crater Lake in fall. Jeff and Margaret had just arrived in Bisbee, settled next to us at Queen Mine RV Park, and were heading into the BBC for a meal. Warm hugs all around… we a looking forward to catching up with them over the next few days.
Though Bisbee is a town best explored on foot, there aren’t many marked hiking trails easily accessible from the RV park. One of the best we have found heads up the side of a rocky red mountain from the end of OK Street, one of the hilariously narrow roadways clinging to a steep slope winding up a Bisbee canyon. Where the road ends, the trail begins.
Switch-backing up the steep slope is worth the effort: a multi-denominational shrine, decorated with all manner of icons, beads, crosses, statues, candles, photos, and prayer flags dominates the top of the peak and affords an excellent view of historic downtown Bisbee. Frank and I made the climb on 12/24, while Odel played golf, and enjoyed a long rest in the sunshine on a perfect winter day.
With the same sunny-but-cool weather, I suggested to Odel that we take the same path on Christmas Day. Once again, the bench at the top was available to us for a long, sunny sit-down. After drinking in the view and the sunshine, we scrambled back down, showered, picked up Sydney and Frank, and headed over to Sierra Vista (home to the nearest movie theatres) to see Invictus – a VERY interesting, inspiring movie, a great pick for Christmas viewing.
Christmas dinner was at Hana Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in Sierra Vista, probably one of the few restaurants open on Christmas day. We’ve eaten there before, sitting at the hibachi grill – where Odel learned to drink a blast of streaming sake, courtesy of the hibachi chef. No such hi-jinks this time – we sat at a table and conducted ourselves with suitable Christmas dinner decorum. :)
The evening ended back at Sydney’s and Frank’s house, gobbling down a delicious, no-sugar flan Sydney made. I’m not sure WHY I can still button my jeans!