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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mile High....

We awoke Friday to clear, windless skies, and 39 degree temperatures.....that's the coldest temp we have been in for a few months.  Overnight, including TV watching Thursday night, our batteries had declined to just 92% of capacity.....not too bad.  After watching TV on our old Panasonic LCD we would end the evening at 92%, and by the next morning we would be down to 86%......the new Phillips LED TV uses a lot less energy.  That 6% gain in efficiency makes a big difference in how much we will need to use our generator in the future. Usually when we dry camp I would just turn on the big generator (Kohler 7.5 Kilowatt) to make coffee, and run the electric heaters to warm things up.  I decided this time to turn on the inverter and use the batteries to make the coffee and run the gas heaters just to see how much power that would take......after warming the coach up, and making the coffee we were down to 88%.....not too bad.  At that point I turned on the big generator and in about 1/2 an hour had the batteries back up to 90%, then shut it down at 8 am to let the solar panels take over......by the time we had returned from our day's adventures at 2:30 the batteries were back up to 96%!  Ultimately by the time the sun began to dip lower in the horizon we had gotten back to 98%.....wonderful!

Our first destination of the day was Jerome, AZ (click the link for a more exhaustive history of Jerome), which sits at just over 5,000 feet, and was the site of two large copper, silver and, gold, zinc and lead mining operations that began back in 1876.  All told the mines, over 77 years, produced 33 tons of these precious metals valued at over $1 billion dollars.  These deposits are considered some of the richest ever found on earth in one location.  By 1953 the mining operations had ceased, and Jerome became a ghost town.  In 1962 the heirs of James Douglas, Jr., the owner of the "Little Daisy Mine", donated his mansion to the National Parks Service, and it became a National Historical Site......since then the town has become the tourist attraction it is today.

 Cleopatra Hill

 The open pit mine

 Overlooking the Verde Valley, and the mansion built by James Douglas, Jr. the owner of the Little Daisy Mine

Our first stop in Jerome was the "Gold King Mine and Ghost Town" owned and operated by Don Robertson, whom we met in person.  He looks like he stepped out of an 1880's Jerome Mining Camp.  He has a large collection of old Studebaker cars, and trucks, and owns a replica 1928 Studebaker Indy Car (see below) that he built from scratch.  Of all the things we saw in Jerome our visit here stands out.  Admission for folks of our vintage is $5 per person, and it is worth the money.

 1928 Studebaker Indy Car at "Gold King Mine & Ghost Town"

Don Robertson, owner & propietor of Gold King Mine & Ghost Town

Next we drove back down into town, found a parking spot and then began to walk around.  Several people had told us to go and see a glass blowing demonstration so we did.

No pictures, or videos are allowed inside the glass blowing studio, so I obtained a photo from the Raku Gallery site of Tracy Weisel giving a demonstration.  There is no charge to watch, and Tracy is a fascinating guy.  

Tracy Weisel of Raku Gallery demonstrating an discussing the 
art of glass blowing.

Before and after the glass blowing demonstration I had been looking for a suitable place to have lunch.  Of course, on such a clear day I wanted to eat outside.....within minutes of leaving the demonstration I spied the perfect place....."Bobby D's BBQ"....they had a large outside deck with a great view of the Verde Valley.  The restaurant is located in what used to be The English Kitchen, and they have retained the name on the building as it is a part of the history of Jerome.....at one time it had the distinction of being the longest continuously operated restaurant in all of Arizona.

On the deck drinking great draft beer

The food....great BBQ!

We sat enjoying the view, and the wonderful weather for close to an hour before paying our tab, and meandering back to the VW for the drive "home".

We spent the afternoon resting.....TLE reading....and me....well, around 4 I turned on the TV to watch some more March Madness....there were four games Thursday night, and 4 more Friday....the winners of those 8 games will make of the "Elite 8"....on Sunday the four games will determine the "Final Four".

A great first day at our Cottonwood boondocking spot......Saturday we are off to see Sedona.

Thanks for stopping by!

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