Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Vacation...Oh how I miss you!

Finally had the time and money to take my little family (and Grandpa) on a short but fun vacation.  Drove straight down from Idaho to Yuma Arizona none stop except to eat and refuel.  When we left Shoshone (Idaho) the temps were not that bad, but 80% of the ground was snow covered.  We left at dark and arrived the next day sometime in the afternoon. 
The first night we stayed in Yuma at the "Airport Inn", we have stayed at this hotel before but at that time it was under a different owner.  The hotel was nice and cozy and was it good to see a few neglected items now fixed.  I would say the hotel is "better"...but they torn/cut down the huge bougainvillea down that once clung onto the second story railing.  Management said it was do to the mess the flowers and birds made.  The birds must have loved that vine because you could hear them all night chirping away in the plant.  That is probably the real reason the plant(s) were removed.  The only other problem I had was the "free breakfast" was not very good.  Boiled eggs, toast, canned fruit, and old hash-browns is not my idea of a good breakfast.  At my last stay they had fruit, muffins, waffles, strawberries and whip cream for the waffles.  Simple but pleasant, other than that I will/would stay again.  Nice place for a great price.            

Not sure what agave these are.

This hotel has many nice Mediterranean fan palms.

Peanut and W. filifera, her first ever palm pic.

As much as I love W. robusta palms, they can become weedy.  There was piles of seeds in some places.  

W. robustas, whats not to love.

She loves to run!

I noticed a few dead palms around town. Mostly (all) W. robustas. No way was this do to cold weather. 

Bismarckia palm, Yuma.

After leaving Yuma we headed east, on the way we stopped off at Dateland AZ.

Edible date palm. 

When I first saw this cactus I thought maybe it was dying, but seemed healthy.  Is this a new variety?  Like a varigation?  

Did I mention it was close to 90F outside.  I was feeling a little warm after surviving highs in 30's in Idaho.  But this little lizard thought it was just right.

Western whiptail. "Cnemidophorus tigris" 

Getting closer Benson AZ.  This where the Yucca elatas become the focal plants of the landscape and saguaros are just a memory of counties past.   

Yucca elata must love the climate, because they grow tall here.  

This hand painted mural was on a wall at the visitor center at the old depot in Benson.  Been here before, but never be inside until now.  Well worth the stop and visit.  The lady inside was wonderful, professional and so helpful. 

These Agave victoriae-reginae were at the visitor center.  Bigger than I thought they grew. 

Meter box for size comparison 

And did I mention the weather here was hard to beat.  10:35 and 66F, high in the 70's low 80's...nice!

Thank to the wonderful lady person inside the visitor center, I now have a cutting of the Opuntia.  Two pads were on the ground and she let me have them. 

The three big W. filifera palms In Benson AZ

Close up of crowns.

I drove north of Benson on Cascabel road until I found sign of saguaro in Cochise County.  I believe this is the farthest east they grow.     

Sierra Vista AZ.  I was surprised to see this snow on the mountain.  Even though I did not take many pics in the area, I can say I was impressed by the amount of beautiful palms in the area.  Unfortunately I was driving, new to the area, and unable to take pics. And when I did stop I was too busy to take pics.
  I would like to give a shout out to the super nice lady at the "Mountain View Koi Fish-Nursery" I thank you so much for the native oak tree seedling.     

Dasylirion acrotrichum, Sierra Vista AZ 

CIDP, Sierra Vista AZ.  Many nice specimens in the area. 

This is where we stayed the majority of our vacation. Benson AZ

Views from around the hotel.

Nice to see them use some natives like this oak.  Love the evergreen.

These next few were in a near by landscape.

Opuntia rufida

Out in the wild behind the hotel. Opuntia macrocentra 

Ferocactus wislizeni, I think?  But they don't grow tall here like I have seen in other places.  Most are 2-3 feet tall.  Found these behind the hotel in Benson.

Survivors of the 2011 freeze. Trichocereus terscheckii 

Trichocereus terscheckii

Instead of just driving by the entrance, this time we stopped in at the Amerind foundation
This was amazing collection of Native American art and so much more.    

These guys have been here for a couple of years.  Opuntia engelmannii  

Sad the pic does not do this "trunk" the recognition it deserves.  

As most people that follow my blog know I'm big on cold hardy plants and "zone pushing" areas.  So Cochise County is a fun and interesting place for me.  This is only the second time I've been here in the winter.  What I find to interesting and odd to me about the area is how one palm looks fine, but half a block away the same palm species looks like it's dead.  Of course they will all come back with warmer weather.  The only thing I can think of is the palms that have been watered through the winter seem to look better.  The next few pics are from the Sunsites AZ area.  I was able to take more pics of my findings here, but was similar finds throughout the county. I think temps may have been in the low teens for the winter.    

Looks great, filibusta?

Looks great, W. filifera

Looks great, W. robusta or filibusta

Not so good, W. robusta

Crispy, W. filibusta?  Home was for sale, landscape not watered.  

Saguaro, with damage from the 2011 freeze. I think most if not all the big saguaros in Sunsites survived.  

The big filiferas all look great, small filiferas in the foreground look a bit stressed. 

close up of the "big filiferas" crowns.

This is a saguaro not far from my property "Old Pearce AZ.  It looks great!

All it received from the 2011 freeze was damage to a few ribs.  That damage was on the top of the plant then, just goes too show they grow faster than some people think (myself included). Survivor of 1-degF.  

Old Pearce is a combo of ghost town and a few functioning stores and residents. 

Marcie's Garden is a place that makes and sales goats milk soap.
We stopped here on the way to the property.  All I can say is, I wish I would have bought more soap.  all the soaps smelled so wonderful, looked good enough to eat, and make great gifts.  Our favorite soap in the house.     

So nice to see people spending time and money in restoring these great old buildings.  

After going through the first gate, we saw this friendly roadrunner.  Strange I did not notice his tail missing until I looked at the pics. 

A very large Yucca baccata.

My neighbors to the west of me.  It takes a special kind of people to live out here in a trailer for 30-40 years. And yes...these people are special too me.  A kind hearted couple, better neighbors would be hard to find.   

  They always set out bird blocks and water on the ground for the wildlife. 

Next a few cactus and views from my property.
Opuntia phaeacantha 

Dragoon Mountains.

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Chiricahua  Mountains.

Pyramid Hills. 

Opuntia macrocentra 

Swiss helms 

The next day we went on to Bisbee and the general area. 
The big W. filiferas in Bisbee.    

This was in South Bisbee, the mountain in the back ground is in Mexico.


Not sure what this evergreen was, but I liked it.

Tombstone AZ. A place that is normal a zone 8b-9a was hit especially hard by the 2011 freeze.  I read reports as cold as -5f, and it shows. Like this large W. filifera (pole) in the middle that never recovered.

In some ways I wonder if CIDP is hardier?  Same property as the W. filiferas above.  But Some of these did not recover in Wilcox AZ, also -5f.

Tombstone AZ.  Edible Date Palm, "Phoenix dactylifera" Survivor of the 2011 freeze. 

W. filifera

St. David AZ
Trachycarpus fortunei

Olive still recovering from the freeze.

Yucca rigda

W. filifera, not looking their best.

Agave franzosinii, 2011 freeze survivor. 

My daughter is 34" tall for comparison.  She was scared of the plant.  

This was the biggest A. parryii I've seen.  Unless it is something else.

These are also in St David AZ
Trichocereus terscheckii, 2011 survivors.

W. filifera

And this saguaro always looks good.

Back in Benson

I have shown this one before.  A W. filifera with fussy leaves. 

We went around Tucson and into Saguaro National Park. No pics, but these were close by. 

The dinosaurs in Gila Bend. 

New owner and much cleaner bathrooms!  Good Job!

I have a pic somewhere of this before it grew through the roof. 

This pic is not in order, but was in Wikiup AZ. Opuntia ficus 

These next few pics are in Kingman AZ.

The next few pics are all at an overlook near the Boulder Dam.  

I dislike (hate!) graffiti.  

The race is on!

The new (newer) bridge over the Colorado River.  

Lake Mead area.

Onward through Nevada.

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