Monday, March 22, 2010

Bluebonnets

I was driving home from San Angelo today after going with my parents to Joseph City, and I had to stop to take some pictures.
Spring in Texas means wildflowers, and among those, the state's state flower - the Bluebonnet.
There were lots of patches of them and I passed several good picture opportunities, but I finally saw one in time with a suitable pull out near it.
I loved this shot with the tree.

You can see an Indian Paintbrush in the background of this shot.

It was a beautiful day for a drive in Texas!

Joseph City

For Spring Break, I went with my parents to the best place ever . . .
My hometown of Joseph City, AZ! Luckily the Founder's Day celebration coincided with our spring break!
We got into town on Thursday evening and just drove around to see the sights. One of our first stops was at the Miller's house. We found out they were leaving the next day to visit one of their kids. It's a cool situation with their family and ours. Jinny was my best friend in high school. Her dad and my dad were good friends growing up in Joseph City and were roommates at BYU. My mom grew up in UT, and Jinny's mom grew up in Canada. Those two were randomly roommates at BYU too and ended up marrying roommates. Jinny and I were then roommates at BYU so we had to take this roommate picture! It's always a great time visiting the Miller's. We were lucky that Jinny came up from Gilbert to come to Founder's Day.
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Jinny's husband Jay has picked up a hobby in the last few years which is pretty cool. He plays the bagpipes. He's gotten pretty good at them and has played for several special occasions down in the Valley. It was really loud! :)
The next day we did some more sight seeing. It's now tradition to get a picture on the Jackrabbit at the trading post just west of Joseph City.
Susannah and I at least always get our picture on it when we're back for a visit. This time I talked my parents into it.
Jackrabbit is in the movie "Cars." Instead of a Jackrabbit, though, it is a tractor.
As can be expected in Northern Arizona in the spring, it was VERY windy!
This sign will be familiar to you watchers of "Cars." They used to have a big black jackrabbit like the one in this sign instead of the gray one, but it got too old and fell apart.
A lovely sight to me! I love that Joseph City's along Route 66. Lots of history there!
We did some more sight seeing on Friday. WE stopped by Ella's Frontier which used to be an operating pawn type shop or specialty store when I was growing up, but is now gutted and empty. It was kind of sad and spooky out there.
One of my favorite places growing up was the Badlands. It's part of the painted desert and is just 10 miles north of Joseph City.
This is the spot we always came growing up. I've always thought this particular hill looked like the Sphynx in Egypt.
I climbed up on some of the hills to get some pictures while my parents explored below.
You can see how tiny they are on the ground off in the distance.
There's the car. It was so windy up there. I was worried about getting blow off!
This is a view back out toward the road. Pretty desolate area, but pretty in its own way!
Here are some remnants of tires. One of the boys' favorite pastimes in Joseph City is to get old tires, put some gasoline on and in them, light them on fire, and then roll them down the hills. Not the most safe or environmentally friendly thing to do, but it sure is entertaining.
There are some worn trails along some of the hilltops . . . luckily. It can get pretty steep in some spots.
I get down the hills the safest and most fun way, sliding on my rear end.
Those of you who are fans of petrified wood should head out that way. You can just pick it up off the ground along with Native American pottery, and arrow heads. My dad found a clam shell out there and my uncle has found shark teeth out there! Obviously those last two things are not from recent times! :)
This road is coming back into town from the badlands. We usually stop in this hill, my dad puts the car in neutral, and we see if we can make it home just coasting. When we hit the stop sign at the bottom, we were still going 21 mph. Yes, he stopped!
When we were visiting with the Millers we asked my dad's other Miller friend, Nelson, what ever happened to the old school bus they'd bought and painted purple - the "party bus." They finally sold it after many memories were made. The guy who bought it, for whatever reason, welded this VW bus to the top of it. We thought it was pretty funny. One quick story they told - one of their boys had entered into a competition to see who could put the loudest sound system in a vehicle. He loaded this bus with all sorts of equipment. When he played it at the competition, it was so loud that his nose started bleeding!
Friday night we took my Aunt Karen and cousin Nancy out to dinner at one of our favorite places - El Rancho in Holbrook. Besides eating great food and seeing a lot of Joseph City people there, Nancy kept us entertained with her antics all evening. She's hilarious! That night my parents and I played games and just chatted with Jinny and Jordan & Elizabeth. You won't find a more funny group of people anywhere!
Saturday was the big Founder's Day celebration. The day began with a bang - literally. There were actually a lot of them. Ivin Lee started shooting off his anvil at 6:30 in the morning. I borrowed this picture from his son's Facebook page. I tried to get some video of him shooting it off, but didn't get there in time. We heard one really loud one. Ivin said the anvil shot 12 feet in the air. He puts gunpowder underneath it. Ivin's the one on the left.
He's also got this cannon that he was shooting off. He usually does it for the 4th of July and Founder's Day.
After the flag raising ceremony, there was a 5K and a 10K run. Ivin started the racers with his anvil. That was the one I was trying to get, so I started the race a little late. I just did the 5K.
It was good to see Beth and Janae. Beth just finished completing a Ragnar Relay. Beth is just a year younger than me and Janae graduated with Susannah.
The Millers had a good representation at the races too! Here's Jinny a little too happy to be running a 5K.
Jinny's cousins, the other Millers, took the races. Jay (left) won the 10K and Lindsay won the 10K for the women. She was just a couple of minutes behind Jay. Zach won the 5K. Those guys can run!
Here are my parents finishing the 5K with the Solomons.
After the races, we all had a great time at the pancake breakfast at the church. We saw tons of people there too. I had to get this fun group shot for Susannah. Rodney, Laura, Cara, and Greg! All great people. Those are Greg's boys in front of them.
I also was excited to see Cale Allen. He has become good friends with Jared and Julie Martin since he's worked in Alaska with them a few summers.
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No event is completely over in Joseph City unless there's been some wrestling or at the very least, some serious teasing. We were helping to clean up at the church when this little wrestling match broke out between Greg Fish and one of the Smith boys.
After breakfast, we headed over to the auditorium for the Founder's Day program. I was super excited to see that Mary Law was playing the piano for it. She not only taught me in Kindergarten, she's pretty much taught the whole town. She taught my dad in first grade!
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She wrote the music to this Founder's Day song that is being sung beautifully by a group of Smiths. It's actually Jinny's husband Jay's family. It's his dad Dale, brother, Jim, niece Cassie, and sister Tawnie.
They had the kindergarten class do some singing too. It was really cute! Kristal's Kamryn had a little part in it too.
They inducted my Aunt Karen in the JC Hall of fame. It was a really nice honor presented by her daughter Joyce.
They then had all the kids that were in the audience from JC grades 1-5 come up and sing "Proud to be an American."
Here's a picture of my high school. It's right next to the auditorium where the program was.
After the program, we went to the tractor show. They had tons of tractors lined up - some old, some new.
The best part was definitely driving them and watching others try to complete the challenges. I love this picture I got of Tim and his daughter Lana.
Here's my dad trying to complete the challenge - to balance the tractor on that ramp. I only saw one person do it and it wasn't my dad. It was a boy who was maybe 11 years old!
I had Tim pose with his cute family.
I tried my hand at driving the tractor. I didn't even try to balance it. I was just trying to stay on the ramp!
I grabbed this quick photo of Jordan and Elizabeth and their family too. Cute!
My dad was pretty sure he could balance it without the tractor. He did and even got my mom out there to prove she added "balance" to his life. They walked out to the opposite edges. Lot's of people got pictures.
It was on to the firehouse after that for some delicious BBQ.
They had the hall of famers posted in the firehouse. Ross Hansen, my 4th grade teacher, was the other inductee.
Here's a bunch of town folks chowing down.
Rusty Despain lead the auction. He's pretty good!
I also caught this quick shot of the Mulders. I didn't get to hang out with them that much. I did watch "the Office" with them on Thursday night and played volleyball with Kristal and a few others Friday morning.
We went to the new rodeo grounds after that. In one arena they had some paintball wars going on. That was a lot of fun to watch.
They also had a "horseless rodeo" with lots of games for the kids. One of them was this wheelbarrow race. Jason Mulder has Kamryn there in the middle of the picture. They were the definite winners of this heat!
They had a scavenger hunt/hayride for the kids after the rodeo.
I hadn't seen much of the Westovers, so I stopped over at their mom's and got Greg and his family.
I also got this one of Rodney and his wife.
Aaron had just left when I got there so I stopped by his house for a quick visit and a picture, of course. What a fun trip! I love Joseph City, but I especially love the people there!