Last Day In Sierra Vista

We’re wrapping up our visit to Sierra Vista today.  We’ll be checking out a couple small outlying areas as well.

Tomorrow we’re off to Tuscon.

We’re 4000 ft. higher in elevation here than we are back home.  Some residence mentioned the change really affected them.  One lady said she felt like she was having a heart attack for the first two years she lived here.  Perhaps the change in altitude becomes more significant the longer you’re here, but so far neither Scott nor I have had any problems.  We both occasionally feel the need to take a deeper breath, but I put that down to all the walking we’re doing.  All in all, we both adjusted very well to this area.

We’re keeping a log on my health and the affects the change in climate are having on my headaches.  To be honest, I haven’t noticed a significant change yet.  I’m hovering around a 3 most days, with worsening to a 5 occasionally.  Scott says he can tell a huge difference.  Mostly in my behavior.

Scott says I am often quick to ask to leave somewhere because the headaches worsen when I’m not able to do my usual stuff (like my go-to:  distraction by making something).  He mentioned in both Bisbee and Tombstone, I was okay while we were there.  I was able to walk all day, I was polite and courteous to everyone (sometimes I am abrupt when the pain is bad), I asked questions and retained the answers. (Which is a significant problem.  When the headaches are bad I lose my short-term memory.  When they’re really bad, I lose days.)  Scott says he hasn’t noticed me rubbing my head and face, which I guess I do when the headaches worsen.  I wasn’t aware of that.  He also said my eyes are clear and bright. He noticed my eyes are more focused and I’m able to follow things, rather than turning my whole head to see something.  And I am turning my neck much easier too.  (I have significant arthritis in my neck and spine.)  All in all, he’s very pleased with the signs he’s seeing.

That’s wonderful.  I hope we have a clear indication the symptoms are greatly improved.  They will never go away completely.  That’s not even a goal for me and my doctors.  We’re just hoping to lessen them and improve my quality of life.

My neurologist says he’s only seen one other person like me in all his years in practice.  For people like me, with unremitting headaches (there’s a name for this type of problem, but I forget what it is right now) which are resistant to all forms of treatment, the goal is incremental improvement.  For example, if this medication gives me 3% relief, and this one gives me 4% relief, and this treatment gives me 15% relief, and this other one gives me 10% relief-it adds up to 32% which is a significant amount of pain relief.  We’re not there yet, obviously, but we are hopeful there will be great improvement.  My personal goal is 40% improvement.  My neurologist thinks he can do better than that.  But since I’ve been living with this for 35 years, I won’t hold my breath.

So far, Arizona is a good thing.



Get To Know Your Supplies: Travel Ephemera and a Travel Journal

One of the best parts of traveling is the ability to gather ephemera.  And a lot of it.

Think about this: you eat out-printed napkins, place mats, take out bags, receipts.  You shop anywhere-receipts and tags from clothing or whatever.  Grocery store advertisements, car sale flyers and magazines, realtor booklets, brochures on the area and interesting sites to see, maps and historical information about the area.  Something as simple as the bag sunscreen was put in when you bought it is great ephemera.

We’ve been traveling to towns in order to determine which would work best for us, if we decide to move here.  So we’re gathering information on all of them.  Tombstone had flyers and brochures in every shop we were in.  As did the shops in Bisbee.

We’ve traveled through many states to get here and gathered information about each of them along the way.  My collection of ephemera has grown considerably since we left home Christmas night.  So you may be asking yourself what do you do with it all?

Here’s a few ideas for using ephemera to create a travel journal:

  1.  Put in art journals as background papers.  Especially napkins and place mats which are usually made of thin paper.
  2. Make pockets with your brochures.  The single sheet, heavy weight, advertising or promotional information can be used as pockets, belly bands, tuck spots, borders, etc.
  3. Make mini-books.  Use the folding brochures.  Usually there are three or four pages per brochure.  Gesso them, cut in half (width), make mini-books to tuck into your art journals.  You can go further and make the mini-books about things from your trip.  A specific place or event you want to highlight, perhaps a record of your travel expenses, miles traveled, or gas mileage.  Could be a mini-book you fill with recipes from the local cuisine.  The possibilities are endless.
  4. Use your ephemera as actual art journals.    Combine single brochures into a loose leaf journal, multiple tri-fold brochures added together, use the sales magazines and books as the journals.  I have four or five of these from our trip so far.  They are books listing cars, trucks, farm equipment, R.V’s and campers.  Then I have a couple books explaining the local real estate which is for sale.
  5. Create embellishments.  Just as you would with junk mail.  Make flowers, borders, cut out letters and images, use as book marks, tabs and tags.
  6. Use as mats for photographs. That’s a great way to remember your trip with personal photographs and the informational brochures.
  7. Make paper of your trip.  Use your collected items and make your own paper with them.  Let dry completely and use in any way you want.
  8. Make tip-ins and waterfall inserts.  These are fun add-ins to an art journal or scrapbook.
  9. Use the stuff you’ve gathered to make a complete art journal.  This is a charming way to remember your travels.  Don’t alter your collected ephemera, simply attache them all together in book form.  You can go in order of what you’ve seen or by ephemera types.  Use the bags as pockets, the tri-fold brochures as booklets.  The receipts as a mini-tuck in book.
  10. Make a pocket journal.  Use manila envelopes and put your ephemera in them.  Separate by what you’ve seen and done on your vacation.  Fill the envelopes and bind together into book form.

These are just a few ideas for using travel ephemera.  There are many more options.  Use your imagination and creativity to use these wonderful, and free, items.

Tombstone, We Love Ya!

Spent a delightful day in the town of Tombstone, Arizona.  We talked with several natives, or long-term transplants in some cases, and received a wealth of information.

The woman from the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce lives in the desert.  She hauls water and hauls her waste away.  She runs her home on solar power and uses two trailers holding water tanks to supply the water.  Her septic is a holding tank which is pumped and brought into town for processing every two weeks.  I’m not sure how often she hauls water.

The lady explained you have to be totally committed to living in undeveloped desert.  It’s a tremendous amount of work just to survive on a daily basis.  The roads are not maintained, so she goes through a lot of tires, which is costly.  Then there’s the water and septic situation.  And she has solar power for everything.  The batteries are an issue for her too, as the system needs to be maintained.

Honestly, if we were just starting out, young and healthy-we might consider it.  But with my health issues and the likelihood I would be here by myself for an extended period of time, we decided against it.

The desert is gorgeous but very challenging to live in. So we’ve eliminated several towns as possible places to move.  For no other reason than the brutal realities facing those living in undeveloped desert.

Tomorrow:  Sierra Vista

Daily Art While Traveling

I’ve got to be honest with you here, by the time we’re back in the hotel for the night I’m to tired to do much of anything.  I’ve colored several pages, collected memorabilia and ephemera from the places we’ve been, sketched small things.  That’s about it.

And I brought so much to work on!

Not having considered the length of time we would actually be in the car-even after we arrived at our destination-was where I missed the boat.  We start out early every day and come back after dark.  And once we’re back I don’t feel like messing with gesso and wet media.  Which is why I’ve been coloring so much.  No fuss, no mess.

The pages will be used in art journals later.  So technically I’m making art supplies for my art practice.


Another Wonderful Day In The Grand Canyon State

We spent the day investigating the small towns around Sierra Vista.  We began in Bisbee.  This quaint historic town is 23 miles outside of Sierra Vista.  Very much an arts community.  Quiet and peaceful, the town is a tourist attraction spot.

We wandered around the town, talking to the locals, finding out all sorts of interesting things.  There is a clinic for minor injuries and illnesses, all others are treated in Sierra Vista.  There is a Safeway grocery store, a Dollar Tree and a couple gas stations in the non-historic part of town.  There are parts to Bisbee, the historic part and the new part.  Most of the shop owners live outside of town.  Bisbee is very a high elevation.  One lady told me they were a mile high.  This means it’s fairly steep with lots and lots of steps.  You are either going up hill or down-there is no flat.  The houses in town are built into carved rock with steps leading up to their door. (How on earth do you get a refrigerator up those narrow, steep flights of steps?)  There is also very limited parking.  Not all of the houses have this situation-some are on the streets with a sidewalk in front of their house.

Those places aren’t for sale.

After doing the touristy stuff in Bisbee, we headed to Douglas.

Douglas is 23 or so miles from Bisbee.  This is another small town.  Cochise College is near Douglas.  They have a Food City grocery store.  And a couple of gas stations.  There are a tremendous amount of vintage vehicles in this town.  Because of it’s close proximity to the border, the town is very much a Mexican town.  The beauty of the Mexican culture is very prevalent.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t speak a word of spanish.  And since I don’t have an ear for languages, it’s highly unlikely I’d be able to pick it up.

Next were McNeal and Elfrida.  These were both very remote and pretty rough and rocky.  The houses were either in groups or a great distance from anything.  It was a very rustic environment.  We both felt it was a bit to much “roughing it” for me to cope with right now.  Pirtleville and Palominas were very small, and Double Adobe had a school, two campgrounds and a small store, but that’s about it.  Again, very rugged country with water tanks commonly seen by homes.  We went past Naco.  Since it is in both Arizona and Mexico and we don’t have our passports with us-we  didn’t want to take a chance we’d cross and be unable to get back in.

I thought it was nice of my husband to mention I’m way to used to the modern conveniences to tolerate questionable internet service.  If the power goes out it could take days before they get to these remote locations.   Nor do I care for dirt roads and critters.

Tomorrow we head to Tombstone.

We’re Beginning Our Search

for information.

  1.  What the job situation is in Sierra Vista and the surrounding communities.
  2. Investigate neighborhoods.  You learn so much more about a place when you can actually see it and look around.  We’re looking at both rentals and for sale options.
  3. Locating the medical care in the area.  We already know there is outstanding medical facilities and specialists in both Tuscon and Phoenix.  We just don’t know where they are.
  4. We hope to talk with people to find out local information, the churches in the area don’t seem to be in our denomination-so how are the non-denominational churches, where good neighborhoods are, realtors that are trustworthy, best places to shop for discounts, artistic communities…
  5. Find all secondhand stores in the area, inexpensive shopping is very important to me.
  6. Find out about the water, septic, and electrical solutions when you’re out in the country.  I’m thinking of solar power, wind generated power, water tanks and the main problem is the septic…

We plan to go to Tombstone, Bisbee, Tuscon, Douglas and Benson.  Then if we want we’ll go further to Phoenix and the surrounding area.


Obviously I find the scenery, as we’re  traveling, completely fascinating.   There is nothing like what I’m seeing back home.  From an artist view point, this has tremendous appeal.

Ideas for paintings and projects are bombarding my brain.  I’m trying to write them down at the very least, but I’d really like to sketch them.  Which is something I find impossible in the car.  I suffer from pretty severe motion sickness and any thing like drawing will trigger all kinds of fun results.

i hope my photos turn out well enough to see the beautiful details.  I’m no photographer, so it’s doubtful they’ll be stunning.  I just want to be able to paint some of the gorgeous colors I’m seeing.