Another Holiday Survived

going to the chapelAnother holiday survived. We were never a close family, but I do miss mine.

Liz’s family came for a visit – Paul Lemmons, her nephew, is great.  He is weird though, he enjoys jumping out of perfectly fine airplanes, and thinks cutting a hole in an ice covered lake to go fishing is fun!

I have been Facebook friends with him for a while, finally got to meet.  He is funny as hell, and great to hang out with.

Thanksgiving was okay – Liz had to work, and I had to take it easy because I had to work all night until Friday morning. Friday we ht the Apache Trail up to Canyon Lake.

At canyon lake We made all the requisite stops including Apacheland Museum (photo at top is the Elvis Chapel at Apacheland.

The reason most Americans believe the entire west is covered with Saguaro Cactus is that most of the old westerns and many of the western television series were filmed at Apacheland Movie Ranch.

The original Apacheland movie set consisted of true facades – a front and two sides – no roof and no back. When that set burned down, the second Apacheland was made of real buildings, and soon the movie set was planned to become a theme park. The theme park never worked out, as investors were unsure of the economy (and this was back in the early 1960’s). Two of the buildings exist today, the chapel and the barn.  They were dismantled piece by piece, every board numbered, and reassembled on the current lot.

Elvis filmed Charro, the only movie he never sang in, at Apacheland, and was inside the chapel you see pictured. That was also the only film he wore a beard in; I suppose he was trying to become a serious actor, but the colonel was not too happy.

After Apacheland we went to the Goldfield Ghost Town – an old mining town that Cowboy Dan bought in the 1970’s or so and converted into a cool tourist trap. The old mines are still there and you can take a tour of them. There is a building that I remember seeing on Ripley’s Believe it or Not or some show like that when I was a kid – where objects appear to defy gravity ad roll uphill. Of course we had to make the mandatory stop at the Mammoth Mine Saloon. Cowboy Dan was tending bar as we had hoped, and expected.

After that we headed up State Hwy 88 to Tortilla Flat – population 6. It is another real town owned by a family, and back in the day was a stagecoach stop as well as a pony express stop. It has its own zip code, and as of the last census the population was indeed six.  It is four or five now.

Shortly past Tortilla Flat State Highway 88 turns into a one lane dirt road. We pulled off on a few of the areas there was not either a cliff-side or a steep drop – we do not believe in guard rails in Arizona – and explored on the Canyon Lake side as well as the Tonto National Forest side. After that, we returned home and chilled for the rest of the day.

On Saturday, most of the crew went to the Swap Meet in Mesa, and to the two in Apache Junction. Liz got a new hat, very expensive, that her daughter bought for her. I stayed home and played in the studio.

The entire crew got here just after lunch time, and we hung out until evening. We went to Captain’s for dinner – Tami and Spencer wanted deep fried cheese curds, and Captain’s is the only bar still serving them.

Then back home, I lit a fire in the pit and we chilled some more – everyone was gone early Sunday morning.  I didn’t move from my easy chair all day…

I worked this morning, and am scheduled next for Saturday – I really hope I get more than two days this week.

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