Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mission San Xavier del Bac

I was totally unprepared for the sight of the San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson.  My pre-conceived notion of an old mission was perhaps a small nondescript adobe structure.  That mental picture could not have been farther from the truth.mission1 The Catholic mission itself was founded in 1692; the current building, also known as “The White Dove of the Desert”  took 14 years to build and was completed in 1797 .  A masterpiece of construction, it is considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.  Until 1854 with the Gasden Purchase, the mission building was located in Mexico.

A large reconstruction effort was initiated in 1992, and continues today as funds become available.

The building remains unfinished.  One legend suggests that early taxation laws exempted buildings under construction, so the builders chose to leave one dome unfinished.  Another legend is that the tower is being left unfinished until the “Excellent Builder” will come to direct its completion.

Much of the manual labor was accomplished through the hard work of the native tribe, the O’odham.  Children of the tribe still attend the school on the grounds and services are still held weekly in the sanctuary.      



The interior is even more impressive than the exterior, featuring Baroque styling. 

As you enter the huge carved mesquite doors, your senses are flooded by the brilliant colors of the paintings, carvings, frescoes and statues. mission4 The interior is richly decorated with ornaments showing a mixture of New Spain and Native American artistic motifs.  Chapels sit to each side of the sanctuary.  The dome towers 52 feet above the floor.mission5

The mission is surrounded by gardens and courtyards.  In the parking lot out front, O’odham tribe members prepare native foods such as fry bread to sell to the many visitors. 

We could not pass up the chance for fry bread, one of our favorite treats.

In the nearby San Xavier Plaza, more Native Americans sell their handicrafts.  Ron purchased a pair of turquoise earrings for me from Joe Begay, a Navajo.  mission6 Joe is a master of trades including acting, singing and silversmithing.  He showed us photos from his acting roles.  One of the first was Little House on the Prairie.  He says he was “lucky to be allowed to play an Indian.  Until then, all Indians were played by whites”.  He has also had parts in many movies, including Dances with Wolves.

For more photos of the mission interior and grounds, click on the collage below.2010-04-15 - AZ, Tucson - St Xavier del Bac Mission

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