Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Beginning

Over the weekend of the 4th, Lisa and I traveled to the Pine/Strawberry area for the 29th annual Pine Arts and Craft show. We had a great time. We met new friends, ate great food, stayed at the fabulous Strawberry Lodge, visited a goat ranch and somehow managed to fit in actual work. We arrived on-time (For those of you that know us, you will recognize the importance of that statement) Saturday morning for check-in and were greeted by cool temperatures and the wonderful scent of pine trees. I spent the day eye-balling the old barn in the field behind the show location and, because Lisa and I were set up next to each other, was able to sneak off and do a bit of photography. I ran into a buffet of old buildings, pastures, wagons, and fence lines that kept me away from the booth far longer than anticipated. After returning to the booth I had a surprise visit from Susan and Johnnie from Mesa who came up to visit for just a few moments before heading back out; but not before Johnnie yet again tried to set me up with someone he knows.

Lisa and I closed up shop and headed 3 miles north to our home away from home for the evening – the Strawberry Lodge. We entered the attached restaurant looking for the hotel check-in desk, the young waitress swinging past the register asked if she could help us out and we loudly requested directions to the motel check-in area over the band playing in the other room. She asked for our names, reached over, plucked out a set of keys and said “you will find the room up the stairs to the right”. After a moment of us standing there looking at her she asked if there was anything else we needed. I had to unhinge my drooping lower jaw to ask “That’s it? You don’t need anything else from us?” “Nope” and off she went to serve the leering drunk patron who was polite enough to be sure Lisa and I weren’t bored that evening by offering us some entertainment.

After carrying all our stuff up to the room; (stuffed to capacity with 2 twin beds and a chair the room barely held out luggage. A fireplace dominated one corner and the narrow bath was tucked behind a curtain), I borrowed the keys, jumped in Lisa’s truck and headed off to what I hoped was the wilds of Strawberry with grand plans of capturing the perfect high country sunset shots.

My first stop was only a mile and a half down the road at the oldest schoolhouse in Arizona. Reconditioned in 1980, the schoolhouse was picture perfect sitting in a tiny grove of pine trees. Though closed and tours available by appointment only, it didn’t stop me from walking the perimeter, examining the dove-tailed corner joints, wishing I could ring the old bell at the roof peak or peering in windows at rows of desks waiting for students.

I continued my drive, anxious to see what was around the next corner and to my delight it was a dirt forest service road leading into the national forest. Once in the forest I was waylaid by an old cattle shoot, then the cattle, then some flowers, then the old fencing with gate barely clinging on, then… Least to say, I didn’t make it too far into the back country and to my perfect sunset vista before sundown.

I abandoned the photo shoot and headed back into town to meet up with Lisa for a wonderful dinner at the Strawberry Lodge. The strawberry salsa is something I will remember for a long time to come and will order when we stay at the Lodge next year. Stuffed full, exhausted and relieved the band ended at 10, we retired to our room and fell into bed.
Stay tuned for Strawberry/Pine post part 2 where we visit a local goat farm...

No comments:

Post a Comment