Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chocolate Mango Balls

When I went to Mango Festival this year I had some awesome chocolate mango balls. I figured it can't be that hard to make them so today I did it with success on my first try. The only thing I need to do next time is get a mold so I can actually make them into balls.

So what are chocolate mango balls? I blend up mango and ginger and mixed in some key lime juice and cayenne pepper. Then I make them into balls and freeze them. An hour later I dip them in chocolate and the result is an amazing frozen treat. It's sweet, frozen, fruity and chocolatey,  with just a little bit of the lime flavor and a little bit of a kick from the cayenne afterwards. Can't even explain how good it is.

Sabino Canyon, Tucson

After our trip to Tombstone we stayed Sunday night in Tucson. We had a lot planned for the next day but ended up only doing one of our planned activities. I had a long week at work before our trip, had a long day in the sun the Sunday, and took an extended release Flexeril (muscle relaxant) at night that had left wiped out all day Monday. We were both so tired that after breakfast Monday morning we went back to our room for nap time. I think it was obvious from the start of our morning that we weren't going to do a lot of the things we had planned. On our list of things to do was Sabino Canyon, seeing an old mission and an old Cathedral, and taking Adri to the airplane museum. The only thing we did was Sabino Canyon followed by lunch at a Mexican restaurant I like in the area (the agent that did my polygraph told me about this place and they have the best Pico De Gallo). After lunch we decided to just go home. By 5:30 that night I was already in bed.
I think we got to Sabino Canyon around 11 that morning. It was suppose to be in the low 100s in Tucson but it didn't get nearly that hot in the Canyon. When we got to the canyon it was in the low-mid 80s and a weak storm was rolling in. A couple hours later it was only 69 degrees but muggy as hell, well for Arizona at least.
The canyon wasn't quite what I expected, it was way better. We paid $20 to take a tram up the canyon. I heard that the tram ride was about 45 minutes so I thought we would have a short ride and then find other things to do. However it didn't work out that way.  The way it works is the tram has 9 stops. We could get off the tram at any of the stops and catch a later tram to go up or down the mountain. At different stops are trails going all over the canyon and swimming holes all over the place. So we took the tram up to the highest point, then took it down to stop 8. From there I think we walked down to stop 5 and then took another tram down to the bottom. So the whole trip took us a little over three hours.
Going up the canyon the road crosses over the creek several times. The water was running pretty good so in some parts the water was going over the road, as it was designed to do. There are some tubes in the damn for the water to come out and then for when the water is really flowing they have channels where the water can over over the road. I've seen pictures after a good rain where the water is flowing over the whole road. It wasn't quite that wet when we were there but over half of the roads did have at least some water flowing over them. At each crossing the water was backed up behind the road and there were hundreds of people swimming in these swimming holes.
After we finished our tram ride we thought about walking to the dam. It was a little over a mile roundtrip. Natalie was tired and I didn't feel like going alone so we saved that for next time. Next time we'll take a whole weekend just for the canyon. Between all the swimming and the trails there is enough to keep us busy for a while. The Hampton in Tuscon is a killer deal because it's only 70 bucks for the night, half of what we normally pay for a Hampton, and they have free breakfast which would cost us probably 30 bucks if we went out to eat. I think we'll definelty being going back within the next year if we're still living in the state. We had a lot we wanted to do last weekend but as you can see we bit off way more than we can chew.
Some pictures from Sabino Canyon.

The Saguaro Cactus were growing all over the rocky hillsides.

This was at stop nine. We took a short hike up the the hill, not anywhere even close to the top, but just far enough to snap a picture looking down the canyon.

Walking down the hill. 

Pretty dramatic sign. When I took a picture of it Google Goggles knew exactly where it was taken.  

I wish we would have known to bring a swimsuit for this kid. She got to dip her feet in, but that's it.

The cactus grow any direction they can.
After lunch at La Parrilla Suiza, Adri was walking through the parking lot saying that she is tired. This is common for her. It must be hard for her taking a nap when I drive her around. Riding on my shoulders as I carry her up mountains and through the streets in the heat. I told her "You're tired? Why don't you drive home and I'll sleep in the back seat." Apparently she liked my offer. She played around in the front seat for a good five minutes. When she got in she copied everything I do. First thing she did was put Purell on her hands before putting on her seat beat. Observant little kid.


Last weekend was Labor Day. Due to the fact that I had a four day weekend I decided the week before that we should take a trip. I wanted to go camping but all the campgrounds in the state were full, with the exception of a few less desirable ones. So after thinking about it for a couple days I decided that we should go to Tombstone instead.
We have been wanting to go to Tombstone for quite some time now. Something I don't talk about much, and I still won't talk about it that much online, is that our son Wyatt died right before Natalie went into labor back in February this year. A couple years ago when Natalie was pregnant with Adri, we were flying to California. I was watching Appaloosa and it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Tombstone. I stopped the movie and told Natalie that we're naming our first son Wyatt. What better name to give my son than that of a controversial law man from a city we have never been to?
My original plan was to stay there 2 nights since I had a four day weekend. However we had some stuff going on Saturday with my second job and I needed to be there and didn't think it would be worth it to get a hotel that night. Last minute I decided that we would only stay one night. This was a good decision because Thursday afternoon when I got home the fit hit the shan with my second job. I had been at work since 4am and had a massive headache when I got home at 3PM. I just wanted to go to sleep and I got a call from the second job saying we had a major incident on our hands. So after eleven  hours at work I logged on from home and spent another 11 hours on this job. I finally finished working at 1 in the morning, went to bed for 3.5 hours, then went to the office for another 11 hours of work. As if that wasn't enough I showed up Saturday to put in another five hours. Afterward we took Adri to see Monster's University, which she didn't like all that much, and then we went home to get ready for the next morning. After the week I had, a drive down to Tucson Saturday night would not have been much fun.
Sunday morning we woke up and made the drive down to Tombstone, about an hour south of Tucson. Adri had been talking about seeing the cowboys since the day before and it's all she was talking about all morning. We got there around 11am and thought it would only take a couple hours to do everything. That was a big miscalculation. We ended up staying until 7 and we still didn't get to see everything we wanted to.
Our first stop before getting to the city was at Boot Hill Cemetery. We probably spent 45 minutes there checking out all the grave sites. My favorite one was the one where they buried Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank McLaury. I found it odd how many people were "unknown" or had committed suicide. There were also quite a few that had been wrongfully hung as indicated on their tombstones. There were also quite a few tombstones that said who killed them on it. I thought it was a very interesting cemetery as the tombstones were different than ones you would find any where else on the planet and all the graves were covered with piles of rocks.
Afterwards we drove over to downtown. We started out getting tickets to the gun fight at the OK Corral. After that we should have moved on but Natalie wanted to see a movie about the town, our first regret. After that we walked around looking for lunch. With Natalie being pregnant and picky this wasn't an easy task. We needed to be back to the gunfight at 2 and most of the restaurants closed at 2 for some reason so lunch after the gunfight wasn't looking so good. We ended up getting some not so great lunch at the Pioneer CafĂ©. The chili fries were awesome, the fried chicken was horrible.
After these we had our second regret of the day. We spent an hour at the gun fight at the OK Corral. The show was pretty boring for the most part. They had a guy there named Wyatt Earp that claimed to be a direct descendant of Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp didn't have any children so I think this guy is actually his 5th cousin. The 3 gunfights they had throughout the hour had lots of talking leading up to each one. Then during the acting they had voice over telling the story of what was going on. It kind of ruined the whole thing. On top of that Doc Holiday was played by a guy in his 50's even though he died when he was 36, what means he was only late 20's in Tombstone. All the girls were ugly, old, buck toothed, or fat. Not one good looking girl out of all 30 of them. I doubt all the people really looked like that in Tombstone. Or maybe they did and that's why they needed prostitutes. Then there were all the people that decided to bring their babies and had to walk out because they were screaming their lungs out when the shooting started. Adri didn't cry but she kept covering her ears. Even though it's all she talked about the two days before our trip, she really didn't like the show all that much. These guns are just as loud as real guns. Before they did the show they actually did a demo and showed us that up close those guns will still tear a soda can in half, and by half I mean two completely separate pieces. Lucky for us, attending this show was our last regret of the day.
After the show we walked over to the actual spot of the gun fight. I was surprised how close the shootout actually took place. They say that nowadays most shootouts happen within six feet. Some of the people involved in the OK Corral were only 5-6 feet away. The furthest ones were maybe 10-12 feet away from each other.
Our next activity was to take Adri on the stage coach. After buying our tickets we had about a 45 minute wait for our ride. So we walked across the street and bought some ice cream while we waited. When our stage coach arrived we couldn't help but notice we had the one and only run down stage coach while the others down the street were brand new. Well after taking some pictures in front of it the guy told us that this is the only original stage coach in town. I believe he said it was something like 160 years old and Mark Twain once rode it from Chicago or Missouri (can't remember which one) all the way to San Francisco in 6 days. He said it was hell on earth. We rode down Allen street and got a brief history of the town and who got killed where.
Our next stop was The Birdcage, the theatre shown in Tombstone where the Cowboys shot at the actors. For me this was probably the most fascinating building in the entire city. This theatre has a lot of history and was known as the wildest place between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast. It sat empty between 1889 and 1934 and was hardly disturbed in all those years. This is where Wyatt Earp met his third wife, Josie Marcus. The Birdcage was a saloon, casino, theatre, and brothel all in one. I had no idea until we went there that it was a brothel. Now this is where history gets a little confusing. In the movie, Wyatt met Josie the night the cowboys shot at an actor. The OK Corral shooting happened afterwards. But in reality the shootout at the OK Corral happened in Oct 1881 and The Birdcage opened in Dec 1881 which means that Wyatt didn't know Josie yet when the shootout happened. Just one of the many things that don't add up with the movies or conflicting stories. The movie Tombstone made it seem like all the stuff that happened in a couple years happened within a couple days.
We were able to go into the lobby for free but if we wanted to tour the rest it was 10 bucks a person. We thought that was a little steep for a self guided tour but decided to go ahead and do it anyways. There was a lot of interesting things to see in there. For starters the theatre has something like 160 bullet holes from all the shootouts. I believe he said 16 shootouts happened there with 7 people dying. In the room with the stage they have the birdcages where guys could pull the curtains while they get serviced during the show. Guess they didn't have to use the popcorn trick to get lucky back then.
In the room behind the stage they had pictures of all the actors that performed there as well as other artifacts from the city. In the back corner they had a hurst. Not a hurst like the cars, but one that got pulled by a horse, obviously. This hurst was used to carry every person that died in Tombstone over to Boot Hill Cemetery.
Next we went downstairs. This is where things got really interesting. They had a couple pool tables, a bar, and bathroom, and two rooms for people to knock it out with their prostitutes. After taking a picture of one of the rooms I learned that Wyatt and Josie once spent a night in that room. Speaking of Josie, there were topless pictures of her all over the place downstairs. Natalie saw one of them and said "She has some big boobies". In the gift shop they had pictures of a lot of the prostitutes that worked at The Birdcage. Among those was a picture of Doc Holliday's long time partner, Big Nose Kate.
After our trip through The Birdcage we walked down to the mine at Toughnut street. We didn't have time to take the tour though. It was getting late and we still had a lot of other things we wanted to do. We went to an old shop and bought Adri a pink pistol. She had been eying it all day. She kept telling me that it's a princess gun. After we bought it she put it on her side, she wanted to be just like me, and she started walking down the street. I went to get a picture of her and she had the biggest grin on her face. The next item of business to handle was for me to get a poncho. I have been wanting a poncho ever since we moved here and they had one that caught my eye right across from the OK Corral. I don't have any pictures of it yet but maybe on one of my next blogs I'll post it.
We headed all the way back down Fremont street to see Wyatt Earp's house before heading all the way back the opposite direction for dinner. Across the street from Wyatt's house was The Spence house, he killed Morgan Earp, and across from that house was Virgil Earp's house, which had burned down in a fire in 1998 by some punks who have no respect for a history. There's now a bread and breakfast built on those ashes. On the way to dinner we stopped by the court house for a third time because I wanted to see the gallows in the back. However it was closed off for the night.
After a long day we stopped by The Longhorn for dinner, formerly Bucket of Blood Saloon. This is where Virgil was shot in the street from the second floor. The original building burned down in the 50's and The Longhorn was built on the ashes. This is not the same Longhorn as the popular chain. The food here was really good southern style food. And of course, they had a picture of Josie Marcus' boobs on the wall.
Something we learned that day is that the whole city had burned down like 5 times. The only original building from 1881 was the Birdcage. The courthouse and some other buildings are from 1882 but a lot of the buildings had either been rebuilt or replaced with something else.
We had an awesome trip. Next time I will plan better though. We had been doing a lot of back and forth through the city all day instead of going to each place in order. We also spend nearly enough time there. Next time I'd like to spend at least 2-3 days to see everything. Next time I'd like to go into the Toughnut mine and see the dancing girls show. Judging by how much fun Natalie had there I don't think it will be too hard to convince her to take another weekend down there.
After all our fun we drove back to Tucson that night and stayed at the Hampton. My next post will be on the following day and our trip up Sabino Canyon.
 A truck parked at Boot Hill Cemetery. Loved it. I had a few of those bumper stickers on my old Ranger.
Behind us are the tombstones of the three cowboys killed in the OK Corral shootout. 

Two Cowboys. No names?
I love this one. Old school justice. Nowadays it takes ten years for a trial and then they die on death row. Back then if you murdered someone you were dead two days later.
This was just too funny. Chink Smiley's grave is right in front of one of "Two Chinese". I don't know if that is suppose to be a joke or what.
Marshall Fred White. Killed by Billy Clanton the night he was high on opium shooting at the moon.
I was looking all over for this one. They start off the movie Tombstone showing this tombstone.
There were quite a few of these tombstones marked "Shot by a Chinaman". I thought it was a joke on the movie when the guy said he was part of the "Non Partisan Anti-Chinese movement". Turns out there actually is a Chinatown in Tombstone, on the west side by where the Earps lived and there was a lot of discrimination towards the Chinese back then.
The entrance is closed now by this is the side where the Earps and Doc Holliday entered before shooting up the cowboys. Doc Holliday was renting a room in the Photography Gallery at the time. Rumor is since the cowboys were gathered in the lot next to it they though they were out to get Doc. 

The courthouse.

Allen Street in front of the OK Corral.

The gunshow. The guy having the midlife crisis in black is supposed to be Doc Holiday.
This is where the actual shootout occurred. The picture was taken too close to see it all though.
The old stage coach we rode.

If you ever want to know how not to hold a gun, Natalie is always giving free lessons.
I had to take control of the situation.

Adri refused to hold Natalie's hand.
Big Nose Kate's Saloon.

Proud new gun owner. Check out that smirk. 
The Bird Cage.
I couldn't resist a picture with Fatima. I think she has 5-6 gunshots and a knife wound.
A picture from the Human Fly Show. I didn't really get all that he said but I guess they wore high heels and got swung around until their heels stuck in the ceiling.
A gunshot in the bar, I think a .45 caliber. The bar was made in Philly and put on a ship which went all the way around South America. They said they couldn't guarantee the glass would make it in once piece by horse and wagon. I thought it was odd they couldn't create their own mirror in Tombstone.
The bird cages.
That EXIT sign is original from 1881.

Three gunshot holes from the cowboy that missed when shooting at an actor.
The hurst that took everyone to Boot Hill.
 Poker tables in the basement.
This is one of the rooms that Wyatt and Josie stayed in. Both rooms had pictures of naked ladies on the walls. 
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this one.
 The hills where the silver mines are.

Some old mining equipment by Toughnut mine.

A very odd looking cactus.

Wyatt Earp's house.

Pete Spence's house.
Walking back we saw this dead scorpion in the street.

At the Longhorn. She was being really clingy with me all day, only wanting me. At dinner she told me that she cries in the morning when I go to work.

Going back to the car we saw this small thunderstorm. The drive back to Tucson there were thunderstorms all around in the mountains.