Sunday, October 31, 2010

North of the Border

It's 9.00pm, the mercury is nudging 90 degrees fahrenheit... and it's nearly November.

We have just arrived in Tucson, Arizona.

The name "Tucson" – pronounced too-sawn – is the English spelling of a Spanish version of an Indian name meaning "at the base of the black hill". Tucson is also known as "The Old Pueblo". Only 60 miles north of the Mexican border, this state is famous as being the setting for lots of western movies. You know. The ones with dramatic rocks and iconic cactus, like Red River, 3.10 to Yuma (both versions) and Tombstone.

I'm here to research my new series, The Western Mysteries. My books are set in Nevada but we have come here to spend a few days at one of the best Dude Ranches in the world, the White Stallion Ranch.

They say you should always have a goal, so here are five things I hope to achieve while here.

1. learn interesting facts about horses (including how to ride them)
2. learn a few Indian tracking skills (my main character is half Indian)
3. buy a real or replica "medicine bag" like the one my character wears
4. buy a real or replica spittoon for my future school events
5. learn how to kill, skin and cook a prairie dog.

OK, that last one was a joke. I don't even know yet if there are prairie dogs out here. A visit to the Desert Museum should answer that question.

P.S. Sunday morning... Just went for a walk. Lovely sunrise over the mountains.

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