Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Project CENTRL goes to Cottonwood

Thea, Lucia and I were at the Blazing M ranch for Project CENTRL. We spent the weekend in Cottonwood, Arizona for Project Centrl and it was a lot of fun.

We had workshops on volunteerism and learned about our trip in May to Mexico. We also had a mock zoning and planning meeting were we split the group and argued different sides of the issue. I had a lot of fun doing that and really learned a lot.

Friday evening we went to the Blazing M ranch which is very similar to the Rocking R ranch in Mesa. We had a great time walking around and trying out new things and then after the evening was over a group of us made our way to Jerome to check out the night life. I didn't see much of Jerome but I do want to go back.

Saturday after it was over, a few of us girls went to lunch in downtown Cottonwood in a really cute outdoor cafe. We then hit a few antique stores and then headed home. In all it was a great weekend.

Terri, Sharla and David. They were some of my most favorite members of the group from North Carolina. I was sad to see them go.

Mac and the Kinlaws and me. They were North Carolina Field Staff and great fun!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A field trip with North Carolina Farm Bureau

I had been asked several months ago to assist Ken from North Carolina with his group trip to Arizona. They have a program very similar to our Project CENTRL but without the internship and it is only for Farm Bureau members age 36-52. There were 16 class members plus spouses and staff totaled 26 members. I had planned out their trip to do a loop through the state (a lot of driving) it allowed them to really see the various agricultural industries in the state as well as geography, climate and some tourist spots along the way. I was really nervous to meet them on Sunday when they came into Phoenix.

I met them on the west side at a Mexican restaurant called Raul and Theresa's. It was good food and Joe, our lobbyist met with them to give them an overview of the political climate, issues and various things our members are dealing with. After lunch we headed to Yuma. The group rode on the bus and I lead them. One of the North Carolina staff people rode along with me to keep me company. We chatted the whole way (big shocker to those who know me) and I shared various bits of useless trivia that I know about Arizona, catcus, and other stuff (another surprise). Once we hit Gila Bend, the group asked me if Mac (the NC staffer) had talked my ears off because he was suppose to be a talker. I said that we chatted the whole way but I didn't notice him being talkative because I'm talkative too. Dana says I can talk to a wall if I need to.

We hit Yuma and grabbed dinner and then went to bed because we were leaving the hotel at 5:30 a.m. to go to the border in San Luis and watch the workers cross. We were a little late Monday morning because they had an earlier starting time so we saw some of the workers and a lot of kids crossing for school. It surprised the ladies to see the kids crossing by themselves to go to school. It was interesting to see the differences from NC to AZ. After that we went to the lettuce fields and saw them packaging head lettuce and romaine lettuce. Then we toured over to a cauliflower field and tried a new breed of cauliflower that looked like it was covered in butter because it was yellow. Very nice and quite good. After lunch at Hunter's Steakhouse we toured Associated Packing and tasted some mineolas and had a bag of lemons for all of us.

The guys in Yuma were really great to the group from North Carolina and I really had fun riding around on the bus with them to the various tour spots. Everyone from NC was so nice and sweet. I loved how they referred all week to the women as Miss.... I never heard them just say their first name it was always Miss Liz or Miss Jane or Miss whatever. After Yuma we headed back to Gila Bend and they went on to Tucson and I headed home for the night. It had been a really long day and I was tired.

They toured around Tucson, Nogolas, Tombstone and Rio Rico on Tuesday while I was at the office for a staff meeting and to get a few things done and pick up my new truck!!! Wednesday I met them in Tucson and we headed towards Willcox. They talked about the rain they encountered in Tombstone and I mentioned that it had been over 140 days without rain in Phoenix so it we really needed the rain. We toured a pistachio and pecan farm and had lunch with the county president in Willcox. After lunch we toured Eurofresh where currently 241 acres of tomatoes are grown under glass in greenhouses. It's quite impressive. The directions to Eurofresh cracked me up because they were: take this exit, turn left, go 20 miles to the stop sign and turn left!! After Eurofresh we headed towards Safford. By this time most of us were a little cold because the wind had picked up. So we stopped in at Walmart while in Safford so those of us who wanted more clothes- warmer clothes could get them. I got a jacket and a pink hat. The hat was on clearance for $5 but when it rang up it came up only for $1!! What a deal.

Thursday morning we woke up and headed towards Snowflake. We went over to Globe and then through Salt River Canyon- I think they might have been a little impressed and a little afraid of the ride on the bus. The bus driver was really good at driving through and around things all week. When we hit Show Low there was snow on the sides of the road. Only enough to make the ground white. When we made it Taylor - for lunch at Trapper's (really we were there for the pie!) They toured Snowflake and the some of the Flake ranches as well as a feedlot. They went on to Holbrook and over to Winslow for the night and I headed down the mountain to Payson and home for the night. I had them stay in Winslow because you have to at least stand on a corner and the hotel there is amazing.

They were suppose to go on to the Grand Canyon on Friday but that didn't happen because it was snowing all day in Flagstaff and they decided they wouldn't really be able to see the canyon so they went to Sedona instead and then made it back down to Phoenix by 5pm. I caught back up with them around 8:30 that night to pick up the coolers they borrowed. I think they had fun and I love it because they were so nice and funny. I hope to be able to see a few of them when I'm in NC in May and I want to keep in contact with some of them too!