"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tucson and Beyond

We left Cave Creek on Monday morning.  Traveled down to Douglas, then up through Bisbee and Tombstone to Benson.  We had planned to stop in Bisbee for a couple of hours, but there was nowhere to park.  The one vacant dirt lot that would accomadate a truck and trailer was blocked off, and signs were everywhere stating autos only, within the town.  After doing a couple of loops aroud a traffic circle, we gave it up and proceeded on toward Benson.  We have a dear friend that was at an Escapees park in Benson.   We wanted to spend some time with him before moving on to Tucson.

Benson is an old railroad town. Much like the town we live near.  The railroad was the backbone of the economy once upon a time.  Now Benson depends as much on the snowbirds that arrive each Winter as anything else.

It still has that old town feel.  The main street parallels the railroad, and most of the buildings date to ther early 1900’s.  Our favorite place there is the Horseshoe Cafe.  It dates back to the early 1930’s and still has the looks of an old 1950’s cafe.  Tables, stools, and booths; with a neon horseshoe on the ceiling.

20180109_092457 (Medium)

Have you seen one of these, lately.  Each booth came equipped with one.  Judging from the price, I think it’s been awhile since it was used.

                        20180109_094721 (Medium)

We arrived at Gilbert Ray campground and spent five days there.  We did a couple of road trips. One up Mt. Lemmon and another toward Green Valley and Nogales.  That’s Tucson down there.

IMG_2249 (Medium)

IMG_2247 (Medium)

Some random pictures from around the campground.

IMG_0184 (Medium)

20180110_174239 (Medium)

IMG_0195 (Medium)

                          IMG_2236 (Medium)

IMG_2240 (Medium)

IMG_2242 (Medium)

IMG_2243 (Medium)

                              20180111_152838 (Medium)

20180113_174228 (Medium)

We visited San Xavier Mission.  Founded in 1692.  Look it up. Amazing history.

IMG_2255 (Medium)

IMG_2260 (Medium)

IMG_2261 (Medium)

We made it to Lost Dutchman state park near Apache Junction, AZ  There we met up again with Lynne and David. 

IMG_2265 (Medium)

Lynne and I did a four mile hike to the “basin”.

IMG_2266 (Medium)

IMG_2268 (Medium)

IMG_2270 (Medium)

                       IMG_2278 (Medium)

                    IMG_2283 (Medium)

The campground is down there somewhere.

IMG_2285 (Medium)

We had friends that live in Apache Junction come out and prepare us all a delicious meal of pot roast and vegetables in the dutch oven.  It was absolutely delicious.  I intended to get a picture of the finished product before we dug in, “but”. It sure is nice to have friends in far places.

IMG_2286 (Medium)

On another day we took the drive up to Tortilla Flat, and on beyond to the bottom of Fish Creek Canyon on Arizona Hwy 88.  If you look hard you can see the road hanging on the side of the mountain.

IMG_2288 (Medium)

IMG_2290 (Medium)

IMG_2293 (Medium)

IMG_2295 (Medium)

This is a very condensed version of our last ten days or so.  We move on toward Quartzite tomorrow.  On a side note; when we were visiting with our friend Ed in Benson, he said that he had some good friends staying in Lost Dutchman that he wanted us to meet.  Would you believe that in a campground of over 130 sites, we wound up parked next to each other.  We have really enjoyed visiting with Gaila. Dick is a long diatance hiker and Gaila dropped him off on a trailhead Tuesday morning, and he isn’t scheduled to be back before we leave Lost Dutchman tomorrow.  Hope we can meet up with them again someplace soon….jc

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Last of Cave Creek

I took lots of random photos while out hiking around the area.  I ran into a little wildlife.  Can you see them.  I thought they were mule deer,but was told they were Coues deer.  A variation of the more common white tail.

IMG_2161 (Medium)

One of the many dry wash’s that make up the floor of the canyon.  They all held evidence of tremendous flash flooding at times.  I would love to actually watch one from a safe distance.  To see and hear boulders the size of household appliances being swept downstream would have to be an awesome experience.

IMG_0150 (Medium)

Arizona Sycamore trees.  Their white bark against the red rock was quite a contrast, and their rustling leaves sounded just like a softly running stream.

IMG_0183 (Medium)

IMG_2205 (Medium)

IMG_0147 (Medium)

What’s that?

IMG_2190 (Medium)

The Civilian Conservation Corps and the WPA had quite a presence in the area in the years preceeding WWII.  They built buildings, constructed roads and trails, and many other things.  This is one of their dynamite bunkers.  Notice how they used the huge boulder for the roof and sides?

IMG_2187 (Medium)

IMG_2188 (Medium)

I had to take a peek inside.

IMG_2189 (Medium)

Sally spots another one.

IMG_2191 (Medium)

Larger than the first, it used a huge boulder for one side.  Some of the old shelving was still on the floor.

IMG_2192 (Medium)

IMG_2195 (Medium)

Amazing rock work.  I bet the teenagers that constructed this never dreamed it would be here eighty years later, still in great condition.

IMG_2196 (Medium)

They not only did heavy construction.  This is a scale model of the Coronado National Forest.  Built of paper mache.

IMG_0179 (Medium)

Contours and elevations in perfect scale.

IMG_0181 (Medium)

IMG_0182 (Medium)

We had a great three days there.  I would recommend a visit if ever in the area.  We’re now in Benson, visiting a long time Casita friend.  From here it’s on to Gilbert Ray CG near Tucson……jc

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Portal, Rodeo, and Paradise!

I’m not sure how Portal, AZ came to be.  Probably a mining town back in the day.   Now it consists of the Portal Store, post office, library, and numerous bed and breakfasts providing lodging for the many birders that visit the area.  Portal, and Cave Creek Canyon lie at the juncture of the Rockies and the Sierra Madre mountains, as well as the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts.  Making Cave Creek Canyon one of the top birding destinations in North America. 

The Elegant Trogon is one of the reasons for its popularity.  This photo, which hangs in the visitor center, was taken only a month ago.  A resized photo of a photo, and it’s still a beautiful bird.

                IMG_0180 (Medium)

Cave Creek Canyon visitor center.

IMG_2146 (Medium)

IMG_2221 (Medium)

IMG_2220 (Medium)

The Portal business district.

IMG_0155 (Medium)

Another assumption I made is how it got its name.  Maybe this.

IMG_2198 (Medium)

Or this rock feature we saw between Portal and Paradise.  Both look like a portal to me.  It was noon, under bright skies and a mile away.  This is the best shot I could manage.

IMG_0177 (Medium)

Now, Rodeo is back in New Mexico.  It doesn’t have much going for itself, in my opinion. Possibly an old railroad town back in the day, it’s now a small village made up of a few blocks of rundown homes interspersed with one decent looking house per block.

One of the better looking business’s we saw in town.  It and the small RV park were the highlights of the town.

IMG_2214 (Medium)

IMG_2217 (Medium)

IMG_2216 (Medium)

Just North of Rodeo was this promising development.

IMG_2212 (Medium)

IMG_2206 (Medium)

IMG_2207 (Medium)

IMG_2211 (Medium)

IMG_2208 (Medium)

IMG_2213 (Medium)

Someone sank lots of money developing this place, then apparently the market failed them, or they just walked away.

On to Pardise.  This is the sign one sees upon arriving at Paradise.

IMG_0168 (Medium)

Not much there but a few homes in different states of construction/deconstruction.  A warning sign on the other edge of town.

IMG_0170 (Medium)

Pretty obvious, wouldn’t you think.

IMG_0171 (Medium)


IMG_0172 (Medium)

IMG_0174 (Medium)

We stopped at the Paradise cemetery on our way back to Portal.

IMG_0165 (Medium)

IMG_0158 (Medium)

IMG_0161 (Medium)

IMG_0164 (Medium)

Almost frogotten.

IMG_0166 (Medium)

I still have lots of interesting pictures of Cave Creek Canyon.  I’ll try and get them together for a later post….jc