Outlaws, Desparados and other Ne'er Do Wells!
Mar 6, 2006
|We spent about a week in Tucson. During that time we were able to visit with good friends from the Redmond area, Chris and Sharon. They had belonged to the Hunter Assoc. of Puget Sound with us and had sold their Hunter sailboat and got a new Itasca the fall of '03, just before we made the big jump! We met them at the Desert Museum along with Chris' mom and stepdad. Had a great time with them, as Sharon and Chris are avid birders and we were able to get a lot of help and pointers as they identified the various species that were there. This is a great place to visit and learn about the various forms of life in the southwest desert area. You really need several days to take in everything.
Chris and Sharon invited us to visit with them on that Sunday and we had a great several hours with just them. They have just moved into a new house in Redmond, so are only spending a month down here. They are staying in Voyager RV Park, and what an impressive park it is. Hotel, restaurant, swimming pool, hot tubs, tennis and pickle ball courts, health clinic, beauty shop, post office, market and more daily activities than you can shake a stick at. I can see why it would be a great place if you wanted to stay a month or more in that area.
We then back tracked to Yuma to have custom slip covers made for the couch and 3 chairs in the living area of the motorhome. Wanted to cover up the drab brown u[holstry and found some nice blue material that Carolyn liked. They turned out great. While there we took in the Yuma Territorial Prison and the one big swap meet. The prison was very interesting, but I'm sure glad that I didn't find anyone whose name I was famaliar with listed as one of the "guests"!! The prison was left empty in the early 1900's and since the Yuma high school had burnt down, the high school used it for 4 years. Even to this day, they are still called the Yuma High School Criminals, or "Crims" for short!! I wonder how that nickname would go across in the Puget Sound area!
Once we got the upholstry done, we hightailed it back east, picking up our mail in Gila Bend on our way to Tucson. We had the Camping World there put on a receiver hitch for a bike rack. I'm still attempting to find the best way, for us, to carry our bikes and attempt to keep them somewhat clean. When we had the coach weighed at the Indio FMCA Rally, we were 600 lbs. over weight, so will try carrying the bikes on the car to help out some.
We headed east on I-10 to Benson AZ. and booked a week into Butterfield RV Park. This is a delightful RV facility. Paved interior roads, with wide level gravel parking spots. They have a pool and laundry and an onsite observatory. I have already spent one night getting the opportunity to have observed the moon and Saturn with all of its rings showing. That was a spectacular sight. Also saw several different galaxies, "far, far away!" Plan on taking in one more night of that.
Benson is fairly centrally located for branching out into different places for S.E. AZ. It has only been 20 - 45 minute drives to the places we wanted to visit. Stopped in at the Coronado National Monument and then drove up to the Ramsey Canyon Preserve. This was a former mining area up in the canyon and along the creek that flows down it, and is now a nature preserve and hiking area. It is also supposed to be a good birding area, but didn't see too many, just a couple of hummingbirds, a goldfinch and several woodpeckers.
We had a great time visiting Bisbee, an old mining town on the slopes of a canyon. Used to be the site of a major copper mine, now closed. As their brouchere reports, it was a dying down until the hippies and artists discovered it in the '60's. It reminded me of a miniature version of San Francisco, with the town at the bottom of the canyon and building part way up the hills, with houses on both sides. Some great shops and junk stores! There is also a gentleman that custom makes straw Panama hats and felt cowboy hats. The inexpensive custom felt cowboy hat was a mere $325, so I passed! There are a number of historic buildings in this area and they were all fasinating to look at.
A don't miss in Bisbee is Dot's Diner. It is a charming 1930's style "Valentine Diner" with seating for about 10 people at the counter. Carolyn and I had a great lunch there. It is part of the Shady Dell, which features resored antique trailors to stay in. They even have an old wooden Chris Craft "dry docked" for you to stay in. They have black and white TVs and old phonograph players and records in each one! It looked like a real kick!
Karchner Caverns, an Arizona State Park is just about 10-15 minutes from us, so we made reservations to go the the Throne Room. This is still a "living" cave, and the state has gone to great lenghts to maintain the same air flow and humidity level in the cave so that it remains in that "living" state. It took a lot of reassurances to Carolyn that yes, there would be lights (subdued) and no, there would be no bats or bat crap to walk through!! This was the first cave tour I had been on since a kid and we both found it fascinating. If you get into this area of AZ., put that on your to-do list, but you do need to make reservations through the Arizona Park System.
We visited Tombstone on 2 different days it has so much to offer. This is the town that is "too tough to die," as well a real part of the wild west in all of its glory. It has still maintained its western heritage, with the main street closed to automobiles, still dirt covered, and still inhabited with wanna-be gunslingers, desparados, shady characters and other ne'er do wells!! We visited Boothill - where very few people died of natural causes! - the Old Tombstone Courthouse Museum, the Tombstone Epitaph - the first newspaper in town - and the worlds largest Rose Bush/Tree that covers 8,000 square feet. It was orginally planted in 1885 and naturally, Carolyn had to buy a cutting from it! We are now traveling with a histoic rose bush!!
We will be leaving Benson Tuesday, March 6 and going back through Tucson to Casa Grande, where we will take in the Arizona Good Sam Samboree for 4 days.