A New Chapter...for awhile travel blog

See, I told you it was rocky...

and of course it was uphill...there's always uphill.

Some of the mine hardware is still on the site from the...

The stand for the boiler with its 1896 date stamp...pretty confident it...

The entrance to the shaft of the Carrie Nation Mine

We threw some outside into our day on Friday. We packed up and headed about 35 miles, as the crow flies, south of Tucson to do a hike in the Coronado National Forest. The drive took about an hour and we pulled into one of the parking lots in Madera Canyon just a little before noon. After some perusing of the trail map, we decided to do the Carrie Nation Mine Trail, a short 3 mile round trip to view the remnants of an early 1900’s copper and lead mine.

The hike was rougher than we expected thanks to the rocky terrain. We expect to be breathing heavier going up hill thanks to the elevation and our advanced age and only moderate physical conditioning, but today’s trek was a tough one on our knees and hooves. Lots of large rocks to maneuver around, a couple creek crossings and a little ice made for some whining and cussing along the way.

The mine is thought to be in operation around 1903 and we saw a boiler used to generate steam for the operation that has a date stamped on it from 1896 so that would all coincide. There are other pieces of mining equipment still visible, as is the entrance to the mine shaft, but we didn’t dare crawl into the wet and dark shaft entrance because, well, we didn’t want to.

The sun dropping behind the mountains to the southwest and the snow still on the ground reminded us that it was not going to get warmer as time went on, so we thought it was smart to skedaddle before we became the subject of a local news story that started with “Searchers today found a woefully unprepared couple, cold, but alive, in the Coronado National Forest…”.

Saturday and Sunday were punctuated by not much. A trip to grab some mediocre Chinese take-out Saturday evening was our only venture beyond the confines of the park. Monday we opted to make a run to Costco but were shocked with what we found. Apparently they are limiting the number of people allowed in so it looked like they had reached that number and were allowing one person in for each person that leaves...probably a prudent plan, but the line to get in stretched almost COMPLETELY around the building. Now, visualize the size of a typical Costco and that will give you an idea of how long the line was. Amazing.

Needless to say, we opted to skip the lengthy opportunity to work on our suntans and headed to Safeway to stroll their sparsely stocked, but at least accessible, shelves. Fresh foods were lacking, as were paper goods, and finding hand sanitizer was laughable, but the most important item – a “Party-sized” pack of Double Stuff Oreos – found its way into our cart so we’re now able to survive another day, maybe two.

Tuesday? We stayed home and stared at each other. Wednesday? We didn’t want a repeat of that debacle so we escaped from Tucson – relax, we practiced “social distancing” (mostly) – and headed a little over an hour back north to check out Casa Grande. CG is a very popular winter destination for RV folks but after spending a couple hours snooping around there, it hasn’t made our short list for any future lodging.

We did a drive-by of 2 RV parks; one was nice, the other was not, and overall the town was barely OK with nothing that grabbed our attention. We did support a local BBQ place by picking up some grub and had a less-than-memorable lunch parked along a street across from a city park. We opted to eat in the Jeep because the local derelicts apparently had reservations for the 3 picnic tables in the park...another check mark in the “NO” column against spending any future time in Casa Grande.

We took a different way home through the desert that brought us back into Tucson on the northwest side, so we stopped for gas at Costco again (paid $1.65 a gallon this time!) and were able to walk right in without the hours long wait that we faced back on Monday. That was the weak link in our “social distancing” of the day but they were taking extra steps to keep customers separate so it was pretty tolerable.

Thursday was another – mostly – stay at home day other than me heading off to ship out a package, grab some goodies at Safeway and get a battery cable for today’s upgrade project. I added a battery monitor system to the coach to keep better track of the charge and discharge status of the batteries when we’re dry camping. This task required adding a cable and moving another to get it all working...which I did without any sparks, smoke or blood loss, all of which are very real possibilities whenever I do an electrical project; or any project for that matter.

Friday and Saturday turned into house days. Both of us – OK, mostly the boss because she’s more limber than I am – vacuumed out all the underneath storage areas and then on Saturday I spent a couple hours going up and down the ladder to wax all of the awning and slide topper covers while Michele took care of dusting and sprucing up the inside. Needless to say, dinner both days included Advil.

The current virus lifestyle is a necessary evil, but out of boredom it has prodded me to hit some of the tasks that I have been putting off – and finding some new ones – to occupy my time and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you in blog-land. We can only hope that as long as everyone does their part this will be over soon, but I have my doubts; just like you do. Now, go wash your hands.

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