Monday, February 6, 2017

Back to Arizona, and Perfect Weather

January 28 - 31, 2017
Willcox, Arizona

We continue west on I-10 Saturday morning. It's a beautiful drive under blue skies with very little wind. About 180 miles after leaving Las Cruces, we pull off in Willcox, Arizona. 

As we pass through the main downtown area I keep telling Bill, "Remember it's only $18/night!" One out of 10 businesses remain open, most look like they have been closed for over a decade. Still, there are three RV parks here, supporting a Safeway by the interstate, and several eateries. Access to nearby Chiracahua National Monument and Fort Bowie National Historic Site keep people like us coming here.

Pulling into Fort Willcox RV Park on the west end of town, we both have to laugh. Only $18/night! The sign on the door tells us to find a spot and the owner will see us when they return. We're still trying to figure out which ones are 50 amp when she shows up.

The Passport America park has all we need for the few days we'll be here. Dirt lot, FHUs with 50 amp, a shower and laundry we don't use, quiet, and close to what/who we want to visit. During our stay it fills up half the nights with travelers just passing through.

I'm in the mood for a good margarita and our host recommends La Unica. So do we! Excellent food and the margaritas are the best we've had in a long time.
And the 'cadillac' is ridiculous :-)  Other patrons take photos of Bill's drink. We take home a dozen of the best homemade tortillas.


If  his glass looks larger than mine....

...it's because it is!!!
Bill has reached out to another high school couple in Safford, Arizona, and learns that two more classmates are now living in the area. Let's go see them!!

Clyde and Sarah were in my class and have been married for 45+ years. Marvin was in Bill's class, and Jack was a few years ahead of us. While we've seen the other three at reunions, this is the first time we've seen Marvin since 1974. We have a wonderful visit, getting caught up on everyone's lives.  We'll all be together again at the reunion in April - yay!


Clyde and Sarah

Marvin, Bill, Jack and Clyde
Monday we finally get Piper off road. It is wonderful to be back in the desert, on dirt roads and tracks, with amazing views in all directions. This is farm and ranch land so there is limited access to the hills, but we do find a rocky, rutted path to the top of one. Glad to see a small area to turn around :-))


Several fields have dozens of Sandhill Cranes

They come and go while we watch from a distance.

Their arrival is announced with their distinctive calls.

These beauties grab our attention on a small side road.
A nice climb




Piper getting her first desert pin-striping :-)))

Where do you get your mail??
Never get tired of the variety here.
I love the golden grass that covers the area this time of year.
One of the main reasons I wanted to stop here was to re-visit Fort Bowie where my boys and I hiked 22 years ago. My memory of the trail is very different from the reality we find on our Tuesday visit. The flat 1.5 mile trail is actually a hilly 3 mile route. We've gotten SO out of shape in our eastern travels and we don't make it to the fort before turning back. It's still a beautiful day to be out in nature, enjoying the complete quiet of having the place to ourselves.



Local springs provided much needed water in the Apache Pass, contributing to the popularity of this main east-west  transportation corridor. The Southern Pacific railroad completed in 1860 didn't require as much water as horse and wagon so the pass was nearly forgotten as a major route.


The lovely 70 degrees gets warm on our way back.


The mining cabin of Jesse Millsap (1863-1929) remained unidentified for years until a park visitor recounted his boyhood memories of visiting his uncle here. 
The back road takes us through cactus-covered hills and ghostly pistachio groves to the nearly-deserted town of Bowie back on I-10. Another fun day in the desert.

Green hills

covered in prickly pear cactus.

Pistachio trees line the small road.
Simple beauty.
Wednesday we return to our home-away-from-home in Tombstone for a week with our good friends. We'll come back and visit the Chiracahua Mountains with them.


16 comments:

  1. We only had a couple days here, so glad to see the things we missed. Really enjoyed hiking in Chiricahua, like a blank-n-white version of the red sand stone formations. Looking to your post on the trails there.

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    1. There is a surprising number of places to visit and things to do here. We really love it.

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  2. Love Bill's margarita!! Glad you are the driver:) I can't wait to find a nice off road trail. It's always fun to get the Jeep on dirt! We couldn't get to Fort Bowie while in the area. The road was closed because of the mud. Have fun in Tombstone with your friends! Looks like Bill and Tessa made themselves at home in the fb photo:)

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    1. Looking forward to getting our Jeeps out on that dirt together :-)) You guys would do that trail like a short stroll - you'll want to do it next time!

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  3. Thanks for the heads up about the restaurant in Wilcox!

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    1. Thought of you guys - it's definitely a place to put on your list!

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  4. That is some drink Bill had. Sorry you got out of shape in the east. You should hang out with me when you come. There's lots of serious hiking over here and multi gorgeous water spots.

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    1. Definitely need a motivation buddy for getting more trail time in!

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  5. Love those off road adventures! The older I get, the easier it is to "get out of shape". See you soon!

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    1. Isn't that the truth!! Can't wait :-)))

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  6. Beautiful country, Jodee. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for coming along! You two need to head west :-))))

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  7. What a beautiful photo of the three Sandhill Cranes in flight! I love their haunting calls. Was Bill able to walk out of the restaurant after that supersized fantastic looking margarita? :-))

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    1. We could hear them coming from far off to join that big gathering - so cool! Oh yes, there was a LOT of ice and he just had a good "buzz" :-))))

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  8. Sounds like a great deal. Glad you saw the cranes. I think maybe miles are getting longer, or my legs shorter. I still have to visit that area. But am loving the Sonoran Desert at Organ Pipe.

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    1. You'll love the area - lots to see and photograph! Definitely feeling those miles these days. You're in one of my favorite spots.

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