Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mining in Arizona

The last day we were in Benson, we drove down to a mining town called Bisbee. The mines are all closed and the town is a tourist/artist town. But the Lavender Mine may open again according to the news reports and that has some of the tree huggers really upset.The highway would need to be moved, the sewer system and electricity would also have to be moved. Plus there would be dynamite blasts every day.A real inconvenience if you are trying to concentrate on your art, I am sure.
This town is carved into the side of a mountain. You really have to be fit to get around, up hill, down hill, up the mountain, down the mountain.
The artist colony here is thriving with lots of weird sites.

We went to the Mining Museum and really enjoyed learning about strip mining and how it was done in the early years. Man, that was a terrible life, I think.I kept thinking about that song Sixteen Tons,remember that one?

I wish we could have stayed the night since the Ho's and Queens banquet was only $5. But it didn't start til late......It seemed to take us for ever to get back home. We drove miles and saw not one car! ( Guess every one was at the banquet, huh.)

Benson, Airplanes and Rocks

We are still in Benson at Saguaro Co-op Campground. From here we have visited all around the area doing a new place each day.
Our first trip was to Pima Air Museum. We spent almost an entire day looking at airplanes:

My personal favorite:

While Erwin was getting his airplane fix, I spent a lot of time outside watching these little fellows play:

This is also the home of the Air Force Airplane graveyard at Davis Montham Airbase.
There are acres and acres of old airplanes stored here to be either sold, scrapped or stripped for parts. Just acres and acres of your tax dollars sitting. this area was chosen for this graveyard because of the low humidity and the type of soil here that can support a lot of weight without being reinforced.

Our next day was spent hiking at the Cochise Stronghold Canyon. This is where the great Apache leader Cochise led his people.It is said he is buried in this canyon and only one white man knew where his burial took place on June 8,1874.

Later in the day we made our way to the Chiricahua Mountains, some of the most interesting rock formations we have seen on our trip. the rest of the post is just pictures of our trip through the mountains and taken from small trails we had to hike to get to overlooks....Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We tried to go to Tucson

We tried to go to Tucson one day. We have decided we are not really good at going to big cities. Other than Chicago, we don't even like big cities;but we gave it a try. That particular day construction crews cut the electricity lines into the historic part of town, so most things were closed or closing, Bummer. Had we gone the next day we would have seen a 15ft water geyser from a cut water main.....where did this crew come from?????
We consulted our travel book and found this jewel:

San Xavier Del Bac or The White Dove Mission is an amazing jolt to the senses. All around is the brown desert ground, no green, no blue just brown, then BAM in the middle of an Indian Reservation is this beautiful Mission. We watched a film about the restoration of the mission narrated by Linda Ronstadt who said that if neon had been available then the artist would have used it. Needless to say it is quite ornate. The restoration story was amazing. In this small space there are over 50 statues, all ornate and the style is very folk art. I was surprised at the number of visitors to this out of the way place.

El Paso and Benson, AZ

We arrived in El Paso finally. It was so strange to see so many people and cars after being in a town of 700 for so long.Our campground was awful the sites were small and the price expensive.

We were right in the middle of town. The crowning touch came when the man two campers down from us paraded all over the campground the day we left in his tiny, French, black silk charming, don't you think?
Our first stop in El Paso was Walmart to stock up on groceries, medicines, etc. Then we ate at a steak house that had been recommended to us by several people. It was worth the 30 minute drive.My steak could be cut with a fork. Delicious!
These are pictures taken from the restaurant. As you can tell it is quite picturesque.Quite a few movies and commercials have been filmed here.

We left the next day for Benson, Arizona. Five months in Texas. We still haven't had our fill.Thank goodness we had trains to watch. It was the most boring drive through the desert. Just mile after mile of this:

Benson is a winter home for many RVers. However most leave the 1st of April to return North.Our campsite is a Co-op. Someone owns the lot but rents it out when they are not in residence. This is one of the prettiest campgrounds we have been in. The lots are large and graveled. The streets are terraced so each site has a view of the Dragoon Mountains.

Our site has a small casita ( small house) The house is locked so we cannot even see what is inside.But we make great use of the porch and watch the quail, hummingbirds and Mexican Jays.

The dogs are very happy here. Buffy and Butch play every morning in the fenced dog run. Yesterday we took them on an off leash walk through the "wash or dry gulch" with two Whippets and their owners.I was a nervous wreck at first thinking that Buffy would get on a rabbit scent and run to California, but she was too interested in all the sights and smells to concentrate on one.The Whippets are used to these walks and come back when called. Our dogs learned quickly from them that to come back meant lots of attention and treats! The whippets, Clik and Gabe, by the way can leave our dogs in the dust when they decide to run!
More later and pictures, I promise.Just be sure that we are having a blast and doing the tourist thing every day we are here.