Street Nails & Road Chips (Elks Lodge 309 – Colorado Springs, CO)

It was a loonngg travel day today (Wednesday) and it didn’t get off to a good start…

I don’t know what it is about the truck tires; they must have nail magnets inside ūüôĀ ¬†I did my morning PMCS, (that’s Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services), for you non-military types, and found the right rear tire pressure at 28 psi. ¬†The tire pressure should be at 35-40 psi.

When we arrived yesterday evening at the Roswell Elks Lodge, we were able to pull right into a site without disconnecting the truck.  So this morning; after we pressed buttons to raise the jacks and pull-in the slides; we just towed it over to the local Discount Tire in Roswell, NM.

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The technician pulled off the tire and immediately identified a nail stuck through the tread. ¬†This is the third time we’ve picked up a nail! ¬†Luckily, they didn’t charge us for the repair. ¬†Discount Tires will continue to have our business ūüôā

After the ~hour long delay to get the tire fixed; we continued north on the shortest route towards Colorado Springs.  We have 439 miles to travel today!  Stilla is anxious to get back to see our daughters and grandson, plus we need to do something to help get the house sold.  The house has been on the market now for over 90 days, and now that the weather is getting nicer, we are finally starting to see more showings.  So, we probably need to work on the lawn; maybe fill the hot tub; de-winterize the sprinkler system, etc.,

Here’s some pics of the seemingly endless highway…

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Once we got on I-25, Stilla took over the drivers seat for a while.

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Yah‚Ķ this is the life, I should let her drive more often ūüôā

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Of course as soon as she took over, we had to go through a long construction zone. ¬†She hates this‚Ķ and it always seems to happen when she drives, which isn’t too often, but she did just fine. ¬†No cones were killed in the making of this blog post ūüôā

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Little Coach didn’t even seem to mind Mom’s driving too much.

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We stopped for fuel at Russell’s Truck Stop near Springer, NM. ¬†I always like stopping here because they have classic cars on display. ¬†They switch them out every so often so there’s always something new.

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I took back over the driving duties and little Coach took his usual spot on Mommy’s lap again.

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We started to see some snow as we got close to Raton Pass.

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It looked like the winter weather has been doing a number on the highway…  we had to dodge quite a few potholes and notice the fallen rocks:

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Yup‚Ķ that’s snow on the side of the highway‚Ķ haven’t seen that in a few months ūüėź

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Leaving New Mexico sign…

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and the Welcome to Colorado sign.

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Then we got another “Welcome to Colorado” in the form of a rock hitting the windshield! ¬†A little red pickup sans mud flaps passed us shortly after crossing into Colorado, and “Wham” we have ¬†something new to fix now…

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New rock chip in the lower left side of the passenger windshield.

We pressed on.

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Nice rearview mirror pic. ¬†There’s snow in ‘them-there’ mountains.

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And we finally rolled into Colorado Springs just as the sun was going down over Pikes Peak.  Whew… 440 miles today!

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I had called ahead to reserve a spot at the Colorado Springs Elks Lodge #309. ¬†We were able to get one of the more desirable spots along the inner fence-line facing the pool. ¬†The Elks 309 website says the following about their RV Parking: “13 Hook-ups on a black top surface. Electric (30 & 20 A) available to all. Water available during non-freezing weather. Water faucet always available at the lodge building. Dump station on site. $15 per night ($5-dry camping) No reservations, first come first serve. Plenty of dry camping area.”

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Our spot has 30-Amp electric, water, and a small diameter (PVC) sewer line that runs above ground. ¬†We’ll have to use a macerator to use the sewer, unless we drive over to the on-site dump station. ¬†For those that may not know; a macerator chops up the waste and reduces it to allow flow through a standard-size garden hose.

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View of Pikes Peak this morning over the Coach.

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And here’s another picture of the windshield rock chip. ¬†I put one of those round protective stickers on it that we got from RV Glass Solutions when we had new windshields put in a couple years ago while at the FMCA Rally in Gillette WY. ¬†I suppose we’ll try to live with it for now as long as it doesn’t get any bigger or start to crack.

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Here’s our view of the pool area out the front window, it’s still covered of course‚Ķ we’re not in Arizona anymore ūüėź

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So, we’re baack! ¬†We’ll find the camp-host this morning (Thursday) and pay for a month in advance, which I hope is still a reasonable $350.

We’ve put over 4000 new miles on the Urban Escape Vehicle since we left in January. ¬†We put the house on the market (January 10th) and departed Colorado for the SouthWest.

Some of you that read this blog may recall that we last came back here in October 2014 after our ~6000 mile tour of the Pacific NorthWest.  Click HERE for my blog post from the 1st of October 2014.  We came back then for two reasons: 1) Our son William was coming to visit from Germany, and 2) Our renters had stopped making payments.  So we spent the first couple weeks enjoying time with our son and the next couple/few months dealing with the renters and working on the house to get it on the market.  Hopefully we can get it sold here soon.

Regardless of the house situation – we look forward to catching up with family and friends while we’re here. ¬†It’ll be nice to see the kids, grandson, my Dad/Stepmom, etc.,

Stay tuned…

White Sands NM & Roswell (Elks Lodge 969 – Roswell, NM)

We did over 200 miles yesterday (Tuesday) after leaving Las Cruces. ¬†Stilla is anxious to get back to the kids and grandson ūüėź

We stopped by the White Sands National Monument¬†for a couple hours, ¬†We were last here ¬†in January 2012, some of you may know that the picture of the Coach on my “non-business” business cards was taken here.

Here’s our first view of the dunes heading north on 70. ¬†You can see snow on the peak in the background., ugh…

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Of course, we had to go through yet another border control checkpoint, we’ve been through a lot of these in recent months.

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Sign on 70 for the White Sands National Monument.

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Turn-off on 70 to the dunes.

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The Visitor Center.

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The Entrance Fee Station. ¬†This is a “National” park/monument, so I was able to use my disabled veteran pass. ¬†Total cost $0. ¬†ūüôā

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The road into the dunes starts to get covered with sand.  I wonder how often they have to clean this road.  We passed a road grader on the way in.

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We pulled over at one of the larger turn-outs where they have a boardwalk.

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Little Coach enjoyed the sand and quickly found a bone that we had to take away from him ūüôĀ

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I took a picture of the Urban Escape Vehicle at exactly the same spot  as the picture I have on my business cards from 2012.

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We continued on into the dunes.  The road becomes completely covered by sand at this point.

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Picture of the dash GPS and rear-view camera:

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Even the parking areas are hard-packed sand.

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Nice dune background for a couple more Urban Escape Vehicle pics… I do need to get more business cards made soon.

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We continued north until we got to Roswell, NM. ¬†We used our iPhone app to find the local Elks Lodge. ¬†They’re usually the best thing going for overnight stays unless you want to boondock.

This is Elks Lodge 969. ¬†Very nice RV spots (full hook-up w/50-Amp service) that are set back a little ways from the lodge. ¬†There’s only one other RV here.

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We went into the lodge, very nice! ¬†Here’s a side-view (below). ¬†I never got around to the front parking lot for a better picture of the front, besides, the sun was going down behind the lodge, it probably wouldn’t have come out very good.

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We paid $15 for the night and enjoyed a couple adult beverages.

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That’s all for now folks‚Ķ my next post will probably be coming to you from Colorado Springs. ¬†Since the house still hasn’t sold‚Ķ we might have to hunker down and save some money. ¬†Maybe we can work on the yard and curb-appeal. ¬†I hear the weeds are already growing ūüôĀ

Stay tuned…

 

New Friends, Old Friends (Las Cruces, NM)

We landed in Las Cruces, NM after a 228-mile drive from the Saguaro SKP RV Park in Benson, AZ on Monday.  We consulted our iPhone App for PassPort America parks and it turned us on to the Coachlight Inn & RV Park located just off I-10.

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The Coachlight Inn was a reasonable $18.65 for one night with the Passport America discount applied.

As usual, we also checked for a local Elks Lodge, but their website didn’t mention RV hookups and they didn’t answer when we called the phone number. ¬†We noticed that there are a couple Military FamCamps in the area, (White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman AFB), but they are outside the Las Cruces area‚Ķ and we were hoping to get in touch with an old Army buddy that lives here.

Earlier in the day, after we decided to take this particular route, we attempted to contact my old Army buddy to let him and his wife know we were passing through. ¬†We were hoping to at least see them briefly to catch up. ¬†Unfortunately, we only have Facebook and an email address as the means to contact them. ¬†We never got around to putting a phone number in our contacts list. ¬† So, we hoped they might get the Facebook message and subsequent email, but alas – it wasn’t to be, they didn’t contact us back‚Ķ our short-notice and poor timing resulted in us not getting to see them ūüôĀ ¬†Hopefully we’ll get to see our old friends the next time we come back south.

However, we did get to meet some new friends on the way here…

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we pulled into a rest-area for a quick break somewhere near Lordsburg NM and saw another Alpine Coach! ¬†What are the odds, with only ~1,700 Coaches ever built between’98 and ’08?

We pulled up next to Karen & Reg Bodeux in their ’06 Alpine. ¬†If I remember correctly, they have owned their coach for about a year and are full-timing. ¬†So, naturally, Reg and I talked for a bit while the wives walked our respective dogs. ¬†We exchanged information and said our farewells, hopefully we’ll see them again in the future. ¬†I encouraged Reg to join the Alpine Coach Association to benefit in the awesome rallies and comraderie. ¬†Safe travels, Karen & Reg!

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After we got settled in at the Coachlight Inn, and since we hadn’t heard back from my old Army buddy, and hunger was setting in‚Ķ ¬†I consulted one of our iPhone Apps and noticed that ¬†La Mesilla Historic District and the Mesilla Plaza was nearby. ¬†My friend Wikipedia tells me that: ¬†“During the “Wild West” era, Mesilla was known for its cantinas and festivals. The area attracted such figures as Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and Pancho Villa. The village was also the crossroads of two major stagecoach lines, Butterfield Stagecoach and the Santa Fe Trail. The village of Mesilla was the most important city of the region until 1881.” ¬†Click HERE for more info.

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We stopped at the Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria for dinner.  We lucked out, because they have Monday specials that made it easy on the pocketbook.  The pizza was great.

We then went back to the campground and had a pleasant evening in front of the TV.

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Stay tuned‚Ķ we’re heading north today…

 

Moving Day Again (Location TBD)

Here it is; my new favorite day of the week again, (Monday), and we decided to start heading towards Colorado Springs today.

We still have one more day credit here at the Saguaro SKP RV Park in Benson since our “first-time visitor one-week for $50 special offer” isn’t over until tomorrow, but the weather outlook is good today, so we’ll take advantage of it and move on down the road.

We’ll be heading east on I-10 and will probably go through Las Cruces, NM and then head north on 70 towards White Sands National Monument. ¬†Why, you ask? ¬†Because we can‚Ķ and besides, I-25 is very old news for us, we’ve done that interstate many, many times in the past.

Stay tuned to see where we end up…

Kartchner Caverns (Saguaro SKP RV Park – Benson, AZ)

Saturday we went to fabulous Kartchner Caverns!

Here are the signs on the side of State Route 90 directing us to the turn-off.  It was only a 15 mile trip today from the SKP park.

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And here’s the gate into Kartchner Caverns. ¬†They charged a $3 parking fee after I got the veteran discount.

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We parked and walked up to the visitor center building through the hummingbird garden:

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Inside the building, we checked on tour times and availability.  Stilla opted to sit out.  She felt it would be too claustrophobic for her, but insisted that I go.  And besides Рthere was plenty to see in the visitors center and adjacent area to keep her busy while I went on a tour.

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I paid $23 for the privilege of touring the caverns.  We wandered around the visitors center displays together until it was time for the guided-tour.  I only had a short wait and was able to join the next group that was assembling.

Here’s some pics from inside the visitor center:

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When it came time for the tour, I gathered with others (about 15 people) at the rear of the building for a tram ride up to the entrance.

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Unfortunately, there are no pictures allowed in the caverns during the tour; which is probably a good thing since it would certainly be distracting while trying to enjoy the wonders. ¬†At first, I was a little bummed that I couldn’t take pictures, but then I started to realize that it made the experience better when I wasn’t trying to get just-the-right image.

Click HERE for a link to wikipedia to read more information on Kartchner Caverns. ¬†And HERE for information from the state park website. ¬†And, also¬†HERE for a good website that summarizes the cavern history by telling us: “Kept secret since its discovery in 1974, Kartchner Caverns, 12 miles south of Benson, Arizona, was announced to the world in 1988. Still virtually pristine, this massive limestone cave has 13,000 feet of passages and two rooms as long as football fields. Finally opened as a state park November 12, 1999.”

The following pictures were swiped from google images:

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Picture of the two amateur ‘cavers’ that discovered the caverns in 1974. (image courtesy of google images)
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The present-day man-made entrance to the caverns (photo courtesy of google images)
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The mud pit (photo courtesy of google images)
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(photo courtesy of google images)
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(photo courtesy of google images)
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Kubla Khan (photo courtesy of google images)
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(photo courtesy of google images)
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soda straws (photo courtesy of google images)

Click HERE to see more of the awesome pictures available at google images.

When I came back from the circa hour-long tour; I found Stilla and we went back inside the visitors center to watch the presentation in the big theater room.  This informative documentary runs every half-hour.  Then we browsed the gift shop.

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This is truly another “must-see” attraction‚Ķ I was so glad to get the opportunity. ¬†Put it on your list if you’re ever in the area…

And that’s it for today folks‚Ķ We made a quick stop at the Safeway in Benson on the way back to the SKP park for a roasted chicken. ¬†Then we spent the evening relaxing in the Coach hiding from the gusty winds.

Check back later for our next adventure‚Ķ we’ll probably start heading north…

This morning (Sunday) it’s raining off-and-on as I finish up this blog post, so we’ll probably just hunker down today. ¬†We can’t complain since this is the first rain we’ve seen since we were in Prescott Valley back in early March.

 

Bisbee; Coronado; Ft Huachuca (Saguaro SKP RV Park – Benson, AZ)

We started off the day (Friday) with the intention of just checking out the town of Bisbee, and we did… but we also ended up visiting Coronado National Memorial and Fort Huachuca on a whirlwind 130-mile tour.

When we first rolled into the quaint town of Bisbee after traveling south for about 47 miles on State Route 80 from the SKP Park, the Queen Mine Visitor Center caught our eye.  We pulled into their parking lot and went inside to check it out.

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The cost to go on a tour inside the mine was $13 pp. ¬†I was willing to go, but Stilla isn’t very comfortable in tight spaces. ¬†Plus, we had just missed a tour and would have to wait a while for the next one. ¬†So we just wandered around the building and browsed the items on display:

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Outside the building, we could see where the ore car tracks go into the mine entrance.  There was also a large collection of ore carts on display.

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A brochure I picked up at the Visitor Center tells us that Bisbee was founded in 1880, and was a booming mining community with one of he richest mineral deposits in the world.  It was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco, and bustled with miners, shopkeepers, rollicking nightlife, and even its own stock exchange.  Today, many of the Victorian buildings now house antique stores, art allures, fine cafes and restaurants, while Brewery Gulch retains its boisterous character and old time saloons.  Click HERE to learn more about this old mining town.

After checking out the Queen Mine Visitor Center, we drove around town to look at the sights.  On at least two occasions, we ended up on narrow dead-end streets and were barely able to get turned around:

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Here’s a pretty cool looking building (below). ¬†Turns out it’s the courthouse. ¬†And guess what? ¬†When I googled this building, I found out it’s supposed to be haunted‚Ķ which seems to to be a theme going on this week in our travels‚Ķ we just visited the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone yesterday ūüėź

We drove on up the hill behind the courthouse…

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and found a nice little park at the top of the hill for Coach to run around in.

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After Coach got some exercise at the park, we continued on downtown in search of a parking spot. ¬†Here’s some more pics around town:

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We must have circled the downtown area and adjacent streets several times before we finally gave up trying to find a parking spot. ¬†Sure – we could have paid $5 at a lot near the on-ramp to State Route 80 – but that would have made for a long walk and we also certainly don’t want to ¬†leave ‘little Coach’ ¬†in the truck for very long.

So, we decided to head on over to Fort Huachuca, there’s supposed to be a nice museum there.

But first – Here’s a few more pics of Bisbee that we took from a turnout on State Route 80 before we headed south:

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Pretty cool little town‚Ķ wish we could have found a convenient parking spot to do some walking around and exploring. ¬†Maybe another time ūüôā

Shortly after getting back on State Route 80, we pulled over into a huge viewing area just south of town…

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From here, we could view the giant mining pits:

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The mining pits reminded us of what’s still going on in Cripple Creek, Colorado; which is near where we call home – Colorado Springs.

A few miles south of Bisbee, we turned west on State Route 92 and drove for about 20 miles. ¬†Then we saw a sign for Coronado National Memorial. ¬†We decided to check it out. ¬†Hey, why not? We’re already here, right? ¬†We remembered seeing a video presentation (aka advertisement) on this state park while touring the Queen Mine Visitor Center.

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The ranger station / visitor center was only ~10 miles or so, south of the highway.

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According to wikipedia: The Coronado National Memorial commemorates the first organized expedition into the Southwest by conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. The memorial is located in a natural setting on the international border on the southeast flank of the Huachuca Mountains south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The memorial confirms the ties that bind the United States and Mexico.

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A very nice ranger lady gave us the scoop on the place and she turned on a video presentation for us to view a ~15 minute documentary.  We were the only people there.

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We continued to drive into the state park a little ways until the paved road ended. ¬†According to the nice park ranger lady; there’s supposed to be a nice view point at the top of the hill, and there’s even supposed to be a cave within easy walking distance from the road. ¬†But, since ‘Stilla don’t do caves’ and since I still have the Harley in the bed of the pickup, (not a good thing on gravel washboard roads), I turned around and we headed back out of the park.

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Check out the nice grasslands on the way back out of the park‚Ķ I didn’t know they had such tall grasslands in Arizona, did you?

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It wasn’t long before State Route 92 started turning north towards Fort Huachuca. ¬†And once we drove into the town of Sierra Vista we easily found the main gate onto the fort.

Here are some planes and drones on display just inside the gate.

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After getting fueled up at the gas station on post, we followed the signs to the FamCamp and Museum. ¬†We decided to do a quick drive-thru of the FamCamp for future reference. ¬†Here’s the view when you first enter the FamCamp:

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And here’s the combination office / laundry room / game room…

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I walked into the building to check on rates and see if they had any literature on the campground.  There was no one on duty, but I scored a campground map flyer.  Click HERE for website information on the Apache Flats FamCamp.  Sites are $20 per day.

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There are 56 sites here at Apache Flats:

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After checking out the FamCamp… we followed the signs to the Ft Huachuca Museum.  Click HERE for their website.

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Had I taken the time to view their website before we came here – I would have known that the museum is closed. ¬†It has been undergoing major renovations since last October. ¬†Bummer ūüôĀ

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The Ft Huachuca website summarizes the history of the fort as follows:

While on a patrol to secure the San Pedro Valley, Captain Samuel Whitside and two companies of the 6th Cavalry established Fort Huachuca as a temporary outpost on March 3, 1877. Huachuca became a permanent military installation in 1882 and has played a vital role in Army history ever since.

During its long history, Fort Huachuca has served as a cavalry post, an infantry training center, a test center for electronic equipment and a major signals installation. Today the Fort remains an important center for communication and electronic technology development but its central role is the home of the US Army Military Intelligence Corps and a training center of soldiers for the various intelligence disciplines and unmanned aerial system operations.

How about some more pics:

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After taking a few pictures (above) around the museum area, we drove over to the Post Exchange (PX). ¬†Why, you ask? ¬†Because we can…

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We made it back out of the PX without spending any money. ¬†Yoo Hoo! ¬†That doesn’t happen too often ūüôā

We left Ft. Huachuca and kept going north on 90 to Interstate 10.  Then we got on 10 and went west for a whole mile or so to the next exit for Benson.

Since it was now supper time… we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Benson that came highly recommended from some fellow residents at the nearby SKP park.  This tiny, obscure restaurant, reportedly has the best mexican food for many miles around.  The recipes have been handed down for generations.  I had the fried fish taco plate, and Stilla had the Lemon Salmon on a bed of spinach.  It was very good… and the restaurant was very busy.  It looked like the majority of their business is with take-out.  While we were dining in there, we must have seen a couple dozen people come in to pick up orders they had called in.

The name of this restaurant is Mi Casa. ¬†Definitely stop by if you’re in the area.

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And here we are back at the SKP RV Park after 130 miles and another fun-filled sight-seeing day.

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And here’s the sunset above the Urban Escape Vehicle as seen from the balcony of the Casita on our site.

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Another fine day‚Ķ ¬†Life is Good ūüôā

Tomorrow (Saturday) we plan on visiting nearby Kartchner Caverns. ¬†Check back in…

 

Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch & Tombstone’s Bird Cage Theatre (Saguaro SKP RV Park – Benson, AZ)

On Thursday, we decided to check out a guest ranch near Tombstone that we had heard about a while back when we were in Europe. ¬†Here’s the story; In August/September of 2013, Stilla and I took a three-week trip back to Germany to visit her side of the family and our son William. ¬†While there in Germany, (in the Nurnberg area), Stilla’s brother Ludwig lent me a motorcycle from his Harley-Davidson (now Indian) dealership (Click¬†HERE¬†and HERE¬†for links to his website(s)). ¬†We rode down through the Alps to the European Bike Week 2013, in Faaker See, Austria. ¬†While at the motorcycle rally, one of the vendor booths was for the Apache Spirit Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona. (see pics below)

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Apache Spirit Ranch booth at Faaker See Bike Week, Austria 2013. Barni Walter is on the right side, in the back, talking to one of the owners.
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Apache Spirit Ranch booth at Faaker See Bike Week, Austria 2013. Barni Walter is on the right side, talking to one of the owners (guy in the hat).

It so happened that one of the owners’ of the ranch was an acquaintance of Stilla’s long-time childhood friend and neighbor; Barni Walter. ¬†Barni also rode down to the rally with us. ¬†(Click HERE for another shameless plug and link to Barni’s tire shop). ¬†Anyway, that’s how we got to know the folks at the Spirit Ranch booth and promised that we’d try to stop by if we were ever in the area.

Well – we were in the area now‚Ķ so we plugged the address into the GPS; put little dog “Coach” in the pickup; and off we went…

Although the GPS directions were good, the signs we noticed along the way were confusing… we kept seeing signs for the Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch, but no signs for the Apache Spirit.  This was especially confusing because I had checked the Apache Spirit Ranch website before we left; it was still up and running and appeared to be current.  It soon became apparent that the ranch must have changed ownership and therefore names.

After driving 22 miles, we were in Tombstone once again.  From downtown, we drove west on Schiefflein Rd. which is a dirt road that goes past the Tombstone Cemetery… not to be confused with the Boot Hill Cemetery.

After a few miles, the GPS announced that we had reached our destination.  However, instead of seeing the Apache Spirit Ranch we saw this sign:

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We drove on into the ranch.

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We noticed a bus with the Apache Spirit Ranch logo parked at the ranch.

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We parked and walked through the “town” to find the office. ¬†The towns’ buildings appeared to be cleverly disguised motel rooms.

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There’s even have a nice pool here.

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We walked into the office and talked to a lady behind the reception desk. ¬†We told her where we had heard about this place and asked if it was under new ownership or just changed names. ¬†She ¬†confirmed that it was now under new management. ¬†She didn’t appear to be very willing to share any details, but did say she knew the previous owner(s)‚Ķ especially the guy in Germany. ¬†She seemed hesitant, so we didn’t press her for more information.

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She did share a rate list and a brochure/flyer with us. ¬†If you’re interested, their flyer touts; 18 rooms “designed to a specific western theme, furnished with authentic decor and the echo of bygone days”; the “all-inclusive guest ranch experience includes three meals per day, soft drinks, guest room accommodation, guided trail rides, wireless internet, jacuzzi and pool, and evening entertainment.”

This place seems really nice if you can afford it… the rates vary between; in-season, mid-season, and summer; and also between standard, deluxe, junior suite, or premium suite.  Just to give you an idea about pricing, and for brevity; the in-season rate for a standard room (single occupancy) is $250 per day.  A premium suite would be $330.  Their website is tombstonemonumentranch.com

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The receptionist told us we were free to look around and if we wanted drinks, she would open the bar. ¬†We thanked her and declined the bar offer. ¬†I asked if we could take a few pictures‚Ķ ¬†she said it would be fine…

Stilla posed at the bar for a picture.

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The saloon was decorated nicely and even had a fancy poker table‚Ķ maybe that’s where the previous owner lost the ranch in a poker game‚Ķ. ¬†Just sayin’ ūüôā ¬† A small dining area was in the adjoining room.

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Remaining adobe wall from the original homestead.

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This appeared to be a bunkhouse of sorts that has been converted to apartments/rooms with individual doors.

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Although, we had hoped to meet up again with the folks we became acquainted with at the vendor booth in Austria 2013, it was still a neat place to visit and experience.

We said our thanks for the mini-tour and drove back out the gate.

Just outside the gate, and a little further west up the hill, we could see the gravesite of Edward Schieffelin, the founder of Tombstone.  This is also known as the Tombstone Monument or Memorial.  Read more about Schieffelin HERE, courtesy of wikipedia.

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Read the placard below to learn how Tombstone got it’s name.

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We headed on back to town.  This time we stopped at the edge of town to take a couple pictures of the Tombstone Cemetery that we had passed by earlier :

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There was an old trolley, covered wagon, prison wagon and stagecoach parked in a lot across from the cemetery.

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Once back in Tombstone we decided to walk around a little more and spend some time visiting a few of the shops again.

We also made an impulse decision to go through the Bird Cage Theatre. ¬†We passed on this tour yesterday when we were here with the “dirt farm” gang. ¬†We went ahead and paid the $18 entrance fee for the self-guided tour. ¬†Click HERE¬†to learn more about the “Wildest and Wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast”.

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There was a different tour-guide behind the bar this time. ¬†An elderly gentleman took the time to point out details within the lobby area that leads to the museum. ¬†For instance, this bullet hole above Fatima’s belly button in the picture below.

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The main room to the theatre was filled with period artifacts. ¬†Even the upper balcony boxes aka “prostitute cribs” that lined each wall had mannequins on display‚Ķ or maybe those are ghosts!?!

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Here’s a view of the stage…

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And here’s a couple views taken from the stage:

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And now we’re back-stage:

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The placard claims that this hearse transported all but 6 of the Boot Hill Cemetery residents.

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Steps to the infamous basement where a poker game once went on continuously for over 8 years.  Click HERE for more on this from wikipedia.

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Did I mention that this place is supposed to be haunted?

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We made it through our tour of the Bird Cage Theatre without seeing any paranormal activity. ¬†But we did work up an appetite, so we chose the Cafe Margarita for it’s doggie-friendly enclosed courtyard seating‚Ķ and the food was good too.

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It was now past 2 PM.  We had agreed earlier in the week to a 3 PM tour of the SKP park, so I called our host to say we might be a little late for our tour.  Our extremely nice tour-guide / host was named Cosmo.  He was waiting for us at our site in a golf cart to show us around the park.  The tour is of course, voluntary, and is provided for any Escapees RV Club members that might be interested in joining the Co-Op.

The subject of Escapees Co-Op Parks has been well documented by others more eloquent than I… for instance; Howard Payne @ RV-Dreams.com did  a great write-up HERE; and Mike Kuper @ FlyingtheKoop.com posted HERE.  Click on the links to learn more about Escapees if interested.

Cosmo, gave us a full tour of this fine park and it’s facilities. ¬†He even showed us the “Casita” he had built on his site, nice! ¬†We finished up just in time to meet up with the regulars at the club house for “Happy Hour”.

Here’s a before (circa 1990) & after photo of the Saguaro SKP RV Resort.

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Our nice, roomy site for the week.

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Cool balanced rock art‚Ķ there’s a couple of these throughout the park. ¬†I’d like to see how they do this‚Ķ these rocks don’t have any wires or metal rods holding them together; gravity keeps them in place.

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Another great day in the Urban Escape Vehicle adventure!


And here’s some bonus pics of our visit to Germany in 2013 that I found while searching for the Apache Spirit Ranch photos that I posted at the beginning of today’s blog:

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This is the bike that Ludwig let me use during our 2013 visit to Germany. Stilla’s brother Stefan is in the background. We put quite a few good miles (kilometers) on the bikes while we were there ūüôā

Here I am in front of Stilla’s brother Ludwig’s vendor booth during the European Bike Week in Austria. ¬†I spent a lot of time there helping out, which is something I used to do a lot of when I was stationed in Germany. ¬†Help out, that is‚Ķ at his Harley dealership…

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Rothsee-Choppers.de booth at Faaker See Austria 2013. L to R; myself and Stilla’s brothers; Stefan and Ludwig.

And a Happy (belated) Birthday to Stilla’s brother Ludwig back in Schnitzeland, aka Germany! ¬†His birthday was today (Thursday). ¬†Prost!

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Ludwig Dotzer @ www.rothsee-choppers.de and www.indian-mittelfranken.de

Stay tuned for more adventure‚Ķ I know I’m behind on the blog again, but we’re having too much fun exploring. ¬†Tomorrow (Friday) we visit Bisbee, the Coronado Monument, and Fort Huachuca. ¬†And Saturday, maybe Kartchner Caverns‚Ķ ūüôā

Tombstone (Saguaro SKP RV Park – Benson, AZ)

Authors Note РWarning:  Another picture heavy post today…

On Wednesday; my Mom, Stepdad, Brother Steve and Cheryl; drove down from the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande to pick us up at the Saguaro Escapee Park in Benson. ¬†From there; we piled in their car and drove the ~22 miles to Tombstone¬†AZ, labeled as “The Town Too Tough to Die“.

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Here we all are!  From L to R; Myself, Stilla, Steven, Cheryl, Mom, and Jimmy.

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We found a convenient parking spot near the “Good Enough Mine”. ¬†Then we bought tickets at the adjacent “Old Tombstone Western Town” for the comedy gunfight and town trolley tour. ¬†Since we had time to kill before the trolley tour started, we walked up to Allen Street. ¬†Here’s Mom in front of her namesake store‚Ķ you guessed it, her name is Arlene.

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They, (Arlene’s Store) had some very nice (and rather expensive) southwestern items.

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Have you ever seen a wall rug made out of metal?  It can be yours for only ~$900.

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My Mom and Stepdad took a quick tour of the World’s Largest Rosebush. ¬† The rest of us sat this this one out‚Ķ we were starting to see a trend, every other building or attraction we stopped at; required an additional $5 to $10.

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Jim under the “World’s Largest Rosebush”. Clearly not in bloom at this time.

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The town’s streets were often filled with period-correct characters, such as this guy‚Ķ Richard Blake recently celebrated his 90th birthday and is even on Youtube. ¬†Click HERE.

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We all boarded the trolley for a tour around town.

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Our driver / tour-guide entertained us with his wit and humor.

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The trolley tour was very informative.  Our driver / guide pointed out all the historical buildings around town while he put in a few advertising plugs for the local attractions… follow along:

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After our town trolley tour, we got back in time for our first gunfight of the day.  This was included in our ticket price for the trolley tour.

The comedy gunfight is located in the Old Tombstone Western Town.  We wandered around the mini-western town / mini-golf area until it was time for the gunfight.

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The gunfight show was entertaining but the quality of the acting seemed to be a step down from the shows we saw last week at Old Tucson.

We stopped for a quick lunch and refreshments after the gunfight in their adjacent restaurant.

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Then we toured the Gunfighter Hall of Fame Museum. ¬†Click HERE for more images from google. ¬†This self-guided museum is relatively new and is still in the process of being completed; for instance, the display cabinets aren’t lit up‚Ķ my Mom borrowed a flashlight from the front desk to help light up some of the many artifacts. ¬†Follow along:

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After our tour of the Gunfighter Hall of Fame, we walked over to the OK Corral for their tour and gunfight (re-enactment) show.

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Here we were able to use the coupon book (once again) that we bought at the FamCamp Office for $15. ¬†We got in for half-price and paid $10. ¬†That coupon book sure paid for itself ūüôā

We walked quickly through the OK Corral museum entrance to make the next showing of the infamous gunfight re-enactment.

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The actors tried to depict the events that led up to the gunfight…

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and then came the final show-down:

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After the gunfight re-enactment, we all poured out of the bleachers and toured the rest of the enclosed OK Corral area.

Here’s a full-size mannequin display:

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I think these guys have been out in the weather a little too long:

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Follow along now as we tour of the rest of the OK Corral area:

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We posed for pictures in one of the out-buildings at the OK Corral in front of a convenient back-drop.

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Mom and Jimmy. Awww.

The “Cribs of Tombstone” display at the OK Corral:

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More OK Corral pictures:

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Mom at the OK Corral.
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Cheryl at the OK Corral.
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Steven at the OK Corral.

Cheryl bought a custom horse-shoe for the “dirt farm” from a vendor at the OK Corral.

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We went back into the OK Corral museum building to attend a very well-made theater show.

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They didn’t allow pictures in the theater during the presentation. ¬†The show included a very cool rotating diorama behind the curtains with ¬†narration by actor Vincent Price.

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After enjoying the OK Corral, we walked around town some more to check out the local stores. ¬† Here’s some more actors walking the streets.

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Steven and Cheryl.

We stopped briefly at the infamous Bird Cage Theatre but didn’t take the full tour. ¬†It would have been another $10 per person. ¬†Click HERE for more information from Wikipedia. ¬†Maybe Stilla and I will come back here later‚Ķ it’s supposed to be haunted.

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Of course we had to stop at a range located inside one of the town shops.  These six-shooters fire blanks with a little paint ball.

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After Steven and I demonstrated our gunfighting prowess… we stopped for refreshments and an appetizer at the Crystal Palace Saloon:

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And finally, after a full day of touring the town, we piled back into the car and drove over to the edge of town to visit Boot Hill Cemetery.

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Here’s a nice view from inside the graveyard. ¬†The Dragoon Mountains are in the background.

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More gravesites at the Boot Hill Cemetery:

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And of course, I had to take pictures of the old car (hearse?) that’s parked next to the Boot Hill Trading Post.

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We then drove back to the Escapees Park and my family dropped us off… they still have a long drive ahead of them to get back to Casa Grande.

We said our sad farewells… and thanked them for visiting with us for the day.

Then we took little “Coach” for a long, well-deserved walk ūüôā

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Hope you enjoyed today’s tour‚Ķ stay tuned for our next adventure…

 

 

Moving Day – Saguaro SKP RV Park (Benson, AZ)

Tuesday morning we left the¬†Agave Gulch FamCamp on Davis-Monthan AFB before 10 AM to travel a whopping ¬†48 miles to the Saguaro SKP RV Park in Benson. ¬†Click HERE for a link to their website which claims to be Southeastern Arizona’s best kept secret.

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When we checked in, we found out they have special offer for first-time visitors Рonly $50 for a full week!  We took it.

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Nice spot, eh?

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I’ll post more information on this Escapees Club Co-Op Park later. ¬†This morning (Wednesday) we are awaiting my Mom, Stepdad, brother Steven & Cheryl from the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande to arrive. ¬†We plan on visiting Tombstone together.

Stay tuned…

 

San Xavier del Bac Mission Church and Alpine Grill-Fest (Tucson, AZ)

When I left you in my last post, we had just finished touring the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and plugged our second destination for the day into the GPS. ¬†We drove the ~20 miles back down Interstate 19 to the San Xavier del Bac Mission Church, aka “The White Dove of the Desert”. ¬†Click HERE for a link to their website for a “virtual tour”.

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The Mission Church website claims that this is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona! ¬†The church’s interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space.

The San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.  It is a national historic landmark that still retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners.

Here’s a highly detailed diorama that is on display near the inner courtyard.

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A tour of the courtyard(s):

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When we first arrived, a catholic mass was already in progress.  Stilla enjoyed taking part in the service, and afterwards we toured the main church.

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After our tour of the historic church, we hurried straight back to the FamCamp to release our little dog “Coach” from his solitary confinement. ¬†And also, we had an important dinner date scheduled with our fellow Alpine Coach friends Tom and Marilyn Anteau to get back to…

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tom and Marilyn hail from Anchorage, Alaska. ¬†Therefore, Tom was in custody of some fine Alaskan shrimp known as “spots”. ¬†They invited us to partake in a mini-grillfest with these fine “spots” as the “guests-of-honor” ūüôā

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Man, were they ever good!  Thanks Tom!

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We also had a side dish of tasty rice that Marilyn cooked up along with a German-style salad that Stilla put together.  Yum!

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We had to secure little “Coach” in the pickup to keep him from begging too much during our dinner; which didn’t work so well, he just begged from afar ūüôā

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We enjoyed dessert(s), (yes, plural), and each other’s company until the sun went down.

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We hope to see Tom and Marilyn again at the next Alpine Coach “Desert Rat Rally” in Quartzsite scheduled for January. ¬†But then again, you never know; it’s a small RV world out there after all.

We said our fond farewells and went back to our Coach to rest our weary feet.  Safe travels Tom & Marilyn… til next time!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we plan to pack up and move over to the Escapees (SKP) RV Park in Benson, AZ. ¬†Our time here really went fast. ¬†Stay tuned for more adventure‚Ķ ¬†we plan on visiting Tombstone and Bisbee for starters…