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.
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:
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.
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:
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… which seems to to be a theme going on this week in our travels… we just visited the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone yesterday 😐
We drove on up the hill behind the courthouse…
and found a nice little park at the top of the hill for Coach to run around in.
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:
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:
Pretty cool little town… wish we could have found a convenient parking spot to do some walking around and exploring. Maybe another time 🙂
Shortly after getting back on State Route 80, we pulled over into a huge viewing area just south of town…
From here, we could view the giant mining pits:
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.
The ranger station / visitor center was only ~10 miles or so, south of the highway.
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.
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.
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.
Check out the nice grasslands on the way back out of the park… I didn’t know they had such tall grasslands in Arizona, did you?
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.
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:
And here’s the combination office / laundry room / game room…
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.
There are 56 sites here at Apache Flats:
After checking out the FamCamp… we followed the signs to the Ft Huachuca Museum. Click HERE for their website.
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 🙁
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:
After taking a few pictures (above) around the museum area, we drove over to the Post Exchange (PX). Why, you ask? Because we can…
We made it back out of the PX without spending any money. Yoo Hoo! That doesn’t happen too often 🙂
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.
And here we are back at the SKP RV Park after 130 miles and another fun-filled sight-seeing day.
And here’s the sunset above the Urban Escape Vehicle as seen from the balcony of the Casita on our site.
Another fine day… Life is Good 🙂
Tomorrow (Saturday) we plan on visiting nearby Kartchner Caverns. Check back in…