Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cold Weather Cold War

It continues to amaze me just how much there is to see everywhere! We stayed and toured around at Tombstone Territories RV last year. The park sits in a desert basin surrounded by mountains appearing like an oasis within miles of barren land. A half hour drive in various directions leads to a number of surprising sites, many which we toured over our seven days there.

Near Tucson, the Sonora Desert Museum is nestled in the hills of the Saguaro National Park region. Habits are constructed to favour the animals' natural surroundings. We viewed bobcats, cougars, wolves, prairie dogs and big horn sheep. The reptiles included lizards and tortoise. An enclosed hummingbird garden presented a treasure hunt for flowers and umpteen of little sap-sipping beauties. The museum trails go for miles and offer desert information with labelled trees and plants. We confirmed the identity of many cactus we've seen on our journey and noted some to watch for.

                                                                           Crested Saguaro Cactus

Another day we toured the now defunct copper mine in Bisbee "Queen Mine" Everyone took great pleasure in donning the raincoats, hardhats and flashlights like the real miners wore back in the day. The narrow train took us down into the mine shafts where we viewed various methods used to find, remove and load ore. John, now in his mid-seventies, was a veteran miner and loved to share his passion for the underground as our tour guide! The mine temperature stayed at 47 degrees Fahrenheit and a constant cold breeze left no hopes of warmth in the tunnels. John shared various personal accounts of his close calls and comical pranks during his career. As with other dangerous professions, the men needed to have faith and trust in their coworkers to insure their safety. When we emerged from the mine, snow was falling gently.


We were in need of a quick lunch and headed for the recommended "Jimmy's Hotdog"  It was a totally Retro joint with old posters and anything wiener-related on display. The yummy dogs warmed us up for our last stop in Bisbee. A tumbledown lane way was filled with vintage cars, auto-related shops, antiquated gas tanks, an old bus stop and aged greyhound bus. It was gray, cold and windy but the photo op enticed us to stay out and click away!

Willcox is famous for the thousands of  Sandhill Cranes that winter there each year. The birds leave each morning for the ploughed fields where they feed on corn.We followed a map of areas where cranes are likely to be seen and hiked out to a dry lake where they often rest in huge numebrs. The only thing we saw were some horses who enjoyed our apple and posed for photos. A huge annual conference called Wings over Willcox is held for bird lovers in mid January. I'm sure they will be more successful locating the flocks within the 75 mile radius they travel! At least old town Willcox was quaint to see.

Revisiting Tombstone was fun, seeing the western town with its cowboys and marshalls strolling about as if it was the 1870's. We enjoyed a beverage at Big Nosed Kate's where a crusty cowboy entertained live. Some Longhorns schmoozed with us as they were given their hay rations. Tombstone is a bona fide trip back in time. It's amazing what you see being transported on the roads while we are travelling.We watched a huge helicopter being towed around a corner in front of us.

Cochise was a famous and fearless Apache Chief who lived in the Dragoon Mountains in the mid 1800's. He lead many raids on ranchers, miners and stagecoaches and seemed immune to capture. When Cochise died peacefully in the stronghold with his tribe after 15 years of terror. He was buried secretly by his people and his grave site has never been found. The Cochise Stronghold offered gorgeous sandy hiking trails though the woodlands of the Coronado National Forest and picturesque granite domes below jagged peaks. We hiked later in the day and the sun cast theatrical shadows across the foliage and sage and acid-green tinged rocks. Snow patches lay boldly under cactus. As in many historic venues, one cannot help but imagine the challenging conditions of the era and discern the spirits of the past inhabitants.

Another interesting tour, was at The Titan Missile Museum where the ultra security and secrets of The Cold War could be explored and sensed. We saw the launch control panels, series of locking mechanisms and commands to "release the missile" all held within a room enclosed by walls and doors that were one foot thick and reinforced with re bar and concrete. The room was also equipped with 6 huge springs to help absorb the vibrations from an attack or a launch. Outside we could look down on the missile from above as it sat in its silo. Luckily, due to the concept of MAD (mutually assured destruction) the bomb was never needed. The museum presented an overwhelming view of manpower and money used to engineer and construct the base.


January 10-15, we camped in the fee-free desert outside of Ajo, Arizona. The camp site we had last year was occupied but we found a great spot in a higher area where we had an exquisite view of the surrounding desert, mountains and spectacular sunsets. Saguaro cactus stand guard all around our motorhome. I have attracted a number of small birds by placing orange halves on the bushes. Although the temperatures were low, in the 50's during the day and freezing at night, we managed to stay comfy and savour our daily hikes. Our camp site is also close to an abandoned mine whose colours are beautiful in the sunlight. There are also a few old dumpsites filled with interesting glass and rusted cans.

                                                                                Abandoned mine

                                                                             Running dog cloud,

Spent some extra time inside our motorhome, avoiding the cold and playing with the special features on Picassa.


                                                                      Lively and past-tense saguaro cacti.

                                                                             Squint to see the birdies!

It is strange to write your heart out and send it into the huge vaccum of the internet. I would love to see a comment or two with your responses to the blog, thanks.


  1. I'm Pinteresting this post for future ideas ... we had limited time when we first visited the area before our motorhome days and look forward to exploring more someday.

    As to comments ... you'll find that removing the word verification will improve the chances of getting comments; people were tolerant of it in the past before Blogger made it so much more difficult. The new Blogger spam does a good job of catching the unwanted comments (that has been my experience; I do have approval turned on for comments on posts older than 14 days).

    And don't take this the wrong way, but reading and commenting on the blogs of others will also bring more comments your way. It may be that we're following a different set of blogs, but I don't recall seeing your username when I scroll through comments on any of the blogs I follow -- be they Tiffin owners or not.

  2. oops, sorry...i just remembered to finally go back and check again...i'll remember a coupla days in a row, but if nothing...brain dead..sure wish it would flag on my email, like dani's
    ...i know...i never get comments on mine either :)
    ..am really loving the photos!...am off to my atlas to see where the heck it all is :)..

  3. Hope the subscribe works. I know it is a pain because I publish on a very
    irregular schedule. xo me