Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Location, Benson, AZ

For the past several days I have been waffling about doing a trip from Benson, around a mountain, and ending up in Tucson. The hesitation on my part had to do with the approximately 60 miles of off road driving. Our truck is just too big and heavy to do this kind of trip. Also, the weather didn’t look like it was going to cooperate with the possibilities of rain and snow.

So, this morning we decided to go to Willcox and visit the Marty Robbins and Rex Allen museums which are near to each other but separated by a wine tasting room.

The Marty Robbins museum charges $1 per person to view the highlights of his life. It takes about a half hour to view everything.

The Rex Allen museum however charges $3 per couple and it takes much longer to see everything. Rex had a long life of music and movies and was friends with all the stars of the 50’s and 60’s. This is well documented in the museum.

There is a life sized bronze statue of him across the street. His horse KoKo is buried at the foot of the statue and Rex’s ashes are scattered near the statue.

The weather had turned cold and windy but we decided to drive south to Chiricahua National Monument while in the neighborhood. It is about a 35 to 40 mile drive from Willcox.

Along the way we passed through brief rain showers, the town of Dos Cabesas (two heads in Spanish) before entering the canyon within the Monument.

We stopped at the headquarters to pick up a map and register our Golden Age pass. Because it was so cold and windy we ate a quick lunch in the truck.

Driving up the canyon reminded us of Bryce Canyon National Park. The rock columns are impressive. As we climbed in altitude it started to snow, more like ice pellets than snow. There was a fire in the monument last summer which burned 220,000 acres. One effect of the fire is that the rock formations are more visible.

We reached the end of the road at Massai point. There are lots of hiking trails but the wind was so strong and still spitting ice pellets that we didn’t spend much time outside the truck.

As we drove down the canyon we stopped at several lookouts and drove through the one campground within the monument. No sites big enough for a rig of our size that’s for sure.

We did stop at the last point of interest which is Faraway Ranch which was a guest ranch from 1917 to 1973. The walk was only a few hundred yards but the wind made it really – really cold. We didn’t stay long. One picture had to suffice.

We came back via a different route through the town of Sunsites to Dragoon Road and I-10. The sky to the west was black on top and brown down low. The brown was dust blowing from farmer’s fields while the black was rain.

We arrived back at the RV after a trip of 175 miles and found a small snow bank on the west side of the RV. Not sure how much it snowed but it is 41 degrees at 6 PM.