A Travellerspoint blog

Day 164 - West to Benson, AZ (Photo's Added)

The desert is starting to be fun again, but we didn't find too much to stop and visit. We did see an old ghost town, a SW Roadside stop (tourist) and a Native American museum.

sunny 68 °F

Before leaving Deming this morning, I checked my list of membership campgrounds in AZ (there are several). I made reservations at a campground in Benson, AZ for two nights so we could get caught up on some chores & such before heading up to Phoenix to visit my nephew, some of Mom's friends, and some other family.

The drive across NM & AZ on I-10 was pretty uneventful, but I guess I've finally gotten over whatever was bothering me the last few days as I'm starting to enjoy the wide open spaces of the west again. Maybe we all just go though cycles, can't be upbeat all the time? At least we still try to stop for eagles, hawks and anything else that looks of interest. I actually pulled over on the interstate today for this (which isn't really allowed). I think it's a juvenile red tailed hawk, still in it's light phase.


We stopped at a tourist gift shop just passed the Continental Divide (named "Continental Divide Gift Shop" - how clever). Mom bought postcards, I bought some turquoise jewelry.


A little later we pulled over at a dry lakebed so Mom could collect some sand. However, what looked like sand from the road turned out to be hard like concrete, so she didn't get much (I think she has fun collecting the sand whether or not her friend really wants that much!)


We also stopped at a Steins Ghost Town that was listed on the map, had a great sign on the freeway, but was all fenced off and closed. At least I could get a few decent shots across the fence, it looked like an interesting place. It was a town set up by the Southern Pacific Railroad to support a gravel quarry. But when the railroad didn't need it anymore, it didn't have anything else to support it. It was especially doomed because it had no water source, all water had to be brought in by the railroad. When the SPRR closed the quarry after WWII, they told the town they would no longer subsidize & deliver water but would relocate the towns folk and only what they could carry. Most folks took them up on their offer.


After we'd been in Arizona for some time, we finally found a visitor's center. This was sponsered by the city of Wilcox rather then the state, but still had info for the entire state. Outside, we ran into a couple who had an older Toyota Warrier similar to ours! This is George and Barbara with their Warrier. It's in slightly better shape then mine, but is one foot shorter, so I think I like the interior layout on mine better - it's small enough as it is! George had several good ideas about upgrades he'd added, which I may look into.


Across the parking lot was a Cider Store! I would expect to see this in Washington, but in Arizona? Well, it turns out there are several thousand acres of orchards around Wilcox, and yes - they produce Apple Cider, as well as pies. Of course, we picked up some goodies to sample later...


We turned off again in Bowie, thinking we'd drive to 'Historic Fort Bowie', but when I found out the road was 12+ miles of gravel, there was a 2.5 hour hike to see the ruins, and there wasn't much left except interpretive signs - I decided to skip it. But in this little tiny, depressed looking town was a Wine & Pecan Tasting Shop! I was the designated driver and Mom doesn't do wine, so I just sampled the pecans (tasty) and bought a couple of cook books.

Finally we were getting pretty close to Benson, when we saw a sign for an Amerind Museum. We didn't know what it was but decided to give it a shot anyway. Unfortunately they didn't allow photography... As it's name implies, this is a museum of Native American (Indian) artifacts and history, especially as discovered through Archeology. The main exhibit room is organized by age, beginning with the tribes of Alaska who are thought to have migrated from Siberia about 10,000 years ago. The displays include quite a bit of pottery, organized again by age and peoples. However it also has some rare artifacts made from materials that would normally decay, such as wood and cloth. These were probably preserved by the dry climate in the area as well as being found in caves, so were protected from the sun. They were only open until 4 PM however and we had arrived shortly after 3 PM, so we only had time to do a quick walk through of the first couple of rooms (and the gift shop of course).


The Amerind Museum is located in the Dragoon Mountains of SE Arizona. These are very rocky and contain a lot of loose boulders perched in odd places (the look like they are ready to fall if shaken a bit). They are very dramatic looking howeer.


So now we're in Benson, AZ (a little east of Tuscon). The campground isn't all that nice, but does have a hot tub and heated pool (which we took advantage of tonight). I hope to visit Tombstone and Bisbee, but I also have to get the brakes done on the RV again (it's only been a couple years, but I guess the rig is too heavy for the light Toyota truck brakes - either that or my driving is too brake happy). So we'll see what we can fit in.

I called my nephew and he's off Friday, so we'll make sure we're in Phoenix by then. Still working on the other arrangements, and will decide on Grand Canyon later also (I'd say we'll probably go there, but who knows.)


Miles Driven - 177, Cumulative - 16,148
Camped at Valley Vista RV Campground, Benson, AZ

Provisions: Gas $26.09 for 8.817 g @ 125,956. Misc products from Cider Mill, postcards & stuff from gift shops.

Posted by jl98584 21:14 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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It won't be long till you're in CA, and then you'll be home, and I'll miss your blog. I still enjoy checking it every night if I get a chance. Today we got another postcard from Phylis--from Galveston--and we've enjoyed all of those, too.

by msj

You'll enjoy Tombstone. They have the OK corral etc.. don't buy burritos at a small store in St. David...20 years ago or so, we ate one there that made us sick...ha ha.. Anyway. If your used to trees the southwest is so different. It does have a beauty and you really get used to the wide open spaces.
There are alot of things about Geronimo and the mountains around Tombstone is where Geronimo hid during the warring years etc. Tucson has a cave. (I know mom is not a caver) We went through it about 20 years ago, Collassal Cave. It is one of the largest live, growing caves. It is only about 1 mile hike. Also Mt. Lemon in Tuscon is very nice. You drive about 45 minutes to the top and you are in pine country looking down at the desert. A very interesting contrast. Tuscon yards are much more water conservative than Phoenix. Phonecians think they live in the lush north...I never figured that out.
I'll get you Elva's number.
enjoy...miss ya...

by rllomas

When we get to CA, we'll still have the CA Coast, Art & Melody, and other things to attend to. Then Oregon and the SW WA coast - so it will be a few weeks yet!

We did enjoy Tombstone, but ate there - not at St. David (Did you actually find a place to eat there? It's so small!) Not sure how much time we'll have to sightsee tomorrow, got to get the brakes done first.

by jl98584

How did you like the OK corral, and boot hill? Did you catch a glimpse of Geronimo's ex? Very colorful southwest past....maybe still..don't know.

by rllomas

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