Monday, April 12, 2010

Arizona Adventures

This blog is about three events we’ve enjoyed during the past few weeks.

At the end of March, we visited my sis-in-law Allyson McKay and two of her long-time friends who were visiting the area from Oregon and British Columbia. They found a lovely house to rent in Green Valley for a couple of months, to enjoy some warm weather during the coldest part of the year at their homes. Since we’ve been in and out of the area so much while Ally has been here, and she’d been busy, too, this was the first time we were able to get together. And we caught her just before she headed north back to her home in Victoria, B.C.

This small trip allowed us to check out the route between Green Valley and Benson in our car, in anticipation of taking that general route in the motorhome a few days later. With the knowledge that Sahuarita Rd was under construction near I-19, we still chose to go that way in the motorhome, because it cut off about 10 miles of the route taking I-10 all the way to I-19. It was a bit tricky to dodge the construction cones in the narrow road, but I followed a wide horse trailer and figured if he could make it through, so could I. And I did!


We went to Amado, AZ to attend the Escapees Chapter 21 rally. This chapter covers southern Arizona, but most of the members have lots in the Saguaro Escapees Co-op in Benson. (We’ve been on the waiting list for 4 1/2 years.) There were about 85 people at the rally, in 45 RVs. We shared several meals in the large dining room at De Anza Trails RV Resort. The facility was previously a greyhound racing track, and the large clubhouse was built to accommodate lots of people. The park owners made us all very comfortable, and served us some breakfasts, and a dinner the last night with margaritas and a dance band outdoors on the patio!

Don and I went on several outings during the rally, and did a little geocaching as well. Below is the partially restored mission at Tumacacori (pronounced Too-mah-KAH-core-ee) National Historical Park near Tubac. The original mission was built in 1691 by Father Kino. It was moved to its present site in 1751 and subsequently abandoned in 1848.DSCN1493

The interior once was very ornate, according to this photo in the museum.DSCN1497

However, the ravages of time have left the actual sanctuary as in this photo I took.DSCN1495

The walls have been stabilized, but the hand-made adobe bricks show clear signs of centuries of age.

Another building on the park’s grounds was used as housing and only the stabilized ruins remain.DSCN1500


Behind the church are a granary, mortuary, cemetery and lime kiln.DSCN1504


Inside the museum, this likeness of Father Kino took me by surprise. He was so realistic, at first I thought he was either a visitor or a living history character!


The following day, we took a tour of the ASARCO Mission Mine. The visitor center is surrounded by a large variety of cactus, including two specimens of the rare crested saguaro. I got a photo of one.DSCN1516

Quoting a description of the mine that I found online, “One of the largest mining operations in the United States, the Mission Complex is a copper and silver mining network, with an underground mine and two open pits: the Mission pit, and the smaller, adjacent San Xavier North pit. The mine is operated by Asarco … producing around 100,000 tons of ore a year, with an expected 510 million tons remaining. The main pit is 2.5 by 1.5 miles, and 1,000 feet deep. In 2000, Mission was the third largest copper mine in Arizona, the state that produces 65% of the nation's raw copper.”DSCN1519

It’s hard to believe that what looks like standard desert dirt and gravel can be reduced to this bubbling mixture of 28% copper, and then shipped to Amarillo, TX to be milled into 99% copper.DSCN1528

At the end of the rally, we took a 350-mile detour to our friends Ken and Maryanne Watson’s house in Cave Creek for a party honoring Teddy Raven, who formerly performed professionally. Here’s Maryanne, chatting with Chuck and Jan Moore, Kathy Webster and Ken Pace in the backyard.DSCN1543

Loren Webster holds their new rescue dog Little Bit, who’s trying to make some sense of this crowd.DSCN1545









Teddy Raven entertains as Ken watches.DSCN1549

Ken took over the guitar while Teddy took a break, and Jan Moore and I joined him in singing a few songs.DSCN1556

Ken and Teddy even did a few duets.DSCN1581

At the end of this fun party, Jan and I had to show off our jackets from Algodones, Mexico.DSCN1587

Don and I are finally back on our lot in Benson for a few weeks now, getting some medical issues resolved, watching the cacti starting to bloom and planning our summer travels.DSCN1590