Sunday, March 27, 2011

Visiting Bisbee

We left the Diamond J and headed for Benson to see our friends, Sharon and Don DelRosario, but that stop would be postponed a couple of days and we turned south on I-80 toward Bisbee. We skirted Ft Huachuca , a very interesting historical town we have visited before. Col. Allen Allensworth, who founded Allensworth, CA, was a Chaplin at this Buffalo Soldier Fort before coming to California.

We had reservations at the Queen Mine RV RV park in Bisbee. Sharon DelRosario had told us to be prepared for the steep road up to the park, but she failed to warn us about the sharp U-turn approach to the road up to the park. Tom made it with inches to spare making the turn with the Jeep in tow.  Maybe 45 foot rigs towing would be smart to unhook before making that turn.  When we got to the top we found out why this RV park was recommended. The view was perfect. We looked down on Bisbee on one side and into the Sacramento Deep Mine Pit on the other.
We see mountains to the front and back. CIMG8606

We then spotted 8 Harris Hawks all flying together hunting on the mountain range in front of us. There must be a lot of food to support that many raptors.

Tuesday we explored Bisbee, a mining town built into the side of the canyon. We started by doing lunch at a quaint Wood Oven Pizza place up the canyon, Screaming Banshee Pizza. It was very good, very thin crust, a home made sauce, cheese, mushrooms on my side and sausage & onions on Tom’s side.

This was a very eclectic decorated place and when I used the restroom I found about a dozen cameras of every type, movie, still, box, & digital pointed toward the commode.
A little disconcerting to say the least.

When we left we drove out to the Lavender Deep Pit Mine. It is a lavender color, but that is not why they named it Lavender.
The founder, Harrison Lavender, was reason it is named Lavender. We went into the Bisbee Blue Turquoise Shop by the lookout over the Lavender Mine. This is a unique color for Turquoise and the name is also patented as it is only found here. Many of the miners who worked here ‘pocketed’ lots of this Turquoise; we could see why they were attracted to this beautiful deep color of gem.  Of course we had to find the nearest geocache, Lavender Ore Turquoise, an easy find by Tom who was on the right side of the ore car.

We checked out the most unique motel we have run across, the Shady Dell. If you can imagine spending the night in a 1950’s aluminum travel trailer in a park with lots of other travel trailers, you have arrived at the Shady Dell
We wanted to eat at the cute little diner, but it was closed and no information when it would open. 

We drove back into Bisbee to do some more look’n and shop’n. 
We did find a unique vase that would not tip over for the RV and made by the owner of the shop.  All the shop keepers we met were friendly, not pushy, and really a delight to talk to.  These folks just love Bisbee and want to share their experiences.
Our last day in Bisbee we went to the Bisbee Museum, a spectacular museum for such a small town.

CIMG8623It is associated with the Smithsonian and received help from their staff to set up the displays. We found the history of Bisbee fascinating: at one time the largest town between St Lewis and San Francisco, one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing nearly three million ounces of gold and more than eight billion pounds of copper, not to mention the silver, lead and zinc that came from these rich Mule Mountains. CIMG8629The displays of mining and minerals was one of the best we’ve ever seen.  Even talking to the ladies volunteering at the museum was informative. The lady at the front desk was from Santa Barbara so we traded California stories with her.

Then we walked across the street to the Bisbee Grill and shared the excellent Fish and Chips and a yummy Bread Pudding with Rum sauce. 

Then on to the Queen Mine Tour.  This was like a Disney ride into the cavernous tunnels of an old mine except this was the “real thing”.
Our tour guide, Mel, and all of the tour guides had been employees of the mining company and knew everything about the history of this area and the mines in particular. If you ever find yourself in Bisbee, we would recommend this tour.

The next morning we left for Benson to meet up with friends, Don and Sharon.  We parked at the Bisbee I-10 RV park, a Passport America park, paying $15.30. Our membership with PA has saved us lots of $$$ over the years we have stayed at their parks at 50% off the regular price.  We went to lunch at the Apple Farm restaurant down the street and found the breakfast menu was still available. 
The stuffed French toast that I had and the comfort food, meatloaf and eggs that Tom had were perfect.

At 4 we drove to Cochise Terrace to the DelRosario’s and were shocked to hear that Don had just been discharged from a Tucson hospital just the day before. He had a very close call with a 1300 glucose level of Diabetes.  The day we were going to visit them earlier in the week, Don had been to the doctor in Benson and when the blood tests were read, the doctor called and said he was sending an ambulance IMMEDIATELY.  After a few days in ICU and lots of medication,
Don was looking like himself again and was barbequing steaks for us. He is really being very careful what he eats and takes his medication very religiously. We wish him a very long life now that the diagnosis has been made and Don and Sharon are in charge – not the diabetes.

When we were in Mesa our tech, Bill, noticed a tick, tick tick coming from the engine area. He said we should have our muffler checked.  We were already hooked up and ready to leave for Bisbee so we checked when arriving at the Queen Mine RV park. Sure enough there was a tick, tick, tick when the rig was in gear, but seemed to disappear when in neutral. So before leaving we called Dennis at the Fresno Cummins facility and he gave us some diagnosing tips to insure our safety. We still decided to check with the Phoenix Area Cummins shop in Avondale and found they had an opening on Monday at 6 am.  OH NO, that means we will be up at 5:30 am.  But we are parked in the Cummins lot enjoying the 50 amp hook up, having dinner and company after with Cool Judy and Luke Rinehimer here in Avondale. We will be having dinner this late afternoon with my cousin, Robyn and husband, Mike at the Native New Yorker in Chandler. 

So until next blog, we are On the Road Again, Caching Places That We’ve Never Been,
Tom, Barbara & Pansy Cat

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Terrific Time in Tucson–Time to Travel

When we left Mesa, well almost left Mesa; we had only traveled one block when we heard a loud noise that sounded like a snap or crack. I thought Tom’s little gourd that hangs from his window shade had hit the window and cracked it. No, the window was OK. In further investigation I noticed the slide lock had snapped past the locking plate and was now past the opening of the slide and not doing its job of securing the slide from moving out while traveling.  I quickly got Cinda from RV Renovators on the phone and she said to bring it back in. We circled the block and were sitting back in the driveway of RV Renovators.  Bill was waiting for us, tools in hand and had the heavy metal plate off, new holes drilled and reinstalled in less than 30 minutes.  We unhooked the Jeep to back up, backed up the RV, hooked up the Jeep for the second time (we are pretty good at this Purple Job) and we were on the road again.   Even though traffic was heavy leaving Phoenix we were in the correct lanes each time thanks to Bill’s good directions confirmed by our Magellan GPS.  We didn’t hit real heavy traffic until exiting I-10 to I-19 to Nogales at 5:30.  There are a lot of people living in this south-west area of Tucson now and they all are in a hurry to get home (Tom says they want to mow the lawn and take out the garbage).

We had made arrangements to stay at the Diamond J in the SW section of Tucson before we had our detour into Mesa. We pulled in too late to register in the office, but there was an envelope and a list of available spaces posted by the office door.  I made out a check for 2 nights at the Passport America rate of $17 a night and we parked in a pull through right out front and called it a night.


The next day we decided to do NOTHING. I mean NOTHING except find the restaurant, Luke's  2011-03-18_17-16-54_250Nick had talked about in his blog, Gypsy Journal RV Travels, and go to Costco.  The food at Luke’s was just as good as promised and I had the best Veggie sandwich ever: roasted peppers, olives, Italian peppers and all the regular stuff including 2 kinds of cheeses.  We will eat there again when in Tucson.  We have missed pushing our cart down the isles of Costco and seeing all the new things we don’t have.  Now we don’t have space to store it so we saved lots of money this trip.  Our tummies were full so we didn’t get a lot of food either.  We did manage to find some snacks like the fabulous popcorn that was being demonstrated.  Please do not mention diet and we won’t think about it either.

Now with our batteries charged we were off to do the tourist thing.  The main reason we parked down here was to visit the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita2011-03-19_13-49-13_856 which was about 45 minutes away.   We headed south on I-19, stopped at the Post Office to mail Tom’s damaged Droid back to Assurion and got to the Museum just in time for the 12:30 tour.  2011-03-19_12-42-23_66

Our tour guide, Norm, had been stationed at a SAC base in the 60’s in South Dakota and was able to give us some anecdotal stories about those times when we almost blew it in the Cuban Missile Crisis.


This is the command center where if there ever was the time where the Missile would have to be deployed, two people would have to have the secrete code, the secrete combination to the safe and have to turn the key within seconds of each other to send it to its secrete destination.  That destination is still clasified.  There were  18 of these missile sites in each of 3 states. This is the only one left in its original state minus any ability to be fired. 

We were now aware that it is Spring Break in Arizona. Kids, kids and more noisy kids.  We love our grandkids and think they are so cute even when they are rambunctious. Unfortunately we do not have that tolerance with other’s kiddos.  So when a 4  year old continues to kick the side of the metal counter in the silo we wanted to remove him from the tour.



Other than that it was a very interesting informative experience.  Even growing up in the 40’s & 50’s, remembering hiding under our desks at Mayfair Elementary school in preparation for the ‘bomb’ I didn’t not know the full impact that nuclear total annihilation was and its impact on the global military strategy, instead of Russia and the US attacking each other with nuclear bombs we just battle each other’s philosophical politics on other fronts in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East without using our nuclear arsenals.  So sad.

We thought about going to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on Sunday, but realized there was a real nice Friends Church that we had attended when in Tucson a couple of years ago.  So we put that trip on hold and drove to the northwest part of Tucson to Northwest Community Friends Church.  While about to take our seat, who should walk up and say hi, but LeRoy Willis who we had met at Nick’s Gypsy Gathering Rally a couple of weeks ago. 


This is another small world experience: LeRoy was from Wichita, KS, where our former Pastor, Larry Kinser, and his wife Melita, are now pastoring, and is now staying right next door to us in the next RV park. How small is our world… how many RV parks and RV’s are in the Tucson area, and what are the chances of being that close the the Willis’s?  And what are the chances that Larry, who comments on our blog, would be the connection to someone who we would meet at a rally in Arizona?  It boggles my mind.  We went to lunch with LeRoy and Anne to a wonderful Mexican restaurant where I had the best Maui Maui Chimichanga EVER.  We talked a long time over lunch and then even in the parking lot.  It is so great meeting people you would never get to know unless you are RV’ing.  Love this life style.

We knew it was to be windy in Arizona on Monday, but decided to go the the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum anyway.  Boy was it blowing, my visor actually blew off once and Tom retrieved it.  The good part was the weather was comfortably cool and we walked all day long.  We should have had our pedometer on as I think it was miles. 



This is a very different museum, part zoo, part garden, part historical museum and part restaurant.  We sampled all aspects of this facility.  The view of the valley below was a little dusty, but still beautiful.   I am not a real fan of zoos, but this one was very well done: educational, conserving the species, rehabbing injured desert animals and understanding the needs of the animals in designing the enclosures. 



This educator was demonstrating what animals eat; she showed us snakes, lizards, a porcupine, a skunk, a pelican and a Ringtail Cat, the state mammal of Arizona.






I was behind a glass window and this guy was really this close. Great experience.




The desert was truly in bloom this day.

We had planned on only staying one day in the area and seeing the Titan Missile Museum and moving on to Benson to see our friends, the DelRosario’s.  But the wind advisories and the interesting sites have delayed us.  In checking with Sharon DelRosario, it was a good thing as Don has been under the weather, so today we’ll check in and see how Don is feeling, stay in Benson, or move on to Bisbee and see the DelRosario’s on our way back to California.  That is what plans in Jell-o are all about.

Until next time we are T&BnaRV On the Road Again Caching Places That We’ve  Never Been


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Camping at RV Renovators

We pulled into RV Renovators on Tuesday about 1 PM after an easy ride up I-10 from Picacho Peak.  Other than a last minute – but very safe – lane change to transition from I-10 to I-60 to Mesa instead of Phoenix, all went smoothly. Darn these Phoenix freeways!  Between lack of adequate signage and the ongoing construction it sure makes driving a 40 foot RV and towing a Jeep a challenge.

We gave Cinda a big hug and got settled into the back yard of the service area.  We picked up the key to the gate and left for dinner and some shopping.

We had noticed the counter top in back of the stove had begun to separate from the back splash and the gap was over 1/2 inch.  2011-03-16_07-32-45_232011-03-16_07-33-01_19

RV Renovators are good at these kinds of repairs and gave us a price of 5 hours labor.  Ouch!  We decided to go ahead with the repairs as the slide had already started dragging on the floor as it slid in and out. 

When we got back from shopping, I played on the computer and Tom emptied everything out of the cupboards and removed the drawers from the kitchen.


Yesterday we woke up early in anticipation of the work crew’s arrival. The work started on the slide lock first. The cover over the locking mechanism was removed by popping off the rivets.  That latch should be down when the slide is out, not up. It would tear a hole in the side of the rig if left like this.


The locking blade was bent and twisted.  Our technician, Bill, removed it and straightened it out then reattached the cover with new rivets.   That took a while and in the mean time, Billy, our other tech, & Curtis moved into the rig to start the repairs on the drooping counter in the kitchen. 


We had a real interesting show out the front window. Sorry about the glare.


The Dynasty parked in front of us had a serious water leak that damaged the floor and the owners decided on changing the carpet to wood flooring as a part of the repairs.  This involved removing the slide. Removing a slide, we found out,  involved a fork lift, several guys on the inside and several on the outside. The flooring looks real good. They even removed the tile and replace it with the wood flooring.

We stayed in the rig all day and watched the ‘repair show’  both in and out of our RV.  At 5:30 we left for dinner, unlocked the front gate, and drove about 1/2 mile to a local Mexican restaurant. This was a local’s only favorite restaurant with authentic Jalisco type menu. It was very good. I had tomatillo green sauce on cheese enchiladas and Tom had a shredded beef Torta.  We had so much food we both brought a take-out box home.

After dinner we bought a pair of reading glasses for Tom as he decided after looking at his new prescription, the only thing he needed was glasses for reading. We also bought the hanger for around his neck so he won’t loose them.

Now, Billy and his supervisor are adjusting the roller under the kitchen slide and we should be done.  We will have our propane tank filled, wait for the delivery on the new Droid today and we are off again heading south to Tucson.