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Chiricahua N.M.

Tuesday, March 1    I woke up early this morning and looked out and the creators of all those cowpatties were all around the camper! As soon as I opened the door they started moving off though, so no cow confrontations today at least. Roxie acted as though having cows 30′ away were an everyday occurance,  ho hum. By the time I got the camera out, they’d moved so they were backlit by the dawn so the photos turned out bad. Sorry. I know you yearned to see pictures of black Angus cows today.

Sunday, March 6  The directions I had to the free campsite in the Coronado National Forest said it was 1.5 miles down Pinery Canyon Road, right before the entrance to the Chiricahua National Monument. Well that was wrong; it was 5.5 miles! And that’s a LOT when it’s a super-dusty, super-washboarded 5 mph road.  So in essence it was 30 minutes drive from the paved road. Once you see the “Portal 19 miles” sign, you’re almost there. There are 5 campsites on the right, and if you continue on up the road there are a few more but the road narrows and starts twisting and turning a lot before too long. But our campsite was awesome!  It was huge, and right on a pretty little creek and in the woods. The first few mornings I’d get up really quietly and grab my camera & go outside fully expecting to see some kind of wildlife drinking at the stream. No luck. The only drawbacks to this site were the really loose, fine dust taht got all over everything, and some really sticky grasses that made Roxie look like an angry homemade porcupine! They were really hard to get out of her coat.

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My campsite….campfire pit in the right foreground.  The creek runs along the right side.

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Campfire area

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Deb and little Annie (Mini Schnauzer) arrived Tuesday afternoon. One day we took a ride farther up the mountain to scrounge for firewood. This is the same road that goes up & over to Cave Creek Recreation Area and Sunny Flat Campground, the most gorgeous campground ever. Well, so far.  The forest service guys told me the road was still closed due to snow in the pass.  It narrowed and started twisting around so after awhile I got worried about being able to turn around, so we headed back.

The scenic drive at Chiricahua National Monument is closed for construction right now but I’m pretty sure the views would be similar to those up on the mountain.

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We went over and checked out the campground there, it costs $12 ($6 with the Geezer Pass) and I didn’t like it at all. It looked really crowded, the sites were tiny and entrances to the sites were narrow. They say they don’t allow anything over 29′ and I think it’d be really difficult to get a 29 footer in there! They do have water, flush toilets and garbage receptacles over there though, plus a nice little park office & store. I was shocked that the campground was full by Thursday afternoon.

We were able to get 1 bar of Verizon service at the end of Pinery Canyon Road, but on my phone it would only send & receive texts, nothing more. I was 40 miles from a wifi signal for 6 days and I survived!  Just barely.

Deb has an iBall hitch camera like mine and she was having the same problems, just getting a screen full of static. She said she thought it might be a low battery which I thought was really dumb, but I changed the battery and now it’s perfect again! Dang, I hate it when other people are smarter than I am, but I’m glad it’s fixed.

Deb’s been having a lot of battery problems and ended up having to go buy a new one.  I don’t THINK it’s me, but the same thing happened last August when we were in Michigan!

There’s a really cold spell on the way so we headed toward Tucson to escape the 25 degree lows. We are now at Snyder Hill BLM area which is just 8 miles south of Tucson! Great location, and it has really good wifi and phone signals, whip hop!  There are a lot of other RV’ers here. Here’s the view from my door:DSCN2242

And here’s Deb, with Snyder Mountain behind her. A lot of people hike that “mountain”, it seems. Maybe Deb will go up and have a look around. Not me, I think I have done something semi-serious to my knee last week. I thought it hurt because of hiking a whopping 1/2 mile at the Honanka Ruins, but it’s not that, I think I vaguely remember twisting it on a rock when I was getting ready to leave Sedona. It didn’t hurt much right then but it sure hurts now, I can’t bear to twist it at all and it even hurts at night when I’m laying down. I hope it goes away soon.

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Finally Arizona!

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Our new campsite at Sunny Flat Campground near Portal, AZ, isn’t it gorgeous! I’m in love with Arizona!

I had planned to go to a rodeo grounds campground in Douglas, AZ for $13 a night with electric hookups, as it was supposed to go down to 15 degrees at night!  But right on the way was Sunny Flats Campground in the Coronado National Forest, where I originally planned to stay.  So I took a little detour to check it out, and it was so beautiful, no rodeo grounds could possibly compare.  So I told myself to quit being a wimp, suck it up and put on my Big Girl Panties. I checked in for 4 nights here. They tell me it’s a great place for birdwatching, especially in the spring.  Cell signals are nonexistent but I don’t mind.

I’m very happy to finally get out of the flat land (at least for awhile) and be in the mountains.  It is kind of on the back side (not backside!) of the Chiricahua National Monument, and reachable by a teeny one-lane twisty-turny road from the campground, but I tried it and ran into too much snow & ice on the road as the elevation increased.  I’ll have to go around on the paved roads to see it.  There are sharp high peaks all around the campground, which has vault toilets, drinking water and is only $5 a night with the Geezer Pass.

Here’s the little teeny creek that runs through the campground.  It becomes HUGE in heavy rains, and they have signs posted that they’ll evacuate the campground if there’s more than 1.5″ of rain predicted in a 24 hour period.  They just reopened the campground after a huge flood.

It was calm before I left Deming so I tried to light my fridge again and I was so happy to hear that “whomp” of the pilot light!  So I didn’t need to spend money on a repair guy for that.  Maybe it was just too windy the last time I tried it.

I was shocked to see this guy and his wife along the road…I didn’t know there were any longhorns left!  He gave me a real hard look as I went by.

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It’s been quite cold at night, but not as cold as they predicted. The first night was 30 and I used my small 1500 btu propane heater, waking up to only 45 degrees inside in the morning. I tried to run the bigger 3000 btu ProCat heater but the new line is not getting propane through it.  Last night it went down to 23 and I did use the ProCat on a 1# propane bottle, but was very disappointed that it only last 3 hours!  It’s supposed to last 6 hrs.  This won’t do!  The rest of the night I ran the propane stove on low with a fan over it, and it stayed around 55 degrees.  Yes, I had the window open for ventilation, which sometimes seems to defeat the purpose of running heat, but I know I have to.

I get frustrated with the photos I am taking with my little Nikon S8100 point and shoot.  I wish I had a good digital SLR camera so I could really capture the beauty of this place.

Today I’m visiting Douglas, AZ, right on the Mexico border. Need to get more wing-nuts for the bracket that holds the propane tank down; they keep falling off!   This desert museum is at the turn for the campground.  It was very nice, lots of local snakes, spiders, scorpions….makes me NOT want to do much exploring off the pavement!  They also had lots of ancient pottery and indian arrowheads, etc.  I spent a pleasant half hour there. And on the way to Douglas, I saw a roadrunner cross the road in front of me!  It went too fast to get a photo but I was thrilled!

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