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Published: February 23rd 2010
Just gotta watch out for the cactus
Miles: 7,580 with about 2,500 left to get home
The Tucson Gem and Fossil show is enormous and we dropped in on just a very small bit of it. The huge specimens of gems and crystals for sale makes us wonder if anything is left in some places. We made some purchases and wanted many more. I found a ring with small bits of opal and amethyst set into silver and Ron bought a large piece of malachite to carve and polish. We'll be back next year.
After the gem show we spent 2 weeks in McDowell Mountain Park just outside of Fountain Hills. This is a Maricopa County park and has won awards as one of the best parks in the US. Our campsite had one neighboring site across the street, but on the sides and back there were at least 2 acres of openness. Dave loved his walks again and had to explore every hole and bush.
During our stay we had several coyotes come across our site in daylight as they tried to scare up lunch. One night there were several javelina outside the window
McDowell Mtn Park
Acres to ourselves!
- Dave, the guard cat, alerted us to their presence. Jackrabbits came and went all day long. They look so cartoonish when they are in a hurry with those long back legs and enormous ears. Gambol's Quail came to the bird feeder and 3 Anna's hummingbirds were there all day long.
We spent lots of time sitting in our chairs and watching birds and wild life. The weather was perfect - sunny and mid 60's. We did manage some pretty strenuous bike rides. The hard part is peddling uphill to get to the top of the ridge, but on Tonto Tank trial we had 2.6 miles of downhill. We got pretty good at avoiding cactus and rocks and not falling off steep edges.
We are now in Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, AZ. It is about 10 degrees cooler here than at McDowell - higher elevation. From the campground we can see Jerome on the side of the mountain and the Tuzigoot ruins. This is the 39th campsite we have been in since leaving in September and our last real camping for this trip.
Kris and Ed arrived on the
Kris and Ed the day they arrived - nice and sunny!
18th and we hiked and explored almost continually until their last full day here when the weather finally defeated us.
First was a hike to Devil's Bridge which was supposed to be a short 1 mile in to see an arch - but the road was closed to vehicles. We decided to walk in instead - our final hike was about 5 1/2 miles, much of it straight up. After lunch we headed to a Sanagua Indian ruin called Montezuma's Castle. From there we headed to the salt mines - abandoned now except for folks who know about it as a collecting spot for Glauberite crystals. Together we collected a bucket full. That was a very full first day!!
In the following days we celebrated Ron's birthday with a trip to the old copper mining town of Jerome which is built in the side of a mountain with VERY steep streets. Ron got a very cool 'western' hat, and a great lunch out at a restraurant called Grapes. We saw more Indian ruins at Tuzigoot and found a total of 7 geocaches. On the last day of their visit the weather finally got too nasty and
we opted for a movie and driving through gorgeous Red Rock country in Sedona. In the evenings we played Liar's dice - a very fun game - we made ice cream in a bag, and when Kris's cat allergy became too much the kids retired to their tent to read and watch DVDs. It was a terrific visit and we did most of the things we wanted to even though the weather was crummy for much of their time here.
Our travels for this trip are just about over - we just have the long sprint back home left, and that starts on the 25th. We'll be watching the weather updates as we try to dodge the winter storms that seem to be going on everywhere right now.
This has been such an adventure. I had some BIG misgivings about traveling for 5-6 months in a 22 foot motor home, but the problems have been minimal and the rewards have been many. I wouldn't want to do this full time, but 5 months was a piece of cake, and a very good one at that. So good-bye to all from the road, and
A very steep trail.
we'll see many of you back in Michigan!
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