Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 16 – 22, 2012 “Deming, NM to Benson, AZ”

 Arriving in Deming, NM on Sunday, we set up at our new “home” location in The Little Vineyard RV Park. CC chose this park over numerous others in Deming based on the reviews and comments on AND the fact it has a pool and a hot tub; something we are both in need of after not having access to one since we left the RGV. The park is a typical desert RV park; no grass – no trees – just sand, rocks with a few cacti scattered around here and there. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge)

 It was quite chilly Monday morning as we awoke to 36 degree temperatures, cooler than normal at our 4,335 foot elevation. Following coffee and breakfast, I posed my usual morning question to CC, “What do you want to do today?” (This is an every morning ordeal we go through when we are traveling; so much to see and do, how do we decide?) Not surprising, CC said, “Let’s go to Mexico. It’s only 35 miles or so.” In route, about 3 miles north of the little Mexican town of Palomas is Columbus, NM. Every once in a blue moon, we stumble across a little museum, that, as we approach it, say to ourselves, “What on earth could this place, in the middle of nowhere, have that warrants a museum?”

Upon entering, we were overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” they had on display; artifacts of all kinds and the walls were covered in pictures and documents. It seems Pancho Villa played a pivotal role in the history of this tiny town.

This is an outstanding video and explanation of the raid by Pancho Villa, produced by the Texas Archives in 1982. It is extremely factual and informative, with eyewitness reports. (Click on the underlined link to view the video) We both worked up quite an appetite touring the museum; time for lunch. A short drive 3 miles south and we were at the border. Free parking and no fee for the border crossing, we arrived in Palomas, MX, around noon.

Before we left the park this morning, we asked the manager IF there was a good place to eat in Palomas, and she said, “Yes, The Pink Store.” Sounded odd to me why anyone would chose that name for their business, but we are dealing with our neighbors to the south, and who am I to judge. As we approached, it was evident why they chose the name they did.

As we entered, CC and I both remarked at how clean and well kept the store was. Most of the border towns we have visited have been slightly less than remarkably clean, as they are in the desert, and everything gets dusty here on a daily basis. But this place was clean enough to eat off the floors. We ordered dos margaritas en la roca con limon y no sal, and focused on the menu. CC conservatively chose her old standby, the quesadilla, and according to her, was excellent, as was the home made salsa; spicy with a little kick.

I chose the shredded beef burritos, simply because I hadn’t had them since I can’t remember when. They were very tasty, mildly spiced with an abundance of flavor. Muy bueno!

As we made our way to the US border with one liter of King of Queens scotch ($14) and one liter of Sauza Silver Blue Agave tequila ($5.50), we wondered what the tax or duty might be. When we cross the border into Texas from Nuevo Progresso, Texas charges an “importation fee” of $3.75 per liter, and the Feds allow one liter per person duty free. So, when we went through customs here, entering the US into NM, we were told there was no state tax (or “fee”, as they call it in TX), and of course no federal duty, as we were allowed one liter each. Now that’s what I like; no parking fee, no crossing fee, and no fee or taxes on the booze. Is this a great country or what?

 After the short 35 mile drive, we were once again home, just in time for “Pool Time”. Ahhhh, an indoor heated pool, the water was about 90 degrees and it felt fabulous. After 30 minutes or so, we moved to the rather small hot tub where the water was said to be 103, and over the next 15 – 20 minutes we both melted into the relaxation we needed from living this hectic lifestyle ;-)

 We began our Tuesday, as we do each day with the usuals, when CC chimed in, “Since yesterday we went south, today let’s go north to Silver City.” Sounds like a plan to me. With that, we were out the door for the hour drive north. After a brief stop at the Visitor Center, we were off to another museum.

The building was impressive, the contents not so much so. I think we both expected more than yesterday, due primarily to the appearance of the exterior, but as we all know, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Oh well, we made the best of it, and managed to scrape a few tidbits of information on Silver City from within. (Click on the underlined link for more information)

 Wednesday was travel day; Deming, NM to Benson, AZ, a leisurely 170 mile drive westward across I-10. We arrived at our new home, The Pato Blanco Lake RV Park shortly after 2 pm. (Pato Blanco is Spanish for white duck) Usually we have no idea of how long we want to stay in any one place, so we customarily book two nights when we first check in, allowing us time to do some research, and if we like it, we extend our stay, which is exactly what happened here.

We picked up a booklet in the office, “Cochise County – Land of Legends”, and started doing some research on the area. OMG, we could easily stay here a month. This area has in its history, early Spanish explorers, Apache Indian Chiefs Cochise and Geronimo, copper, silver and gold mining; not to mention Tombstone and the OK corral starring Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. We might as well start with the closest first, so off to Tombstone it is, this crisp Thursday morning.

When possible, at each new location, we like to take a trolley tour, as it gives us an insight on what there is, and what peaks our interests that we may want to further explore, but it was closed for maintenance. Plan B; take the stagecoach tour. We were told it was about 2 miles long and took about 30 minutes. They must measure time and distance differently in Tombstone, because according to my calculations, we covered 4 square blocks in just about 15 minutes. This, according to our stagecoach driver and tour guide, was Doc Holliday’s house.

And, on to Wyatt Earp’s home…………

Originally, the Cochise County Seat was in Tombstone, when this courthouse was built; the gallows still stand behind it where 10 men walked the scaffolds before being hung. In 1929, the County Seat was moved to Bisbee.

That was about the extent of the $20 Stagecoach tour. After a brief lunch at a Mexican joint, CC and I decided to tour the Rose Tree Museum (admission $5 each) to witness the largest rose tree in the world; a Lady Banksia covering over 8,600 square feet of trellis. And, as luck would have it, the darn battery on the camera died. No picture of the rose tree; can I get an awe shucks? This lifestyle is starting to get to me, but it was pretty impressive, considering the original cutting was brought from Scotland in 1885, and was only a few inches long, and now the trunk is over 5 feet in diameter. I did manage to search for and find a video of this amazing plant. YouTube Rose Tree Video

 And finally, without further adieu, Boot Hill Cemetery; no explanation necessary.

Friday morning, different day, same dance. Bisbee was our destination. How do we do this day in and day out? I’m beginning to think we need a vacation from all this sightseeing. But, it’s a tough job and someone gotta do it, so off to Bisbee we were. Upon arrival at this southern Arizona town perched at 5,300 feet above sea level, we were both pleasantly surprised at how much cooler it was than Benson; about 10 degrees, and much more green, if there is such a thing in the desert.

Bisbee, 90 miles southeast of Tucson and nestled amongst the Mule Mountains, is the picturesque county seat of historic Cochise County. The community was founded in 1880 and named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the Copper Queen Mine. Ironically, the Judge never physically set foot in the town that bears his name.

 Once known as “The Queen of the Copper Camps”, this Old West mining camp proved to be 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. By the early 1900s, the Bisbee community was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.

 Bisbee, with a population of over 20,000 people in the early 1900’s, had become one of the most cultured cities in the Southwest. Despite its culture, however, the rough edges of the mining camps could be found in notorious Brewery Gulch, with its saloons and shady ladies. Brewery Gulch, which in its heyday boasted upwards of 47 saloons, and an equal number of bordellos, was considered the "liveliest spot between El Paso and San Francisco". Bisbee offered other recreational pursuits in that it was home to the state’s first community library, a popular opera house, the state’s oldest ball fields, home to the first professional baseball team in America and the state’s first golf course.

 In the 1970’s, as the price for copper dwindled, making it no longer profitable to mine, Bisbee became a virtual ghost town. Around 1974, the hippies from San Francisco settled here, some buying homes for a little as $1 each, while others just “squatted”. This movement actually kept it from becoming what had become of so many other, once profitable mining towns, the moniker of “ghost town” Their presence, even though many of the original squatters are now in their 60’s and 70’s, is still present today.

Art galleries, jewelry shops and antique stores are plentiful, and line the streets of the historic district.

From historic downtown, the heart and soul of Bisbee is not visible. One must traverse around a mountain, to get a glimpse of the magnitude of mining operations here.

As we travel, we are constantly looking for a possible long term location in which to stay, especially during the colder winter months. We have grown fond of the RGV in Texas, but one never knows when a true diamond in the rough may show up. With that said, border towns play a minor role in our search for the “Ultimate Winter Home”. Since Naco, MX is only a few miles south of Bisbee, it was only natural, that we take the time to check out this little Mexican border town.

We had already eaten lunch, so we just walked around Naco, making mental notes on restaurants, tiendas (small stores), pharmacies, and dentists. Normally, since tequila is produced in Mexico, it is much cheaper, almost 50% in some cases of the prices NOTB. We found the opposite to be true in Naco; prices were about the same to somewhat higher than US prices. While the town was notably cleaner and more well maintained than some border tows we have visited, it severely lacked in what we were looking for on this visit; cheap tequila for CC’s happy hour beverage of choice. It really is just a sleepy border town; not much going on in Naco.

Today, we ventured to Sierra Vista, and on arrival stopped at the visitor’s center to pick up information. As it turned out, the museums we were interested in are closed on Sundays. It was a pleasant 25 mile drive, and now that we’re back “home”, it’s pool time. CC just checked the weather, and it’s 95 here but Tucson finally hit 100 about 3 pm this afternoon, setting a new record high for the day. Manana we’re Tucson bound.

Thanks for taking time to stop by and catch up on our craziness. Until next time, take care and stay well………………..

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