We've been back at the Roost for almost a month. Once we vacuumed all the dust and dirt from the haboobs (huge dust storms), this past summer, we were able to settle in and enjoy being back to our winter home. Gary's back to playing in his pool league and my quilt class started up again last week. It looks like we'll have some fun projects to work on and it looks like we have good speakers lined up for our guild meetings.
We decided to take our Class C and go on a mini-trip to explore a few places we haven't seen in southeastern Arizona. Benson, AZ was our first stop for two nights. We toured the Throne Room in Kartchner Caverns. This is a "living cave" that was just discovered in 1974 and opened to the public on a very limited basis in the 1990's. To enter you go through 2 sets of metal doors to minimize air flow into the cave and a misting process to limit the dust and lint brought in. The cavern maintains a 70 degree temperature and has extremely high humidity.
No photographs are permitted in the cave. This picture of a postcard is the best I could do, but it's really accurate. They are really working to keep the cave protected and limit the impact. Because it's been protected from the start, the formations are intact without the damage you see in other caves. We hope to go back again to tour the other section of the cave. The Big Room is closed to tours in the spring and summer, when the cave bats come in to roost, give birth to their young, and raise them til they're old enough to migrate further south for the winter. They estimate as many as 1,000 bats return each year and the young range from 400 this year to as many as 1,400.
We drove on to the town of Wilcox, AZ. where we stayed at their very nice 28 site Elks Lodge campground. While there we enjoyed touring the Marty Robbins and Rex Allen museums. Of course while walking through those museums, their songs were playing in the background, making it hard to leave. One of the fun exhibits was these pair of golfing boots worn by Rex Allen.
While Gary doesn't plan on ordering a pair, he did find time to play the Wilcox golf course and was pleased to shoot a 74 on their par 72 course. (note his score was one UNDER his age!)
The last place we planned on visiting was Chiricahua National Monument. Unfortunately the third largest fire in Arizona history burned much of this area last summer. The visitor center and campground were open and the road up to the campground. Closed was the eight mile scenic drive beyond that. The guardrails had melted and the wooden posts burned in the fire. They were working on replacing them, but the narrow roads didn't allow for traffic along with the heavy equipment needed to do the work. This gives us a good reason to return to see this "Wonderland of Rocks" up close.
As usual, we were looking for geocaches as we went and found 27 on this trip to bring our total to 1,952. The last few caches took us to the town of Cochise, AZ. The Cochise Hotel was built in 1882 and on the Overland Stage route. If not for the caches, we would not have detoured to find this gem.
After five fun filled days, we headed back to the Roost. It was a great diversion and leaves no doubt there is much more out there for us to discover and learn about.
We expect to remain in Arizona until next Spring, including our annual trip to Quartzsite and the fun-filled SKP rallies we enjoy attending there. Our address for the next several months will be the same as the past: 3241 S. Montgomery Road, Casa Grande, AZ 82193. If you find yourself traveling to Phoenix or Tucson, please give us a call. We're centrally located and can meet you in either location.
Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty and Spicy all Dancing on Down the Road..............................