Arizona is Desert OR Water on the Road

Welcome to Tucson, Arizona…or not.

The drive to Tucson from Palm Canyon was pleasant enough, a combination of mostly desert with occasional blocks of agriculture where water was available.

Part of the plan for Tucson was to stop at a premium outdoor store and purchase proper hiking pants and good hiking poles (CrossCountry Bob’s knees are not what they used to be and assistance from poles is a premium idea he thinks and highly recommended by his sister, Marguerite, who has had her own challenges with knees).

The outdoor store outlet selected by CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie was the REI Co-Op, located in the Tucson Mall. Perfect thinks CrossCountry Bob, easy parking near the store, a busy mall with all types of stores (if we wanted to shop more); a no brainer as they say (note to self: often a no brainer means doing something without pre-applying brains to the situation). Into REI went CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie and that store turned out to be rich hunting grounds and within an hour CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie emerged with quality hiking poles and hiking pants.

Turns out that the REI store wasn’t the only rich hunting grounds in the area as CrossCountry Bob took one look at Winnie and swore (a lot). The bike tarp was flipped open and Paintin’ Peggie’s eBike was GONE.

Welcome to Tucson!

Nice big mall, lots of cars and traffic. What the??**!!

Well, CrossCountry Bob will spare you all the tedious details but a report was filed with the Tucson police department and the policeman at the station said that Tucson Mall is between two areas – to the north a fine area, to the south, not so good (CrossCountry Bob can sure pick ’em).

Lots of memories for that eBike, starting across Canada in 2018. All that is left now is those memories and this picture

Missing (probably forever)

Looking on the bright side – file the insurance claim and go bike shopping once Winnie is home. Meanwhile the rest of the journey, sadly, will include no biking explorations.

Before leaving Tucson, there was one more thing for that night – a storm with winds of 80 km/hour with gust to 100 km/hour. Ahhhh, the desert. Fortunately, we were tucked into a big RV resort (filled with snowbirds), hiding between park models, and the night passed with minimal shimming and shaking in the wind gusts (not always the case, as you may read about later as these storms are persistent and insist on passing through again (and again), oblivious to CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie and, for that matter, everything alive or inanimate.

And with that, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie said goodbye (and good riddance) Tucson, and pointed Winnie southeast for Tombstone. Yes, that Tombstone with the OK Corral shootout, Wyatt Earp and the entire crew, reenacted every day. Yes, sir! The legend lives on.

Pure tourist kitsch, that town, but that was expected and it was entertaining to see. Good place to take the new grandkids when they are old enough to get super excited to ride a stagecoach (might pass on the shootout though…in America you never know. Take this old fella in a small town Arizona cafe…)

And with that it was goodbye to Tombstone and hello Bisbee, twenty miles further down the road and a town Paintin’ Peggie (especially) wanted to visit. An old copper mining town that, after the mines expired, reinvented itself as a place worth visiting with an eclectic district filled with curio shops, art galleries and artisan shops with jewelry and pottery (of good quality, produced in the area and not imported from China – how original!).

Bisbee was a pleasant interlude with sunny skies and temperatures around 15. A mile down the road from Bisbee is Lowell, essentially a celebration of a bygone era. See for yourself…

CrossCountry Bob has to confess that he felt somewhat antique himself when he saw the Shell gas pump as he remembers watching a pump just like that put gas in the family’s 1960 big, brown Pontiac station wagon. Yikes! That is a few years back). Well, wanting to feel not so antique, CrossCountry Bob thought the best remedy would be to hike into a one of those scenic vistas that Arizona has in abundance. As coincidence might have it, not far up the road was the Chiricahua National Monument, a little bit north and a lot higher. Beautiful rock formations, great hiking and a pleasant campground. A natural remedy for feeling antique. No matter that remedies often have side effects. That was not a factor weighing on CrossCountry Bob’s mind which was focused on the hike and that balancing rock.

Gotta’ see that!

But Winnie had to get there first and in the desert water isn’t usually a problem, right? Well, the odd snow storm and snow melt had different ideas. A jeep…no problem. But Winnie wasn’t too happy and it took a bit of reconaissance before she crossed (if the asphalt was undermined and a wheel dropped down, well, it was a long walk to cell service…

Turns out the asphalt was sound and Winnie crossed a few “Water on the Road”. By the last one, Winnie hardly paused. Easy in, easy out? Maybe…

Well, before hiking Chiricahua there was an important item of business to take care of. Happy Birthday, Paintin’ Peggie!! Following protocol, CrossCountry Bob will not reveal age, suffice to say that Paintin’ Peggie looks fabulous. Birthday evening found Winnie boondocking outside Chiricahua as the campground was full that night. It turned out to be a quality boondocking spot, beautiful and peaceful.

Chiricahua National Monument lived up to the billing (even if the painting that got us interested exaggerated the size of the balancing rock). It was natural hiking weather, partly cloudy and cool which was a good thing as the trail gained 1,500 feet in elevation over several miles. Real antiques can’t climb that much (thought CrossCountry Bob with some satisfaction).

But of course, as noted, most remedies have side effects and after a fine day of hiking and a quality gin and tonic (favourite reward of CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie) those side effects came calling early the next morning…

No hiking in the snow (CrossCountry Bob may have a touch of antique but that didn’t make him dumb). It was time to move on, both CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie decided (they often think alike in that regard which makes the travelling a LOT easier).

The next destination was Kartchner Caverns State Park for 4 days. Great hiking area and a civilized campsite with power and water (boondocking is fine from time to time but CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie (especially) do appreciate the comforts more than occasionally).

See you there.

Meanwhile, the new grand children are getting along fine without CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie which is exactly how it should be. Both sets of new parents are working hard at it and are doing a fine job!

Signing off.

CrossCountry Bob

One Reply to “Arizona is Desert OR Water on the Road”

  1. adventures! Great to hear from you, I’m happy to hear you guys aren’t bored. Looks like great hiking areas. Sorry to hear of your bike fiasco but you will enjoy the upgrade! Take care!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *