and Cathy McArthur on
the Road 2005: 2
On Tuesday, January 4, we all got going after breakfast. Matt dropped us off at New Orleans KOA East and then continued on to take Tom and Katie to Atlanta and then to return to Akron himself. We shipped a big box via UPS to Katie and Tom; some of the contents were our winter clothing. We drove westward to the Gulf Coast RV Resort in Beaumont, Texas. We wanted to get a cable TV hookup so we could watch the national championship football game in the Orange Bowl. We took the opportunity to dump our holding tanks, top our freshwater tank, bring our hot water tank online, and do our laundry. We enjoyed eating in the RV for the first time in a while as we watched the game. Bill found a free wireless network that he could use to connect to the Internet.
Bill did a lot of coughing overnight and felt lousy all day on Wednesday; we got off to a late start around 7:30 AM. We drove west on I10 all day and ended up in Fort Stockton, Texas, a bit more than 600 miles from Beaumont. We stayed at a KOA campground on the high desert. We ate a "down home" dinner in the Road Runner Cafe attached to the campground. We had deep fried catfish filets, canned green beans, and mashed potatoes. We were asked if we wanted brown or white gravy with our potatoes. We demurred (a word probably not in the vocabulary of the young girl that served us). There were 6 tables in the cafe, which would make a great movie set for a saga set in the high desert backcountry. We had vanilla pudding over canned peaches for dessert. We tipped our waitress $5 and hoped she could afford a bus ticket out. We had passed through a cold front during the drive, so the temperature was heading for freezing when we turned in after viewing "Easy Rider" on our DVD player.
We got on the road at 6:30 AM on Thursday morning. Bill was still suffering from his cold, but was able to drive without problem. We had to drive 100 miles before we could find a restaurant for breakfast. The route took us through very desolate terrain. We finally exited Texas and had a relatively short run through New Mexico. We stopped at a McDonald's for lunch shortly after entering the Mountain Time Zone. We arrived in Benson, Arizona around 2:30 PM. We stopped at a large Safeway and immediately ran into Paul and Martha Monahan,with whom we traveled last winter. We stocked up on provisions and headed for our free 3 night stay in the Western Horizon Resort in St. David, 8 miles to the south. We passed by several large RV parks along the historic Arizona Route 80. We checked-in at the campground and were assigned a site at the highest and farthest reach of the park. The view of the mountains was fantastic. We found that we didn't have cable TV and had to settle for a few fuzzy channels from Tucson. Larry and Nancy Paddack came up from their site to chat with us for a while. Bill tended to the dumping and filling chores while Cathy cooked a good meal for us. When the sun went down, the temperature immediately dropped at least 10 degrees. Overnight, it went down to 29 degrees.
We decided to have a low key day on Friday and slept-in to 7:30 AM. We had a leisurely breakfast with a great view from our windows and then lifted weights in the RV. We decided that we needed a good walk, so we headed north up Route 80 toward the San Pedro Territory RV Park where Paul and Martha were staying; we thought it was 5 miles away. The walk reminded us of our hike from Mini-Hollywood to Tabernas while we were wintering in Spain in 2003. We thought it was an extra long 5 miles by the time that we reached the San Pedro RV Park. We signed up for 3 nights and then ate lunch with Paul and Martha in their RV. Cathy wasn't too keen on it, but we walked back to our campground as the afternoon dwindled. We arrived at our RV as the sun dropped down behind the mountains. We found out later that we had walked 15 miles. We set out to make a green salad and a fruit bowl for a pot-luck dinner later. Bill dumped the tanks and filled up with fresh water. Then we walked down to the clubhouse and met Larry and Nancy, Nancy's mother and step-father, and Martha and Paul for a good dinner and good fellowship. On the walk back to the RV we were awed by the spectacular view of the stars. We were 3600 feet up in the high desert in an area with very clear air; Kitt Peak Observatory is in the vicinity. We were justifiably tired when we headed for bed.
On Saturday morning we had a 9:00 AM appointment with a salesman for Western Horizon Resorts. He explained the benefits of their ownership program and then offered us a $4,000 discount on a $12,000 membership if we would sign up that day. We felt that we needed to analyze our travel plans to see if their program would work for us, but the high pressure tactic of the "one day only" discount really scared us away. After lunch, Larry and Nancy drove us to Tombstone, AZ. Bill remembered being there when he was 10 years old and found that the place hadn't changed too much; only the admission prices for practically every object in town had increased with inflation. Our son Bill called and said that he was in Puerto Rico for a couple of weeks on business. We thought that it was cool that we were in Tombstone, but he one-upped us. We moved on to the old Mining town of Bisbee. This reminded us a bit of Georgetown, CO, which we visited last spring, with some differences. Because Bisbee is in the middle of nowhere, it has collected some of the flotsam and jetsam of the human race as such towns can. There are lots of people in town that can best be described as weird. In addition, there is a big biker presence. A woman was selling cactus pear jelly on the sidewalk. She got into an argument with Bill and said that no cactus could be growing in abundance at the end of his driveway in New Jersey because the climate is too damp there. How do you argue with someone like that? Come to our house in New Jersey and see our cactus plants! Bill received a free double shot of espresso at one outdoor market; it came just as Bill was suffering from a caffeine low and needed the big boost. We drove on to a place called "Arizona Cactus" outside of Bisbee. This place was extremely hard to locate and when we arrived there was no one there. Just a sign on the door stating that the cactus garden was open and a sign on the cactus garden stating that it was too dangerous to enter. We entered anyway (Bill reluctantly) and looked around for a few minutes. Then we drove to a Wal-Mart in Sierra Vista and did a bit of shopping for Mexico. As we drove back to St. David, we saw a gorgeous sunset over the mountains. We had a nice meal of tortellini and spent a quiet last night in the Western Horizon Resort.
Sunday morning began another nice day following a chlly night. We lifted weights after breakfast. Bill found ice in the hoses when breaking camp. We checked-out of the Western Horizon Resort and drove up I10 to the western exit for Benson. There we found an RV self wash stall. We learned that it takes two to effectively wash a rig this way; one person on the brush and the other on the hose. We ended up with a very clean RV after spending $10 in the wash stall. Next we drove to Safeway and replenished our stores. Then we drove to San Pedro Territory RV Park, checked-in, and set up camp. After lunch, Larry and Nancy picked us up for a trip to Chiricahua National Monument to the SE of Benson. It was a long drive through some very deserted country to reach the monument. We found some wonderful rock formations that evolved from eroded volcanic rock. When we got up to around 6000', we found some snow up in the mountains and Bill hit Cathy with a snowball. After Larry and Nancy dropped us off, we took a dark walk up Route 80 to Galleanos Restaurant in Benson. It was about 2.5 chilly miles each way. We had surprisingly good dinners for a total of $25. We arrived home safely without being hit by a car or truck or being mugged and enjoyed a short night of TV. As Bill was close to sleep, Cathy accidentally knocked our thermometer console off of its shelf onto Bill's about-to-be-annoyed head.
Bill took the RV to Beaudry Chevrolet for an oil change while Cathy did our laundry on Monday morning. Afterward, we concentrated on finding hidden spaces to pack things in and to optimize our packing plan for the RV. In late morning, Larry and Nancy picked us up. We paid for a tank of diesel fuel for their truck to help to pay for all of the driving that they are and will be doing partly on our behalf. We headed for Tucson. There are an incredible number of old Air Force and Navy fighters, bombers, and cargo planes in one area of Tucson. We went to a great sandwich shop, Beyond Bread, for lunch. Larry discovered that it had Wi-Fi so I got on my laptop after lunch and processed email and uploaded photos. Then we went to Sabino Canyon, which is filled with Saguaro Cactus and interesting rock formations. The sun had gone down by the time we returned to the RV. We cooked in and watched our new DVD, "Collateral". We found it a very good film.
Tuesday was a day for last details. We began with some weightlifting. Then we drove to the RV parts store and bought a spare sewer hose, a new water filter, and some replacement and spare lightbulbs for indoors. Next, we filled the RV with propane at the I10 RV Park in Benson. We did some last shopping at Safeway to fill our stocks. We went back to Tombstone to walk and see more of the town. We ate a good, cheap lunch at the OK Cafe. Then we went to the OK Corral show building and bought tickets for the events. We saw the Historama presentation of the history of Tombstone. Then we walked around the OK Corral and visited the Fly Photo Studio Museum. Finally, it was time for the 2:00 PM Gunfight Show. It was a pretty good re-creation of the shootout. The wind began to howl as the show went on. We went over to the Tombstone Epitaph office for a free reprint of a newspaper from 1881. Then we walked out the other side of town and visited Boot Hill. We headed back to San Pedro RV Park during late afternoon to take care of some more details. We viewed the "Collateral" special features during dinner.