Monday, January 4, 2010

A day full of sightseeing...

Yesterday was a long but fun day! With our friends Bonnie and Frank, we decided to hit the road and see the sights in Willcox, AZ, about 30 miles east of Benson. First stop was the Amerind Foundation museum. Founded in 1937 by a Connecticut native, William Fulton, the museum is "dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Native American cultures and their histories." The museum houses a treasure trove of Indian cultural artifacts found in and around Texas Canyon, AZ. Fulton was also committed to supporting research into North American prehistoric past.

After about an hour wandering the museum and the adjoining art gallery, we headed for the Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains, located in the Coronado National Forest. The last four miles to the stronghold was on a gravel road (similar to the road to Rattlesnake Ranch!)...I swear I'm going to have to get a whole new chassis on my car before this trip is over! The stronghold was the home to Cochise, the Chircahua Apache Chief, and about 1000 of his followers. The location of the stronghold was a good lookout point to spot approaching enemies. Cochise reached a peace agreement with the white man and lived in relative peace during his remaining years. When he died (they think it was from stomach cancer), the Apaches took his body to a deep crevise in the stronghold mountains and first killed his horse and dog and threw them into the crevice. Then they lowered Cochise's body down into the crevice. To this day, no one knows where his body lies. We took 1/2 mile hike on a well-maintained trail through the area and learned about the vegetation there.

When we were finished there, it was about 3:30 and we really wanted to see the Chiracahua National Monument, called a "Wonderland of Rocks". So we called the park and they said the Visitor's Center closes at 4:30 and we were about 45 minutes away. But they said that if we got there by 5:00, we could stay in the park as long as we wanted, and that the sunset was really spectacular and well worth the mad dash over there.
Well, we made it by 4:26 and spent 4 minutes in the visitor's center and then headed up the 6 mile drive to the top of the mountains to enjoy the sunset. And yes, it was definitely worth the trip! These rocks are balancing one on top of the other and you think that if you push them with your finger, they'll all topple over!

Once we left there, we thought we'd stop in Willcox for dinner on our way home to Benson. We found one restaurant open on Sunday night, and we sent Ed and Frank in to check it out. Well, after about 2 minutes, they came walking (very quickly) back out saying 'Start the car, start the car!'. Apparently, it was a real redneck saloon with cowboy hats, and boot spurs and oil coats...the works! We didn't want someone chasing us outta town with guns drawn! So we decided to head back to Benson and eat at a little restaurant right off the exit. was good!

Today we decided to relax before we do more sightseeing tomorrow. The 4 of us took a 3 mile hike with Emma back through the dessert behind the RV park. We really wish we had an ATV...there so many trails back there to ride! Chicken dinner at Bonnie and Frank's tonight...double mmmmmmmmm!

Love and kisses to C, J, W, J, M, A, A, K, and L!!

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