Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alone in Arizona

Another couple-a hundred miles westward brought us into Arizona, to Kartchner Caverns State Park, south of the town of Benson. We needed to be within a reasonable drive of Tucson, from where Nancy would fly home the following morning. This left me on my own for the next 10 days. At first I was concerned that I would have trouble filling the time, as it was the first time I've been on my own out here on the road without also keeping moving. As it turns out, I've been very busy.

It started out as you might expect: with mountain biking. I found a trail system outside of Tucson called Fantasy Island, and went out the next day to experience it. I found it to be a fun tangle of single-track laid out in a lumpy rectangle of land sandwiched between a residential neighborhood and an air force base. The trail made the most of the terrain which did not feature any real elevation change, but was almost entirely vegetated with many different varieties of cacti. No room for error - veer a little off-trail and spend the next 20 minutes plucking cactus spines from your flesh! Thankfully, I made no errors!

It was a beautiful place with a backdrop of mountains:

The next day I took the dogs to the vet, and the previous post decribes just how well that turned out...

That, and the news that our friends the Lawrences would fly down the next week to visit, made it make sense to stay put at the state park until the end of the month. This way we'd still be near Tucson and its airport, and also have attractions like the park's own caverns, the town of Tombstone, and good bike trails within a reasonable drive. So, I made arrangements to move to a better campsite for the duration.

The sunrises are spectacular here:

And there are good hiking trails up into these mountains:

On one hike I came across an abandoned mine high in the hills overlooking the valley and the campground. I clambered up and in to get this photo:

Kinsey came back home ater just one night at the vet. She's better off here, for sure, but doesn't do much but sleep and recover from the horror of her poisoning. Here she is sleeping while Toby keeps watch:

Kinsey couldn't really participate in any activites, as she is struck with blindness as another maddening side effect of her overdose. Although her eyesight is expected to recover, it does, as you would expect, severely hamper her ability to move and interact with her surroundings. So, she slept in the Whale or in Gigantor while Toby and I did hikes, or while I did chores like change all the grease seals on the trailer wheels. You may recall that last fall I did this for the first time and discovered that three out of four seals had failed, contaminating the brake assemblies with grease. This time I am happy to report that there were no failures, and all four brakes are in excellent condition.

On one of our outings we drove east to an area called Texas Canyon which has amazing rock formations:

And I scoped out another riding spot down in Sierra Vista called Brown Canyon:

Shortly the Lawrences will arrive, which I look forward to, and then Nancy will also come back to me, and we'll have lots of adventures here in the desert.

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