Chris' Genty

Chris' Genty

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo, NM

Rodeo, NM is a very small village, but a little outside is the Chiricahua Desert Museum and Gift Shop. The private museum is nicely set up with everything related to reptiles. Books, stamps, snake venom treatments and even an entire exhibition case full of (mostly empty) wine and beer bottles, all related to snakes in one way or another. In a separate room are two dozen terrariums with a collection of live reptiles. For a donation of $3 it was all mine for half an hour.

Some photos can be seen here.

31.9285N    109.0392W    4161 ft

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chiracuha National Monument, AZ

Today's trip was a 100 mile round trip over the Chiracuha Mountains to the Chiracuha National Monument.

I started this trip late morning. The first part was on a local, but paved road to Portal, AZ. Since the road I wanted to take was closed due to construction, I took the Foothills dirt road to the north, then turned to a smaller dirt road towards Paradise, then a rough mountain dirt road over the mountains. At Onion Saddle at 7800 ft I reached the High point of the day. The same dirt road continued on the other side of the mountain downhill to the Chiracuha National Monument. The roads in the park are paved.

The dirt roads from Portal all the way over the mountains were in pretty good condition and did not even request 4x4. A high clearance though was necessary for the washes and the steep grades, where rain usually damages the road. The road was winding and in some places narrow, but never a problem. Most of this trip was in the Coronado National Forest (no private land after Paradise) which covers most of the public land in the southeast of Arizona.

The visitors center in the Chiracuha National Monument is very small and there were only a few visitors in the park. Mostly smaller RVs and cars with RVers (you could tell because most of them had towing equipment mounted). This park is way of the beaten track. The nice paved road goes all the way to the view points at Sugarloaf, Echo Canyon and Massai Point (6870 ft). The park is also called the "Land of Standing Up Rocks" because of the rock pinnacles which can be seen everywhere. More information about the park is here.

While the drive to here was 2.5 hours, I took the direct route back to Onion Saddle, but then straight down to the paved road leading to Portal and back to Rodeo. (80 min). On the way back I even saw a couple of deer grazing on the wrong side of the road.

A bunch of photos can be seen here.

31.9285N    109.0392W    4161 ft

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trip to Rodeo, NM

Todays trip was a 121 mile ride via Tombstone and Bisbee to Douglas (the most southern city in AZ). From Douglas AZ-80 turned north again on the eastern side of the Pendregosa Mountains. The ride continued with a stop at the Geronimo Surrender Memorial in Apache, AZ to Rodeo, NM.

At Rusty's RV Ranch near Rodeo I settled at a 200 ft long site with full hookups for $12 + tax with Passport America. What a deal ! This park has only 40 sites but they are all huge pull throughs. At the happy hour outside of the office with Rusty, the owner and her parents, who are helping her to run the RV park I already met a few of the residents. A very familiar atmosphere for sure.

This area is well known for sky gazers and birders. Some of those activities will be on my plan for the following days, although I am not a sky gazer nor a birder, but it never hurts to learn something new. On the program is also a visit to the Chiricahua National Monument in the Chiricahua Mountains, which are part of the 306° view I have from my site.

A few photos of the trip are here.

31.9285N 109.0392W 4161 ft

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bisbee, AZ and Queen Mine Tour

After watching "Meet the press" (well it's Sunday - it's Meet the press) - I drove the scenic way via Tombstone, Mule Pass and Tunnel to the little town of Bisbee. I did not know much about it, just that it is an old mining town and now a retirement place since the climate is very mild around the year.

I had a reservation for the noon tour at the Queen Mine. There were about 40 people between 2 and 90 waiting for the tour. First we were dressed up by helpful guides. A hard hat, a yellow rain jacket, belt and lamp had to be put on. An old "train" which looked (and probably was) a leftover of the good old mining days was our transportation vehicle into the mine. We entered the mine through a horizontal shaft about 1500 feet into the mine, where we listened to our guide, an old miner who spent all his working life in mines. Even some of the Americans had a hard time understanding what the guy said, but what I understood was interesting. More information about the mine can be found in the above links or elsewhere online.

After returning the equipment at the end of the tour, I went to the Lavender Pit, an open copper mine which was operated by Phelps Dodge Corporation and produced from 1950 until 1974 86 million tons of copper ore or 600'000 tons of copper together with some gold and silver as byproducts.

I parked the car in town and walked around the historic district, besides the museum and the visitors center mainly souvenir shops, galleries and restaurants.

Some photos of Bisbee, the tour, the pit and historic downtown can be found here.

31.72203N 110.2268W 4047 ft

Sierra Vista, AZ

Today was a nice day again. Temperature in the low 70's with a clear sky. In the afternoon I drove to Sierra Vista and did some shopping. They have a nice pretty new shopping mall. I did some shopping at the mall, at Target and grocery shopping at Fry's, where I could use some of my points at their gas pump.

Here is a picture of the huge site at Tombstone Territories RV park, where I am staying until Tuesday.

31.72203N 110.2268W 4047 ft

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tombstone, AZ

I spent all morning on some paperwork for the project in Switzerland. But at noon I had to go out. Since I am only about 10 miles from famous Tombstone away, I had to pay a visit here. Tombstone (The Town too Tough to Die) was very busy with tourists from everywhere buying western stuff and Indian jewelry at excessive prices.

I asked one of the "Marshals" (with guns and everything around his waist) what's the best in Tombstone, he mentioned the "Bird Cage Theatre" was a must see. Well off I went there. For a little contribution of $10 minus $1 senior discount I did a "self guided tour" in this old building which was a saloon, gambling hall, brothel and who knows what else in the old days. Lots of artifacts were stacked up in low light. The best part was the poker room nicely set up with the old cards, coins and chips.

I consider this town a "tourist trap", but many others don't and that's OK (good for them).

Back at the RV park, I tried to extend may stay, but my space is already reserved so they had me moving to another site - no big deal, just packing up everything and installing it again.

There are still a few photos here.

31.72203N 110.2268W 4047 ft

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farmers Market in Sierra Vista

After doing some paperwork for the project in Switzerland I went to Sierra Vista to mail some stuff home. Then a short visit to the Farmers market in Sierra Vista. Not too exiting though.

In the afternon I made a nice one hour walk in the desert behind the RV park  (got to loose some weight - ya know)

There as some photos here.

31.72257N 110.226W 4040 ft

New Shoutbox

There is a new shoutbox after the last blog entry. If you want to "shout" please enter your name and text (150 char max). Have fun.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Huachuca City, AZ

Left Diamond J before noon. After shopping and refueling at Fry's headed east early afternoon. In Mountain View I decided to take the scenic route, first south on 83 then east on 82. Nice ride first through desert, then grassland mixed with desert and later grassland with a few yuca.

Near Huachuca City I settled at Tombstone Territories RV Resort where I will stay for a few days. This RV park is in the middle of nowhere, but has huge Pull Through sites and they honor Passport America.

In the evening there was a concert with Johnny Bencombo singing and playing his 18 string guitar. Was very good.

31.72257N 110.226W 4040 ft

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tucson Mountain Park

My site at Justin's Diamond J RV Park borders directly to the desert. This area is part of the protected Tucson Mountain Park. There is also a complete trail system called "The Cederlund Trail System". That is where I spent a couple of hours today hiking along some of these trails. There are all kind of cacti in this beautiful Sonora desert.

More pictures can be seen here.

For dinner they had a guy coming in and make pizza all you can eat for $5 - pretty good price and the pizzas were excellent.

32.18432N 111.1517W 2447 ft

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Since it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press (NBC) - so I had to start the day watching TV, then I read the Swiss Sunday papers online.

All afternoon I spent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, one of my favorite places. We were there last year and it was worth to go there again.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a combination of Zoo, History Museum, Desert-showcase and botanical garden with hiking trails. This time the hawks were out and I had a chance to take a few pictures.

The photos say more than words. Some of them can be seen here.

32.18432N 111.1517W 2447 ft

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saguaro National Park

I spent part of the afternoon visiting Saguaro National Park. Since I am over 62 I am entitled for a seniors pass to all national parks. This is what I got first at the visitors center.
Behind the visitors center I walked a short trail in the Javelina Wash. There were no javelinas though but lots of various cacti.

Then I drove a one-way loop through part of the park and took a few pictures. These can be found here.

32.18432N 111.1517W 2447 ft

Justin's Diamond J RV Park, Tucson, AZ

This is a nice RV park with a very attractive price. Full hookup sites go for $27. Passport America is only $16/day including everything. The park is at the border of Tucson Maountain Park which borders Saguaro National Park with lots of Saguaro cacti. I might stay here for a little longer.

More pictures are here.

32.18432N 111.1517W 2447 ft

Thursday, March 17, 2011

West of Tucson, AZ

After an early wake up and without breakfast I moved quickly to Summers Glass & Mirror Inc. A worker looked at the damage and said "no problem". He brought over some equipment and within 10 min the windshield was repaired for $20. You can hardly see the fix. Looks good to me.

I paused at a almost dead outlet center near the intersection of I-8 and I-10 and had breakfast and made a few phone calls. Then I continued my journey on I-10 direction Tucson. At Exit 246 I had the idea to do an excursion in direction of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (what I know from an earlier visit). But the road through Saquaro Natl. Park had a weight limit of 12'000 lb about a third of our weight. I found a way to get around the park. Thorough nice desert with lots of saguaro cacti on small and winding roads I found my way to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I checked the parking situation earlier by phone and was told - no problem. However there was no chance to get into the parking lot. I could not even make the turn with my 61' rig/tow combination.

Now I am at Justin's Diamond J RV Park on San Joaquin Road (with Passport America for $16/night all incl.) and will visit the Museum ant the Natl. Park during the next couple of days.

In the evening I went to the Casino del Sol where they had a poker tournament. I played one hand, put the money in good, but was outdrawn badly. Summary: drove 15 min - played one hand - drove back. Never mind.

A couple of more photos are available here.

32.18432N 111.1517W 2447 ft

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yuma to Casa Grande, AZ

I drove 170 miles today on I-8 eastwards. The temperature went up to 95F but with two open windows there was not much of a problem. Around 50 miles west of Casa Grande, I was passed by a 16 wheelers and a little rock hit my windshield. It was obvious that this caused some damage. I immediately left the I-8 and  checked the windshield. The rock chipped off a little piece of glass, but there was no crack. I decided to look for a place to spend the night and go from there. I found this place at a large open space at the intersection of 84 and 347 15 miles west of Casa Grande.

I looked up for Autoglass online and found a shop in Casa Grande who are willing to look at it tomorrow morning. The chip size is about 6mm (1/4") and there is a still very short crack developing from there. There is still hope, that this crack can be stopped.

32.8755N 112.0512W 1365 ft

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adios Yuma

Two more days in Yuma with not much to report. Had a last session in the lounger trying to get a tan for the summer. Wrapped up and cleaned the barbecue and got ready to leave.

I will leave Yuma Wednesday before noon heading east.

32.55903N 114.5814W 205 ft

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another trip to Algodones

Over the weekend I got a little pain, since the night guard I am wearing at night does not fit as well as it used to. So all the pressure from grinding teeth at night presses now on one point. I could have let it be, but I decided to go back to Algodones an have a new night guard made. The good thing about Algodones is, that it takes only a few hours for whatever you want to be done. I had to wait quite a bit at the dentist, as he was very busy today. They finally took an impression and I could go back to Paraiso for a couple of nice Margaritas. 
When I returned , the night guard was already made. This time it was a soft one, while the old one was a hard version. I am confident, that this will be much better. The trip was another opportunity to bring back another bottle of Tequila.. Cheers !

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dental work done

Today I went to Los Algodones for (hopefully) the last time for a while. Dr. Lasra had all my new teeth ready. He put them all in and had to slightly adjust them here and there. You know, in your mouth something a little high feels like high as a mountain, then you take off 1/64" and everything is fine. You know the feeling. When all corrections were done, Dr. Lasra sent the teeth back to the laboratory for polishing and I got my temporaries back. Good time for a Margarita at Paradiso, which became my local pub. Their Margaritas are huge and cost $4.

After an hour, I was back at the dentist and Dr. Lasra put the bridge and all the crowns in. We are finally done. In the meantime Dr. Lasra found out about my history as a poker player and asked me to show him some poker by handing a deck of cards to me. Good that I was a magician in my younger years, so I showed him a couple of tricks and he was happy.

Then I went back to Paradiso for another Margarita and a nice "lunch" called shrimps ranch style. A bunch of shrimps in salsa with beans and tomato rice. Pretty good actually.

Of course, I could not leave Algodones without a couple of souvenirs.

Now "home" in the Genty, I feel no pain and my denture looks pretty good again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More dental work

Not much to report earlier this week. Tuesday (03/08) I visited the farmers market in Yuma and bought a full weeks supply of fresh fruit and veggies. Since I never eat out and am on a no carb diet, I need lots of that stuff.

Yesterday (Wednesday 03/09) I had another appointment with Dr. Lastra in Los Algodones. He prepared another tooth for a crown, removed two bad (sombrero type) crowns from last year (by Dr. Zuman) and prepared for the bridge. One of the replacement crown preparations hurt so much that the Doctor and I decided to have a root canal done on that one. I had to wait only a few minutes until the endodontist showed up with his little suitcase where he kept all the stuff he needed for the root canal. By the time he was done, the temporary crowns were brought in and were mounted. After all, I was at the dentist's office (most of the time in the chair) for over four hours.

Since the line at customs was still very long, even at 5pm, I treated myself with a nice Margarita in one of the many restaurants in Algodones. I still hat to wait for another 45 min at the border, but finally made it back to the car. Still a little dizzy from all the anesthesia shot, I left the parking area without putting up my seat belts (what I usually always wear). I was on the road for less than 500 yards when I got pulled by a cop and cited for the infraction. I love California. (Between Algodones and Yuma I have to drive on California roads for a few miles and they really do know there how to get money from the few ones who still have some)

I only had some soup for dinner and during the night I woke up with heavy pain in the tooth where they did the root canal. I always thought that after killing the nerve there should be no pain, but it seems, that this is not the way it is. Tomorrow I have the next appointment with the dentist.

Today I am loosing a little more weight (never mind though) because I still cannot eat anything but pain killers. I still had the Genty and the Jeep washed and waxed today. They both look nice and shiny again.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A full week in Yuma

Saturday (2/26) I relaxed and tried to recover from the pain caused by yesterdays tooth extraction. Sunday, I felt much better already an I spent the day watching TV and reading the Swiss Sunday papers online. Late afternoon I met again with my friends Joan and Heinz at their spot at the Pueblo RV Park. I brought some fondue from Switzerland and we repeated the "Fondue-Plausch" from last year. Although we do not have a proper caquelon, we cooked the fondue in a pan and kept it warm in a crock pot. We all enjoyed it as well as the Kirsch (also from Switzerland) and the Lara (coffee liquor from Mexico).

Tuesday I had my friends over at my spot at the Southern Mesa RV park and I made a fish curry with rice and a fresh fruit salad. Another nice evening together, but unfortunately it was the last one, since my friends left Wednesday for El Centro, CA and then home to Canada. That's the life of the snowbirds. In the spring when it get hot in the desert, they fly home to Canada.

The rest of the week, I did some minor repair, maintenance jobs, cleaning, etc. Nothing special to report though.