|Historic Cochise County Courthouse in Tombstone AZ|
After leaving Roswell we continued South to Carlsbad Caverns which has long been on Mom's bucket list. The wind was really kicking up as we climbed the hill and parked on the mountaintop.
Typically there are thousands of bats in the caverns, and the Thing To Do is to wait for them at sundown at the cavern exit. But these bats don't like the cold, so most of them migrate to warmer climes as the weather cools, the few remaining hardy critters that are left hibernate deep in the caverns. All the same, it was an excellent tour. We chose to skip the flashlights and camera flash and enjoy the ambient LED lighting as laid out by the rangers, which was haunting and magical. We were very grateful for the elevator as the Big Room is almost 1000' down - a very long and steep hike.
The winds continued to grow in strength while we were touring the caverns, and we were getting slapped around on the highway so we nestled into the Guadalupe Mountains State Park and called it an early night. The site was only $8 but had no hookups so Mom got her first boondocking experience.
|Red Sunrise at the Guadalupe Mountains Campground|
The next morning's sunrise was stunning and red (you know the saying: red sky at night sailor's delight, red sky at morning sailor take warning) so we packed up and rolled quickly to get ahead of the wind. We got as far as Willcox which put us within reach of Tombstone, AZ.
|The Guadalupe Mountains were once an ancient seabed. On the other side of this mountain was beautiful white sand which looked very beachy.|
Tombstone is the home of the OK Corral shootout. Basically this gang of cowboys was runnin' their mouths and the local sheriff family of Earps didn't like it much, and it all culminated in a shootout with three cowboys dead and some injured Earps. The re-enactment was worth the $10 entrance fee. The rest of the town is as original as possible considering it's burned to the ground three times and was left abandoned for quite some time. In its heyday the town ran on silver, bordellos, and whiskey and when the silver mines flooded beyond hope most everyone simply left, the population overnight went from 10,000+ to less than 200 folks.
|Earps patrolling the main drag in Tombstone|
As I was wrestling Loretta out of her parking spot in Tombstone I jacknifed the trailer, causing damage to both the trailer and Loretta's bumper. Rrrrgh. This was followed by a sleepless night turning it over again and again in my head, thinking of all the woulda, coulda, shoulda, and what if moments that would have resulted in less damage. So here's what I've learned:
- If in doubt, get out and look.
- Ignore advice from strangers standing around - they don't have all the facts and they don't know what you/your rig need.
- Get out and look again.
The next day we continued on through Quartzsite to the Blue Water Casino in Parker, AZ and settled on the Colorado River (if you're an Angeleno this region is simply called The River as if there was no other river in the world). This location hosts an outdoor bar at the marina, an outdoor theater, a multi-level pool with slides, and a wakeboard island where a zipline-type contraption propels you and your wakeboard over the ramps. All was quiet in the off season but I'll bet it's a hoppin' place in the summertime.
|The pool playground at the Blue Water Casino Resort|
There's ugly weather ahead and ugly weather behind, so we'll wait here for a moment before launching across the Mojave Desert.