Fort Bowie National Historic Site

A few years back I visited the Chiricahua National Monument for a hike while staying at a RV park in Wilcox, AZ. Also planned that day was to visit Fort Bowie just up the mountain but the 8 miles of washboard dirt road scared me away. I had even purchased the lapel-pin while in the Chiricahua Visitor’s Center (I collect them from all National Parks) prior to the failed attempt. I have carried the guilt of having the pin without actually visiting the site ever since …
Fort Bowie was a 19th-century outpost of the United States Army located in southeastern Arizona near the present day town of Willcox, Arizona. The remaining buildings and site are now protected as Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Wikipedia
Since the group (Aluminarium, @asolojourner, and myself) are camped only a few short miles from Fort Bowie it was a day-one destination for us all. We piled into a single truck – more capable then my van of handling the washboard road – and quickly arrived at the Fort Bowie National Historic Site trailhead… yes, trailhead. We still had another 1.5 miles of hiking ahead of us before we got to the Fort itself. I do not know why but I had always envisioned the road to lead us directly to the Fort. Just clueless I guess, but luckily the four of us were packed and ready for a hike, so we set out the way of the tramp… on foot.
The trail brought us past multiple sites that had to do with the Fort (Overland Mail route, Apache Spring) and the battles fought with the local Apache Indians (Cemetery, site of Battle of Apache Pass), each with plaques to educate us in each lesson. This also broke the 1.5 mile hike into small segments with sites-to-be-seen every quarter mile or so. A nice way to setup a trail if you ask me.
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When we arrived at the Fort itself, the Visitor’s Center was full of artifacts and photos of the time and more educational plaques. In the corner, a chest of replica era-specific clothes were there for the “young adults” to try… so we did. Finally we set out to see the sights of the Fort before hiking back to the truck and much needed happy-hour drinks.
Above image credit – Aluminarium

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A week in the Tombstone desert

I have spent this past week boondocking not far out of Tombstone, Arizona. Even though I have been in this area multiple times in recent years, it has become something of a tradition to pop in here for at least one week when I am in Southern Arizona.

This year I had decided to hit a couple of the landmarks that I had missed in years past. Most prominent was my failure to visit the Coronado National Memorial which commemorates the first organized expedition into the Southwest by conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. It was a quick visit to the park, stopping into the Visitor’s Center and driving up to the Montezuma Pass Overlook where there is one heck-of-a view…

IMG_2325I was going to hike into the Coronado Cave but the park map gave me the wrong place to start the hike and I was no longer in the mood to drive back to it’s proper location. Next time…

I woke early each of the next few days just to revisit some of the places I had visited in the recent past. Mainly these were just good reasons to wake up well before my work day and get outside. On one morning I hiked out to Brunckow’s Cabin which is purported to be the “bloodiest cabin in Arizona history”.

On another morning Moose and I adventured out to the ghost town of Charleston, AZ located on the west bank of the San Pedro River. I had visited here back in 2013, but even so I found a new area of the town that I had not explored before. Moose enjoyed the roughly 2 mile hike more than you could imagine. He has grown so much in the past year and a half, venturing further from me when off-leash then I am comfortable with. To prove his maturity he returns when I whistle each time with that big puppy  smile.

IMG_2327IMG_2332 IMG_2337 IMG_2350And as a grand finale, on the final night camping here I ventured into Tombstone, which I had visited in the past, for a night on the town. This means I had the choice of one of two bars open past sunset as the entire tourist town shutters up pretty early. I ate a mediocre burger at the Crystal Palace Saloon where karaoke was the entertainment choice of the night. It was sad unfortunately, with the dozen or so patrons just not making much of a “party” in the huge dining area. So I chose to mosey on over to Big Nose Kate’s Saloon which had a live band, scantily dressed waitresses (so did Crystal Palace to be honest) and a lot bigger crowd. A few drinks – and songs – later my night, and time in the Tombstone area, was complete.

Photo Feb 27, 9 55 12 PM Photo Feb 27, 9 21 43 PM

This week in blog-term memory

I got to thinking – after seeing Kelly Puccio’s TimeHop posts on Facebook – what was I doing this week last year? How about 2 or 3 years ago? If I held my bread and tapped my shoes… well I still couldn’t remember. Thankfully, I have this blog that has worked as my long term memory for some time now.

1 year ago

Roper Lake State Park
Roper Lake State Park

Having just left The Tombstone area I stumbled onto a deal in Wilcox, AZ (where I will be passing through next week in fact) and purchased 10 pounds of chicken breast even though my freezer can only hold 2 breasts at a time. Needless to say, I ate a lot of chicken this week 1 year ago. On my way North, where I though my next destination would be Roosevelt Lake, I came across Roper State Park, where I camped for a night.

2 years ago

It was a long ride

I left the Phoenix area, where I was hanging out with my Sister and Brother In-law, and began my Northern migration. Not making it too far north of Phoenix that first day, I stopped at Cave Creek Regional Park where I did my first ever proper mountain biking ride on the 6 mile long ‘Go John Trail’. I can still feel the pain in my rump…

3 years ago

I was doing nothing exciting; just sitting in Sutter Creek, California visiting my Mother and Aunt.




Van-berry muffins

IMG_2361With it being a cold and gloomy day in Arizona, I had to find another way to occupy myself between work periods. I could have read a book, or watched a movie, but I had the urge to bake instead.

Sure, my version of baking is not baking-proper as my limited storage prevents me from storing the necessary items to bake anything from scratch, but for a van-dweller any time we get to turn on an actual oven it means there is some hardcore food preparation going on. So I set out to bake the only item I had in my stores; Blueberry Muffins, which were quickly renamed to Van-berry Muffins.

IMG_2363One may think I do not have the correct tools for such a homely task, but this van-dweller has been around the block a few times already. The mixing bowl, rubber spatula, and even the muffin pan were thought out years ago. You may be surprised what I have in the van… in fact the phrase “I got that in the van” escapes my lips many times more often than you may think, some times to the annoyance of the person lacking such an item.

IMG_2364With my recently purchased Camp Chef Oven it took no time at all to have my muffins cooking away for the prescribed 14-17 minutes at 425 degrees. And only 22 minutes after inserting the muffins into the oven (I had forgotten to monitor the temp) I had beautifully cooked Van-berry Muffins, and a much warmer van to boot.


San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

IMG_2316I have visited the San Pedro National Conservation Area once before in 2011 during my first adventures in boondocking thanks to the McCarrell’s offering up their land to me back then. Since then I have been in the area just about every winter, but have only just decided to revisit San Pedro. What was once an 1800’s ranch is now a 57,000 acre conservation area for wildlife including some 84 species of mammals, 14 species of fish, 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 100 species of breeding birds.

IMG_2310 Continue reading San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Full-timing in a van while exploring the country