This is a collection of pictures that tells the story of our trip
via Albuquerque to Bisbee, AZ through photos and captions. We spent a
month in Bisbee and visiting various parts of southeastern Arizona.
After leaving there in February we stopped in San Antonio, TX and
Orange Beach, AL before continuing to Florida: first Lantana for a
family wedding, then Clearwater to visit friends. We had a great time
and saw parts of the country that were new to us. Click on any title to
browse the pictures in that set! Where appropriate,
a link to the relevant website is included within the description. (And these pictures will
open into a larger version in a new window if you want a better look.)
We left home December 30 and took 2 days to get to Albuquerque
where we spent a couple of days before finishing up the journey. This
section includes some scenes from on the road,
and our day and a half in Albuquerque. We celebrated the New Year with
a trip with a ride up to Sandia Peak on the Tramway. It was beautiful in the snow and ice!
We arrived in Bisbee on January 3, found our cottage easily and
made a grocery trip. This segment of the photos includes activities
from the whole month we were there: walks around town, some hikes up
the Bisbee hills, visits to the
"neighborhoods" of Bisbee (Lowell, Warren, San Juan) and some shorter
visits to other nearby places that didn't warrant a separate section.
Those include a visit to the ghost town of Fairbank, the monastery at
St. David and a scary (though you can't really tell from the pictures)
trip to the top of Montezuma Pass. We also had a visit from friends and
enjoyed a concert featuring Dolan Ellis.
One of the great things about Bisbee is that Whitewater Draw
is only about 20 minutes away. From our point of view, Whitewater
Draw's claim to fame is that thousands of sandhill cranes winter there.
We are told the numbers were way down and the pond was much smaller
than in the past, but it was still amazing to us. Twice a day huge
flocks of cranes fly in and out as they seek food. So if we arrived
around 11:30 am or so
it would be very quiet - that's when I would wander around and get
photos of the ducks and some of the other birds in the area. Then you
would hear the approaching cranes before
you saw them - what a ruckus! It was great fun to watch them fly in in
groups and find a place to settle down. They have an interesting way of
landing! We went back 3 or 4 times in the course of our month there.
San Pedro House and Murray Springs Clovis Site are both part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
along the San Pedro River - we visited them on January 7, then later
went back to San Pedro House for another brief visit because we were
driving right by it. You can read/download a Brochure
on the area with a small map of the various sites. San Pedro House has
a small visitor center/ gift shop, a
nice picnic area and loads of bird feeders. There are also trails - we
walked down to the (mostly dry) river. The Murray Springs site is an
archeological dig, though we were disappointed that there wasn't
much to see there. What we did find, though, were wild horses - one of
them attached herself to John and followed us over the whole trail,
stopping whenever he did!
We took a day trip on January 11 to Kartchner Caverns.
There is an entry fee to the park but it is waived if you have campsite
or cave tour reservations. What a neat place! Unlike other caves we've
toured, here they have gone to great lengths to keep the caves in a
natural state. There are air lock doors to prevent outside air from
getting in, you can only enter as part of a tour group (to minimize
chances for damage) and you cannot take photos. So I don't have
"inside" pictures but it was definitely worth the
tour! (We took the Throne Room-Rotunda tour.) The visitor center is
very nicely done and had a great deal of information about the history
and geology of the caves, as well as the requisite gift shop. The Bat
Cave Café had a nice selection of lunch items and drinks at a
reasonable cost. After lunch we hiked the 2.5 mile Foothills Trail Loop
- we do have pictures of that!
The Petroglyph Discovery Trail is also part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area along the San Pedro River. You can read/download a Brochure
on the area with a small map of the various sites. On January 13 we set
off for the Millville-Petroglyph trail. The trailhead is at the
Millville parking area, 1/4 mile east of the Charleston Road Bridge
over the San Pedro River, midway between Tombstone and Sierra Vista. It
takes you to the ruins of Millville and the Gird Silver Mill (that
processed the ore dug in Tombstone)
and then to a "rock art" area where you can see some petroglyphs if you
are persistent. About 2.5 miles total on a well-marked trail.
January 17 was our Chiricahua
day. We stopped first at Massai Point to get the lay of the land from
the viewpoint and to do the short nature trail. We had brought lunch
and plenty of water so next tackled the "moderate" 3.4 mile Echo Canyon
Loop. (You can see our route here.)
We started down Echo Canyon Trail, then turned onto Hailstone Trail and
finally back UP
to the parking area along Ed Riggs trail. It was amazing. Every few
steps was a new view that needed a new picture! I had a hard time
paring down my collection of photos to a reasonable sample! We stopped
for lunch about half way. On the way back out along
Bonita Canyon Drive, we stopped at the pulloffs for the marked views -
but I thought what we saw on the hike was much more inspiring!
Another fun day trip on January 19. The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is part of the Nature Conservancy and Paton House
is now run by the Audubon Center. We had a nice hike in the preserve
(where I saw a vermilion flycatcher for the first time - yes there's a
picture), a great lunch at the Gathering Grounds in town, then spent
some more time watching the birds at the Paton House.
another Nature Conservancy site, was our destination
on January 22. We chatted with the volunteer in the visitor center and
she suggested that we go on past the bounds of the conservancy into the
adjacent Coronado National Forest and then into the Miller Peak
Wilderness Area to a nice little waterfall. We followed her advice and
were delighted - such a pleasant place to just sit for a bit!
On January 25 we ventured further, up to Tucson, to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
I think this was possibly my favorite place! It's part zoo, part museum
and part botanical garden. Volunteer docents were scattered throughout
the area with various birds (tethered) to show us up close and answer
questions anyone had. There was a whole hummingbird "house" which,
surprisingly, didn't make it easier to capture photos! There were many
for the various residents and it was very well-kept and interesting. My
favorite part was the raptor free flight demonstration - several
varieties of owls and hawks were brought out - untethered - to show off
for us. Some were solitary hunters and others (Harris's Hawks) hunted
Of course, it was feeding time, so they had motivation to go after the
lures that were used! Besides the animals there is a large collection
of plants and minerals and fossils. It made for a very interesting and
which we visited on January 27, is a National Wildlife Refuge. It seems
odd that, in dry Arizona, it was originally established to protect
species of Yaqui fish. While we enjoyed our hike, we didn't come across
The trail is about 2 miles and goes through various habitats:
riparian-scrub, desert grassland and desert scrub. At the end (well, it
was where we stopped) there is an old abandoned mine and ruins of a
Going into our last week in Arizona, on January 30, we planned another all-day hike at the Cochise Stronghold
in the Coronado National forest. We started at the Eastern Campground
and took the Cochise Indian Trail about 2.5 miles up to the Stronghold
The trail continues on down into the Western Canyon but that would have
required coming back up... we thought that stopping half way (5 miles
round trip) was wiser! There was also a short Nature Trail at the
campground that we walked through when we returned. The item of
interest there was an acorn woodpecker who I
caught with an acorn in its mouth! He tried to hide but if you look
sharp, you can see him in the last picture.
The San Bernardino Refuge
was our last trip from Bisbee. It stretches all the way to the Mexican
border and we read about watching for illegal activities. They have
locked up the gates so that you can't drive into it, adding another
mile to the hike since you have to walk from the road. Sure enough, we encountered "suspicious activity" while we were still walking along the
road into the refuge! In the distance we could see a couple walking up
from the overlook - the male immediately turned and went back south,
the female came forward and met us on
the road. She used some story about getting turned around and needing
directions. But it was clear that her job was to direct us away. That
was fine with me - I didn't want to walk into anything dangerous! So we
took the left turn (where she said she had seen a family of javelinas),
did not take her picture, and avoided the Overlook spur until the end
of the day.
This was also the first place we had visited that was patrolled (well,
except for the border check points on all the major highways). There
were some Fish and Wildlife Service "rangers" in a truck that passed us
twice. They actually stopped the second time, noticing John's
collection of wood pieces, and reminded us that "all plants, wildlife,
and cultural features are legally protected." I actually found their
presence reassuring since, as far as I could tell, we were the only
non-suspicious people in the area. Anyway, we walked down to the
(mostly dry) riverbed, had our lunch and completed the loop, going by
the new ponds that are being created. Before we left, I did walk down
to the Overlook - by then
there was no one else around!
After we left Bisbee, we spent February 3-4 in San Antonio. Our "find" for that visit was the McNay Art Museum.
It was (relatively) easy to get to, plenty of free parking, only
charged $5 admission and was delightful! We saw Calder sculptures and
mobiles, numerous paintings, sketches and a sculpture by Picasso, a
Pissarro and representative paintings of almost every period and
country. The building itself was quite impressive as well.
We spent all morning at the McNay then went downtown to find lunch at
Market Square and stroll along the Riverwalk. Definitely a good stop to
break up our long trip.
The next night we spent in Baton Rouge and in the morning headed up
to Amite. This is where Naomi (John's mother) spent her childhood
summers, with her maternal grandmother. We drove around the area a bit
then went to the cemetary where we did, indeed, find
numerous Alford's who are on the family tree. We found a couple of
Holtons (her mother was a Holton) but not names we recognized. We had
lunch in Slidell, then went on into Mississippi. Somewhere between
there and Orange Beach we visited a lovely
little area where we walked for an hour or so - near a bayou and there
were buildings there (but I have no pictures of them).
Update: I'm pretty sure this was the Bayou Lacombe
Center - part of Big Branch Marsh NWR. In cleaning out the van (yes, over a year later!), I ran across
some more brochures, including one for Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges. In comparing various
pictures (the old cemetary, the old house with green shutters, the little fountain and the beautiful camellia gardens, I'm quite sure that it was the
Bayou Lacombe Gardens we were walking through! The Visitor Center itself was closed when we were there so we missed that part, but the trails and flowers
Originally, this was supposed to be a fun beach stop.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and it was cloudy and
rainy for both days! We did have a chance to walk the
beach and the Best Western Tides where we stayed was very comfortable
and served an awesome breakfast. We visited a laundromat during one of
the downpours and had some good seafood dinners, but didn't really get
taste of what it must be like in nice weather!
Our final destination was Florida! The first night we stayed in
Ormond Beach at a Quality Inn that definitely doesn't get raves. But it
was on the beach and we were only there overnight. We had a great
supper at Hull's Seafood Market.
know it's good when the line is halfway down the block! Finally we
arrived in Lantana, FL where Jenna and Wayne were getting married. We
stayed at the Barefoot Mailman
motel which was charming! We could walk all over town, to the beach,
preserve, many restaurants. The wedding was beautiful; I was glad we
had booked an extra day so we had time to visit and catch up with
family members. Finally, we crossed the state to Clearwater where we
were able to spend some more time with
friends. Mostly we just visited at their condo, but we did go off to Honeymoon Island
one afternoon. A nice place to walk the beach and then trails through
the wooded area, too. After 3 nights there, we headed home. No more
adventures, just driving! When we got home, we had one week before the
move so we didn't really have time to "play" along this leg.
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