Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Patagonia to Bisbee

Driving through Southeastern Arizona you are struck with amazing grasslands.  Did you know the movie "Oklahoma" was filmed here?  Neither did I.  Unfortunately I didn't take pix.  sigh

We took a backroad to Bisbee from Sonoita which the AAA map said would go through but turned into gravel so we had to unhook, turn around and rehook the toad.  Fortunately, my model railroad operating skills were handy here in figuring out the best way to do it in a narrow road.

Our new "detour then took us, so the sign said, to Fort Huachuca.  We thought the city, but nooooo, the back gate to the military installation.  Gulp.  We smiled at the guards and asked if we could just pass through.  "Show me some ID" she said, upon which we produced our Driver's licenses.  She eyed me again.  I took off my sunglasses and smiled. (Thinking, I am not a terrorist am I?).  The guards allowed us through.  "Just stay on main road and you will find main gate.  Little did they know.....

We drove until we came to a round about and saw the sign to main gate.  But Jeeves, our GPS wanted us to go straight through so we did.  Second big mistake.  (first was trusting the AAA map for back roads).  We kept driving but came to a blocked road.  Some event was being set up for motorcycle jumps so the east gate was closed.  What to do?  Jeeves couldn't find main gate.  do we retrace?  first we have to get turned around.  not easy sometimes.  In process we asked some soldiers.  "Gee we aren't allowed off base so we don't know."  Oh great, then after a little conference he told us some directions which we tried but ended up in a dead end.  another turn around. We thought we saw a frontage road down past the main blocked road so we went back down there.  Picture a big motorhome towing a jeep just driving around the base with impunity.  We kept expecting the MP's to come haul into the brig at any moment.  Never happened though.

We made the frontage road and proudly drove to east gate only to find it closed (again for the aforementioned motorcycle demo). but, as we drove past, we spied a sign that said Main gate to the right.  Another turn around.  Yep, this appears to be the correct route.  following a couple other cars who did the same thing, we finally made it out of the main gate and were on the correct road!  Whew.

We drove 6 miles out of Sierra Vista to San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area along the San Pedro river where we stopped for lunch and explored a little.  After lunch we continued to Bisbee.  What was originally planned as a 2 hour leisurely trip turned into 4.5 hours of wrong turns and turnarounds but still it was fun.

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