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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Faulkner's Grave or bust, part 2

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dpgerson

Pacifica, CA.

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Posted: 01/17/10 08:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At the end of part 1, I was leaving the Cottonwood/Sedona Arizona area, headed south. I decided to check out the Patagonia area. I'd been there a couple of years ago, but tire trouble forced me to head back to Tucson and then home.

Patagonia is the winter home of one of my 5 favorite authors, Jim Harrison, and an area that serves as inspiration for setting in some of his work. The nice lady at the local book store told me he might be in Monday to sign his latest collection of novellas, The Farmer's Daughter. I was cautioned that he's pretty standoffish, doesn't like to be in the public eye much. Although I would love to let him know how much his work has meant to me, the last thing I'd want is to bother him. I showed up late Monday after a hike and was told the great man had been there for 10 minutes signed some books and left saying he had to go kill his lunch (quail I assume).

Anyway, I checked in to the Patagonia RV Park, a very quiet and nice spot. Usually it's hard to get in, this area being a draw for bird hunters and watchers, but this time there was room.

[image]

Took a hike on the Canello Hills portion of the Arizona trail. Clear air and halfway warm weather made this a really pleasant hike:

[image]


anyone know what this plant is that covered several of the hillsides (it's not creosote bush, had a pleasant smell).

[image]

I crested a ridge and sat down for lunch. Ever wonder what a Collie that really wants your lunch looks like? She held this look the whole time:

[image]

The next day I tried to get to the Josephine Canyon trailhead. I say try because I didn't make it. It's probably the worst road I've ever been on in my life. The Forest Service website makes it sound like a passenger car can make it. I had a high clearance 4wd truck and never was able to go more than 1 or 2 miles an hour because of the huge rocks constantly embedded in the road, sometimes in the middle of a steep pitch. I’d finally had enough bouncing around and got out and walked. I did pass this interesting place called the Alto townsite:

[image]


The next day I loaded up and headed out. I wanted to check out the poker action at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson. I stayed in the parking lot overnight. For anybody wanting to come to the area, this is a fine place to boondock. It's nice and quiet, and there are casino restaurants a short walk away, plus 24 hour security. The casino apparently doesn't care how long you stay. I talked to folks who had been there a month or more. Some of then were fulltimers, some just parked their RV there and used it as a base to explore the area. A lot of them didn’t even set foot inside the casino.

The next day I planned to head to the Albuquerque area, but changed my mind when I heard that snow was forecast. I headed to the New Mexico bootheel instead. It's home to the Peloncillo Mountains, a special spot to me. I first found the area because it serves as the setting for Cormac Mccarthy's novel The Crossing. McCarthy is a now famous author who wrote the books that the recent movies No Country For Old Men and The Road are based on, among many other critically acclaimed stuff.

I pulled in to Rusty's RV Ranch near the town of Rodeo, NM, in a little valley between the Peloncillos and the much better known Chiracahua mountains. What a great and friendly RV park! Lots of space, dog friendly, and the nicest people you could meet. I'm there now and staying for a week because there is so much great country to explore. Here's the view that greets you of the valley as you enter:


[image]

A view out the back door in the park:

[image]

My site at the park:

[image]


On the weekend Rusty had a pot luck combined with a football playoffs viewing party. Lots of friendly people showed up. I think she does this often, maybe every weekend. It’s a nice way to meet some of the other folks in the park, most of whom stay for several weeks.

My first outing was a little east to other side of the Peloncillos and the Animas Valley. The Animas Peak looms very large over this setting and the one that McCarthy created in The Crossing, a novel that starts out telling of how a young Billy Parham captures one of the last remaining Mexican wolves in the area, and his journey into Mexico to free her there.

In real life this is a really interesting area with some of the last stands of native grasses. It was bought by the Nature Conservancy, then turned over to a group of ranchers that comprise The Animas Foundation. The foundation acts as a steward to the land. Very interesting and encouraging to me that there are ranchers that a group like the Nature Conservancy would trust to be stewards. Just goes to show that no matter how much the pundits, on both sides, tell us it’s so, the issues are rarely black and white and the same goes for the people involved. Here’s the beautiful Animas massif:

[image]


I drove south and turned right at mile post 28, on to The Geronimo Trail, which leads into the heart of the Peloncillos. I parked and hiked to the top of a rise to get a view:

[image]

[image]

I was amazed at the profusion of colors in this desert setting. In this picture you can see the turquoise and fluorescent green of the lichen on the rocks, a reddish looking grass, plus the green of the yucca. There are also a lot of Mexican Pinyons and Junipers.

[image]


Here's a link to a low quality video of the Hog Canyon area. Please excuse the heavy breathing. I had just climbed a steep pitch:

hog canyon vid

This area is a hotbed of Border Patrol activity looking for smugglers and illegals. Fortunately my puppies are on the lookout as this picture from an earlier trip shows.

[image]

On the drive out I ran into this guy:

[image]

Then finally, as I drove out of the Coronado National Forest towards the town of Douglas, AZ. on the Geronimo trail, at time I was very close to the Mexican border. Kind of a spooky feeling that wasn’t helped at all by this threatening sky. I’ve never seen clouds look quite this way and quite this foreboding:

[image]


In a couple more days I’ll be heading up to the Roswell, NM area then over to Texas and the Palo Duro Canyon. Never been there, but I feel like I know it well thanks to novels of Larry McMurty. Maybe I’ll see the ghost of Buffalo Hump or Colonel Call. Wait, they’re fictional, I think.

* This post was edited 01/17/10 09:27pm by dpgerson *


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LadyRVer

Florida

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Posted: 01/17/10 08:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful fur kids, great pics and enjoyed the write-up! Thanks for sharing.

summerhouse

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Posted: 01/17/10 09:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pictures and wonderful dialogue to go with them! Continue enjoying your time!!


“Light hearted I take to the open road… Healthy, free, the world before me… The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose.” - Walt Whitman

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 01/18/10 07:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing your exploits with such great photos and narratives.


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Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 01/18/10 07:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for posting. [emoticon]


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Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 01/18/10 11:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another reader! Which comes first for you: reading the book and deciding to go there, or the decision and then reading books set in the area? I'm more the latter, and have great fun hunting down anything from journals of early travelers to fiction and mysteries set in my target area.

Oh, and thanks for the photos, too!

c.traveler2

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Posted: 01/18/10 02:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dpgerson, very nice report with great photos. Clouds can get in some amazing formation

[image]


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TwoMaineiacs

Near Freeport, Maine

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Posted: 01/18/10 06:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We really enjoyed Palo Duro last year. Camped in the area furthest from the entrance and the ranger there warned us about the road flooding if it rained. Rained hard overnight and the concrete washes in the road had obviously flooded. It didn't look that deep and we decided NOT to put the truck into 4 wheel (manual hubs). Bad move as the red oozy mud was about 8" deep. Fortunately hauled through it and the six other washes on our way out- those in 4 wheel drive [emoticon] Fortunately found a hot water truck wash in Oklahome City down in the stock yard area and got most of the mud off. We still found it tucked into odd cracks a year later. Be careful out there!

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MrWinkey

Spokane, WA

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Posted: 01/18/10 08:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pictures!

Take a break and train one of the dogs to drive!!!!

Enjoy


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dpgerson

Pacifica, CA.

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Posted: 01/19/10 10:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tiger4x4RV wrote:

Another reader! Which comes first for you: reading the book and deciding to go there, or the decision and then reading books set in the area?


reading the book is first. It fires my imagination and makes the places so much more interesting when I finally visit. From Jim Harrison's Michigan Upper Peninsula to McCarthy's southwest borderlands to McMurty's Texas to Louise Erdrich's North Dakota to Steinbeck's Deer Isle in Travels with Charlie, I've never been dissapointed.

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