Monday, December 08, 2008


Max got me up at 1 a.m. for a doggy wee wee & the weather had me up again around 5:30. Wind gusts were rocking the rig from side to side & at dawn's first light we could see how black the sky's were over the mountain ridge to our north. The thunder, lightning, & rain started coming down hard & then became louder as the hail began hitting the roof. I figured right away that what I was really hearing was the end of our solar panels as they were being shattered into thousands of pieces. I rushed outside & immediately noticed the hail was not the large & rock hard stuff we get in Ontario sometimes so our solar panels we're going to be ok. The storm didn't last long & the winds began to subside as the sun began breaking through the parting clouds. A rainbow appeared over to-ward the northern mountain range. All was well in paradise again:)) A RAINBOW AFTER THE STORM

By 8:30 we were scurrying quickly through the campground & across the parking lots heading for the Discovery Center & hopefully the first cave tour of the day. We made it with minutes to spare as the park ranger tour guide & his assistant were just loading 3 other people onto some little tractor pulled carts. Because no cameras are allowed in the caverns I felt I had left a part of me back in the motorhome. We were very fortunate to be part of such a small group because tour groups usually consist of 20 people. And the biggest bonus..... no screaming & hollering school bus tours. A short 3 minute uphill drive had us at the outside entrance point of Kartchner Cavern's Rotunda & Throne room. We were given very detailed instructions on the do's & don'ts of our impending tour. They are EXTREMELY sensitive about protecting these caves from any harm or contamination of any kind. We were even instructed on how to properly carry our coats if we should decide to remove them once inside the cavern. Four heavy duty steel doors made sure outside air would never enter inside. Temperature in the area this morning was about 50F & as we entered through the last steel door the cavern temperature was 70F. Between two sets of doors we were actually sprayed with a fine mist as we walked through a section of man made tunnel. The water spray is to prevent any lint or skin particles from falling off people in the cave & contaminating the cavern. You now understand why I capitalized the word......... EXTREMELY!!

Our tour guide was an older man who has been a ranger here at the Kartchner Caverns for the past 10 years. It was very obvious he loves his job & his primary focus has been to protect these caverns. An excellent guide who explained everything with enthusiasm & dedication. The caves are beautiful & mind boggling. It was the same overwhelming feeling we experienced when we toured the Carlsbad Caverns a couple of years ago. The Kartchner tour lasted 50 minutes & culminated in the Throne Room with the majestic 58 foot Kubla Khan column. A 5 minute light show with accompanying music rounded out the very well conducted tour. Sure wished I could have taken my camera in there................................ A PAINTING OF KUBLA KHAN

A year ago at this time while staying at Hickiwan Trails over near Why, Arizona we met another RVing couple, Bea & Herb. We met them again up in Quartzite the following month & since then have kept in touch via email & Facebook. Bea & Herb hail from Aberta , Canada & like to spend their winters traveling in the American Southwest. Our paths crossed again when we rolled into this area yesterday. Bea & Herb had stumbled across a quiet little place a few years ago that just happens to be a Monastery with full RV hook up sites. Anyone can come here regardless of religion & there is no pressure from the people living here to change anyone's religious views . The Holy Trinity Monastery is located just south of St. David, Arizona which was just a 20 minute drive from our campground at Kartchner. St. David is about 8 miles south of Benson Az. LADY OF GUADALUPE CHURCH
Nice to see Bea & Herb again & we all set off on a mile walk around the back property of the Monastery which leads through a woods alongside the San Pedro river. Stopped to look at some machinery that shakes the husks off the pecans. Pecans are a big industry in this area. Pecan orchards everywhere. The path led through some heavy thickets & open fields bringing us in a large circle back to the main part of the Monastery. Walked through the cemetery & stations of the cross area to the Lady of Guadalupe church. Always so nice to see this southwestern architecture with it's heavy use of adobe & wood. Church & grounds were very nice & we even got to fill our pockets with pecans in the pecan orchard. Didn't see many people though so I guess they were all inside somewhere. Our walk took us about an hour & a half & it was good exercise for our legs. Back to Bea & Herb's rig for some pecan pie & egg nog ice cream. All & all, a pleasant way to spend an afternoon with some nice fellow RVing folks. After a short stop in Benson for some gas & groceries we were back to our rig by 4:30 & that was about it for our day. Thought I would take a chance & try out the Park's shower facilities & see if they were scrimping on their hot water here too. Well, was I pleasantly surprised when turning on the shower tap to see steaming hot water coming out. Within seconds I had the water so hot in there I melted all the shower tiles!! Stayed in there so long 112 shouting people lined up beating on the door!! Had it been a coin operated shower I would have had to go to a bank for a loan!! And, if I don't end this blog right now I'm going to fall asleep at the keyboard again & fall right off the chair onto the floor!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


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