Showing posts with label KARTCHNER CAVERNS STATE PARK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KARTCHNER CAVERNS STATE PARK. Show all posts

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


Sunday, December 07, 2008



A co-worker in Clinton, Ontario once told me he gets up a 4 a.m. every morning & starts his day by reading our blog when we are traveling. Well Bruce, I'm here to tell you that I'm sometimes up at 2 a.m. just writing the darn thing. And so it was last night again. Don't know what wakes me up occasionally but when it does I'm usually beat for going back to sleep for an hour or so. It's either watch some TV or hop aboard the computer & catch up on some email, edit some photos, or start on the next day's blog.

Another cold morning so we cut our doggy walk a bit short & started packing up the rig. Had to kind of wiggle the motorhome around to clear the tight campsite & slightly re-arranged a wooden post in the process. I exited the motorhome & re-re-arranged the post back to it's original position & I was off. Kelly followed in the car & we met up at the Wal-Mart store just down the road to hook up the car. Probably the first time we were ever in a Wal-Mart parking lot without actually going into the Wal-Mart store itself. BARREL CACTUS FLOWERS

The drive heading southwest to Lordsburg on highway 90 was very scenic with hardly any traffic. Just a nice sunny quiet Sunday morning drive all the way on a gentley winding road. Picked up interstate 10 & swung our nose westward. Crossed the Arizona State line at 10:30, or 12:30 Ontario time. Most of the traffic was trucks but did notice more RV's on the road than a few weeks ago. Watched a big widespread dark cloud cover rolling in from the southwest. It's the stormfront that is expected to bring snow to northeast New Mexico to-morrow.HEADING DOWN HIGHWAY 90 INTO LORDSBURG, NEW MEXICO

We reached Kartchner Caverns State Park about 1:15 p.m. Very nice campsite & very few people here. That is always a bonus!! State Parks in New Mexico are $14 a night with electricity & water but Arizona is $22 a night. You don't want to even know what California is:((

Didn't take us long to get things set up & within one minute of turning our computer on & slipping in our Verizon air card..........WE WERE ON-LINE:))))))) If we were still using the tri-pod system I wouldn't even have had the maddening jumble of wires out of the car yet. And who knows if we would have got a good signal from the satellite because we had a heavy cloud cover over us. We know this air card isn't going to work everywhere but so far it sure beats all the hassle of physically setting up that tri-pod, dish, & arm plus all the computer stuff we had to go through to get on-line. And then you had better hope the wind didn't come up & move the dish off the satellite!! Got your note in the Shoutbox Don & we have been looking into that....thanks for the link. The only disappointment is that we can only get one channel on the television & being this close to Tucson, that has surprised us. Looks like it is a boring sports channel too:(( After a little afternoon siesta we walked over to the main visitors building here called the Discovery Center. Beautiful desert hummingbird gardens surround this superb building. A lot of money has been spent here. Very spacious & modern with lots of exhibits & a large screen theater showing a 15 minute movie explaining the caves. HOWEVER, there are two main drawbacks. First of all it is very expensive to see the caves compared to Carlsbad over in New Mexico. (to see our tour of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, go here.....
$18.95 a person to see the Rotunda/Throne room & $22 to see the Big Room here at Kartchner. Needless to say we'll be doing the Rotunda/Throne tour. The second bug-a-boo for me is....NO CAMERA'S ALLOWED IN THE CAVES!! !^**#!!(*>+**%# Couldn't believe it when I heard that!!!!!!!!! So, the only thing I can do is take a few pics around the Discovery Center.......... which I did. But, no photos of the caves themselves. I'm so mad about that I could almost go outside & spit....maybe even spit twice!!

Well, at least we've got a nice campsite. We are ringed by high hills & mountains all around & this is a really picturesque place. Another well thought out & beautiful State Park. We were really lucky to catch a beautiful sunset going down so I grabbed my camera & scrambled up on top of the motorhome to crack off a few shots. They are at the end of to-day's photo album. To-morrow morning we will take the Kartchner Cavern tour of the Throne room & then decide where we feel like going next. There is a free campground over near Benson so we might slip over there to-morrow night but not sure. Some RV friends from British Columbia that we met last year are in the area so we may get to-gether for a coffee with them to-morrow too. We'll wait & see which way the wind is blowing in the morning:))