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Has it been a whole week? Acceding to fan mail clamor (actually one request from Lars), I sit down to write the latest installment of Chelan Traveler. I suppose I haven’t posted anything for a week because nothing exceptional has happened in the last week. But then, that excuse doesn’t really hold water because this blog is a study in writing about the ordinary.

Let’s see……the last thing I wrote about was the “leave-no-trace” booties we came across on our hike in Organ Pipe. From there we drove to Tucson where Mary did her obligatory run to Costco to restock our larder. The next day we drove up to the Kitt Peak National Observatory. We didn’t get to look at the stars (it being daylight) but we did get to look at the surface of the sun through a special telescope and see several solar prominences (jets of plasma), each larger than the entire Earth. Our impression of the observatory is that it needs a new coat of paint. The view of the surrounding desert, however, is awesome.

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That night it rained – a rarity in Tucson. The freebie BLM campsite looked rather forlorn in the rain:

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Tucson just didn’t hold the same allure as in years past, what with Mike and Ruby absent so we drove south to Kartchner Caverns State Park. Mary took the $22 tour but I opted to hike around the mountain. Stalactites and bat guano are like patches of asphalt to me – if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all (and the $22 admission didn’t help.)

Next it was on to Sierra Vista and nearby Fort Huachuca. Our son Nicholas was stationed there briefly during his Army years so we wanted to see where he helped make the world safe for democracy. The Army Intelligence Museum there was a must-see for us (Nick was a military intelligence specialist) but it was closed for rennovation. As a consolation we rode around the base on our bikes and saw trainees marching to and from classes, en masse, singing as they marched. Then we rode along the San Pedro River trail for about ten miles and had several of those hairy, wild pigs called javelinas run across the road in front of us.

Oh, I forgot to say that several days before the javelinas we drove to the former mining town of Bisbee. The town is crammed in several narrow gulches so I was afraid to take the trailer in there for fear of getting caught in a dead-end tight spot from which I would have to back up through town so we parked outside of town and rode our bikes in. It was the perfect way to see a cramped little town. The miners have left Bisbee and the artists (hippies) have moved in. I think I captured the ambience of Bisbee in this one photograph:

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(That flesh-colored area in the upper left it my finger holding the lens cover open – dying battery.) We also came across this stone wall which, judging by the sign painted on it, must have been the place the town drunks emptied their bladders.

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Yesterday we attempted to hike up to nearby Miller Peak, the highest mountain near Sierra Vista. It was an unfortunate day for such an outing. The wind was ferocious and a crown of black clouds shrouded the peak. After several thousand feet of ascent we were entering the snow zone and losing the sensation of touch in our fingers so we turned around. In any event, the spectacular views from the summit would have been obscured by the clouds so no big loss.

Today we drove down to the Coronado National Monument and rode our bikes up the VERY steep road to Montezuma Pass. We justified this grueling masochistic act by telling ourselves we are training for our upcoming ride of the Continental Divide Trail. The view from the pass was panoramic and since the valley below is where the explorer Francisco Coronado passed on his way to exploring much of the American Southwest in the 1540s (almost one hundred years before the Pilgrims settled Plymouth Colony!!) it was awe inspiring.

P1030229.JPGMary Pedals up to Montezuma Pass

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