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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Leaving Ajo, Meeting Jim, Over the Mtns to Globe, Az

Wednesday March 11, 2015 Travelodge Room 117 Globe, Arizona

Got up this morning around 8 am and checked for an email from Bill’s brother-in-law, Jim. Nada, so checked the phone and there was no call either. Decided to call him around 8:30 to see if lunch was still on. Didn’t know what to plan for a reservation for tonight—would we be late enough after lunch to backtrack to Casa Grande, or, if lunch was off, would we forge ahead to Taylor, or, if lunch was done early enough, would we head to Globe?  We got packed and dressed then Bill called Jim, who had sent an email!  BUT, he got the address from Fixit Fred who said it was dot com when it is dot net. Well, we got it straightened out and it was decided that we’d meet at 1 pm in Florence, Arizona at Jalapenos. Phew—never had so much confusion trying to set up a lunch date in my life.

Went down to Marcella’s for breakfast once more. Today there was freshly made strawberry jam for our sourdough. Oh, it is really Spring here. Took one last spin around Ajo to see the school and the Cordelia Hotel, which is NOT open but does appear to be undergoing renovation. Amazing to realize what a booming community this was—two huge beautiful churches, a gigantic school and hospital, a fancy hotel and even fancier plaza—all built by the mining money garnered from the huge mine from which incredible amounts of copper were withdrawn. And then, in about 1920, it all went bust and in 2008, almost all these beautiful places sat empty and sad. Now, that beautiful school is the site of reasonably priced artists’ studios and apartments. Life of a different sort but at least life once more. I hope I see it again but if not, I have wonderful pix from both visits.

Then we headed down to Why and drove past the new, huge Border Patrol station. Followed a couple of officers and their mounts for awhile—they continued toward Lukeville and we turned away toward the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation and Indian Rte 15 at Quijotoa, which would carry us northward toward Casa Grande. The flowers are so plentiful they cover the ground like a carpet. Since yesterday another new pink flower has come into bloom. Some kind of raptor soared above us, wings spread wide and gliding. Passed a strange looking mining operation before coming to our first Border Patrol check point. These three officers were Anglo and much more talkative. I spoke to one young man and the female dog handler about the makeshift pergola they’d created with chicken wire and an ivy like plant. I asked if it kept them cool and they laughed and said no, but it did keep out the sun a bit. The German Shepard was lying quietly and seemingly uninterested at his lady’s feet. From my experience at the Vt Border I know one word from her and he would be instantly alert.  It was nice to talk with them—reminded me of my old Customs’ days.

Soon we passed through Casa Grande, Coolidge and as we turned onto the Main Street of Florence the restaurant loomed on our right. As we walked in there was Jim talking with someone by the door. He’d arrived a bit before us—but we were there between 1230 and 1 as planned. He’d taken a table in the back for us. Got ourselves settled and the waiter from New Jersey!!! ( it began with the Internet and a woman, said he, but we’ve been together for 14 years—his response to my “ How did you wind up here?” )  I had a Taco salad which was quite good, though not really seasoned at all. Bill and Jim had a chicken enchilada plates with beans and rice. I had a delicious raspberry tea and Bill had a diet coke. Had a good catch-up rambling conversation—travel plans and family and where we’ve been and where we’re going.  Good to see Jim, who looks quite well.

Once we finished lunch we checked the map and decided to go to Globe. There was once a Quality Inn here but no more. There are several nice places here according to our navigation system and when we arrived we found it to be accurate in that regard. For the second time, however, it has told us there is a Choice motel where there is not—will have to find out from our manual whether, like our Garmin, this system can be updated.

Although the road runs between the Pinal Mountains and the Superstition Mountains and is quite snaky, there are few deep drop offs and they were on Bill’s side. For the most part we traveled through Devil’s Canyon and along Oak Flats. Oak Flats is at 4000 ft and we dropped down about 1000 feet and then rose once more to 4000 feet before coming down to rest in Globe at 3509ft.

Both Miami and Globe were mining towns—silver but then much more, copper. Though the mining is pretty much over the scars of the huge, huge pits remain. No reclamation like you find in West Virginia. Mountains have been reduced to terraced walls of a large pit. It is ugly. But the cows graze on the terraces in some places. The mines out here can be seen from miles away—it is obscene.

This is a new area of Arizona for us and tomorrow we will travel 66 more mountain miles in unfamiliar territory. There are two small dots and a ghost town shown on the map before we reach Carrizo which we’ve visited before out of ShowLow. That 25 miles is a gorgeous crossing of a high mountain valley on the Apache Reservation. Bill wants to push as far as Socorro, New Mexico. We’ll see how bad the road is—whether it will be easy to continue on the old familiar easy route through Pie Town and Magdalena.

For that story, you, like me and Bill will have to wait until tomorrow night. For now, I’m off to do the nails I didn’t get to last night. Too full after our Mexican lunch to eat anything but some fruit and maybe a piece of cheese. Until next time, good night from The Two Traveling Peas

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