January 28th – February 3rd 2018
One thing that I’ve really liked is how different our wheels-down experiences are on the road. Our last stop was in the heart of Tempe, a city experience. This week we stayed outside of a small town named Safford in an out of the way State Park. It was really clean and well maintained. The park has a spring fed hot tub (96 degress – no jets of course) and lots of trails.
The area is beautiful in the Eastern Oregon Desert sort of way. There wasn’t a lot of cactus here but there were lots of trees, even a few palm trees. The mountains in the distance were stunning. The park was pretty full over the weekend but during the week not so much. It was quiet and serene. The weather was warm during the day and not too cool at night.
JP and I fished from the fishing platform. It’s rumored that there are trout, crappie, catfish and bluegill in the lake, but the water is too cold. JP took the pontoon boat out and had a couple of bites on the bottom, but alas – no fish for dinner. We tried the little Dankworth Pond too – but still no luck. It seems we are always ahead of the season.
JP got to know all the neighbors and I used this stop to work on the blog. We hiked the trails around the park and mostly just kicked back and enjoyed the scenery. In the evening we were invited to share a campfire with Edgar and Joanna (Quebec) and another camper Boomer (Michigan). So it was campfire, whiskey, wine, and swapping road stories.
We used one day to explore and spent the whole day on the road. We passed through some little towns who had seen their hayday way back when. Then we drove on to Clifton an old town with a street full of buildings dating from 1901 to 1913, though some of the buildings were obviously older. I couldn’t find any movies that were filmed here but cant imagine why not (too remote?). Only a few of the buildings were being used and the rest were empty and or for sale. Just a street full of history with the echo of the life it once was.
Then onto Morenci just up the road. Its the 3rd largest copper mine in the world and the 1st largest in the USA. The town is certainly off the beaten path but the hills are cool and the town looks like its prospering. The mine has been employing families in the area for generations and is known for its environmental and safety practices.
We took the long drive home so we could see the country. It was vast, rugged and beautiful in its own desert mountain kinda of way.
We celebrated out 1 Year Anniversary on the road with a Mexican Dinner at Casa Manana. It was good food and TripAdvisor said it was #1 of 38 in Safford. I think we might have figured that out on our own though – the parking lot was packed and the place was hoppin’!
We shared a last campfire with our neighbors Boomer and Loraine and their pup Murrphy on our last night here, then hit it early. Next stop: Pantagonia Lake State Park!