Patagonia, Arizona

Patagonia, Arizona, that is, in particular Patagonia State Park.

Still reading: Dominguez-Escalante Journal


September 24th & 25th

It’s time for me to relax and camp by myself for a day. So from Tombstone I drive to Patagonia State Park in southern Arizona, not far at all from the border at Nogales. The town of Patagonia itself is an interesting and rather pretty place with much greenery. To learn more, look here. And for pictures look here.

I arrive in the late morning and find a campsite. I have to pay for a full hookup to get the campsite I want, an isolated one near the lake, but it’s worth it:

1_Campsite 1

If you look hard, to the right, you can catch a glimpse of the lake.


More views of my campsite…

2_Campsite 2

…that evening…

3_Campsite 3

…and the next morning…

4_Campsite 4


A few views of the campground, from my campsite, as the sun comes up.

5_Campground 1_morning


I’m nearly alone here. The nearest neighbors are way over there…

6_Campground 2_nearest neighbors

…and in the morning light I take a picture of my silhouette:

8_Campground 4_me_shadow

I’m starting to take a real interest in photography.


Here’s a view from my campsite, towards the east, taken that evening…

10_View_evening 1_east

…and towards the west, taken the next morning:


Again, you get a glimpse of the lake down below.  I promise you I’m taking you there soon.


But first here’s a view of the evening sky, to the west…

12_Sky_evening 2_west

Desert sunsets are terrific…

…as are the sunrises:



Now, at last, down to the lake, and to my new swimming hole:

14_Lake 1_to shore & swimming hole


Swimming is allowed at most points on the lake.

15_Lake 2_evening_west


The view across the lake in the morning…

19_Lake 6_morning across

…and here’s my swimming hole again. I swim a lot while I’m here.

20_Lake 7_bank


Patagonia Park is rich in wildlife and is of particular interest to bird watchers. The trail you see here in the background is a nature trail leading to the far eastern end of the lake and is designed for birding. The cactus we see here is called a barrel cactus or a fish hook cactus. I’ve seen one before, at Dirk’s place. In this picture it looks as though another plant is growing out of the top…

26_Plants_barrel cactus 1

…but this picture gives you a better idea…

27_Plants_barrel cactus 2

…and this picture, taken at Dirk’s place, shows some of the spines that look like fish hooks, hence the name fish hook cactus:



If you follow the birdwatcher’s trail for a ways, you see a lot of plants typical in the region:

25_Plants_ with a tree


When I first arrive here, I take a long hike along the birdwatching trail and then through the rest of the campground area.  I don’t take any pictures, though, as the sun is directly over head.

Closer to my campsite, and in the morning, I find a lot of  interesting photo opportunities, such as this cholla…

30_Plants_cholla and tree 2

…and these berries…

32_Plants_red berries 1 33_Plants_redberries 2

…though I have no idea what they’re called…

34_Plants_orange berries


I find a few flowers too…

22_Flowers 1_white

…and some wild morning glories:

23_Flowers 2_morning glory 1 24_Flowers 2_morning glory 2

There are a lot of morning glories in the area and I take a lot of photos, but most of my photos don’t look very good. I experiment with the zoom a lot and I have a lot to learn.

I’m happy at this campsite and at this campground, and I figure it’s worthwhile to pay for a full hookup even though I can’t really use it with Van. When the sun goes down I can plug in the computer and work through the evening without fear of running down the battery too much, right? I’ll get all caught up with the blog, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong! As soon as I try to turn on the computer hordes of inects descend upon both me and the screen.  And I do mean hordes.  By eight o’clock in the evening I give up and go to bed. The sun goes down early here, which is a good thing in this heat, but eight o’clock is early to go to bed. I don’t mind going to bed so early, but I do mind waking up so early, like 4 a.m. I can read in Van, but in this environment, even there, my light attracts a lot of bugs.

Otherwise, I’d like to stay here for another day or two. But Van has an appoimtent to be serviced, so I must be on my way after just one day.  The next stop is Tucson.

Douglas, Bisbee and Tombstone

Hi everyone,

I’m in San Diego now, trying to catch up on this blog, and I have a lot to report.


September 23rd & 24th, 2014

Reading: I finished Travels With Charlie long ago and am now reading The Dominguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition Through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in 1776.


I left Portal after breakfast at the Portal Café with Dirk and some of his friends and then headed for the town of Douglas, on the Mexican border.

Douglas is an interesting experience.  Here, at the south end of G Avenue, the town’s main street, we see something that many of us have heard of, the “fence”:

1-International Street

If you zoom in you can see the name of the street, “International”. It’s one thing to have heard of this fence or to simply know of its existence, but it’s something else to actually see it.


The view to the left…


…straight ahead…

3_straight ahead

…and to the right…


…with one of the now familiar (to me) Border Patrol vehicles.

I don’t want to make light of serious situation, nor to say anything demeaning or cynical. Illegal immigration is a serious problem, with vast consequences, but I can’t help remembering what a certain well-known person said in a now-famous speech, “…tear down this wall.”


Douglas is a town that makes you understand the cliché “sun-baked”.

Downtown Douglas, looking north…

6_downtown Douglas looking north

…and looking south, with Van in the foreground…

7_downtown Douglas south


In the middle there is the Hotel Gadsden that Dirk told me about:

5_the Gadsden Hotel

The name Gadsden is a reference to James Gadsden (US ambassador to Mexico) of the “Gadsden Purchase” (also known as the “Venta de la Mesilla”), the purchase by the US from Mexico of a vast territory south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande in 1854. You can read more about it here.

Inside, the Gadsden lobby looks like this…

9_inside Gadsden_lobby

…and this…

10_inside Gadsden_lobby bis

…and there is also this stained glass window:

11_inside Gadsden_stained glass


Above all, there is this painting:

8_inside the Gadsden_Portal Canyon

Dirk has told me about it.  Do you recognize where it is?

There are a lot more pictures of the Hotel Gadsden interior here.


I then headed northwest to Bisbee, a most interesting town near an enormous copper mine.  Dirk has told me a lot about Bisbee and I think I’ll have to go back one day.  I did take a few pictures, though. Here’s a shot of downtown Bisbee:

12_downtown Bisbee-1

The town appears to be nearly only this street…


…with houses piled up on top of each other…


…and many colorful restaurants and gift shops



And then I moved on, to the iconic town of Tombstone with its many legends.

Here’s the main street of Tombstone in the evening light…

17_downtown Tombstone evening

…and the following morning…

18_downtown, morning light

…with some well-known references…

19_and some well known references

…and the definite touristic side…

20_with its touristy side

…well-known and touristic…

21_well known and touristy

…well-designed for this day and age, a brewery…

22_in this day and age

…and a winery…

23_but nevertheless of interest

…showing the old and the new…

24_showing the old and the new

…and a significant mixture:

25_with its iconic mix_pharmacy


Of course, there is the famous Tombstone courthouse…

26_courthouse, of course,

…in the evening…

27_courthouse, evening...

…and in the morning…

28_courthouse, morning

…right next door to the idyllic Rose Cottage, a private residence:

30_right next door, Rose Garden


Another well-known reference, undoubtedly to Wyatt Earp, a town sheriff in the heyday of Tombstone:

31_Wyatt's Hotel

I looked around town for other references to historic characters. I found Doc Holladay, but no others.


Some Tombstone shops post poignant messages that are likely as valid now as they were then:

32_here and there, some poignant messages

Learn more about Tombstone here.