Yesterday’s post ended with a road sign and multiple possible directions to take. Did you guess correctly? Given the choice, Bill and I will always take the scenic route, choosing a route we’ve never been on before rather than going back the way we came. We took the dusty eight mile dirt road to Highway 82. It was glorious!
It took us an hour to travel the eight miles – twice the amount of time we spent at the Roundup! – never getting above ten miles per hour. We found a lot more interesting things on our drive than we did at the Roundup also.
There were mountain ranges and waving grasses all around us.
The Whetstone Mountains to the east.
The Mustang Mountains to the southeast.
The Huachuca Mountains to the South.
The Santa Rita Mountains to the west.
At some point we noticed that the soil composition began to change, as there were many more large rocks in and along the side of the road.
We saw real trees! Not the little scrub mesquite, but BIG TREES!
I saw this tree as we drove up out of a wash. The contrast between the green leaves and the blue sky was incredible. I asked Bill to stop after got up out of the draw and I got out, walked back down into the draw, and took pictures while walking up out of the draw.
We definitely would not have wanted to travel this road during monsoon season. We could see places where the road had recently been graded, throwing a berm of rocks and dirt off to the side. I imagine the monsoon rains wreak havoc with the road, even where it doesn’t cross a draw like this.
I think these are turpentine bushes.
We saw birds.
Eventually we found the main highway, drove to Sonoita for lunch at a small-town diner, and then went home.
It was one of the most enjoyable days we’ve had in quite some time.
Saturday Bill and I ventured out to the Empire Ranch Fall Roundup. I have always wanted to visit the Empire Ranch, mostly just to see what was beyond the hill where the sign is located. The Roundup seemed like a good excuse to go, so we did. I honestly didn’t think it was an event that we would enjoy or even stay long at, and I was right. But it was a glorious fall day and we both enjoyed just getting out and going somewhere, anywhere!
Empire Ranch (beyond all the vehicles!)
The ranch itself probably would be interesting to tour. It was located about five miles, off the highway, down a dusty dirt road. The views were spectacular. My comment to Bill was, “100 years ago, if you didn’t have it or couldn’t make it, you didn’t need it. This must have been truly the middle of nowhere back then!”
Looking southeast to the Mustang Mountains (15 miles as the crow flies)
We walked around, watched a calf roping demonstration (totally different mentality than what you see with rodeos), listened to some live music, wandered through the exhibits and vendors, and decided we’d seen enough.
Wagon tours at the Empire Ranch Fall Roundup
Heading out, looking east to the Whetstone Mountains (10 miles as the crow flies).
The plan was to go back the way we came and have lunch in Sonoita. As we left the ranch and came to the right turn that would take us back to the main highway, we saw this sign:
The direction we came in from the main road was behind me as I took this picture. We had just come from the left arrow when we left the ranch. Where on Highway 82 did the road come out? Was the road passable with our Neon? What would we see?
Guess which way we went?!
I took this picture Sunday coming north on Route 83 towards Sonoita. They had a small wildfire there about a month ago.
The sign obviously was burnt off at the ground, as we could see metal pipes where they had put it back into the ground after the fire.
Yesterday afternoon we were suddenly wading through a very heavy smoky haze here in Sierra Vista. Just on the other side of the Huachuca Mountains a wildfire started mid-morning around Parker Canyon Lake. The fire began with 400 acres engulfed and quickly expanded to 4000 acres. So far today the haze is not too bad, but it smells smoky enough that I don’t want to put any laundry out on the clothes line. With the west wind practically a constant, I anticipate smoke for the next few days. Hopefully they’ll get this fire put out before it gets totally out of hand.