Our goal for the first half of 2017 was to make our way eastwards and ultimately to North Carolina, then back slightly through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and on to Missouri by the middle of June. Ambitious but doable.
Our last stop was Picacho in Arizona and from there we headed off to Ft Wilcox, a short jaunt of 120 miles, just the length of driving we like to do but rarely actually achieve it. 150 miles is optimum and that usually takes around three hours as we try to keep the RV at around 50-55mph. Going nowhere slowly.
We stopped at the Ft Wilcox RV Park in Fort Wilcox, which other than offering us a really pretty sunset one night was unremarkable except for the owners who had owned a charter fishing company in Alaska near Anchorage and decided to retire to the lower 48. How on earth they found Ft Wilcox is probably a long and complicated story, but they found the RV park for sale, bought it, put their daughter in charge of it and promptly returned to Alaska, where they now spend six months of the year and return to Arizona for the winters. One of the catches is that they offer free waffles and coffee every morning in return for stories of fishing in Alaska.
Pretty sunset that first night led to a quasi stormy day when we planned to go to Chiricahua National Monument, a compelling park that features a sky island that climbs over a grassland sea. The Bonita Canyon Drive winds its way up the canyon for some eight miles to a summit that overlooks the canyon below it and the Massai Point Trailhead. The rub that day was that we were totally in fog from halfway up the summit and had to rely on boards and placards to tell us about the area’s history. Still managed to take some pretty pictures and as we descended the clouds lifted somewhat and afforded us some great sights of the pinnacles that the park is famous for.
Chiricahua also is known for its wildlife and diverse vegetation. Plants and animals from four ecosystems meet in this area and as you climb towards the summit the meadows give way to junipers, ponderosa pines and Douglas firs on northern exposure slopes; to the south you can find sun loving pines, and in the desert you can find agave and any number of cacti species. Deer, lizards, rattlesnakes and fox make their habitat in these Chiricahua mountains and it is a birders paradise as well. This little fellow wasn’t too afraid of us and his royalty check is in the mail.
Ft Wilcox is not the gateway heading east for BBQ, but this place was the largest of the ones we had seen so far and pretty authentic. Josh, the son who lives in Chile is opening a BBQ “joint” in Santiago, so we are forwarding pictures of the more interesting places we see. Quite the smoker.
When I had my company in Utah I spent a lot of time in Asia, usually going there five times a year for some ten years, which in the beginning was a lot of fun but eventually wore thin after seven or eight years. Our production facilities in the beginning were located in Taiwan and Korea but as prices there began to creep up we looked for alternate countries to source in. The first one we went to was Thailand and there began my love affair with Thai food. My first trip I was met by my new agent, a Thai by the name of Vichien who after picking me up at the airport stopped at McDonalds. I asked him what we were doing there and he said that he thought all Americans wanted McDonalds no matter where they were in the world. Quite the contrary I told him, I only want what you eat and I want it authentic. I think this dish might have been the first of many different Thai meals I had over the course of the next five or six years. Street food. Enjoy!