Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day Trip to Patagonia

Marco and his crew arrived at 9:00 this morning to wash and wax the bus.  If there was ever a thing worth paying for, it is that.  I don't mind helping wash the bus in Seattle because the water doesn't spot.  Here, if you don't get it dry in 15 seconds, it spots, big time.  So we needed to go somewhere.  It was too windy to ride.  How windy was it?  It was so windy that the Thunderbirds' demonstration at today's air show at Davis-Monthan was cancelled.
I've been following Emily's excellent blog, Traveling Twosome,  as they have spent a month hiking, biking and birding in Patagonia.  It's a very small town about 70 minutes south of Tucson, population less than 900 people.  The arrival of the New Mexico and Arizona Railway put Patagonia on the map.  With the presence of rail, the miners and ranchers were able to more easily ship their products and prosper.  The trains stopped coming in 1962.  There is still ranching, we did see cows, but I don't know how important it is to the economy.  The town itself has reinvented as a tourist destination.  The temperatures are pleasant there.  We saw a lot of people on road bikes today, even in the howling winds.
We had lunch at Common Grounds.  It was good.  Jim had the best restaurant potato salad ever.  We both had BLTs (bacon!) and enjoyed them. 

There is a Pilates studio, there is yoga, and there are wellness spas.  You have to wonder what the old time ranchers think about all of that.

A saloon established in 1937.

We're not sure what this is.  There is a sign in the window that says "Simply bed, no bread."  A rental, perhaps?

This is the old train station.  I love it when a place like this is preserved.

Then we drove out toward the Harshaw Cemetery.  This is kind of a cool old tree.

The last person was buried here in 2001.  The local historical society maintains the graveyard.

Why are old cemeteries so often on hills?

Old gravesites, really old.

This is what's left of Harshaw.  

We saw this burro in a field with cows.  He's really short.

This was also seen on the road returning from the cemetery.  This is out in the middle of nowhere.  What IS this?  At first I thought it might be the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, but I don't think it is.  None of the pictures on their website show anything like this.  Click on the Tree of Life website and check out their package prices.  They do a lot of fasting at the spa.  Basically you go to this place and starve. Meals do not seem to be included in the base price.

There are many forest roads in the area that are maintained and that travel through some nice scenery.  We're thinking we might take the bus down for a week or so next April and spend some time riding and looking at stuff.  We found an RV park that has full hookups and can accommodate our length.  
Tomorrow is forecast to be less windy than today, so hopefully we can be up and out early on the bikes.  The air conditioning was running by 9 this morning.  Hot!


  1. We stayed at Patagonia Lake State Park for a few nights last year and enjoyed it. Good birding there. Though it can be crazy busy on weekends and holidays due to being a lake in the desert!
    Pizza at Velvet Elvis was good....

  2. I'm with Lisa. Skip the Tree of Life (something creepy about that Dr. Cousens) and eat at Velvet Elvis. Their pizza was great.

  3. We'll have to make sure we get here next winter. Thanks for the tour!

  4. I think the cemeteries are mostly built on hills to prevent flooding, I don't know why they'd bother in the desert. That hill in the picture looks like rocky digging!

  5. Allison, thanks for the shout-out! I had the same question as you about that metal structure on Harshaw Road. We rode our bikes on Harshaw almost every day, especially when the wind was up as it was a bit more sheltered than Highway 82, pretty much the only other place to ride road bikes. I was fascinated by it. I wondered if it might have been one of those "extreme homes" that some people build out of repurposed materials. I googled but never found anything, and I never thought of it when I might have been able to ask a local. I also wondered about that "Simply bed" place. I never saw anyone coming or going there. The pizza at Velvet Elvis is indeed wonderful, so make sure to check it out on your next time to town!