Friday, January 7, 2011

Patagonia and Desert Museum

Wednesday we got up to about 27 degrees. Our plan was to take a motorcycle ride with a few other riders that are lease holders here at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op park. They meet every Wednesday to ride some where for lunch.

Max and I got bundled up, with Max in her leathers with various layer’s underneath and me with a fleece jacket and then my GWRRA club coat and winter gloves we saddled up.

We were the first at the meeting spot and was wondering if any other brave souls were going to ride at this temperature. We have not met any of the other riders in the park yet so we did not know how many would come. After about 5 minutes one bike showed up and then another pulled in. We introduced ourselves and were told that there were a couple of other guys on their way.

While we were talking one of the guy’s got a phone call and was informed that one of the other riders that was coming was just down the road with a flat rear tire. We decided to go ride out to assist. Luckily we were very close to a gas station and he was able to buy a can of fix a flat and air up the tire. He then would limp home and pick up his other bike.

After about a thirty minute delay which also allowed the temperature to rise a little we were ready to take off. In the group we had 5 bikes and 6 people. We had our Goldwing, a Harley Road King, a Harley Sportster, a Suzuki Boulevard, and a Kawasaki Concourse.

Normally they told us that they would ride to Bisbee but the temps were just too low. Bisbee is at an even higher elevation than Benson. They decided to take us to Sonoita and then to Patagonia for lunch.

We started down highway 90 south to the highway 82 west junction. The ride down hwy 90 was pretty straight and flat but with the view of the mountain range it was very pretty. Once we turned west on hwy 82 the road began to turn into nice rolling hills. The country side was now becoming more grasses and trees than desert.

We pulled into Sonoita to warm up and get a cup of coffee at a small store.


We warmed up and took the time to get to know each other. These guys ride together all the time and said that they liked to have fresh faces to ride with so they could tell their lies to other people for a change. They all are retired and are or have been fulltime Rver’s. A couple of the guys sold their rigs and bought a house here in Benson.

After getting warmed up we continued west hwy 82 through some very scenic rolling hills with the mountains all around us. We were getting into Arizona’s southern wine country around Elgin and saw several wine tasting advertisements. Next time through we may have to take a stop!

We arrived in Patagonia which is a small artsy type of town. It has a neat looking motel and restaurant which is were we stopped for lunch.



The restaurant was named “The Home Plate” and had all kinds of baseball memorabilia decorating the walls which included a lot of Yankee and Cubs items. A couple of the guy’s were from New York and quickly fell into some fond remembrances of actually being at some Dodger games when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn.

After our lunch we headed back east on hwy 82 back to Sonoita to pick up hwy 83 north. We were riding on some nice twisty type roads and then we came to a border patrol check point. Being from the east I have never gone through any type of check point. As we approached I noticed that they had sniffer dogs and was wanting to see the dogs in action. Unfortunately they must have felt that we were not much of a threat and just waved us through. Oh well, next time I will try to look more suspicious.

We continued on north and picked up the interstate and headed back to Benson. It was a very nice ride but a tad bit chilly. Thanks Cliff, Boyd, Tony, and Nedles for a great ride.

Thursday max and I went to the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson. One of the lease holders here gave us a couple of free passes.

One of the guys that we went on our ride with told us to take Speedway drive from Tucson. It would take us over Gates Pass. Gates Pass is a hilly steep curvy road that will eventually drop you down into the Sonoran Desert valley and close to Old Tucson. We stopped at the pass overlook and took a few pictures of the valley below.

That is Old Tucson Studios in the distance



The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place! Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region so realistically you find yourself eye-to-eye with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters, and more. Within the Museum grounds, there are more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of desert.

When we arrived we were greeted by this lovely Barn Owl.


We went in and took the path that led to all of the exhibits. The first exhibit was reptiles insects. Here are a few pictures of the exhibit.

Alligator Lizard


Black Diamond Rattle Snake


A Vine Snake


Gila Monster


Fringe Toed Lizard


Hairy Tarantula 030



And last but not least a Scorpion


After the reptile exhibit we entered the cave



After the cave, the trail wound outside in the desert where we could see various cactus and  animals from the Sonoran Desert.


Prairie Dogs


Pipe Organ Cactus


Pin Cushion Cactus


Big Horn Sheep


Maxine coming out of her shell!


Ok, a nicer pic of Max


After touring the exhibits we went to the raptor free flight program where they had several Harris’s Hawks fly around us for a demonstration.

They are awesome birds and I am glad that we went back for the show

It was hard to get pictures. These birds are very fast but I did get a few good shots.

My favorite







The museum is quite nice and we really had a very enjoyable day looking at all of the animals and plants. There were a couple of restaurants on site as well as a snack bar, but we decided to wait until we made it back to Benson to eat dinner.

We stopped at Magalys Mexican restaurant in Benson and had a nice dinner. When we went outside the restaurant, the evening sun was hitting the side of the Dragoon Mountains and really made them look white. Pretty Cool!


We made it back to the rig at about 6:00pm, just in time to go play cards at the club house.

Since we have been here we have learned how to play Shoot, which is a variation of Euchre and we have played 4 and 5 handed Pinochle. I am not sure I will remember how to play all of them once we leave here. Lots of different rules.

We called it a night at about 10:00pm so we could get up and head to the Saguaro National Park on Thursday.

Enjoy Your Day!

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