Wednesday, April 11, 2012

City of Rocks Camping Trip Pt. 1

Easter weekend I had the opportunity to take a camping trip with my local riding club the Tucson Freewheelers.  They were headed to a New Mexico state park called City of Rocks.  The plan was to leave Friday, spend Saturday exploring the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, and then coming back Sunday.

Day 1

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I arrived at the Triple T Truck stop around 8am.  We weren't supposed to depart until 9am, but if you show up early you'll usually find a few members having breakfast and you can shoot the breeze until everyone arrives.
If you're familiar with Tucson you'll recognize the Triple T truck stop sign south of town.  It's the site of the famous Omar's Hi-Way Restaurant.  I met a few guys there and ordered a egg bagel sandwich for breakfast.  It's not listed on the menu, but they'll make it for you if wink the right way at the waitress. (Translation - Someone else ordered one and it looked realllllly good.  So I ordered one and that's when I found out it wasn't on the menu. No pic's sorry.  I'll get one next time.)

Soon the rest of the group showed up.
Everyone said their Hi's and admired each others bikes.
The instant favorites of the group were Fez and Marge.  Both in their eighties and living life large.  There is no age limit to motorcycling.
Soon we were off and away.  We made a gas stop in the town of Willcox and then got off the interstate and headed north on 191 to the town of Safford.  The weather was pleasant, I had my textile jacket and pants on with my windbreaker liners in.
We made our first stop, for those that hadn't grabbed breakfast, at a local place called Jerry's Restaurant.  Here's the cast and crew of this motley band.  Roger and Steve, both with the decked out Goldwings.
Steve and Barbie from Alabama.  They were in town for the Tucson Gem and Mineral show.
Dr. Quinn and Starr.
Kenny and Vern.  Vern you'll remember from my summer road trip to Colorado and Kansas.
 And Fred who had recently moved to the states from Germany.

Soon we were back on the road and heading east out of town.

Roger liked to snap pictures while on cruise control..I know not safe..but if he hadn't I wouldn't have gotten this nice shot in his rear view mirror with Mount Graham in the background.
Once you climb out of the valley the scenery becomes amazing.  This is actually the first portion of the Coronado trail that runs north along the eastern boarder of Arizona.
Once you pass the cross roads called "Three Way" you start to climb up into the mountains.  We pulled over at nice lookout with a view back towards the west.
The mountain waaaay in the distance is Mount Graham.
My bike compared to a decked out Honda Goldwing.  You'll notice I'm not packing much stuff.  I sweet talked Kiri into driving out later that day and meeting me at the campground.  She was on spring break and didn't have to work.  So I was able to drive fancy free the whole way there.  Some people might call that cheating.  I call it expert planning.
Soon we crossed into the Gila National Forest, and into New Mexico. 
Things still look super dry here.  This area could use some serious rain before summer hits.  Last summer was a horrible fire season for New Mexico and Arizona.
We could have gotten to our destination sooner by just staying on the Interstate all the way into New Mexico, but part of the fun is getting there.  So we arrived in Silver City from the North and kept heading southeast to the small town of Hurley, NM.
Most of the crew decided to grab motel rooms in Hurley.  Something about being old and not wanting to sleep on the hard ground.  Wimps! This is where they stayed.
Snapped a quick picture of Vern's new Harley Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle.
Dr. Quinn, Starr and I headed out to the City of Rocks which was about ~20 miles away.  This is a picture I borrowed from Google Images.  Just wanted to give a idea of what it looks like as you drive up, since I didn't take one with the sign.
There was a bit of overcast as we pulled in..but no rain.  Which was a good thing as I hadn't packed any rain gear.
Kiri had beat us there so we were able to setup camp before the sun went down.  We stayed in the very back of the park in a area called the Pegasus North Campground.
I had the hardest time finding a flat area of ground where I could actually get tent stakes down.  Some of the other campsites had the neatest locations for tents nestled in-between rocks.  Ours wasn't one of them, but it still worked out.  Dr. Quinn grabbed a  campsite a few boulders away.
 View from the front porch of the campsite.
Kiri and I did a little exploring before dinner.  This view is from closer to the center of the park, looking out towards our little cluster of rocks where we camped.  The thinking was that being farther away from the main body of the park would be quieter.
This is looking towards the center of the park.  There were tons of campsites to  choose from.  Most of them were first come first taken.  Our spot had been reserved online.
One of my favorite pictures of the trip.
"Go stand over there and look cool"
There were two windmills on either side of the park that seemed to provide water for the camp residents.  We still brought our own just in case.
There was a cactus blooming at the entrance of the park.  Amazing colors.
After setting up camp and exploring the grounds we headed back into town and met up with the group.  We drove into Silver City for dinner and then called it a night.  Unfortunately the cloud cover was still pretty thick, so not a great night to view stars.  I was hoping for better luck the next night.

To be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it is shaping up to be a good weekend for you. Nice ride, get to meet the misses at the campsite, beautiful views and no rain.

    Great pictures. I always enjoy seeing photos from other states. I don't have the coordination to take pics when riding (unless I'm pillion) so I appreciate it when others have those skills.

    Looking forward to day 2.