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The Shortcut

Tubac, Arizona:  As I explained in an email to Our Only Child this morning, there hasn't been a day - since 1974 - that My Driver hasn't surprised me. Today was no different from any day since he married me in New Hampshire and dragged me to The Philippines for a three-year honeymoon.

We had plans to hike up Madera Canyon today. I was awake early, readying a picnic lunch for our mountain hike.

However, after not seeing a cloud since before the BCS game in Phoenix on January 10th, the weather turned very nasty this morning.

And by nasty, I mean rain. Hail. Lightning. Thunder. More rain. More hail. The daily high was just 50 degrees.

Remember the lovely Santa Rita Mountain range from my photos over the past week? The mountains were completely hidden by clouds all day. We cancelled our hiking plans and decided to take a drive. (Not a good idea to hike up a desert canyon in a rain storm.) We drove south to Nogales (Arizona) and then turned north. DT took me on a drive completely around the Santa Rita mountains.

This drive is not for wimps. This drive is not for people driving in RVs. This drive is not for sane people.

Not a problem.

First we drove to Nogales, Arizona - feet from the US-Mexico border - and had lunch at the most unappealing restaurant we have yet visited on this trip. This meal will not be recorded on RVGoddess.com. We are mostly just happy we are not in a local emergency room after our meal.

One beautiful spot along our circular route today (on Highway 82) was Patagonia State Park. We visited this lovely oasis in the desert years and years ago and were happy to check-out the campsites again for future camping reference.

Patagonia State Park is beautiful! 30 amp pull-through and back-in first-come-first-served sites with water (dump station). Flush toilets, showers, laundry and a small camp store with ice and gasoline. Tons of dry-camping sites too. Most of the campsites have a view of the reservoir and there is even a little cell service!

The views above the park to the reservoir were so pretty today - with rare clouds in the sky. The little town of Patagonia is an emerging artists community and is home to the very famous Velvet Elvis Pizza Company restaurant (open only Thursday-Sunday). During a quick stop to the Visitor Center we found the maps we needed and few things we did not need (but purchased anyway) at the adjoining crafts store.

Support your local artists!

The above photo is a good example of our views all day. We traveled through the pretty little towns of Patagonia and Sonoita and then took a "short cut" through the mountains - on a gravel/dirt road - back towards Green Valley and Highway 19.

Traveling on this dirt road is not without peril. This is where DT is in his element. Driving down a hazardous one-lane dirt track.

We saw no other travelers on the road. No smugglers. No illegal immigrants.

Unless you count these travelers. This calf was hours old - it could barely stand.

Why I allow My Driver to take me on these sojourns through mountain passes on stormy days in our little all-wheel Honda is beyond me.

Could the road be more perilous?

No.

We missed this waterfall by mere hours.

Our drive included 20 miles of wash-board dirt roads through a beautiful canyon. We kept the Honda in 2nd gear the entire time and did not drive over 12 miles per hour. The drive was awesome. Cactus growing out of copper-rich (i.e. green) cliffs. We climbed over 5000 feet in elevation and found snow-or-hail covered hillsides along our path.

Finally, we re-connected to Highway 19 and, conveniently-enough, at the same exit as our campsite, was the Longhorn Bar. We had a nice cocktail before returning to the Magna Peregrinus for a dinner of steakhouse leftovers.

Until my next update, I remain, your off-roading corresponding.

RV Park: De Anza RV Resort - pull-through and back-in full service gravel sites. Cable, free wifi, bath house, laundry, indoor salt water pool, hot tub, community room, TV room, gated security. Lots of fun here. We paid $40.