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Tumacacori

Tubac, Arizona: For having nothing to do and no where to go, we certainly keep ourselves busy. Since the massive 1000+ site RV resort in Tucson was kicking us out because they were full, we hit the road to friendlier climes.

This is nothing. You should have watched him back it in!

We ended up about 30 miles south of Tucson, near the little artist community of Tubac. We found ourselves a nice campsite in a friendly RV resort that was once - I can't make this stuff up - a Greyhound race track! The track no longer exists, but the parking lot has been turned into a campground and they have a salt water swimming pool! The stuff you can find/learn in America!

De Anza RV Resort in Amado, Arizona

Free wifi too. Wifi is a good thing as we are still having trouble with the satellite internet system on our roof. Still only able to access that bird-in-the-sky during daylight hours. One of the knowledgeable gurus has suggested my "feed horn" (a part on our satellite dish) has accumulated moisture. When the temperature cools in the evening, the part fogs up and cuts my signal. We are now working to have this part replaced.

It's always something.

After settling-in to our campsite, we headed a few miles south in the Honda to visit Tumacacori National Historic Park. In the late 1600's, the native villagers of Tumacacori - the O'odham - heard about all the new farming and cattle-raising techniques being used by the the "black robes" (Jesuits) south of the village (in present-day northern Mexico) and asked a Jesuit to visit Tumacacori and teach them how to grow the new crops and work with horses. Next thing the villagers knew - they were well-fed Catholics!

The Mission was not without troubles and constant attack from the Apache. In 1767, Spain recalled the Jesuits and the Franciscans took over, but the spread of European diseases, a rare cold winter and those pesky Apache's caused the mission to be abandoned in 1848.

This is the remains of the food storage house. The mission had orchards, acres of irrigated fields (water from the river one mile away), church offices, housing for the monks, a cemetery and a huge chapel. The holes in the wall held beams and a floor was placed on the top, forming a loft for more food storage. The roof is long-gone.

Food storage building

Ruins of the building that once housed the priests

Ruins of priest housing

Cemetery - domed ceiling was never finished

The walls of the church are five feet thick

Photo of Tumacacori Church in 1889

After the mission was abandoned, local villagers stripped the roof of the church and any other building materials they could gather. The parks service has replaced the roof and workers were in the church today on scaffolding assessing the current condition of the building.

This painting shows what the church interior would have looked like around 1840

The Tumacacori Church ruins from the back

We enjoyed scrambling around the ruins and were impressed by the intricate irrigation system. If you want to learn more about this mission, or any of the many missions in the area, visit the Tumacacori National Historic Park website.

Time for late lunch/early dinner! If you are in this area for any time at all, someone will recommend you visit Wisdom's Cafe. They served Mexican food and are famous for their dessert fruit burritos.

Wisdom's Cafe in Tumacacori, Arizona

Several rooms with thatched ceilings, interesting "decor", friendly staff and delicious foods

Wisdom's Cafe does not have a fancy drink menu. A few beers, a few wines and one type of lime margarita. The menu claims it will "knock your socks off". Luckily, I wasn't wearing socks when I entered the restaurant because they would have been knocked off. Delicious. DT's beer was also served in an old jar.

We ordered a cheese crisp with green chilies. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed this little treat. So simple - a wheat tortilla, topped with Mexican cheeses and chilies and baked in a hot oven. DT had a burrito. Let me rephrase that - DT had about 1/3 of a burrito. I ordered one turkey taco.

Perfect! Shredded turkey. They also have a super spicy hot sauce. Wowzer. Could not feel my lips! We did not begin to finish our meals, so didn't order the famous fruit burrito. Will we go back? Hmmm. Our fridge is now filled with leftovers, so on the very remote chance we get hungry ever again before bedtime, I will not have to cook.

More exploring tomorrow! Until my next update, I remain, your historical correspondent.

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. We paid $40.