Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moreci Mine near Safford

Saturday I got up really early and met Barb and Joe at 7:30 A.M.for the hour long ride up to the Moreci Mines.  We had reservations for the 8:30 A.M. tour.  We met the tour bus at the hotel in town (there is only one...this is pretty much a company town) and the bus was full to capacity.  The tours are scheduled only of Friday and Saturday.

The Moreci Mine is the largest copper mine in the Northern Hemisphere.  The pits are deep and wide.  The mining operation itself is very sophisticated that they use one of the largest GPS systems in the world to track every piece of machinery as it is loaded and dumped.  Also, this is a very "green mine". Every drop of water is reused and recycled and it does not go into the ground water system.   Did you know that the average house contains over 450 pounds of copper? Its really hard to get a handle on how big it really is.  I flew over supposedly the largest copper mine in the world near San Pedro, Chile, several years ago and remembered it seemed to take a long to fly over it.
                                         This is part of the mine as seen from the Black Hills Byway road
                                          These are leaching fields.  They last about 30 years.  Copper is leached here through a series of drip systems.
                                           This is what hauls the raw materials for processing. I'm only 5'2.  The wheels cost anywhere from $12,000-$30,000 per tire!

 If you look closely you can see some of the same trucks hauling raw material for processing.

                                        Part of the crushing system
                                         Overview of some of the processing areas.

                                 Can you guess what this is?
            The raw material is crushed and then they are mixed chemicals and water.  The end result is copper..the blue stuff in the water.

                           This is the area where the copper plates are made.  They make over a millions pounds a day.

Each slot will make plate (sheet) of copper

Each pallet weights about 6200-6400 pounds.
                                   This is one pallet.

                             There are 17 pallets each weighing 6200-6400 pounds.  Thats a lot of copper!

                                 This is the control room.  During the week all of the monitors are manned.  On Saturday, only part of the operation is working.  If we had been there on Friday, we may not have been able to see the control room.
                                          Not only is someone watching the monitors, but some of the pictures are put on the big screen so several operations  can be seen at once.
                                         I don't remember what this monitor showes but each color represents a certain grade of ore and its location.
This is showing the location of all of the different trucks and the grade of ore they are carrying to a specific processing area.  Each grade has its own unique dumping spot because processing is different for different grades.

The tour started promptly at 8:30 A.M. and didn't finish until 12:00.  The $7.00 ticket was well worth it. In retrospect, it might have been more interesting to go on Friday when everything was working but then again we may not have been allowed to view the control room.

Sunday was a down day for me in preparation to move on Monday.  I had planned to go to Willcox and catch up with the WINS but time is getting short and its been pretty cold in the higher elevations near Chiricahua so I'll be moving on to Yuma (hopefully nice warm weather) for a day or so to see some friends before making the final leg towards home base.

Safford, AZ. March 16-21

                     Early morning walk just past my rig with Hamilton mountains in the distance.

Tuesday, I arrived at the Escapee Boondocking site near Safford.  Actually, the camp is located near Solomon near the Hot Wells Dune area about 8 miles east of Safford.  Trish, a fellow WIN member was     hosting  this event and  I thought it would be fun to join a different group. I met a lot of great people who have been RVing for years,

The festivities started out with a St. Patrick's celebration.  Trish cooked corned beef and cabbage and the rest of us brought side dishes and deserts.

                                                      Trish enjoying St. Patrick's day

                                         For those of you who don't know Trish, this is her rig and all of her toys.  She also has a Harley on the front of the RV.  Its amazing what she pulls out of storage.  She had a huge pot to cook the corn beef and cabbage for over 20 people!
                                         Some of the Boondockers enjoying St. Patrick's day.

Thursday many of us took a drive on the Black Hills By-Way.  This was a well graded dirt road with lots informative signs along the way.  I soon found this group likes to stop frequently.  The By-Way was approximately 20 miles long and it took us 5 hours to go the 20 miles.

                                            Some of the interesting formation along the ride.

                                           The Black are off in the distance and you can see the road on the left.
                               The poppies were in bloom everywhere.  The Moreci Mine is in the distance and I'll be going there in a few days.

We stopped in Clifton for lunch at PJ which is part of the "Salsa" tour.  Later Barb, Joel and I toured the historic district of Clifton which is almost a ghost town.
                                          Beautiful old Catholic Church in Clifton.  The inside had been renovated in a modern day decor so the inside was not interesting at all.  Clifton was the original mining town before the town of Moreci was established.

The next day Mike and Vivian led us on a 4X4 drive which followed the old highway.  The scenery was gorgeous.  The wild flowers are starting to bloom.

                                         We came across this old watering hole.  I wouldn't want to swim in it but the dam on the opposite end was pretty interesting.

                                          On the way back it really started to cloud up.  The clouds are near our camp but look how they left an opening for Mt. Hamilton to show through.
Tomorrow Joel, Barb and I are going to go on the Moreci Mine tour which is about an hours drive north of Safford.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tumbstone and Kartchner Caverns, March 11-14

Thursday I headed over to Benson to stay at the Escapee Saguaro Co-Op park for a few days.  I was able to secure dry camping for $5.00.  The folks at the park are really nice and very helpful. Lots of activities, free wi-fi, nice laundry mat, and good tasting water.  The park backs up against desert so there are ample places to let Sadie run. There are lots of  dry washes, arroyos,  and dirt roads ...all looking alike.

Friday, I took Sadie out for a walk missed the turn to the wash back to the park  went out of and my one hour/3 mile walk ended up being a 3  hour/5 mile epic.  I ended up asking a rancher how get back to the highway and he kindly pointed me in the right direction.  I was only 1/2 mail east of where I was suppose to be.   The next day I made sure I took the GPS with me so I wouldn't miss any turns.

Later in the day I took a drive to Tombstone which is only about 25 miles south rom the park.  The old court house was really interesting but the old west shops on the main street  are very touristy....pretty much the same old stuff.

                                Doctor's bag of instruments.  They look pretty scary to me! The sign said doctor, but it looks more like denistry instruments to me.

                               I'm easily intrigued.  I never knew there were so many different kinds of bobbedwire.

                                                     The main court room.
                                          District attorney's law library

                                                    Beautiful stairway from the court room to the main floor.

                                          I guess they think the orange fencing will keep people from the gallows
                                         The old town of Tombstone

I had made reservations to see the Kartchner Caverns. Reservations are a must unless you want to arrive at the part at 6:00 a.m. and wait in line to see if there are any same day tickets available.   I had wanted to see them last year but ran out of time.  I was able to reserve tickets for both  rooms of the cave.  I've been to Lehman cave and Blanchard Springs cave but the Karchner Caverns are much more spectacular.  Cameras are not allowed in the cave so the photos are taken from some post cards. Even the post cards don't do the caves' beauty justice.  The caves are huge and spacious and I didn't have any  clausterphobic sensations at all. There is a series of locking doors and entry you go through to keep the outside air out and the inside air in.  The caverns are very humid and warm.
The Kubla Khan column is over 58 feet tall.  There is a beautiful light show included with the tour.  Very impressive.

This was in the Big Room.  Its the largest room in the cave.  The bats come back in the summer and this cave is closed from about April 15th during the time the bats return until fall when they leave.

                                        This is a butterscotch formation and sometimes called drapery.

Friday evening while I was finishing up my blog and having a cup of tea, Sadie bumped me and I spilled a few drops of tea on my computer. The screen instantly went blank and the computer died.  I immediately sopped up any moisture but my computer wouldn't respond.  Apple customer care had nothing but condolences for me as computer and water don't mix and suggested I go to the Apple store in Tucson about 45 miles from Benson. The customer service rep  made an appointment for me so I wouldn't have to wait.  The tec at the store confirmed my computer was very dead and could try and revive it but it would cost more than a new one and the new ones were better and faster.  Thank goodness I had recently used time machine to back everything up.  So, $$$ later I headed out the store satisfied I would be connected with the world again.

I  needed to go back to the Apple store the next day and get a few glitches sorted out so I moved  back to the Casino thinking it might take more than a day to get everything sorted out.   While in town  the volume control on my cell phone quit.  Verizon's solution was to send me another Blackberry, which meant another week without a working cell phone which was not an acceptable solution.  So, goodbye old Blackberry Curve and hello new Iphone.  I'm loving it! So... new cell phone, new computer, and lighter wallet!  One would think I was in the Bermuda triangle and not the Arizona desert. This trip is getting expensive!! Much to my delight, I was able to get everything done in one day and headed towards Saffard, Az to meet up with the Escapee Boondockers on Tuesday.