MORENCI, ARIZONA

By: joealaska , 2:15 PM GMT on October 19, 2012

Share this Blog
0
+

Tuesday night was windy in Albuquerque, and it continued breezy as we golfed at Black Mesa north of Santa Fe. But it was sunny and warm, perfect for golf. Technically I was the winner on Tuesday, but Casa was the obvious winner on Wednesday. It cost me a dinner at a nice Mexican restaurant on the way home.

The day before I broke my wedge at Paa-ko Ridge, so I bought another one at Black Mesa.

Yesterday morning brought another great day weather-wise. I headed west on I-40 and tried a couple exits which offered primitive roads down to Rt. 60 driving across the reservation. In both cases there with negative signs and vibes at the start of the rough road, so I moved further west.

At Grants I stopped and played a wide-open golf course Coyote del Malpais. Been there several times. Again, the golf was OK with an occasional hiccup good shot. But still had a great time.

Then I back tracked a few miles down I-40 and headed south on a small road to Quemado (Rt 187).
Great scenery, very few other cars. At Quemado I continued south to Reserve, then further south toward Silver City. My plan was to see Mogollon, stay there if possible. There were very few options for overnight stay within a 100 miles. Now it was getting late in the day. It gets dark at 7 PM, and I got to the turnoff for Mogollon at 5. The signs said 9 miles to go. There were many signs warning about no road maintenance, best not to drive it at night, narrow, yadda yadda. But it was a great late afternoon and I headed on.

Right away steep switchbacks, which ended just as quickly as I popped out on an upper plateau. After a couple miles, the switchbacks kicked back in. They were very steep with hard u-turns. No guard rail and the road was narrow, then REAL narrow. At best, a lane and a half, at worst one narrow lane. Thank God the road was rarely being used. But I did see maybe 6 cars on the round trip. Just a matter of luck if you run into one on a blind 1 mph curve 1000 feet up.

I heard a lot about this town, but the road was a complete surprise. It was very intense, and I have seen my share of those. But I KNEW I did not want to return on that road in the dark.

The road was the narrowest just near the end. But I went over one last rise, then dropped quickly down into an interior canyon, and suddenly I was there in Mogollon. I am sure there were people there, but I saw nobody. It was not what I expected at all. I expected a tourist trap of sorts, but that was not the case. Just a quiet little town. Many old vehicles sitting around. Not a sound. I drove through town and over the one lane bridge spanning the creek that ran through town. Then the road was blocked and I turned around. I wished I could stay around. There were few signs pointing toward the mining history of the town. But I simply did not have much daylight left.

So I headed out. Just as the sun dropped beyond the desert mountains, I came to an intersection where I had to make one last decision. Go left to Duncan Arizona and hope to find a room. But it was a small town and I was unsure of what was there. So I headed out of my way to the north and MORENCI. This is a big mining town in Eastern Arizona with a long mining history and it is stll cranking. A very unique town built on the edge of a mountain.

Will check it out Friday AM, then off to Tuscon.

Joe and Dot Kentucky just celebrated 59 years of wedded bliss. Can you believe that?!

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 13 - 1

Page: 1 — Blog Index

13. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:55 AM GMT on October 22, 2012
joealaska has created a new entry.
12. cholla
5:41 PM GMT on October 21, 2012
Posted Photos from Joe?????

We remember that while visiting us Joe mentioned that he had forgotten to bring some critical part for his camera. We think it was the cable used for downloading photos from the camera to his laptop, but we're not sure. He had gone to a Radio Shack to buy what he needed, but they didn't have it.

We hope he finds what he needs soon, and can update us with pictures of his wanderings.


Member Since: July 16, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 176
11. Arbie
2:13 AM GMT on October 21, 2012
Happy anniversary, Dotmom and JoeKY!

Enjoying the trip and talk. I can't wait to see the pictures.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1096
10. osdianna
3:58 PM GMT on October 20, 2012
Happy Anniversary a bit late, Dotmom & JoeKy! 60 yrs IS a long time to face one another over the breakfast and dinner table, and still find things to talk about and laugh about. You did good. I didn't even make it to 14 yrs, but I am pretty content as a loner...not lonely, but room to roam at will.

Speaking of roaming, Joe, I can't see you getting too settled...but then you could buy your own 4X4 and to heck with a rental contract telling you not to take that road! You could travel to your heart's content, get rid of that "island" mentality of being limited to that speck of dirt surrounded by the ocean...take off as often as you want.

Happy trails!
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 30 Comments: 503
9. dotmom
2:18 PM GMT on October 20, 2012
Be careful out there and not too hasty to buy a house!

I agree with Cybersuze. Why not rent to see if that is really the place you want to be, etc. Think about it, scout it out, but take your time.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1192
8. cybersuze
2:00 PM GMT on October 20, 2012
JoeA it sounds like you are getting dangerously close! The sheets are clean on the spare bed --not sure we could match the Cholla's hospitality though! sounds like that was a good time! Be careful out there and not too hasty to buy a house!
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
7. dotmom
12:19 PM GMT on October 20, 2012
Thank you "Mr. and Mrs. Cholla" for opening your home and hearts to Joe. I know he enjoyed his time with you. I know he will be pressing onward - no dust settling under those wheels he is driving. Safe travels to Joe.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1192
6. cholla
11:19 AM GMT on October 20, 2012
Joe spent Friday afternoon and evening with us. He seemed to be rested, but after a couple days driving the lesser-known roads of western New Mexico... he must have been tired. We did a lot of talking and a lot of margarita drinking-- not necessarily in that order. Just before sunset we hopped into our EZGO cart and toured some of our cart paths. Only a couple golfers, but lots of rabbits and quail were running all over the place. He got some good photos of the southern Arizona sunset. Later we grilled steaks on our outdoor Webber BBQ. Joe got to pet our two cats, but they spent most of their time sleeping. We talked about everything and everybody. Today, Saturday, he heads north to Payson to do some serious house hunting. His real relaxing vacation will probably start the day after he leaves Payson to explore the back roads of Nevada. Hopefully the extra-terrestrials and invisible aircraft of Area 51 won't cart him off to some distant galaxy. Joe knows he's welcome back here if/when he "retires". Both Maggie and I send our best wishes on their 59th Anniversary to DOTMOM and JoeKY. We're ten years behind you.
Member Since: July 16, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 176
5. dotmom
10:13 AM GMT on October 20, 2012
Dotmom and JoeKY say muchos gratias and thank you for the kind anniversary wishes. I agree - can it be? 59 is a long time. We've known each other 60 years and as JoeKY likes to say - it seems like yesterday and you know what an ugly day yesterday was!!! :)

Truly, we feel blessed to have a great family, good health and a bright future. Oh yes, we take a number of pills for this and that, but who doesn't. JoeKy had a bout with colon cancer in 1999, but no repercussions since. So we have agreed to forge ahead with vigor into our 60th year of marriage. It's less than a year away you know.

JoeAlaska, are you rested up and relaxed as yet?
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1192
4. DHaupt
8:30 AM GMT on October 20, 2012
Very Happy Anniversary, Dot and Joe! To be able to manage anything for 59 years is remarkable, even to manage to brush your teeth! A favorite adage of mine concerning long marriage is: Try to achieve a happy state where you find one-another's most grievous faults to be at least mildly amusing.

Joe, you are giving me serious nostalgaitis. My old alma mater, New Mexico Tech, is celebrating its homecoming this weekend. It's called Forty Niner's Days. The school was founded in 1889 as the New Mexico School of Mines. I'd like to go to one, but the time, distance and expense -- and my own infirmities -- sort of rule it out at least this year.

But, this is really the magical season down the Rio Grande Valley and through the New Mexican west. I so miss the smell of pinion fires, drying chiles, and roasted pinion nuts. As a student, my friends and I used to drive up to the country around Quemado to buy peck sacks of roasted pinion nuts from Navajos selling them by the roadside.

I think this was in a region known as the "Checkerboard Reservation". Navajo families were a frequent sight in Socorro. They would come to town to do laundry and shop. I recall one Navajo man who had just gotten a haircut gathering all the clippings into a paper sack when the barber finished. They believe that if anyone can get so much as a hair from their head, that one could use it to make black magic against them. They take hair and nail clippings out in the desert and hide them where they will never be found.

You can get a real understanding of this part of the world by reading Tony Hillerman's detective novels. Joe, you should be looking for a house in Socorro. The college has an excellent 18 hole golf course. I don't know if it's PGA or not, but they do play the Conrad Hilton Open there every year. Conrad was from Socorro in his early days.

According to WU, we are supposed to see our first serious rainy weather commencing Sunday and lasting through Tuesday. We do hope so! My black 4Runner looks like it's in desert camouflage. I'm sure the solar panels could use a good rinse too.

Joe, by the time you get here, the rain should be pretty much over. The weather is supposed to be on the cool side of mild: mid-60s and partly cloudy but dry. I'd guess that is pretty great golf weather.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1006
3. insideuk
6:48 PM GMT on October 19, 2012
There are 3 great truths about visiting the back of beyond (or the back of New Mexico in this case) -

1. You will do barely half the miles per hour to get there than you ever imagined was the worst case scenario. So much so at some point you will imagine that either a) you are on the wrong road, b) you could have walked here faster than drive or c) your destination ceased to exist in the last century.

2. The road will always be narrower, steeper, longer and more winding than it looks on any map. You will at some point try to ascertain how long it would take for somebody to find and rescue you. If that conservative estimate starts to run into the months with family birthdays and anniversaries where your absence might be noted then you can rest easy about the search party getting under way. Just as soon as they've finished eating your birthday cake.

3. When you finally reach your destination the place will be much smaller than you'd imagined and it will appear to be closed. What did you expect? A welcome party? There was one but it ended a couple of hours back when the cake ran out. What took you so long? Did you walk or something?


My map legend has enlightened me no end on US road classifications (for there are many). I have been known to accidentally follow drainage ditches over in Norfolk (easily done) so now I pay attention to the details. From primary routes with multi-laned and divided highways (thick pink lines) to earthy (mud) connecting roads that are 'nearing completion' (grey linked sausages). Unhelpfully these are identical to the grey linked sausages which highlight fully completed earth roads as well as the still under construction earth roads.

Mine fields would be a better name for them. Avoid grey sausages Pud, they are trubba.

I now know the difference between interstate routes, a provincial route and ones the AAA have designated as scenic (closed in winter). I also know if they are US Federal, Indian, County, Local or Mexico Federal routes.

Let me know if you need any help with that last bit Joseph. Your rental insurance doesn't stretch into Mexico, assuming you bought some to cover you in the US this time? How very unique...

I can also enlighten you as to other interesting and important to note features on the US landscape that you might otherwise miss/ accidentally drive into, such as large rocks, dry lakes and caves. With or without rest rooms. I don't suppose there are too many ferry terminals around Chollas way, much less coral reefs, but I can see many a customs station. Which bodes not well, given Joes history.

I don't suppose that rental car comes with a border fence repelling device does it? Something that can counteract your inexplicable magnetic draw towards it.

Thin end of the wedge = deep end of the bunker.


Happy Anniversary to Dotmom and Papa Joe – 59 years? I can believe it – 'cos I know how old Pudden Head is next birthday!

You can enjoy your celebration cake in Kentucky without fear of indigestion, the Chollas are in charge of any rescue missions today!
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1389
2. Ylee
2:24 PM GMT on October 19, 2012
Thanks for the play-by-play on the road to Mogollon, Joe! I'll have to remember not to take my long bed, extended cab truck, and take a Betti-sized conveyance, instead! :)

Congratulations, Dotmom and JoeKY, on your 59th! JoeKY, next year means a BIG PRESENT for Dotmom, so say you weren't warned! :)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15387
1. iaotter
2:21 PM GMT on October 19, 2012
Glad you are in one piece and good to golf another day.
Happy Anniversary JOEKY and DOTMOM!
May you make it to 60 and 70 and more.
Member Since: March 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 272

Viewing: 13 - 1

Page: 1 — Blog Index

Top of Page

About joealaska

On June 4th I left Kentucky driving my RV known as Leggs. The trip is mostly unplanned, it will be interesting to see where I end up. Let's GO!