Caverns, Queens and Quartzsite...oh, and Ankle Woes
March 2, 2016
In our last post, we mentioned that my ankle was still giving me a little trouble. You may recall (or may not), but back in December, when we were in the New Braunfels area, I decided to take a spontaneous hike around the Canyon Lake area and rolled my ankle on a fairly easy trail. It bruised up and swelled pretty bad, but after a trip to the Urgent Care, it was determined that nothing was broken and it was most likely just a bad sprain with some torn ligaments. Doc said it usually takes about a month or so for bad sprains to heal, so give it some time before it starts to feel better. Cool.
So we gave it time. About eight weeks. It wasn’t better. And on top of that, we’re doing lots of fun stuff and we’ve been limiting our activities somewhat based the ankle. I hate limitations.
Well, what that meant is that it was probably time to take the next step and find an orthopedic doctor and have it looked at again. And since we were in the vicinity of population, timing was good. Since we were in a “new to us” area and need to find a doctor, I relied on the internet to lead me to—what I hoped—a good orthopedic doctor who specialized in foot and ankle injuries. Ultimately, there were about a half of dozen that stood out, and then narrowed it down to one based on reviews (yes, just like Amazon!) and appointment availability.
After the initial appointment, followed by an MRI, (and the doctor was great as he “fast tracked” everything for us) we had another appointment on the day we left for Kartchner. The results? Well, while I had hoped for a couple of torn ligaments, inflammation, etc. the MRI did confirm all of that, plus a longitudinal tear in my peroneus brevis tendon. The good news is that the ligaments and inflammation should eventually heal. The bad news is that the tendon tear will likely not heal itself. To fix the tear? Surgery. Sigh.
Probably a little too much info, but pics of what the
peroneous brevis is and what a tendon split looks like.
But the really bad news is not the surgery, it’s the recovery process. First two weeks in a short cast or splint, next four weeks in a full cast, then into a walking boot for another four weeks or so. Luckily the doctor understood our situation and basically said we needed six weeks in the area, then we could be on our way.
Since we already had a few things planned along with installs, etc. surgery is scheduled for mid-March and then we’ll hang out in the Tucson vicinity for probably six weeks or so. We’ll be spending a little more time in this area than most, but there are a lot worse places we could be; that is for sure!!!
So when we arrived at Kartchner, my somewhat of a bad morning was quickly forgotten as we were meeting up with our friends Lee and Tracy and Bill and Kelly. Spending time with friends has a way of making everything better. And it did.
Great campground at Kartchner Caverns State Park
Lee and Tracy .... and Bill and Kelly
We had one week at Kartchner and it was an action packed. Along with great happy hours and meals pretty much every night, we had quite a few field trips, so we were not void of things to do. First up? The caverns, of course!!
There are two tours of the cavern, the Rotundra/Throne and The Big Room. We opted, based on Bill’s research, to do The Big Room. The nicest thing about the caves were they were a fairly recent discovery—1974 to be exact, so they are fairly new.....but old at the same time!!
The caves were discovered by two guys—Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts and they kept their find a secret until 1978, when at that time, they told the owners of the land (James and Lois Kartchner) what they had discovered. In 1984, they approached the State of Arizona about making it a State Park, which ultimately happened in 1988 and then eleven years later, it opened to the public.
Gary and Randy went to great measures to ensure the secrecy of the cave though the transition of the caves from private to public ownership and have to give them a lot of credit for that. On top of that, the State has done an incredible job in putting everything together --from the Discovery Center to the Tour—all well thought out and great execution! (And the campground is pretty darn nice as well!!)
The only negative, is that you can’t take pictures in the cave. Really you can’t take anything into the cave and they are really serious about that. It really speaks to the extent that they are going to ensure the cave stays preserved, which I can respect, but a bummer not to have any pictures. So…I “borrowed” a couple from their site.
The caves are pretty spectacular and even if you’re not a big fan of caves, would recommend going. It’s not very often, if ever, you get to see something like this that has been so well preserved.
The next day, the group went to the OK Corral, but I stayed behind to do some work. The OK Corral is in Tombstone and is home to the world’s more famous gunfight. They do some reenactments of the gunfight and you can also stroll though the OK Corral as it appeared in the 1880’s. Everyone said it was really cool and Greg actually took a few pictures:
Somebody's having a bad day.....
Wells Fargo in Tombstone?
On Saturday evening we decided to head in to Tucson and unfortunately Lee and Tracy decided to stay behind. At some point, someone put me in charge of finding something to do, so the mad internet skills went into to overdrive and found just the activity. A visit to a historic hotel in downtown Tucson. A retro game show. Hosted by a drag queen. I mean seriously, it was like all of the stars aligned.
Since all the tickets that could be pre-purchased online were sold out, we had to get there early for the remaining unsold seats. No problem. We were first in line!!
The show was held at Hotel Congress, which is the historical in its own rite. The infamous Dillinger and his gang were laying low at the Hotel, when a fire broke out. They all vacated the hotel via an aerial ladder, but the gang urged the firefighters to retrieve their luggage, an act that eventually led to their demise. Seems those same firemen, who rescued their bags (with $23,000 + in cash and a small arsenal of guns) were the ones that recognized them when their pictures were published in True Detective magazine, ultimately leading to their capture.
So, back to the game show.….. Well, it’s hosted by Tempest DuJour, Tucson’s Delicate Flower of the desert and Ru Paul’s season 7 sacrificial lamb, aka, a rather tall unattractive drag queen who has no filter whatsoever. While waiting to get our tickets, we discovered that Tempest DuJour teaches costume design at the University of Arizona. And, it was also the show’s 200th “episode,” so that was historical as well!! (We are are all about the history!!)
Well, they rotate through old game shows (thus the “retro” part) and the show that night was The Match Game, which consists of a celebrity panel (comprised of a “Sister” Mary Seamus, relapsed Catholic and human guilt trip, David Fitzsimmons, who was the Director of Alumni Affairs at University of Tucson and Elena Sanchez, lifestyle goddess and human petri dish) and two volunteer contestants for each round. We signed Bill and Greg in hopes they would make it up on stage as one of the contestants, but unfortunately their names weren’t chosen.
Just a little perspective on how tall Tempest is....
And how much make-up she wears!!
I'm pretty sure these guys have no idea
how they ended up on stage ... with their shirts off!
And, every good show must have commericals
And.... "Sister" Mary Seamus in the parking garage elevator
The show was a total of three rounds, about an hour each, and each round was more wrong (and funnier) that the other. Was a lot of fun and kept us laughing the whole time. And for ten bucks, where else can you get that level of entertainment value!?!
A couple of our other field trips at Kartchner included a trip to Gammons Gulch, which is a western movie set and museum out in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere. Definitely another one of those “build it and they will come” places.
The owner, Jay, and his wife live in one of the buildings—and they rent out the place for movies, videos, etc. There’s a list of movies that have been filmed there, including To Kill a Memory, Blackwood, Requited, etc., none of which I really recognized, but may have to watch one just to see the set in action. This place is definitely not commercialized at all and after a brief tour, they let you roam around and take pictures and hang out. Cool way to spend an afternoon.
The owner using the official "pointer" to tell about the various movies and movie stars...
The prison intake area....
The prison....yes, it was unlocked, not sure why the distressed look!!
Some of the props
One of several old cars....
Another old car along with a very cool old gas pump....
We wrapped up our time in Kartchner with a girl’s day out scouting for wildlife (sandhill cranes to be exact) which was a total bust. Okay, not a total bust, we saw a couple of hawks in the distance and maybe a duck way way out there (it was too far to see what kind of birds they really were), but no cranes. Thank goodness for the company or it would have been a total loss!
Perhaps a hawk....!?!
And ducks...yea, that's what they are. Ducks.
The Bonita Bean Company....because it makes sense to drive
fifty miles to see ducks and get pinto beans!
The last night at Kartchner, Kelly had made reservations for us to go to the observatory at Butterfield RV Resort. Cool RV park that also had a small observatory—about 15 feet—along with a pretty powerful telescope (Meade LX200, GPS 16 inch). In the whole scheme of things, not sure how powerful that really is, but worked good enough for us to get a decent look at some various stars, Jupiter and the moon. (Of course it was a full moon, so really didn't need the telescope to see that!!)
If you're into astronomy, what a great workamping gig!!
Astronomy at the RV Park!!
We left Kartchner and headed back to Quartzsite for a week. Why? Because we hadn’t collected enough dust the first time we were there!! Actually Greg had an install and we wanted to hang out a little longer with friends, so we enjoyed a week of doing just that—hanging.
Our events this round included a wiener roast, karaoke again at Silly Al’s, a Big Bang 200th episode party (proof that we will have a party for just about any reason), and a taco, margarita, 80’s dance party.
Hobie discovered Happy Hour!!
Big Bang 200th episode party....and Sheldon's birthday!
Karaoke at Silly Al's....Tracy making us proud!!
So Quartzsite wasn't just one constant happy hour,
Pam took me out geocaching one day.
Pam with her geocache!
Back to our regularly schedule happy hour.....
Bill....evil Bill the bartender at taco/maragarita/80's dance party!!
There were a few who found out first hand how evil he is!!
And we even had our own dance floor!!
On our last day in Quartzsite, we made a quick trip to California to see the Salton Sea, which is a large shallow lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault. The sea was accidently created in 1905 by a breach in the Imperial Valley dike. The area at one point had some success as a resort, however, many of the towns have shrunk in size, or have been abandoned over the years due to the increasing salinity and pollution of the lake from agricultural runoff and other sources. Also, many of the species of fish that lived in the sea have been killed off by the combination of pollutants, salt levels, and algal blooms and when the fish die, well, they wash up in mass quantities on the beaches. I guess massive quantities of dead fish, and the related stench of decaying fish may have had a slight impact on the tourism in the area as well!! We were fortunate not to have witnessed or smelled the fish aftermath…..so to us, it looked like random abandoned beach towns along a coast!
The Salton Sea....
And some birds.....
Lots of vegetation in the area....
We also did a speed tour of Joshua Tree National Park, but it is definitely something we need to go back sometime and explore without the pressure of sunset…and with an ankle that is in better shape!
Well, that wraps up our time in Kartchner and Quartzsite . Without a doubt, I have to say Quartzsite is the most social place we have been so far and after spending another week there, it was time to move on, aka, detox a bit. Seriously though, a great place to meet up with and make new friends, and we were fortunate to do both.
Nothing like a Quartzsite sunset....
We are doing a three-stop tour with our friend’s Lee and Tracy before surgery, so I’ll have happy memories while I’m laid up. First stop, Tucson again. We like it there.....luckily!!