We hit the road on the day after Christmas. Loaded up with bikes and the dog, we made our way south. Of course P decided on the least direct route to where we were going. First detour, through Hillsboro and over Emory Pass to Silver City. The land went from desert packed with cactus to tall Ponderosas towering over the winding road.
We ended up at this massive copper mine.
Strangely pretty and completely huge. We stopped off in Silver City for burritos and headed south once more. Next stop, Green Valley. P’s mom lives there in the winter to avoid the dreary Portland grey season. It’s a nutty retirement community of golf cart lanes and heaps of rec centers. Totally surreal.
P and his brother’s headed off on a road ride the next morning, so P’s mom took me to San Xavier Mission. Super cool, tons of crazy frescos and a really creepy wooden saint.
It’s been totally restored and it’s very cool.
I loved this ceiling. I want one in my bedroom.
The lions were all decked out for Christmas.
We hung out at his mom’s for two nights and then we headed up to Madera Canyon to stay at a cabin at the Santa Rita Lodge. Super cute, pet friendly cabins that come with wild turkeys in the front yard!
See? Turkey. There were tons of them. Also heaps of birds, apparently Madera Canyon is the second best place in the world to see birds. Who knew? Of course that’s just what the folks told us at the lodge. More exciting for me was this!
It’s a badger-raccoon-cat! It’s a coatimundi, and they are freaking cool.
Anyway, Madera Canyon is amazing. Super beautiful with tons of trails (no biking). I did a couple hikes and it was really spectacular. Next time we’ll have to do some of the higher elevation hikes next time.
We took a side trip to Tubac, a crazy little town crammed with shops that are equally crammed with art, pottery, rugs, photos.
After Tubac, we headed to Wisdom’s. Pretty good mexican, but mostly the building is the main attraction, it’s crammed full of crazy stuff and old photos. They do have an amazing deep fried fruit burrito thing…mmm. And outside they have these.
Giant cocks with antlers. Hee.
From there we headed to Tumacacori mission. Unlike San Xavier, this is mostly a ruin, but its still pretty darn nifty.
It has the ruins of the mission and the old cemetery and an orchard full of heirloom fruit trees.
But the highlight for me was Madera Canyon.
It was really beautiful there and it makes me want to explore more. I never made it to Tuscon, hopefully next time.
P picked the route out and of course it was a dirt road. Typical. We headed home via Box Canyon Road.
It was the perfect end to a whirlwind trip down south and a great ending to the year.