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Wandrin 2006

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by Lloyd Treichel





Dateline: March 31, 2006 -- Patagonia, Arizona

[To view photos full sized, click on the thumbnail photo]

Patagonia State Park... This is one of the many stops across southern Arizona for people who are looking to spot many birds that winter across the area. Not being a "birder" in the traditional sense, I do enjoy a walk in the woods and seeing the wild life. For me to identify and categorize birds merely complicates my journey. That said, I have joined up with guided birding groups to learn about birds from the leader. Since I am always interested in learning, this is a great opportunity to learn about the birds, their habitat and their migratory lives. The bird on the left is a Vermilion Flycatcher. Next to it is a Moorhen. This a water bird that has feet that look like a chicken -- not webbed. The Painted Lady butterfly sat still momentarily. The final photo is a scenic view for some idea of what the area looks like.

The weekend of my visit to the park included a Mariachi Celebration. With a fondness for Mariachi music with its light and upbeat sound, I enjoyed the five hour concert. In addition to the Mariachi music groups, there were dance groups who entertained with the flair and enthusiasm of youthful abandon. I also enjoyed some delicious Mexican food from one of the several food vendors on site.

Patagonia State Park is located east of Nogales, AZ on Highway 82. Dry camping is $15 a night. Sites with water and electricity hookups are $22.

From Patagonia State Park it was less than 15 miles to the town of Patagonia where I parked on the wide open park space that many years ago was railroad tracks. There was no charge to park and unhitch for those two nights. However, the price of coffee and a sandwich at the Gathering Grounds might be considered a "parking fee". When I arrived, it was snowing and continued to snow for the whole day. At 4100 feet snow is rare, but not unusual.

The following day, the snow was melting and the sun was shining through a somewhat cloudy sky. With the promise of warmer weather, a tour of the town was in order. Emily, a friend of Carolyn's, lives in Patagonia and she gave us the walking tour. The "us" included Emily, Carolyn, Glen and myself. We walked up into the hills past some of the more palatial homes in the area and then back downtown where most of the homes have seen better days -- about 50 years ago. As we walked downtown, a photo of this metal sculpture was impossible to pass up.

Camping Note: While touring of the area, I found another boon dock spot along Harshaw Avenue about five miles from the Patagonia post office on the left hand side of the road. There is room for several RVs.

While in parked at the Sierra Vista Elks, one of my day trips was to Ramsey Canyon. Another day it was to the San Pedro Riparian Nat'l Conservation area. The pretext for both visits was to go for a hike and see the birds that populate this particular area. At both places there were numerous birds to be seen. I couldn't get any good bird pictures, so these two scenics from San Pedro will have to suffice. The first is a Soaptree Yucca with a Huachuca Mountains backdrop. The second are cottonwoods with spring buds producing the pattern effect against the sky.

Red Mountain Hike...  To join Glen Nyberg for a hike to Red Mountain near Patagonia, I parked in Glen's remote neighborhood. This was south of Sonoita on Forest Road 626 off a "dirt" road -- there was very little gravel. There was no charge for the view. The picture doesn't show the "meadow muffins" that decorate the ground where I was parked.

Bill Simington joined us for the hike to Red Mountain's top with an elevation of 6373 (that's what the sign said at the top). From where we parked the truck it was a 1600 foot elevation gain and three and a half miles to the top. I made it in spite of my poor condition. Glen bicycles most everyday and Bill hikes most everyday. These guys didn't stop to breathe. The hike gave Bill a chance to add another peak to his "Arizona peak bagger's" list. That peak would be the beginning of my list -- if I were to keep one.

Area camping choices... In addition to this remote parking, there are easier places to access and boon dock north of town. Two choices are Gardner Canyon or in Las Cienegas Area (BLM).

If you want a little comfort, the fairgrounds in Sonoita charges $10 a day for electricity or $5 for dry camping.

Old downtown Tucson... provides some picturesque and colorful photos. Doors were the best subjects for the photos. Later in the day I found a bush with the wispy filament like flowers.






Cinnamon Roll Search...

La Baguette Bakery... and deli is on Grant in Tucson. You probably want to know how I end up at a bakery off the beaten path. The answer is a camera and a bank.

The camera was taking some great pictures. Unfortunately, there was some dust on the photo sensors. I was repairing the photos with Photoshop. Tucson Camera Repair was the destination to have the dust removed from the sensors. I left the camera for a couple of hours and headed off for some other errands.

A search of the internet's Yellow Pages identified a location near the camera shop for my bank. I have been with US Bank and its predecessors for over twenty years. However, they are not located in every town across the country. I frequently consider changing banks. However, the subsequent auto deposits and auto withdrawal changes keep me from selecting a more "nation wide" bank.

Finding the bank led me to the La Baguette Bakery which was in the same shopping center location. Over time I have eaten many interpretations of cinnamon rolls. Once again, I found a variation. This one resembled a Danish pastry. The layers of cinnamon were evident. Rather than the raisins scattered throughout the layers, they were in a clump in the center resembling a fruit filled Danish. In addition, the taste was like a Danish. It was tasty but certainly did not have the balance of flavors and textures that I enjoy.

The Grasslands... in Sonoita is a bakery and deli. There was a cinnamon roll among the extensive bakery selections. Although this cinnamon roll didn't fit my "standard", it was very tasty and really belonged in a class of its own. At $2.50 for a snack sized roll, it was a little expensive. When I asked for the cinnamon roll, the lady (perhaps owner) asked whether I wanted it warmed up. I replied that room temperature was the only way to enjoy a cinnamon roll. She enthusiastically agreed with me.

Another cinnamon roll... Right down town at the only intersection in Sonoita, there is a Shell fuel station and market. This was no bakery, but the cinnamon rolls were excellent -- closer to my "standard". Usually I expect pastries to be wrapped in cellophane in these convenience stores. If it was wrapped, I would have left it there. One of these went to the top of Red Mountain and I shared it with fellow hikers Bill and Glen.

The morning I hitched up and passed through town for the last time, I had another one at the market. It was just as good the second time.

German Bakery and Deli... is right across the street from the Elks Lodge where I was parked for a few days. Besides a good cinnamon roll, the bakery goods were extensive including cookies, breads, cakes, strudels, etc. I had some of the other bakery items on other days, but could not sample all the items in my short stay. It sounds like a reason to come back.

Sourdough Sarah's Panaderia...Find Sarah's bakery about two miles east of Nogales, AZ on Hwy 82 on the way to Patagonia. Look for a purple building and a winery on the south side of the road.

The day I arrived, the rolls were fresh. They had just been removed from the oven a half hour before I arrived. Sarah whipped up some powder sugar frosting and drizzled a cinnamon roll. On the way down the road, I tasted a great roll with that balance of flavor and texture that is a delight when found.

Along with the cinnamon roll, I purchased a blueberry scone. Later that day, I ate the scone. I've never really found a scone that I liked. This one was fantastic.

Sarah should charge more for those delicious goodies. 85 cents for the two items was a bargain.

Vanity plates:

BELIGHT -- A dieter's goal?

GN BRDN -- parked at the San Pedro birding center

NOT HIS -- On a red Toyota convertible

3GIRLYS -- on a mini-van

DIS RKT -- this was on a dark red Corvette. There was an apostrophe painted between the "I" and "S".

HOUSCHK -- Stay at home mom?

WEZPALZ -- who is?

GYPCSHF -- What profession is this? (I know the answer)

... and a bumper sticker...

ANNOY A CONSERVATIVE Think, Care, Balance Budgets

Recent Read...

The Southwest... by David Lavender. When I was learning about early US history, it seemed to be east coast centric. Nothing much seemed to happen west of the Appalachians. This book provides a refreshing view explaining that there was a lot going on in the Southwest long before the US "acquired" those lands.

This is a history of the southwest US beginning about 1540 with a short history of the native Indians tribes; the journeys of those first Spanish explorers of the Southwest; the Spanish and Mexican treatment of Indian populations; the Spanish land grants and ending with the problems facing the area today. The book is copyright 1980, but the the issues of the Southwest have not changed in 25 years.

This is a must read to help understand the Southwest and today's issues.

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