Saturday, August 1, 2009

So How Did We Spend Friday?

After a breakfast of one of my famous omelets (famous, that is, if you have read my as-yet unpublished book – heck, it isn’t even finished writing yet!), we took a road trip!

Willcox, AZ, is only 33 miles from Benson, east on I-10. However, when the state is resurfacing the two eastbound lanes, it takes a bunch longer than a half hour to get to Willcox. Yes, Willcox has 2 Ls, that’s just the way it is, I can’t change it.

We went to Willcox because we learned that, just north of town, there is a wonderful fertile area that has fruit and vegetable farms galore! Southeastern Arizona a garden spot? Yes, it is. Willcox area is about 1000 feet higher than Benson, gets more rain, and has a cooler winter, which is essential for plants requiring a dormant period: apples, peaches, pears, and more.

First, though, we stopped in town for lunch. Friends of ours went through Willcox early this year and reported not a single worthwhile restaurant. However, we found Big Tex BBQ.

From Willcox, Arizona

From Willcox, Arizona
Big Tex is located in an ancient railroad dining car,
From Willcox, Arizona
right across from City Hall, which is the renovated old railroad station that served Willcox during the past two centuries. We chose the Rogers Sandwich: smoked chicken with sautéed onions, tomato, green chilies, topped with Jack cheese, guacamole and salsa. All on a fresh home-baked bun, cuddled next to a scoop of homemade potato salad. Oh my! We could not resist sharing a dessert: peach-blackberry pie, warmed and served a la mode.

From Willcox, Arizona

We have to go back to Big Tex. They have two big mesquite-fired smokers sitting out by the street, beckoning one and all who pass by, with their delectable aroma. And we will!

We stopped by the Elks Lodge to see their RV park, and learned that they had only two sites left for the Rex Allen days the first weekend of October.

From Willcox, Arizona
We immediately grabbed one of those sites, as we had been half-way planning to attend Rex Allen days. That’ll give us a chance to go back to Big Tex.

Rex Allen Days? For you youngsters out there, Rex Allen was a singing cowboy movie star in the same era as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. He grew up in Willcox, and is by far their favorite son.

From Willcox, Arizona

There is a statue of Rex Allen in the Railroad Park directly across the street from the Rex Allen Museum, where you can watch his old films and see his saddle, his gun, his hat, and nearly anything else he ever touched.

From Willcox, Arizona
His horse, Koko, is buried in the Railroad Park right near his statue!

But back to Arizona’s garden spot! We had called one place to find out that their blackberries, that are usually ready by mid-July, had simply not ripened, and the crop was gone. That didn’t stop us from visiting Briggs and Eggers, who produce apples and peaches.

From Willcox, Arizona

From Willcox, Arizona
From Willcox, Arizona
We ended up with a flat of Elegant Lady peaches to bring home. We gave eight of them to our neighbor across the way (because they are just peachy people) and Suzy is planning to make a couple of peach cobblers for us.

We stopped in at Apple Annie’s produce barn, but were sadly disappointed. All their prices were high, even for the sweet corn they are featuring.

Back toward town, we popped into the Crop Circle Winery, where we tasted their local wines – fair – and some from their parent winery near Sedona, AZ – splendid!

From Willcox, Arizona
We bought three bottles of the better wines, and because we were such nice people, celebrating our 49th anniversary this weekend, the attendant tossed in some extras: two Crop Circle logo wine glasses.

From Willcox, Arizona
On the way up and down Fort Grant Road we passed apple and pear orchards, pecan groves, corn fields, vineyards and some crops we couldn't identify. We also learned that, further up Fort Grant Road, there is a huge nursery that offers nearly every plant that will grow in this part of the state, then the road goes on toward Safford and other towns north of us.

We need to return to the area in a few weeks, as the apple season is about to begin: Galas, Granny Smiths, Fujis, Red Delicious, Pink Ladies, and Sundowners, not to mention the Bartlett Pears! We gonna be healthy from all the fresh fruit! And we'll probably go on up the highway for a nice long road trip.

But now it is Saturday, August1, our 49th anniversary. We explained some time back that we “renew our option” each seven years (to counter the so-called seven year itch). This year it’s seven times seven, and we’re doing it again for another seven years.

Come along with us! You’ll never know where the trail will lead along … Our Life on Wheels


  1. Wilcox is one of our favorite places to visit! Great photos of the local landmarks, from the old section of town. Sure wish I could grab a peach or two - one of my favorite fruits!

    And a big CONGRATULATIONS on 49 years together! Jeri and I will mark 40 years August 16th!

  2. First, Jerry and Suzy, congratulations on your 49th wedding anniversary - should be a big celebration next year!! What a nice day trip to Wilcox. The big Tex restaurant looks and sounds great. If we're ever in Wilcox, it'll be on our list of places to eat for sure. And, I do remember Rex Allen well - I haven't heard his name for several years so it was great to hear about where he's from.

    Have a great 49th celebration with that nice looking wine!

  3. Happy Anniversary you two!!! Looks like you have had a lovely weekend so far!

    I worked at the Farmer's Market this morning in downtown Carson City. The Nevada Appeal is doing some community outreach (my idea) where we work the market every Saturday and hand out free papers, sign people up for subscriptions and just get back in touch with the community. I bought some free stone peaches, strawberries, white corn and some raw almonds. I love that kind of stuff so I appreciate the great fruit finds you found just up the road!

    Have a great Sunday and enjoy your peach cobbler!

    ~N~E~E~ and Boss

  4. Yumm, I can almost tast that peach cobbler! Thanks for an interesting blog post, and Happy Anniversary!

    Sharon & Don

    P.S. I noticed at the bottom of your post, it shows "0 comments." Yet, there were 3!

  5. Sharon, I just looked and it said "4." You must have come in while Blogger was thinking and counting. Do you suppose it says "5" yet?

  6. WOW,,,nothing better than COWBOY's, RAILROAD's, BBQ, PEACHE's and WINE!!!
    Nice Blog as usual...You do it right....


  7. ♪♫♪♫ Happy Anniversary to you ♪♫♪♫

    Hey you guys party it up on your BIG day!!! Loved your picturea and it made me want to be there with you... Have fun & travel safe!


  8. Obviously, Big Tex BBQ has hired themselves a new chef! We will surely try them again on the next trip through Willcox.

    CONGRATULATIONS ON 49 obviously very happy years of married life. You two are a fine example on how to make a marriage work.

    Have fun when you visit Willcox for Rex Allen Days. It sounds like authentic small town fun!

  9. Hey Guys!
    Just checking up on you two - glad to see things are going well!

    We enjoy being "home" - but still plan our next adventure! :-)

    All our best,
    Suzanne & Brad

  10. Hi Jerry & Suzy........sorry, I am behind on my Blog Reading but just wanted to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!
    WOW!!! 49 years !!! Next year we'll have to have a BIG CELEBRATION!!


  11. I found your blog today and loved it. Interesting stuff, great photos. We became f/t RVer's 1 year ago and love it also. I'm going to "Follow" yours and check back often. Good work!

    Margie M.

  12. If you really want a good meal for less go to the new restaurant at the Kansas Settlement Store. It is south of Willcox on Kansas Settlement Road. Take the highway towards Dos Cabezas and make the curve to the south. The burrito I ordered covered the entire plate and I had to take half of it to my grandson. We have just chosen Willcox to settle in after traveling 5th wheel style for 5 years. There is a huge dairy farm just west of us and a huge pecan orchard east of us. We love it here.


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