After Dragoon Daze (we had been calling it Dragoon Days) on Suzy’s birthday last Saturday, we began to wander. First stop right next door, at Quatro Casitas.
For those not familiar with the southwest, that means “Four Little Houses.” This is a private home with four casitas for rent behind it. But they aren’t like any casitas we had ever seen! (Click on any picture to see a larger version.)
There was Capilla de Paz (Chapel of Peace).
We talked to the owner who told us he rents them out for $495 a month, and does a pretty good business! Each casita is fully furnished with kitchen and bathroom, despite the purported outhouse. Remember this is in a town of 117!
Out in front of his home, he has a delightful garden with a pond and fountain, a small pen of pheasants (he breeds and raises them for sale), and interesting statuary. For more pictures of Quatro Casitas, click here
From here we turned north into cattle country, eventually winding our way back to I-10, at the site of one of those awful tourist traps, called “The Thing” that is advertised for miles and miles along the Interstate. That didn’t interest us, but a big line of dust ahead on I-10 did. We figured it must be ATVs tearing down a dirt road paralleling the railroad tracks. By the time we got to an exit, the dust was far away, so we took an interesting turn onto Benson Airport Road. We’d never even seen the Benson Airport, so we said “Let’s Go” and go we did.
After a few miles, Benson Airport Road ended at a “T”, and the choices were a dirt track to the left or a dirt track to the right. As it was Suzy’s birthday, she got to choose, and we turned left. Maybe a half mile later, that road ended at the driveways to two ranches. As we started to turn around, a big red SUV pulled out of one of the driveways. I rolled down my window and asked, “Does anyone know where we are?” His response was, “Don’t you have a GPS?”
He drove away and we followed until he stopped to talk to a man on foot. This was a one lane dirt road, so we stopped too. When the big red SUV pulled away, we saw that the man on foot was a Border Patrol agent, fully uniformed and wearing a back pack which appeared to include a sleeping bag. We stopped to chat. He saw our Oregon license plates and wondered from where, since he is from Grants Pass, Oregon. He said he was out following footprints in the desert dirt, but it had turned out they were from a group of joggers.
As we continued, we got out our GPS and tried to point ourselves to St. David, a town just 7 miles from Benson. Jill (the GPS’s name is Jill) told us to go two tenths of a mile and turn onto South Astronomers’ Road. We did, and saw ahead of us a large building on a small hill. The building had three domes which appeared to be observatories! (Al, this one’s for you, old pal). Just before we got close to the observatories, Jill told us to turn onto Lonesome Road.
Somewhere in this area we had passed Lonesome Valley Ranch, and stopped to take pictures of its entryway.
Later we spied Lonesome Valley Ranch from a distance.We followed Lonesome Road until we came to a fork, and like Yogi Berra, took it. We took the better looking road (relatively speaking!), but it turned out to be K-7 Ranch Road, eventually became a private road into K-7 Ranch. Another turnaround, and we beat it back to South Astronomers Road, and turned south to see the observatories.
To the other direction was a private driveway into the headquarters of the Reata Range and Cattle Company. Not liking the odds, we did another 180 and headed back toward Lonesome Road, St. David and home. Oooops! Lonesome Road turned out to be an ATV track through the desert! Yeah, we have four-wheel drive in our Suzuki, and we switched it on pronto, but the ruts got deeper and deeper, we had to swing wider and wider to get around them, so … 180, back to Benson Airport Road, and back home.
We had leftovers for dinner, and collapsed into bed at the end of the day. To see more of the “drive around” click on this link.
We never did see Benson Airport, and I seriously doubt we ever will, not during this part of … Our Life on Wheels.
Addendum a week later. Benson Airport is nowhere near Benson Airport Road! The airport is six miles north of Benson, and we were however far south! Go figure!