For years we have considered Oregon State Parks to be the gold standard of state parks. We learned last winter that Arizona parks are also stellar. This month we visited two more terrific Arizona state parks.
Our first was Picacho Peak State Park, near Casa Grande. There is a whole Civil War battle aspect to the park that we just didn’t get to. We were too busy socializing and getting our new satellite dish to work.
We spent about three hours trying to get our new system up and working. The manual doesn’t match the current receiver interface and our “lesson” with the installer went awry when he couldn’t get the joey to work. Many thanks to our friend Dave in Yuma who answered lots of phone calls when our installer Charlie wouldn’t. We would intermittently get TV but the satellites wouldn’t lock in. It was a good thing Randy had sold our portable satellite at the park in Yuma or we might have gone back to it!
In frustration we turned it off, had dinner, decided to try again, and everything worked. We now believe that all we have to do is point the dish at the satellites (with the help of our phone apps) verify that the receiver is getting input and watch tv. This receiver doesn’t seem to go through all of the gyrations that our previous one did.
It was good to be done with the satellite system because we had socializing to do! We met Jean and Jess while volunteering at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park in May and this was the second time we’ve seen them since.
Over the next few days we were able to spend time with Beth and Art, Rick and Diana, and Ron and Iris. These are all friends we’ve met since we went on the road in June 2014. We’ve know Beth for 3 years but everyone else we met this last year. We heard that living on the road can be this social but this was the first time we really experienced it. Of course, everyone being in Arizona for the winter helps!
It was nice to be in the Arizona desert again and I hiked around a bit at ground level.
Randy hiked to the top of Picacho Peak – of course he did!
And then we had another visitor! Boise friend Mike, now from Bullhead City, met us at Picacho Peak on his way to Tucson to pick up his new motorhome! The next day we were to meet him again at Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson.
But first we had to set the satellite back up again. Because we were now willing to have the system work without our full understanding, it only took 30 minutes. That’s better!
Mike arrived and we got to check out the new rig! Randy spent some time going through systems with Mike and helping him with a shopping list. The next morning Mike headed home and we started exploring.
We went to Gammon’s Gulch, a movie set near Benson. The builder and owner, Jay, has quite a history in the film industry. He acted as an extra at age five and grew up in the industry because of his father’s work. Now 70+, he has a 10 acre set that he mostly built himself.
They charge $500 a day for full access to Gammon’s Gulch compared to $3000 a day at Old Tucson. They have hosted many movies, TV shows and music videos since 1988.
Tours are $8 per person and by appointment only. Jay gives the tours personally and has a story for every building, every prop, and every actor he’s ever worked with.
This chandelier was from the 1995 Sharon Stone movie (whom he likes very much) “The Quick and the Dead.”
The saloon, one of the few buildings Jay didn’t build, was created and left by a movie crew . It is movable. We enjoyed our Gammon’s Gulch visit a lot.
We also enjoyed our visit to the park namesake Kartchner Cavern but I’m going to save that for the next blog post. Suffice it to say that it may be the best cave, with the best story, we’ve ever had the pleasure to be in – and we’ve been in quite a few.