Southern Arizona Questions

Several questions came up during our wanderings in southern Arizona, like what is The Thing?   I noticed my first “The Thing?” billboard between Phoenix and Tucson about 40 years ago.   The more you travel around southern Arizona, the more billboards you see. (It is similar to the Wall Drug billboards across the northern US for those who have seen those.)

fullsizeoutput_43bfThe answer to the question was never important enough to actually drive there, but since we were in the vicinity – it was finally time!

fullsizeoutput_43c0Suffice it to say that The Thing is not the archeologic wonder they hint at it being but the whole experience was mildly entertaining for a tourist trap. (I’m not going to spoil the fun!)  We enjoyed our Blizzards at the attached Daily Queen a bit more but it was wasn’t a wasted half hour.

fullsizeoutput_43bdAnother question:  Why are there miles of train engines sitting out in the desert?

A Google search revealed that (as of 2016) there were 292 engines stored in the desert due to a weak coal market. Natural gas is cheaper and cleaner and there just isn’t the need to transport as much coal anymore.

fullsizeoutput_43d2Next question:  After we walk 1.2 miles to the lake, will there be sandhill cranes? The area around Willcox is the winter home for sandhill cranes from all over North America. We could hear them from our RV park in Willcox.

fullsizeoutput_43d3We went looking one morning, but there was no guarantee….

fullsizeoutput_43d4When we got to the viewing area, there were no sandhill cranes at the lake….Fortunately, after we walked the 1.2 miles back out, we met some people preparing to walk in. We were able to tell them the cranes weren’t there and they told us where they’d just seen some.

fullsizeoutput_43d7We saw about 40 cranes (instead of hundreds or thousands) but we were only about 100 yards from them, much closer than we’d have been from the viewing area!

fullsizeoutput_43d8The unanswerable question:   What happened to our calculator? Obviously this question has nothing to do with southern Arizona except that is where it died.

fullsizeoutput_43d1Randy brought this calculator home from Hewlett Packard to do evening work sometime in 1981 or 1982.   Our dog, Anna, chewed the corner of the calculator and cover so it couldn’t go back to HP. It became our home calculator for the next 36 or 37 years. Once I got used to HPs “reverse polish” way of doing calculations,  I never wanted to use a regular calculator again.   It was chewed up and battered but it worked.

The calculator survived the dog,  decades of me using 1/100 of its capability, and almost 4 years of temperature extremes in the trailer.   After a recent move, we found the calculator still in its regular storage place but dead with a cracked screen. So, the mystery is what happened to the calculator.   Unfortunately, that is a question we will never be able to answer.

The TBD question:  Do we have a major slide problem?  As we left Kartchner Caverns State Park and arrived in Willcox, our largest slide binded and bucked as it was going in and out.  Slide repairs usually require hoists and lifts and forklifts and all kinds of things Handy Randy doesn’t have in his bag of tricks.

fullsizeoutput_43c1He looked anyway and found some loose bolts and some sticking tape, nothing that seemed to warrant the problems we’d seen.   I found there was no one in Willcox able to work on something as major as a slide so searching out help in Mesa was our best bet.

After a pleasant few days in Willcox, the slide seemed to move fine but Randy still wanted to have it looked at in Mesa.  We found a company, RV Renovators,  willing to let us do a drive by on our way into town so they could see what was wrong.  That way they’d know what parts to order for the repair.  When they looked at it, watching it move in and out, they couldn’t see anything wrong with the slide.  No repair needed – and no charge!  Did Handy Randy fix the slide just by removing some sticking tape and tightening some bolts?   The answer to that question is still to be determined!


About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Southern Arizona Questions

  1. Mark McClelland says:

    We’ve passed those “Thing” signs many times but never been tempted enough to go in. I’ve read a couple of descriptions of what “it” is but we’ll have to get the skinny from you next time we meet.

    It looks like you got way more than your money’s worth out of that old HP. I thought you were going to say that it was the victim of a rodent attack!!

    I hope that your slide issue turns out to be nothing. We sheared a bolt of a slide a couple of years ago. Thought it was going to be a huge deal but it turned out to be a simple repair, once I got the bottom of the trailer removed!!

    Since we’re static right now it is fun reading about your explorations…


  2. Teri McClelland says:

    I guess advertising doesn’t work on us because we’ve never stopped in to see what The Thing is. Even the promise of a DQ Blizzard hasn’t been enough for us to stop.
    It’s nice to feel like you got your money’s worth out of that calculator (even if it was “free”).

  3. rightlaners says:

    Good luck on the slide repair holding. Kinda wished you would have given away the surprise of the Thing – Tom nixed us going!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s