It's Just the Coffee Talking: A walk down memory lane - our ill-fated camping trip that ended up with a beautiful site in the desert

Good Morning!

This morning I just can't get my coffee hot enough for my liking.

I brew it, and sip one or two and it cools down so quickly (within a couple minutes) I end up brewing another on top of it to 'freshen' it up.  Granted, I like my coffee about 192 degrees... LOL. (And I don't like the taste of cooled or re-heated, microwaved coffee!)

Random Chit-Chat:  The itch to take off on the road again... I just wish our country hadn't gone to hell in the past 3 years.

My computer teases me about camping every time I log in the morning because my background is a photo of my 2018 trip.  

Regular readers will remember that one... 

Every day I look at this photo (above) and smile.  It was nerve-wracking at the time, but ends up being a great memory.  Most of the time, they do that, don't they?

For those stopping in to CoffeeTalking who are new-ish...  I love to camp.  To hike.  BUT only in primitive campsites or places where it's not busy and not full of people.  I have to balance this with safety of course, which men don't really understand or 'get' because they've never had to live their entire lives doing so.  Girls get it.  I've had my share of weirdos, stalkers, peeping Toms, strange encounters my entire life since I was literally a small child.  When I camp and hike I always have to be aware of my surroundings.  This is just common sense for females.

I have to go solo because Mr. Coffee doesn't hike. Or camp.  Or particularly like nature.  Or travel. 

A few times I went with just me and the dogs.  Finally, I convinced one daughter to go with me.  We did a border to border hiking and camping trip of South Dakota and she loved it so I managed to get her to be my 'road trip partner' for the next couple trips. 

Back to the photo/trip above....  The most important thing to know about my travels:

One of my safety caveats when I travel is if I plan nothing else, I do plan where I'm going to sleep that night. 

It's a 'thing' with me - I have anxiety if I don't know where I'll sleep.  I do all my camping with a tent so options aren't always available, and sometimes those that are aren't safe, or have too many people because I abhor busy, packed like sardine campgrounds. 

So all my trips are loosely planned except for my route so I know where I'll sleep.  This also is good for my husband to know 'back home' for my safety.  Many times I'm 1000 miles from home and in primitive areas where cell phone service is spotting or nonexistent. This way, family and close friends know where I planned to pitch a tent that night if nothing else - and know the last place I was/am if I disappear.  LOL.

This particular trip was planned with one of 'main' stops to Chiricahua National Monument.  One of the less busy national parks (prior to Covid quarantines when everyone and their grandmother converged on all the parks and they became WAY too peopley for me!). 

It's in the middle no where, about an hour from the Mexican border.

There is a last stop in Willcox, in which you can get gas, food, water... and then nothing for 45 minutes until you reach the park.  There is also little or no cell service (at the time anyway 2018) except reviews said if you have Verizon you can drive out of the park, go to a cross road of roads and you will see a metal chair sitting on the side of the road, and you can sometimes get service there. 

My daughter and I started our road trip doing some camping and hiking on the way - ultimately making for Chiricahua, where we planned (and had reservations) to stay for 3 days. 

Note:  I had never really been to Arizona before.  I've driven THROUGH it twice in my life but never really WENT there as a destination.  So this was my first time to 'GO TO' Arizona. 

We had been camping and hiking for 3 days prior to arriving, and had not been around any news, radio, etc.  We were just traveling and enjoying it all.  We were on our way to Willcox to get gas - where we anticipated losing communication with friends and family.  We had terrible winds and dust blowing - and we could see white blowing in the distance which we assumed was more of the dust storms.

It wasn't.  We just didn't realize it at the time.

And here are a few of the photos sent to my husband and kids at the time that tell a bit of a story when read in order.

There are a LOT of side-stories and information obviously between all these photos but the general story is that we were suddenly stranded in the middle of no where Arizona due to a 1200 acre wildfire and mandatory evacuations.  We had never been to Arizona before.  We knew no one.  Didn't have anyone to ask/guide/help.  Cell service was spotty.

Night was coming fast and we didn't have a clue where we should head or where to go.  We had been driving since 7:am that morning and were exhausted and frustrated ... and stranded.

We decided on a general direction and while I drove back to an interstate so we would have good reception, my daughter was following my directives to use her cellphone to go online and find free camping and boondocking sites we could get to before it got dark.

We ended up in the desert...

And that photo is a picture I took of our site that evening.

We had a few funny/crazy stories of that night there (one of them is how I got very little sleep standing watch for a couple hours while I watched someone(s) with a flashlight walking across the desert towards our general direction... which is a story for another time).  

This unexpected night in the desert ended up to be one of the best spots we camped in as far as no people and the gorgeous view.

Now my coffee is cold and I really, really need to get busy on my day.  I didn't even intend to blog about ANY of this when I opened the editor box this morning.  Ha ha.  You know how that goes!!!

... don't mind me, it's just the coffee talking again.

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Thanks for sharing morning coffee with me!