The New Year started early for Carolyn and I as we drove to Roper Lake in the Safford, AZ area to meet up with Jordyn and James. They had rented a cabin for several nights and had invited us to stay New Year’s with them and check out some local hot springs. Carolyn and I both had ties to the area as we are both EAC Gila Monster graduates so we were looking forward to revisiting the area. It was very cold when we arrived but James and Jordyn made us some coffee and bacon so all was good.
The first discovery is that Roper Lake has filled in the tub for soaking due to Covid or a bad pump. It depends on who you talk to. Jordyn also found out that the hot springs, Hot Well Dunes, located way out on BLM land were now closed due to Covid concerns. So we scrambled for other options.
After breakfast we went over to Dankworth Ponds and hiked Dos Arroyos Trail to Dankworth Village, a recreated American Indian village located on BLM land. There are recreated huts, etc that were interesting to view. The hike was a total of about 2 miles and we enjoyed walking around the pond. From there we traveled on the road towards Mt. Graham and did a short hike to a creek that had a dam that was very pretty with running water.
I was amazed that vandals had found their way in to deface the rocks in the area. That always amazes me that people can be that stupid. After finishing our hiking we decided to go to some commercialized hot springs at the Essence of Tranquility. We had to wait around for awhile to a get a tub but it was worth the wait. Water was nice and warm and it was good to soak for that hour. Eight dollars a person for an hour soak. Glad we did it.
After soaking, we went in to Thatcher and ate dinner at La Casita Cafe. Small local place that has a good local following and with social distancing seating, we did wait but once again it was worth the wait. The end of day one was a success even though it did not go according to plan.
On our return trip the following morning, we headed towards Tucson with a stop in Wilcox at the Source of Coffee located in the old town area. A former house turned into a coffee shop and it is a hidden gem–nice looking with good coffee. Next stop is Benson for breakfast at Farmhouse Restaurant. Great service and good food with homemade muffins. Their cornbread muffins were the best I have ever eaten. They were incredible.
On Tucson for a mini brewery tour. Both James and I had received the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild Recoupon Book for Christmas. If you like craft beer and want to help out local brewers, this is a great coupon book for using on Arizona road trips since no road trip would be complete with out a stop at a couple craft breweries. First up is Moto Sonora Brewing Company. Great newer brewery located towards southern Tucson in an older area with an awesome outdoor seating patio area. We split a taster and Carolyn likes the Isle of Man a Juniper Pale Ale and I also like the Belly Tank Blonde Ale. Great service and beer.
Next stop is at Copper Mine Brewing Company a short distance away. This place does not disappoint with great service and beer. Carolyn gets the Hibiscus Blonde Ale and I go with the Copper Kolsch. Our coupons include a take home crowler so the Hibiscus travels back to Phoenix with us.
We head our separate ways and James and Jordyn head to Dragoon for their coupon special of buy a four pack get one free for taking back to Phoenix. Carolyn and I head to the South Tucson Costco (yes I know I’m addicted to Costco) and I find a bourbon/rye whiskey bargain as they are clearing out High West Distillery Christmas three pack of American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye, and Rendezvous Rye whiskey. Bargain shopping done with lowest priced gas in the state from Costco and onward to Phoenix we go.
First weekend and first adventurous road trip complete with plans for more to follow. In returning to Safford, I was a bit disappointed with the downtown area as it appeared to be not as pristine as I remember. It looked like some places had closed up and just didn’t feel the same. Both Carolyn and I have fond memories of the area and they have experienced growth with a new Walmart and Safeway along Highway 70.
Stay tuned as Carolyn and I continue to find joy in a strange new world with no let up in sight for Covid and partisan politics and a disjointed union. Carolyn and I remain committed to celebrating life in any way we can with out distractions. Next up is another adventure in Usury Pass Mountain Regional Park.