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Old 03-11-2009, 08:26 PM   #8
dave6253 OP
The Tourist
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 3,193
Unless Heavily Armed

I make it to "The Mexican Border Road" and head west into the Coronado National Monument.

60 miles to go. The skies look a little ominous and I've already had a little light rain.

The last line of this sign should read, "unless heavily armed". (At least that's what I said to make myself feel a little better.)

There is a very twisty and rough road to the top of Montezuma Pass.

There were several tourists making the drive to the top of the pass, but no one heading west down the other side.

The road is a little easier heading west. Mexico can be seen to the left.

Lochiel Road was a wonderful gravel road in a rough remote area. I saw maybe 4-3 other vehicles between Montezuma Pass and Nogales.

The first European Explorer to enter Arizona apparently passed through here.

Fray Marcos de Niza was born in Nice (de Niza = of Nice) in 1495. He came to America in 1531 and served in Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. He was chosen to explore the area north of Sonora. He left Culiacan in March 1539 and returned in September. He was 44 years old. Fray Marcos de Niza crossed Southeastern Arizona to northern New Mexico. He returned and reported he had discovered the Seven Cities of Cibola. He claimed they had seen a city far away where the people used dishes of gold and silver, decorated their homes with turquoise, and had gigantic gems. His report led Franciisco Vazquez de Coronado to make his famous expedition to the Zuni Pueblo the following year. Fray Marcos de Niza was the guide for Coronado's Expedition. The expedition proved to be a great disappointment and he returned to Mexico in shame. Fray Marcos de Niza died in 1558.

Many historians now believe the mica-infected walls of the adobe pueblos when viewed from a distance may have created an optical illusion when inflamed by the setting sun fueling the tale of the Seven Cities of Cibola y Quivara.

This monument can be found just west of Lochiel, which is a ghost town on the border with only a few residents remaining.

I was saddened to see the monument not being maintained. After I left I wished I had taken a few minutes to pull weeds and clean the area up a little. Perhaps the advrider community can adopt this monument of a fellow adventurer/explorer. I know I will do more the next time I pass through.

The big KTM loved this road.

Nogales is in the valley ahead.

I was happy to make it to the highway north of Nogales before nightfall. I prefer to camp in the rough, but didn't think doing so alone this close to the border was a good idea.

The rain held off, for now...

I ran about 19 miles north to Patagonia Lake State Park. I was prepared to pay for camping, but found this sign...

Does this make it free if you're not here at 9?

I was surpised to find free showers with hot water! This is not common at Arizona campgrounds. I wasn't prepared, but it is amazing how dry you can get with 1 small shop towel...

I cooked dinner and climbed into bed.
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