This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Sunday 28 January 2024

Fort Naco and what's in a name

 A little introduction:

This area of Arizona is full of history. We have been to this area now for the third time. First the winter 2014/15 then again winter 2018/19, and noticed while driving into the city of Sierra Vista the name of “Buffalo Soldier Trail“ on one of the major streets leading to the shopping area. Sierra Vista is a military town majored over a century from Fort Huachuca near by. We were told the “Buffalo Soldiers” were moved long ago to the Border Town Naco not too far away.  Benno had been curious to see the Fort Naco or what is left of it. Last year the name Naco had been in the news with problems of an increase of illegal migrants being picked up from that area as it is a border town to Mexico. This Fort, also called Camp Naco is the only remaining border fort that had been constructed during the Mexican Revolution. Naco was one of the over 30 forts for American troops protecting the border to Mexico during that time.

Sierra Vista’s Fort Huachuca assigned it’s regiment of African-American Buffalo Soldiers to the then new build Naco outpost from 1911 to 1924.

So far with the historical info.

So we took the South Buffalo Soldier Trail past Fort Huachuca onto Hwy 92 and further on to the South Willson Road which is leading past Camp Naco to the Border Town Naco. It is a very scenic drive from Sierra Vista. Of course we stopped at Camp Naco to really inspect it.

This and following photos views from the S Buffalo Soldier Trail

How many of you are wondering where the road and trail name “Buffalo Soldier Trail” comes from, it might be of interest to you. So who are African-American Buffalo Soldiers and why are they so called?

The American Plains Indians who fought against these soldiers referred to the black cavalry troops as “buffalo soldiers” because of their dark, curly hair, which resembled a buffalo’s coat and because of their fierce nature of fighting.” The nickname soon became synonymous with all African-American regiments formed in 1866

Well, some of the barracks are still standing and a few million dollar restoration seems to be taking place at the fort. However, visitors have to stand behind the fenced off compound. Next, we drove over to the town of Naco, right around the corner. If there was not much to see at the fort, this place had seen better days. The border fence and now defunct border crossing can be visited next to a bar and pub. 

These are the officers quarters

This is the old border crossing, the new one is from S Naco Hwy

The day was beautiful and we decided to go for a hike. While heading south on Hwy 92, I had spotted a few cars parked up a little path that looked like an area from where you could hike into the mountains. We found it and yes, there was a clearing with parked cars. We decided to get out and to follow a foot trail.

The trail into the National Forest starts from Hwy 92 at the E Hunter Canyon Rd

We could take the truck to the pinned spot

What a nice path along a wash and sometimes dense brush, all uphill. The dogs loved it! We did too and even though we didn’t wear our hiking boots, it was doable. After quite a ways up Benno said, “Lets turn around and get the truck.”  You see there is a dirt road leading quite a ways up into the mountains right from the parking area. The drive was not difficult, but it’s quite an incline until you come to a little clearing and a dead end. From there a foot path is leading further uphill. 

This foot trail leads further up into the mountains

Just as we arrived a couple with their dog came down. They had been looking for gemstone and were equipped with a hammer and pry bar. The fellow gave me a sample from his finds out of his rucksack. His companion told us that she had seen fairly fresh droppings that she was sure came from a bear. 

That made us think not to venture too far into the woods at this time, but we still had lots of beautiful views around that area.  We will be back to explore some more for sure.

Saturday 27 January 2024

Tombstone, an old Wild West Town

We’ve been here a month now and we hadn’t been to Tombstone yet. Thinking that it was high time to pay this little historic town another visit and to just satisfy our curiosity to see what the darn outlaws gang had been up to. 

Sure enough, just as we arrived there were a bunch of these gunslingers lined up across the road announcing an imminent shootout! Hey, if you haven’t watched one of those shouting and hollering, revolver drawing performances, you should definitely go and see it.

Glad those boys are still at it and wouldn’t you know it, they even had two doxies that looked very familiar to us! 

Also new dedicated motorcycle parking

From our previous visits we remembered some of the unique stores and we’d seen some locals wearing time period costumes strutting the authentic looking boardwalks. This time there was less activity, but it was the middle of the week.

Not much had changed over the years since we were there last. However, a new statue of Edward Schieffelin had been erected in 2022. He was a prospector and miner that in 1877 & 1878 struck silver in the area. His discoveries led to the founding of the City of Tombstone.

The old railway station

Another new development was a no service overnight parking for RVs behind the old Railway Station. However, the steep, uneven curved path down to the level parking area is something else.

$10/night, at least you have a place to stay if the RV parks are full

It was a fun outing as we knew it would be and it’s worth to go again anytime.

Today we did another excursion, but you have to wait until tomorrow to find out where we went. Lots of photos!

Saturday 20 January 2024

Lochiel, AZ, Elevation 4,685

Yesterday, Benno and I went on an adventurous trip in our truck into the Patagonia Mountains with destination of the ghost town of Lochiel, located just adjacent or right at the border to Mexico. Of course our doxies accompanied us as usual.

From our Park we took the Arizona State Route 82, and through the little touristy town of Patagonia where I took a photo of an old train wagon which has now become a tourist information kiosk and the old United Methodist Church. Following Hwy 82 we passed by the Nogales International Airport on the left and then we took a left turn at the Little Red Schoolhouse onto the Duquesne Road. Benno was delighted that the road surface was paved and figured the drive to our destination would be a piece of cake. 

Well, his delight about the road condition vanished about a couple of miles later as the road became a dirt trail. Although quite wide and sandy we found ourselves bouncing on a washboard surface with potholes and rocks strewn about where you could loose your dentures. Good thing we had new shocks on the front end.

This sign was further along on the Duquesne trail

Thinking it might get better, we carried on the trail that continued southeast, sometimes narrowing as we passed many cattle guards. The trail became more winding as we went on and if we thought the trail conditions couldn’t get any worse when snaking up the mountain, we were wrong!

We stopped and I climbed up to take photos

A small outcrop of the road where I could take photos 

Not only did it narrow to an uneven one lane, we were on a continuous climb into the mountains and the higher we got, the more nail biting the drive became. If you are afraid of heights and not driving, maybe wearing dark glasses might help you. :-)

The road were we came on

Back at the RV Park the temps were 22C/72F, but in the mountains we were at 17C/62F with remnants of snow in the shady parts. There were areas where Benno let the truck just roll through the icy and muddy ground in sharp curves to avoid any slipping. All went well, but I do not know if Benno’s hands got sweaty?

Look closely the road we came from on the upper right of the photo

I must say the views were spectacular. However, not many spots to pull off for photo ops, but I managed to snap some. I believe the most spectacular were of the San Rafael Valley.


A tower with camera in the middle of nowhere 

Driving downhill was just as exciting as going up with many twists and turns and sometimes such a horrible trail surface that had me gripping the door handles on tight as we bounced along. There were mining ruins of the Washington Camp but too steep uphill to visit.

The historical landmark we were looking for

Inscription of the historical landmark

Perhaps after 15 miles or so, almost ready to give up and wanting to turn around, we spotted the Fray Marcos de Niza Historical Landmark and straight ahead were the remnants visible of the little town Lochiel that consisted of the old schoolhouse, church and a couple of abandoned houses. The fence and abandoned Mexican border patrol house were only a couple of hundred yards further.

Pavilion and sign of the schoolhouse to the left

View from the inside of the pavilion

Inside the old schoolhouse looking through the dirty window

We ate a muffin and drank our coffee that we brought long at the Patagonia Museum, which sits next to the old schoolhouse and is basically just a pavilion with posters on the walls.

Then we hopped back onto the truck for the return trip. Knowing what was ahead helped to settle our nerves. There were a bunch of cattle grazing in the open grasslands and we spotted two deer that ran from us. Luckily I managed a quick shot with my camera before they vanished. Up on the mountains we encountered two 4x4 vehicles driving in the opposite and for one pick up truck we had to back up on a tight curve to let it pass as he was coming down. Downwards vehicles have the right of way under these circumstances. Hidden in a valley we spotted a border control pickup truck with its officer munching on a donut. 

Cattle grazing in the wilderness

A couple of deer before they took off

It was a lovely outing and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Back home showing the evidence of the mountain mud