Monday, October 12, 2020

Amado, Truck Parts, SASCo and 96 Ranch - October 10th Weekend

Me and Paul at the Rockland Hotel near SASCo


Paul and I both own 2007 FJ Cruisers.  Everyone knows that - Paul's is Voodoo Blue and is named Lewis & Clark.  Mine is Black Cherry Pearl and is named Calamity Jane.  Anyone who reads my blog knows this.  Paul and I also both belong to a "non-group" on the interwebs called  We've both belonged to it pretty much since we got our trucks.  It is, in fact, how Paul and I first met way back when - on a small trail run I put together to Humbug Ghosttown that only Paul showed up for.  We became immediate friends, and hundreds of emails and texts were sent over the last 6 or more years (most of the texts were me asking "what kind of oil again?").  LOL

AZBackRoads Girl happily awaiting the succulent bovine
deliciousness at the Longhorn Grill and Saloon
(caption by Paul)
In that non-group are a number of key folks - people we have both either met or conversed with - over the years.  One of those folks is Jimbolio.  Jimbolio also owns a 2007 FJ Cruiser in SunFusionYellow - her name is Precious.  Precious is a fairly famous truck here in the FJ community, and Jimbo puts on tons of trail runs each year and is just a super-nice guy.

Well, a month ago, the few of us that still follow the website forums (Jimbo never moved to the Facebook page) woke up to the sad news that Precious had caught fire over night and the entire engine compartment had burned up.  The insurance company called it an "act of God" because they couldn't prove arson, nor could they prove it was a pack rat (there's a whole theory behind pack rats in Arizona eating wiring in trucks due to the soy that is apparently used to coat the wires?).  

Precious and Lewis & Clark

So - Jimbo bought the truck back from the insurance company, and he decided to sell off some parts to both make a little money for his new venture (can't tell you what that is - but it's going to be awesome!) and to help out the FJ community.  Well, Calamity Jane is benefiting from that!  Paul and I drove down this weekend to pick up the parts - more on what we are doing in a bit...but that is how this trip started usual, I've gotten ahead of myself...

We also decided it was time for me to go ahead and hit up Nogales for asthma meds.  Bailey's asthma meds are extremely expensive - even with insurance - here in the good old USA.  I pay $250 for one month's worth of oral steroids, and $48 for a 2 week albuterol inhaler.  In Mexico, I pay $15.00 for 5 MONTHS of inhaler, and I pay $25.00 for 3 MONTHS of oral steroid.  Same medications, reputable makers, everything.  But when COVID hit - walking across the border wasn't smart, so I've just been paying insurance rates here in Phoenix.  So Paul left work a little bit early on Friday, and off we went, trailer in tow, to Nogales.

USA to Mexico Entry Point

I had found us a cute little out of the way B&B in Amado, AZ to stay over night.  The drive to Amado was uneventful.  We checked in, dropped the trailer, and hightailed it to Nogales because the Farmacias closed at 5:30.  We got Lewis & Clark parked, and hoofed it down to the border crossing.  Now, Paul has never been to a border town.  He had NO IDEA what to expect.  I did warn him that we were going to get hit up at every turn to come in and check out the vendor shops, etc.  I don't think he was prepared.  LOL


I hustle him through the crossing - which on the way in to Mexico is just a turnstile.  We hit up the first Farmacia that is open and get all the meds (less than $200 for a year's worth, by the way, and I even got some antibiotics just in case).  Then I take him down to the first corner "marketplace."  All the while everyone is trying to hand us business cards, trying to persuade us to go in to their stores, etc.  I walk Paul through the little corner marketplace, and we are accosted by lots of people trying to sell their stuff.  I tell Paul "just keep walking - don't talk to them - don't make eye contact."  I'm laughing hysterically because I've done this - tons and tons.  Paul told me after we left the marketplace that they were "really annoying - worse than car salesman."  He's right.  I'm just used to it.  I ask him if he wants to stay, find a restaurant, get a beer, whatever, and he said he had had enough - so knowing that the Deconcinni gate has a 60 minute wait, we decide to head over to the Morley walk-thru gate.  Now - we are walking through a deserted area of town - and it's a little creepy.  I'm not used to this part of Nogales - I've never walked through the Morley gate.  But there are cool old buildings, and amusing signs (mostly strip clubs) - some cool caves set into the side of the cliff (see the picture below - the caves are under the Nogales sign).  I've since discovered these used to be part of a rather famous restaurant.  

Nogales Sign and Old Restaurant "Caves"

We get to the Morley gate - and guess what?  IT'S CLOSED AND LOCKED!  Sigh - figures - typical Paul and Bobbi luck.  So we walk back through the deserted section of Nogales - almost get run over by some crazy dude driving erratically down the street, and go get in line at the Deconcini gate.  The wait was maybe 30 minutes.  Not horrible.  They shuffled us through as always.  And then we were back in the good old USA.  

We walk back to Lewis & Clark, and head back to Amado.  There's a cool little restaurant in Amado called The Longhorn Grill & Saloon.  You can see why...  The building itself was built in the 1970's, and has housed a clothing store, a bait shop, and a roofing company.  It closed in 2016 due to foreclosure, but re-opened last year as a steakhouse - and it seems to be a most appropriate venue for this fun little roadside attraction.  The steaks were good - the rest of the food was okay.  The karaoke was awful. 
Longhorn Grill and Saloon
Then back to our quiet little B&B to sleep and relax.  We stayed at the Amado Territory Inn B&B.  What a delightful little place - Doug and Teah are the hosts, and they were just wonderful.  We had the entire place to ourselves and we enjoyed the solitude of watching the stars from the back patio at night, and watching the sun rise over the Santa Rita mountains.  It was the perfect place to end a hectic work week for both Paul and me.  

The Amado Territory Inn B&B - Back Patio

But - we were up and ready to go get truck parts on Saturday morning - with a little side trip to the San Xavier del Bac mission.  The San Xavier mission was founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino, but the current structures date from 1792.  I've been here tons of times, but Paul had not - and of course, the White Dove of the Desert calls from Highway 19 - so we stopped!  The mission was absolutely beautiful, as it always is, however, the general public can only enter a very small part of the front vestibule - I assume this is due to COVID, but one cannot see the St. Francis "entombed" (originally from the Tumacacori mission, which was abandoned) or get up and close to the altar as we have in the past.  I'm not sure this isn't a good thing - the mission is already fragile - no reason to add more deterioration from people touching, marking, or generally defacing the mission.  

San Xavier del Bac Mission - The White Dove of the Desert

But - we are supposed to be heading to Jimbolio's to get the truck parts, and I desperately wanted a into Tucson we head.  We find a Starbucks, get tea for me and coffee for Paul - then we get to Jimbolio's.  It was sad as we slowly drove past Precious - from the back she looked perfect except her rear bumper was now gone.  But as we got up next to her, the burned up front end made me want to cry.  

The haul for Calamity Jane
Thank You Precious!

Jimbo met us outside and he and Paul promptly got to work removing the front bumper.  Jimbo has an old steel All Pro front bumper - one of the original ones - you can't get them like it any more.  And I asked, and Jimbo agreed to sell it to me for a fraction of the cost.  I still need to get it powder coated, but I'm so excited to have a steel front bumper!  In addition, Jimbo had an original ARB basket style roof rack (the one that says FJ Cruiser on the rails) and he sold it to me too!  And last but not least, he has the All Pro kickout rock rails - and we picked up those too!!!  So Paul and Jimbo spent some time removing the bumper amidst all the melted aluminum and soot/ash from the fire.  Then off came the rock rails, and we loaded it all onto the trailer for the ride home.  Calamity Jane is going to be styling some new equipment soon!  And I'm excited that Precious' (again, 2007 manual transmission) loss will be Calamity Jane's find (also a 2007 manual transmission).  A little bit of Precious will live on through Calamity Jane - we promise to do right by her memory!

After Paul and Jimbo tie down all the parts, Paul and I head out.  It's late morning, and we don't want to waste the day, so we decide to go hit up SASCo because I had heard a large private military training establishment had purchased it and was destroying it, and then, if we had time, we were going to hit up the 96 Ranch.  

SASCo Sign

We make our way to SASCo (Southern Arizona Smelter Company) - first stop is the cemetery.  And it's posted No Trespassing.  Now me, my brother and my daughter and her friend have been to SASCo in the last two years.  There weren't any No Trespassing signs except going down the road...I'm sad to see that they had to make the cemetery inaccessible.  I'm certain this is due strictly to people vandalizing it.  SASCo has long been a haven for vandals and there was a bunch of new vandalization at both the Rockland Hotel and at SASCo proper. We left the cemetery and head over to the Rockland Hotel -  which has degraded even further - the lovely rock and concrete walls are falling down quickly - the Rockland won't be a visible ruin for much longer.  I love the old pre-1921 photo of it - looks nothing like the Rockland now...

The Famous Smelter Stack at SASCo - now boarded up?

And then we go to SASCo mill site.  This was fairly depressing for me - I've been going to SASCo since 1989 when I went to college.  The old smelter hole has been boarded up (I assume by the military training facility), there is TONS of trash everywhere - most of it obviously military training trash left by the company utilizing the area, walls have been built and blasted through at the mill site, and we even found wire with blasting caps (which were not detonated - eeks).  There's a burned up Jeep Cherokee up by the mill ruins, and part of what I refer to as the catacombs have had their ceilings blasted off and they piled up the concrete rubble.  I sent Bailey photos of SASCo while we were there.  She was very sad about it - she's been there with me multiple times and loves the place as much as I do.  
The burned Jeep Cherokee
Recently Destroyed Mill Site/
Catacomb Ruins

Paul and I walked around in the blazing hot sun for a bit, and then when Paul went back to the truck for water, I went in search of the SASCo sign in concrete.  I couldn't remember exactly where it was - and when I found it, I was so happy that it hadn't been destroyed!  

Someday SASCo will be a memory - paintball teams use it, people use it as a shooting range, and now this private military company is destroying it.  Goodbye Arizona history...

We decide to head out and over towards the 96 Ranch.  Neither Paul nor I have been to the 96 Ranch.  We have no idea what the road is like - and we are trailering a bunch of truck parts - so we aren't sure if we are going to make it or not.  But we did!


96 Ranch Main House/Homestead

The road was super-easy.  You could take a passenger car up there - the ranch itself is amazing in that it has not yet succumbed to the elements - the main house is still a fun walk through (watch out for the bees/wasps), and the old barns and other structures are fun to walk around.  Apparently much of the history of the 96 Ranch has been lost to time, however, the extensive ruins and corrals/barns would suggest livestock of some kind - and a fairly large operation.  I do know that the ranch used to encompass nearly 57,000 acres of grazing land, and was up for sale for $4,500,000 in the mid 2000's, but is no longer up for sale.  I have read that it was purchased, along with several other surrounding ranches - but I cannot verify that at this time.  Lots of cool things to see and explore - and Paul and I were pleasantly surprised by the amount of ruins left here - right on the road!

Paul exploring what appears to be worker accommodations

But it's getting late, and we are hungry - so back to the 79 we go and head in to Florence.  We decide to hit up Rudy's Burrito's for some street tacos on the way home (I love their street tacos!) and then home.  

Sunday was a very rare day off for both Paul and I with nothing formally planned.  We got up - and we went diving at Lake Pleasant, then came home to remove the burned winch from the front bumper from Precious. 

New-To-Me front bumper with the winch we removed

It was a busy and productive weekend!  And as usual, Paul and I made the most out of a necessary trip and got to explore Arizona even more!

Me and Paul at the Longhorn Grill & Saloon - early morning

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic border bargains and sounds like an awesome adventure!