JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Fort Apache RV Park

We stayed at the Fort Apache RV Park on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. We met a couple when were in Little Rock, AR who told us about this park. We were so glad they told us about this park. There are plenty of places to walk around the park with well marked trails. It is close to the commissary and PX. There are two gyms with enough equipment to keep my workouts fresh.

This base has activities on it as well. There are the museums for the Buffalo Soldiers and intelligence. It was interesting to view the history of drones that the Army uses. The movie theater on base shows a diversity of movies so that was a place we liked to go as well. There is also duck pin bowling. We never made it to that activity though.

Excellent staff and warm, friendly camp hosts made this a wonderful winter home. This was taken during one of the two snow events that happened during our stay.

There are many hiking/walking options on base. Don’t miss Garden Canyon. It is past the artillery ranges. It is down a very long road. You will know when you get there. There is a picnic area and hiking trails back there. You can go up the canyon. There are washes that you need to cross so a high clearance vehicle is best. We stopped at the fourth wash because there was just a little too much water to cross for our Chevy Equinox. Keep your eyes peeled. You can see some petroglyphs from the road.

This was a great place to winter in Arizona. It is ideal location since it is not to far to enjoy Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbee and Douglas. Around the surrounding areas there are plenty of places to hike and bike. This campground is open to active duty, retirees, 100% disabled veterans. This has been added to our list of must visit again.

Saguaro National Park

The ‘people’ cacti park. This was one of my bucket list parks. I love the Saguaro cactus. The first time I saw one in a visit to Arizona 5 years ago, I thought they really do look like people from a distance. These majestic cacti take a long time to grow. We visited the Saguaro East Rincon Mountain District. There is also a West Tucson Mountain District.

We got to see what the inside of a saguaro looks like from the inside. The spiny, wood like frame that holds the cactus upright.

By time we left the park, we learned the difference between the prickly pear cactus, barrel cactus, saguaro cactus. There are many more varieties. There are plenty of hiking trails of different ability levels.

The Mica View and the Desert Ecology Trail are a completely accessible for those will mobility issues. The Freeman Homestead Trail is one where I would take children. The are many points of interest on this trail along with activities for children to do. There is a covered picnic area near the Mica Trail where ate lunch. There are regular restrooms at the Visitor Center along with very clean gravity toilets within the park.

Some of the cacti seemed to have their own personality. Have you been to Saguaro? If so, what is your favorite memory?

City of Rocks State Park

We stopped over in Deming, New Mexico on our way to the winter home in Sierra Vista, Arizona. We only had the opportunity to choose one location to visit. City of Rocks State Park was the winner. It was about a 50 minute drive from the RV park where we were staying. It was worth every bit of drive. There were mountains in the distance in every location on the drive. It was fairly flat and straight until we almost got there. We came off a hill and saw the most beautiful rock formations.

I was so impressed with this park. These rocks were formed by a prehistoric volcano. This is what was left after erosion. I hope we can visit this place again soon.

It is a small park. Were stayed about 4 hours. There is a small museum area which will tell you the history of geographical features. There is a small RV park where you have water and electricity. The best feature is that you can

Buffalo Soldiers

We have started following the trail of the Buffalo Soldiers. After the Civil War, Congress reorganized the Army and authorized the formation of two regiments of black calvary with the designation of the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry. All units were composed of black non-commissioned officers and enlisted men commanded by both white and black officers.

We were told by Buffalo Soldiers reenactors in San Antonio the name Buffalo Soldier came from the Native American tribes that they were fighting. Bison have dark, wooly hair like a the men they were fighting. That is one theory. Another came from the 10th calvary fighting ability. Another is that Native Americans had given soldiers coats made from bison. Whatever is true the name is one that was used with respect for these soldiers. Eventually, this became a generic term for any black soldier. The term was used until integration of the troops in 1948.

So we started our journey in San Antonio, Texas at the Institute for Texan Cultures. They had a Buffalo Soldier day.

We then continue our Buffalo Soldier journey in Fort Stockton, Texas. There are only a few building left of this old fort but the museum is full of wonderful history. These soldiers were tasked with keeping the migration routes open. Especially protecting water sources where folks where were migrating west might stop for water. There is not a whole lot of water in West Texas. The Native Americans used these stops as well to stop for water while following their nomadic routes.

I know that I am guilty of thinking of the Buffalo Soldiers as fighters. They were so much more. They had to build the fort include family housing for the officers, set up the telegraph. They surveyed the land. They had to tend their animals. Becoming a soldier after the Civil War was a pretty good job. They were paid much less than their white counterparts but it was steady work where they could gain further skills.

Our next stop on the Buffalo Soldier tour is Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. This base was very important in World War II. I would encourage a visit to the museum on base. It tells the story of the men and women who served at this Fort for training to be deployed overseas. This is an active military base so if you don’t have a DoD ID you will need to enter through the Van Damen (East) Gate to get a visitor pass to visit this museum.

We will be following the trail of the Buffalo Soldiers for most of this year. More to come about them soon…

Sources: Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, Inc; Fort Huachuca Buffalo Soldier Museum, Fort Stockton Buffalo Soldier Museum, San Antonia Buffalo Soldier Days, Wikepedia