Archive for October, 2014

The Thing

October 28th, 2014 by Mike Hug

” The Thing ” is not from Arizona originally but is from California

The Thing Billboard picture

The Thing billboards are along both sides of Interstate 10 for hundreds of miles.

” The Thing ” has been advertized on billboards from the 1950s. When I was growing up in Southern California, we would take shopping trips to San Bernardino. On the way home we would see signs that informed us that “ The Thing ” was only so many miles away and that we just had to see it. Of course my parents would not consider driving the extra distance just so that they could spend some money and satisfy our curiosity. We were always told not today we have to get home. After a while we quit seeing the billboards for “The Thing”.

Entrance to The Thing picture

The entrance to the thing is through a door that takes you to three buildings.

Not until I moved to Arizona and started traveling south toward Tucson did I see another billboard advertizing “ The Thing ”. My curiosity was raised but I thought well that was in California not Arizona. Later I found out that the exhibit was moved to Arizona after Interstate 10 was put in. I guess moving to Arizona added to the mystique of “ The Thing ”.

After starting the B and B in St. David, we would make trips to Willcox, Chiricahua National Monument and Ft. Bowie. We would pass milepost 322 and say “One of these days we need to stop to see what this is”. We recently had a guest who told us about their visit to exit 322, on the pretense of buying a Baskin Robbins ice cream. They told us about what they had seen and that it only had cost $1. After a lifetime of wonderment, I decided that we needed to make a trip and see what “The Thing” really was.

The trip along the interstate as you drive through Texas Canyon is scenic. The rock formations in Texas Canyon are awesome and you can read about it in a previous blog by clicking here. Along the way you will see numerous billboards touting what there is to do at “ The Thing ” exhibit. Don’t miss it! Just after leaving Texas Canyon you approach exit 322. We took the turn into the complex of buildings and got out of the car. Walking inside the main souvenir shop, we spotted a door that had a sign – “The Thing” – enter here.

Old Truck

Old vehicles are found in the first building including this old truck.

We paid our $1 and were told to follow the yellow footprints through the 3 buildings. The first building is an exhibit of old cars and a covered wagon. The second building holds many display cases with some antiques in them and wood carvings. The wood carvings are caricatures of animals mainly from someone’s vivid imagination but still it was interesting to look at them. There was also a bar scene that had a sign that stated “Wood carving out of solid wood. ” As compared to what else?” I asked myself. Some of the signs are hilarious to read and I am sure my English teacher from high school would have had a coronary from the grammar.

The Thing wood carving picture

The Second building held many display cases and wood carvings of interesting shapes.

The Thing Surrey wagon picture

This surrey is reported to have been in Lincolns Inauguration in 1861.

The last building had old furniture, some wagons and surrey purported to have been in the Lincoln Inauguration Parade. I will leave that up to your opinion of fact. It also contained a masonry block box with a Plexiglas window on top. In the box was “ The Thing ”. Well you may have heard from other sources that this appears to be a mummy. It may well be and I do have a picture of it. I am sure that you can find a picture of it on the internet but I figure you need to stop and spend a buck to see it yourself. The advantage is that you can also get a Dairy Queen Blizzard or some other type of ice cream while you’re there. Maybe even a T-Shirt.

The Thing exhibit picture

In building 3 you finally get to see ” The Thing ” enclosed in a masonry box with a Plexiglas top.

New Year’s Eve Special

October 22nd, 2014 by Mike Hug

New Year’s Eve Special at Down By The River B and B

New Years Eve Baby Picture

New Year’s Eve Special at Down By The River B and B is a great way to ring in the New Year,

The New Year’s Eve special at Down By The River B and B has been placed on our website for the last three years. Prior to that, we celebrated and invited any guests who were staying at the B and B to attend. It was sort of a surprise we did for our guests. The evenings were always memorable. The New Year’s Eve party has its origin from gatherings that we had in the 1980s. We invited friends and neighbors over to ring in the New Year and enjoy the camaraderie. After we opened Down By The River B and B, we kept the tradition alive. We invited our friends and also the guests that we had at the B and B.

New Year's Eve Snacks Picture

New Years Eve we provide a variety of snacks for our guests to enjoy

This year the New Year’s Eve Special will be the 10th annual gathering at Down By The River B and B. The event gets underway at about 8:30pm. Our guests will have their choice of delicacies to enjoy that we prepare for the event. We have always provided different finger foods and hors d’oeuvres for our guests to snack on during the evening. Guests are asked to bring their own beverages for their enjoyment. We have music and there is always the pool table where you can demonstrate your expertise. We do have some fun with entertainment and this year we will have a door prize drawing after midnight. At midnight, we watch the ball drop at Times Square on TV, naturally tape delayed. Then a toast is made

Living room christmas decor

We always decorate for Christmas and keep things up until after New Year’s Eve.

to the New Year with some sparkling wine that we provide from our good friends at Coronado Winery.

Down By The River B and B invites you to consider our New Year’s Eve Special. There is no need to drive home after the party since you already have the room for the night and as always we do a fine breakfast for you to enjoy on January 1.

There are a few restrictions for this event. We have these restrictions in place because of the costs that we incur for this event (we charge our normal weekend rate for these dates) and we have a limited number of rooms. If we book all the rooms, we will keep a wait list in case of a cancellation.


The restrictions are as follows:

  • Phone reservations only will be accepted.
  • There is a 2 night minimum either Dec 30 and 31 or Dec 31 and Jan 1.
  • No discounts, coupons or gift certificates will be honored for the 2 day stay. Additional days, over the two days required, will receive our normal 10% discount.
  • The guests will have their credit card charged for the room at the time of registration.
  • The cancellation policy is altered from our normal policy for special events.
  • Cancellation of the reservation is allowed up to 5 days after making the reservation but no later than November 30. A $50.00 cancellation fee will be charged and the rest of the reservation will be refunded.
  • For cancellations after November 30, Down By The River will refund one half (1/2) the reservation charge if we can rebook that room for this event.
  • Cancellations within 7 days of the event will not be refunded nor will any credit for a future stay be issued even if we are able to rebook the room.

Southeast Arizona Vacation Spot

October 16th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Looking For A Southeast Arizona Vacation Spot – It Doesn’t Stop At The Tucson City Limits

Tombstone re enactors

Tombstone has a cast and crew of cowboys walking the streets during operating hours. Special weekends have gun fights and other special events.

Many people looking for a Southeast Arizona vacation spot stop looking when they find Tucson. But there is much more to see a short distance east on the interstate when you look at Cochise County. Just an hour from the Tucson airport is a part of Arizona that contained the historic “Old West”. Tombstone, with the OK Corral gun fight fame, Fort Bowie where the Apache Indian Wars started and Fort Huachuca, home of the Buffalo Soldiers are just a few of the historical sites to see. The natural beauty of the mountains that soar to over 10,000 feet, Kartchner Caverns, a living cave, and the last free flowing river in Arizona are just a few of the spectacular nature sites you can visit.

southeat arizona vacation destination picture

Gammon’s Gulch is a working movie set and museum located north of Benson.

If you think that Tucson is the only movie studio you can visit on your Southeast Arizona vacation, guess what? There is another you can visit. North of Benson is Gammon’s Gulch. It is a movie studio that is still being used by production companies. Jay Gammon’s is host when you visit the set and he will regale you many stories about what has been done there. Many of Jay’s props were used in the move Tombstone. The HBO series Deadmen has used this set. Different films have been made in this part of Southeastern Arizona and Jay can tell you about them.

There are many historical events that happened in Cochise County. Coronado National Memorial is near the Mexican border and provides information on Coronado’s 1540 entry into this part of the US. The Butterfield Stage Line entered Arizona near Fort Bowie and ran through Benson on its way to California. Parts of the old stage road can still be found. This part of Arizona was part of the Gadsden Purchase. Old mining ghost towns dot the county and many ruins are still standing.

Chiricahua National Monument PictureBut this Southeast Arizona vacation spot has more to offer than just historical locales. The unfettered natural beauty can be found throughout the area. Chiricahua National Monument is an area with features similar to Bryce Canyon in Utah. Erosion has carved pinnacles, spires and created balance rocks throughout the park. The Dragoon Mountains is the lair of the great Apache Chief Cochise and contains Cochise Stronghold. The Whetstone Mountains contains Kartchner Caverns, which is probably the most pristine cavern in the states.  But the jewel of Cochise County is the San Pedro River. This river provides food and water for the migratory birds. It is one of the 5 best birding areas in the US.

So if you are looking for a Southeast Arizona vacation spot that has many different things to see and do, consider Cochise County. You can even stop by an Arizona winery for a little tasting and purchase if you wish. A majority of the wine grapes grown in the Arizona are from the vineyards here in Cochise County. Another great advantage is that peace and quiet that can’t be found in the city to the west. Nor can you find the dark skies for star gazing that is here in Cochise County. At Down By The River B and B, we have developed a list of things to do in the area. If you would like to see what there is to do in this Southern Arizona vacation spot, click here to view it.

Southeast Arizona Vacation Destination Lodging

Down By The River B and B “The Lodging Hub of Cochise County” awaits you.

Arizona Winter Birding

October 10th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Arizona Winter Birding – Cochise County has it all

Ducks in Flight Picture

Northern Shoveler taking flight at Twin Lakes Birding Area

Arizona winter birding is a treat for many Midwestern and Canadian travelers escaping the snow and cold weather of their hometowns. But the question is where to go. Well southern Arizona comes to mind. The northern area of the state offers higher elevations and you will find snow and colder weather. This isn’t necessarily good for finding birds but it is great for snow pictures of the Grand Canyon and Sedona red rock country.

The southern part of the state is much better for an Arizona winter birding experience. In fact there are a lot of birds that winter in the southeastern part of Arizona. There are also birds that live in this part of the state all year around. With the autumn migration season over at this point, many birders are making plans for visiting during the spring migration. But there are winter birders that want to go to a warmer area of the country and still see birds.

The birding in Cochise County is always fun to do and this is one of the 5 best birding areas in the US. There is a great festival that is held in January in the town of Willcox, Arizona. It is called Wings Over Willcox and the festival runs from January 14 thru the 18, 2015. During this time period, there are many activities and tours that you can participate in while enjoying the outdoors. This link will take you to the planned activities.

Sand Hill Cranes Returning Picture

When the Sand Hill Cranes arrive they come in waves.

One more of my favorite things to do in Cochise County is to head for White Water Draw to see the San Hill Cranes as the birds return from feeding. The San Hill Cranes winter in this part of Arizona. I wrote a blog on this almost 2 years ago. Along with the cranes are other water birds, including Snow Geese, Loons and a variety of ducks that share the lake system at White Water Draw.

Water Foul Picture

Ducks And Other Water Foul Fill One Of The Ponds

Another Arizona winter birding location is along the San Pedro River where the resident birds can be found foraging in the brush along the river. The San Pedro House has a great trail system that is part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The NCA runs from the Mexican border to just south of St. David, Arizona. At the northern end of the NCA, you will find the highly rated Down By The River B and B with easy access to all parts of Cochise County and the Arizona winter birding hot spots. So start planning your Arizona winter birding get away right now and investigate what is offered at our b and b.

Arizona winter birding lodging

Down By The River is the perfect lodging for the Arizona winter birding enthusiast.

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

October 4th, 2014 by Mike Hug

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area – A Birders Wonderland.

Birding the San Pedro House trail

Birding the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is accessed from few locations. One location is the San Pedro House where trails give easy access  to the river..

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) encompasses over 56,000 acres is managed by the BLM. The riparian area is located in Cochise County, Arizona. The NCA extends from the Mexican border to Saint David, 40 miles to the north. The San Pedro River meanders northward through the NCA providing water, forage. There are more than 80 species of mammals, including recently a Jaguar. Nearly 400 species of birds can be spotted. There are about 250 birds that migrate through the area in spring and fall or nest here in the winter. There are also more than 40 reptiles and amphibians that can be found in the preserve.

Ladderback Woodpecker in the nest at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area photo

Birds can be found nesting along the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area was set aside by law on November 18, 1988 to preserve the vanishing desert riparian ecosystem. This type of ecosystem was extensively found in the Southwest prior to Arizona becoming a state. The NCA is one of the few locations in the southwest that still has a continuously flowing river system. The San Pedro River is the only river in Arizona that is still free flowing. The center of the NCA is located at the San Pedro House. I have written about this site in a previous blog and you can follow this link to read about it.

The area is believed to have been inhabited about 13,000 years ago. A mammoth kill site and a Clovis site can be found in the NCA. In addition to these sites, there are ruins of an old Spanish Presidio, Santa Cruz de Terrenante, established in 1776. During the mining rush, the San Pedro River was a site of mills and towns. These old ghost towns are now part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and many are accessible from trails along the river..

Cochise County Bird Photography example

The Norther most range for the Gray Hawk is the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. They can be seen in Saint David during the summer.

These days the San Pedro River draws naturalists, bird watchers and people that love explore the sites along the river.  With the great variety of birds, the birders come to the area to fill in those elusive birds on their life list. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is the northern most range for some birds from Central America during the summers breeding season.

Being an NCA, there are few locations that have lodging available along the San Pedro River. Down By The River is the only b and b that is located at the north end of the NCA. The river is easily accessible from the b and b and the patio faces the tree lined San Pedro River. We are centrally located and provide easy access for day trips to many of the birding hotspots or other historical sites in Cochise County. Look us over and try us out.

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