Archive for May, 2015

Southeast Arizona Parks

May 27th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona Parks – The Unknown Jewels

Cochise County Map of Attractions

Down By The River B and B is “The Lodging Hub of Cochise County” and you can see all the things to do in the area from this map

Southeast Arizona parks and historic sites are not as well known or frequented like the Grand Canyon but have their own charm that will delight you when you visit this part of Arizona. The better known park in this part of Southeast Arizona is Kartchner Caverns State Park. But we have many guests from Arizona that have never heard of it. Tombstone is a National Historic Site best known as the site of the Gunfight at the OK Corral. For some reason, the majority of parks in Southeastern Arizona are one of the best kept secrets around. So let me give you a quick review of places that you can visit here in Southeast Arizona.

Chiricahua National Monument PictureChiricahua National Monument encompasses a volcanic formation from the Turkey Creek Caldera that erupted millions of years ago. Over time the elements have worn down the rock to form many interesting rock features similar to Bryce Canyon only to a smaller scale. The color of the rocks is not orangish red but shades of browns, grays and whites. Many of the rock features have names such as balance rock, Punch and Judy and Duck on a Rock to name a few. It is almost to the New Mexico Border south of Willcox.

Fort Bowie National Historic Site is east of Willcox about 20 miles just off of Interstate 10. This is the location that was a focal point in the Apache Indian Wars here in Arizona. The actual incident that started the hostilities happened near the ruins of Fort Bowie. Originally the Fort was placed here at Apache Springs to guard the water for the Butterfield Stage line. The old stage road can be seen at this location. Ruins of the stage station, a graveyard, the Jefford’s Indian Agency ruins and the old fort can be explored during your hike into the visitor’s center.

On Top of Coronado Peak in the Coronado National Memorial.

From the top of Coronado National Memorial looking to the Southwest into Mexico.

Coronado National Memorial is located at the southern end of the Huachuca Mountains. The site celebrates the Coronado Expedition that entered Arizona along the San Pedro River in their search for Cibola – The Lost Cities of Gold. From the high point in the monument you can look out over the San Pedro Valley toward the Peloncillo Mountains where Geronimo surrendered. Looking south you view Mexico and the foothills of the Sierra Madres. To the west you can see about 80 miles to Baboquivari Peak, a sacred mountain to the Tohono O’odham peoples south of Tucson.

There are many other smaller Southeast Arizona parks and sites to visit when you come to Cochise County. Staying at Down By The River will also not disappoint you. Enjoy the parks all within a short drive time to Down By The River with the seclusion and quiet that can be found here in St. David, AZ. So read up on the area and find out what the well kept secret is and enjoy it.

Cochise County Lizards

May 18th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Cochise County Lizards – fun to watch while you sit on the patio.

cochise county lizards picture

Tree Lizard

Cochise County lizards start to come out after the weather warms up. You don’t see them in the winter unless you uncover one in the yard when you are moving rocks. Lizards are cold blooded so they need warmth to become active. We do find some lizards inside the house and usually they are easy to catch on the concrete floors. They don’t get much traction so we can reach down and pick them up easily. Sometimes it is just easier to catch them with the broom and the dust pan.

cochise county lizards picture

Great grandad in hand is a Regal Horned Lizard

Most of the lizards here in Cochise County are harmless, even though they may have a frightening appearance. The Horned Lizards, also known as Horny Toads have been used in old scifi 1950 films. The Regal Horned Lizard is the largest horned lizard in Arizona and can fill the palm of your hand. They can blend into the rocks and you can walk right by without seeing it. There is one Cochise County lizard that is dangerous but only if you try to pick it up. That is the Gila Monster or Mexican Beaded Lizard. This reptile is protected and bothering one can get you in trouble with the authorities. In the 10 ½ years I have been here, we have only seen one of these lizards on the property. By the time I got the camera it was gone into the brush and we didn’t see it again.

cochise County lizards

Arizona Striped Whiptail Lizard has an additional stripe down its back

cochise county lizard

Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard is missing the stripe in the center of its back

Many lizards look alike but there are subtle differences. We use a link for Arizona Lizards to help us ID Cochise County lizards. The Desert Grassland Whiptail and the Arizona Striped Whiptail look the same until you count the number of strips on the back. Lizards eat insects and ants but I spotted something that was a bit different. One lizard has some bumps on its back and so I took the picture to see what it was. The lizard had 3 riders. I have no idea why they were there but the lizard didn’t seem bothered by them at that location. Lizards also become prey to other animals such as snakes, birds, and mammals. We have seen Roadrunners with lizards and sometimes snakes in their beak running through the breezeway.

Cochise County Lizards

3 insects are riding this Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard just over the back legs.

Cochise County lizards are fun to watch and there are a lot of them around the b and b during the warmer times of the year.

B and B Owner’s Day Part 2

May 12th, 2015 by Mike Hug

B and B owner’s day – Now comes the rest

The b and b owner’s day starts early but after breakfast the harder work will come. If you do things right breakfast is easy and you have some time to relax. If you have guests leaving your relaxation will be short lived. But if you have guests that are staying and you don’t have to clean and do laundry you can get some things done that help you our cause. So here is part 2 of the narrative.

b and b breakfast Picture

Our table can seat 10 guests comfortably during our b and b breakfast.

After the guests leave the table, we will finish up our cleaning and straightening up the kitchen and table. We will update our menu for tomorrow and get any cooking dishes we need to have ready for tomorrows breakfast prep. As the guest leave we will tidy rooms, take out the trash, check for any dishes that we need to put in the dishwasher and check for any shortages of tissues and such that may need to be replaced. We will clean the rooms if guests check out. We try to run a quick spot check of the rooms for anything left behind before they get out the gate. We start the laundry and the dishwasher and hang the clothes on the line as they are done. In between we check the emails and telephone for messages.

Once we finish laundry, cleaning the rooms and putting the laundry away, we get the paperwork out for the incoming guests; start the prep for the next morning breakfast and other household chores that we need to get done that day. We check ingredients as we make breakfast and write down items which will need to be replenished. A running list keeps you from forgetting things when you have a long drive to the store. Wasted trips don’t help efficiencies and time is precious. We field phone calls as needed and many are from solicitors that want to sell us the cheapest insurance, best credit card set up, advertizing. While we do have online reservations, we get the call from potential guests who have questions and want to make a reservation. There are many balls to juggle but with two people working at it we usually aren’t overburdened. We get the morning meal into the refrigerator to sit overnight. In amongst all of this we try to fit in lunch.

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Day for a B and B owner Part 1

May 5th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Day for a B and B owner – the morning

day for a b and b owner picture

Early in the morning I am headed over to the guest side to start preparing the morning breakfast prep. This is after and hour or so that I have been on the computer.

The routine day of the b and b owner may vary as to specifics but there is always the one thing in common. The essentials everyday tasks are doing maintenance, cleaning, cooking, processing reservations and greeting guests. Most guests don’t know about all the other hats that a b and b owner may wear. There is the bookkeeping, budgeting, planning meals, gardening, scheduling time for shopping, banking, paying bills and maintenance. Then there are some b and b owners that do their own websites and marketing. If you aren’t organized and if you don’t have a system that works for you, things can unravel quickly at inopportune times.

We are starting our 11th year at Down By The River B and B. We have developed systems that save us time and effort. We only have 4 rooms at our b and b but that is enough to make our business plan work. We are able to do everything ourselves without needing to hire help for the normal day to day operation. When it comes to special maintenance or repair work we do find someone that is qualified to work with us in that area. So just what exactly is our normal day like? Well I can tell you that it isn’t ever the same but this is probably a typical scenario.

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