Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11, 2010 Biosphere 2, Tombstone & Hell’s Babushkas…

Bummer! Chuck’s finally decided to throw in the towel; his back is giving him fits and is making long rides miserable so he’s done. He’s got family in the Palm Springs area so he’ll go there and rest up for a couple of days and see how things work out. I’ll miss having him around and hope all he needs is a bit of rest to make things right.

We parted company early this morning and I headed to my buddy Mike’s place in Oracle for a visit.

Just before I got there I spotted the entrance sign for the Biosphere 2 facility now operated by the University of Arizona and figuring I had a little time I pulled in for a look.

Two and a half hours later I left after having done the tour of whole facility.
  What an experience, I remember following the progress of the original 8 people (Biospherians) and it was a thrill to visit the actual places where they lived for two years cut off from the outside world.

The facility itself is truly a wonder, designed to last a hundred years and built out of materials to answer to that requirement; it’s an amazing triumph of technology.

There’s so much history abounding in the place I won’t try to cover it in this dialog, instead I’ll post a few pictures and hope that sparks a bit of interest among you readers to investigate more on your own.

Over the years there have been several changes of administration from the original and it seems it hasn’t always been for the best. Now that the University of Arizona is in charge it looks like things may be headed in a more positive direction. In any case if you have the opportunity to visit this amazing place don’t pass it up, it’s unique and well worth seeing.

After leaving there I headed directly to Mike’s only to find he’d gone to Tucson on business and I’d missed seeing him by just a short time.

I figured the best way to prove I'd been there was to park Green Girl under the cover where he parks his Jag so I did,,,

To his credit he’d called me twice and left messages but I didn’t check in until too late. I caught up with him via cell phone as he was on his way out of town and promised to do a better job of retrieving my messages.

After that I figured it was time to move along and soon found myself riding on 1-10 towards New Mexico. The cross winds were furious and it didn’t take me long to start looking for a reason to bail off. A sign announcing the Saguaro National Park was all it took and off I went in search of cactus land. I missed the turn-off and went a bit beyond before sensing something was wrong and turned back.

The park is pretty nice and there’s a tour you can take at the entrance or for an outlandish price you can drive the scenic route on your own. You can even take pix of the disgusting little pigletts that are sleeping in the shade next to the park information office. Or if you’re so inclined you can buy a bottle of cold water from the machine out front, take a few pics of the cacti and hit the bricks. Much cheaper...Guess which one I chose…

Returning to I-10 was not a pleasant experience and after only a few short miles I again bailed off and headed south on highway 83 which runs south through the Los Cienegas National Conservation Area. I was heading to another yet unknown place but the ride was slow and really nice so I didn’t much care, the ride after all is what it’s all about. The scenery along that route is wonderful and since there was minimal traffic I was able to ride at a very leisurely pace. I noticed the mileage is begining to pile up on Green Girl and that's a good thing, she'll be getting more comfortable as she goes along.

The small community of Sonoita soon loomed on the horizon and I pulled into the one and only gas stop where I filled up, then figuring it was prudent I bought a map of AZ. For some strange reason I’d left the AAA map of AZ at home and guessing where to go next was even too complicated for Garmin & Co.

My next plan was to ride east on highway 82 to Fairbank, then turn south again and ride to Tombstone where I hoped to find lodging for the night. All of that planning worked just fine up to a point but when I arrived in Tombstone there appeared to be a convention of outlaw bikers going on and I decided to do a stage-left post haste. To wit, there ain’t an easier way to rile an outlaw biker gang with than to show up on a Japanese built Kawasaki cruiser. My mama didn’t raise no dummy so I was outta there just as soon as I could affect a couple of U-turns. Hola!

After departing the general area I put what I felt was a reasonable amount of miles between me and the bad-ass people and eventually landed at the Day’s Inn Motel in Benson, AZ. I knew it would be a safe place as there was already a Suzuki parked in front so I pulled in and parked next to him.

Such is the continuing life on the road, eh?


  1. Wha? Who IS that scary person and what has he done with Larry?

  2. It's me, it's me! Close encounters with outlaw biker gangs caused a strange reaction to my hair, that's all... I'm sure it'll grow back.

  3. Great pics and write-up! Didn't some of the inhabitants of Biosphere 2 almost starve to death?

  4. Hi Roy,

    According to the guide there were a lot of hungry people but they were never in danger of starving. One of the residents was a doctor and in charge of the meals which were well balancced and healthy although everyone did lose some weight. Bananas were raised as one of their food crops and soon became the most sought after item, to the extent they had to be kept under lock & key.

    Thanks for your input.