Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On the Road: Yuma, AZ, to Kartchner Caverns State Park

We’re at Kartchner Caverns State Park now, in the southeastern part of Arizona near Benson.

We left Yuma, Arizona, early yesterday morning. We had 279 miles ahead of us and we needed an early start. Just a few blocks from our RV park in Yuma, we pulled on Interstate 8, which we would follow about 180 miles until it merged with Interstate 10 near Casa Grande, Arizona, a few miles south of Phoenix.

Just a few miles east of Yuma, all east-bound interstate traffic had to pass through a Border Patrol inspection station. The next few miles then passed through some mountainous terrain. At one point, the west-bound traffic was to the south of us, something I’ve never seen before. But then the highway sloped down to level ground. From that point on, the drive was easy and pleasant. There was little traffic, with few trucks, and for the most part the drive was straight and level. I enjoyed it.

We continued to see productive farm land along both sides of the interstate, especially to the north near the Gila River. We even saw – and smelled – numerous cattle feed yards. Undoubtedly, most of the crops along the route were alfalfa or other crops used to feed these cattle. Once past Gila Bend, we saw a haze in the distance. As we approached, we discovered it was caused by tractors working the fields and stirring the dirt, forming thin dust clouds in the air.

At Casa Grande, we merged with Interstate 10 and headed south to Tucson. Traffic increased considerably at this point, but we enjoyed the 6 lane highway (3 lanes each direction). Traffic through Tucson at midday was not too bad and we soon found ourselves east of Tucson on the final leg of the journey.

Just west of Benson, we turned south on Highway 90 for the final 10 miles to the park. We immediately noticed the similarity of the land to some areas of West Texas. We now saw grass growing on the hillsides, and the grass-covered mountains were gentle like those around the Davis Mountains. Highway 90, at least for the stretch we were on, is a 4 lane highway. After a short drive of 10 miles or so, we pulled into Kartchner Caverns, our home for the next 3 nights.

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