We backtracked a bit and headed back from Willcox (near the Chiricahuas) to Benson because I found a Yamaha shop that could take care of my bike's maintenance. Believe me, after my last mechanical "oops!", I'm not taking any chances.
We got a motel room in Benson, then drove south to Sierra Mesa, where the shop was located. The mechanics at Cochise Motorsports were awesome! Very friendly and, knowing we were there for a limited time, they were able to squeeze my bike into their schedule. Good rates, too!
While we waited for my bike to be ready, we headed to Coronado National Forest, which is just a few miles from Sierra Mesa. The forest is named for Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who in 1540 traveled to the Zuni and Hopi villages in the area.
We did not know much about the area other than to read of a nice cave there that one can explore alone (no guides). And they emphasized that we must bring our own flashlights. Just the kind of place that we cannot pass up.
When we arrived at the Visitor's Center, we found a display of armor that we could try on! We all got a chance to wear chain mail (my gosh, that stuff is heavy!!), helmets, even a shield.
I must say I and super glad the military no longer uses this kind of armor/uniform or I would never have enlisted! Interestingly, the park ranger told us that soldiers serving in the Middle East wear body armor of comparable weight. Unlike the Coronado-era armor, however, the body armor today is molded so that it is very comfortable to wear... or so they say. I have my doubts.
After spending some time looking like fools and getting our clothes nice and stained with metallic residue from the chain mail, we headed towards the cave. Let's just say that I should have learned my lesson with Arches National Park.
This was supposed to be only 500 feet, which is a very short distance... if you are on flat terrain in the Spring. After huffing and puffing up the doggone hill in 100° heat, only Azoica and I got to the mouth of the cave. Now all excited, we got our two wimpy flashlights and started making our way into the cave.
We went in about 100 feet into the cave before the dark scared us off. Notice I sent Azoica in to see how deep the cave was. Trust me, it makes perfect sense. She can run faster, therefore, I should stay closer to the exit. Yeah... riigghhtt...
After scaring ourselves at the cave, then spending some more time learning about Coronado, we headed back to Cochise Motorsports. My bike was ready to go and we went back to the motel. The next day, we headed East again and ran across this little fella. Herbie!!!