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Meteor Shower, AZ
mini location map2015-08-12
19 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Meteor Shower, AZ 
Meteor Shower, AZ
 
Car Camping avatar Aug 12 2015
rwstorm
Car Camping
Car Camping
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Another form of meteor-ology. :lol: For the most part I find scanning the sky for shooting stars only a bit more exciting than watching paint dry or golf on TV. I much prefer thunder showers to meteor showers! :gun: Anyway, I decided to head out of the light field of the city and perhaps see some decent ones. I mean after all this is considered one of the best of the year and had the added bonus of occurring during a new moon period, which means optimum dark sky viewing conditions.

I really didn't want to drive far, but the amount of cloud and storm action Wednesday afternoon had me thinking my first choices, Gardner/Fish Canyons or Parker Canyon Lake might not work. (Turns out they probably would have been fine). So I called City of Rocks State Park near Deming to see if there were spots available. They said not many people there, so I made a last minute decision about 3 in the afternoon to head there. That is an excellent place for night sky viewing as well, plus I like the campground and have stayed there many times.

The trouble with my decision is that I was racing the clock. That state park closes its gate to entry at 9 in the evening, and being on MDT, it was an hour later in New Mexico. I had a stop or two to make to pick up a few things, so the squeeze was on. When I got a ways past Willcox, I decided to change the plan. The decision was made to try and camp at Sunny Flat CG in the Portal area of the Chiricahua Mountains. I hadn't camped there since 1990, but remembered it had an open area for sky viewing.

After getting a sandwich at a truck stop in San Simon (original plan was to get a green chile cheeseburger at Blake's Lotaburger in Deming :D ), it was off to Portal and hopefully to camp at Sunny Flat. I hadn't been to this area since before the big Horseshoe 2 Fire in 2011, and was amazed at all the post fire flood damage! :o All of the campgrounds were closed, including Sunny Flat. I looked around in there and it would have worked, but I had to change plans again. It had been maybe 10 years since I checked out John Hands and Herb Martyr, but the campgrounds there have been abandoned. So, it was up the road toward Onion Saddle in the dark to perhaps find a suitable spot along the road to set up. Didn't find anything I really liked, so when I made it to Onion Saddle, I decided to go on to Rustler Park (where I had camped two weeks previous) and give it up there. (I knew because of the fire that it had an ample sky view now) It was about 1030 when I arrived and picked a spot on the upper loop. I was now very tired and disappointed that I burned up a lot of the evening looking for a place to camp. Saw a few nice meteors then went to bed with the alarm set for 3 AM. Figured there would be some good ones just before dawn, but it was pretty dead overall. So it goes.

Broke camp early and headed down the west side to Pinery Canyon and found a shady spot to enjoy some morning coffee and read a little. Passing through Dos Cabezas, I stopped at the cemetery to look for the possible grave of someone I had known years ago while stationed on San Clemente Island. His first name was Chris, and he worked at the motor pool on the island, as a civilian employee of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center out of Pasadena. He was born in Dos Cabezas and also had worked in the past for for John Wayne at his Arizona ranches (pre 1970). Didn't find his tombstone. Then it was on to Willcox for another meal at La Unica before heading back to the Tucson blast furnace.

It was a wild goose chase, but sort of fun in a way. :lol: Back in Tucson Thursday night, thought I might see some stragglers from my backyard (this particular meteor shower has been know to extend past peak for a few days), but alas, wouldn't you know it, it was cloudy the entire night. :doh:
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Chiricahua National Monument
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