After being cooped up with my husband in our 300 sq. ft. motor home for months it was time to have my girlfriend Melanie fly into Tucson and see first hand just how much fun this lifestyle is. She was more than happy to take a break from working at the family owned Helmsburg Sawmill in Helmsburg, IN.
The fact that we were boondocking in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area didn’t hurt either. This area also includes the historic Empire Ranch.Many famous westerns were filmed here, including Red River staring John Wayne. It was an easy 2 mile hike from our camping spot, as long as the cows that roam the area didn’t mess with you. You are allowed to explore the buildings and hike around the ranch.
The area is known for its temperate climate and great growing season for grapes. The many wineries in the area made for a perfect girlfriend adventure. The fact that my husband doesn’t drink wine made it even better.
We visited several wineries which were all within driving distance from each other. Kief-Joshua Vineyards was the first. You purchase a glass and take it with you to the other wineries for a discount on tasting. Then off we went, glasses in hand, to Sonoita Vineyards, Flying LeapVineyards, and The Village of Elgin Winery.
We purchased a bottle of wine at each stop feeling slightly obligated to after all the wine we tasted. We also scored a free bottle of home brewed prickly pear wine from one of the workers, but we won’t discuss how that happened.
We did find a great farm brewery to take the hubby to the next day. If you are ever in the area please check them out. Copper Hop Ranch is a wonderful little farm, they grow their own hops, brew small batch beer,and have many farm critters to see. During the fall it is a major migrating area for butterflies. The beer was so good that we tapped out the keg. The big surprise was that she was rebuilding a vintage camper. Melanie and I were in heaven with so much to talk about, so was the hubby drinking his beer.
Hiking and talking about everything under sun with a good friend while enjoying our wine was just the boost I needed. Thank you Melanie for helping me make more great memories. For that is just what this journey is all about.