Years ago when I was in between books (in fact, I think I’d given up on fiction for a time and spent my days writing magazine articles for actual money), I was sent by Tucson Guide Quarterly to Colossal Cave and La Posta Quemada in the desert east of Tucson.
La Posta Quemada used to be a stage stop and postal station back in late 1800s. Sadly, it acquired the name after the daughter of the station master died in a fire. La Posta Quemada in Spanish means “Burnt Post.”
The area’s past ostensibly includes a gold robbery. Legend has it the robbers cached their stash of gold in a cave. The cave itself was discovered (sans gold?) by Solomon Lick in 1879.
I can vouch for the fact that the cave is really cool beans—and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the thirties fixed it up and helped make it a wonderful tourist attraction. Now Colossal Cave Mountain Park is under the aegis of Pima County. It is also a home to bats, a very good thing for the area.
I fell in love with the ranch, and realized that Laura Cardinal would just have to live there. This required research—-of sorts. I spent time just soaking up the ambience that spring, down in the shallow mesquite-canopied valley, which was green with six-weeks grass, swapping stories on the porch with the women who ran the shop. I knew I’d found Laura Cardinal’s house, the first and most important piece of the puzzle. And so I put her in the house and gave her a home. I even blew up some stuff there (fictionally).
So my time off from book writing led me to Colossal Cave, which in turn led me to the ranch, just at the time I was ready to write another book.
So, thank you, Colossal Cave and La Posta Quemada. You will always have a special place in my heart.