Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Joy of Killing Time

February 16-28, 2018
Tucson - Picacho Peak - Buckeye, Arizona

A lengthy post to get caught've been warned.

Our rainy drive to Tucson is through the golden hills along Hwys 82 and 83. At over 5000 feet, the natural beauty is eye-popping. Like so much of this area of Arizona, we could see ourselves "landing" here when we eventually come off the road.

Something we rarely see crossing the windshield.
We're on the east side of Tucson for a couple days before joining our friends at Lazydays further west. Cactus Country RV Park is a quick and easy drive off Interstate 10 and is the closest park to Saquaro National Park East. 50 amp FHUs on a level gravel site. Sites are close but the park is very quiet and dark at night. 

On our way to grab a late lunch Bill directs us to the ACE Hardware store he and Donnie stopped at when they came to Tucson earlier in the week. He's told me they have a larger fishing section than most sporting goods stores. Yep! The place is a huge surprise.

One of five aisles overflowing with fishing stuff!
Lunch at Saguaro Corners is perfect on a rainy afternoon. Delicious comfort food and large windows overlooking bird heaven. Feeders and natural plants attract dozens of birds, making for delightful entertainment.

Yellow and red finches.

This is the largest Gambel's Quail I've ever seen. 

The rain seems to have little effect on the feasting.
Best chicken and dumplings!
Saturday we enjoy the scenic loop in the Saguaro National Park, although all the parking lots are full. The lack of rain in the past year is evident here - much dryer than our visit last winter. Still, it is a gorgeous area of diverse flora. No wildlife other than a couple hawks.

Sunday we run errands and chill out at home. We have only 17 miles to travel on Monday, but with a rare 10:00 check-out, I contact Lazydays KOA (who has a posted 2:00 check-in) to see if we can come in early. They're good with 11:00 so we drive slowly. And separately.

Pam reaches out for us all to meet for dinner at Tiny's Saloon and Steakhouse. Wrapped in road construction, we nearly miss it, but once inside we're treated to excellent burgers and great company. It's always a good time getting caught up with Sue and Dave and Pam and John.

Tuesday Bill is getting his first cold since retiring three years ago so he stays home to rest while Tessa and I make the 50 minute drive to the little border town of Tubac. I've seen wonderful blog posts of this  artsy burg and want to see it for myself. 

Under cloudy skies the variety of bright colors and muted tones make for a very enjoyable few hours of exploring. Having a small living space means I save lots of money not buying all the fabulous art, jewelry and furniture I would love to have!

One of several paintings I'd love hanging in my home.

Something for everyone.

A happy herd of Javelina

Drought proof flora.
Turquoise inlaid mesquite chair - I doubt I'd care if it wasn't comfortable :-)

Even the cacti get creative in this artsy town.

Subtle and soft in a courtyard.

Rhyme by Sid Henderson. Isn't she stunning?
Made me laugh until I realized the last letter wasn't "E"....

Palo Verde colored trim.

The recent storm leaves a light dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains.
The weather isn't warming up much, but we only have one more night here so we have everyone over for al pastor tacos on Wednesday afternoon. We haven't seen Gay and Joe since October in Moab and although they are delayed by a windshield install we're glad they are able to join us for a cold and breezy gathering. We continue to be grateful for these friends met on the road - a real blessing of the life style.

Jeeptopia. Wright's White stayed home when they walked over.

Tessa keeping an eye on me - Joe, Bill, Pam, Gay, John, Sue and Dave. It is definitely chilly out here!!
After a stop at Camping World to get the oil changed, we continue separately for the short 47 miles west to Picacho Peak State Park. I've passed this unique formation along Interstate 10 for decades making the drive to visit my mom in Tucson, and our blogger pals have shared posts of their stays at the park, but this is our first visit. It will not be our last!

My substitute co-pilot.

Wonderful to be in the wide-open spaces again.
Desert orange gives us a beautiful show our first evening.

Red rock glows to the east.
Friday is windy and cool and perfect for finding a new desert drive. Indian Route 15 is an excellent road traveling south through the Tono o'odham Reservation. It's nice to know there's an alternative for getting to the Ajo area without going through Tucson or Gila Bend. 

With names like Chuichu, Tat Momoli and Anagam, small tribal communities dot the route. We find a couple dirt roads to explore, and head home after several hours by ourselves.

More Saguaros here than we saw in the national park.

Some of them have jobs. Like this guy who directs planes on the tarmac.

And this tree-trimmer.

Mountains surround us...

....on all sides.

I never tire of these desert vistas.
We still have time to kill before the rally in Quartzsite, and Bill is still fighting his cold, so we get a spot in Buckeye. We can chill, run errands, and get pre-rally grocery shopping done. My prescription refills have been mailed to our friend's home in nearby Goodyear.

On the way we stop at our friends' home in Tempe. It's the first time we've parked in a residential neighborhood - it's great that we fit!! David and Tina drive us to lunch where I forget to take a pic of them, again :-(

Perfect that there's this long section without driveways across from their house!
Leaf Verde RV Resort is a large, and very tight, park south of the interstate. Our dirt site is level and the FHUs all work fine. However, with no park WiFi, I get further behind on the blog. We both remember Buckeye as a small town with nothing much but a truck stop. Now it is filled with track homes (thousands!), stores, eateries, car dealers, and most services. 

I run errands in Surprise, we have dinner with our friend Patty, and we take a day trip to Palo Verde in search of a grave stone. 

With just a memory from over 25 years ago, I finally find this old cemetery.

The family of my youngest son's father spent decades in this area.  It was fun to actually find them!

Lots of alfalfa and cotton throughout the area.

One of the cleanest dairies I've ever seen. With queen-of-the-hill keeping watch.
Bill finds the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area for another dirt road drive. This is a really interesting area with rocky hills and thick brush near the river bed of the Gila River.

Robbins Butte

This old concrete flow looks like a tree stump.

Gila River 
My prescriptions haven't arrived by Wednesday so Thursday morning we move the motorhome to the truck stop and drive to Patty's house in Goodyear hoping they have arrived. They haven't. 

We return to the truck stop and hook up the Jeep for our drive to Quartzsite. En route we learn the missing package is at the post office (we never learn why they didn't just deliver it to the house). Patty agrees to overnight it to our friends in Blythe - nice to be on a route where we know several people :-))))

It was fun to kill some time, and now we're off to Quartzsite where we'll attend the RV Dreams Boondocking Rally starting Monday.

Our first rally :-)))

Okay! The last thing I want in any park is more speed bumps!!


  1. Sounds like you've been very busy. There seems to always be so much to do and even more yet to see.

  2. Love that speed bump sign and I was just wondering last night where you guys were--now I know.

  3. So are you boondocking while in Q? We want to give it a try. We are faux dry camping by leaving our gray valves closed. That way we can learn how many showers it takes to fill the tank. Still not sure about the whole power thing yet. Yes, having a rolling home means not too many artsy stuff. We bought a small wall hanging when we were in Tombstone. Have it hanging up but have to take it off the wall when we move. Love your Jeeptopia :-)

    1. Just looked up the rally info. Sounds like a great way to learn the ins and outs of boondocking. Have fun. can't wait to hear your recap of it.

    2. We're really looking forward to first hand tips on managing the generator and batteries. I am looking for a small painting to replace one that I've tossed, but haven't found it so far :-))

  4. We've had a great winter, but boy....we wish we could be two places at once! Sure would like to be hanging out with you guys in the desert right about now. :)

    1. We wish that too!! And we'd also love to be checking out your part of Florida. Just too many wonderful places to see and things to do in this life :-)

  5. Seems everybody's been hanging out in that gorgeous saguaro desert. I'm missing it. Enjoy the Rally.

  6. It was great seeing you, Bill and Tessa! The tacos were yummy! Beautiful sunset photos Jodee!

  7. It was nice to seeing you, Bill, and Tessa. Thanks for making a stop so we could all get together:) Hope Bill is finally over his cold. I love that turquoise inlaid chair!! Crazy barrel cactus. The blooms look like a halo:) Each saguaro does have its own personality. Such fun to walk among them. Have a great time at the rally. Linda and Howard are good people:)

    1. I remembered to tell Linda you said hello!!

  8. Such gorgeous pictures! Picacho was a great park. We need to return so we can finish the hike to the top. Enjoy the rally!

  9. Restaurant with windows overlooking a bird yard, now that’s my kind of place. Really fine hawk picture. How do they stand on those cactus spines. OUCH! Tubac looks like a really great visit. You caught me too on Kniff/Knife. We see what we expect rather than what’s really there if we aren’t paying close attention. A good reminder for all of life. What a wonderful gathering and tacos too. SIGH! And here I thought that guy directly planes was really telling the baseball player, you’re out. Thanks for the gorgeous sunsets. Can’t believe this is your first rally. Tell Howard and Linda we said hello. Anxious to see your take on it. We did one with them on the east coast several years ago.

    1. The number and variety of birds made for great lunch time entertainment! My mother always said the secret to life was paying attention - smart woman :-)

      I gave Linda your hello!!