We had made so many changes to our original schedule that we ended up with over 20 days without reservations after
our stay in Las Cruses. We tried to get into our winter campground early, but they were booked so we called our workamping buddies, John and Lucy, who are workamping again at the Cactus Country RV Resort, and asked if they could squeeze us in for an extended stay in Tucson. Luckily, we were able to get a great site where we could explore the area and as a bonus, we got to spend time with John and Lucy again. It was also fortunate to have a great mobile RV tech too!
As it turns out that unicorn I talked about in the last post, was not quite done with us yet. Even though Jon was able to get the slide rails squeaky clean, the motors were too far gone, and we would have to have the My Mobile RV Service tech come out again and replace the two motors on the rear slide.
As we waited for the motors we had to order to come in, we spent our days relaxing, walking the campground, visiting
with our friends, and going on a couple of adventures. There are several must see places you need to see when you are staying in Tucson. We went up to Mt Lemmon when we stayed here last year and this year, we got to several of the other great scenic areas.
First up was the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, AZ. They have a great tour of the site that takes you down into the underground facility where you can watch a simulated launch of a Titan Missile. It really shows you how the idea of mutually assured destruction kept us from World War 3.
Next up was the East Saguaro National Park. We drove the Loop Road and hiked 2.5 miles of the Mica Picnic area trail but between the altitude and the desert heat we really couldn’t do much else. We were able to get up close and personal with the largest of the cactus family, watched a trail ride go by (so many beautiful horses) and saw a biker cared for after a mishap on the trail.
One of our goals on the next section of our travels is to investigate our exit plan. Though we are not ready to get off the road, we also know that you really need to have some idea of what you will do when you decide to hang up the keys. We know we do not want to own property again so we are stopping at a variety of active 55+ communities in the areas of the country where we might want to settle down. While in Tucson we took a tour of Brookdale Santa Catalina. Just like when we were shopping for our ultimate coach, we were able to see the things we wanted and do not want in our next living arrangements. Santa Catalina will definitely not make the cut. As we go north next spring, we will have multiple communities to investigate, and we will be able to narrow down the perfect location for us. But as I said, we hope that will be several years down the road.
John and Lucy were working full time and were quite busy, but we did get to have dinner with them twice and we took a day and went to Tombstone, AZ for Helldorado Days. It was so much fun to have them join us for this adventure! We watched the gunfights in the street, toured the haunted hotel, browsed the shops, we enjoyed the comedy show at the Helldorado Gunfight Theater and had a yummy lunch at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. It was a fantastic day spent with wonderful friends!
We had been told that the one must see attraction in Tucson is Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We missed it last year, so we wanted to make sure to see it this year and it did not disappoint! It is an amazing museum/zoo/botanical garden. We spent an entire day wandering the trails, climbing down into a desert cave, watching the animals, seeing so many more varieties of cactus and topping it off with a delicious lunch in the café.
Just north of Tucson is the Biosphere 2 in Oracle, AZ. I could remember when the researchers from the Synergia Ranch went into the Biosphere for their two-year stay back in 1991 and was curious about how the facility was currently being used. The movie Spaceship Earth that came out in 2020 details the drama of the experiment. Though the facility has changed hands several times and is now owned by the University of Arizona it was a bit disappointing to see that the farm and the ocean sections were not being maintained. All in all, it was an interesting excursion. Oh, and I would recommend going on into Oracle for a really good lunch at the Oracle Cook Shack.
When we were not off exploring, we spent a bit of time getting reservations made for our spring trip north (gotta make those reservations early to get into the campgrounds nowadays) and researching the Santee, CA area where we will be snow birding this winter. I reached out to a storytelling colleague just to see what was going to be happening in the San Diego area and she invited me to submit a video for the Storytellers of San Diego guild’s monthly program that is normally held at the Eclipse Chocolate Bar. Due to the pandemic the performance was still going to be virtual so even though I would not be in the area until right before the release I was able to submit a recording of my personal story of Unexpected Guest which I recorded before a small but enthusiastic audience at Cactus Country. The video was accepted for the November performances and you can see the entire show on YouTube here.
The motors for the slide finally came in the last week we were in Tucson and My Mobile RV techs were able to get them installed. Jon and I were instructed on the proper way to sync them and spent a morning getting everything in order. If you have Schwintek slides, be sure to keep them synced to avoid the problems we have been having over the last few months and do not put any lubrication on them either!
After a great stay in Tucson, it was time to hit the road again and head over to Yuma. So many of the RV parks in Arizona are made for the snowbirds. The one we chose, Villa Alameda RV Resort, was really more of a mobile home park full of park models. Not at all the type of park we would want to spend the winter. To top it off the date palm orchard right behind the park had just been fertilized so we could not spend much time outside due to the smell.
We spent three nights there and were able to have a lovely dinner with Claudette and Doug whom we met when we were at the Bismarck, ND KOA last June. We had spent some time chatting with them about the fulltime lifestyle and when they found out that we intended to stop in Yuma for a night they invited us to dinner at their home. It was really nice to be able to see them again and to deepen our friendship.
We also had found out that our other workamping friends, Bob & Page from Barberville, were working at an Escapees
campground in Yuma. We spent a delightful evening with them at Curries Indian restaurant. It was a blessing to be able to reconnect and catch up on what has been happening with them in the two years since we had last seen them in Florida. (I forgot to get a picture but here is one of them from the Roaring 20’s party we had at Barberville back in 2019. They look just as good only Bob has shortened his hair just a bit!)
We have now been in Santee, CA at the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve for 2 weeks. This is an awesome park with 7
lakes (they just stocked them with 2,500 lbs. of rainbow trout), large flocks of white pelicans, coots, mallards, egrets, great blue herons, wood ducks, geese, and loons, 4 miles of hiking and biking trails, activities, pool & spa, and a restaurant. Though I would not classify this as a snowbird park they do have three sections, one for short term, one for semi-long term, and one for extended stay. We’ve met our neighbors on both sides who are also here for the winter. We have spent the time finding the grocery, places to hike, and getting established for a longer stay. We have both gotten our booster shots, been to the dentist, and even found a pickleball coach. Pickleball is becoming a huge sport and there are courts all over the area and lots of ways to learn and play. I’ve been able to meet up with my storytelling friend Li-Anne and have even been invited to perform with the San Diego Storytellers at the Twisted Horn next week. All in all, we are settled in and ready for some time off the road.
We are VERY thankful for the friendships and adventures we have been so fortunate to experience this past year!
Till Next Time we want to wish you and yours a