Friday, January 1, 2021

Snowbird RV Adventure: Lazydays, Picacho Peak State Park and Home

Days 25-36

Ironwood Picnic Area Tucson Mountain Park.
Part I of our 2020-21 Snowbird RV Adventure included several stays at Tucson's Lazydays KOA RV Resort, more than expected. First there was my dental emergency. Then it was our RV heater emergency. The good thing, we really like Lazydays.


December 9-12: After we checked out of Gilbert Ray Campground we drove to the Ironwood picnic area to wait for our afternoon check-in at Lazydays. This time we were in a patio grass site, our favourite choice when they are available.

An Arizona rainbow at the end of the storm.

While we were there, we had the first and only rain storm during our trip. It didn't last long, but the dry desert really appreciated the moisture.


Site #A17 at Picacho Peak State Park.

December 13-15: Arizona has amazing State Parks. A favourite is Picacho Peak. It's a good stop between Phoenix and Tucson. Because we made our reservation six months in advance, we got a prime outer loop spot with an unobstructed view of the hills.

We walked the campground and selected a new site for an additional stay in January. All of the prime ones were gone, but we found a private center spot in C Loop that will do just fine. 

We relaxed, read and worked on suntans. That's what a Snowbird Adventure is all about.


Outdoor dining at Seis Kitchen in Tucson.
December 16-20: Our time in Arizona is winding down. We spent the last five days at Lazydays.

We rented a car at Enterprise to drive to Mesa to catch an Allegiant Airlines flight direct to Bellingham. We got it a few days early to explore more of the Tucson area.

The last day we prepared the RV for storage. In addition to being a great place to stay, Lazydays is a handy spot to leave our rig. I remove perishables and Wayne checks systems to be ready for our next trip.

We hate to leave, but know we will be returning, hopefully in January 2021. If not, we know it will be as soon as we can travel safely. -- Margy



A rental car lets us get to and from the airport.

Because our RV is stored in Tucson and the flight we prefer lands in Mesa, we need a rental car in each direction. We learned renting a car at one airport (Mesa) and dropping it at another (Tucson) cost almost double than renting one at a local Tucson Enterprise office and dropping it at the Mesa Airport. 

Check to see if this can work for you. As a bonus, we keep the car for a few days to explore and shop to re-stock our RV.


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad, Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Posting to Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons and Sharon's Souvenirs for some travel tips and suggestions.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Pima Fairgrounds to Lazydays to Gilbert Ray

Days 20-24

Tucson Lazy Days registration, meeting rooms and restaurant.

December 4-5: Here we are again, back at the Tucson Lazydays KOA. Good thing we really like this popular RV resort. 

We confirmed our camp reservation at Gilbert Ray would be honoured with a late arrival. Then we waited for Ryan from Country Wide RV Services to meet us at our site. 

Ryan quickly determined the heater's problem, a limit switch that prevents propane from burning too hot. The faulty switch prevented our propane from turning on. He made a temporary fix (that didn't last) and ordered a new part to install when we are back at Lazydays later in December. In the meantime, our electric heater will keep us warm.


Mountain view from Gilbert Ray site #A-55.
December 6-8:
Since our reservation at Gilbert Ray Campground had already begun, we didn't have to wait for afternoon check-in. We broke "camp" and went to McDonald's for a special breakfast treat. Wayne parked in the pickup stall and ordered online, an advantage of a small 25' RV.

Tucson Mountain Park is a Pima County facility. It's only 12 miles west of Tucson and 16 miles from Lazydays, but feels a lot more remote and peaceful.

I made reservations six months ago so I got the most private spot, #A-55. We had an unobstructed view of the mountains and surrounding desert.

 
The most common plants near our campsite were saguaro cactus, beavertail cactus, creosote bushes and cholla cactus. Blue skies and white clouds made the view picture perfect.

The cholla next to our campsite was the chain fruit/jumping variety. The closeup at the top shows the hanging green fruits. At the bottom are dried spiny segments on the ground ready to "jump" and cling to your clothes or skin.


I have history with this plant. In 1973, the paved highway down Baja Californa opened and I camped along the Sea of Cortez. During an evening beach fire, I needed to pee. I stepped away to take care of business and felt something brush against me. I kicked my foot and felt a sharp pain. When I got back to the fire I could see a cholla segment piercing my flesh pinning the sandal strap down. Removing the spiny segment and freeing my shoe was painful. Since then, I'm very careful around these highly mobile plants.



Our Gilbert Ray campsite also had great Arizona sunset views. We enjoyed the park so much we made reservations to return for five days in February.


Wayne and I develop a plan for our Snowbird RV Adventures a year in advance. That way we can get the best sites at the places we want to visit. We research new destinations using resources such as Campendium, Facebook's Where'd You Stay RV and AllStays. We like to return to favourite spots, but always enjoy adding new destinations to explore. I mark the start date for reservations for each destination on my pocket calendar and iPhone Reminders list so I don't forget. Do you make reservations in advance?


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad, Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Posting to Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons and Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Patagonia to Pima County Fairgrounds RV Park

Days 18-19


December 2: It was hard to leave Patagonia Lake State Park after only four days. We enjoyed it so much we are scheduled to return twice more during our 2020-21 Snowbird RV Adventure. 

To get to our next destination, the Pima County Fairgrounds RV Park, we retraced our route up Arizona Highway 82 through Sonoita then Highway 83 north. This time we had to go through the U.S. Border Patrol immigration inspection checkpoint outside of Sonoita. Things like that are scary for me.


Highway 83 has a twisty, hilly section. On a tight curve our anti-locking brake system warning came on. I read the manual while Wayne found a turnout. We followed the directions, but it wouldn't reset. We called O'Reilly Chevy in Tucson. We would need to leave the RV for a few days. It took half an hour to pack for a hotel stay. When we got back on the road, the system reset. Next time we'll know to be patient. We called and cancelled.


Distancing was easy in the almost empty park.
When we got to the Fairgrounds and checked in, it was evident that COVID-19 has taken a toll. There were only a handful of RVs in their large 350 site facility. 

The camp host told us last year's fair was cancelled and they still don't know about the 2021 season. Most public activities have been put on hold as well. They are hanging on, but just barely. We were happy to help with our small site fee of $54 for two nights with full hookups.


December 3: We've come to Pima Fairgrounds three years in a row. The first was in a rental RV in 2019. We came specifically to attend the La Mesa RV Show. Attending RV shows is a great way to see what different makes and models have to offer. Their shows are once a month and we've been three times. 

During the night we had another RV incident. The built-in propane heater quit generating heat. To stay warm, we used our portable electric heater. 

Thanks to a recommendation from our good friend Dave in Powell River, we always carry one. It's also an easy way to warm the RV in the morning when we have an electric hookup.


Pima Fairgrounds RV Park headquarters with propane available.
 

We called the Lazydays RV dealer (next door to the KOA). They didn't have a maintenance opening until January 9. I called the KOA to get a recommendation for a mobile tech. They recommended Ryan of Country Wide RV Services. He had an opening on Saturday, two days away. We changed our plans and made an appointment to meet up with him at Lazydays. 

Camping at Gilbert Ray in Tucson Mountain Park would have to wait for two days. RVing has taught us to be flexible, especially so on this trip. -- Margy


Right now RV sales are up. They are a great way to get out in a safe, distanced manner. We purchased our 25' Forest River Sunseeker at an RV show at Bellis Fair Mall next door to our Bellingham condo in 2019. If you are interested in RVs, I highly recommend looking at a variety of makes and models at shows and dealers. I also recommend renting one for a camping test. That will help you pick the size and style that best fits your needs.


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad, Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Posting to Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons and Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Patagonia Lake State Park Walks and Hikes

Days 16-17

Site #19 wide view.
November 30: One thing that Wayne and I love to do is walk through the campgrounds where we stay. I carry a map of the park and mark the best sites for future reference. I keep a copy of the annotated map in my Trip Journal to use for reservations for upcoming stays. Wayne enjoys looking at all of the different RV makes, models and styles.

We came to the conclusion that our site #19 was the best, but it wasn't available for January and April. I used the reservation map to find open sites then we walked them to check location, privacy and how level the pad was. We settled on #35 for January and #8 for April. Both are in the East Campground which we prefer. It's smaller and the sites are more private.

We love our little 25' Forest River Sunseeker, but checking out what others use is fun and sometimes amusing. Small is the best for us for driving and parking, yet ample inside space and amenities. We aren't full-timers so we don't need a huge Class A or fifth-wheel trailer.

A Gila Woodpecker drilling a Mesquite Tree at our site.

Patagonia State Park has a camp store. On our two campground walks, we stopped to get a Blue Bunny King Size Bunny Tracks Cone. It's the best commercial ice cream cone available. Good thing we don't have a store handy every day to get one, they are addicting!

December 1: On our last day we took the Sonoita Creek Trail that starts at the east end of the East Campground. The trail skirts the end of Patagonia Lake then follows Sonoita Creek. There is a loop at the end of the trail so you get the chance to see both aquatic and inland areas. Except for one section with railroad tie stairs, it's a flat walk.

The mushroom on the right looks like a mature Oyster Mushroom. What do you think?

Sonoita Creek with water running in December.

It's a bird watcher's paradise. Here's a list of what can be expected. But at mid-day we saw more birds in our campsite than on the trail.

Wayne has a Roadrunner come to visit. Beep Beep!

There's also the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area near the park entrance. It has eight miles of trail to explore. This trail is open to hikers and horseback riders We'll try this one in the future.

We loved our stay so much we scheduled two more stays this Snowbird RV Adventure season. If you would like to check out Patagonia State Park in more detail, here is a link to a park brochure and map. -- Margy


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad and Wordless Wednesday by Natasha.

I'm also posting on Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog and  Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. Also stop by Sharon's Souvenirs for some travel trips and suggestions and a Wednesday linkup for My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Back to Lazydays then Patagonia Lake State Park

Days 10-13

Lazydays has shady spots covered by solar panels.

November 24-27: At Catalina, a tooth started hurting. It's been a problem, but never this bad. My dentist back in Bellingham recommended finding a local dentist. I Googled emergency dentist and found Tucson Spectrum Dentistry

I got a same day appointment! Dr. Roberts couldn't find the source, but gave me antibiotics for a suspected infection. If you are in Tucson with a dental problem, I can't recommend his high tech office enough.

My dental issue made a return to Lazydays the best option.


We cancelled at Tombstone RV Park. Even on the same day they didn't charge us. We'll be adding them to our April travel schedule for sure.

At Lazydays KOA we picked a covered spot. Our neighbours had a Thanksgiving get-together with lots of people. We stayed distanced, but the host brought us a turkey plate with all the trimmings. We saved our BBQ salmon and enjoyed their thoughtful gesture.

Days 14-15

Western style Steak Out Restaurant in Sonoita.
November 28-29: My tooth was better so we continued south to Patagonia Lake State Park. We drove through foothills on Highway 83 and took a break for a takeout burger at The Steak Out. This is free-range cattle country. Their specialty is steak and samples in a case looked succulent. Someday we want to return for one.

Highway 82 took us to the park. It's only 70 miles south of Tucson but feels worlds away. I made reservations six months ago online so we had prime lakefront site #19.


Site #19 at Patagonia Lake State Park


Patagonia Lake is in a valley surrounded by rolling hills covered with grasses, and mesquite and cottonwood trees along the shore and nearby Sonoita Creek.


Patagonia Lake is a refuge for humans and birds alike.

Patagonia Lake is popular in all seasons. Fall and winter draws RVers and campers wanting sun and warmth. Spring and summer are especially popular with bird watchers. Watersports on a hot summer day are a huge draw.

The Patagonia Marina offers canoe, rowboat, paddle boat and pontoon boat rentals. Water-access only campsites would be fun. A boat launch ramp and ample trailer parking allows boat owners easy access. 

Seasonal weekend pontoon boat tours from October to April look like fun. We are returning in January and April so we will check that out ourselves. -- Margy

 

 

Wayne and I stock our RV with emergency supplies including extra medications, a first aid kit, and prescription medicines such as antibiotics, EpiPens and pain medication for immediate emergencies. If something major occurs, we alter our plans and head to a city with emergency dental and medical services. 

On this leg of our trip, I had a dental emergency. We diverted to Tucson and stayed there long enough to ensure my issue was better before continuing our trip. Check your insurance plans to make sure you can get the care you need where you plan to travel. Living isn't worry free, but if you plan ahead it's much easier.


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad, Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons.

Posting to Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world! And Posting to Friday Favorites at Condo Blues.