Sunday, November 29, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Catalina State Park Hikes

Days 8-9

Hiking the Romero Ruins Trail.

November 22: The first hike we took at Catalina State Park was the 3/4 mile Romero Ruins Trail loop. The first and last sections of the trail are on relatively level ground at the base of the Catalina Mountain Range. There was one rise in elevation that was negotiated by railroad tie stairs.

I enjoy learning about the history of the places we visit. Maybe it's the old college history major still in me. Catalina has lots of ancient and more recent history to share.

The ruins were from two widely spaced eras. There was a Hohokam native village dating back to about 500 A.D. Depressions indicated where homes once stood and mounds were trash middens. There was an area used for ball courts similar to those found in Yucatan ruins in Mexico, only much smaller. The 15-acre site was encircled by a stone wall, remnants can be seen in the upper left photo below.

Fabian Romero homesteaded and ranched in the same location as the former Hohokam village. His ranch land covered 4800 acres, but his home and buildings were here on the bluff overlooking Canada del Oro lands below. The remains of a homestead foundation are in the lower left photo above.

On the way back, we saw a beautiful sundog. It may be warm down here on the surface in Arizona, but there are ice crystals up there in the clouds to make this colourful display.


November 23: The next day we took an easy walking trail from the campground to the park's equestrian center where there's a staging area for people with horses to park trailers, enter the park's extensive multi-use trail system, and even camp with their horses nearby.

We waited until almost sunset to walk the half mile to see the facility and return to our campsite to make dinner. 


On the way the low sun angles made the Catalina Mountains in the distance glow. -- 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, 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.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Snowbird RV Adventure: Lazydays to Catalina State Park

Days 6-7

Site #A-19 at Catalina State Park.

November 20-21: After a nice stay and RV shakedown at the Lazydays KOA Resort, we headed 25 miles north to Catalina State Park. This popular park is at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It's northeast of downtown Tucson and near the trendy area of Oro Valley.

On the way we stopped at Wildflower, a wonderful cafe with an outdoor patio. Wayne and I aren't ready to eat indoors yet with COVID conditions. It's comforting that virtually everyone here is wearing masks and distancing.

There are two campgrounds at Catalina State Park, A and B, with a total of 120 sites with power and water. Tents and RVs of all sizes are welcome. I picked Site #A-19.

A trail from the back of our site lead to the hills in the distance.

Our site had an unobstructed view of the Catalina Mountains, and at sunset it made the granite spires glow. 

This is the view front our RV's bedroom window. The Tuscon region has several desert parks with campgrounds to enjoy nature while isolating from others and socially distancing. -- Margy

Six months ago we made reservations for our Snowbird RV Adventure destinations in Arizona. That way we could get the best spots for camping.

When you are going to popular seasonal locations, reservations are highly recommended. This is especially true of warm southern destinations in the winter, and cooler northern camping spots in the summer.

Here's how I make my choices when I am going to a new park. 

First I use the online reservation system to review sites that are open. Then I look at the amenities listed. To finalize my choice, I look at the park using Google Maps in satellite view. That way I can see what the surroundings look like and if the site has the privacy I want. Here are copies of the maps I used to select site #A-19 at Catalina State Park.

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2020-21 Snowbird RV Adventure: Bellingham to Tucson, Arizona

Days 1-5

Well, after much debate, we decided to come to Arizona as planned for a Snowbird RV Adventure. With COVID numbers rising everywhere, we will take the same precautions here in Arizona as we did at home.

The Bellingham Airport wasn't crowded.

November 15: We took our first taxi in nine months. It wasn’t as scary as I feared. There was a divider between us and the driver, and we were his first ride of the day. The Bellingham airport had room to physically distance.

We flew Allegiant direct to Mesa, Arizona. We rented a car and drove 150 miles south to the Lazydays KOA RV Resort in Tucson. Wayne has former Mt. SAC students who are pilots for Allegiant, but we don’t know if they are flying with current furloughs.

We drove straight to the RV to check it out. The outside walk around was good. Four fully inflated tires and it wasn’t as dirty as expected. Wayne unlocked the door and I went in first. It was warm, but not overly hot. I bet it was during the summer 100+ degree temps though.

The patio grass sites with privacy hedges are our favourite.

I worried about the toilet drying out. It did, but the seal was tight and we had gaven it good water flush out before we left. We tried the bedroom slide-out before we moved to make sure it worked. No problem there either. With all systems a go, we registered and moved the RV to a full hookup site with a grass patio. 

We kept the rental car extra days for shopping and dining.

We set up and tested more systems. The stove burners started right up after Wayne turned on the propane.  The refrigerator started in electric mode and began cooling. We’ll test the dual propane switchover before we leave. To have cool drinks, I went to the office to buy ice until the fridge gets going. It’s only in the 80s but feels hot after our cool northern weather.

November 16-19: I took inventory of the pantry and put together a grocery list. We kept the rental car until Thursday to make our initial stock-up easier. And we enjoyed it for a McDonald's breakfast and dinner out at the Claim Jumper one night.

We spent the first five days of our trip enjoying the warm sunshine outside. While I was writing in my journal at the picnic table, I had unexpected company, a road runner. 

Our Road Runner guest.

You know you're in the dessert when you see one. He had a long iridescent blue tail and didn't fly. True to his name, he ran from site to site. Meep meep! I wonder, where is Wile E Coyote?

Here’s our Lazydays storage parking spot in Tucson, Arizona. There were two choices, one was dry storage and the other powered. Both are secure. The powered storage has electricity, water and a paved area so it could be used in an overflow situation. Selecting the powered spot kept our batteries charged, especially after an unexpected eight and a half month absence. It will also be to run our heated dehumidifiers this winter.

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.

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

Thanks for visiting my critter post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Wayne and Margy's 2020-2021 Snowbird RV Adventure

Lazydays electric RV storage.
Wayne and I want to thank all of our readers who came along with us on our 2019-2020 Snowbird RV Adventure. It abruptly ended with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. 

At the end of February we left our Sunseeker RV in powered storage at the Tucson Lazydays KOA Resort fully intending to return at the end of March to complete our trip. That never happened.
Then summer came with 100+ degree temperatures. We decided it was best to wait. We had reservations in place for this November. We debated long and hard about the safety of traveling at this time.
We decided RV travel was a form of self-isolation. We only need to shop for groceries once a week and won't interact with others in an unsafe manner. We wear our masks, social distance, use sanitizer and wash our hands just like at home. Now it's just our home on wheels.

Our 25-foot Forest River Sunseeker, small but perfect for us.

We invite you to join us to safely explore Arizona. We've again planned our Snowbird RV Adventure in three parts.

Wayne at the wheel.
Part 1 - We left Bellingham on November 15. We flew Allegiant Airlines direct to Mesa, Arizona. The Tucson direct flight was no longer available. We rented a car and drove to our first destination, the Lazydays KOA Resort to pick up our RV waiting there for us in storage. For 36 days we will explore and camp our way around southern Arizona. In mid-December, we will put the RV back into storage and fly north to Bellingham for a Christmas winter break.

Part 2 - The second leg of our trip will start on January 17. We will fly south again to pick up our RV from Lazydays. We'll spend 39 days camping in the foothills east of Phoenix and visiting Tempe, Arizona. We usually attend women's college softball, but that may not be possible this year. In late February we'll put our RV back into storage once more at Lazydays fly to Bellingham for a second break.

Tucson Lazydays KOA Resort

Part 3 - The last segment of our adventure will start on March 30. After a short stay at Lazydays we will spend 29 days between the Phoenix and Tucson regions. We might get to watch some women's softball  via television. In late April, we'll put our RV in storage one last time at Lazydays and fly back to Bellingham for the last time. Our Sunseeker will spend the summer for a second time waiting for our return in November 2021.

When it's safe again to travel, we'll fly south to check on our RV. For now, it's safe in electric storage at the Tucson Lazydays KOA RV Resort. -- Wayne and Margy

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Book Review: "Indian Horse" by Richard Wagamese

The last book I reviewed, A Perfect Storm by Mike Martin, led me to this month's book. The main character in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series is a Cree RCMP officer. He maintains traditional practices, and reads Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations by Richard Wagamese for solace and inspiration. After reviewing books by Wagamese, I selected Indian Horse to be my first.

Indian Horse is a novel about Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway from Northern Ontario. He was raised by his grandmother in traditional ways, but at age eight he was forced to live at an Indian residential school.

Residential schools were funded by the Department of Indian Affairs and administered by churches. Their purpose was to expunge Indigenous ways and inculcate Canadian culture. Attendance for school age children was compulsory from 1894 until an unconscionable 1996 when the last closed. 

Not only were Indigenous children ripped from their families during formative years, they were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuses, and too many died from harsh conditions and torture. The result is generations of First Nation peoples alienated from their culture and language, lacking education, and experiencing post-traumatic syndrome and racism.

Indian Horse takes us through this dark period through the eyes of Saul. The book opens with him telling the reader that he has been told he needs to tell the stories to understand where he is from and where he is going. As his story unfolds, we can feel his joy and sadness, his success and failure, his anguish and emergence from a blocked out horrific experience. 

Canadians are going through a reconciliation process to "redress the legacy of residential schools." In 2008, then Prime Minister Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government. That same year the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to hear testimony.  Their "Call to Action" was finally released in 2015.

A community traditional canoe carving reconciliation project.

Towns like Powell River across Canada brought Settlers (non-Indigenous Canadians) and First Nation members together to have hard conversations and to develop a better understanding of the ramifications of racial prejudice and subjugation. As a Settler in my native U.S.A. and my Canadian home I personally have a lot of work to do to reconcile my life of white privilege with systemic racism.

Indian Horse was the "People's Choice" Award of Canada Reads and First Nations Community Reads winner in 2012.  It's not an easy read, but the message is important especially now. I highly recommend Indian Horse and am looking forward to my next Richard Wagamese book.

Here's another book related to truth and reconciliation. Powell River is located on traditional land of the Tla'amin First Nation, a Coast Salish tribe. Written As I Remember It by elder Elsie Paul tells about this same period of time from a local perspective. 

Raised by her grandparents and hidden from authorities during fall sweeps, she was forced to attend the Sechelt Residential School at age ten. He memoir includes Tla'amin Nation history from oral traditions to the present as her people move away from Indian Act control to a self-governing nation. 

 Both books are available online including Amazon. -- Margy

There's the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures and Book Review Linkup at Lovely Audio Books.