Friday, February 25, 2011

Back to Tucson


This morning I did one last load of wash then we headed to Tucson.
Filled up with gas in Benson at $3.22/gallon. The current Middle East troubles are bumping up the price of oil.
Stopped by the Pima County Fairground RV park just to take a look for future reference. It's OK but nothing special. Mostly a big patch of dirt with hookups. If someone just needed a place to dump tanks & fill with water it would do just fine. It is very convenient to I-10.
Continued on to the Desert Diamond Casino "campground". We stayed here before. Not bad. A nice central South Tucson location, fairly level, good security. Two of the RV's that are here were here the last time. Looks like this might be their winter home.
We're right in the glide path for the small, private aircraft runway. The bigger stuff is a bit further to the north. Not as noisy as you might think for a campground next to a big airport. Plus it's fun watching the planes.
Tomorrow, John & Marge are going to join us here for lunch. Then we're going to mass at the San Xavier Del Bac Mission. The weather is supposed to turn bad on Sunday so we plan on heading back to Benson first thing Sunday morning.

We decided to eat at The Trough, i.e. buffet, tonight. It was Mexican night. We figured if anyone knows Mexican it's around here. We were right. For $8.95 each, we had a very good meal. The Tres Leches cake was delicious. One of the foods I wanted to try was a Sonoran hot-dog. They had them here. It's a hot-dog wrapped in bacon then covered with a bunch of stuff like chili, cheese, jalapeno peppers, etc. Oink, oink!!

There was a couple in the restaurant tonight. She used a scooter and had some condition that resulted in major spasticity. As I watched her husband help her, I was reminded of the old saying. "I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet".

Another wonderful day.

John & Marge weren't due in until 11am. I heard about an Indian swap meet not far from the "campground" so off we went. What a great way to spend a few hours. Swap meets and such things, are a great way to get a sense of the local culture. We were one of the few Anglos. All the signs were in Spanish. The selection of stuff being sold was amazing. A very partial list: goats, dogs,& birds, new & used shoes, tires with no tread left, piles of rusted junk, cheap tools, some broken clocks, movies on VHS tapes(only $.25 each), plastic arrowheads, on & on. At home a lot of this stuff would wind up in the dumpster; not on the Reservation it doesn't. I looked to see if anyone was selling scalps but I didn't see any. To top it all off, there was free live entertainment. A guy on stilts juggling some hoops.
There were a dozen or so food vendors selling the real McCoy, or real McSuarez, whichever. No Taco Belle "Mexican" around here. Wish we hadn't just finished breakfast.
We had a great visit with John & Marge. Had a long lunch in the casino. They're staying in Tucson for the next two weeks. John decided to retire from Hallmark in September. Over 40 years there. His Maxine character, which was his idea, is still going strong. Maxine just turned 25.
We're sitting in the parking lot of the San Xavier Del Bac Mission waiting for the 5:30 mass. Carol really likes this church and wanted to come back so here we are. There are a handful of booths setup in the mission square. Indians selling made-in-Mexico jewelery. "Genuine" Indian rings for only $5 and things like that.
The weather is supposed to get nasty tonight so after church we're heading back to the casino. It's only about 10 minutes from here.

The big news was waking up to snow. Not exactly a blizzard, but snow nonetheless. At about 4am a truck with a refrigerated trailer pulled in not far from our campsite. The generator operating the cooling unit ran continuously. Oh well, for free, you can't complain much. Well you can complain if you want, but nothing good will come of it.
Today's forecast is for a high of about 50* with a low tonight of 21*. We decided that was a very good reason to head to a real campground with electricity. We went to the place where the Lazy Daze GTG is being held. There are two other LD's there as well. Didn't meet then. It's just a nice day to stay inside, watch TV, update Blogs,drink warm tea and such.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Benson, AZ

We're staying at the Saguro SKP RV Park in Benson until Friday. We have a large, corner lot with a decent view of the mountains.
One of Carol's brothers & his wife, Johnny & Marge,are due in Tucson on Thursday, tomorrow. We'll then coordinate a visit someplace.
Today I picked up the mail Suzanne had sent and got Carol's meds at WM. Did some grocery shopping at Safeway and caught up on laundry. Finished up our tax return today and filed electronically using Turbo Tax on-line. Talk about convenient! Plus a nice refund coming :-)
Met two other Lazy Daze couples today. They're staying here until Friday then heading to TX. I'm just horrible with names but one couple is from Nashville, TN driving their relatively new-to-them 30' model and the other couple is from Maryland. They're both big ham radio operators heading to another ham radio fest of some sort. The TN couple spent last summer in Alaska, then to the BF in ABQ now they're touring the SW.
The fellow from MD was bragging about his most impressive solar power setup. Six 100 watt panels and six AGM batteries. Very nice but that's a bunch of weight to be hauling around on a 30' LD. He needs all that to power his ham radio gear.
Still cold & windy around here. The blowing dust just never ends. We both like the desert and will be back, but we are really beginning to miss grass & trees.
After the upcoming GTG, we begin the 2,500+- mile trek home. We've allowed ourself three weeks to do it. The general plan is to follow the TX & LA coast to MS then head home from there.
We're already planning our summer trip. Spend April, May & June at home, if we can actually stay put for that long, then travel in the Central/Great Lakes States until early October. The girls have planned a family reunion in PA starting July 9th.
Thursday: Nothing exciting today. One of the groups in the campground held a Food Auction today. First time we've heard about, let alone attended a Food Auction. People prepare food items then auction them off. Mostly baked goods, but a few canned things, semi-prepared meals, etc. The proceeds go to some charitable cause.
We're both trying to keep our calorie consumption under reasonable control, so we passed on the key lime cheesecake and the beautiful pineapple upside down cake; two of our favorites.
We're getting tired hanging around in the Big City. Tomorrow we go to Tucson, then the SW Lazy Daze GTG then back to the rural areas we much prefer.
While we were out walking this morning, a coyote was prancing around just on the other side of the fence. Gopher, of course, was the first to notice. When Gopher is relaxed, her ears lay back flat against her head. If the ears suddenly stand up, she's alert to something. I just watch her ears when we're boondocking or just walking.
During tonight's walk, we ran into a guy with a 10 month old Aussie. Let them both off leash for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tombstone. Tacky tourist but we've seen worse.

At 6:00am this morning, it was 24*. Way too cold. By sunrise the birds were all up & about.
Yesterday, the Volunteer told me about a good breakfast restaurant in Elfrida; the Roundup Cafe. We hadn't gone out for breakfast on this trip so off we went. Very good. Carol had a simple sausage & biscuit. I had a breakfast burrito.
We continued north to Tombstone. Others had told us it was basically a tacky tourist place and they were right. Tombstone, and other "old West" type places are very popular with foreign tourists, Germans in particular. They are fascinated by the American West of the 1800's. It was interesting in it's own way. Mostly a collection of stores & restaurants revolving around the Gunfight at OK Corral.

We ended the day at the Escapee Saguaro SKP Co-Op park in Benson. $17/night for full hookups plus cable TV. Carol doesn't enjoy camping out in the middle of nowhere all by ourselves as much as I, so we we're staying here until we head over to Tucson on Thursday to meet up with John & Marge. Some of this, some of that. It keeps us both happy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Said our goodbyes to Belle, Toby & Sue this morning. Toby is heading into Bisbee to get new tires on his motorhome then heading back to Elephant Butte, NM.
All the critters were fed & watered this morning.
We didn't have far to go. It's about a 30 minute drive to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area near McNeal. It reminds us a lot of the Bosque Del Apache area in NM. There is a flooded area surround by corn fields. It attracts thousands of birds, especially Sand Hill cranes. The cranes are no big deal to us. They stroll through our front yard to home. We're not birders but the area is interesting. We used the iBird Pro app. on Carol's iPad to identify some birds.
Three days of free camping is permitted. Looks like it's just us once again. There has been a steady flow of serious birders all day. The really serious ones are easy to spot. They all wear vests, probably a holdover from the pre-digital camera days when you needed film, lenses, filters, and such. Plus they carry at least 50# of binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods, cameras, water bottles, those little portable stools, etc. Quite a scene to watch. I'm sure the birds get a big chuckle out of the whole thing.
No special plans for tomorrow. Johnny & Marge are getting into Tuscon on Thursday. We plan on meeting up with them this coming weekend. Then we need to pick up our mail and Carol's meds. in Benson before the Lazy Daze GTG begins in Benson next Monday.
We like just drifting here & there. We've come across some of the most interesting things.