Gila Bend…where?

Today was our last morning with our friends, Al and Adrienne, before we left Tucson for 3 days in Gila Bend, AZ.

And, of course, it started pouring down rain last night and it was still coming down this morning. But since I had a head’s up from the Weather Channel, I went ahead and did as much as I could last night, including hitching up the truck.

But I still got soaking wet finishing up unhooking the utilities and the satellite system.

But first, we had a final breakfast with our friends Al and Adrienne at the resort restaurant. Since we were already hitched up, they were nice enough to pick us up at our rig.

As I mentioned earlier, we first met Al and Adrienne up in Fairbanks, AK in 2008 and became fast friends. Adrienne asked this morning why I thought we all became such good friends. I said it was because we were all weird.

She seemed surprised and ask how we were weird. I said we climb in a big box on wheels and travel from Alaska to Newfoundland and back. We don’t always know where we will be tomorrow night, and we like it that way.

Apparently some people just can’t handle this.

The other important thing is that your spouse has to be your best friend. Things are just too close to have it otherwise.

And I’m very lucky in this respect. Jan has been my best friend for almost 43 years now, and I would still rather be with her than to do anything else.

Anyway, we said our goodbyes to Al and Adrienne and got underway a few minutes before 11am. We had a great time visiting them and they went out of their way to show us the sights of Tucson, along with some great eating.

We’re going to try to see them later this summer when they will be up in Washington state.

We pulled into Holt’s Shell RV Park in Gila Bend, AZ about 1:15pm, and just in time too. We got their last site. Lucky us. We last stayed here two years ago on our roundabout way to Fairbanks, AK, and really like this park. And it’s only $10 per night using Passport America. What a deal!

We’ll be here until Wednesday so I can finished up some projects on the rig that were hampered by the cold and rain we had for last three weeks in Houston.

After that we’ll head on over to Yuma to get ready for the Gypsy Rally starting March 8th.

Later this afternoon we over to Sofia’s Mexican Restaurant for what Jan describes as the best Shrimp Burrito she’s ever eaten. We ate here two years ago and Jan’s been talking about them ever since.

More Tomorrow…

Planes, planes, and more planes…

Our friends, Al and Adrienne, picked up as about 10am and we headed over to the Pima Air and Space Museum.

Arriving at the museum, we found that the landscaping followed some of the planes inside.

First we have the Fishhook Barrel Cactus.

FishhookBarrelCactus

Next we have Saguaro Cactus.

SaguaroCactus

And then, of course, the Stealth Cactus!

StealthCactus

I guess you had to be there.

This is a BD-5J MicroJet, the world’s smallest jet plane. And it was a kit! BD5J

Another kit, Burt Rutan’s Long EZ.

LongEZ

The Starr Bumble Bee, the world’s smallest plane.

BumbleBee

The McCullough Super J-2 Gyrocopter

McCullochGyroCopter

The HoppiCopter. I’d really like one of these.

HoppiCopter

It’s a big leap to the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest plane in the world.

SR71

The A-10 Warthog ground attack plane.

A10

A Beechcraft Bonanza. My uncle used to have one of these.

Bonanza

The Grumman F7F TigerCat.

F7FTigerCat

The B-52. This one is one of 2 configured to carry the X-15 aloft.

B52X15

This is the Douglas MB-1 Genie air to air missile. And it contained a NUCLEAR! warhead. It was to be launched into the middle of Russian bomber formations and take them all out at once.  Jan’s father used to work on these when he was in the Air Force. It’s amazing how small they can make an atomic bomb.

Genie

This is B-57 Canberra bomber. I used to work on these. I was amazed to find that it had BUICK! jet engines in it.  Who knew Buick even made jet engines.

B57

The Convair B-58 Hustler, American’s first supersonic bomber.

B58

The Cessna T-37 jet trainer. I also used to work on these.

T37

The RA-5C Vigilante. In its original configuration as the the Navy A-5 bomber, it had a novel way of dropping its nuclear bomb load. It spit it out the tail!  So many jokes, so little time.

RA-5C

NASA’s Super Guppy. It’s amazing that this thing could fly.

SuperGuppy

The Convair B-36 nuclear bomber. It had 10 engines, 6 prop engines and 4 jet engines!

B36

At this point we took a break and went down the road to a great little Mexican place called Poco and Mom’s.  And the food was great.  My Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas was the best I’ve ever had.

Coming back to the museum, we began touring some of the displays. This is the Altair 8800 computer, probably the first practical home computer. It was a kit and was my first computer.

Altair

This is a photograph of Grace Hopper’s logbook showing the first computer ‘bug’.  It was a moth that got caught in a relay, and is the origin of the term ‘computer bug’. This was from the time when computers filled whole buildings.

FirstBug

This is a Grumman F-4U Corsair of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep” fame.

F4U

This is a German V1 ‘Buzz Bomb”.

V1

The ‘Columbus’, a updated version of the Grumman J2F-2 Duck.Columbus

After a great time at the museum, we headed back to the park, passing Davis-Monthan AFB, America’s aircraft boneyard. Thousands of  aircraft are mothballed here.

DavisMonthan

This satellite photo shows just a small portion of the planes stored there.

DavisMonthan2

On the way home, we stopped by Fry’s Supermarket to pick up some groceries. Fry’s is Kroger’s here in Arizona.

This is our last full day here in Tucson. Tomorrow we’re heading over to Gila Bend for a few days before moving on to Yuma.

More tomorrow…

Errand Day…

Today our friends already had plans for the rodeo, so we made it an errand day. We started off with lunch at Bruegger’s, a deli/bakery chain that we last visited in Fairbanks, AK  two years ago.  And it was as good as we remembered.

After lunch Jan walked down the strip mall a few doors to get a pedicure, while I read  (napped) in the truck.

Then it was on to Bookman’s, Tucson’s version of Half-Price Books so Jan could look for the last couple of books in several series she’s reading.

After that we headed over to Costco to check them out and become members. As we had heard, it’s pretty much like a Sam’s Club.

Coming home we stopped at a Car Wash to wash off some of the West Texas grime we pick up on our way here. It’s really nice to be able to see out the windows again.

Next we visited Camping World to pick up a new sewer hose and connector and a few other things.

Then noticing how late it was, we decided that rather than going back to the rig and then back out for supper, we just headed directly to La Fuente, a really good Mexican restaurant we last ate at two years ago. Jan loves their fresh made to order guacamole.

Then it was home for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll get together with our friends for one last day,and then it’s on to Gila Bend on Sunday.

More tomorrow…

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum…

Today our friends, Al and Adrienne, took us to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on the western side of Tucson.

We had visited the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Carlsbad, NM in 2007, but this was our first time here.

The scenery was just spectacular. More cactus than we knew existed, and many birds we had never seen before.

DM1

Below is the top of a saguaro cactus. They do not know what causes it to develop like this.
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 DM3

A very beautiful Barn Owl

DM4

 DM5

 DM6

 DM7

 DM8

 
This is what a normal saguaro cactus looks like. Supposedly they don’t start branching out limbs until they’re about 75 years old.DM9 

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Another saguaro cactus with a strange top.DM11

These are saguaro cactus ‘bones’.  This is what is left after a saguaro dies.DM12

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A Great Horned Owl during the Raptor Free Flight demo.DM15

A poisonous Gila Monster.DM16

A very well-fed prairie dog on guard. DM17

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An endangered Mexican Gray Wolf.DM19

 
Coming back to Tucson in the late afternoon, we stopped at Silver Saddle Steak House for an early supper, hoping to beat the crowd from the rodeo going on here in Tucson.

The food was great!  Adrienne, Al, and I each had a rack of BBQ ribs, and Jan had a 1/2 BBQ chicken. We all agreed it was some of the best we’d had.

Al and Adrienne dropped us off at our rig about 5:30 pm and we agreed to meet them at their home around 7pm for coffee and dessert.

Adrienne made us a great flan and we watched pictures of their trip to Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands last year. The scenery and animals were really something.

We got back to rig about 9:30, thoroughly pooped. But we had a great time.

Tomorrow they already had a prior engagement, so after we decided to stay another night, we’re going to get together again on Saturday for more sightseeing.

Later…

On to Tucson…

We left Las Cruces a few minutes after 10am heading to Tucson for a few days to visit some friends we met in Alaska two years ago.

It got down to 24 last night so I’m glad I disconnected the water. There was ice on top of the truck this morning, but no snow at least.

About 15 miles out of Las Cruces, we passed thru a Border Patrol inspection. Every vehicle was sniffed by dogs, I assume looking for drugs.

We stopped for lunch in Lordsburg NM at Kranberry’s Restaurant that advertised RV parking on their billboards coming into town. The food was good and we appreciated being able to park the rig without any problems.

One thing we noticed was all the snow-topped mountains as we got further west and crossed the Continental Divide at 4525 feet. And we really enjoyed the rocky landscape. Some of the rock formations we passed were really something.

We pulled in Voyager RV Resort here in Tucson about 4:15 and quickly got set up. According to the billboards coming into town, this park was voted the Best RV Park in the Country. And what we’ve seen of it looks really nice.

We met our friends, Al and Adrienne, about 5:30 at the park restaurant. and had a great time catching up. We hadn’t seen them since we parted company coming back from Alaska in Oct. 2008.  They workamped in Yellowstone National Park last year and will be in Washington state this summer.  We hope to be able to see them there if we get that far north this year.

After dinner we went over to their house and visited for a while longer. They have two dogs, Banjo and Sarah, that we had gotten to know in Alaska, and it was obvious they both remembered us. They were jumping around, barking, and leaping on us. Then when we sat down, they were at our feet or in our laps..

We got back to the rig about 9:30 after planning a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. We’re really looking forward to it.

More tomorrow…

Where’s the Giant Coyote?

Today was our last day in Las Cruces for a while.

As I said yesterday, we always stay at this KOA because of the view.

Las Cruces KOA 1

Las Cruces KOA 2

Las Cruces KOA 3 
Note the snow on the mountain tops.

Las Cruces KOA 4 
Just beautiful!

After a great meal at La Posta last night, we slept in and then decided to go back to La Posta for lunch. You can’t have too much La Posta!

Last night it was supposed to get down to about 32 degrees, but here on the mountain side it got down to about 27 degrees.

Tonight it’s supposed to get down to 26 so I figure it will get down to about 20 here. This means I will be unhooking our water hose and draining it and our water filter to prevent damage from freezing.

After a great lunch at La Posta we headed to Wal-Mart to stock up on more ‘stuff’..

Arriving back at the rig, we settled in to goof-off the afternoon. I mean, isn’t that what it’s all about!

About 4:15 we left for supper at another favorite place of ours called El Comedor. On the way we stopped off at Radio Shack so I could get some solder wick to repair our heated mattress pad.

On the way home I stopped off to get a picture of this giant roadrunner erected at an Interstate rest area.

RoadRunner 1 
It’s about 30 feet high and very impressive.  I was going to get a little closer for a better shot until Jan pointed out this sign.

RoadRunner 2 
Oh, never mind!

Getting home, I went ahead and disconnected and drained the water hose and filter so they won’t be affected by the cold weather.

The Weather Channel is no longer talking about snow tonight, so that’s something, I guess.

I did my repair to the heated mattress pad. We’ll see how it works.

We plan on heading out about 10am tomorrow to Tucson for a couple days to visit some friends, so more then.

Desolate charm…

This morning we left Saddleback Mtn RV Park about 10:30am heading for Las Cruces.

This is a nice little park in the middle of nowhere, but it does have its desolate charm.

Saddleback Mtn RV Park 
Even Mister was unable to find much of interest.

Mister at Saddleback 
Note that Mister is dragging his lease behind him. Most parks have a rule that all pets must be on a leash. I haven’t found one yet that requires someone to be holding that leash!

I did have to take time this morning to add air to my left inside real dual. It has a slow leak, but I’m not yet sure if it’s the tire, the extension, or the screw-on pressure sensor. I swapped the sensors around to see.

Normally driving in West Texas is fun due to the speed limits out here.

80MPH 
But since we usually cruise along at 55 mph, it’s not much fun now.

About noon we stopped at a Wendy’s in Van Horn, TX. Not as good as yesterday’s BBQ, but when you’re trying to find a place to park 63 feet of rig and toad, you can’t always be too picky.

And a few minutes after leaving Van Horn, we entered the Mountain Time Zone. In a couple of weeks we will be in the Pacific Time Zone after we leave Yuma.

Passing thru El Paso, we stopped on the far side at a Flying J to fill up with diesel. All these hills really eat up the mpg.  129 gallons of diesel cost me $360.

We arrived at the Las Cruces KOA about 3:30 and got set up. Although it’s not cheap, we always stay here due to the great view.

About 5pm we drove down to Old Mesilla to have dinner at La Posta, one of our absolute favorite Mexican restaurants. La Posta has been a restaurant since 1939, and before that, it was a Butterfield Stage Depot, with an interesting history.

La Posta2

While we were in La Posta, it started raining really hard, but had stopped by the time we left. But the weather won’t improve while we’re here. Tomorrow we supposed to have a high of 45 and a low of 27, with SNOW!

Just what we need.

More news tomorrow…