After Texas we continued heading west towards San Diego, and we had a week or so to spend in Arizona. First stop was Tucson, and we stayed at the Gilbert Ray Campground. It’s a first-come-first-served campground and we got a nice, huge spot. There’s no shade in this park and there are 30amp hookups, but no water and sewer. Sites are only $20/night, so as long as it’s not really hot when you’re there, it’s a great place to stay.
Our friends Jim and Tim were staying about an hour away, but drove up to visit Saguaro National Park one afternoon, and stopped by our site for happy hour before returning back to their park. It was great to catch up with them as always.
There were also a few other couples that I follow on Instagram staying in Tucson, so we planned a meetup at a local brewery one night. We met Rachel and Chris from It’s a Wanderful Life, Mike and Steff from Migratory Life, and a fourth couple whom I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember the names of! But we all had a great time. (And fourth couple, if you happen to read this, please accept my apologies. And please tell me your names!)
Gilbert Ray is very close to Saguaro National Park which we visited one afternoon. If you like saguaro cacti, then this is the park for you!
It’s hard from the pictures to realize just how tall these things are. So I sent in my handy 6’5″ prop to add some perspective.
Also close to our campground was the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I’d desribe it as a combination museum/botanical garden/wildlife exhibit, and it’s definitely worth a visit. When we first arrived that morning, the Raptor Free Flight presentation was about to start, so we headed over to watch it. The museum has “trained” wild birds to show up at certain times to be fed. These are not captive animals, they are actual free-flying birds, and sometimes they show up, and sometimes they don’t. It’s up to the birds. The morning we were there, a great horned owl and a hawk graced us with their presence.
We took a stroll through the hummingbird aviary too. I’ve always loved these tiny little birds. Wish I could have gotten a good picture of one of the males but these 2 females looked so sweet perched on their branches.
There are several wildlife exhibits, including bears and wolves.
But the real star of the park was all of the beautiful flora. I don’t know how many different types of cactus there actually are in the world, but I feel like I saw about 800 different varieties.
No post about cacti is complete with pointing out some of the funny shapes they can take. I liked these two saguaros in particular – the one of the left looks like he’s being robbed at gunpoint, and the one of the right looks like a drunk in bar trying to fend off a fight.
And these were just, well, interesting…
Next stop for us in Arizona was Yuma, which was a good stopping point on our way to San Diego. Another huge plus was that our friends Jase and Lauri of Wander Wasi were staying there at Cocopah RV Resort, so we made plans to stay there with them for a few days. On our way to Yuma, a landscaping truck went flying past us and threw a few small rocks our way. Unfortunately one of them left a nice little crack in our windshield.
We called our insurance company as soon as it happened, and they were able to have Safelite out to our site the very next day to fix the crack.
Once that traumatizing ordeal was over, we headed straight to the local brewery to calm our shattered nerves. 🙂
Yuma is close to the Mexican border town of Los Algodones, which many people go to for dental work and eye exams. Jase and Lauri had been in Yuma for a few months so they had made several trips to Los Algodones and offered to be our tour guides for a day, which we quickly took them up on. We started out with a delicious lunch that Jase had to order for us since he spoke the best Spanish.
We were even serenaded for a little while!
We wandered around the town for a little bit until Deas’s sweet tooth dragged him to the local bakery where we all sampled some yummies.
We did a little shopping at the local liquor/grocery store and bought some tequila to take home. We ended our afternoon tour sitting on a bench having a drink out of paper bags. Keeping it classy.
When we got back to the campground Jase offered to make margaritas using fresh squeezed limes and the tequila we just bought.
That night our friends Brandon and Kerensa of Drive Dive Devour were hosting a Facebook Live event for their new group RV to Freedom (which, if you’re new to RVing or want to start RVing, is a great resource.) We’d all had a couple margaritas at this point and were feeling it, so it’s possible that we may have asked a few silly questions to try to make Brandon and Kerensa laugh. We sure made our selves laugh! If you zoom in on the laptop, I think Brandon and Kerensa might be giving each other a look that says “Let’s be sure not invite these fools to our next call.”
We had a blast with Jase and Lauri and can’t wait to see them again. But we had a reservation in San Diego waiting for us and were really excited about spending a whole month there after this fast-paced travel across the country. More to come!