Anza Borrego

We tried to do this earlier in the year. We were going to meet some friends there and just relax. The winter is the best time to go to the desert but if you hit the spring at the right time it can be even better. I remember we went to Red Rock State Park one weekend in the spring. The weather was cool but the wildflowers were blooming all around. We saw many of them on a ranger walk. We were hoping that visiting Anza Borrego State Park at the end of March might give us some nice wildflowers also. At least we had reservations this time.

Before we left we had a minor modification done to the trailer. When we refloored our house with laminate flooring we got some extra for the trailer. The installer (our neighbor) did the trailer for us also. We no longer have the white carpet (well mostly white) and have a surface that is easier to clean.

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Our reservations started on Monday and we had 3 nights there. One plan was to leave early on Monday from home and get there later in the afternoon/evening for a total of 354 miles! Roxie worked on Sunday but she had a plan. Let’s leave Sunday night when she gets home. I agreed that we could try and we would be able to do another first for us:

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Wal-Mart! This was the first time we have ever stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart. This was in Palmdale and we got there about 11pm. I checked with the security guard and he said we would park there no problem but no longer than 2 nights. Suited us just fine. All that I did was put down the tongue jack (remembering to park nosedown) to level it out and I unplugged the umbilical cable. You can easily see why Wal-Mart likes this because we proceeded to spend $80 the next morning at the store. The nice thing was that this evening trip essentially cut the remaining distance in half making a much more managable drive.

Our friends (Rich, Eleanor and Emma) had arrived a day earlier and were not around when we arrived. We went through our normal procedures. When we saw the Luhr’s, they introduced us to some other Airstreamers that met them there also. Ken & Petey, Adam & Susan were introduced to us all and the Airstream bond was created. On Tuesday we all got together and took a road/hiking trip. We were lucky enough to go in style with Ken & Petey. The first spot was the slot canyon. This is where the flooding of Anza Borrego has created very narrow and interesting canyons that you can go hike in. We weren’t concerned about flooding at this time.

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The next stop were the wind caves. Cavern type areas carved out by wind and rain. This hike was a bit more strenuous than the first. We had a steep climb to start then some up and down. However it was well worth the hike. The formations are very interesting and a lot of fun to scramble around on. Here is Roxie in a cave:

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We also stopped to see Font’s Point which gives you an overview of the badlands area. You can go to my Flickr set of this trip for other photos that I took.

Wednesday we decided to take the hike to the Palm Canyon oasis. I remember doing this when I was a child and the others had done it many times previously so we were on our own. The first part was ranger led and there was a big emphasis on spotting some Bighorn Sheep (the park’s namesake). Everyone was hoping to see some and started out with high spirits. The day was a bit warm, very little breeze and a constant uphill elevation change. The ranger stayed with the group about half way but there were no sightings of Bighorn. The ranger turned back but continued on to the oasis. About 2/3’s of the way to the end (for us) we found a little cave that was in the shade and decided to take a bit of a break. I thought I would scan the opposite mountains for any movement (I can pick up movement pretty good). Looking up about 2000′ above us and I saw something. It was a Bighorn. So now I get to tell Roxie where it is. Not an easy task to try to tell someone which rock(s) out of thousands they should look at to see something that was so minuscule. However she was able to see it. I tried to tell others as they passed by but they weren’t able to see it. But I do have proof:

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Look for the arrow and this was at maximum zoom on our camera.

We were able to complete our hike but we were pretty beat. It was very warm at the end. We had just purchased some water backpacks and were depleted also. We went back to the trailer and rested a bit. The next day we took our requisite trip to Julian. It was about the same as it was before but we always enjoy going there.

You can see Rich Luhr’s account of their Anza Borrego trip at his blog.

Here is a shot of our trailer at Anza Borrego and a shot of my parents trailer many years ago. Same campground but a different spot.

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Now it is time to leave. Do we go straight home in one day? My birth grandmother lives in Riverside and we haven’t seen her for 4 years so we will see where we can stay for the evening. Riverside does not have too many places to camp and a weekend is coming up. So we try for another first and see if we can take advantage of some courtesy parking. The WBCCI has a listing for that in the membership roster book but Airforums also has a place to list such. We looked for someone in Riverside and found Towster! We had met Vince and Virginia at some other rallies but did not know they lived in Riverside and we contacted them about parking for one evening. They graciously agreed and even moved their trailer so we had room for ours:

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We attempted to repay them for their kindness by taking them out to eat that evening. It was nice to visit with them and get to know them better. Sometimes it is hard to talk to people at the rallies since there are so many people. We were able to visit my grandmother twice while we were there and then we pushed on home on Saturday.

A good trip, not rushed, a couple of firsts for us and new Airstream friends (Ken, Petey, Adam, Susan, Vince and Virginia).

Arizona Part II

The leg from the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument to Tucson took a very long time. It did not help that the Arizona DOT was messing around with the on and off ramps by I-10 so we could not get on the freeway. Instead we got to stop and go with the hundreds of others for about 10 miles on the frontage road. It did not help that Tucson was hosting their Rock and Gemstone Show. It just added to the fun.

Our destination was the Gilbert Ray campground at the Tucson County Mountain Park. We were going in without reservations, something I am not really used to. It turned out to be fine and we found a spot just as it was getting dark. Around 8pm we had everything setup and disconnected and had dinner. Yes, the tank was still leaking…

The next morning I crawled under the trailer, as much as I could. I could still see it dripping and according to our meter, the tank was almost empty. The water was coming out of a small ‘patch’ by the drain spigot. I removed the screws on the patch and looked inside. I could see the main drain plug but I could not tell where the leak was actually coming from. If I had more time (and was younger) I would have done some more investigation. In the state of Arizona there are only two Airstream authorized service centers and there is one in Tucson at Oasis RV. I called them and explained our problem. They said to bring it in. I had paid for two nights but we were not sure if we would have use of the trailer but the campground would work with us.100_4340

We hooked it all back up and headed to Oasis. They seemed to think that it was not very serious. Of course, I was thinking the fresh water tank was cracked and it would be into the 4 figures to get it fixed. They have many years of experience and had no qualms leaving the trailer. We gave them my cell number and headed off to the Rock show. Might as well do something instead of just sitting there.

The Rock show encompassed something like 20+ locales with different things everywhere. We were able to see some tents from Oasis so we went over there. It turned out to be by a sports area (where the Arizona Diamondbacks do spring training). The parking was ample and easy and they had a place for dry camping (for $20). We started looking at the rocks. The first area had the small individual sellers that were selling out of their RV’s. One guy had a enclosed area with blacklights to see all the odd colorings in his rocks. We moved on to an area where they had more large commercial vendors with crystals that were bigger than me! There was every type of stone, rock, etc. you would want. Roxie particularly liked these:

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We were there about 2 hours when my cell rang. It was Oasis telling us that the trailer was done. It was the drain spigot that broke (something must have hit it) and the repair took 2 hours. I was very relieved. We spent about another hour and then went to get our trailer.

We took the trailer back to the campground and set everything back up. The campground had electricity only so having water was fairly important. It was not leaking!! We took a short rest (got on the computers) after all that went on. We ate at Benihana’s that night to celebrate the relatively inexpensive repair. We were able to coordinate with Rich and Eleanor so we could visit with them while we were there. We missed out on courtesy parking at their house since there was already an Airstream there (I wonder what the neighbors think). It turned out they had an idea for the next night and invited us to dinner at their house, perfect!

The next day, Thursday, we paid for one more night. We went to Old Tucson, which is in the county park. It is a movie set that was created in the area to lure Hollywood movies here for a more authentic location. It was kind of touristy but that is what we were. It was enjoyable. We ate at a BBQ place inside, Big Jake’s. The food was pretty good especially for serving a captive audience. Old Tucson took us up to about 2pm. We were going to go to the Sonoran Desert Museum. We drove though the parking lot and it was almost full, we knew we only had about 2 hours so we passed on it this time. This will leave us something to do the next time we are in Tucson. We headed instead, to the Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain Division. There we listened to a very interesting talk about the geology of the area and were able to see LOTS of Saguaro cacti.

We stopped by the trailer to clean up and then headed to see Eleanor, Emma and Rich (their chauffeur). Eleanor cooked us a very nice meal with some creative chicken cooking. Rich was in charge of the grill but it wouldn’t stay lit. We got to see their home away from the Airstream and it was a very nice Arizona home. I loved the low maintenance back yard. We finished up dinner and went to a local theatre, the Loft, to see the Academy Award nominees for Animated films. It was entertaining, albiet some of the films went a bit long. My favorite, Oktapodi, did not win the Oscar. We were able to visit a bit after the film and then we said our goodbyes.

We had to decide where to next. Well we were still staying south so we thought, let’s go see some old trailers in Bisbee. Stay tuned…