"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Show, A Church & A Look Out - Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ
Dustin Diamond J RV Park

Even though we've been to Tucson a few times over the years, there are a few things we still haven't been able to do.  We couldn't get into Catalina State Park this time and we didn't want to take a chance on FCFS at Gilbert Ray, so we took the recommendation of our RV friends, Greg & Cori of The Restless Youngs and made a reservation for two weeks at the "Diamond J". 
While Cori prefers the sister park next door because of the extra frills, we are really enjoying this park for what it is.  Clean, quiet, nicely landscaped, decent spacing and facilities.  Full hookups with laundry is all we really care about in a private park.  We rarely stay at them, but it works great for our 2 weeks here with my brother and sister-in-law.
There are several very nice hiking trails that lead right out of the park.  My brother and I usually go out each morning with the dogs while the spouses are working.
Hungry critters enjoying this cactus. (L)

The clouds made very interesting patterns in the deep blue sky.
Small labyrinth.
The fruit of the Barrel Cactus is edible.  Tried it, didn't like it.  Somewhat bitter, even without the skin.  Maybe in a couple of weeks it would be better?
There was a Hamburger Night in the park with entertainment so we brought a side dish and sat for a while, enjoying a fantastic sunset.  The variety of food was amazing and delicious.
Me, Steve, Steve and Diane.
Another night we drove a few miles into the town of Tucson to see the Retro Game Show in the old Congress Hotel.  We also got this recommendation from Cori.  They have seen many of the shows put on by Tempest DuJour, the “Delicate Flower of the Desert.” She is Tucson’s largest drag queen with a hysterical sense of humor. Definitely not your Grammas game show! Fun night!
Wyatt Earp, Steve and Doc Holiday
After a great dinner and the game show, we walked across the street to get a geocache that just happened to be at the location of the shooting of Frank Stilwell by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday.  We love the history of the Earps and have been to many locations they lived, fought and died at while fulltiming.  More of Stilwell's death HERE.

One place that we never made it to was the Mission of Xavier del Bac.  A National Historic Landmark, the mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.  Also known as the White Dove of the Desert.
More of the history of this mission can be found HERE.

Extensive renovation has been done inside and outside of the mission.
You can see the cross that sits on top of the hill next to the mission.
The ceilings are made of Saguaro wood. (L)  The grounds are nicely landscaped (R) 
There is a beautiful outdoor patio with a fountain that overlooks the valley.
The west tower at the San Xavier Mission stands in contrast to the eastern one, which has been in disrepair for many years. The overall mission has needed extensive restoration over the years.

In 1939, lightning struck and destroyed the 18th-century lantern atop the west tower. It was rebuilt out of common house brick and mortar and rebuilt again 2007 using threaded fiberglass reinforcing rods in the minitower legs so that metal rods would no longer attract lightning.

The Grotto of Lourdes
 A view of the valley below.
Looking down at the mission.
The cross at the top of the hill.

One of those RVs that look like they came from the Australia Outback.
After the mission we took a drive up to Sentinel Peak for a little hike to the top.  Sentinel Peak is a 2,897 foot peak in the Tucson Mountains.
We thought the rules were interesting.  While beer drinking and firearms are ok, loud music and glass containers are not.
Please Do Not Disturb Others With Loud Music?
They aren't doing so well with the loud music.  Play the video to hear what was coming out of many of the vehicles in the park.  There was also smashed glass everywhere.  Shame.
A small memorial near an overlook.
Goofin' off.
Some interesting cactus growth up here.
A view of Tucson from the top.
This rock was sitting on a bench at the top.

Beautiful sunset from up here!
Goodnight Tucson.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Circles & Slots in Arizona

Quartzsite, AZ
La Posa South BLM

We're enjoying our boondocking out here.  Even though the Government Shutdown was going on, there were no fees collected and the facilities (water/garbage/dump) were still running
Circle #1: The Super Blood Wolf Moon appeared red when it was just coming up.  The higher it rose, the less red it looked.  The eclipse was really cool to watch.

We spent some time going back through the tent areas to pick up some things we had been needing/wanting.  We're in our 5th year on the road and finally got some really nice chairs.  We picked up a heavy duty extension cord, an anode rod and some solar items.  Of course we were parched after all that walking so we popped in to Beer Belly's for some refreshments.

Circle #2: Dats-a nice-a pizza pie!  Even though we had a long wait to get in, Silly Al's always has some great pizza and wings.
Diane, Steve, Me, Steve, Guy, Sue, Greg, Cori, Glenda and Curt.
Circle #3: The Circle of Life.
This cool desert art sits about 2.7 miles out on Palm Canyon Rd.  It's been there for many years. If you'd like to see it the coordinates are: 33.3732  -114.1737
Trinkets, coins personal items are left by some in the center.
At the end of Palm Canyon Rd is the parking area, some informational signs and the trailhead.
As you enter the canyon, the rock is really red.  Above is a lone Saguaro (on the left) and a close up of it on the right.  It's very green with the amount of rain lately.
Steve, Steve, Curt and Glenda heading up the trail.  It's rather short and fairly easy.  Even if you're only going to the viewing area, I'd still recommend sturdy shoes and a little water. 
You get a nice view of the palms at the end where the sign is pointing.  These are the last place in the state where native California palm trees grow in their natural habitat.  If you want to get closer you can cross the streambed and scramble/climb up and through a narrow wash/slot. In the above picture, it would be the wash on the right side of the palms.  The one that looks like it leads straight to the palms has some very steep parts and ropes.  Really difficult.  Go right, it's much more fun!
It's hard to tell, but this is a climb up the lower part of this draw.
There's a lot of loose rock, but it quickly becomes solid rock.  Also much steeper and narrow. 
Looking down at the others climbing up.
Looking across the canyon you see what I call The Castle.
Up close you can see the "turrets".
My brother making his way up.
#4 Here come the slots!!
Entering The Narrows.
This spot is the most narrow.  You have to squeeze through and pull yourself up.  I'm glad to say my shoulder help up great!
Suck it in! 
A short clip showing just how narrow it gets.  Maybe 1 to 2 feet wide.
Aha!  There they are!  The palms come into view once you get through the narrow part.  You can hike up the boulders to get closer but at some point the boulders get too large and steep to climb.

I made it!  I thought this "tree hugger" picture of my brother was pretty funny!

A snack at the top and a couple more pictures then we headed down.

Such a pretty view looking back towards 95.
 What a bunch of hooligans!
Back at our place we all put together some appetizers to go with the Fish Taco's we mad with the little bit of leftover fish we had. 

Since the cache owner replaced the geocache at the top of the Q (no wonder we couldn't find it!) I got Diane to go back up with me.  It was super windy and someone had built very large hoo-doos in a few places.  Well, we looked and looked and even with a few more hints, could not find it.  Darn it!  I guess someone took it again.  (Steve and I went up on our last day as he replaced it again, and AGAIN someone took it before we got to it!)
UPDATE-- Cache owner contacted me and what I found on the second time was actually the cache!  So I get a yellow smiley after all! 
 More interesting desert art.
 On our last day the guys went out on a buggy ride.  Steve, Red, Steve and Guy.  They were out all day and had a great time riding though old mining areas and seeing some petroglyphs.
 Quartzsite 2019
Another great time!  See ya next year!