A Travellerspoint blog

Tucson, AZ, area II

sunny 74 °F
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.

We've been busy this week. Sunday, we went to the Titon II ICBM missle museum. This is one very cool museum, one you will not want to miss. We learned many things while on the tour and in the musem. The US had at one time 54 ICBM missles in underground silos here in the US all with 9 megaton warheads, and they were just waiting to be launched. During the Regan era, all these and the Russian ICBMs were scrapped. There were only 2, 1 in the US and 1 in the USSR, that were spared. But these 2 had to have their nuclear capabilities removed and the engines and power systems unpowered. They are meant as a place one can tour and learn of the awsome, ugly realty of the possible annihilation of mankind. The tour is factual and very interesting. I took as many pictures as I wanted of the silo. the missle, the command center, etc. This was a very excellent and meaningful experience.

Monday, was the laundry and get things done day, (and rest day).......

Tuesday, we went to the Arizona Sonoran Living Museum. This was another wonderful day trip. It is located just a few miles from our RV site and although we have visited it before, it was and is my fovorite excursion thus far on our snowbirding trip. We saw and photographed a fantastic raptor exhibition. 4 or 5 raptors were released and flew about landing nearby on different natural spots. The ranger told all about each specie. This part was worth the entire entree fee alone. But there was more. All the animals native to the Sonoran desert were here and exhibited in their natural surroundings. I'll try and post a few...... We went to a poisonous reptile demonstration where we saw and learned about the Gila Monster and the Western Diamondback Rattler. We were in the front row and I could take as many pictures as I wanted. This museum is built on a slight incline and you can look out for miles and miles of beautiful desert. We were very happy with the day and all we learned.

Wednesday, was our trip to the Kartchner caverns. These are the most recent caves (opened 1999) found, preserved and opened to the public. Although not as grand and large as Carlsbad caverns, this cave is the most unblemished of any cave anywhere. They have taken enormous measures to save this cave exactly as it was when it was found. Of course, they had to make it so people could safely enter and see it. But they were very, very careful. We could not take ANYTHING into the cave....cameras, purses, food, water,...... When you enter, you go through 2 refrigerator doors so no desert air, etc would enter. We had to go under a mist system to keep any lint from getting loose in the cave. There was a rail you could hold on to, but you could not touch anything else. The stalachtities and stalagmites were outstanding! There was one 60+ foot combination stalachtite/stalagmite formation, the largest in AZ, that was outstanding.

Thursday, yesterday, we stayed around our park mainly. I worked on the trailer a bit. One of the things I did was to install an indoor/outdoor thermometer. The outside sensor is now located beneath the trailer so as to record the temp w/o having the sun shine on it. Today's high was 78.4 degrees. I also went on a short bike ride through the neighboring countryside. Seems like we keep going places, while the rest on the snowbirds spend more time at the park doing the park's activities. There are so many things to do here each day. But we haven't done any of them yet except some of the night's programs. They had a great jazz group here last week, a bluegrass group this week, as well as a very interesting slide show and lecture by a visiting BC professor about octopusses (no, we have found none here). There are craft classes, photo club, hiking club, mtn bike club, bingo night, game night, and tonite a barborshop quartette.

And today, Friday, we went to the Kitt Peak National observatory. Kitt Peak is just down the road from our park and we were able to get there in about 45 minutes. At an elevation of 6800+ ft, it was cool there and still had snow on the ground in places. There are now 23 different astronomical observatories on this mountain peak. It was located here so that it would be away from city lights. It is also the only National observatory. That means anyone with a justifiable reason for using these scopes can schedule time to use them. We toured the 4 meter telescope. The docent was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour informative and fun. We also were able to see the largest solar telescope in the world. We were even able to observe the chromosphere around the sun through a smaller scope. All in all, a very good day with lots learned. In fact, it was a very worthwhile week. Tomorrow, Patagonia lake.

Posted by jcsc 17:38 Comments (0)

Tucson, AZ, area

sunny 69 °F
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Since my last blog we have finally gotten to Arizona. Seems strange that it took us 7 weeks to reach this desert land. But that’s what happens when you are having so much fun!

We left Desert Hot springs the day after New Years day, Jan 2, Sunday, and followed I-10 to Blythe. We had planned on stopping there for the night along the Colorado River. But you never know what a private RV park is like until you get to it and see it. This one was awful……full of “trailer trash”. So we left and ended up at Quartzite, AZ. It was our first time in this little town that becomes huge at this time every year. People come from everywhere to see the Rock and Gem show, the RV show, and other shows. It is one huge garage/yard sale that they hold in big tents in the desert. Fortunately for us, we were there about one week before the first show began so we got a space for the night. But there was a constant stream of RVs coming in and taking their reserved spaces. Not only were the RV parks filled, the desert had RVs sitting all over. People come with everything they need and dry camp next to a cactus. You can buy just about anything in Quartzite at this time of the year, and then the town pretty much shuts down for the rest of the year when it gets hot. We did not feel the attraction to the place or the reason (?) people gathered there. So we pulled out the next day for Mesa.

I had made a reservation for the Mesa Regal RV Resort before leaving home. We have good friends that I used to teach with that now live there during the winters in a park model. We enjoyed getting to see them again and getting to learn about life in such a resort. This is not camping! It is like a city within a city. There are over 2000 sites to live on or to bring your RV to. And there are more activities than I could ever remember or list here. Suffice it to say, this is a very busy place with activities for every life style. People come from all over to spend the winters here. We spent 3 nights here and enjoyed catching –up with our friends.

We left Mesa Thursday, 1/6/11, and headed to Tucson and then a little south to Desert Trails RV Park. We had no reservation, but got one of three available sites. We changed to another site that we liked better the next morning. This RV park is situated about 10 miles SW of Tucson and is right in the middle of the desert. We are very near Saguaro Nat. Park. and the Arizona-Sonora Living Desert Museum . We have many trails that lead right from our park out through the desert. Today we walked out on several of the trails. There are lots of different types of cactus and animals all about us. In fact, when I got up this morning there was the leg and remains of some animal that was left on the ground right out in front of our trailer. Probably left over from the night’s activity of one of the javalina and coyotes that come through the camp after people have gone to bed. The air here is clean and I can see mountains all around us. Kit Peak Nat Observatory is just west of us and I can see some of the structures through my telephoto lens. Yesterday’s sunset was spectacular. I’ll try and get a picture of it on my photo gallery.

We like it here very much and there are many things to do both at the park and in the surrounding area. The temp has ranged from 65-72 degrees. So we have extended our plans to stay here for 3 weeks. I’ll try to fill you in on other places and things that we have done while we are down here. More later. -jc

Posted by jcsc 17:26 Comments (0)

Desert Hot Springs 2

Our second week here

64 °F
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It’s been almost 2 weeks now since we came to Desert Hot Springs. The first 4 days were filled with that storm that most of you had to live through wherever you live, as well us. Then came about 1 week of gorgeous 68-73 degree weather that made us glad that we were celebrating Christmas here in the desert. And now, today, another storm has come through. But this storm is a quick one. It has lasted less than a day. I just went out to try and fasten down the stove vent flap….it just keeps rattling with the wind. But, oh the sky, how beautiful! The stars are so bright that they seem like you can just reach up and touch them. This is something that I have to get used to again. It’s so fun to see the sky so lit up.

Last week we stayed in a large very nicely appointed resort. But this week we changed to another resort about 3 miles further down the road. This resort is much smaller, older, and very quiet. We love it here. Our trailer space is at the back of the resort and we have a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley. At night we can see I-10 snaking way out there in the desert almost all the way to Banning. We can see out the same window both Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto (at night we can see the top of the Palm Springs aerial tramway). Between both mountains is a low pass that funnels a lot of wind out here to the desert. So hundreds of wind generators have been erected to capture all that energy and change it into electricity. Each day I walk out the gate behind our trailer and into the desert. It is really wonderful to see so many different kinds of plants and animals. Today we saw out first Road Runner right behind the trailer.
There are 4 large soaking mineral water pools here, 2 hot (104 degrees) and 2 cold. Then there is a nice large swimming pool that is at least 80 degrees and very comfortable. We try to use the pools daily. They are all outside, but they are protected with glass walls on the windward side and roofs over the spas to keep one from being roasted by the sun as they are being cooked by the water.

While we have been here at DHS, we have taken several excursions. We went to Joshua Tree NP one day and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway another day. We found a very, very neat oasis filled with Fan Palms on another day. We’ve spent time looking for just the right place to settle-in for another winter. Of course, we’ve had to find libraries to keep up-dated on our email and keep you folk up-dated with our excursion and photos. Since the last time I was in this area, it has really grown. There are cities that are pretty much connected from Palm Springs to Indio and beyond. We did do some city exploring (had to find the Costcos……) and see how the rich and famous live out here in the desert. We plan on leaving here Sunday, Jan 2, 2011, and head east. I’ll try and catch you up on what and where the next time I get to use a wifi. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos I am just up-loading to the site and make sure you read the dialog and description of each. We love being retired! -jc

Posted by jcsc 12:58 Comments (0)

Desert Hot Springs

59 °F
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.

Today is Sunday, and we have enjoyed our busy week in SD area. But we needed to leave to get to our next destination in the Palm Springs area. Our drive north was fine except that we ran smack into a storm coming south. I was tested with rain and wind as I pulled our rig up here to Desert Hot Springs. We are staying at Caliente Hot springs. It is another huge park with lots and lots to do for people that have little or no imagination as to what they can do by themselves. The swimming pools & spas are well laid out and are very relaxing. I have taken advantage of them each evening. The water comes up from deep underground and is cooled to 103 degrees. It is mineral water w/o the stink. After going through the first pool, it is now cooler and goes to the next pool, and so on down through 4 beautifully designed pools and then into a serpentine long swimming pool. There is just about anything a person could want to do around here. They try hard to make their people happy. Yesterday, it was our turn to get their sales talk about their park models. It was an interesting eduacation for us, but for now we are staying w/ our RV. The wifi available at the resort is difficult to actually call wifi. It is so slow that right now we are at a nearby town library using their wifi. That is the one thing we miss about being on the road. Getting a good wifi signal is not always an easy thing to get.

It has been interesting to us that the parks down here are filled w/ mainly Canadians. They really do like our winters here in the SW and the business owners here love them. It's fun to talk w/ them while in the tubs each evening. There is so much to learn from everyone. The weather this week has been awful......that CA storm you have all heard about. The road in front of our site was a small river this morning....almost got my rod and reel out. Our Canadian neighbors have out some bird feeders. So we enjoy watching the Gambol Quail and lesser goldfinch as they feed. Tomorrow is supossed to be sunny, finally. We'll see........

Posted by jcsc 13:16 Comments (0)

San Diego, CA, updated 12/22/10

sunny 70 °F
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.

San Diego is the place everyone knows. Actually our new resort, Oak Creek RV Resort, is located in El Cajon. Instead of 1000+ sites as in last week's resort, we have only 121 sites here. Our resort is just north of hwy 8, the main hway to Yuma, AZ. We have a drive of about 12 miles to get to San Diego. We plan on going there throughout the week to see the zoo, Sea World, etc.

It's been a long time since I have been here to San Diego and are there ever changes. Even though all I saw were freeways today, the changes were very evident. Whereas once there was a little 2 lane "suicide" road down here, now there are a multiple ways to get here. On hwy 215, or was it 15 (?) I counted 7 lanes going my way.....and they were all being used. There are houses and towns all the way down here. It's like a new country for me to discover.

We do have wifi at this resort. So I am trying to get caught up. Hopefully, I will be able to down load some pix from Hemet. More later. - jc

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The last two days have been very busy ones for us. Yesterday, we went to Sea World and today we went to the San Diego zoo. Our day at Sea World was hot, fun, entertaining, tiring, and expensive. I don’t know the exact temperature but it was well over 80 degrees. Since it wasn’t the weekend, the attendance was very low (a good thing for us). We scheduled our way around the park by the show times. Each show was interesting and fun to watch. We were quite tired when the day was over and we asked “Tom” take us back to our “home”. And, yes, the daily ticket price is (hold on to your wallet) $70 per adult and $12 to park! Today’s day at the zoo was cool, educational, fun, tiring, and not as expensive. I started out the day the same way I started yesterday with a T-shirt and shorts. The weather changed during the day with a marine layer drifting in. The heavy foliage in much of the park allowed only a small amount of sun to warm us. Most of the animal exhibits were very well designed and looked like the animals were living in their native habitat. We had a good time trying to get to as much of the park as possible by foot, double-decker bus, or skyway. And the adult entry price was $40 and no parking fee. It was a very full day again and we will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow, Wild animal Safari in Escondido....if we wake up!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
(written on 12-22-10) Our trip to the Wild Aniaml Park was very, very fun. Since it was an overcast day and the middle of the week, we had very few fellow zoo watchers there with us. We did the tram ride first and it was very worth while. The driver was very knowledgable about the park and it's inhabitants. She had worked there for 26 years and gave a great discription of all that we saw. The park was originally made to rescue endangered animals of the world and give them a safe place to regenerate more of the same. It is amazing the success that they have had on their 1800 acres. The park is meant to be a learning center and not another Disneyland w/ rides everywhere ( although they did have a zipline that seemed to go forever!). The day was cool enought that we were able to see and photograph many of the animals not ween on hot days. This is a worthwhile place to see.

Thursday, December 16, 2010
We stayed around "camp" (ha) today. We did the laundry and also did some grocery shopping. I also found a hidden lake just behind where our resort was. I was very excited to find such a place so close to so many people, and you can camp there. This will be a place for us if we come to SD again w/ an RV.

Friday and Saturday, December 17 & 18, 2010
I wanted to see some of the SD coastline again. It has been so many years since I visited that area. So we started at the Coronado Hotel and worked our way north. We stopped at little beach towns, UCSD and Scripps College, Torrey Pines, and enjoyed to partial days of rediscovery. My personal feelings are that this is a very beautiful area and everyone else thinks so too. I have gotten tired of traffic and freeways......

Posted by jcsc 18:16 Comments (0)

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