We stayed at Picacho State Park for two weeks and it really was a great stop for a lot of different reasons. First of all, the weather has been incredible, meaning that unless we looked at a calendar, we wouldn’t have a clue that it’s actually winter. Sunny. Eighty degrees. All. The. Time. They say it’s easy to lose track of the days when you’re living in an RV and I would contend that it’s just as easy to lose track of the months as long as you’re following the weather!
The Peak of Picacho Peak State Park
The Arizona sunsets are magnificent
So, Picacho is in-between Phoenix and Tucson, about 70 miles from Phoenix and about 45 from Tucson. So the location is remote with access to some really great amenities from two great cities. And while Greg had an install here, it was at the beginning of our stay, so that left the remainder of our time to do some exploring, which was nice.
So after the install, the exploring began. Well, first, preparation for exploring. I had been wanting to get a nice pair of hiking boots with some better ankle support since my ankle was still bothering me, and now that we were close to civilization, seemed like the place to do it.
So, with the install done, we scouted out the closest REI and headed to Tucson. We found the store, parked the car, walked down some steps and rounded the corner....and who's entering REI from the other direction? Kyle, Lisa and Kylie Henson, of course!! The Henson’s are also full time RV’ers who Greg had the privilege of installing solar on his rig about a year and a half ago on the east coast (Pennsylvania to be exact) and that was the last time we had seen them.
Kyle is the go-to guy for all things RV insurance related and along with that, they’re just really good people. They were doing some shopping for some serious hiking equipment and after chatting with them for a bit outside, we decided after shopping that we would all grab dinner.
It’s encounters like this that you realize how small of world it is sometimes. And on that day, we were glad our two worlds crossed and really enjoyed having a nice dinner with them. (I mean seriously, what are the chances that at the exact time, that we would both be entering that specific REI store in Tucson, AZ!!)
Diablo Burger in Tucson
Equipped with some new boots (ended up with a pair of Vasque Breeze 2.0.....fingers crossed!!), exploration began!! And this area was not void of things to do, that's for sure!! We had several things that were on our initial exploration list, and then added a couple of more things.
First, about a mile from our park, was Rooster Cogurn Ostrich Ranch. The Ranch had tons of other random animals and for seven bucks you could feed their animals. Really quite ingenious if you think about it--you pay to feed their animals!! And while this isn’t something we typically would go out of our way to do, it was almost in walking distance from our park. Plus, they had Nigerian Dwarf goats and our friend Debbie used to raise them, so curiosity got the best of us!!
The Ostrich.....while the main attraction,
they shared the spotlight with many other cool animals!!
They look so cute......
But they are aggressive lil' boogers!!
This was the goat penthouse, which housed Boer Goats.
They like being up in the air and to feed them, you crank up the food in little cups to the top.
This cute little girl fed the goat out of her mouth.
That's what happens when no adults are watching. Well, I guess we are adults,
but hey, she was feeding a goat with her mouth; we wanted to see it!!
The Nigerian Dwarf Goats....very cute!!
The fallow deer....
Greg feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets
He was balancing five lorikeets in this pic!
Love the vibrant colors
All in all, would truly make a great field trip for a pre-school class and was a fun way to kill a couple of hours. And overall, the animals were cool.
So, our next adventure landed us in Phoenix….at Arcadia High School….for…..a show….to see a couple of mentalists. What!?!
We often find ourselves times saying, “why not?” and this was one of those times. I saw a small segment on one of the local (typically not so good) morning shows talking about this show they were doing for “Project Graduation” and tickets were only ten bucks each, so we said, “why not!?”
Well, with ten bucks worth of expectations, we headed to Phoenix to see the show and have to say, our expectations were exceeded!! There was a comedian of sorts who opened up the show, followed by two mentalists, who were just fantastic. The mentalists were Craig Anthony and Brett Barry and they each individually did a great show, and together, we were blown away. Did I mention it was only ten bucks!! Total score!!
So they walk out and put a folded sheet on the stage (you can't see what's on the sheet),
then this funky guy in a plain white jumpsuit walks out and stands on the sheet.
The mentalist, Craig Anthony, asks the volunteer to paint each part of the guys jumpsuit
with the cans of spray paint sitting on a table.
The volunteer got to choose whatever color he wanted to paint
the different parts of the jumpsuit; he painted the belt first, then shirt, tie, hair, pants, etc.
Then, they unfolded the sheet that the funky guy was standing on, and there was a picture of a person, with everything the same colors as the volunteer chose to paint the funky guy.
Obvioulsy the folded sheet was pre-painted.
Oh, and the funky guy was the principal!!
Mind blown.....well, okay....way cool!!
In this one, the mentalist, Brett Barry, had a volunteer hide a big knife blade under one of five styrofoam cups and of course he didnt' know which one.
One by one, he slammed each one of the cups.
One wrong slam and the blade would go through his hand.....
This is the knife....and of course it was under the cup he didn't slam.
Brett asked for a volunteer who had a cell phone with his/her screen locked.
Basically he was able to guess the code and the crazy thing was he unrolled this banner with the girl's cell phone code on it. There banner was done before the show. Poof...mind blown!!
Honestly, there were about eight to ten different "acts" by each mentalist and we spent the next couple of days talking about it, trying to figure out how they could possibly do some of the things they did. It was really amazing and definitely the best, cheapest show we've ever seen!
The next day, which was Saturday; we headed to Casa Grande Indian ruins, which was the first cultural and prehistoric site to be protected by the United States government. We got in free with our National Parks pass, and spent a few hours exploring the ruins.
Casa Grande National Monument
The Casa Grande Ruins are remnants of the Ancient Sonoran Desert People's farming community as well as a very large structure, referred to as the "Great House." The best dating methods available indicate that this large, structure was built during the 1300's. Wow!! The construction appears to have been well planned and organized and required tons of material and a huge cooperative effort on the part of many people. It was a four story structure (early sky skyscraper?), and no real clues on how or what it was used for.
The roof that covers the Ruins was built in 1932 at a cost of $28,000.
They painted the roof in 2003 at a cost of $100,000
Sunday, we headed to Saguaro National Park to check out the park. Saguaro National Park protects and preserves a giant saguaro cactus forest that stretches across Tucson. The park’s giant saguaros sometimes reach as much as 50 feet and the city divides Saguaro National park into two areas – the Tucson Mountain District to the west and Rincon Mountain District to the east.
We made the decision to check out the Tucson Mountain district first and started out at the visitor’s center where the ranger gave us a couple of good tips and advice on short trails to tackle (damn ankle!!).
Gorgeous views....gorgeous park!
As we were rapping up our last hike, coming down a trail, who did we run into again? Yep, Lisa, Kyle and Kylie!! Our small worlds collided again!
Later on during our stay, we also got to check out the Rincon District of Saguaro National Park and while there are differences between the two parks, both are really nice. I think the saguaros are bigger at Rincon and views seemed better at the Tucson Mountain district. If we had to pick, think we would choose the Tucson District, but in all fairness, we spent a lot more time there exploring.
Big, big saguaro at the Rincon District
That basically wraps up our field trips for this leg of our Tucson trip; although our next stop is just 45 minutes on the other side of Tucson, so more adventure awaits.
And we ran into this....at a strip mall...in Tucson on Ash Wednesday. Hmmmm....
And, one last noteworthy item, Greg and I flew off to Columbus, OH last weekend because nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a trip to Columbus, OH in the winter!! Oh, and we also had the privilege of doing a few seminars at the RV show. It was lots of fun and we got to meet a bunch of excited RV’ers and we also got to meet our good friend, Lee's parents, which was an added bonus!!
We took three pictures during our whole Columbus visit...
this is a full sized stove in a fifth wheel which we had never seen before.
Pot filler may be just a tad over the top!!
Quite impressive!! (Luxe by Augusta)
This is the second picture we took.....you can guess the third!!
Columbus is a great city, but during our trip we realized how much we missed our house and puppy dog, so we were glad to get back. We also might have been really glad to get back to warm weather; it was a quick reminder on how blessed we are not to be wearing four layers and a winter coat daily!!
This was our first time we ever had to “board” Hobie, so we were a little apprehensive, but found a great dog sitting option, called Dog Vacay. It’s sort of like match.com for petsitting (except they just watch your pets and hopefully don’t try to date them!!).
Basically, potential petsitters set up a profile and share why they are capable of watching your pet and we browsed the various profiles and selected a nice couple to watch Hobie while we were away. While Hobie was hanging out, the petsitters, Tracey and Ben, sent us pics (aka, proof of life photos) so we felt pretty good that he was being taken care of. Also, in true Hobie fashion, he discovered a couple of dog balls underneath one of their dressers; they had no idea they were even there. If only we could use his dog ball finding availability for a worthy (or profitable) cause!!
Proof of life; Hobie with the petsitters's lil' one.
I think Hobie's giving him a kiss....or biting his nose!?!
So onto Kartchner Caverns for a week and then back to Quartzite for another week. Thanks for following along!!