Where: on vacation until our summer job begins. Current stop: Arizona!
Back during WWII, my maternal grandfather (Pop Pop) got very sick, with some sort of respiratory problem that just would not improve. He had not been drafted because he worked for the railroads and was considered too essential to send overseas. His doctor recommended that he recuperate in a warm, dry climate, so he rode the train from Columbus, Ohio to Tucson, AZ and spent 6 weeks getting well. When my folks visited us in Tucson a couple years ago, we tracked down the house where he rented a room. I guess that I have a bit of Pop Pop in me, because after 3 months of wet, cold, and gray Midwest, I also felt a desperate need for sunshine!
But first, here’s the story on how we came to be here, since I last left you with the story of us sick in Branson, MO. We really wanted to get our towing situation fixed, so that we could resume driving together, rather than paying for gas for both vehicles to drive separately. Our last hope appointment for 2018 fell through, so we decided to just keep moving rather than spend another week there for the next possible appointment.
Boy, is there a lot of real estate between Missouri and Arizona! I listened to local radio stations, some for just a few 10 or so miles, and a couple out of the big cities for more like 100 miles at a time. Every area seemed to have a station custom made to an epic journey, with country balladeers singing about the wide open range, or classic rock glorifying the Great American Road Trip.
Not into it:
We drove much too long for two days, and then made a stopover near Carlsbad, New Mexico at Brantley Lake State Park. It wasn’t much warmer than the Midwest, but we got our first taste of a sky full of vistas.
We got into Tucson on New Year’s Day, in anticipation of a maintenance appointment the next day. It felt great to be back in the desert, until we woke up the next morning. Yep, only the fourth time it’s snowed in Tucson this century, and we were here to witness it!
Both our vehicles are lovingly cared for by Sooter’s, a family owned auto repair shop in Tucson. This time, they went above and beyond by helping us troubleshoot the towing problem between the RV and the car, finally pinning down a short in the ground of one of our tail lights. I know nothing about electrical systems, but I still can’t believe how something like one little wire touching part of a light socket can mess up a whole system. We finally had all our ducks in a row and were ready to commence vacation!
JJ and I both felt the need to get our Pop Pop on, and detox from Amazon, being sick, and a hell of a lot of traveling, so we started with a week at one of our faves, Gilbert Ray Campground, just west of Tucson. There’s about a million things to do in this part of the world, but we committed to daily self care and not a whole lot more. We’ve been going to bed early, sleeping in late, cooking yummy, nutritious food, and following my “4 things” rule of daily walks, exercise, yoga, and sunbathing. We both feel like completely different people, in complete contrast to the sad sacks who pulled into town last week.
Here’s your photo essay portion of the blog, powered by the new-to-me Pixle 2 I just got. This camera is a dream!
Gilbert Ray campsites are lush and private:
Oodles of hiking trails start right from the campground:
We have friends in both Tucson and Phoenix, and it was a priority to see them, despite our resting plans. Sorry to say that I forgot to photograph our ice cream with Ann and Nathan, but here’s a day of foodie porn with Trey:
Phoenix to Tucson:
A few from Brown Mountain hike, just steps from the campground:
Just like my Pop Pop, Tucson healed us, too. We’re ready to head out for more active adventures!