Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Sabino Canyon from the Telegraph trail

When I last posted I was in the middle of an epic dust storm and wasn't sure if I was going to end up in the Land of Oz. Although my little Born Free rocked and rolled all night I woke up in the same place I put down the jacks at the Pilot truck stop. I headed out fairly early on Friday towards South Tucson. The drive to the Casino del Sol was pleasant without too much traffic. Actually it was a little eerie because the traffic was so minimal. I think most folks were home recovering from the storm. The desert was flooded in many places, in fact, I have never seen so much standing water in the desert.

The Casino del Sol is about 15 miles from downtown Tucson. It is a very pleasant place to boondock. The grounds were immaculate and the parking on the east side of the campus was very quiet. I met "Steve" who was from Truckee and knew where Calpine was. What a surprise. to meet someone who knew were Calpine was. There were about a half a dozen RVs parked there when I arrived. After talking with another RVer (John) I found out that some park for an extended time. I also met Muriel another WIN from Canada who said she was going to join up with the group in Ajo for the Fiddlers contest. Small world.. When I left there were more than a dozen RVers parked, probably due to the bad weather as well as the up coming free concert that night.

I met up with my Reno friends Sandi and Bob (no, not the Sandi and Bob of the WINs), who rented a condo for the month of January. Sandi joined me last year when I was in Tucson and just loved the area. She talked her husband into renting the Condo. Now, after spending nearly a month in Tucson they are talking about buying a winter home in the Tucson area. We had a pretty packed week of visiting , shopping, and hiking, and eating out.

There is so much to do and see in Tucson! My favorite store is a little second hand store called Persnickity's. They specialized in slightly used clothing and have a wonderful selection of gently worn boots and western wear. Catalina State Park has some wonderful mountain biking and hiking trails and then there is Sabino Canyon with its cute tram that takes you up the canyon and there is also the Desert Museum ... a must see. The list goes on. There are also many wonderful restaurants ..too many to name, but my favorite is Pinnicle Petes. The restaurant is very, very, casual. In fact, if you're a man and get caught wearing a tie, the tie will be cut off and displayed on the wall! They serve wonderful cowboy and cowgirl steaks as well as other entries. They only serve salad and ranch beans with the steak, so you don't fill up on a lot of other stuff and have room for the steak. Yes, I ate the whole thing!

The Desert Museum, really isn't a museum in the traditional since. Its a beautiful landscape of the desert which includes many native animals and birds. I was here last year and spent the whole day and felt I didn't see it all. Last year the temperatures were in the high 90's and I think a lot of the birds and animals were hiding in the shade This year I spent nearly a whole day in 50 degree weather and saw many more animals and still felt there was more to see.

The raptures are out showing there stuff. There is a free flight twice a day.

This big horn was very willing to pose after waking from his nap

The red cardinals are found all over the grounds

I'm not sure what he is looking at, but he sat there for a long time.

Cantalina State Park has many mountain bike and hiking trails. The day I was there I was limited to the trails that didn't cross the streams. The streams were running cold, fast, and deep so I opted to take the high trail rather than take my shoes and socks off and wade thigh deep across the cold fast running streams.

Catalina Mountains

Sabina Canyon is located in the Cornonda National Forest. You can take a round trip tram ride part way up the canyon. I opted to take the tram up and then hike further up the canyon and part way back down the canyon and then caught the tram for the rest of the trip back. Sabino creek was flowing over all of the bridges. A few days before rescue missions were performed because some hikers got caught in the flash floods . I was told that the driver of the tram had water coming up to his feet in the cab.

One of the trams getting ready to head up the canyon

Sabino Creek. We drove through this! This is only a few days after the epic rains.

Look how deep the water is! I'm so glad Sandi and I decided to take the tram and not ford the stream.

Sabino Canyon looking down from telegraph trail

These ladies took the tram up and were planning to walk down the road to the beginning of the canyon. pushing their prams with their children in them. I'm not sure how they planned to get their prams through all of the rushing water on the bridges.

Sabino Canyon

Good by Casino del Sol. Early morning sunrise . This morning I wasn't sure where I was going until I got out of the parking lot.... go to Why and see some friends staying at Hickiwan Trails RV park or head to Gila Bend and head up towards the Painted Rock Reservoir. Decisions, decisions. I have to be in Gila Bend on Monday for the Elks initiation. See my next post to see where I decided to go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More on Quartzsite

Here it is Thursday already, and I can't remember all that has gone on this past week. Monday, I did go over to the "Big Tent" at the RV show for a few hours in the afternoon. My plan was to scout it out methodically and then determine what I would want to buy if anything. Sometimes there are items here that you can't find anywhere else. Three hours passed by like a flash and it was time to return to camp. I did buy one LED light bulb to see how it would work in my fixture and a new cover for my hitch (I think the snow plow got my other one). I also talked with several auxiliary break dealers. I have a portable breaking system that very cumbersome; requires that I practically do summersalts to install it to make it work; and takes up a lot of room.. Not really exciting stuff, but the bulb worked. The LED bulb uses about 1/2 amp or less vs. 1 amp that was in the fixture . I'm not sure if it's worth $30.00, but it's cheaper than putting in additional batteries. I seem to use much more power ever since I started watching satellite TV using my portable VuQube.

Tuesday I had planned to go back to the RV show and explore some more but a group was getting together to go 4 wheeling up Queens Canyon about 19 miles south of Quartzsite. Since I don't get the opportunity very often to go 4 wheeling with the group my decision to go was a no brainer. The day started out brilliantly clear but by the time we got up to the canyon the clouds came it and it was downright cold. Burr. All in all it was a very good day. The road wasn't technical but it it was a lot of fun.

Looking south near the trail to Queens Canyon

The Lizard on the way to Queens Canyon

The Alligator ( I think it looks more like a whale)

The white spot at the bottom is a hole

We are still in search of water. With all of the rain lately, the kayaks may not be such a bad idea!

Lunch time

The road continues up the canyon, but Walt said there wasn't too much more to see and there was a lot more brush to add "desert pin stripes" to our Jeeps.

Last year I missed the open house event. Gracious coach owners open up their rigs for viewing and show how they have fixed them up or what innovative things they have done to them. This year I was determined to fit the event into my schedule. There were 10 open houses ranging from a very small stealth type travel trailer(its a cargo trailer converted to living quarters) to a huge 5th wheel with five slides. (The inside felt bigger than the living room of my stick house. ) The other interesting coach was the Trek. The bed lifts up to the ceiling where it is stored during the day. At night you just pull it down. This leaves lots of floor space during the day. There was also a custom designed Born Free that I have nick named the silver bullet. The exterior is all silver with no decals or label to identify it as a Born Free. Its quite beautiful inside and reminds me a lot of the interior of a small sail boat.

Remember that I had wanted to go back over to the Big Tent and finishing looking around? I did manage to find time to do that as well as meander through Rice Ranch. Rice Ranch is a conglomeration of a bunch of vendors near the Big Tent. Often the vendors sell the same wears as the Big Ten, but the Rice Ranch vendors offer better prices and variety. This time I managed not to buy anything from them. However, I did contribute to the Big Tent area and purchased the new breaking system I was looking at and made an appointment to install it.

This morning I headed out of the campsite really early to go have the new break system installed on my Jeep.The installation only took a couple of hours and works great. Now all I have to do is hook up my Jeep and drive down the road. No more installing the huge portable breaking system and no more trying to figure out where to store it when not in use. Best of all it saves me time. Anyone want to buy a used Even Brake Proportional breaking system?

I headed over towards Tucson to visit my friends from Reno who have rented a condo for the month of January. It rained very heavily all last night and the weather forecast called for more rain and heavy winds today. The weather man wasn't kidding this time and he was right on with the wind forecast. It took me 6 1/2 half hours to get from Quartzsite to Eloy (approximately 200 miles). I didn't make it the last 60 miles to Tucson due to the 40-45 mph winds with almost zero visibility . In fact, the highway was closed for a time due to the high winds and zero visability due to dust. This is tropical storm weather, not desert weather! Anyway, thank goodness for Pilot and Flying J truck stops where you can park over night. It's not the best situation, but its better than being stranded on the road. My rig is rocking and rolling like a small boat as I type and there is a tornado watch for the area until 10:00. Ok folks if you don't hear from me again, I guess you can look for me in the Land of OZ!

I'll head out in the early morning and hope to make it to the Casino del Sol in the southern part of Tucson. I'm really looking forward to hiking in Sabino Canyon and surrounding areas and visiting Saguaro National Park again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I can't believe it's Sunday already. This week has flown by. Have I really been here since Monday? I really do need to permanently attach my camera to me not only for taking pictures, but to help me remember what date things happen. I think I lost a couple of days.

I roll out of bed pretty early every morning and head for the open desert by 7:30 a.m. to meet up with the "dog walkers". Yes, it's pretty early for a bunch of retired people who supposedly have nothing to do. Well, we need to walk the dogs early and at least for an hour because the days are so full the poor creatures may not get another opportunity to run. Also the mornings here are beautiful. They may be a little cool (usually in the high 40's) but the air is very still and very dry and once everyone gets moving things warm up pretty fast. The sunrises are spectacular. The dogs have a blast and this particular area of the desert is pretty much Cholla free so I don't have to worry about thorns in Sadie's paws and there are no burros for her to chase.

Usually, the Quartzsite ralley has an official host coordinating all of the activities, but this year no one stepped up to volunteer ahead of time. However, Judy stepped up and volunteered to be the host once everyone gathered and was really good at delegating leaders for activities and generating ideas for activities. So, this year's rally has been "make it up as you go along". In fact there have been so many suggestions for activities and plans that it is difficult to chose! Thank you Judy.

Thursday, seventeen very hardy WINs carpooled a few miles up the road towards Bouse and hiked around the hills. I had been on this hike last year and remembered parts of it, but there is constant change in the desert so the hike seemed pretty fresh and new. The almost 5 mile round trip was beautiful. Also this was my first time since my surgery in November that I have really had an opportunity to get out and hike in terrain that was a little challenging, i.e. rocky and hilly. I did fine and am ready and eager for longer and more challenging hikes.

The morning light makes the cholla shine but don't let the beauty fool. Those thorns can latch on to you and hurt!

The desert is very lush in this area. This saguaro is very fat and healthy looking.

We are heading up the ravine towards the saddle and then over the ridge.

Break time. We made it up and over the saddle.

King of the mountain!

Friday we had an old fashioned ice cream social. Other RV groups such as the Escapee Solos, the LOWs (loners on wheels) and singles interested in our WIN group were invited...emmm. dragged off the street (?) The WINs need new members. There was a great turn out. I heard that at least 150 paper bowls had been purchased for the ocassion and all had been used . Wow!

Friday evening presented several opportunities for dancing and the New Christy Ministrels were playing at the QIA (Quartzsite Improvement Association). I lucked out and was invited to go and see the New Christy Minstrels. What a great show! They sang lots of old familiar tunes and cracked lots of jokes. The house was packed and the audience was rolling on the floor with laughter. The two plus hour show went by way too fast. Concerts like this would costs $40.00 plus in the big city but our price of $12.00 was a bargain for the outstanding entertainment. Maybe it was so enjoyable because the New Christy Minstrels are my contemporaries. They'll be back next year and if I'm around I'd love to see them again.

We had been planning a kayaking trip for several days and either the weather had been too windy or some other activity caused too much of a conflict. Saturday, the wind was calm and there were no other conflicts so we loaded up 15 kayaks and put on warm kayaking attire (no swim suit weather quit yet) and headed over towards Blythe to put in at the Mayflower Park on the Colorado River. The day was perfect! No wind. Not too hot (light weight jackets were perfect). Our approximate 7 mile float down the river was heaven!

Can we get another kayak on?

TheWINs are innovative in hauling the kayaks to the launch

Mayflower launching area. The drivers took the trucks to the take out and another WIN is shuttling them back. We are waiting for them to return.

I'm so happy to get back on the water.

Max and Judy enjoying the Colorado river


A great day to be on the Colorado river

Take out marina.

Apparently, no stay in Quartzsite is complete without a trip out to the Desert Bar 35 miles north of Quartzsite and 6 miles east of Parker. I was in Quartzsite last year but the Desert Bar was not on my priority list of things to do so I didn't go there. This year, I didn't have any conflicts(although I was tempted to go to the big RV show which is the main draw for this time of year) and decided to go and see what all the hype was about. The Desert Bar is located in the Buckskin Mountains on land that used to be an old mining camp called the Nellie E. The real name of the bar is the Nellie E Saloon. Copper was originally mined here.

There are two routes to the bar. You can travel on the paved road most of the way and then turn on a dirt road and drive for a few miles before arriving at the bar. This is the preferred way. The second route is to drive on a paved road and come in the "back way" on a 4X4 road. The 4X4 road is about 6 miles and would take about an hour. One hour for six miles!? I was all set to go 4 wheeling and take the back route until I heard the reports from the scouting crew. They had made a test run and the reports were pretty grime. One comment was if you want to risk damage to a fender or a flat tire then it would be a fun drive. NOT! So, I took the easy way out and carpooled on the paved road.

The back way into the Desert Bar. It doesn't look that bad from my vantage point at the bar.

The place is amazing. It's only open on weekends. In fact, I got the impressions if you ventured there during the week you might be in danger. The guy likes his privacy and only opens on weekends to support his passion for building green. The compound is out in the middle of nowhere and is completely self contained and self sustaining via solar panels and generators. Off the grid. The structures are made from mostly recycled materials which are used very creatively. The owner is constantly adding and changing.

The church is made of solid steel.

Old fire hoses are used for parking lines

The residence with cooling towers. I would love to see the inside of the residence.

One of several outdoor patios and deck areas next to cooling tower. Water is put on the fiber pads towards the top and the breeze pushes hrough the pads and the cool air is drawn down from the towers, sort of like a swamp cooler .

Signs are made of recycled metal. The white bags in the background
are full of recyclable trash.

Horseshoe cactus made of old horseshoes

A great band plays every weekend. Some WINS are enjoying dancing.

The menu is simple. The price is reasonable..but no cheese...ever!? Thanks goodness there is beer and soda available.

Great view from the ladies room.

Oops caught! One of the guys wanted to see what all the hype was about in the ladies room. The sinks are pretty unique and so is the view. Note the "fancy" waste paper baskets.

No, this is not a piece of modern art..well maybe it is, but it is
the entry into the ladies room made of old steel.

Rest room back wall is natural rock and the stall doors are very heavy steel.

A large crowd of WINs enjoy the band and dancing.