March 22, 2012

Saguaros and Snowbirds

After the dust storm we experienced last weekend, the RV desperately needed a bath. Phantom Mobile Power Wash came to our rescue and arrived at our site this morning at 8:00 am.  Within thirty minutes, the RV was gleaming once again.  We had never tried one of the mobile services, but it certainly was convenient and very cost effective.

This Is the Way to Do It
It's Getting Nice and Clean
We ended our stay in Tucson with a quick visit to Saguaro National Park.  We discovered that Saguaro is really an urban park, despite its mountain location, because of its proximity to Tucson.  The park was surprisingly crowded. 

Saguaro National Park preserves a large concentration of the giant cactus that is the symbol of the West.  The saguaro has been called the monarch of the Sonoran Desert and is truly a plant with personality.  One of the favorite activities at the park is observing the odd shapes of the cactus and assigning human attributes to it.

A Forest of Saguaros
Other Cactus Are Also Here
Odd Shapes Are Common

This One May Be Almost 200 Years Old
Even the Dead Ones Are Interesting

Small Purple Wildflowers Are Hiding Among the Cactus
Tim and I had planned to explore the park so we turned onto the loop road that winds its way through a dense saguaro forest.  As soon as we made the turn, we realized that the road was unpaved.  Now what should we do?  We weren’t really concerned that the RV would have a problem negotiating the road.  Our concern, I am ashamed to admit, is that we had just paid to have the RV washed!  We didn’t want to get it dusty and dirty!  So, we backed up and headed down a paved road.  We didn’t get to see much of the park that way, but the RV is still clean.  I know we’ll be back sometime and will take the drive, and a hike or two, in a rental car.

A New Favorite Place to Ride?
The drive west from Tucson was much more scenic than our drive through New Mexico earlier this week.  The landscape is more rugged with mountains much closer to the highway.  Saguaros dotted the desert for quite a ways out of Tucson.  As we passed the town of Gila Bend, we were surprised to see bright green fields of alfalfa.  The rich color was such a contrast to the harsh desert environment.  

Alfalfa Fields
Even more surprising were the farms we spotted next.  A new kind of farm is cropping up in southern Arizona – a solar farm.  Two solar companies have plants under construction here, and it is possible that Gila Bend may become the solar capital of the world.  The solar installations that we saw were actually quite stunning.
A Solar Farm
We arrived in Yuma late this afternoon and spent the evening with Jeanie and Ron, friends of Tim who worked with him at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Jeannie and Ron are fulltime Rvers and spend their winters in Yuma and summers in Utah.  They treated us to drinks and dinner and then gave us a tour of the Foothills community where they live.

It is an entirely different world here in Yuma, especially in the winter when the population more than doubles.  The Foothills at first glance appears to be your typical, nice suburban community with paved streets and regularly spaced lots.  When you look closely, however, you notice that many of the blocks are designed for RVs, not houses.  It was a unique concept for us to see and is so completely different than even the most upscale RV resort.  

There is also quite a sense of community in the Foothills.  Jeanie and Ron introduced us to a group of Alberta “hillbillies,” as they like to call themselves.  Many of the snowbirds who winter here are from Canada.  We really enjoyed our evening and are happy that we could spend a bit of time with old friends.


  1. What an amazing area! Thanks for sharing. I think Kitty must be bonding with Smokey. :-) LV

    1. LV, I think you may be right. Kitty and Smokey seem to be getting along much better now! Sarah

  2. You must come visit the Yuma area again. There is so much more for you to see. The Historic District, Yuma Territorial Prison, Quartermasters District, etc. And we were not able to visit long enough either. So nice to see you both again and we look forward to reading more of your blogs. It was fun to see that you had included us and our "hillbilly" friends in the blog. Jeanie

    1. Jeanie, Thank you so much for dinner and the tour. We really enjoyed our evening with you and Ron, and it was fun to meet your friends, and I do wish we had been able to stay longer. We hope to see you in Colorado when you pass through. Sarah