Saturday, February 9, 2019

fun in between

In between boring, but quite necessary chores (i.e. gather tax information, fixing the toilet, washing and mowing the poodle, fixing leaky gutters, ordering stuff, etc.), we took time to spend an afternoon at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Gay and Joe ( are a few sites down from us and we've been wanting to get together with them.   Gay suggested an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens and lunch so we picked them up yesterday and headed off.

Origami flowers flutter in the breeze at the entrance

Friday was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and we soon got rid of our jackets and vests.

The gardens were lovely and the docents very available and informative but two areas really blew me away.   

One was the Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion and the other was the Cactus area.
It seems I only took out my camera in these areas!   The butterflies are all non-native and to enter the Pavilion one must pass through an intermediary zone and receive a "talk" by a docent so as to be sure not to allow any of these beauties to escape into the desert.

Dave and Joe discuss the instructions
before entering the Butterfly Pavilion

The heat and humidity hit us first, then the riot of color.    Orchids everywhere and floating bits of color swirling through the air.   Remember to watch your feet, they land on the ground in front of you also!

the little beauties land where they please, even on Joe's shirt!

Gay enjoys the table top cactus gardens

the Baseball Plant was smooth and thornless.
it looked like it was made out of fabric

which are rock, which are cacti?

the gardens were punctuated by beautiful rocks

Although the parking lot was full when we arrived, we saw very few people.  We were followed. however,  as we moved through the gardens.  Various sparrows, Thrashers, Cardinal's and the little jewels that are Broad Billed Hummingbirds flew along with us, giving us their own special tour.

bad picture of a beautiful broad billed hummingbird

We checked out the menu at the Garden's little cafe and, while the atmosphere was charming, the menu didn't capture either Gay or I so we finished our exploration of the Botanic Gardens and headed off to Mi Nidito Mexican Restaurant for a late lunch. 

When we arrived, there was an hour's wait to get in.   We were all hungry so we walked across the street and enjoyed a very delicious lunch at their competitor, Guillermo's.

Monday, February 4, 2019

back in Arizona

Lewis said goodbye to his next door friend, Hank, and we left Borrego Springs on Friday afternoon.    His Gramma Pamma and John left early that morning also.

Hank and Lewis

We drove partway to our next destination that day and stopped for the night in Gila Bend, Arizona.

We're now settled in Tucson for the next month.    We'll divide our time here between the Tucson KOA and Catalina State Park.      We pulled into our site at the KOA on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed Happy Hour under the fragrant lemon tree.

I wish you could smell these lemons!

It's pretty much been raining ever since.   We don't really mind too much because we've been here many times before and we've planned to do a number of small jobs while we're "in the city".    We'll take time and enjoy ourselves and the beautiful scenery in a few weeks when we move up to Catalina State Park. 

Lew always enjoys the rainy mornings because it usually means Dave spends more leisurely time at the laptop.    Years of having one dog or another at his feet has taught Dave to type with only one hand, leaving the other free to provide pets and scratches......and that makes our Lewis a happy boy.

Lew takes full advantage of that hand.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

a little more desert

It just occurred to me that all of you may not find these rocky deserts beautiful, that you may feel our forays into it are boring and redundant with nothing but rocks and cactus and sand.

 If so, I'm sorry, but you're about to see a few more pictures of the same scenery.     We think it's beautiful in it's starkness, in it's hugeness and it's tiny details.    And, then there are the small, meek flowers just beginning to show themselves.

desert pincushion

Pam and John, Dave and I left our RV park Sunday afternoon on a mission.   To check out the wildflowers near Arroyo Salada for the last time and to enjoy a sunset happy hour together at Font's Point.

desert chickory

Pam noticed this tiny pencil cholla

On our way to Font's (Fonts) Point we parked the Jeep and hiked out to a small stone bench placed high on a rocky knoll, called Burk's Bench.   It commemorates the gift of 1600 acres of surrounding land by the Burks family.   The views are similar to those seen at Font's Point, but on a more private level.

Pam and John examining the box under Burk's Bench

Under the bench is a small metal box containing a journal to sign your name or make whatever comment you wish.    It also, thoughtfully, contained a lighter and one small marijuana bud to perhaps enhance your experience.

No one as far as the eye can see......

Can you see the Jeep?

We looked back at the trail (a wash really) we hiked in on,  trying to see where we left John's Jeep.   Can you spot it?


how about now?   (hint - we see the sun reflecting off it's window)

After enjoying the view and the total silence, we hiked back to the Jeep and continued along to Font's Point and our happy hour.    We hoped that, because it was a Sunday afternoon, we might have the place to ourselves, but that wasn't to be.      Pam and John did a great job of finding a nice, private spot on the edge of the overlook and set up their chairs.

We all enjoyed the end of a nice day together and our adult beverages.   The sunset, however, never materialized.   We drove back through the desert in the dark, an enjoyable and rather otherworldly experience!

After golf today Mother Nature finally gave us the perfect sunset we were waiting for at Font's.   What's a day or two?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

a couple more desert drives

One day last week Dave and I got into the Jeep and drove down the road next to our RV park.   We drove through the thick citrus groves, lemons and oranges, that line Di Giorgio Road and on past where the pavement ended.      It was a beautiful, sunny day and we wanted to see how far into the desert we could go.

We didn't notice very many wildflowers along this route, but we were amazed at how many beautiful, blooming Ocotillos we saw in every direction.

We're always delighted when we discover water in the desert and this route provided us with three individual water crossings.     None of them were deep, just deep and rocky enough to have a little fun!

Dave....did you forget someone?

At each one we took the time to get out and walk along the moving stream, just to see what we could see.

planes overhead always catch Dave's interest

A few miles after the last crossing our dirt track turned sharply up into the mountains and we followed awhile, until the going became extremely narrow and bouldery.    We knew this road would only continue a few more miles before stopping at a locked gate, so we decided not to push our luck on this section, and turned around for home.    Perhaps next time.

Yesterday, we (Pam and John, Dave and I) decided to make the long drive to the southern section of  Anza Borrego State Park and do a little more desert driving in an area we hadn't yet explored.    Anza Borrego State Park is the second largest park in the country and it's places of interest are spread out over many many miles.     From the time we left home until our turn off pavement onto the Mortero Wash, we traveled over an hour on local roads, sometimes through broad, flat valleys and sometimes on twisty mountain roads (S-22, S-3, Rt.78, and S-2).   

I didn't take many pictures on this drive, but we had a very good time'll have to take my word for it.

We came to a long, defunct railroad track (completed in 1919 and connecting San Diego and Yuma, AZ)  and it's remaining water tower.

Nearby is a hike to one of the oldest Native American Campsites in Anza Borrego State Park, and further along the tracks another hike leads to the Goat Canyon Trestle, one of the largest free standing wooden trestles in the world.   In fact, these old tracks once moved it's trains over 14 trestles and 21 tunnels.     Doing some research on this area, Pam discovered that the Goat Canyon Trestle has been recently (October) closed to any visitation - darn!    I also found out that hiking along these old tracks is illegal but often facilitates illegal immigrants escaping from Mexico.

After exploring the tracks and its surrounds we continued along their path, looking for a cave with pictographs - Pietra Grande.

get out of the way John, here we come!

The road went up and down a fair bit and we made a few miss starts eventually ending in an extremely narrow and rocky canyon.    Since we had one more spot we wanted to investigate, a few miles away,  we turned around at that pinch point and made our way back to the highway.       

not enough room for us anymore.....

Lots of beautiful rocks and cactus along the route.

Our next stop was down in Canyon Sin Nombre.   We decided it would be a perfect place for lunch.

This is a favorite place.   It's walls narrow, the path rocky and sandy and the fantabulous (that may or may not be a word, but it really fits) rock formations and shapes shot through with twists of pure white, black and shiny gold.

John tries to climb the "waterfall"     Oh John......

Today is Saturday, and by next Saturday we'll be in Tucson.   I can't believe a month has almost gone by.  It's always hard to leave this area, there are so many more places left to explore.....and rounds of golf to be played.    We'll do our best to make the most of our remaining few days.   Stay tuned and stay warm to our dear friends in the frozen east.