Friday, February 22, 2019

Catalina State Park

We moved up to one of our favorite places on Monday afternoon.   Catalina State Park is hard to get a spot in but we were lucky enough to score a 2 week stay in a choice site.

Rain and cold temperatures were forecast for this week.   When we arrived the Ranger on duty gave us a slip of paper telling us that the dry wash, located across the entry road, may flood, trapping us in the campground at any time.    With heavy rain in the near forecast, we quickly set up camp and then headed out to the grocery store for some necessary (mayonnaise, cookies, asparagus, you know - staples) supplies.     

The sky threatened for most of the first day, spritzed a bit the next, the clouds over the mountains advancing and retreating ominously.

I had one off road drive planned and we decided we'd better do it before the weather really closed in.   We've driven part of Reddington Pass Road with Jodee and Bill and then again by ourselves - starting at it's beginning off Tanque Verde Road on Tucson's east side.   We enjoyed the road and the views but never got a chance to take it all the way to the end, near Oracle and I really wanted to do that.      Wednesday was the day.     

The road was paved all the way until just past San Manuel, an early Del Webb planned community surrounding a now defunct mine.   Shortly thereafter we dropped down onto dirt and continued through a veritable forest of huge, old Saguaro, over several dry washes and into vibrant green Mesquite bosques.

a sweet little crested Saguaro

tire bracelets on one arm!

After crossing the dry San Pedro River bed we parked the Jeep and took a lovely long walk down it's beautiful white sand bottom.   Birdsong kept us company as we walked along marveling at how completely flat and level the course was.   No rocks, no snags or erosions to mar the soft footing.

San Pedro River bed beckoned us 

We came to a running wash that didn't look too bad, too deep, so we got out and walked past it a ways to see what we'd be getting ourselves into if we went ahead.    

It was decided that, while Rocky could make it through this part of the wash easily, what came next would be too much of a challenge.   Deep, black, sticky mud waited for us after this stretch of running water.    That we didn't want to experience so we turned around and headed home.   

One wash evidently had fast running water in it often.   Someone had piled old cars at it's curve to try and keep the stream within it's banks. 

We had a lovely sunset that night and that was the end of our good weather...... 

It rained hard, all night long.    We woke up to a snow covered landscape and the realization that the park was now closed to incoming and outgoing traffic.    The wash was running.   Our surroundings had become a study in black and white.

bedroom window view

lark sparrow

flat Lewis was bored with nothing fun to do

While we were kept inside, we did a bit of cooking.  One thing was our version of the famous Sonoran hot dog.   We used one of our favorite western New York hotdogs (Sahlens) for the delicacy but the other ingredients were more or less traditional.   A soft Bolillo roll, beans, onions, pickles, tomatoes, jalepenos, etc., etc..    They were good.

Tonight we are under a hard freeze warning.   The expected night time temperatures are expected to be in the 20s.    That means that poor Dave must unhook and take in our water hose before bed to keep it from freezing.    Our outside compartments have heat ducts from the furnace so nothing else should freeze.     

To help the propane furnace keep us toasty warm and happy we run a small electric heater most all day.   Just on schedule, it stopped working a few hours ago.    The coldest night we've had so far and it stopped working.

workman at his workbench

Dave was determined to fix it, tonight.    He altered one of his screwdrivers to the necessary configuration and took the little appliance apart.   He discovered it was an easy fix.

Simply vacuum all the accumulated desert dust from the inside and it was humming along happily a few minutes later.    The little red light is glowing now and we're enjoying the heat that is pouring out.    Thanks Dave.


  1. Glad you had one decent day to get out for some exploration. You found some very interesting plant life on your journey. Sure doesn't look like second cup outside right now. Next week looks more like Dave weather!! Hopefully winter is over for this year. Good that Mr. David's A-1 Heater Service was available at this time of need.

  2. We use space heaters in our house too to ward off the chill and recently had to vacuum out one of our heaters. Once that thing was open we realized what a fire hazard it was with all that dust! Stay warm!

  3. It's so good to have Mr. Dave's space heater repair on board. Lewis' posture on the bed pretty much says it all about boredom. The Sonoran hotdogs look pretty dang good!

  4. Always nice to have a Handyman on board.
    Hot Dogs look inviting.
    Poor Lewis nothing to do.
    Be Safe and stay warm.

    It's about time.

  5. We love that park. Had so much fun there with great hiking trails. Great photos of you day's journey.
    The desert looks beautiful in black and white.

  6. Sitting in a commercial park right now, man do I miss Catalina! Love that place! We still have yet to try a Sonoran hot dog. We'll have to remedy that next time since they sound pretty delicious. Glad you guys were well prepared for the washout and could get the heater running. We, too, are rationing our propane and relying on electric as much as possible....

  7. Our electric heater has really saved us in this year's colder temps!! Glad yours is working again :-) Perhaps you're not meant to make it to the end of that road! Love the tire bracelets. We too have to get our first Sonoran dogs when we get back to the area.

  8. I think you and others who are in the Sonoran Desert gets the award for somewhat nasty but beautiful white winter. And being prepared helped in the cooped up category, thanks to your version of Sonoran hotdog. What do we do without our handy man in the house.
    Lewis has the right idea, sleep it out :)

  9. Wow!!! That's some serious winter weather in Tucson! I suppose if you have to be trapped somewhere Catalina is a beautiful place to be, especially if you have yummy food and can stay plenty warm. We vacuum out our little electric heater, too—and I regularly take off the front vent panel from the intake for our propane furnace and vacuum out the dust that accumulates in there. We learned that one the hard way when our furnace stopped working a couple of years ago.
    Flat Lewis, LOL! Hope the weather improves for you guys soon.