Celebrations in Tucson, AZ

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Tucson, AZ  has become our unofficial annual wintering ground.  Having unexpectedly spent six months here last year taught us a lot about the city, and we confirmed it’s not a place we want to be during the summer months.  But this time through we were happy to meet up with a lot of friends, and we had a lot to celebrate!

Celebrating healing and continued good health

Shrimp Ceviche – one of Steve’s favorites

The first week after our arrival was spent seeing doctors and dentists.  The good news is that after being poked and scoped multiple times, Steve’s three doctors (oncologist, surgeon and primary care doctor) gave him a good bill of health.  He remains under their surveillance and will continue to check in every three months.  I passed with flying colors as well, and that’s great news worth celebrating!

Celebrating friendships

 “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

How true those words ring in our nomadic lifestyle.

Tucson has become our hub for friendships, as many of our RV’ing buddies and old friends from California love to congregate here.

Rod and Lisa flew in aboard Rod’s awesome Cessna 400 from the Bay Area, and we were very happy to see them again.  We packed in a lot during their short stay, as we tried to show them some interesting things in the area.  And they got no argument out of us when they asked if we could take them somewhere for a hike!

Posing in front of that beautiful Cessna with Rod and Lisa

An introduction to the stars of the Sonoran Desert, the saguaros at Saguaro National Park

Pausing along one of our favorite trails in the area, Brown Mountain

Nothing like enjoying unique drinks and sushi plates at Obon Sushi after a fun day with friends!

We were also happy to see Matt and Gloria, our friends from Edmonton, Alberta whom we have caravanned with twice to Puerto Peñasco.

Gloria and I embracing a saguaro

At Gate’s Pass lookout

I got several kisses from their cute little doggie, Romeo!

Steve lends a hand with a coolant loss problem on Matt’s coach

We continue to make new friends, finally meeting up with Kevin and Laura.  Laura is a gifted writer, and her blog Chapter3 Travels is hilarious and fun to read.  In our RV world, blogging and following bloggers has become a conduit and builder of friendships.  Because of it, first meetings are never awkward for we feel like we already know the other folks long before the first date.

Our first meet up with Kevin and Laura over sushi

We continued our conversation with a beer at Dillinger Brewery

We attended several happy hours at our RV Park, and invited Kevin and Laura to join one of them.  As usual, everyone wanted to know how they got into RV’ing and made suggestions about things to see and do along their westward route this year.

Happy hour at Betsy

Handsome Lewis welcomed me to the happy hour at Dave and Sue’s site

John, Gay, Joe, Sue, Dave, Steve and Pam at Beluga

Our circle of silvers and golds keeps on growing!

We are usually social butterflies during our winter pauses, as this is our time to reconnect with RV friends after a year of traveling in different directions around the country.  These are the moments that make us appreciate this lifestyle so much!

Celebrating Birthdays

February is our special month.  We were both born in February, I on the 4th and Steve on the 22nd.  And of course in between those two is the day of hearts.

What made my birthday notable is that the NFL threw a huge Superbowl party on that day, although I couldn’t attend 🙂  However, we did have a “day after Superbowl” gathering at a Mexican restaurant with John and Pam and Dave and Sue, among our great friends who comforted us via long distance during our tough times last summer.

Birthday dinner with great friends; L to R – John, Dave, Steve, I, Sue and Pam

We celebrated Steve’s birthday with Dave and Sue, tasting some wines in Elgin.  Can there be good wineries in Arizona, you may ask?  The answer is a resounding yes!  We were surprised how good some of the wines were, and several bottles were purchased along the way.

At our final stop, Callaghan Winery, we all agreed they had the best wines of the four wineries we visited

Lunch al fresco at Kief and Joshua Vineyards

 

The sign says it all!

And on the day of hearts, my honeybunch brought me my favorite flowers, Tulips!

What nice colors for Valentines Day!

And this was my response to Steve 🙂

We recently managed to sneak in another hike on one of the trails at Saguaro National Park-East.  The Bridal Wreath Waterfall trail was moderately strenuous with great views and scenery as we climbed around the Rincon Mountains.  The reward would have been a cascading waterfall if it had been raining, but on this day we had to be satisfied with just a few droplets of water.

Only drops of water, but recent rains must have created a real waterfall!

A dry waterfall with scour marks on the rocks

A good day on the trail

February babies

We have so many things to celebrate and be thankful for – especially our good health and great friends!  Cheers!

 

Next Up:  It’s all about the birds!



 

 

 

And now the rest of the story…

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Hot Balloon

Picking up from where we left off for the holidays, our tale of the Sonoran Desert outing continues.  Aside from partying in the desert  with our new friends, we took time to go beyond Cave Creek Regional Park and sightsee the areas of  Cave Creek, Carefree and Apache Junction.  These communities are  just a sliver of the Phoenix Metropolitan area collectively known as the Valley of the Sun, with Phoenix as the center city.

Valley of the sun

-View from a hiking trail of the Phoenix Metropolitan area aka Valley of the Sun-

Tucked in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert,  Cave Creek and Carefree are two small distinctive towns.  The former is reputed as one of the most recognized charming western towns in the U.S., while the latter  is considered the “new west.”


Heading toward Apache Junction, Superstition is the largest mountain range surrounding Phoenix, standing very imposing.  This majestic monolith of Superstition Mountain is the world famous icon that separates urban luxury and wilderness adventure in this area.  The mountain was probably named by early settlers and farmers who heard the stories of mystery, strange happenings and how the Pima Indians feared the sacred grounds of the Apache. Credit goes to Ingrid of Live Laugh RV  for persuading us to check this area out, we were not disappointed!

Superstition Mountains

Approach to the Superstition Mountains

Driving on the Apache Trail (running alongside the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area) was one of the most scenic drives we have enjoyed.  We drove as far as Tortilla Flats, which was the last surviving stagecoach stop on the historic Apache Trail.  Despite the ubiquitous power lines that criss-cross the mountains, the high desert landscape was breathtaking.

Tortilla Flat

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake

What else did we do here after sightseeing?  As you may have guessed, we enjoyed our favorite outdoor activity – hiking.  The park offers abundant hiking trails with trailheads in the campground area.  And speaking of campgrounds, Cave Creek Regional Park (CCRP) has the most spacious sites we have seen.  There was plenty of room for partying or privacy, but it was a quiet location where wildlife was plentiful and we could watch hot air balloons drift by.  And we saw the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets, which may require a separate photo blog.  This place is a winner!

Hot Balloon