After Thanksgiving, we headed south to Tucson for some needed maintenance on Shiny. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that the next step would have been Shiny diapers! We had the work done at Oasis RV Repair. Shiny was in ship shape in 2 days thanks to Richard, the ace mechanic who has been working on Airstreams for 30 years. We got to spend the night in their parking lot and take in the sights and sounds of city neighborhood traffic.

We took advantage of being in an urban area to get chores accomplished like shopping at Trader Joe’s, laundry, getting new batteries for our phones. It’s kind of rattling to be in a city after you’ve been in the wilds but we were up to the task. It was a real treat to go to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. I did have a moment or two of wishing that one of my family or lady friends could be with me to share the experience but that is one of the trade offs of travel.

We used an ap called Roadside to find a site of local interest which was the Garden of Gethsemane It is a garden and sculptures made by a man who was in World War 1. He was severely wounded on the battlefield and he pledged that, if he lived, he would serve God by making sculptures of Jesus’ life. The sculptures were worn and the area was slightly sketchy. We were preceded by some modern day artists who embellished the sculptures with bright red apples. I thought they were a lovely addition!

With Shiny repaired and chores completed, we were ready to head to South Tucson to Snyder Hill which is a part of the Bureau of Land Management. You can stay for free for up to two weeks. You have to supply your own electricity, water and septic. We had the good fortune to meet up with 2 fellow full timer couples. And wouldn’t you know? It was Larry’s Birthday and it was celebrated in grand style complete with a Facetime call with Connor who danced and clapped to Grampy’s fiddle music!

Judy and I are both retired OTs and, true to our roots, we set up an arts and crafts table to make Christmas ornaments out of felt and beads. Judy’s came out a lot better than mine. I sent mine to Brooke, my daughter. I hope she uses it as a cat toy! But, we had fun, fun, fun. Camp for grown ups. Brilliant!

Once an OT always an OT

After the festivities, we headed to northwest Tucson to Catalina State Park It is a beautiful place with vibrant desert plants and stunning scenery. Apparently, pack rats, also known as wood rats, are a big problem in this area. Some people say that you can deter them by having lights under your rig. This guy might have taken it a bit too far.


We hiked a lot with friends Judy, Don and their trusty dog, Ollie. We had fun playing with photographing the full moon. I enjoyed long showers afforded by the park’s excellent showers which were warm, clean, had good places for your clothes, a place to sit to get dressed, and continuous water flow instead of having to press a button every 10 seconds to get more water.

Next stop took us back to South Tucson to a great little private camp ground called Bar J. It is owned and operated by Paul who is 88 years old and who never stops working. The campground boasted free washing machines and a clothes line. Can I tell you how great it was to hang my clothes on a line after months of my clothes bouncing around in dryers filled with the residue other people’s scented dryer sheets? The Bar J is set in a rural neighborhood that was filled with private residences on 1 -2 acre lots surrounded by fences. The yards were tidy in one sense and also filled with empty cars and old wagons. Most houses had at least one dog who fulfilled it’s duty and barked fiercely as we walked by. More likely, there were 5 or 6 dogs, all mutts, and howling to beat the band. All and all it had a rough and unpretentious feel to it that we liked.

The Bar J had its own Tiki Bar which has fallen into disrepair but still shows signs of its former glory. Paul told Larry that they used to have parties there. Good times must have been had there! Cha cha cha!

The last stop on this adventure was at Neill and Nita’s lovely place in Oro Valley which is north of Tucson. We were made to feel right at home and didn’t even have to cook as they plied us with yummy leftovers from their Christmas party. We had an exciting moment when a bobcat trotted right across the back yard. Neill gave us some photos that a neighbor had taken last year when the bobcat had kits. According to our host, relations with the coyotes are not quite so amicable. Last year, Neill and his little dog were at their front steps when two coyotes swooped in, grabbed the dog and nearly killed him!

We’ve had fun with one foot in urban and the other in rural land and sure love the beauty of this area. Next stop, the holidays with Arizona family, New Years and the train trip back east to see family! In the meantime, keep your eyes open! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


  1. Good to hear from you. You give a new collection of Tucson stories from my trips there. Sorry Shiny had issues to deal with. Your train ride was certainly an adventure and visiting family must have been renewing. Rosie is in the shop getting a window repair and some Maxair vent covers before a short trip to TN/KY then up to Searsport for their clean up weekend in May. We missed it last year. Again, great to hear of your adventures.

    1. Hi Jim, Great to hear from you. I am so happy that you have some trips on the calendar. It’s good to day dream your way through winter storms

  2. Wow. That was a great compilation of a few months. Good for you for keeping such a record. I loved the hawk.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Mom. It is a tricky business of savoring the mundane while not being bored to tears by it.

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