1 December 2015 - 19 January 2016 Arizona - Tucson

Tuesday 1st December

After a month here in Las Cruces at the Sunny Acres RV Park it is now time leave and head west to our next destination Tucson, Arizona. We said goodbye to our neighbours, Ann and Jack and got on the road to pick up the I-10 west for 261 miles straight to Tucson. The interstate was fairly quiet as we travelled out of the fertile Mesilla Valley into desert terrain. As we neared the Arizona state line the desert landscape became more arid with less plant life and more sand.

About 40 miles east of Tucson we came to slow traffic and it was here the CB kicked in for the first time and we heard the truckers advising on the traffic delays.We arrived at Lazydays RV Park at about 4pm. This is our second visit, we were here last April. Lazydays is a very smart town park about 6 miles from Tucson. The roads are paved and the RV sites are large. There are two swimming pools, a large dog park, a fitness centre, bar/cantina, large events hall and lots of fruit trees. I believe that the site was previously an orchard and the many trees have an abundance of citrus fruit – grapefruit, lemons, oranges and limes all for the picking. On our parking area there is a blood grapefruit tree full of luscious fruit.

Wednesday 2nd December

Today has been hot and sunny with a lovely sunrise and sunset. We have been getting quotes for solar panels, an inverter and batteries for use inside the RV. All this is so that we move towards being more independent of plug in power and can more easily free camp (boondock).

Thursday 3rd December

Just chilled around camp today and enjoyed the sunshine.

Friday 4th December

Wow, it’s hot, 27 degrees centigrade today. A continual beeping sound developed inside the RV this evening that seemed to be coming from the microwave, we timed it to every 60 seconds. The microwave was turned off and it still continued to beep, we thought there was some sort of residual power keeping it going and that it would run out soon and the beep would stop but no. I read the microwave manual but there was nothing in there on unwanted beeping. Spent an hour on-line trying to find a solution, no luck. Although there was no power connected, the beeping went on all night! This morning Tony decided to take off the front panel of the microwave to investigate further. As he was unscrewing the panel the beep went off, he looked at the fridge/freezer monitor that was positioned nearby. We had discounted this yesterday as not being the culprit, however on taking it away from the microwave Tony discovered that indeed the noise was coming from the monitor, it needed new batteries. What a palaver, at least we can sleep without earphones in tonight.

Saturday 5th December

Spoke too soon, the fire detector started beeping in the night, it needed new batteries.

Sunday 6th December

Hola! Yes, I have been practicing my Mexican Spanish. Another hot and sunny day but with high winds. Ordered the UV water filter system today in readiness for our Mexico trip. Common water filters will not block virus and most bacteria, therefore we need the ultraviolet.

Monday 7th December

Went into Tucson today to the old part of town and called in at the Visitor Centre. Later we went around the park ‘scrumping’ and came back with a nice little crop of oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes.

Tuesday 8th December

Tony is testing out his new compressor which is specially configured for the RV to get the tyres to 82 psi, the manufacturers recommended level. We now also have a puncture repair kit for the tyres. There have been two occasions, first with an RV tyre and second with a car tyre where nails have caused a puncture. The kit will allow us to repair the puncture hole ourselves when we are on the road and unable to get quick assistance and the compressor will get the tyre back to the correct pressure.

Went to the cantina on site this evening to eat with Peter and Debbie our near neighbours. They are here from Fort Worth, Texas and have just bought a Motorhome from a local dealer. We had a really enjoyable evening talking about our past travels and future travel plans.

Wednesday 9th December

Since we were last here KOA (Kampgrounds of America) have built two large solar power parasols and they are ginormous. The parasols stretch over two acres of land and as well as providing solar power for the park they act as sun protection for 30 RV sites. With temperatures in the summer often over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, this park is mainly a winter destination, however KOA hope that providing this extra sun protection will extend their season into the summer.

Today was the grand opening and breakfast was provided on the outside patio near the office. Tony just happened to be walking past and got invited in to join the group for coffee, donuts and a chat. Frank, the KOA Communications Officer and Patrick KOA President was interested to hear our travel history, particularly as we have used a lot of KOA parks.

Sat out and watched a beautiful sunset develop over the park this evening.

Thursday 10th December

Spent a nice lazy afternoon at the swimming pool. The pools here are filled with fresh water and nicely heated, really pleasant for swimming.

Spatchcocked a large chicken and cooked it on the barbeque for dinner this evening. It cooked really well and should do for 2/3 meals.

Friday 11th December

This morning Tony fitted the CB SWR meter which will maximize the ariel signal for the best reception. CB project now completed.

This afternoon we went into Tucson for a look around and then to the Fox Theatre in the evening to see the Rat Pack Christmas show. We had a pre theatre meal at a Thunder Canyon Brewery Pub on East Broadway which was very lively and buzzing with people. For starter we had clam chowder and then shared Nachos made with pub fries instead of tortilla chips – tasty.

We walked towards the theatre down Congress Street, a busy street in the heart of downtown where there was plenty of activity going on, live music, bars, restaurants and theatres. The Fox Theatre

is a friendly old 1930’s art deco theatre which we visited earlier in the year when John was here and saw a British sixties music tribute show. The place was nearly full to capacity. The singing was good, lots of Christmas songs and Rat Pack standards.

The cast came out into the foyer after the show to chat to the audience, have photos taken and say bye.

Saturday 12th December

Heavy rain all night. Weather has been changeable all day with low cloud, scattered heavy showers, blustery wind, occasional sunshine and chilly. Sandy was disgusted this morning to find most of the dog park flooded.

The good news is an early Christmas present arrived this morning. We are having a bike each for Christmas - yes, to add the four bikes we already have at home. It was Tony’s bike that arrived and he set about putting it together. Two or possibly three hours later, there it was looking smart and very shiny. We have agreed, no riding the bikes until Christmas day!

On our way into Tucson this evening on the I-10 we saw the most magnificent sunset, the red sky reflecting on the clouds over the mountains was something to see.

We were on our way to the Tucson Presidio area where Tucson began. The Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, a walled Spanish military fortress was built in 1775 in the Sonoran Desert on what was the northern frontier of New Spain. The fortress had disappeared by the mid-19th century but a corner section of the Presidio was revealed during building work in 1929 and portions of the wall remain under the present day courtyard. Today the museum on the site is a re-creation of the old Presidio and tonight was Luminaria Night – A Winter Celebration.

We were early so called in at The Dusty Monk Pub

just across the road in an old adobe building and had a nice chat with the bar man about Indian food. He had visited Nepal for six months and really enjoyed the food. Not having had an Indian meal since we arrived in the US we were pleased to receive a recommendation to a good restaurant downtown.

On the way into the Presidio there were lanterns along the walkway to light the path. Inside the courtyard there was Mexican hot chocolate - that tasted like a cross between chocolate and mulled wine - hot tortillas, prickly pear jam and mesquite butter available to try. There was a replica of a soldiers house from the Presidio’s early days, weaving demonstrations

and Christmas stories for the kids in English and Spanish.

The noisy bit was provided by cannon and musket fire from soldiers in traditional dress.

After an hour or so at the Presidio we wandered down Congress Street and followed the sound of live music. Every second Saturday of the month in Tucson there is an outdoor music festival held in various venues downtown with food vendors

and street performers. On our way down the road we came upon a small peaceful protest march being followed by the police.