Back to the desert…Tucson, Yuma and then the land of little manners
We were considering our options as stops and our favourite places on our way West, Portal, Arizona, been there, Kartchner Caverns, been there several times so we decided on a new state park, about 30 miles North of the 8, Roper Lake State Park, or reservoir actually. It was a fair hike off the 8 but below Mount Graham Observatory so it sounded interesting…and Ok, yeah, I figured there would be a lot of birds as well;)
It was a pretty place, we had a large back in site in the Hacienda Campground. It offers three campgrounds but the views to the lake mostly consist of marsh. It was not as wild as I had expected I guess, it felt very man-made. Groot and Gamora enjoyed stalking the local Road Runner sunning him/herself and a feral cat hid in the bushes but not really a great birding/photography area, unless you have a boat or kayak.
But always good to see new places. The Graham Observatory is not a place you can just drop into to visit. Tours are scheduled at $40 per person, lunch included they say, but a minimum of 6 people so no visits this trip. We were off to Tucson the following day back to Desert Trails RV Park right on the edge of the Tucson Mountain and Saguaro State Park. This has to be one of the friendliest, and funky RV parks we have stayed at. They found us a primo spot with birds and bushes for the cats ( yes, we do look for that, I hate seeing other RV’s out the windows) and it was Food Truck night, Wednesdays and Sundays they bring in different food trucks. We actually opted for the one on the corner as you are driving in, Jandy’s, great tacos and salsas:) we highly recommend him!
I do love this area, the parks and trails, the views. I was planning a visit to the Sonora-Arizona Desert Museum but a sick person must have coughed our way and we were under the weather for a few days. We did get a trip to Total Wine though…oh my, it is an amazing place for wine, spirits and beer lovers;) Mike gets his fill of wonderful Greek whites and Kölsch beer and I just wander around dazed by the selection! Worth a trip just to gawk!
Be patient with my videos, a new thing for me with the phone, which at times works and at others does not;) ha! Great for Sanpchat! Tucson has a kind of cool downtown as well, old buildings and lots of interesting places to see. I still don’t get the double stop signs will have to ask next trip;) for really tall people? or short?
Time to move on, we spent a night in Yuma at the Riverfront RV Park right on the Colorado river, not the one off of the 8 where all you hear is traffic all night but the on the “other side of the tracks” 😉 it makes the jump to San Diego shorter. The owner is quite the lady, she gets an A plus in my books, anyone who can run a backhoe without blinking an eye gets my vote!I think we could drive this route with our eyes closed. At least no wind warnings and clear skies:)
and back to sandy Dayglo as we affectionately refer to it as. It’s not that I don’t like Southern California, I’ve spent decades here, it perhaps is just large metropolis that make me feel as we as a species are somewhat doomed. The lack of manners, the very simple stuff, holding a door, saying thank you, seem to be rare qualities. Never mind trying to merge with a 37′ trailer and truck;) or walk on a sidewalk without having to step off and let folks three abreast pass, yup, happens…someone told me just not to step aside, I guess that did not occur to me. It’s as if these large population areas need a Miss Manners refresh, a reboot;) I’ve been accused of not liking Americans, that is not true, as I wouldn’t like half of myself if that were the case;) I just find in our somewhat hyper individualized country manners seem to give way to the “me” problem, empathy dissapears and many fall through the cracks with little safety net. Perhaps it is the time of year to pay it forward, hold a door, let someone merge happily with a smile and try to bring a little bit of politesse to the world around us. I will always try to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly:)..or maybe just stick to landscapes and birds;)
Santee Lakes is our go to spot for now, enough spaces you can get a weekend slot. During the week we get a primo lakefront space, #44, watch your AC units on the low hanging oak branches but your view to the lake, wonderful and it is where all the Wood Ducks hang out in the late day and evenings…bonus! The elusive Kingfisher only comes out when I don’t have my camera it seems;)
I hate to admit most of these were taken within 100 feet of the trailer, some from my chair;) You also get good cell signal here, further back in the park it is always problematic. So we had this great space from Sunday to Friday and then moved back to the more long-term stays are. I swear the cats know when we come back to familiar places:)
The variety of bird life here is astounding. The migrant ducks are always a joy to watch and the local Egrets, Herons and Cormorants are a treat. Everywhere you look something is flapping, flying or swimming by. Go during the week if you can, the weekends are loud and noisy and the birds go into hiding, not that I blame them;)
Did I mention I like to photograph birds;) ha!
We had a few unusual grey California days, had some great visits with family, the reason we stop and a few good meals. Discovered the “Yummy House”, how could you go wrong with that name;) up on Convoy thanks to a great food writer and critic Michael Gardiner with the San Diego City Beat, not many people who I trust in food tastes but he is one! We wanted the Pekin duck but did not realize we had to order an hour ahead, so that will be for the next trip! The stir fired vegetables (pumpkin, water chestnuts ,wood fungus mushrooms and shrimp) and spicy pork was amazing! The Shank and Bone, fusion Vietnamese in North Park was great as well, the grilled scallops were to die for, we ate them before any pictures, so sorry and the BÚN ĐẶC BIỆT, the works is my go to;)
We had a delicious breakfast with my aunt and uncle, always a treat to catch up, Sunday brunch with my brother and the extended family on that side with a birthday thrown in. Santee squeezed us in a few extra days as well so it was not too rushed but at about the week point Mike and I are ready to get the hell out:) Guess we were not made to live in the city. We were craving the easy smiles of Mexico, the great food and the overall happy feel we get when we are there:) I did get a whole new slew of billboards from the city. From Psychics to Cannabis delivery it has a whole different feel that the South;)
Borders, always a bit of stress, whether they are US, Canadian or Mexican I never really seem to get the right information on what we can bring or can’t so have given up and just get rid of most of the produce and leave the rest to chance. The lovely aduana lady in Tijuana was refreshing. We know the routine, go to the bus lane as the trailer has to go through the large Xray machine. We was sweet and polite, asked a few questions. We inquired as to how all was going given the massive influx of migrants from Central America, she smiled and shrugged, saying it had been quiet and we were nice to ask. Off we went and parked in the Xray lane, we take the three cats out in the carrier, go behind the shield, the same guy has been running this for years and he knows us, after that we pull away and park, waiting for the final OK to leave, the nice aduana lady came a few minutes later and motioned us on our way, with a smile. When is the last time a CBP smiled at you? Welcome back to Mexico:)
So very very nice to see those easy smiles, it always feels like we are coming home, and I guess it is after a decade.
Saludos amigos, stay tuned for tacos and hummingbirds….we’re baaaaaacccckkkk:)