Prickly Times in Southern Arizona
After leaving Texas as new residents we hoofed it right across New Mexico just over the state line to Arizona. Following a chilly week or so in Texas we were very glad to find ourselves in some warmer temperatures. Our first stop was a boondocking place in the Don Cabeza Peaks, south of Bowie called Indian Bread Rocks. When we found a spot to park, we were completely alone for miles - apart from some cows. We were also excited to have the perfect opportunity to try the tilting bars on our solar panels for the first time.
This is an quiet spot with some easy walks along sandy roads through some isolated back country. We also ventured up onto the rocks surrounding the area but the dry grass is really prickly and uncomfortable to walk through. It was like having hot needles poking at your skin and got into every nook and cranny of our socks and shoes. After spending the afternoon picking out the needles by hand for over 20 minutes we decided it best to keep to the roads the rest of the time. We did have a one new neighbor the day after we arrived. A solo female and her dog who were just a month on the road. Other than sharing some newbie traveling stories with our fellow traveler the only other person we saw was a BLM Ranger, who told us that it can actually get quite busy out here at times as the locals like to come out to shoot at the weekends. We decided to clear out and head into Tucson before weekend target practice!
We put a few choices on our short list of where to stay in Tucson. Our preference was Gilbert Ray Campground but, as it was first come first serve with no advance reservations, we wanted back-ups. We need not have worried. There was plenty of space even though it was Saturday night and one of the major loops was closed. This is beautiful campground and being surrounded by huge Saguaro cactus is quite stunning. The campground is very close to the Western side of Saguaro National Park. We visited the park, but honestly the hike we took from the campground on the Brown Mountain Trail was just as wonderful as anything we saw in the park. We ventured into Tucson and the downtown seems to be trying to develop as a destination with some cool restaurants, bars and coffee shops. In fact, we are heading back to Tucson for a few weeks in February so we will explore more neighborhoods then.
After Tucson we had one final stop to make in Arizona before we reached San Diego for the month of December. We had decided to visit Los Algodones for dental cleaning (see related post here) so we based ourselves in Yuma over the Thanksgiving Weekend. There are RV parks literally on every corner in Yuma, but we decided to boondock at Mittry Lake. We found a wonderful spot which, although a little dusty and mosquito-ridden, had views of the lake that were well worth it. We had our first campfire for several months and enjoyed watching the sun go down over the lake. We also had the joy of meeting two Airstream couples who had been on the road for 13 and 15 years respectively. We spent a couple of evenings hearing all about their adventures, including taking the one of the trailers all the way down to Panama. This inspired us to look into spending some more time in Mexico in the future but this time with our trailer. It is such a delight to meet people on the road and we are constantly amazed at the sense of community you can develop with such a transient lifestyle.
We didn't find Yuma itself the most exciting place to be, but it was a good base for everything we needed to do. Once the holiday weekend was over we continued West back to where we began our journey in San Diego almost six months ago.