Mesa & Tucson-The Desert

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January 16th 2012
Published: January 16th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

The great thing about not having a schedule is you can change your plans at any moment to enjoy an unexpected opportunity. That is what we did on our way to Benson, AZ. Our first experience in the Phoenix area had not been that great – lots of traffic and not much outdoor appeal. But the idea of being close to the mountains to the east of Phoenix caught our eye. So Benson could wait.

We found Good Life RV Resort. Using our Escapees discount we signed up for a week and ended up staying for a 5 weeks. The park was primarily park models with RV’s mixed in and there were activities every hour of the day, very friendly people, and it all decked out for Christmas. This was not our usual remote campground but a good change for the Christmas season. We were welcomed by Betty Steffik the second day there who got us involved in lots of activities, the hiking club and several Christmas performances in the community. Then we got to enjoy the vitality of her daughter Sharon who cross-stitched us a lovely pillow with signs which will take us back to Mesa one day. Betty’s other daughter has a summer place near Gun Lake so we are hoping to spend time with them again.

This was our first Christmas without our kids and grands and we were dreading a a lonesome Christmas. So we were happy to hear that our friends Marie and Richard (who are like family) were coming to Mesa for Christmas week, staying with friends Chris and Terry. So we all were together for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. During that week we hiked in the Superstition and Usery Mountains and rode our bikes in McDowell Park and Usery Park. The four of us greatly enjoyed the NY Eve party at the park.

We were impressed with the interesting hikes around Mesa and Apache Junction and hope to return one day. We won’t forget the Peralta Trail and The Dutchman in the Superstitions, and the Cave Trail in Usery Regional Park. The desert is beautiful, especially the saguaros cactus which symbolizes the southwest. Capable of storing as much as a ton of water, the saguaro can go more than a year without rain, its girth gradually shrinking as the water is used. At age 75 the saguaro begins to develop branches and may survive 200 years. What a reminder of how short our time on earth really is.

Our next stop was Tucson and 10 days at Catalina State Park, back to the more rustic setting we love. The park hugs the mountains and we enjoyed several hiking trails within walking distance. The Romero Pools hike was the best. We enjoyed sharing it with friends Suzi and Doug who we met in Moab while hiking. We also enjoyed the Seven Falls Hike in the Sabino Canyon. When the sun was setting on the mountains we did not miss admiring the pink cast-gorgeous!

We visited Tubac, an art community south of Tucson, with Doug and Suzi. It was charming and offered unusual artwork in paintings, sculptures and clothing. We ate a good Mexican dinner at Wisdom Restaurant and had a ball. We parked the motor home on the street outside of Suzi and Doug’s house overnight and left this morning for Quartzsite, AZ where thousands of RV’s converge and enjoy “the desert carnival.” We are meeting up there with friends we met on our Alaska trip. More to come.

I’m hoping to have some good news about a new home we’re trying to buy. All that and more in my next blog!

Additional photos below
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16th January 2012

Hi Cuz! Some how I missed your last blog and didn't know about Harley. I am so sorry. I know how losing a family friend can hurt. Glad you had a great Christmas even without kids and grands. I spent New Years Eve and 2 days before and after in an Indianapolis (We were visiting Janie) hospital. I had a 4 pint gastric bleed. They still haven't found the source. I am home now and my h&h is coming up nicely. You have all the travelling fun and keep sending pictures so I can go with you!! Love, AG
16th January 2012

Glad to hear you are having such a good time.
Nice blog...good pics. Great that you could spend some time with R/M. They appear to boing well. When are u headed for AK? Our X-mas was busy - travelling from one side of MI to the Then to AU on Dec 31 - jan 14. Horrible flight - just LOOOOONG, but uneventful. Great visit tho. How's the house purchase coming? It will be good to have you back in MI. X-mas party - last of the season- this Sat...too bad you are not around for it. Keep in touch...miss ya both... k

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