Spring Southwestern Style

One of our desires when we started our Nomadic life was to avoid snow at ALL costs! Our hope is to follow 70 to 80 degree weather.. 70-80 degrees has been a bit of a struggle to achieve for the most part, but we continue to try!

As we made our way across the lower part of this beautiful country our next stop was Arizona. We arrived in Tucson the first week of April. Our campground was virtually a ghost town as the masses of Snowbirds who called Tucson home for the winter had flown the coop back to their homes up north. We were so excited to to be reunited with family who now call Tucson home! It had been too long since we had seen our Dad. The reunion was chicken soup for our Nomadic souls.

We had been to Tucson plenty of times over the years. We were familiar with our surroundings, but we had never been there in April OR for 6 weeks. Soon we found that our quest for 70-80 degree weather was a pipe dream! It became HOT and remained HOT for the entire visit!

After all we were in the desert what were we to expect?? Soon 95 degrees would be a welcomed relief as the thermometer was in triple digits for days on end. Our 3 air conditioners were running CONSTANTLY! Welcome to Springtime in the desert!

Even though the temperatures didn’t feel so Spring-like to us… Spring most definitely was in the landscape and air. All the varieties of cactus and trees were in bloom. Their showy blossoms were STUNNING against the earth tone mountains and This beauty also came at a cost to many of us. Not only was it hot in the desert, the winds were fierce. There were wind gusts upwards of 45 mph which filled the air with loads of dust, sand and pollen! On a clear day we enjoyed the vistas of the Santa Catalina, Rincon, Tucson and Santa Rita that surrounded the city.There were some days the winds blocked the views and the roadsides were filled with pollen that were reminiscent of snow after a storm in the Midwest. Thank goodness for allergy medicine as my Handsome Chauffeur was sneezing constantly!

Sunny HOT days were spent poolsidewhich was a welcome relief!

Another way we beat the heat was to take a ride on our Harley. The ride up Mount Lemon was a treat as we climbed to 8000 feet. The landscape changed from Saguaro cactusto deciduous bushes and treesthen to a Pine tree ski resort at the top Gone were the 90 degree temperatures! It was so cool we donned our jackets and gloves!The views were spectacular and the cool fresh air was so welcomed!

Instead of staying cooped up in the Mobile Condo under the roar of our air conditioners we took any advantage to ride the “scooter”. There were plenty of options to get off the beaten path. One day we made our way on the scenic route to Bisbee, AZ. situated in the Mule Mountains Bisbee was founded as a copper, silver and gold mining town in the 1800s. In the distance on the above photo you can make out the Copper Queen Mine.

The town is a cool quirky place that is supported by Artists with lots of history.It is said to be one of John Wayne’s favorite places too!As we headed back to Tucson we were waved through Border Patrol stations. We passed through Tombstone, AZ

We called Davis Monthan AFB home while we were in Tucson. The base is the home of the Aircraft Boneyard. Since after World War II it is the LARGEST aircraft storage in the WORLD! For as far as you can see there are all types and sizes of airplanes and helicopters Because Tucson’s low humidity (10-20%), and meager annual rainfall of 11 inches annually, altitude of 2550 and hard packed soil allows the aircraft to preserve naturally. It is a sight to behold!

We did spend a day at the Pima Air Museum that is next to to Boneyard.

Soon we were boarding an airplane ourselves headed to Nashville, Tennessee to spend quality time with our precious grandchildren. We unearthed and dusted off our suitcases buried in our “basement”. We couldn’t remember the last time we used the suitcases as we are somewhat like turtles…. we take our home and belongings with us where ever we visit. The trip via the friendly skies was a welcomed treat… it would only take 5 hours by air to cross this great country instead of at least 5 days of driving! 5 short hours and our hearts would be filled as well as our days creating “rocket ships” out of pillows baking cupcakes afternoon snugglesand just hanging out Too soon that big jet plane that took us to Tennessee was headed back west carrying two Nomads with heavy hearts but loads of fun memories made.

Our time in Tucson came to an end. The wheels on the Mobile Condo headed north to Scottsdale, AZ. Silly “blonde” me, I thought because we were heading north of course it should be cooler… NOT! Scottsdale, AZ is WARMER than Tucson because it is lower in altitude than Tucson and air cools as it climbs in altitude according to Wikipedia🧐🙃

So Scottsdale was smoking hot as well, but such a cool place to visit! Our landing spot for our stay in Scottsdale was a place called Westworld.This is not your “regular” campground. Westworld is 386 acres of desert at the base of McDowell Mountains. It is a multipurpose venue that is host to many events including assorted horse competitions and car auctions such as Barrett-Jackson Collector Car. While we were staying on their property there was a Reining Competition. We hopped on our bicycles and made our way to the stables to be educated.We met a few competitors who were more than happy to tell us about their sport. As we asked questions it became obvious we are “City Slickers”. We have ZERO equestrian knowledge. Our new found friends patiently explained their sport.

Reining is a western riding style where the rider guides the horse through precise patterns that include circles, spins and stops. To me it was like watching figure skating on horseback. The riders were dressed and the horses were groomed to perfection. This particular competition awarded the winners $40,000! Whoa..SO COOL!Speaking of Cool … we were in search of some cooling off so we hopped on the Harley and made a trip up the McDowell Mountain to the Tonto National Forest. While we enjoyed the scenery and the cooler temperatures our eyes took in the beauty of Bartlett Lake

Soon we our stop to Scottsdale was over. We had sights set on cooler temperatures so off we headed to Flagstaff, AZ. The trip would take us from 1248 feet of elevation to about 7000 feet! My Handsome Chauffeur at the helm we started our climb over mountains. Going up isn’t so frightening for this Nervous Navigator. Our trusty Mobile Condo handled it with ease. It is the 6% downhill grade for what seemed miles at times that had me holding my breath and clutching the metal bar next to my seat, which by now is custom fit to my grip😳

As we climbed the air WAS cooler! The scent of Piñon Pine, White Pine and Juniper was heavenly! Our home for the next 8 days was 10 miles west of Flagstaff at a small campground (only 14 sights) on a Arizona National Guard Base. It was a little piece of heaven as far as we were concerned after living in cities for the last 6 weeks.This remote campground came at a small price… no sewer connection! We had to be cognizant of our water use in order not to have to pack everything up to go “dump” out our tanks before we were leaving the campground for good. It can be done, but no matter if you move the Mobile Condo miles or just a few feet we have to secure everything etc.. aka HASSLE! Sooooo we were officially “Glamping”. Showers were taken at the shower house, laundry done at the laundry mat and we ate using paper plates more as not to have to do multiple loads of dishes which wasn’t such a bad thing as far as The Queen of the Mobile Condo was concerned! 😉

As we traveled we couldn’t help but notice the contrast of the green pines and the dry yellow grass everywhere.Arizona is in a drought and it was OBVIOUS just looking around. The Flagstaff area “only” got 100 inches of snow for the 2017 season. In 2016 they received 312 INCHES of snow. There hasn’t been any rain to speak of either. There were Red Flag warnings…. no campfires, no charcoal grills and no smoking outside as there fire danger was extreme! Our camp hosts highly recommended that we be careful setting up camp . They suggested just setting out the essentials as we needed to be ready to evacuate if there happened to be a fire in the area.

The next morning we awoke to a very brisk day. Just like the old adage says…”be careful for what you wish for.” All the prayers for cooler weather the past few weeks came to fruition when we awoke to find the temperature in our Mobile Condo was 48 degrees!!!!After we thawed out with hot coffee we set out to check a box on our bucket list… The GRAND CANYON. We had experienced the beauty of the Canyon from the window of an airplane plenty of times at 35,000 feet. Our visit would be a first for us up close and personal! The ride to the Canyon was through LOTS of flat yellow grass areas nothing to write home about. As we entered the park with the masses of tourists we saw HUGE Elk munching away without a care. Thankfully they were more interested in eating than crossing in front of us… that would have made for a really bad experience!

After securing a coveted parking spot (the “scooter” can squeeze into the greatest spots) we started to walk towards the South Rim. There are NO words that can express the first time you come up to see this AMAZING Creation of God! Photos don’t do it any where near what our eyes were taking in! We were in AWE!!!!There were plenty of people trying to capture its majesty. Some were crawling over the metal barriers to step out on cliffs. Not us!!! Although my Handsome Chauffeur did take leave of his senses to stage this photoWe took a tour through the park to find the hotel that was featured in a scene in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation…..one of our ALL time favorite movies! Often in our travels it feels as though we can be characters played in the movie due to shenanigans that we find ourselves in😉. There have been plenty of instances that I referred to my Handsome Chauffeur as “Clark”!Northern Arizona aka the High Country has some of the best motorcycle riding we have experienced! We took a trip south of Flagstaff to Sedona,AZ along 89A winding our way through mountains along Oak Creek Canyon. It was a SPECTACULAR ride. The red rock against the greens of the forest is out of this world! Years ago we did a quick stop through Sedona and it captured my heart. One of the greatest sights was a church up on the mountain. We had to make the trip up there again as it is breath taking!As we entered the chapel and looked out the windows over the Canyon we were taken back by the majesty of the entire experience. One of God’s masterpieces!

Riding in the mountains I often wonder how in the world the trees and brush make their way through the rocks.I guess if there is a will there is a way when it comes to Mother Nature!

One last ride around Flagstaff we saw remnants of snow on the tippy top of the mountain. As we start our journey over the mountains in Colorado we sure hope we don’t come across any of the white stuff!

Right outside of our campground there was a National Weather Service office. My curious Handsome Chauffeur is very interested in weather. Some of his favorite apps are weather predicting and wind speed which are necessary tools when driving our Mobile Condo. The opportunity to speak with and get a tour of the facility made him a Happy Camper.

The office there is one of many through the USA. The meteorologists working around the clock are responsible for issuing warnings and alerts. The current drought and wind were a major concern at this time. Fire was on the minds of many not only in our immediate area, but wildfires were popping up all over the western states. Our hosts at the center were more than happy to show us some of the things they use daily to keep us informed. The day we were there they were keeping an eye not only in their region, but the first Hurricane of the season(Alberto) was about to make landfall somewhere in the southeast. The meteorologist was monitoring 4 computer screens that were each showing a different layer of atmosphere. So interesting!We were taken outside to see rain gauges, anemometer, satellites and other necessary instruments to help them with predicting weather.

Twice daily at 12 hour intervals they along with all 800 other locations around the world launch weather balloons into the atmosphere with this attachedThis gadget relays information back to the center regarding atmospheric pressure, temperatures, humidity and wind speed all the while being tracked by GPS. Two of these are sent up per day and unfortunately are not returned. It would be like hunting for a needle in a haystack trying to locate them. The information they transmit for the duration of their flight is valuable and outweighs the cost of the equipment which can be considered disposable. Wow, what an education we received thanks to our host.

As we packed up our belongings and reflected on our long stay in Arizona, off in the horizon we saw the weather balloon that was just launched head in a northeastern direction. We too would be headed that way in the morning. Arizona’s motto is Ditat Deus which means God Enriches. How very true! Our stay in Arizona DID enrich us in so many ways. We look forward to our next visit. The wheels on the Mobile Condo are rolling on to Colorful Colorado to make more memories!

Advertisements