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Showing posts from February, 2013

Feb 28 - Desert Caballeros Western Museum

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We needed to get out of the house and explore something today. One of the places we continually hear about from other explorers is the "western museum" in Wickenburg. So, we made the 12 mile drive from our park into town this afternoon and found the museum.

Officially titled the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, we found a delightful collection of Southwest art and western artifacts, tastefully displayed, in a comfortable facility that, some might argue, would more likely be found in a much larger city than Wickenburg. In any case, it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

One exhibit I'd like to highlight was a retrospective of Mary - Russel Colton's work, most of which was done in the first half of the twentieth century. She was a unique and talented individual, one of very few women artists of the time who appreciated the deserts of Arizona. I'm not talented at explaining art, but what I saw of her work I very much enjoyed. Besides being talented she worked …

Feb 27 - More Downsizing Details

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nimble - moving quickly and lightly; sleek and agile... At the risk of re-hashing thoughts I've written about before, I thought I'd write a summary of the key ideas driving the next chapter of our nomadic life. What we're calling "Sabbatical II" will be an evolution of our current fulltiming experience. Driven by our desire to be more nimble and flexible in our travels and explorations... it'll be a hybrid lifestyle that combines a couple of, what we're calling, "mooch-docks" (think mini-home-base or small apartment) coupled with a much smaller camper. These are a few of the key elements of Sabbatical II:

1. Two mini home-bases, one each in Wisconsin and the State of Washington, the two places our family is located.

2. No towing anything. Towing fosters "hub and spoke" exploration. We want to explore in a linear fashion during Sabbatical II.

3. A small Camper... at this point we're focused on either a truck camper or a Sprinter va…

Feb 25 - Breaking Wind and a new Gas Buddy

I was committed to leaving RoVers Roost near Casa Grande Arizona on Sunday morning, yesterday. My reasoning?... well, traffic would probably be lighter around the Phoenix Megaplex as a lot of folks sleep in on Sunday mornings. That and I'd really had my fill of Casa Grande. During the five days we were in the area, two included high winds... strong enough to darken the skies with clouds of brown dirt from local cultivated farm fields. Also, unless you're willing to drive some serious distance, there's really not much to do or see around the CG area. No sir... I think it'll be a while before we itch to get back here again.

Unfortunately, Sunday morning was one of those days with the high winds. I wanted to go but the Safety Director pushed back a little. Eventually, (and I'm not sure why), she backed off and agreed not to lay down in front of the bus-house. So before I could say "blow me down..." we were on the road.

I usually don't report here on the…

Feb 23 - Casa Grande Update

This is going to be a very short update.  Tonight we're spending our 5th night at RoVers Roost... the Escapees co-op park just outside of Casa Grande Arizona. The last few days we've been busy with friends... just visiting, getting caught up, and doing a little exploring around the area. I'm not sure if it was our deodorant or our bad breath or what... but as of this morning they've all departed, all three sets of 'em, and left us here to clean up the mess. We did have a wonderful time, and I'll be writing a separate post on our last few days soon.  But tonight I'm going to keep it brief.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, we're leaving too. Not sure yet where we'll end up at the end of the day, but I'll be sure to get a post up about our day after we arrive.

Thanks for reading...

Feb 21 - Pima Air Museum

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Early start this morning. Well, an early start for us anyway. We met friends Jim and Bernie about 9am and drove the 75 miles to Tucson. Our objective for the day was to see the Pima Air Museum and, if time permitted, to add the Titan Missile Museum a little further south... near Green Valley. As it worked out, Pima was all we had time for. There's just so much to see.

Jim and Bernie hadn't been to Pima before. Dar and I have, but it was a while ago... maybe 4 or 5 years.

Here's a little about Pima from their website:
Incorporated in the state of Arizona on November 20, 1967, as the Tucson Air Museum, the Arizona Aerospace Foundation is a member-based non-profit foundation, funded by gate admissions, concessions and donations. The Foundation operates the Pima Air & Space Museum and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in Tucson, Arizona, and the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita, Arizona.

The Pima Air & Space Museum opened in 1976 and today is the third largest aviati…

Feb 20 - In Casa Grande Arizona

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Yesterday we moved from Tucson to Casa Grande... a big driving day of only 78 miles. Because the wind was predicted to really pick up in the afternoon, we did our best to get moving early. We were rolling by 8:30am.

The short drive up I-10 took us up the western side of Tucson and northward toward Phoenix. At Casa Grande, I-8 breaks off I-10 and heads toward Yuma and eventually San Diego. We took I-8 a few miles west of the junction where we took a local road to the SKP RoVers Roost Coop Park. This small park is busy this time of the year and since a few other folks were waiting for full hookup sites we found a perfectly acceptable spot in "boondocking"... a dozen or so spots without any hookups. The good news is that boondocking is only $5 per day. If the days are sunny we can make most of the power we need with our solar panels... by simply making a few adjustments to our energy usage footprint. Since we may only be here until Saturday we're not sure if we'll eve…

Feb 17 - Living Small... a Follow-Up

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Based on page-hits and comments, my last post entitled "It Can Be Done" struck a chord with some. And I'm feeling the need to follow on with some additional musings and thoughts.

When it comes to selecting an RV most people start with "big" in mind. What's the largest rig we can afford? We did. But we found that much of the need for space isn't for us or the demands of our travel style... it had more to do with our assumptions about what we needed to live full-time... what other people told us we'd needed... and, well, we've got the space... let's fill 'er up. Other reasons for going BIG might include hobbies, toys, pets, a large waistline, the unstated assumption that bigger is better, and, perhaps, the All-American need to one-up the neighbors... or some combination of all those. You might feel good about why you went big, but I doubt it has anything to do with what works best while traveling and exploring.

If the goal is to take as…

Feb 16 - It Can be Done.

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Fate, (or is it karma... or chance...?) has conspired to connect us with a delightful couple occupying an RV site right across the road from us at the SKP Saguaro RV Park in Benson Arizona. Dean and Carol have been on the road fulltiming in an RV for over 13 years. Like us, they have no fixed house that they call home. What they do have is a collection of kids scattered around the country... from east coast to west coast to Alaska. For the past 11 years they've lived in two different Class B van conversions... their current home being a Sprinter van converted by Sportsmobile.

As we contemplate a smaller and more nimble approach to our lifestyle (what we're calling Sabbatical II), these two came into our lives at a very propitious time. Our nagging doubts and concerns about living in a really small space... with all the compromises that will have to be made... have been an obstacle we've been scaling for some time. And that's why we seek out folks like Dean and Carol...…

Feb 15 - Friends Visiting from the North

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Falling way behind blogging again. One of the reasons this happens is that we're too danged busy during the day and by the time we're back in the evening, I'm not motivated to write. That and, like last night... we got back relatively early, but it was so nice outside that I had to soak in the last vestiges of warmth from the setting sun. It's not possible to write on any device with a PC screen in any level of bright light. E-devices are nice, and really can improve productivity... but screen technology still requires hiding from daytime light. And I don't want to sit inside while being outside is one of our main reasons for doing this lifestyle in the first place. End of the daily grumble.

Good friends Jim and Bernie, from our hometown in Wisconsin, are in Arizona for a little mid-winter break from the frozen trauma of the North. We met up with them the last two days. Wednesday we concentrated on the Sabino Canyon area in the Coronado National Forest... hard aga…

Feb 7 - Ghost Town Fairbank Arizona

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Today was another nice day... warm sun, light winds... so we thought a nice stroll through a rugged chunk of southern Arizona was in order. With hiking boots laced up, a jug of water hooked on the belt, a wide-brimmed hat on the head, we headed for the historic ghost town of Fairbank Arizona.

Founded in 1881 and located along the banks of the San Pedro River, it was a stop along a stagecoach line and, a little later, the New Mexico and Arizona railroad which was built to service the mining activities in nearby Tombstone. It quickly grew to be a valued transportation and supply hub, eventually serving three separate rail lines. The town had an elegant hotel with a restaurant and bar, a post office, several businesses, and a schoolhouse.

Over it's first few years Fairbank endured floods, an earthquake, and even an infamous attempted train robbery. Even though mining declined significantly during the first half of the 20th century, good old Fairbank struggled on. There was still a c…

Feb 6 - Wintering Birds... Tens of Thousands of Them

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Wednesday, Feb. 6, we drove south from Benson, through the tourist trap known as Tombstone, and 4 miles further to the junction with Davis Road. About 20 miles further east on Davis, and two more south on a dirt road, is the entrance to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area. There we found a gravel parking area, a large covered shelter, a few picnic tables, and other expected rustic amenities (i.e. vault toilets). A circular trail is visible from the parking lot which allows closer access to the large shallow natural water ponds that are the big draw to birds and birders alike... particularly, huge numbers of sandhill cranes.

We were tipped-off that this is really something to see, including precision instructions to arrive about 11am. Exiting the car and looking around, I wasn't expecting very much. A few groups of birds were visible, but not enough it seemed to me to create all the fuss we've heard about.

Like your typical snowbird RVers, sandhill cranes live in more northern …

Feb 4 - A Lifetime for 10 Bucks

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Around this time of the year, every year, one of the intrepid explorers who resides in the bus-house has a birthday. But this year was different than every prior year.

This year that person has attained geezer-hood, is now an official senior citizen, an old-timer. And to prove it, the National Park Service -- an official agency of the United States Government, took time out of a busy schedule to honor this individual with a brand spanking new Inter-agency Senior Pass. This hunk of plastic, when offered in combination with a government issued photo i.d., will allow this old-timer, and a car-full of others, access to most facilities managed by the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers. In addition to covering most admission fees it usually cuts the price of camping in half. That's right... a 50% discount!! (Where's my danged senior citizen discount??). I mean..…

Feb 2 - Deming to Benson

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We had talked about possibly staying in Deming another day or two, but found ourselves motivated to move on today, Saturday the 2nd. But we vowed to return to the Deming area to explore further another time.

Today's drive was short (175 miles) and on I-10 all the way. Destination was the SKP Saguaro Coop RV Park in Benson Arizona. We arrived about 2pm. As with all SKP Coop parks, they take no reservations and fill available spaces as guests arrive. This park is having their big annual meeting of all the members later this week and we had some concern that a parking spot might not be available. But, alas, there was no reason for concern. We got a site and settled in for a week, maybe two week, stay.

Feb 1 - City of Rocks and Native Grafiti

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Before heading out on our exploration of the Deming area today we stopped to talk with the manager and fellow camper here at the SKP Dream Catcher RV Park, for a little guidance. We decided that two venues north of Deming sounded interesting... the City of Rocks State Park and a "not-widely-known" collection of native petroglyphs on a chunk of public land.

The City of Rocks State Park is about 30 miles north of Deming... US-180 north to NM-61, then 4 miles northeast to the Park entrance. What we found is a fascinating collection of huge weathered rocks, many standing monoliths, some 40 or more feet high, like a jumbled disorganized Stonehenge. The result of volcanic activity a few years ago (35 million or so), it's an example of nature at work and the variety of what can be produced by natural processes. We walked among the rocks, scrambled to the top of some, tried to get lost in this forest of stone.

 There's a campground here too... actually two. One is a more o…