Desert Tumbleweeds

Tumble-9Tumble-2After leaving San Diego, we headed to the Arizona desert where we planned to make several stops before landing in Tucson in March. For the next month or so, we moved to six different locations, met friends, had a medical scare (everything turned out ok), had maintenance issues, met more friends and enjoyed the desert. At times we felt like desert tumbleweeds. Oh, and I flew to Puerto Rico for ten days during that time – more on that in a later post.

Tumble-13Tumble-1Our first stop was Quartzsite, our third visit in three years during their annual RV show. This year we arrived only a few days before the end of the show, since our main purpose in going was to meet friends.Tumble-4

Tumble-12Tumble-8Tumble-3Tumble-11During our drive to Quartzsite I received a call regarding mammogram results from my medical exam in San Diego. Something showed up in the first mammogram, and the doctor wanted me to have a second one and maybe an ultrasound. Medical issues while RVing are always a challenge, but we continued on while we thought about next steps.

We boondocked in the Dome Rock area of Quartzsite, the area where we stay every year. During a quick walk through the show we met our friends Jack and Karen and made plans to meet a few days later.

Meanwhile, we had to figure out a way for me to get a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound. And, for various mostly insurance related reasons, we decided that it would be best to return to San Diego for the additional tests. Hector had the idea to double back to Anza Borrego State Park, not too far from Quartzite. This would put us day trip distance from San Diego, so we could drive our car to my appointment, thus avoiding crossing the mountains again in Island Girl.

We had a couple of days to socialize so we spent part of our time hanging out with our friend Vince who was staying at “our” regular campsite nearby. And we watched some beautiful sunsets.Tumble-14

Tumble-6We also attended a movie that our friends Chris and Cherie showed on the side of their beautiful bus. They were camped with a group of Xscapers. It was a lovely night and we loved seeing “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” with this very nice group of RVers.Tumble-7

Tumble-20But we needed to get to Anza Borrego so we cut our visit short and did not have the chance to see our friends again. And we completely missed seeing Amanda and Tim, who were staying nearby. We drove to Anza Borrego and found a nice spot to boondock in.

Tumble-21Tumble-23Tumble-15The next morning the three of us headed to San Diego in the car. I made it to my 10a.m. appointment while Hector took Angel to a nearby park. After a second mammogram and an ultrasound, all was good (whew!) and we headed back to Island Girl.

Tumble-25We enjoyed one more night at Anza Borrego. Staying in this beautiful place was by no means a hardship. And we celebrated our good health during another lovely sunset.

Tumble-26Tumble-30The next day we made a very quick stop in Yuma to visit Tim, Becky, Doug and Trish.  Then on to Tucson to see Pam and John, whom we met last year at Anza Borrego and MonaLiza and Steve whom we met and had not seen since the summer of 2013 at Prince Edward Island. We had just enough time to enjoy a brief but fun time together at dinner.

Tumble-34Tumble-31Tumble-33After one more night and some errands we drove to Phoenix, where we camped at Estrella Regional Park, a county park. Check out my review of the park here.

We wound up all by ourselves in the dry camping area, which was lovely. And after a couple of days, I left Hector and Angel there while I traveled to Puerto Rico.

While I was gone, Hector enjoyed alone time and mountain biking, met up with some friends, and took nice long walks with Angel.Tumble-32

Hector and Angel met Michael and Martha at a fun and dog friendly bar for lunch.  Angel enjoyed the free refills at the doggie bar 🙂Tumble-38


Tumble-35Hector moved to a second county park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, where we stayed a couple of days after I returned. Check out my review of the park here.


One of many roadside altars in the area

One of many roadside altars in the area


Just after my return from Puerto Rico, we were relaxing in Island Girl when we smelled something burning. I immediately took Angel out of the RV, and Hector identified the problem: one of our power strips had fried. We unplugged it and when he checked the electrical post but the power was still on. And even though our refrigerator was on AC and the air conditioner was still working, the electrical outlets were dead and our batteries were not charging. Ugh.

We were planning to move to Congress, Arizona next, so when I called the North Ranch RV Park, an Escapee Park, I asked if they had a recommendation for RV service. It turned out one of their winter residents, Vern, did RV work. So we made an appointment with Vern and headed to Congress. Check out my review of the North Ranch Campground here.

To make a long story short, Vern determined that we had a short in our external power cord and one of the fuses deep inside the inverter had blown. Then the quest for the fuse began. We lucked out and found one (the last one) that was close though not exactly the right at the third (and last) hardware store we went to in the town of Wickenburg nearby. That one worked, but we ordered the correct one online as well.

Tumble-48Tumble-47Knowing we had a fix, we were able to relax and enjoy the area a bit. We took a scenic drive to the nearby towns of Prescott and Williams.  We picnicked by a lovely lake in Prescott and enjoyed exploring some good ole Americana in Williams, on the old Route 66.Tumble-51



Tumble-61Tumble-60Tumble-62We also visited the Hassayampa River Preserve, a Nature Conservancy preserve near Wickenburg that has several very short hikes that allow visitors to get a closer look at this unique area. The river flows mostly underground for much of its 100-mile course through the desert, but it flows above ground in the preserve and provides habitat for many birds and other wildlife.

Although the water was quite low we saw evidence of the force of the river and how it had uprooted lots of trees. In fact, a couple of little bridges and seating areas were elaborately tied down and secured. But we did not spot much wildlife on our walks.


Tumble-64There was an area of Joshua Trees nearby and they were in full bloom with these very large flowers.

After sunset that evening we were treated to the full moon rise.  Nice.

Tumble-66The next day we got up for a sunrise photography session. Hector had seen some old buildings that he wanted to photograph in the morning light. As a bonus, the moon was supposed to set just behind the buildings.

Tumble-72Tumble-68We noticed that it was a bit cloudy and as we neared the buildings, we saw that a locomotive was parked just behind them. It looked as if it was not going anywhere anytime soon and between the clouds and the locomotive, the moon was not going to be visible as it set. Darn.

So we drove towards town and as we were driving by some houses with beautiful desert gardens Hector spotted some Harris hawks. These hawks hunt in groups. There were three of them and they had just had a rabbit breakfast. As he says, there is always a reward for rising early.

Tumble-71We spent time observing the hawks and realized that there was an amazing amount of birdlife in this area, many more birds than we saw at the preserve!

Vermillion flycatcher!

Vermillion flycatcher!

So although we missed the moonset, it turned out to be a fine morning after all and Hector got couple of  nice morning shots of the buildings with the locomotive perched behind them.

Our replacement fuse arrived, and Vern got everything back in working order, so on we went to our next stop in the desert Southwest, Benson.

~ BrendaTumble-73




24 thoughts on “Desert Tumbleweeds

  1. Lovely photos guys as always, I am so glad your health scare turned out not to be scary. Your words that went with the photos conjured up a temporary warm glow in my imagination. We’re stuck at the moment in somewhat humid Houston, TX, we’d intended to be out in Quartzite for the Xscapees get together this year. Unfortunately, we had to pass up a trip out there at the last moment due to a close relative’s unexpected health crisis and to help give them the care they need. Maybe next year, we do hope so as we are missing being on the road big time….

    • Thank you! You have your priorities in the right place caring for your family. Hope their health improves and that you are able to get back on the road.

  2. Here’s to good health, happiness, hummingbirds, and Harris hawks. As always, thanks so very much for sharing your amazing adventures. Sending oodles of love and happy Spring!!! P.S. Love the new blog!

  3. I feel like we have been traveling in the same circle:) So very glad our circles intersected in Tucson:) It was so nice to see you two again. Sure hope your route brings you to Moab for a couple days:)

    I’ve miss your photos, Hector, and your great narratives, Brenda. So good to hear from you. John and I were just saying that we weren’t sure where you were. Stunning sunset photos!!! How lucky that you were able to get the electrical problem handled in North Ranch:)

    • Yeah, it all happened quite fast and fortunately we resolved it quite fast. I imagine our posts are famous for their length 🙂 Trying to catch up at this point.

  4. Hola. Loved reading this post! Love the sunsets.

    Glad it was a false alarm Brenda.

    Mark, John, Jimmy and I flying to Phoenix today for spring break. I assume you went through Phoenix next? Did you stop? Any recommendations for food or fun?

    Love you,


    • Hi! Hope you are having fun in the Phoenix area – there are tons of county (Maricopa) parks surrounding Phoenix, find one nearest you for some nice hiking. We did not go out much to eat but Old Town Scottsdale looks very nice. The Apache Trail drive is spectacular, the drive will take most of the day, and the last section of the road is unpaved steep and windy, but there is plenty to see just before it, and you can turn around before going on that section.

  5. Hi from Denver,
    Glad to hear all is well with Brenda. You can never be too careful. Always look forward to reading about your adventures and hope to meet up when you guys hit Denver. Miss you much!
    Take care, Karen : )

    • We will be in Denver sometime this summer – earliest will be June. We will let you know once we narrow it down some more. Look forward to seeing you guys!

  6. Glad to hear your and Island Girl’s health are all good!!! Happy Easter! FamiliaSolis all good and plugging along. We miss you and think of and talk about you 🙂 often! Hugs from Centennial – xo, and Jean

    • Thank you, Jean! Our house is going on the market sometime next month and we will be there around June or July. Will let you know once we have a better idea of the timeframe. Hope to see you!

  7. We are so glad to hear everyone is on top shape! We were so delighted to see you two again, it seems forever since 2013.
    Im having an Island Girl withdrawal, photos and narrative are now far and in between 🙂
    Hope to meet up with you in Moab, we will be there until end of April.

    • Island Girl withdrawal 🙂 We are going to be in Moab at the end of April, will send you dates so we can coordinate meet ups.

  8. So glad to know that all is well. You do a wonderful job with your “catch up” posts. It’s hard to keep up with blogging when there’s so much going on in life. I’m perennially behind. 🙂

  9. Love the sunset colors and really missed reading about your adventures. Glad all health and maintenance issues are resolved. Welcome back!

  10. Just an FYI. For the past three years I’ve been having my annual mammogram done at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. You have the option to wait around after and have the radiologist read it right then, which I always do. Have never had to wait more than 20 minutes for the results. I would rather not have any surprises after we’ve left the area like you did. Glad all turned out well.

    • Good information. At this point we are covered under Kaiser Permanente, which does not include Arizona unless it’s an emergency. But that may change.

  11. Hector, your photography just keeps getting better! The photos are just breathtaking. You took us on a whirlwind trip through some lovely parts of AZ. So glad to hear that all your tests resulted in good news Brenda. I had a similar experience during the time when Terry was going through radiation treatments.

    • Hector says blush 🙂 It was quite a whirlwind. I’m sure your situation was much more challenging, but even a minor medical situation can be challenging on the road. I feel so fortunate that all was ok!

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