Our next stop was Benson, in the Southern Arizona desert, not too far from Tucson and also near lots of great places to explore. We stayed in the Saguaro SKP park, an Escapee Co-op, where we stayed a couple of years ago. It’s a very nice park, and as a bonus our friends Paul and Nina were staying there as well.
The park has a first-come first-served policy, but it has an overflow area where RVers can stay while they wait for a full hookup site. We lucked out and got the one spot in the overflow area that had full hookup. Which was great since it was starting to get hot and we needed to run the A/C. Continue reading →
After 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.
Our 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.
During 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. Continue reading →
Our excitement was building as we headed on to Denali. On our drive here we drove through some funky places – classic Alaska. One was an old hotel that was built in the shape of an Igloo, Igloo City, that has now been abandoned. Its parking lot seems to have been taking over by RVers.
Alaska Day driving day 8 recap:
Road Name: Denali Highway
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Generally excellent but with some construction just south of the national park, we lucked out as we did not have to wait long for the pilot cars, but there can be some longer delays
It has been pretty rainy these first few days which we are hoping means that the weather will clear and we will have some sunny days as we enter deeper into the park. We have not yet seen the mountain.
But we have had some great omens: we saw our first caribou since we entered Alaska, and also saw our first bull moose.
And the rain also gave us a gift: a bright, beautiful double rainbow. We stood in awe in the middle of the road for a long time staring at (and photographing) the rainbows, which seemed to last an eternity. Breathtaking.
There is more to come, but we are headed to a campground 29 miles inside the park where there is no cell signal whatsoever. We will be there for seven days and are super excited!
One of the reasons we are here in Alaska is because we love animals, and we especially love seeing them in the wild. We feel a special connection to and are often in search of wildlife. And our second cruise to the Kenai Fjords was an extra special one.
There is something about the whales that especially captivates us, perhaps their intelligence, the way they form social structures, the sounds they make to communicate, or maybe all of those things and others that we just cannot put into words.
So each summer when we have been by the northern seas on our walkabout, we have devoted quality time to whale watching. Going out looking for the whales in kayaks, zodiacs, and small to large motorboats. And we have seen lots of whales; blue, fin, humpback, minke, beluga, gray, pilot and orcas (although technically pilot whales and orcas are part of the dolphin family).
Our goal in Seward was to go on several wildlife cruises. We were interested in some of the longer cruises, but not sure we would be able to go because of Angel. But we found a pet-sitter to walk Angel during the day. So after our six-hour cruise earlier in the week, we booked two other full day wildlife/glacier cruises, one with each of the two major companies in town.
The transition from the peace and quiet of natural spaces to the hustle and bustle of big cities can be jarring. But we are embracing San Diego and much of what it has to offer. Including some beautiful natural spaces.
We’re in a prime location – one of the campgrounds we stayed in last year. Mission Bay RV Resort is a fairly average private RV park in an awesome location by the water. Check out my review of the park here.
The location is great for Angel too. We’ve been taking her for lots of walks on the grass by the water. One of our typical walks is about a mile long and she is walking that distance easily.
Hector continues to work on his photography portfolio and I’ve begun doing research on photography websites, so I think we can officially say we’re now both working on the road.
We weren’t quite sure about returning to the “Q”. Some people said that once was enough. But we were excited about meeting friends in Quartzsite, although we cut our stay a bit shorter than last year.
And we sure are glad that we chose to return.
Last year I wrote about the Merchants in the Desert, and once again we headed out to all the shows. Frankly, I think that the Big Tent tent is the least exciting of all, although we spent a bit of time at one of the North to Alaska booths plotting our summer trip to Alaska.Continue reading →
We are staying in the general vicinity of Tucson for a while and made a short hop to the town of Benson for a little trip back to the wild wild West. Benson was a railroad center for nearby mining towns and there is an Escapees campground there. After being members of Escapees for over two years, we finally stayed in one of their parks. And the SKP Saguaro Co-op (available only to members) is a great place to hang for awhile.
Everyone, and I mean everyone there is extremely friendly and welcoming.
But even though we were in the middle of the desert, it rained our entire first day. Part of a front that came in through California. Part two came through a couple of days later. Time for a little nesting.
It seemed as if our chances of encountering whales on a one-day kayak trip were not very good. And the kayak tours are kind of pricey. So we opted for a whale watching tour on a regular boat to go look for the Northern Residents.
Since we try to avoid big groups on tours, we chose a 5:30 p.m. departure with Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Apparently, that time slot never gets full. Which is surprising since it’s a beautiful time of day to go out on the water.
That afternoon, which was pretty cloudy, there were 14 people on a boat that accommodates up to 49 people. Very nice.
As our Captain, Geoff and the young naturalist, Sofia, were giving their introductory and safety talks, someone looked up and pointed to a bear that was walking by the marina just across the water from us. Right in front of our campground! A good omen.
So off we went once again to Johnstone Strait, this time powered by motor. Some of the Northern Residents had been spotted earlier and the captain went in search of them.Continue reading →
Warning: This post contains many photos of adorable sea otters.
You can enter the reserve via a harbor located in the fishing village of Moss Landing. It’s the largest fishing harbor in Monterey Bay and partners with marine research and education to provide full access to the environment. The fee to park and launch on the beach was $5.00, a cheap date.