March 25, 2004

Arizona – Tucson and Phoenix

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:44 pm by diandy2004

We stayed in a campground in Tucson called Desert Trails RV Park.  The campground had trails on their property that connected to trails within Tucson Mountains Park, which led to Saguaro National Park (West).  We rode our bikes through the desert areas several times during our stay.  There is a variety of cacti, not just saguaros but chaintree cholla, joshua trees, ocotillos.  Some that we saw were dead, so all that is left standing is their ‘skeleton’.  Very interesting to see.  I’ve also enjoyed see the jackrabbits with their big ears.  Biking through the parks has been fun and relatively easy.  The hardest part is dipping in and out of the drywashes.  They can be steep and rocky and drop you into a sandy bottom, and usually there is a bend in the trail, but you have no steering in the sand.  You also have to be careful, because if you do fall there is a good chance of landing on one of those cacti.  And I’m speaking from experience!
Desert Biking in Saguaro

Desert Biking in Saguaro

We visited the NP, San Xavier Mission, and the Sonora Desert Museum.  The plants and the wildlife of the desert are very unique.  I’m fascinated by the ocotillos, Palo Verde trees with their green trunks, and other desert bushes and plants.  Many of the plants are in bloom right now – both the cacti and wildflowers.  Andy has also begun to call me a “bird-nerd” because I’ve been trying to identify all the new birds I’m seeing.  I love the hummingbirds.  I also love the song of the Cactus Wren because he sounds like he is laughing, a big-belly laugh.  You just want to start laughing right along with him.  We’ve also had a family of Gambel’s Quails visit our campsite several times.
San Xavier Mission

San Xavier Mission

Hummingbird at Sonoran Desert Museum

Hummingbird at Sonoran Desert Museum

Diane at Sonoran Desert Museum

Diane at Sonoran Desert Museum

In Phoenix Andy and I spent our first day apart.  I went to visit a dear friend – Cathie Jansen, and Andy went bike riding.  Andy rode his bike to Luke Air Force base and watched the F-16’s taking off, landing, practicing touch-and-go’s.  Luke is the largest F-16 training facility in the country.  We found that Phoenix averages about 10 degrees hotter than Tucson, which affected our attempts at running.
Some more of our “Firsts” and other miscellaneous comments:  we’re learning to live with mail-forwarding; trying to run at elevations; dealing with nose-bleeds from the dry desert air; and shooting pool is becoming one of our favorite pasttimes in the RV parks.