Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 24 - 30, 2018 The road to Arizona: Valley Vista RV Resort, Benson AZ

March 24 – 26, 2018 Traveling TX to Valley Vista RV Benson AZ

We left our Thousand Trails Medina Lake campground ready for a change of scenery, weather and a return to the Western US, which we love. The first day we drove 248 miles and stopped at the East Pecos County Rest Area, on I-10W, near Iraan, TX for the night. The second day we drove 390 miles, driving through the Border Patrol Checkpoint west of Las Cruces (westbound) and spent the night at an Interstate parking area with a few semis. In the middle of the night someone knocked at our door but we could not see anyone, so Bill turned on an inside light and exposed whoever was out there to our security system (Smith & Wesson) through the glass. There was no further knocking on our coach.  The next day, Monday, we drove 170 miles into Benson AZ and settled into our campground, Valley Vista RV Resort .  On Tuesday we stayed home and caught up on the things that we needed to prep for on the rest of our stay. On Wednesday Bill called the Prescott AZ VAMC and talked to the Prescott TVC about his consult referral. She had just      gotten it from the Gainesville FL TVC and was setting it up. Unfortunately, Prescott VAMC does not have an Orthopedic Surgeon, so (fortunately for us) the VA is passing it on to a private practice surgeon in Cottonwood AZ, which is where we will be staying at the TT Valley Verde campground.  We are awaiting news as to what day and time the appointment or surgery will be when we are there April 19 - May 10, or possibly as late as the 17th if needed. 

Above at a rest area we took a little hike to admire the scenery and stretch the legs.
Las Cruces NM Border Patrol Inspection Station I-10 Westbound

 Entering Arizona

March 28, 2018 Tucson – La Mesa RV Center and Saguaro National Park (East)
On Wednesday we drove into Tucson to go to Lazydays RV (which pales by comparison to the Tampa FL Lazydays) and even is smaller than the La Mesa RV Center here, and to Camping World. We have noticed an issue with the hot water having lost its water pressure to about ½ of the cold water pressure. Since leaving TT Medina Lake we also started hearing a weird sound within the full-slide sidewall every time he hit a bump or braked, so we made an appointment with La Mesa RV Center for Wednesday next week, as it was the earliest appointment available. We were scheduled to leave on Tuesday, headed for Casa Grande AZ, but given this appointment we have had to change our reservation for an extra night in Benson. After attending to our  RV issues, on the way back to the campground we drove to the Saguaro National Park in Pima County AZ. The NP is divided into two districts. We visited the Saguaro East Rincon Mountain District, which was not an expected sight. These 'saguaros' (giant cactus) can grow to 66 feet in height and live up to 150 years. Their branches are shaped like arms or candelabra, and the first nubs which will develop into the arms of different sizes and shapes do not first appear on them until they are about 60 years old. They are native to Mexico and the southwestern US. They produce a reddish-purple fruit which can be used for food and drink and feed many of the wildlife in their area. Often baseball-sized holes can be seen in these saguaros, which are homes for many wildlife like birds, bats and rodents. The area of vast contrasts and natural beauty in this very arid land is an example of beautiful Arizona, which can best be described with these photos below:

She is the prettiest flower of the desert in AZ or anywhere (according to Bill)

Unlike a tree which cross section has rings of growth, Saguaros
have vertical ribs that create the stiffness and allow vertical growth.

It is common to see baseball-sized holes in the giant cactus,
which are actually homes for many wild critters.

There are hundreds of different cactus plants, each beautiful
in their own differences of characteristics, shapes and colors

The low lying ones are the 'Prickly Pears' and the tall one is the Saguaro. Grown Saguaros have been known to be valued at about $1,000 per foot. This is a young one (<60 years old) as it has no 'arms', which develop after 60 years old. They can live to 150 years of age.

But there are many other cacti plants as well... everywhere.

The flowers are beautiful as well.

Out on a hike. As you can imagine we had to be
careful where we walked as all these thorns hurt. 


Edith2 waiting for us in the parking lot.

While in Benson we will be checking out different campgrounds
here, and later in Casa Grande, Apache Junction, Cottonwood 
and other places to identify possible future 'winter camping' sites.

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