Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tucson & Snyder Hill BLM

Tuesday, after saying goodby to RVSue who was leaving also, we very reluctantly left our quiet, serene, private spot on BLM land, south of Ajo, to travel Hwy 86 easterly to yet another BLM spot near Tuscan. Wow, are we cheapskates frugal because the little triangle of land with roads on two sides below Snyder Hill BLM southwest of Tucson is criss-crossed with dirt roads & very little shrubbery or trees in the sand/gravel. Definitely not pretty! It seems we’ve gotten rather picky tho about how we park in two months of camping in wide open spaces. It took us three tries before finally settling for a location that would do. It was along the edge of where three roads/paths met, but at least our “patio” was shaded by the trailer most of the day. We set up our solar panels & satellite dish then between the trailer next to the low shrubbery to sort of hide our equipment from any passersby. Jeff also connects all three pieces with a stranded cable padlocked to the trailer to discourage any of them from walking off.

That afternoon, we went to Camping World to make a Friday appointment to figure out why our trailer batteries are no longer charging while being towed [more on this later] & then stopped by Wal-Mart for supplies. We just took it easy the rest of the evening as the temperatures were getting a bit too warm for us. We filled propane tanks Wednesday & decided to eat Chinese while out & about. We can’t recommend the restaurant so I won’t mention it’s name. The temp got in the low 80s again so it was uncomfortably warm in the trailer that evening. Thursday, we finally made it to Saguaro National Park. Nice visitor’s center & Jeff got his NP Passport stamped. However, the scenic loop we took thru the Park wasn’t anything better than what we’d already seen around Ajo & surrounding roads. Their only crested saguaro was on a hiking trail which we weren’t going to try, so didn’t see it.

Then we backtracked along the same road to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. WOW – with our $2 veteran’s discount, the $12.50/each admission really was worth it. (Remember — I’m frugal.) The temps were into the 80s again, so all the walking around up & down hills in the afternoon sun was a bit intense at times. However, the museum had lots & lots of covered/shaded areas to sit & rest, plus many cool indoor animal & geological displays. There were so many people attending the outdoor free flight presentation that we couldn’t get up close enough to see all the raptors there. We’ve seen similar displays at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.  I couldn’t get all the animal photos I wanted either (since they didn’t cooperate) but here’s some of what we saw.

DSC09368   DSC09373

Harris hawk & a lavender something parrot


A view of how some of the paths are landscaped


Fuzzy photo of a Mexican gray wolf (Lobo)


Sleeping mountain lion


Sleeping brown bear


Prairie dog




Gray (maybe red) fox sleeping on towels up on a ledge


Ocelot sleeping in den


Male bighorn sheep


Female bighorn sheep


Underwater view of a beaver


Hummingbird mama sitting on eggs in her nest

We missed the hummingbirds because they’re in the display with bees. . .& we were getting hot & tired by then. Overall, it’s one of the greatest places we’ve visited. On the way home, we also drove thru Gilbert Ray campground (a county, or maybe city campground) just down the road that had full hookups for $20/night. Nice park for another visit.

Friday morning — bright & early — we packed up & went to Camping World to have our trailer checked out. WELL — they don’t do service on sight so both our trailer & pickup were driven off by a service tech to a nearby shop. We kept Kira with us, but both cats were in their crates inside the pickup cab. I was BEYOND uncomfortable. I will always ask FIRST if work is done on-site before scheduling any work at Camping World again. Then we get a call that said they needed to trace the wiring from the pickup to the converter, so we WALKED about a mile to the shop to figure out exactly what they thought was the problem & why I was going to have unload gobs of stuff out of the trailer. The tech thinks that when Camping World in St George UT removed our 12v battery & installed 4 6v batteries on the cargo deck at the rear of the trailer, a couple of wires must have touched & it tripped a relay in the line inside the trailer from the truck to the converter. The tech needed to find that relay & hit the reset button. We said NO, & thankfully were not charged anything for that diagnosis. We headed off to Tombstone in between raindrops.

When we talked to Casita later, we learned there IS NO relay in the line the tech wanted to inspect. Grrrr. Apparently Camping World really has no idea how Casitas are constructed! We checked the battery charge later while hooked up to electricity, then again with no power, & finally while connected to the running pickup. The batteries are actually being drained while attached to the truck, so Casita made several suggestions on how to find out what got wired up incorrectly. We may have to live with it until we can actually have Casita look at it.


  1. Like the picture of the fox sleeping on the towels - think I would be doing the same thing. Boy, hope you find out what is causing the drain. So you are, eventually, headed to Rice.

    1. Yes, we're heading east now, slowly working our way thru NM, then TX, back to MO to see family & friends, so Rice is more or less on the way. I sure love these "jello" plans!

  2. Beautiful animals.
    We stopped at a Camping World without our Casita the other day. We were not impressed. We won't be going back there again. We did buy one wheel chuck and being the only one at the cash register it still took 8 minutes!
    Safe travels.

  3. Enjoyed the pictures. Were you able to take Kira with you? When you can't and it is warmer what do you do? I'm trying to plan on how to travel with my dogs and still see some of these same sights.

  4. Enjoyed the pictures. At the museum and later Tombstone were you able to take Kira with you?
    I'll be traveling with two fur kids.

    1. Glad you liked my photos. We don't usually take Kira with us when sightseeing, so she 'guards' the trailer while we're out & about. We won't leave her in the trailer tho when it's hot without having the A/C on, so gotta have electricity. Then one of us stays with her in the pickup with the A/C running when we're traveling in hot weather. If we can't take her 'in' somewhere & it's too hot to leave her alone - we just don't go.

    2. Hm..sorry about the double post thought it was lost so retyped:)

  5. Can't wait to see that museum! Ugh on the electrical problem...hope Rice has an easy fix for you.

  6. Nice post and pix. Good luck with the electricity gremlins.

  7. I never use camping world. Its worth a trip to Quartzsite or niland (solor mike) for these types of repairs. My choice is solar mike! Happy trails!

  8. Hi Brenda. We boondocked at Bell Starr's ranch in March 2011 and helped her fixing things. Bell was wheelchair bound at that time and very frail. There were so many things to do and animals to feed. The situation was not at all good for her.
    I heard last year that they closed the ranch down and she seems to be in a care facility now.



Comments must be approved, so if your comment is promoting some irrelevant website or makes no sense in English, don't waste your time. It will be marked as spam & deleted.