It’s been a long time since I’ve written —the cast of “reasons” is legion and irrelevant. Today, I begin again. Today, my photos won’t transfer to my PC. But I begin again, with photos to come later.
I’m at a RV park in southeastern Arizona – in a 27.5 foot Lazy Daze motorhome, with my German Shepherd, Misty. I’ve had some health/aging issues, and in my best imitation of a responsible adult, I’ve downsized and even left my motorcycle in Florida. I’ll go back to Florida in May for a month or so; after lots of PT and expensive tests, I’ve been cleared to ride again. Whew! And before it gets impossibly hot and humid in Florida, I’ll head to the mountains of the West; the bike will be riding in the bed of my truck, which I’ll tow with the motorhome. And when I stop, I’ll unload the bike to ride.
There are untold numbers of RV parks in Arizona, a testament to the sub-culture of motorized gypsies moving around our country, often under the radar of main-stream awareness. In the world of Arizona RV parks, this one is neither large or small; it has about 360 lots and there are no vacancies. I’m one of many who are renting a spot; others have bought a life-time lease and spend as much of the year as they choose on their lot with a casita (“little house”, in Spanish). The casitas are as eclectic as this group of aging nomads. Winter is the peak season, so lots of Snow Birds are here. Though they had a major blizzard in the Northeast last week, in SE Arizona the high today will be 87, the low tonight 54. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and the wind is 4 MPH. Humidity is 13%. It’s warming up rapidly as the sun climbs over the mountains and marches high over the desert.
When I look east, out the window of my motorhome, I see mountains off in the distance with miles and miles of desert in between. When the sun goes down behind me, those mountains come to life in the afterglow. To the west of the park, the desert goes on and on and on. It’s open to hiking, biking, and off-roading vehicles. I heard you can walk through the desert about 2 or 3 miles to breakfast in town; I haven’t done that, yet. You can’t see town from the paths I’ve been on; someone promised to show me the way. Apparently you climb down a side arroyo and then wander north a bit.
I love the stark beauty of this high desert (we’re at 3,600 feet). Last night the train was blowing its whistle as it passed through the small town (Amtrak comes through here), and the coyotes began to answer – like dogs in town talking back to a siren. The Gambel quail are everywhere in the park, scurrying across the rocks with what looks like an ever-so-tiny parasol bobbing over their heads. There are lots of doves, cooing from above. I’ve seen a few hawks and pyrrhuloxia (the first cousin cowboy of the cardinal). I haven’t yet gone on a specific birding hike but will soon.
Having lived my life in Florida here are some desert rules I’m learning: ALWAYS walk after dark with a flash light, even if the moon is full (rattlesnakes like to keep warm after dark on the dark asphalt). Don’t hike in the desert in tennis shoes. The ground is crumbly, the terrain uneven, and the rocks hurt your feet through those flimsy soles. And that trendy footwear won’t even slow down the desert thorns designed to slice and dice. ALWAYS wear a hat and sunglasses with lots of sunscreen between sunrise and sunset. Don’t ever go off for the day and leave the awning on your RV out – the winds can do amazing things, rapidly. A dust devil is like a pint-sized hurricane without the water or tree limbs. And don’t forget your water bottle.