Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sky Island Scenic Byway

Mt Lemmon On Easter Sunday, our granddaughter, Emily, took us on a drive to the top of Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson.

The Sky Island Scenic Byway is the only paved road that leads to the top of the Catalinas.  Beginning at less than 3,000 feet elevation, the road winds around hairpin turns to reach a summit of more than 9,000 feet.  Several pullouts are provided along the way overlooking the valley containing Tucson.  Our favorites were Molino Canyon Vista and Windy Point Vista (aptly named) where we walked among the rocks taking photos of the awesome view.

The gain in elevation from start to finish is so great, it encompasses several ecosystems, comparable to a trip from Mexico to Canada.

The trip starts at the desert floor amidst the saguaros and other cacti.


In just minutes, you begin to notice the change to trees,


and by the end of the 27 mile drive, you find yourself in an alpine forest of Ponderosa pines.


It was a perfect drive for an Easter Sunday.  No one could see such panoramic views and such environmental variety  and not  marvel at God’s Great Creation.

For more photos from our drive, click on the diagram below:P1170838

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sabino Canyon

2011-04-23 - AZ, Tucson, Sabino Canyon National Recreation Area with Emily (38)Tucked away in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson is a beautiful little canyon named Sabino Canyon.

Imagine it is 150 years ago. Your horse died and you have been crawling across the hot dry desert for 2 nights. (You are smart enough to know that you should rest in the heat of the day and travel at night by the light of a half moon.) Unfortunately, your canteen has run dry. Just when you're about to give up all hope, the first rays of sunlight break over the desert and you see a beautiful mountain range in the distance. There is a darker green line that runs like a vein up the side of the mountain. "Trees," you whisper in a choking voice. You know where there are tall leafy deciduous trees, there is water. You are saved. You have found an oasis in the Sonoran Desert. You have found Sabino Canyon. (paragraph taken from  “Story trail” )

2011-04-23 - AZ, Tucson, Sabino Canyon National Recreation Area with Emily (54) It is still such an oasis in the midst of the desert, and provides an excellent escape from the bustle and heat of the city.  We visited Sabino Canyon with our granddaughter, Emily, over Easter weekend.   A narrated tram trip takes you 3.8 miles up into the canyon.   We  walked part of the way back down.

For a slideshow of our canyon visit, click on the map below:map

 Ajo to Tucson

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

After a great (but too short) 6 months in Yuma, we have hit the road again.

2011-04-21 -1- AZ, Yuma to Ajo (1)

Our first destination was the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, located in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona on the U.S./Mexico border.

2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (36)The organ pipe cactus, abundant in Mexico, is found rarely in the U.S.  The vast majority of those present are located within the park boundaries.  Its cluster of columns grow tall, often exceeding 20 feet, making the organ pipe the second largest cactus in the U.S. (next to the mighty Saguaro).  It produces a red fruit that has provided a food source to the Native Americans for centuries, raw, made into a jelly or beverage.

After watching the orientation video at the Visitor Center, we took the scenic 10 mile North Puerto Blanco Drive.

  2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (28)

One of the highlights of the day was seeing the saguaro in bloom, a first for us.

2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (21)

After the drive, we walked the Desert View Trail, a little more than a mile in length.

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An easy trail, it ascended to a viewpoint, looking down on the park campground in one direction, and to the other side, the tiny town of Lukeville, with it’s backdrop, the mountains of Mexico.  2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (53)

We spent the night in the sleepy little town of Ajo. Wondering how the name originated, a little research turned up the following:

A similarity between the sound of the Papago word for this locality and the Spanish word ajo for many years led to misapprehension concerning the origin of the name of present day Ajo. The Papago Indians used au'auho ("paint") in connection with mines at Ajo because the ores were a source of red paint which the Papagos used to decorate themselves. This was so noted by one of the earliest American travelers in the region. Nevertheless, the fact that the Mexican miners pronounced the word without the double pronunciation of the au of the Papago resulted in a word that sounded much like ajo. This, added to the fact that the Ajo lily (the root of which looks and tastes much like a spring onion) grows abundantly in this area, led to the belief that the locality was named Ajo because of the wild lilies.

I would have liked to had more time to explore the architecture of Ajo, dating back to its heyday as a copper mining community.  Some of the buildings are quite striking:

2011-04-21 -2- AZ, Ajo (3)

We stayed in the Shadow Ridge Campground, where the sites were bounded by multitudes of blooming oleander bushes. 

2011-04-21 -5- AZ, Ajo, Shadow Ridge Campground (1)  

       2011-04-21 -5- AZ, Ajo, Shadow Ridge Campground (2)


For more photos of the park and Ajo,  click the photo below:

2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (2)

Yuma to Ajo OUR TREK EASTWARD…. DAY 1 …..  208 MILES