Saturday, March 25, 2006


Life on Wheels, Tucson AZ and the trip home

I have only a couple of photos that were taken at the recent Life on Wheels Conference at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ, I went to some of the classes there but didn't try to take any photos during the classes. These sessions are great for anyone who is an RVer or interested in learning more about RVing. The first photo is a general view of part of the campus, showing some of the buildings and the lot we used to park our tow/towed vehicles in:
LoW Tucson campus scene

The second photo shows how the RVs were parked in the large lot. All were dry camping with no hookups but all are self contained and most have generators and/or solar panels to recharge batteries:
LoW Tucson parking

A couple who attended the conference who lives in Tucson invited the teachers and staff to their home for a get-together Thursday evening after the class sessions ended. I was on the parking crew so went along. This was a great opportunity to see a beautiful example of a Tucson home, although I think these are above average examples of houses there. This first photo is of one of the houses located in the same cul-du-sac as the one we went to. This one is a bit unusual as it has palm trees. Palm trees are common in California but Arizona seems to use cactus' more in landscaping, probably because they require less water:
Tucson house 2

Here is part of the front of house we were going to. Notice there is a two car garage for regular cars plus a two RV garage, the part with the larger doors. This home is 18 years old so the landscaping is pretty mature. It is also larger than it looks from this view:
Tucson house 1

Desert landscaping must pay close attention to water needs. Plants are selected that don't require a lot of watering. This also tends to lead to easy maintenance type gardens. The home had a beautiful example located behind it, with patio's mixed into the garden, all enclosed by an adobe wall. This is just a part of that area but I think it will give you a good idea what it looks like:
Tucson house 1 garden

Not long after we arrived, the sun set. This next photo was taken over the adobe wall at the rear of the garden and shows the tremendous view from there of the mountains to the east, with the warm toned setting sun on them. The roof you can see is a neighbors home but it is not too close nor too noticable:
Tucson house 1 sunset

I attended my last class on Friday, a two session one on Digital Photography. After that we had a wrap-up session where it was announced that LoW would return next year to Tucson and should have more space. There were about 150 turned away due to the amount of people they felt could be accomodated reaching the limit. I went back to the RV and got away about 13:30. I wanted to get started but didn't want to start too late on a Friday afternoon and start out in the worst of the rush hour traffic. This was early enough that traffic wasn't bad.

I drove to Gila Bend where I filled the gas tank, then to Quartzsite where I pulled into a BLM area north of town just after sunset. It was a nice place to stop for the night. I got away Sat morning just before 7 & figured to stop at the mocha stand in Parker, about 1/2 hour away, but it wasn't open yet! I drove on to Lake Havasu City where I stopped at a Starbucks outlet in a Safeway store where we have gotten mochas in past years. When I arrived at I-40 I was less than ten miles from California where I knew gas would be more expensive, so I filled up the tank again there. Then east on I-40 and CA SR-58 to Bakersfield and north on SR-99 to Kingsburg where I stopped for the night in a full hookup campground, the same one I used while southbound. It gave the opportunity to empty my holding tanks and have shore power to the rig.

Here is a photo of Huggy riding on the front passenger seat of the RV. She likes her basket on the dashboard but it tends to get too hot there when the sun is shinning through the windshield onto the basket. This photo was taken while we were driving north on SR-99 after leaving Kingsburg:
Huggy in RV

Sunday morning I had the local TV news on and the weather report said that day would be great weather all through Calif. but there was another storm expected to arrive that evening. I was concerned about getting through the mountains in northern Calif. and southern Oregon as there can be snow & ice this early in the spring. That made for another long day. I found myself in northern Calif. shortly before sunset time with the sun still shining on Mt. Shasta. I stopped in a highway rest stop and took some photos, here is one of those:
Mt Shasta

I drove on, crossed Siskiyou Summit (4300' elevation) before dark, and stopped in a highway rest stop at milepost 112 on I-5 in Oregon where I got six hours of sleep. I got up about 03:15, left at 03:30 and arrived at the gas station I like in Roseburg about half an hour later to fill the gas tank and get a large mocha at Dutch Brothers coffee stand. Both the gas station and mocha stand are open 24 hours a day. I arrived in Portland, the next big town, a little before 07:00 and was passing through Auburn, WA at 10:26 when spring officially arrived. I got home just after noon. There was a small amount of rain while going through Tehachapi Pass in Calif. between the Mohave Desert and the town of Bakersfield, but otherwise it was clear and sunny all the way. There was frost in the early hours Monday but it didn't present any problem to me on the highway. I don't like to move that many miles in that short of a time but it was good to be back home and to have good weather all the way. Huggy likes the much larger space of the house to roam around in and it doesn't get as cold overnight as the RV, either.

I love the photos Dick. I remember Mt. Shasta when we drove down to Disney land in the 70s. Isnt that where Crater Lake is? Arizona has such a different beauty than the lush landscapes we ae used to. I especially enjoyed the shot of the sunset.
Thank you for sharing more beautiful pics. I want to go there soooo bad.
Some beautiful pictures there Dick, and Huggy is just so darn cute!!
Oopseedaisee, Crater Lake is farther north in Oregon. You can not see it from the freeway. Mt Shasta is in the far north part of California, south of the town of Yreka. I think part of Arizona's beauty is in it's starkness.

Malanie, you guys need to get that RV and get started using it. It would take you awhile to get out this far west but maybe you can plan and execute something like a six-week vacation trip sometime. Thanks for your compliments on the photos. I am having fun taking them.

Jude, I agree with you about Huggy. She seems to be happy being home with more space to run around in. Thanks also for the compliment about the photos. Since taking that class on digital photography at Life on Wheels I have been doing a little more with Photoshop on most of the photos before posting them and I think it does help. You have to be careful though as it is easy to go too far with tweaking things!
Travelling is fun, but there is nothing like getting home and crawling into your own bed!
When I retire I am going to travel in my MPV up through the Yukon and Northwest Territories and then Alaska, and Ferry home to Bellingham. I better start saving money now!!
Great series of photos, Dick, and I especially love the one of Huggy. Hope you have settled in nicely, back at home. Give Huggy a cuddle for me, please. Take care, Meow
Hello Dick
you have been on the move alot , lots of MOCHA keeping you alert I am sure ! I LOVE THE NEW PICS ESPECIALLY Huggy , SHE IS BEAUTIFUL . she looks so content there in the seat and she is a big girl huh? I just want to hug her and rub her behind the ears , does she ever try to run away? from the RV I mean? Good luck with the photo classes , dont think you need them pics are fantastic anyway but it doesnt hurt to learn new things . may your Mochas be a plenty and your road dry and sunny take care RUBS for HUggY!
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