Sunday is moving day, again. We like to travel on Sunday, especially if there’s any city of size to pass through. Buddy and I start with the usual, a pre-dawn walk. I expected my friend to make his usual meandering trek to the lodge and back for a nice three miles, but he surprised me and headed up the observation hill trail. A very enjoyable walk cut a bit short by circumstance. As I didn’t’ expect a trail hike I didn’t bring the supply pack with water, phone, and the indispensable tool for desert hiking, a pair of tweezers. Hiking in west Texas without tweezers is just asking to carry the dog home. After about 1.5 miles we head back to prep, but it was a great sunrise walk. We spotted the usual javalina pack, but we’ve had enough of those.
Our overnight neighbor was about to hit the road at the same time. When he pulled in I thought I’d do the neighborly thing and offer to spot for him as he backed in. Being the gentleman that he was, he politely accepted and thanked me for the help. I couldn’t help but notice he didn’t realty make any effort to check my direction. The dude backed it straight as a laser; stopped at exactly the right spot, first try. We made a bit of small talk afterward and when I asked him what he did for a living the told me he’d been driving a truck for Walmart for 22 years. We had a good chuckle at my expense. As I was hooking up I meandered over to ask a few pointers, considering his credentials.
We pass through town on our way out and retrace about 40 miles of the scenic route on the way to highway 90. To my pleasure this brings us back to the great road side rest area situated amidst a mountain of boulders. From 90 we head back to I-10 and then ride 10 for another 400 miles. I’ll have to say, it wasn’t pleasant. We had a stiff 20-25 mph wind dead on the nose. We pretty much stayed in second gear sucking diesel. Typically we average 10 mpg but we dipped down to 7 mpg all day. And the scenery was as dismal as we’d seen the whole trip.
Towards the end of the day, we pass over a peak, maybe 20 miles into Nevada. Instantly the scenery changed from dismal to beautiful. Spectacular mountains and boulder formations. The stiff headwind had slowed our progress to the point we knew we’d not make our desired destination, Picacho Peaks State Park, NV. Donna had diligently worked the phones and internet to find a Walmart somewhere along the route that would allow restocking and an overnight stay, and Benson AZ seemed to fit the bill, We pulled into Benson just at sunset, only to find a couple of beater RV hanging in the lot, and signs every six feet saying no RV parking. The store explained that they have no problem with RVs, but the city does, and on occasion they will pass through in the night and roust everyone. They were more than helpful in giving us a map and directions to a nearby area that was fine with blacktop boondocking. I can’t ask for more than that. Donna restocked our desert-depleted larder and I walked the dog, then on to the parking behind Gas City. We queue up with the truckers and the occasional other RV, mix up a couple of adult beverages to wash the stress away, prep some grub, and hit the sack. We’re fueled up at Gas City (that’s the least we can do) and hit the road at daylight, expecting to get through Tucson before rush hour. By 8 AM we’re checking into Picacho Peak State Park.
On first inspection, Picacho appears to have been a good choice. It’s still desert, but it’s different desert. Sonoran desert as opposed to the Chihuahuan desert we’d been in. The first thing noticeable are the Saguaro cactus. They change the whole desert scenery in a nice way. The RV sites and walk ways are desert beautiful and impeccably maintained by, apparently, the three campground hosts.
No sooner are we leveled than Donna’s pushing to get to our scheduled visit to her uncle and aunt in Sun Lakes, AZ., 56 miles away. I’ll admit it, I didn’t want to go, but then I don’t want to go to my own birthday party, so it’s nothing personal. As usual, my reluctance was unwarranted, as I had a great time.
Donna’s aunt and uncle, Lester and Anna, were great, and extremely hospitable, They were gracious enough to fix lunch as home rather than going to the club as planned, to accommodate my not wanting to leave Buddy alone. And, they fixed a delicious meal of roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, home made cranberry sauce, and green beans and bacon that were out of this world. They also ran us all over town to get parts for the RV at Camper World and stopped for us to get great deals on needed hiking boots. After dinner Donna’s cousin Jon stopped by with his family to visit. All interesting folks and a great visit.
Our campsite is set maybe ˝ mile off the interstate and maybe 100’ up the hill. From this vantage point one can see the interstate and adjacent railway for probably 30 miles. No matter what time, day or night, one went out, there was a steady, endless stream of trucks hauling goods from coast to coast. And about every 15 minutes a 60 to 80 car train would join the fray. It reminded me of an endless non-stop conveyor belt. As beautiful as the park was, this will be my lasting impression of staying here.
We just bide our time, waiting for some more supplies ordered to arrive, but enjoying every minute of it. Although we have 110v power, and the afternoons are hot, we’re not using the air. The dry desert air is so much nicer to deal with than humidity. Evenings, as they have been all along, are very cool.
The park has three loops for campers, each with maybe 25 or 30 spots. There’s two or three RVs/campers per circle, so it’s very quite and peaceful. I guess we’re just hitting the end of the season.Photos: Davis Mountains hike, West Texas rest stop, Picacho Peak camp site, visiting Les, Anna, Jon and family, Hiking, Picacho Peak Park photos.