Arizona State Parks

Arizona State Parks

We spent the past three weeks in Arizona.  Our first stop was Benson, right outside of Tucson, but it is close to some other towns in Arizona we wanted to check out.  We stayed in a real nice RV resort where folks get away from the cold north and come spend the winter months.  We were able to take a few day trips, one was to the famous Tombstone, the site of the gunfight at the OK Corral.  Beyond the four different gun fight demonstrations being hawked, it was kind of neat to see some of the old buildings and such, but it just reeked of tourist trap.  We did have a nice lunch with a nice couple at the bar at Big Nose Kate’s.  He was retired Navy, we both had Navy hats on which opened up the dialog, they were staying in the same resort, were full timers so we had a lot in common.  We also met another couple in the RV park who were from Silverton, Colorado who offered to show us some of the 4×4 trails when we visit that area later this summer.

One great day trip was to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, which was on par with some of the best I have been in.   A must go to place if you ever are in the Tucson area.

Next stop was Catalina State Park where we did a few hikes and also spent the evening gazing at the stars at the top of mount Lemmon, at over 10,000 feet.  You go from 80 degrees in the valley to about 50 degrees with the sun out to about 30 degrees in the evening.  But the presentation at the Sky Center was well worth it to gaze through the telescopes to see things that are beyond what we can see with just our eyes.

Mount Lemmon

Last stop was our favorite Arizona State Park, Lost Dutchman.  I’ll just let a picture tell the story why we love it.

We got in some great hikes and as a bonus I was able to meet up with a old navy buddy.  Tom and I met in boot camp and along with a few more young men, we attended about two years of school together.  Three of us made it all the way and were assigned to different submarines in Charleston, SC.  While going to all these schools, we spent weekends seeing the sights, did a few cross country trips back to California for leave, went to the beach, skiing in the mountains.  We went to a few great concerts, one was headlined by the Eagles right after the album Hotel California was released.  I last saw Tom in like 1983-ish in Florida when I gave him a tour of the nuclear research submarine, NR-1 I was on.  He left the navy and worked in the civilian nuclear power industry in AZ.  We recently connected on Facebook and Linkedin.  Since we were coming this way we met up and spent the day covering the past 30 years of our lives.  We also connected with another two of the Navy shipmates we went to school with who I lost touch of in the 1980’s.

That is one thing this mobile lifestyle has enabled me to do is connect with old shipmates, family and other RVer’s we meet along the way.  Our next stop is to see my Mom and Sister in Joshua Tree, California.  I made sure to fill up both the RV and Jeep in Arizona.  Gas and diesel is about 80 cents to a dollar more a gallon, Yikes!

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