The Saaris’ (Sorta) Safe Sojourn – PART 3: Sunny and Warm

When last we left off, we were recovering from our brush with an arctic winter weather pattern at the Wolf RV Park near Deming, NM. Here’s a summary of the subsequent two weeks or so.

Oct 30 – Nov 3 (Friday – Tuesday): All traces of snow having disappeared, we enjoyed several pleasant, sunny days in New Mexico. We walked along the nicely groomed paths in the park and along the gravel roads surrounding it, enjoying views of the surrounding mountains and the desert scrubland. In addition to the little critters pictured below, we saw a herd of cows wandering freely in the area. We also enjoyed some beautiful sunsets in the evenings.

Peter Cottontail?
Friendly Tarantula
Sunset at the Wolf RV Park

We ended up making two trips into nearby Deming: one for repairing a nail puncture in the right rear tire and one for a round of golf at the Rio Mimbres Country Club. The tire repair went smoothly, with excellent service at the Big O Tire Center. The golf also went smoothly, as I shot a reasonably decent 85, though the course was not in the best shape, in large part due to drought conditions. Best of all, I didn’t lose any balls and even found one.

Repair Work at Big O Tire
Rio Mimbres Country Club, Deming, NM

I sat up all night watching election returns on Tuesday (Pat gave up and went to bed around midnight). Needless to say, my earlier optimism was not rewarded with a Biden/Harris blowout and a Senate flip, but at least it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Sadly, I could already foresee the childish tan-Trump to come.

Nov 4-5 (Wednesday – Thursday): We headed west toward Arizona on Wednesday morning as the news broke that New Mexico would be instituting a stay-at-home order due to the Covid explosion. Good thing I got that round of golf in beforehand. After a pleasant, three-hour drive, we pulled into the Kartchner Caverns State Park. It is the newest of Arizona’s 25 parks, established in 1988 after 10 years spent developing means to access and preserve the park’s prime attraction. Public access to the Kartchner Caverns didn’t actually occur until 2003. This is probably the nicest state park we have stayed at anywhere in the US. All the buildings were modern and well maintained (including great showers just a stone’s throw from our RV site). The campsites were spaced out nicely along a smooth, paved ring road, and there were many miles of hiking trails through the surrounding desert and mountain foothills.

Our site at Kartchner Caverns State Park
Hiking Trail ay Kartchner Caverns State Park

On Thursday, we took a guided tour of the Cavern’s so-called Big Room as part of a Covid-limited group of seven guests and two park rangers (all masked). The rules prohibited bringing cameras and phones inside, so I had to resort to snapping a picture of a postcard purchased at the gift shop.

Postcard featuring Kartchner Caverns

While not as huge as Carlsbad Caverns, which we visited on our previous Excellent Adventure, it was still very beautiful. With the small group, we were able to get very close to many of the formations, and the guide was excellent, explaining in detail how the caverns and the points of interest were formed and how they were discovered. All in all, we were very impressed with the place.

Nov 6-15 (Friday – subsequent Sunday): We left the state park Friday morning for the short drive to Tucson, where we rented a car before checking in to the Rincon Country West RV Resort. Believe it or not, we booked our stay for an entire MONTH! This is how many, many RV travelers spend the entire winter, simply parked in one spot at their favorite RV resort, so we decided to see how that approach might feel. Of course, these long-term campers tow along a car or truck (or tow their camper with a truck) to facilitate sightseeing and grocery shopping. Since we do not tow a car along, we rented one, to simulate the complete RV snowbird experience. Here are some of the things we did during our first nine days at Rincon West:

  • Naturally, I had to go golfing. I played at the Starr Pass Golf Course, located about five miles northwest of the RV park. It was a difficult but gorgeous layout with holes winding through the desert foothills. I managed 89 with three lost balls, so I was thrilled.
Ninth tee at Starr Pass Golf Course
It’s a tough life for this Saguaro by the fifteenth tee box
  • We visited two old friends who have moved permanently to the Tucson area from their former home in Silver Bay, MN. We enjoyed lunch and excellent conversation in their lovely, spacious new abode. (Unfortunately, I can’t reveal their names because the gentleman may be in the witness protection program due to an unfortunate encounter with a certain disreputable pharmacist. Check out this book for a fictionalized account of the matter.)
  • The excellent Tucson bicycle path system has a branch immediately adjacent to the RV park, so we have been out biking on several occasions. Here are some photos taken from the bike paths:
A view from the Tucson Loop bike path
Friendly coyotes in the wash adjacent to the bike path
Memorial Grove (Arboleta) alongside the bike path
  • Today we rode for 13 miles, and I couldn’t manage to even stay in sight of Pat. That may have to do with the new bike we got for her at REI on Friday. Little did I know that it is actually a pedal-assisted e-bike! Unfair!!!
Pat with her new bike

That covers our activities through today. Here’s an updated map of the Sojourn so far.

Still so far, so good. Stay tuned as the adventure continues …

4 thoughts on “The Saaris’ (Sorta) Safe Sojourn – PART 3: Sunny and Warm

  1. Dave, we enjoyed playing golf with you at Silverbell in Tucson on Dec. 1. We look forward to your books arriving soon from Amazon. Enjoy the rest of your adventure this winter.

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