Monday, March 30, 2015

Desert Museum - 03/30/15 - Tucson, AZ

Monday – March 30, 2015
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson, Arizona

We visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum today. This living desert museum showcases the variety of plants and wildlife that inhabit the 100,000 square miles of the lush Sonoran Desert that extend from central Arizona through Sonora, Mexico.

Upon entering the enclosed humming bird exhibit, we were bombarded by a series of close encounters of humming birds flittering about overhead, like drones, checking out the intruders invading their space. We were fortunate, during our visit, to be present while hummingbirds were building nests, incubating eggs, and feeding newborns.

We attended the raptor demonstration at 2:00 p.m. There are two shows, 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The demonstration features four raptors. The first raptor was an endangered hawk that no longer exists in the wild. During the demonstration the hawk ignored the handlers commands and suddenly flew off and attacked a pair of birds nesting in a nearby saguaro catus. It then immediately dropped to the ground and captured a non-venomous snake, about 1-1/2 feet in length, that was slithering about at the base of the saquaro catus.

During the raptor demonstrations, if a raptor attacks other wildlife and captures it, the handlers are not allowed to interfere with the kill. They must wait nearby until the raptor loses interest in their kill and returns to the handler’s gloved hand. It took about fifteen minutes before the hawk left the snake and returned to the handler. When the handler was returning the hawk to its enclosure, it flew off again. Before another raptor demonstration can be initiated, the hawk had to be captured and returned to its cage, otherwise it would attack the next raptor. Unfortunately, the hawk proved too elusive to be captured and the remainder of the raptor demonstration was cancelled. The ranger stated this was the first time a raptor demonstration has ever been cancelled. Just our luck!

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Gilbert Ray CG - 03/29/15 - Tucson, AZ

Sunday – March 29, 2015
Gilbert Ray Campground
Tucson, Arizona

This is a beautiful campground. We will spend the week here while we explore Tucson, Arizona. Gilbert Ray Campground is located on the west side of the Tucson Mountains, a convenient 13 miles from Tucson. The campground has 130 RV sites with individual 30-amp electrical hook-ups. It has numerous water spigots dispersed throughout the campground, picnic tables, restrooms with flush toilets, and an RV dumping station. There are no shower facilities available.

Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is a seven-day length of stay limit.

Camping Fee: $20.00
Camping Site: 69 (Loop A)

Total miles traveled today:

Route Traveled:
East on Rock Point Road
South on Painted Rock Dam Road
East on Interstate 8
East on Interstate 10
West on EL Camino Del Cerro Road (Exit 252)
South on Silverbell Road
West on Gates Pass Road
South on Kinney Road to Gilbert Ray Campground

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Painted Rock Petroglyph CG - 03/28/15 - Gila Bend, AZ

Saturday – March 28, 2015
Painted Rock Petroglyph Campground
Gila Bend, Arizona

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site, approximately 90 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, provides visitors the opportunity to view an ancient archaeological site containing hundreds of symbolic and artistic rock etchings, or "petroglyphs," produced centuries ago by prehistoric peoples. There are also inscriptions made by people who passed through during historic times. Many well- known events in Arizona history occurred near the Petroglyph Site, including the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza that founded San Francisco, the Mormon Battalion and the Butterfield Overland Mail. Formerly a unit of the Arizona State Park system, jurisdiction of Painted Rock Petroglyph Site reverted to the Bureau of Land Management in 1989.

Camping Fee: $8.00 (50% discount with Golden Age Pass)
Camping Site: 12

Total miles traveled today:
Route Traveled:
South on San Diego County Highway S3
East on California Highway 78
South on California Highway 86/78 (78 continues south with 86 for a few miles)
East on California Highway 78
East on Interstate 8
North on Painted Rock Dam Road
West on Rock Point Road to Painted Rock Petroglyph Campground

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Anza-Borrego SP - 03/27/15 - Borrego Springs, CA

Friday – March 27, 2015
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Borrego Springs, California

With the temperature approaching 100 degrees, it was not prudent to do any hiking today. We decided this would be the perfect day to take a tour of Borrego Springs.

We visited the library to use their WiFi for our laptop computer and our Amazon Fire HD.

We visited the Bighorn Fudge Co., makers of handcrafted fudge products. They also have great ice cream cones and dishes. We purchased three, one pound packages, of their fudge: chocolate with walnuts, mint and chocolate, and amaretto and chocolate. They had a special: buy two and get one free. Not done yet, we each had one of their fantastic ice cream cones!

When we arrived in Borrego Springs on Thursday, we passed the Borrego Valley Airport. We noticed there were several single-engine, single occupant, experimental-type aircraft, parked on the tarmac. We paid a return visit today to take some pictures. Much to our surprise, they were having a competitive flying contest. We joined numerous other spectators to watch the pilots put their aircraft through heart-stopping aerial maneuvers. The American Legion Post 853 provided food and drink. Musical entertainment was provided by a very talented couple that prompted a few of the women spectators to get up and dance.

We toured the 12-mile stretch of highway on San Diego County Highway S3 from Borrego Springs to California Highway 78. Within a few miles we came upon Galleta Meadows, LLC, a privately owned desert estate, open to the public. The estate is infiltrated with metal sculptures of a prehistoric bird, wild horses, and elephants. A few miles further down the road, we encountered another sculpture of a dinosaur. The intricate detail of these sculptures is extraordinary.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Anza-Borrego Desert SP - 03/26/15 - Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday – March 26, 2015
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Borrego Springs, California

We departed Joshua Tree National Park, near Twentynine Palms, California, at 12:20 p.m. We arrived at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs, California at 2:15 p.m.

This region of southeastern California is experiencing record high temperatures for this early in the year. Temperatures are in the high 90s and expected to reach 101 degrees on Saturday. Although the humidity is low at 10%, it is still hot!

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a state park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California. The park takes its name from 18th-century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep. With 634,000 acres, this is the largest state park in California and, after New York's Adirondack Park, the second largest in the continental United States. The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, enveloping two communities: Borrego Springs (home of the park headquarters) and Shelter Valley.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park includes 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 designated wilderness areas, and 110 miles of hiking trails. The great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north.

The park features: bajadas and desert washes; rock formations and colorful badlands, vast arid landscapes, and dramatic mountains. The bajadas are predominantly creosote bush-bur sage with creosote bush and the palo verde-cactus shrub ecosystems with the palo verde tree, cacti, and ocotillo. In the washes, Colorado/Sonoran microphylla woodlands can be found. These woodlands include such plants as smoke tree, velvet mesquite, and catclaw.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park has natural springs and oases, with the state's only native palm, the endangered California fan palm. Seasonal wildflower displays can be stunning. The high-country to the north and east has closed-cone pine forests, manzanitas, and oak woodlands.

The oases are prolific with all types of fauna, especially for bird-watching. Throughout the park, visitors may see kit foxes, mule deer, coyotes, greater roadrunners, golden eagles, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, and prairie falcons. In the reptile class, desert iguanas, chuckwallas, and the red diamond rattlesnakes can be seen. Some areas of the park are habitat for bighorn sheep, however, few park visitors see them.

Borrego Springs has a quaint small town environment. Our impression is the town is a haven for senior citizens who spend the winters there. We had dinner at Pablito’s Mexican Bar. Despite the temperature being in the high 90s, we selected a dining table in the open-air section of the restaurant. It was quite comfortable and the food was delicious.

Camping Fee: $35.00 ($33.00 for seniors over 62 years)
Camping Site: 43

Total miles traveled today: 75
Route Traveled:
South on California Highway 195
South on Calfornia Highway 86
West on California County Highway S22 to Anza-Borrego State Park

Tomorrow another adventure begins.