When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

2020 Travels

I left off with 2019 in Las Cruces, NM. From there we went to Tucson, AZ.  But for now it is still 2019 as we move into the winter. We rented a space in a private, gated RV community. All the spaces are bought by the RV owner and pay dues to the association that takes care of the grounds, including the pools, clubhouse, laundry, sports areas, landscaping, etc. Most of the spaces are filled with permanently set-up trailers. Some owners snowbird in motorhomes and have their space vacant at times. We rented one of those.

Our planned one month in Tucson and a month in Mexico was changed to two months in Tucson. The reason? The cost of insurance to take our rig into Mexico. If we wanted full coverage it would cost just over one thousand dollars for full coverage. Just liability was less than two hundred. We have been to Mexico more than once and just done liability coverage. But the rig is new and it is our only home so we were not willing to chance wrecking it and having to foot the repairs ourselves. That would have been the case no matter who’s fault it was. Most Mexicans don’t carry insurance and getting one to pay for damage to us would be impossible.

Tucson is near several Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) local chapters. We joined them for meetings and rides. But I don’t seem to have any pictures of these events.

Near Tucson is Mt. Lemmon. This is the view from our rented space. It rises about 5,000 feet (1.500 m) above Tucson and actually has a ski area. The road up is nearly 25 miles (40 km) in length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went up the mountain twice. Once before the snow storm shown above and once after. Both times the road was clear and the ski area was in use. The vegetation changes from Saguaro cactus and rock to woody brush to hardwoods to Fir forest and then Pine forest topping out at about 8,000 feet (2.400 m). On the right, Tucson is in the distance. There are several of these mountains that are scattered across Arizona. They call them “Sky Islands” and give locals a breath of cooler air in the heat of summer. There are lots of cabins, campgrounds and a few cafes in the Pine forest of Mt. Lemmon. That is the ski area to the left. It is not much by the standards of other states but this is in the Sonora Desert.

 

We made an overnight run while there to the towns of  Bisbee and Tombstone. The Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Park is where we spent the night.

This was planned as a bike run but again predicted rain and wind made us take the car. We wandered the streets, looked at junk (antique) shops, had beer at the local craft brewery and wasted the days.

Back home Kathy went to a museum of miniature houses. She spent several hours there while I did rig maintenance. Notice the bikers to the right.

 

 

 

A little to the west of Tucson is “Old Tucson”. It is supposedly a movie set and did have westerns filmed there in the past but has not had much done there in many years. Today it is a tourist attraction. Kathy panned for gold. But unlike her panning in Australia’s western town she only found fool’s gold. Which I suppose is right. Fake gold in a fake town! (Australia’s western town was a collection of real buildings that had been moved to the property.)

 

We also watched the Can-Can show, the stunt fight and the shootout. They did have decent food and beer but from a limited menu. We probably got our $20 entrance fee out of the day.

Several days we went to the movies. There were several new, modern theaters in town that had $4 first run movies on “Senior Wednesday”. “Bargain Tuesday” was only $5. This picture shows the seating. Plush recliners with tables. Craft beer and pub food was delivered to your seat at normal prices. I wish they would build some in the Northwest and give the locals a run for their money.

 

Tucson has a strong craft beer scene and we enjoyed that on may occasions as we explored the local area. A nearby bar had 30-40 HD TV’s scattered around the room and displayed every football game. No matter your home team, you could find it on one of their screens. We spent several Sundays there watching our Seattle Seahawks.

South of Tucson is part of the old Mission Trail. This is San Xavier, just one of the many churches founded in the 16 and 1700’s by the Spanish Missionaries coming up from Mexico. As you can see it was never finished, the right tower needs a top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inside is the usual conglomeration of art typical of Catholic churches. It can be overpowering looking at all the rich and expensive work. I think I have mentioned it before but if the Catholic church put as much money into the health and education of its members as it does into the buildings and ceremonies everyone would be better off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made a run to another of the “Sky Islands”, this one named Kitt Peak. It is the home of many star gazing observatories.

Again we did it in the car because of the weather, sunny but cold. The angled one to the left is a sun observatory and the angled part extends a couple hundred feet underground. It has a mechanism to reflect the sun down the angle to the cameras.

 

 

 

Most are telescopes of one sort or another. This one is huge. The blue part is the mount for the telescope which is pointing up. You can see the handrails on the mount for the workers to hold. That give an idea of the size.

 

 

 

 

 

Tucson was fun and we’ll probably go back again someday. We left Tucson to go back to the desert near Quartzite, AZ. Last year we were here for the “Newmar Gathering in the Desert”. This is a get-together of owners of Newmar RV’s. There is talk, food, vendor sales spiels and fun. It is held here and now because there is a huge tent set up near town that has hundreds of RV related vendors selling all sorts of stuff, needed or not, for your rig. There are thousands of RV’s of many brands parked all over the desert for many miles around. This is a big event and our brand is not the only one having get-togethers. There are also many dealers here with rigs to sell.

 

 

The rig pictured to the left in not for sale. I thought it was interesting because it has two engines. It looks like two scooters were used to make it. I assume the owner has a wheel chair. The license plate is from Oklahoma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of January we moved to Ehrenberg, AZ. A move of about 20 miles to the Colorado River on the border with California. We are staying in an “RV Resort”. There were some nice amenities, like the sunsets from the bonfire area on the Colorado River beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also a nice pool which is heated and open all winter. I spent most days getting some exercise in it. I am supposed to get my right hip replaced on April 3rd. The doctor doesn’t want me sitting around getting fat so I’m doing laps in the pool because walking is painful.

We’re not doing any bike rides around here. From the Quartzite area there are only four paved roads. They go north, south, east and west. North and south are two lane, east and west are Interstate freeway. Each goes at least 50 miles before the first curve. This is not road bike country. If you are into off-road riding there are lots of trails and dirt tracks to pursue.

 

 

While in this area we take a run, again in the car, down to Los Algodones in Mexico. This town is famous for its low-cost and high-quality dentistry. The best way to see it is to park in the big lot on the Indian reservation and walk across the border. The narrow streets are lined with souvenir shops and booths. But the real attraction is the hundreds of dentists and oral surgeons. We’ve been told the work is very good but I have no idea how I would pick one from all the rest. We had lunch in this plaza cafe. There were dozens of these sales people, this one has jewelry, wandering around the tables selling cigars, metalwork, woodwork, shirts, shopping bags, and many other items. The food was good too.

 

 

For March we moved to Pahrump, NV which is west of Las Vegas near Death Valley. This is another resort, but I use the term loosely. It has nicer spaces, they’re paved and have nice trees around. But the pool is unheated, the cafe is closed and the clubhouse is closed. While here we make a day run to the Death Valley Brewing Company. It is loop run of about a 100 miles (160 km).

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are there two weeks when the doctor calls and says he needs to see me two weeks before the surgery, March 20th. We check out and check the weather for travel routes. By far the shortest route is north through Reno and on northwest into Eastern Oregon and then northwest to home near Portland. This runs through the mountains of northern California and Oregon. Next best is north to Reno and west on I-80 over Donner Pass to I-5 and north to home. But mother nature has a bad storm coming in and all those passes will be snowbound. So we head southwest toward Bakersfield in Southern California and then north on Hwy 99 to Sacramento and then I-5 to home. We get to the mountains on the California/Oregon border and the California Highway Patrol has the freeway blocked and are requiring rigs to have tire chains to proceed on north. While stuck in traffic I looked at the online highway cameras on my phone and saw that the roads are only bare and wet all the way over the mountains and into Oregon.

We have chains for the rig because both Washington and Oregon require them to be carried over any of the mountain passes during the winter months, whether they might be needed or not. No matter the weather.

California should have required them last year rather than this year. This is out our windshield when we came home on a different road through the same mountains in 2019. It was far worse than 2020.

Well, that gets us home on the 18th. My appointment for the pre-surgery meeting is the 20th. On the 19th the doctor calls and says the surgery has been put off  “until further notice” because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So we are sitting home doing nothing waiting for the call. All of my exercise in the pool has gone to waste. I’m too sore to walk far.

We have been home for almost two months now. The only good thing is that it does not hurt more to ride than to sit home. So I’ve going on day rides with the other members of the club.

 

 

Here are some of the groups and places we went. It is easy to maintain our “social distancing” when on the bikes.

 

 

 

 

We had, past tense, had plans to ride in Europe this fall. We had reservations at the Treffen (European motorcycle rally) in Turkey but they have been canceled. We are now making tentative plans for a trip to Europe in the spring, including Turkey, but not including the Treffen, which is only in the fall.

 

 

 

 

We want things to open up but we don’t want to see the doctor because we did it too soon. My hip surgery will be enough trips to the doctor.

There probably won’t be any more updates until after my hip surgery. The recovery time is supposed to be 6 weeks. Until the surgery I’ll just keep on riding with our friends.

Check back in the fall.

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