When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

2022 - Back in the USA

When we left Europe in November of 2021 we arrived home in Vancouver, WA to the usual rain and clouds. We took care of some issues and loaded up the RV, the car, the trailer with the GoldWing and headed south. We made a direct run through Oregon and California to Arizona. We have reservations at the WinterHaven RV Resort for the winter. We arrived on December first and quickly set up and relaxed in the sun and blue skies.

 

We have been in Tucson during the winter before. We have tried out several RV places and like this one the best. It is not as close to downtown and the business areas as some others but it is quieter and we don’t have to join the rush hours. We can go out at a time that suits us. And the space we have been given is wide and easily accommodates all our vehicles; Motorhome, trailer, GoldWing and car. Normally the bike would be on the red paver stones in the picture above.

One of the local chapters of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) does weekly rides to lunch places. I am used to this because back in Vancouver our home chapter does the same thing. This is usually just the guys that ride but the gals are invited too. More of the gals ride in Tucson than in Vancouver. Both groups include others than GoldWings, Harley’s and TransAm’s come along too. If you ride you’re welcome.

To the right is a run to Sonoita and the Copper Brothel Brewery for lunch. It is south of Tucson.

Below is the Saguaro National Park to the west of Tucson. We were coming back from the Marana Stockyards Cafe to the northwest of Tucson.

 

The tall cacti are the Saguaros.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucson has some interesting and unusual sites to visit,

North of town is the Biosphere 2. This is an enclosed “greenhouse” designed for humans to practice living in an enclosed environment that could replicate living on another planet. (Biosphere 1 is the Planet Earth.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the day exploring. The main greenery area is to the left, the tower complex is the “living quarters” and the dome is a “lung” designed to move air in and out as the day and seasonal heating and cooling require.

It was built back in the late 80’s of the 20th century and has not had human inhabitants for many years. It is getting overgrown because it has not had proper trimming and maintenance since they left. The trees and bushes have gone wild. It is now run by the University of Arizona in Tucson as a conference center as well as doing tours. I don’t know if science experiments are still being done.

We did a lunch run on our own and had intended to ride the eastern part of Saguaro N.P. but the bike wouldn’t start after lunch. We had to call a wrecker. I had requested a flatbed wrecker saying it was a motorcycle. This is what showed up. He claimed he could take it on the boom that normally lifted a car’s front tires. The driver was obviously a biker, so we let him do it. It worked out fine but looked strange. I showed him where to fasten the tie down straps on the Wing. The same place where we do it when putting it on our trailer.

 

 

 

We went to a couple of craft brewery events celebrating various beer styles. Each was held outdoors in January or February and it was t-shirt weather with the sun out and temperatures in the mid-70’s to low-80’s F. (24-28 C) Meanwhile back in Washington state they are fighting cold rain and snow.

 

Another site to visit is the PIMA Air and Space Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has 5 or 6 large hanger-like buildings filled with various aircraft. Some are famous and some are common. Each has a history written out on a placard. There are also interactive displays.

Outside are several hundred acres of parked airplanes. Again some are famous and some are common. None of them can be entered but you’re free to explore on your own or ride a tram with a guide, for an extra fee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In mid-March we took a nearly 600 mile trip done over three days on the Wing. We left Tucson eastbound on the freeway for a couple hours and then turned north. We spent the night in Clifton at the refurbished Clifton Hotel. It was built in 1890 and saw time as several different businesses over the years. It was flooded and abandoned in the 1970’s. In 2017 a couple bought it and are turning it into a nice place. The original 20 rooms are now 8 suites. Ours had 3 rooms and the bath had a large tiled walk-in shower.

The next morning we headed north through nearby Morenci on US 191. This used to be US 666 until everybody started calling it “The Devil’s Highway”. Then they changed the name. (There is a YouTube video.)

It climbs from brown desert brush to green Ponderosa Pine forest at around 7-8,000 ft. (2.2-2.400 m).

The road twisted and turned just fine.

We took a couple breaks and eventually made it to Alpine.

After a long break in Alpine we turned northwest and worked our way towards Show Low, AZ.

After we climbed to over 9,000’ (2.700 m.) we found snow on the sides and a very cold wind blowing off of it. We were sure glad to get to Show Low. Supposedly the town was named after the revealing of cards in a poker game.

 

From there we lost elevation until the bottom of the Salt River canyon as we headed west. The road was fairly straight and even until we got to the canyon. We continued on and through the town of Globe to Superior where we had lunch.

A few miles before we entered Superior we were traveling along the bottom of a rock gorge with some interesting columns. (YouTube video)

 

 

 

 

The last event we attended in Tucson was the Spring Fair. We had done the Winter Fair in early December shortly after we arrived. The fairs are set up down the middle of 4th Ave., for about six blocks. It is filled with booths selling everything and anything, just about. Mostly hand crafts, but also some “Chinese Junk” that was not very cleverly disguised as hand crafts. There were lots of food booths set off on the cross streets. And the local political campaigns were out with their ballot signature gatherers. (In the USA, citizens can get potential laws created by gathering a certain number of signatures. This then puts their idea for a law on an election ballot for the all the citizens to vote on it.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have had a good time in Tucson. We spent four months there this time. April 2nd is our day to head back home. We are taking the scenic route. We have things to see and do over the next 3 months. We will be camping out at a race track, on the beach, in state parks, parking lots, cities, mountains, woods and prairies. Some will be in primitive places with no hookups, others will be resort-like in style.

Our first stop is at the “City of Rocks State Park” in New Mexico. Then it is on the the “Circuit of the Americas” racetrack in Austin, TX for the MotoGP race (we have a campsite at the track). After that we go to the Texas hill country for some riding fun followed by a resort in San Antonio and dinner along the river. This is before we go to the Padre Island beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

My next update (Texas Fun) should be in late April or early May.