Tucson Arizona The Presidio District

Leaving our camp site at Gilbert Ray we decided to explore the city of Tucson. Where to start, its a very historic town with tons of Artisans and unforgettable restaurants. My husband knowing me well had spoken with the camp host who directed us to the best farmers market in Tucson, right down my ally for sure. The farmers market was spectacular with Artisans with pottery, hand woven rugs, art and amazing food, so much fun. Next we headed downtown.

As we parked our large truck in a legal parking spot we spotted a costumed Spanish soldier walking and asked about his costume. It turns out we were right next to the Presidio San Agustin Del Tucson Museum and the most northerly spanish fort. Today happened to be living history day and there was lots of action going on from soldiers shooting muskets to cannon fire. The volunteers were dressed in period costume and some making some great tasting homemade tortillas,cactus jams. salsas and soups with plenty to sample. A priest toured us around the fort with lots of information about life in the time period. We even got to view a 2000 year old Native American pit house.

Our next exploration was to find the beginning of The Turquoise Trail and great luck it began outside the walls of the FORT. We picked up a self guided brochure at the Presidio Museum and proceeded to walk the 2.5-mile loop trail through downtown Tucson. The trail highlights structures and sites of historic interest and is marked by a turquoise stripe on the sidewalk.

We would highly recommend visiting downtown Tucson if you are in the neighborhood, so fun and informative.

On our walk on the Turquoise Trail Jeff just happened to find a sampling of yes Organic Gelato and I have to say was outstanding.

Just A Sample

See You Next time from JUST AROUND THE BEND

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CHEERS

Gilbert Ray Campground Arizona

Sometimes on our snow bird explorations we find a hidden gem and Gilbert Ray Campground ticks all of the boxes.

Bordering Saguaro National Park and a mier mile from Old Tucson Movie Studio Theme Park is Tucson Mountain Park which included in that park is Gilbert Ray Campground. Located 13 miles from Tucson, Gilbert Ray has 130 RV sites with individual electric hook-ups and 5 designated tent sites.. Water is available and a RV dump station. NO shower facilities. RESERVATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

The fees are $20.00 a night and a maximum stay of 7 days only. The trick to getting a spot as this is a very popular campground with no reservations accepted is to get there early in the morning, I’d say 7am, yes I said 7 am is best. Its worth it as you will definitely want to stay longer as there is so much to see and do in the surrounding area.

Some of the sites are pretty small, but as you check in they ask the size of your RV and select an appropriate size site for you. No favoritism here you get what they choose.

Tucson Mountain Park has a lot of maintained trails and vista pullouts for spectacular views of the Sonoran desert with plenty of pullouts for vehicles. This particular year was abundant with rainfall and the cactus were blooming profusely. In all of the years we have explored the desert we have never seen so much beauty.

Next Stop The Channel Islands Please Join Us On Our Journey

JUST AROUND THE BEND JEFF AND LIZ

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DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK ARIZONA

Another fabulous State Park that is kept in great shape. Clean restrooms that are literally heated, free hot showers and clean, clean, clean. Sites are swept and tables are washed off as soon as it is vacated. The upper loops are $5.00 a night cheaper with great views of the Verde Valley. Quail loop campground was $35.00 a night, the upper loops $30.00 with spectacular views and less trees which make a difference in the warmer weather. Well that’s what the Ranger said anyway. . There are extensive trail systems for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You are miles from Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood, Flagstaff and Clarksville. There is so much to see and do in the surrounding areas this campground makes for a great base camp.

The first day we visited Tuzigoot National Monument – Indian Ruins and Petroglyphs including a spectacular museum.

Montezuma’s Well WAS NEXT ON OUR LIST-more spectacular Indian ruins

Sedona Valley scenic byway was a beautiful drive with views and snow on the ground.

ALL ABOARD A FUN AND INTERACTIVE TRAIN RIDE

Like I said 2 weeks was probably not enough to see it all but we gave it a good try. In addition we visited Jerome and had a fabulous meal in a bordello called THE BORDELLO OF JEROME . The gyros were highly recommended and fantastic. The cook and owner made everything from scratch including the tzatziki sauce, pita bread and amazing feta crumbles, The lamb/beef mixture was non greasy and fantastic. We also roamed the streets of Cottonwood with lovely eclectic shops and a great BBQ restaurant called HOG WILD BBQ, I know the name is wild, ha but the food was outstanding.

Out next adventure takes us to Gilbert Ray Campground near Tucson AZ – see ya there CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ

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LAKE MEAD AND BOULDER CITY ARIZONA AND NEVADA

Boulder City was not what we expected. I thought dry, hot desert, nothing to explore, BORING, well that was not the case. I didn’t realize that a mire 4 miles from Boulder City was Hoover Dam and the expansion bridge which went across The Colorado river was incredible. After the Highway bypass was finished the cities staff went to work revitalizing the town and they did a great job. New bike paths, parks, and a nostalgic downtown with original neon signs. Boulder is one of the few Nevada cities that gambling and prostitution is illegal. This puts a relaxed persona on the town. There was a art and wine tour with live music downtown when we were visiting in February. The park on the way down to Lake Mead has resident Mountain Sheep hanging out in the park for great photo opportunities. We stayed 2 nights at the Elks Lodge RV park with Full hookups for members only. We moved over to Boulder Campground which is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area ran by the National Park Service.The very scenic sites were 10 dollars a night for senior pass holders and 20 dollars for young folks. There is 2 more campgrounds on the Nevada side and more on the Arizona side of the Lake. There is also some dispersed sites on the lake for free BLM camping. A plus to the campground is a 38 mile paved bike loop which goes along the lake, up towards Henderson and loops back to Boulder City. We had fun in the city and the Hoover dam was fascinating. We were reminded of the Selma Hayek movie Fools Rush In. Boulder won our hearts with great people and a fun nostalgic town. We will be back.

Until our next Adventure CHEERS FROM JEFF AND lIZ AT JUSTAROUNDTHEBEND.BLOG

You are probably wondering where are these Nomads headed to next – Well its to DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK SEE YOU THERE!!!!

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ALABAMA HILLS CALIFORNIA

THE ALABAMA  HILLS

This destination has been on our bucket list for some time, now that we have arrived it is has been well worth the very scenic drive. Alabama Hills is BLM land, with wide open spaces and very large rock formations that look like they could come alive at any minute. Over 400 motion pictures, TV shows and commercials have been filmed here.  Ironically as you enter the area, the roadways name is  movie road. You can obtain a detailed map at the Eastern Sierra Mountain Visitors Center. 

There is a selected few dry camping spots as the BLM is re thinking the usage of the area and in the future may eliminate the free camping. This is due to heavy usage and the destruction of the plants and land. There is two designated camping sites with fees and not much amenities.

Located in the city of Lone Pine, The Museum of Western Film History is worth a stop. For a $5.00 donation the museum includes a history documentary on the film history of the Alabama hills and over 40 on going exhibits containing memorabilia and information about westerns from the earliest days of the silent screen to some of the latest. The staff also offer tours of the Alabama Hills showing you special film locations.

Next stop 15 miles up the roadway is a Internment Camp Museum called MANZANAR. Extremely well presented with actual buildings you can tour and artifacts that humble you. This is a national historic site. Give yourself at least two hours for touring the museum and camp. There is also a drive around the perimeter of the camp with stops along the way. A must see.

Please join us on our next adventure at Death Valley California

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

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Grand Teton National Park

Words haven’t been designed to explain the beauty of the Tetons. We have traveled to a lot of amazing National Parks, for this one Jeff and Liz are finally out of words to describe.

We left Phillips Lake campground where if you remember we met up with are goods friends and camped. Jeff with his traveling brilliance came up with a great idea of since we were already halfway to The Grand Tetons, why not just head that way. Long story short we did just that and now here we are camping at Gros Ventre Campground – site B99, just spectacular. At $15.00 a night (golden age pass) we stayed for a glorious 13 days. Now this is dry camping, so our solar really came in handy as the nights got down into the high thirties. But the views from every angle were priceless. Gros Ventre is just yards from the Snake River and sometimes inches from Bull Moose. Gros Ventre Campground has over 300 first come, first serve sites with one loop of full hookup ,one for employees only, one tent only no generators and one group Loop. Always Remember National Parks have strict rules on pets so check regulations before you come. BE BEAR AWARE. Bring bear spray and carry it at all times. It is much cheaper to buy at home than in the Tetons.

So much to do, the pristine bike trails are a must and kayaking the many lakes as well as the Snake River will leave you with endless memories. A word to the wise..hit the lakes and trailheads early which means by 8 am.Those happy campers can clog a parking lot like a bird getting the early worm. You can find yourself parking on the road side where allowed and hiking an extra mile or more to the trailhead parking lot. Also the best photo opportunities of nature and wildlife are early. Moose and Bears are not much for luncheons. Our Bull Moose showed up at 5:30 am by our campground and left by 7:00 am for the river wilds.

If you get burnt out of nature things to do there is always the town of Jackson to explore.You can shop, eat and drink to your heats content. Jackson is very popular, traffic and parking are a challenge. We did find some great Bakeries, Ice cream and really enjoyed Snake River Brewery which had a lot of healthy choices of pub food which we found to be much better than our local Bend Oregon Breweries. The town also has numerous Art Galleries and Museums.

Until our next adventure – CHEERS from JUST AROUND THE BEND _ Jeff and Liz

Yosemite National Park California USA

 

 

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It’s the end of February 2018 in Yosemite National Park, usually the weather is freezing cold, windy and lots of snow on the ground. For some unseasonably reason this particular day  is zero wind, 72 degrees and literally has a hand full of tourists exploring this extraordinary valley..  This was an especially great day (aside from the weather being perfect) because our granddaughter Kiley and our daughter Sarah joined us. We packed a yummy lunch and lots of iced tea and spent the day hiking the beautifully groomed trails to scenic waterways and waterfalls.

Yosemite National Park offers an abundance of activities and sightseeing destinations. The Valley is a 7 mile wide canyon with incredible rock formations, including El Capitan, the world’s tallest granite monolith and one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations. Yosemite Falls is the largest waterfall in North America with breathtaking views. Peak visitation at the falls is in the spring as it is comprised entirely of melting snow. The park is also known for its Giant Sequoia trees, which are estimated to be over 3,000 years old. Its a must see, if you want to camp make reservations super early as the demand is high. People have enjoyed the tradition of camping in Yosemite for generations. However, getting a campsite in Yosemite is not always easy.

Campground Reservations. Recreation.gov . RV Camping. Pines Campgrounds. Camp 4. WawonaBridalveil CreekHodgdon MeadowCrane FlatTamarack FlatWhite Wolf. Yosemite Creek. Porcupine Flat. Tuolumne Meadows. There are also first come first serve sites available, but you must get there early.

There is such an abundance of things to do in Yosemite one day just isn’t enough.

Fishing, Biking, Hiking, Gold Panning, Arts and Culture, Spas, Breweries and extraordinary guided tours. Oh don’t forget rock climbing, golf, Rafting, Horseback Riding, Zip Lining, fine dining to  Pizza and good old burgers are also abundant.

Hope to see you on the trail and hope you visit Yosemite National Park Soon.

Cheers from Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥♥liz-logo-1

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Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Is A Must Visit

Better start early for this sonoran experience, winter is the best time to visit as the temperatures are a perfect 65ish degrees. We packed a lunch, cameras, water bottles and good hiking boots and literally spent all day exploring,  joining all of the free seminars. The bird presentation was amazing – Raptor Free Flight (seasonal), where visitors watch from the flight path as native birds of prey whiz by so close visitors can feel the brush of feathers. There are two presentations daily and each demonstrates different birds. One program showcases Harris’ Hawks, the only raptors in the world that hunt as a family group using strategy, like wolves.

The snake and reptile program scared me to death, with rattlesnakes  20 feet away yikes. There are three live animal presentations: Live and (sort of) on the Loose, showcasing often-misunderstood venomous reptiles

  • A visit will forever alter your definition of the museum as 85% of what you will experience is outdoors.
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  • The grounds are comprised of 97 acres of which 47 are developed and curated; there are two miles of walking paths, 16 individual gardens, 1,200 native plant species and 56,000 individual plants.
  • The animal collection currently includes 230 native mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds including a multi-species hummingbird aviary.
  • The Museum includes an Earth Sciences Center which recreates an underground cave, complete with stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Refillable water bottle stations and fountains are located throughout the grounds.
  • Dispensers with complimentary sunscreen are located in most restrooms.
  • The museum is open daily, year-round; hours vary by season. On Summer Saturday evenings the Museum is open until 10:00 p.m. with themed programs especially for families after 6 p.m.
  • Most demonstrations, live animal presentations and primary exhibits are included in the admission price.
  • The Museum is located 14 miles west of Tucson in Tucson Mountain Park at 2021 N. Kinney Rd. just 2 miles from Saguaro National Park (West) Visitors Center.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Arizona

Squeaky wooden floors greet your entry into the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. Hubbell’s mercantile has been serving Ganado selling groceries, grain, hardware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878.

Discover Hubbell Trading Post NHS, where history is made every day a National historic site on Highway 191, north of Chambers, with an exhibit center in Ganado, Arizona. It is considered a meeting ground of two cultures between the Navajo and the settlers who came to the area to trade. It truly takes you back in time. A lovely visitors center with a interesting tour of the original Hubbell Farm House. Definitely worth a stop, with plenty of RV parking, picnic tables and clean restrooms.

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Until Our Next Adventure Cheers From Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥

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Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
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Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point