Our drive from Yuma to Tucson brought us back to the land of the Saguaro Cacti and as we started seeing the giants of the Sonoran Desert we knew we were getting close to our winter home.
With Bob and Ann meeting us at the office (so that we could use their truck to put our trailer in storage) it felt great being greeted with a 2 big hugs! After checking in we drove past Greg and Trisha’s and were greeted with a wave and a big smile, later we went for a walk and were greeted with even more welcome hugs from Doreen and Kathy. What a great way to be welcomed to our winter home!
After spending last December and January in Tucson we wanted to see what the weather was like in February and March, so of course the winter of 2018/19 got off to a very cool start with temperatures well below normal. This trend unfortunately continued into February, 6 days after we arrived it started raining in the evening and overnight it turned to snow!!
By noon we had almost 10 cm of snow on our outside table, what a sight that was! There was a lot of grumbling going on as people walked around to see the snow on the cacti, but when the sun came out, the surrounding Rincon and Catalina Mountains looked absolutely beautiful! It was as if we had brought the Canadian Rockies down to Tucson for a week!
We arrived just in time to catch the wonderful “bug” that was being passed around the park. We are not sure if it was a cold or just a very bad cough, but it knocked June down for about 10 days. The cough stuck around for another 6 weeks, but she was able to at least get out and do stuff.
We expected to be busy this winter, and boy were we!!! With February in Tucson being Gem Show month, June and Ann went for an afternoon to check out the stones, gems and minerals, as well as jewelry and clothes in the mix. Then we had court side seats for the University of Arizona Ladies Basketball game we had made plans with Bob and Ann to go and cheer on the Wildcat ladies. With June still sick she stayed home so Larry went with an excited Ann and a very tentative Bob to the game. With an exciting victory by Arizona we have converted Bob into a basketball fan!
In a way it was probably a good thing the weather was cold and not great for cycling and hiking like we had thought it would be. This allowed us to fit other things into our schedule like pickleball and bocce.
It was also a good Pickleball month. With the cooler temperatures the sun made the courts a perfect temperature to play some very competitive games. June also found the fun in the game and would come and play a couple times a week. February pickleball was topped off with a friendly tournament which Larry came out on top!
Sports and outdoors was not the only thing on our agenda. Greg and Trisha had invited us to go to the Tucson Symphony to hear the symphony play tribute to the rock band, The Eagles. This sounded like a wonderful idea and with it being a Sunday afternoon concert dinner after was a must. Then a couple days before the concert it was announced that The Eagles wanted $10K per song as a royalty so instead of The Eagles they planned to use the Led Zeppelin music instead. It turned out to be an amazing afternoon and then a wonderful dinner at El Charro Café. Another amazing musical event that Bob and Ann invited us to was a night out at the old Fox Theatre in Tucson to hear the US Air Force Brass Ensemble perform. The show started out with a bang when the band came marching in from the back of the auditorium to the music of When the Saints Come Marching In. It was a very powerful show!
With Bob, Ann, Bear and Wags only overlapping with us for one month we had to fit in lots of time for our furry friends. June even got to dog sit a couple of times. Since they are members of the Lapidary shop we had a couple “crafting” days, June and Ann shaped stones and made jewelry while Bob and Larry built mountains!
Along with our friendships that we made in the park last year, we had the pleasure of meeting and making more this year! Since we were in a different section of the park this year we met a whole different set of people. On our one side we had Paul and Mar. Paul a fellow Harley rider and also an evil person who smoked ribs often on his new smoker, what a great smell!! On the other side we had Russ and Nancy and “our” new dog Roxie. Ok, Roxie belonged to Russ and Nancy but we were quite happy with bribing her with our dog treats and having her come and greet us every morning in our motorhome. Then across the street we had Terry and Terri and their dog, Shelby. Many parties to attend and lots of socializing was had!! It was fun getting to know them over the two months we were there.
We spent a lot of time also getting to know Michele and Manon, new friends from Quebec. Of course we fell in love with Jennie, their big black Newfoundland dog. With drinks and dinner shared, a star party and Karaoke we have some very fond memories of their stay in Rincon.
It was fun to have June’s brother and his wife, Peter and Dianne in Tucson at the same time. They escape the London, Ontario winters for almost two months and come to Tucson as well. They have many friends in the city and spent the first few weeks housesitting for one of them. The first two weeks of March they were in a park model in our park which we had booked for the month.
We had a nice afternoon outing up to Kitt Peak for a visit with Jim Scottie and the telescopes, followed up with dinner and then a sunset drive down the mountain, spectacular! We also took in some astronomy club meetings, lectures at the U of A, a drive up Mount Lemon to see the snow and a star party.
Some more musical cultural was when we enjoyed an afternoon at the Tucson Symphony to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Grand Canyon National Park, the music put to pictures of the Park was amazing!! A men’s basketball game at U of A was also enjoyed. Then a guys outing to go watch the Tucson Roadrunners hockey, the Arizona Coyotes AHL team, while the girls stayed home talking and watching movies, a win-win situation!!
Clare and Katie, our uncle and aunt, were in Tucson visiting friends of theirs so we had the pleasure of spending time with them as well. We had a nice afternoon at our place on our patio before heading downtown for some Mexican food and margaritas. Then another nice afternoon over at their park which was just 10 minutes away hanging with them and their friends. We are truly grateful for their friendship.
We also celebrated “cake week”. This started off with a 60th birthday party for our friend Toni. We had a dinner party at P&D’s park model where Toni and Charlie came over and for dessert we enjoyed a wonderful German Chocolate cake from Nadine’s Bakery.
Then a few nights later we went out to celebrate June’s birthday with a wonderful dinner at Café Poca Cosa with 6 of our close friends, which included a wonderful chocolate log cake, on the house, for everyone!
The next evening we went to the parks St. Patrick’s Day dance and dinner, which included cake again, as well as a KitKat cake that Larry had ordered the other week. This is more cake then we have eaten in the last 5 years!
With the departure of Peter and Dianne in the middle of March, it made room for our friends Leslie and Steve to arrive and move into the park model that they had been using. We spent a wonderful 2 weeks with them going to the 4th Street Fair, a Roadrunner’s hockey game, the Chiricahua National Monument, microbreweries, many restaurants and an amazing free Air Show!! (air show pictures at the bottom of post) It was so wonderful to see them and it was nice that they were here to help celebrate June’s birthday! We hope to have many more visits from them!
With so much going on and the weather being cool we still managed to get some riding in. One of our favourite rides in the area is what we call Pistol Hill. It is a nice 60+ kilometer ride that takes us out of town into the Rincon foothills and through the city of Vail before looping back home. We managed to do this a couple of times. The city is also known for its Loop Trail, a 95 kilometer “ring” bicycle road that goes around the city, which we have never done completely, so we were happy to do that this year. The loop drive in Saguaro East National Park has turned into our quick (40km) fun training ride which we did numerous times.
This is also the loop we do for a “full moon bicycle ride” which this year, turned into an absolutely spectacular sunset ride! Our final ride of the season in the park the day before we left we were about half way around when a young guy with a Canada cycling outfit on started to pass us. We started talking and rode about 4 kilometers with him. Turns out he was Vincent De Haitre, a two time Olympian for Canada in speed skating. Now he is on the Canadian Olympic cycling team training for the 2020 games in Tokyo. So, we cycled with an Olympian!!!
Our friends from Chula Vista and Borrego Springs ( John, Suzanne and Rio) arrived the last week of March. The weather had turned much warmer by then and the guys enjoyed playing pickleball and we enjoyed a lovely hike on Mount Wrightson and of course a nice dinner out! We hope to meet them many times “on the road”.
With April 1st fast approaching and the mass exodus of all the “snowbirds” about to happen, the park wraps up the season with a final dance. There is always a theme and this year it was the movie, Grease. With our costumes on we had a really fun evening with Greg, Trisha, Jeannine and Real. Starting with drinks at our place and then more at the dance. We then of course ended up at Jim and Kathy’s for year end drinks with them and a few other friends.
Somehow we managed to leave a day after everyone else left, so there were many good-byes to be said! We spent the last night all alone with no-one to see us off the day we left!! We decided to stay for 4 months on our next visit, and we can’t wait to be back!
Tucson Airshow 2019