We have stayed at the Rincon West campground in Tucson for two months this winter. It’s the longest we have stayed anywhere and it would be easy to stay on. I can feel myself falling happily into a rut. Many folks arrive in the fall and don’t leave until April. Some leave their rigs here year round and fly in and out; the airport is nearby. The newspaper is delivered to our door every day. If you need to mail a birthday card you can do it here - no searching for a mail box. We have our own mailbox and don’t have to plan ahead for when we will be in the next spot long enough to get mail from home forwarded. If we need propane a truck stops by and fills us up. The water pressure is good; the electricity reliable. These are not things we take for granted in campgrounds. A great movie theater is 15 minutes away; a variety of grocery stores are nearby. We can ride out the back gate to a bike trail or drive a short way to hike in the desert. Tucson is a university town which means that cultural events like theater and concerts are always available. There are so many appealing things to do, it was hard to fit them all into the calendar.
We are beginning to feel like natives and no longer rely on the GPS every time we head out of the bubble that is our campground. Even after two months we have not done all the things outside the campground that we planned to do. And there is always so much going on in the bubble, days can go by without putting the keys in the ignition. Doubtless our feelings about our stay are colored by the amazing weather we have had this winter. The jet stream that has brought so much snow and bitter cold to much of the country, has brought unusually warm and dry conditions here. Occasionally the sky has become somewhat overcast and at home we would expect rain with this sort of gray sky, but here it is so dry, the moisture in the clouds evaporates long before it hits the ground. If I was a rancher I would be worried, but for visitors conditions have been ideal.
It has taken us two months to begin to form relationships with some fellow campers. Ken has found birds of a feather with the digital imaging and Mac groups and there are a number of people in the Monday bike group that also play pickle ball. It’s nice to go to the lodge for the BBQ dinner and find familiar faces to chat with while we eat. We’ve enjoyed the low key approach to exercise here. People of all skill levels mix together and come and go as time allows. There are no rigid teams and time schedules, at least in the activities that appeal to us. An affordable public golf course is near by. The swimming pool is beautiful and a perfect temperature.
I enjoyed the lapidary classes I took and have bought the materials to make another, more complex necklace. This is a great hobby to have in the small confines of the motor home. If we had more time I would try out the quilting and stained glass classes. People here are very willing to share what they know. If we stayed longer I would have joined the choir which will hold its concert next month. For the most part our fellow campers have been “our” kind of people. They are well traveled, well educated and fairly liberal. Even after a few rounds at wine tasting, we feel comfortable saying what is really on our minds without offending someone.
We (mostly Ken) have gotten a lot of home maintenance projects done here. We’ve stayed in campgrounds where they strictly forbid such activities and it’s hard to get things done at home where we can only park on our street for 24 hours. Many of our projects have been interior and we’ve tried to be tidy when we’ve worked outside. We’ve stripped all the damaged Diamond Shield off the front, a 30 - 40 hour job, and people stop by to tell us how great it looks now. We waxed the motor home and the Jeep. Ken laid new coaxial cable on the roof for the over the air TV antenna and replaced the signal aiming device that also gave out. With a little outside help, he got the satellite dish going once again and we will have internet and HD TV no matter where we travel next. We have replaced the four house batteries that run everything but the engine. Each one weighed 65 pounds and we had to take the old ones back to the store for recycling. Hard work for geezers!
The desk top computer went berserk and the fan ran nonstop. The Apple store and a free repair were only half an hour drive away. The printer no longer printed the color pink. There were as many stores where we could buy a new one near by as there are at home. The inside of the motor home is cleaner than it has been in years. A bleach drip on the floor tile made us realize that the buff color that hides a multitude of sins, had been hiding a multitude of sins. Scrubbing on our hands and knees revealed the true color of the tile, which we had not seen in forever. We took all the screens out and rinsed off the dust and vegetation gathered there. Ken buffed out the damage caused by ultraviolet light on the headlights and coated them so they won’t turn yellow again soon. The hub cabs are gleaming once again.
Some projects have been more light hearted. A new strip of colored mini lights is mounted under the coach and can change colors and flashing patterns with a switch of the remote control. The dashboard bus god Ken admired on our trip to India is attached and flashes its colorful blessings as needed. All we need is a sparkling disco ball.
Someday staying put will be our only choice, so it’s time to hit the road and see more of Arizona while we still can. It would be nice to start easing our way toward home, but we don’t have to go far to run into the snow that falls incessantly, this winter so we’ll stick to the desert and sunshine a while longer.