After a week in a campground near downtown Tucson, we drove a short thirty miles to Gilbert Ray Campground. The county campground sits in the “Tucson Mountains” and is adjacent to the western side of Saguaro National Park. Prime season hadn’t begun in the campground and it was only about one-third full so we had our pick of sites. We were here two years ago during peak season and I didn’t enjoy our stay. It was just too crowded with the park filled to capacity every day we were there. However, off-season is another story.
The park was quiet and felt isolated and miles from the city even though Tucson is just over the hill. After a week of Tucson’s hustle and bustle it was nice to be in a campground that was quiet and peaceful.
We enjoyed several desert hikes including one with our friends Kevin and Janie who drove up from Rio Rico for a visit. We hadn’t seen them in over a year and it was good to catch up with them.
After seven days in the park, we are now at the Pima County Fairgrounds which is on the eastern side of Tucson and only 35 miles from Benson. We’re here for two days. So why stop here, you might ask? Well, the fairground is close to a section of “The Loop” which is the bike trail that circles Tucson. So after we got setup, we drove to the nearby trailhead for a short ride and I am glad we did. As with the two other rides on western portion of “The Loop,” in Tucson, the trail surface was excellent but the scenery was much better. We’re also using the stop to restock our kitchen. Benson has a Walmart but if you’ve shopped there you know that fruits, vegetables and meats aren’t the best.
On Saturday, we’ll head back to Benson. Weather-wise, we are in for a shock. A cold front is moving in so we’ll go from night-time temperatures in the 40s in the Tucson area to temperatures ranging from 21-25 degrees for the next four days. Got polartec?