Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Catching Up with Arizona Friends


We left Alamogordo on a beautiful sunny day and planned to travel to Willcox, AZ for a quick overnight before heading into Tucson to stay at Tra-Tel RV Park. When we called about staying overnight at the SKP park and found out they had no FHU spots for us due to an ongoing construction project, we opted to continue our journey and arrive in Tucson a day early. A quick call to Tra-Tel ensured we could arrive a day early, and we were on our way!

Our campsite in Tra-Tel RV Park in Tucson.

Tucson is one of those places RVers pass through all the time when heading west. It is right on Interstate 10 which is far enough south that snow and cold weather are rarely an issue and it's the perfect stopover for shopping and repairs. It's on our path to and from the ranch when we're staying in the west, but even if it weren't, we'd go out of our way to be there anyway. That's because our main goal in Tucson is to spend time with our dear friends Fred & Jo Wishnie.

As RVers tend to do, we "met" them through their travel blog, Wandering Wishnies, nearly a decade ago. They were fulltime RVers when we were still in the big ass house on Pine Lake (The BAH) dreaming of the day we could hit the road. In 2011, along with Laurie and Odel (from whom we adopted Scoopy!) and Margaret Wright, we finally met in person as they traveled to the Seattle area where we spent a very fun week together. Our fulltiming paths crossed only once. We spent two weeks with them at Usery Mountain State Park in Mesa, Arizona shortly after we hit the road in 2014. A few weeks later, after nine years on the road, Fred and Jo called it good and settled down in Tucson. Gee, was it something we said?? :)

We only had four nights in Tucson, but since we arrived a day early, I managed to get most of the shopping done the first day. With a couple of upcoming rallies, I wanted to hit Costco and Trader Joe's before heading out into the desert. With our time now free from chores, the Wishnies came over for Happy Hour and we made plans for the next couple of days, which included happy hour, two dinners out, two photography exhibits, a brewery, and Coq au Vin at the Wishnie's home. Here we got to hang with all four members of their pack, Boo Boo, Mimi, Coco and Monkey. Both Fred and Jo volunteer at the PIMA County Animal Shelter helping to find homes for dogs and cats, and they can't help but bring a few home for themselves. Since arriving in Tucson they have adopted three of their four dogs, but they swear that's their limit. We shall see. UPDATE: Number 5 just arrived – hi Lola! :)

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Jo in a cuddle puddle with the pack.        Fred makes his world famous Manhattans.

Fred and Linda walking and chatting in downtown Tucson

Having drinks at Pueblo Vida Brewing Company in downtown Tucson.

During our stay in Tucson, Steven took time out for a photography trip to the San Xavier del Bac Mission. He was inspired to try to emulate yet another Ansel Adams photograph (you may remember he did that in Big Bend also). Although a big ugly cactus has since taken root, things have not changed all that much and he was quite pleased to get close to the original photo :)

Steven on the top and Ansel on the bottom. Not much has changed!

As always, we very much enjoyed our time in Tucson with our good friends, but we had to go. Our next stop, Phoenix, had but one purpose: spend time with my BFF Cindy and her family.

Cindy and I have known each other since 7th grade, when we attended the Oil Companies School in Tripoli, Libya. As sophomores we headed off to boarding school in Lugano, Switzerland where three years later we graduated and went our separate ways in the states. A few years later both of us ended up back in Libya, working and generally having a blast. When our American hostages were taken in Iran, we were evacuated out of Libya and eventually both landed in Anchorage, Alaska. As young adults we married and lived in the Dallas area, where we had our children during the same time in our lives. 

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Linda and Cindy back in the day.

I mean, I could go on and on, but the point of all this is that, as BFFs, we have been though so much together and have lifelong experiences that are still meaningful to us. It's always wonderful to spend time together.

Hanging out with Cindy at Papago Park in Tucson.

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On the way up to Hole in the Rock. Once up there, we had fabulous views.

Chris, Carissa, Cindy and Connor.

For our two-night stay in Phoenix, we decided to boondock in the parking lot at the Wild Horse Pass Casino, which is only five miles from Cindy's house. We rolled up and found about a dozen other RVs parked up, a couple of them with grills, chairs, awnings, etc. Essentially they were fully deployed. Great, we thought! So convenient! And for our first 24 hours it was. No sooner had we returned from a day of touring when then came the dreaded knock on the door with police officers instructing us to move on. Apparently, our space was not even a part of the casino, which was news to us! Turns out the casino RV parking is across the street and it is literally parking lanes. There will be no Full Monty deployment here, we were lucky to be able to open our front door! But really, we didn't mind. We were only here one more night and being close to Cindy is what mattered most.

We had plenty of space at the “unofficial” parking spot.

Not so much at the actual casino parking area. Scoopy could hardly breathe!

We packed in a lot of stuff in our short visit in Phoenix. It was so good to be able to visit with Cindy and Chris and their kids, Connor and Carissa. Until next time!

NEXT UP:  Quartzsite & Boondocking Rally


  1. It was SO good to see you guys again!

  2. Loved seeing you guys. Since we're no longer out and about, you have to come to us, but we are so glad you did. With good friends, it always seems like just yesterday that we were together. I love that comfortable feeling. Thanks for making us part of your itinerary. Until we see you again.............

  3. It's always so wonderful when our routes take us to multiple good friends in nearby spots. Looks like you had a great time with everyone! The Ansel redo is beautiful with incredible similar shadows. Looking closely you can see signs of aging. Love the peak-a-boo shot through the rock! Scoopy does not look happy in that cramped lot :-(

  4. Great job on the mission photo! Looks like you had a great time with your friends. It is always fun to catch up with BFF's, you can not see each other for years but the friendships always remain.