Usery Mountain Regional Park, Arizona – Day 4, 5, & 6


The colorful chuparosa are in bloom here in the Sonoran desert.

Day 4.  February 13.   A coyote sauntered through the backyard this morning.  I had heard a pack howling a couple of nights ago, so I knew they were in the neighborhood. The desert is always full of surprises.  Today, I took a walk along the Nature Trail and discovered some new kinds of cacti. Some of the cactus are budding, and not yet flowering, so there were not as many hummingbirds as we have seen in the past when we have been in the Sonoran Desert in March. The chuparosa, also called hummingbird bush, was new to me and its beautiful red, tubular flowers are eye-catching along the trail.


Desert marigolds.


Teddy bear cholla.

The desert marigolds line the road ways in the park, looking perky and quite delighted with themselves. Teddybear cholla are deceptive little devils, looking grey and fuzzy, but their spines release easily in swirls of sharp, and nasty spikes that hurt a lot when they get imbedded in a bare foot, as I experienced this morning.


Chain fruit cholla.

They are also referred to as “jumping cholla” because they seem to be able to literally “jump” from one potential transport system to another.  They imbed themselves in anything soft, like the soles of my walking shoes.  When I got home and took off my shoes, the nasty little hitchhikers transferred their allegiance to the indoor rug so it was only a matter of time before my bare feet came in contact with the rug.  Major ouch!

Also new to me is the chain fruit cholla which boldly displays the fruits from the prior season of blooms in a cascading display of bounty. This cholla only blooms in the summer so I’ve never seen its pink flowers.


Another beautiful Arizona sky, with the grandfather saguaro right next to T2.

Day 5. February 14.  Today was laundry day.  I was going to put it off until Wednesday (the day before Peter came home from Montana) but a friend from Chicago (who has a place here) and I arranged to meet for coffee on Wednesday, turning today into laundry day. One of the realities of life on the road is finding the services needed for daily living every time we move.

This campground has a great map which shows the location of several possibilities for essential services – post office, laundry, hardware store, RV repair & supplies, urgent care and hospital, drug store, veterinarian, supermarket, library, UPS Store, and shopping mall. This is such a great idea that I don’t know why more campgrounds don’t offer such a listing.  I picked a laundry in the neighborhood of UPS since I had some things I needed to print, and near the post office for a drop of mail.  The laundromat was very well run and super clean.  There were two really kind people in the building who were available to answer questions, make change, and generally be helpful.


Here’s the current set-up.

Today, I also did some follow-up calls looking for some upholstery samples.  We are planning on doing some renovations to our Airstream and this June we will start with Phase I.  We have agreed that comfortable seating is essential to our quality of life and so we have been looking at what other Airstream owners have done to address the issue. We will start by removing the bench on the door-side of T2 in order to install a small recliner. The table will have to be cut down as well.


Here is the recliner and the scaled-down look that we are going for.

Before we left Florida, I had requested some samples of the ultraleather chair upholstery but never received anything, so I called again today to request once again.  We have friends living here in Scottsdale and they agreed to have samples sent there.  Hopefully, this time they will be sent and we can choose the color we think will work best.

Day 6.  February 15.  Meeting up with friends on the road is especially wonderful.  It reminds me that wherever we travel, it is the connection to friends (or family) that provides a sense of community that transcends the specifics of the place.  Jean and I know each other from workshops we both attended years ago in Chicago when she lived in Wisconsin and I in New Hampshire.  And now, we meet in Arizona and across the thousand miles and passage of time, we talk with the ease of familiarity that leads directly to deep and nourishing conversation.


Berries, mint, mango juice smoothie feast.

I have been spending hours in quiet reading, writing, and reflection during these days of solitude.  My experience of raw foods continues with experiments with fruits, juicing, and smoothies. Some great finds, including a colorful blend of strawberries, wild blueberries, banana, fresh mint and mango juice.

Peter is enjoying his week snowboarding at Bridger Bowl with friends in Montana.  Today, he went to the Bozeman Hot Springs with its eleven pools, a sauna and steam room.  The renovations at the hot springs (since his visit last year) are really impressive.  He also had time to visit the Museum of the Rockies and enjoyed another dinner with friends at Ted’s Montana Grill.

I appreciate the gift of this time alone.  It feeds my soul.  And Peter’s time in the brief winter of Montana brings him joy.  It is good.  We are blessed to be falling love with the life we have been given.

Peter and Liz continue their pilgrimage to here this week on two distinct paths, Liz from Arizona with T2, and Peter in Montana.





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