Heading North, but going downhill


Painted Rock Petroglyph Site (Bureau of Land Management)
(March 18-20, 2018)

We first tried to stop at a state park, but the cost was too dear, so we kept going and came across this park near Gila Bend. The petroglyph park is 12 miles off the highway, and I guess that is enough to keep people away, so it’s very quiet. It is a pilot BLM campground, which means there are actual sites with firepits, pit-toilets, and trash bins. The cost is $8/night.

The sites are large and well-spaced, so this is quite a deal. There are lots of hiking trails and as the name suggests, petroglyphs. There is no cell coverage, though. We needed to make a very important phone call on Monday (March 19), so we had to drive up a hill until we could get a connection. I’ll write a post about the important phone call later.

Here is Daisy under her picnic shelter. This screen is for keeping flies off food, but it works very well to keep flies off Shih Tzus.  You can see that fly on the outside by her tail.  No Daisy for you!


The flies bite, and Paul’s skin reacted to the bites again.  He was covered in welts.

The petroglyphs are just a short stroll from the campground, and are easily accessible.

There was so much open space, so Poppy enjoyed her walks.  Lizards are fast, so she had lots of entertainment.

We also bumped into a couple we had met in Borrego Springs, Bob and Sandi, just like my parents!  We were so surprised when we saw Sandi zip by us on her bike.  They told us such interesting and funny stories about when they lived in Canada (Sandi is Canadian).  They should write a book!

After this park, we headed back to Yuma so that we could say good-bye to my aunt and uncle.  Yes, sadly, all the snowbirds have to head north now.  We start our journey north on Monday March 26, but we will go slowly.  Thirty centimetres of snow fell today in our town in Saskatchewan.  We want to give it some time to melt.  The Chinook is our little snow melter, but I don’t think it is a match for Saskatchewan right now.

The Shady Dell

No introduction is necessary when an aluminum trailer enthusiast hears the name “The Shady Dell”.  It’s essentially Mecca for us.


(March 17, 2018)

The real reason why we came to Bisbee was to see The Shady Dell. I’ve been following this RV Motel since it started in the mid-1990s. We went into the office and asked if we could take a few pictures. What we got was a personal tour. We were so delighted! The “guide” took us through all the trailers that weren’t occupied and gave us a history on them. It was more than I could ever have hoped for! We asked if there was an admission fee, and he said, “We make enough from renting them, and we are happy to show them to visitors.” Can you imagine that? This was a dream come true.

Here is the little greeter who helped us explore the shiny atomic pods.  Let’s call her Sputnik!


The photos speak for themselves, but I’ll add a little commentary where necessary.  Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for lift off!

This is the rarest trailer in the collection.  It’s a 1957 El Rey.

Of course, it looks a lot like an Airstream, but it isn’t.

Most of their trailers are Spartans.  They survived well in the dry Arizona environment.  Here is a 1950 Spartanette:

Many more Spartans:  Mansions and Royal Mansions.  Oh my!


This little cutie isn’t rented any longer because it isn’t self-contained with a washroom:

This is a 1957 Airfloat. It’s rare to find one in its original anodized colour.  Some of the cool colors fell out of fashion and people painted them.  Gasp!

1947 Chris Craft yacht:


Plus a variety of other trailers, some for rent, some being worked on:

And a 1947 Flxible tiki bus!

A “drive-in” theatre:

And other fun stuff:

Although I was still in orbit, The Shady Dell guide also told us to check out Lowell, which was once a prosperous town that was demolished to dig a mine. There is one street remaining, and it’s almost a museum itself.


Let’s do the time warp again!

Bisbee, AZ

(March 15-17, 2018)



O Bisbee! We came to Bisbee for one reason (which you’ll learn about later) and left reluctantly for many reasons. This town is wonderful! It is set in the mountains, so it is cooler than the desert areas. There are so many stairs and original buildings from when this was a mining town. Sometimes, we felt like we were in Europe, but the cacti would remind us of where we were. This town has character and characters!


We parked at Queen Mine RV Park, which was pricey at $35/night, but you couldn’t beat the location (or the wifi)! We were walking distance to everything. We were lucky to be able to stay for 2 nights, because this is a very busy park. We had to move sites the second day.

Here is the Queen Mine that the park overlooks:


There were 2 Airstreams in the park, and this sweet Vistabule:

At the visitor’s center, you can get walking tour guides focusing on architecture for 3 different neighborhoods: Main Street, Brewery Gulch, and School Hill.

The Bisbee Restoration Museum is set in a classic department store.  All the artifacts were donated by local residents.  Included in the collection are several copper high school diplomas.  Yes, copper!  This was a copper mining town after all.

What’s with the flies?

Back in August 1912, there was a fly-swatting contest. The winner, Richard Phillips, received $10. The extermination was to combat the typhoid fever epidemic.

As you can see, Bisbee is a very artsy town.  Shops and homes are decorated.  It’s hard to take it all in in two days.

Some of the sidewalks remind me of Saskatoon. In Saskatoon, you will also find these glass brick sidewalks. The glass allows light to enter the shop basements. This was where the “bargain basements” were located in Bisbee.


Even though we only spent 2 days in Bisbee, we found ourselves at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company on both days. Imagine that! On the first day, Paul ordered the sampler, and from it, I chose my drink – Salut! It isn’t a beer. It’s created using champagne yeasts with peach and elderberry flower extracts. Because of the elderberry flower flavor, it reminded me of European lemonades. Mmmm! After my first Salut!, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so we made our way back the next day. Paul was more than willing to go with me. On the day we left, I wondered if they’d be open in the morning so I could get another.  Next year.  Salut!

In the next post, you’ll see why we really came to Bisbee.

A Change in Altitude


From Tucson, we travelled south to Benson and then on to Tombstone and Bisbee. In Benson, we stayed at a really nice RV park (San Pedro RV Resort). Our site was just gravel, and there were no barriers between the sites, but the sites were very large – at least 3 times the size of regular parks. The price was right (with Passport America, $20/night), but our favorite part was the birds! So many birds! We now were in a more forested area of Arizona. Also, this park also has permanent residents with mobile homes, so there were paved streets and nicely maintained yards. Because it can get cooler there in the winter, the pool and hot tub were indoors.

Benson is near Kartchner Caverns. We drove out for a tour, but you must book in advance online, so we gave up on that idea. Instead we enjoyed relaxing and cooking and spending time with our new friends, Becky and Myron from N. Battleford. They became full-timers in July too; however, they had already spent a couple of winters down south, so they are more seasoned. You can check out their blog at http://canucksonwheels.com We really enjoyed getting to know them and learning all their tips on full-timing for Canadians.

March 15, 2018


We parked in the RV lot and walked the main street in Tombstone with the girls. It’s a very pet-friendly area. I always waited outside shops with Poppy while Paul went in with Daisy in her pouch. The shopkeeper would always motion for me to bring Poppy in. We fell in love with all the native-made jewelry. Maybe next year I’ll get something.

Who’s a good girl? Poppy! She’s not in jail . . . yet!


A tough old dog in a tough town
Daisy turned 15 this month!


We didn’t go into the OK Corral because dogs weren’t allowed, but we got to see some of the actors walk down the street in that direction. It was so windy, and it added to the scene.  Look at that dust fly!


However, a water truck came to tame the dust.


Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Boot Hill. We can’t do it all in our first year.

Nose Art, Jeeps, and Rivets

Usually, when I refer to nose art, it is the work by Poppy and Daisy.  Daisy used to do some lovely nose art on our windows.  Poppy has taken over now.  However, today, I’m referring to the nose art on airplanes.  In Tucson, we visited the Pima Air & Space Museum.  Dogs are allowed in the museum, but we left the girls in the Chinook.  Poppy had to work on her art.

The Pima museum is the 3rd largest airplane museum in the US.  I took pictures of what I found interesting or beautiful, though these are not be the stars of their collection.

Here’s a Jeep for Daisy.

I guess this Jeep is for Poppy

More rivets than an Airstream

This wedding dress was made from a parachute


I love the elegant wings on this plane:

Built in Fort Erie, near my hometown of Port Colborne:

While we were in Tucson, we dry-camped at Casino Del Sol.  The parking lot was very clean.  They had large garbage bins for the campers and there was no limit on length of stay.  An actual campground is in the works.  It was pretty bright at night, so we had to block the windows, but otherwise, it was quieter than Mexico!

BLM Camping and Ajo Mountain Drive

After crossing back into the USA, we camped on BLM land near Why, AZ.  It was rejuvenating.  We had a crackling campfire, saw the sun set, watched the moon rise, and listened to the coyotes yip.


Look at this sweet little 20 footer.


An ocotillo was in bloom.  They don’t really have a season, so when you see one blooming, it’s magnificent.


The next day, we took the scenic Ajo Mountain Drive in Organ Pipe Cactus Monument.  I never get tired of seeing cacti.  We couldn’t take this drive with our Chinook when we were at the park in February, so Ted drove us.  The road is quite rough, and the Chinook was at the upper limit for vehicle length.

Natural arch:


After packing up camp the next day, we traveled through Why and saw the coyotes waiting for food near the gas station again.  The mangy one was on the other side of the highway.  I don’t think these healthy ones wanted him begging with them.  He was bad for business.


We took Highway 86, through Tohono O’odham Nation.  This drive was just as scenic as Ajo Mountain Drive.  I highly recommend it.


Next stop: Tucson

Adios Mexico!

We spent our last week in Mexico collecting sea glass and enjoying the beach.

Ted and Dona took us hunting for seashells in a neighbouring village.

We were treated to a very low tide and full moon. We walked really far out into the Sea.  These pictures are taken from the Sea, looking back toward the little hotel beside the campground.  Too bad it was night. It would have been wonderful to see all the creatures in the tide pools.  I spied this little crab.

We left Mexico on March 4, 2018 with Ted and Dona.   Donna Dee didn’t travel with us. She had to leave a week earlier because she was meeting friends in Why, AZ. Unfortunately, she was robbed by police near Sonoyta. They prey on lone vehicles and set up a common trap.

They had a girl stand on the highway with a stop sign. There was no construction work and no reason to stop, but there were 2 marked police cars nearby. This trap gave the police a chance to scout out the driver and check that there were no witnesses. Donna gestured to ask if she could go on. The girl nodded and motioned for her to go. One of the police officers started following her and then came up beside her as if he wanted to pass, so she stopped. He gestured for her to go on. The speed limit was 40 kph, so she was careful and went 38 kph. The vehicle followed her a bit more and then pulled her over and showed her the radar gun and said she was going 67 kph. Right. They made her pay up in cash. It’s robbery, no matter how you want to dress it up.

After her experience, we talked to others who travel frequently, and some had experienced it too. When we told Mexicans, they acted so surprised.

We did our research online and left Puerto Peñasco armed as best we could.

  1. We put the word “Sindicatura” and phone number on Paul’s driver’s license. The Sindicatura is the public works union that investigates and dismisses corrupt officials. Often just mentioning the word or seeing it in print is like sprinkling salt on a slug.
  2. If we really had a traffic violation, we would insist on going to the police station, and say that we wanted to talk to a Juez Califvador. This is a judge who determines if there was a violation and what the fine should be.
  3. We travelled with another vehicle.
  4. We stopped for the “ambulance” kids and gave them money.  They put a sticker on your windshield.  The corrupt police will look for that sticker and may leave you alone if you donated.
  5. I watched for speed limit signs like a hawk and photographed each one. Unfortunately, our dash cam died while we were in Mexico. What bad timing!

It was a stressful trip back to the border. Here are the ambulance kids.  Give them money!


“Safety Corridor”.  HA!  And “End Hassle Free Vehicle Zone”.  Look, our first peddler!

At the end of the Hassle Zone, we bought fresh tortillas and then went through our border inspection.  It went well.  We had to throw away some food, but we were expecting that.  The guards were pleasant young guys.

We spent the next few nights camping on BLM land near Why.  Ted and Dona drove us on the Ajo Mountain Drive in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.