Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2/20 Gilbert Ray Campground

Gilbert Ray Campground is part of Tucson Mountain Park, which is owned by Pima County. It is a very busy, cash or checks only, no-reservation campground with a seven-day limit.  This means you have to get here before noon during the winter season to have a reasonable chance of getting a spot.  I spent a couple of nights at nearby Picacho so I would get here before noon.  Roads are paved, but sites are gravel, and you don't get to pick your site.  They assign you to a site based on the size of your RV.    

The campground is west of Tucson.  If your RV is heavier than 12,000 pounds, which mine is, you cannot come over the very scenic Gates Pass, but have to take roads either from the east or south of the park. 

Another nice thing about the campground is that it is only a miles from the Sonoran Desert Museum and from Old Tucson, and about three miles from Saguaro National Park.  This means there is a lot to do in the area.  All of these things are within bike riding range, although you have to ride on a shoulder-less road that can be busy.  Speed limits are fairly low for cars, however, and commercial trucks are limited.  Here is one road on the way in through the national park.  

As you can see from my photos, the desert is usually dry, but it does get some rain.  

I took this photo later in the afternoon, when the typical no vacancy sign had been posted.

One nice thing is that they have recycling, so I can leave the large bag I have been accumulating.

A very pretty place and extremely quiet at night.

A couple of days ago, I was on my way to the dump station down this road, when I got crowded by another RV coming toward me.  I moved over and blew an outside dually tire on these rocks.  

These VERY shark rocks!  Luckily, I have a second tire (dually) on the rear bolted to the damaged tire, so was able to get back to my site safely.  However, even with a second tire, it was nerve wracking because the second tire is not designed to carry the entire load of that side of the vehicle on its own.  

I called my road service company, CoachNet, and they sent a service vehicle to change the tire to my spare.  Long story, but ended up with a whole group of sightseers because the service truck had only a 2-ton jack because the service guy was expecting a Ford Econoline van.  He had been told my vehicle was an "E-450," which it is, except it is a 15,000 pound motorhome built on a Ford Superduty E-450 chassis, and a 2-ton jack will not lift it. (Basically, my vehicle is a medium-duty truck.)

Luckily, my neighbors rallied around and brought over both a 6-ton jack and a 12-ton jack, and offered a lot of "support" to the poor service guy who had never changed a tire on such a big vehicle or even one with dual wheels!!  (Last time I had a blowout three years ago, they sent a guy in a car with his girlfriend.  They were on their way out to dinner or something.  He had to call a friend who brought a bigger jack in his pickup truck.  Don't know where they find these guys!  CoachNet is a specialized road service company for trailers and motorhomes, so they should have communicated better with the service company they called.)  

Note: If you want to attract a crowd in a campground, have some sort of mechanical trouble and your fellow campers will all come to watch the excitement and even help.  Anyway, I provided an hour's entertainment to the neighbors. Guess I should have taken photos.  And I haven't even talked about how the service truck guy arrived by driving the wrong way around the one-way, single-lane campground road and got the notice of the camp hosts.

Luckily, I had a good spare, but it was low on air, so he used my air compressor to pump it up to the required 80 PSI.  Anyway, here is my old tire.  

Nice big hole you can put your hand through.  I will be stopping at a tire store on my way to Phoenix tomorrow to buy a new tire.  

Another set of sharp rock curbs on the way out of the campground!  Will try not to be crowded over next time.  Took this photo from my bike.  As you can see, today was sunnier than last Friday or the weekend, although it rained during the night and is still cold. 

 I'll be back here in a couple of weeks, and maybe the weather will be warmer so I can spend more time at the museum and visit Old Tucson.

1 comment:

  1. Glad everything worked out. People always say RVers are the most helpful people, and they certainly proved it in your case. Thanks as always for all the beautiful pictures both on this post and the prior one from the museum. Keep 'em coming!