Sunday, March 11, 2018

3/6 Picacho Peak Again

I was originally going to spent a whole week at Gilbert Ray Campground, west of Tucson in Tucson Mountain Park.  In this area, you have three major attractions within a couple miles bike riding:  The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, and Old Tucson, which is a kind of Old West amusement park and ghost town. 

However, I realized that to get into Gilbert Ray, you need to get here by no later than 10 am, and that would mean getting up before dawn to drive here from Phoenix.  I do not like getting up and driving before dawn.  In addition, the very poor cell/Internet signal at White Tank meant I had to drive out to listen to student presentations, and I don't like doing that either.  The solution was staying at Picacho Peak State Park for a couple of days and getting my motorhome mechanical stuff done at a nearby service center.

When I bought this beast, the salesman assured me if I bought a motorhome on a Ford chassis, I could take it to any Ford dealer for repairs.  Ha!  At least 95% of Ford dealers will not work on my vehicle because they don't have service shop doors tall enough to get it in, or they don't have a lift big enough to lift it up, or they don't even have a jack big enough to lift it up, and they basically just don't want to work on it.  Truck service places usually have the right equipment but they are harder to find and sometimes even they work on medium-duty trucks, which this is, in the parking lot because their doors are too short. 

Anyway, I found an RV service place near Tucson that has big doors, big lifts, and are familiar with working on even the biggest RVs, so I made an appointment to get an oil change, have a new serpentine belt put on, and get my emergency brake fixed.  It is not safe to park on a slope on a mountain pull-over when your emergency brake will not even hold you on level ground.  So, it took one 6-hour day and one 5-hour day of sitting on an uncomfortable chair, but I spent three nights at Picacho and used the time to get the repairs done.  I am now $900 poorer, however.

Anyway, since I was last at Picacho, there has been a little rain, and the desert floor that was bare is now covered with green.  Here is one view from the back of my campsite.  Notice the green tinge on the dirt? 

At first, I thought it was grass sprouting, but in the desert some plants are very small, so you have to look closely.  Here is what the plants look like up close.  There is some grass, but most of this green stuff consists of tiny leafed plants.  

Anyway, this is a very handy state park, about 70 miles south of Phoenix and 30 miles northwest of Tucson.  Very large, double-wide asphalt camping spots that are nicely spread out.  

I almost have enough room in my campsite for another motorhome. 

The shrub in the center of this photo is a creosote bush.  When they get wet or are crushed, the leaves have a pungent smell of burning rubber.  But right now, they are one of the very few desert plants that are in bloom. 

The yellow flowers cover this creosote bush.  

 Oh, and the best part of this campground is that I am getting five bars of 4G lte data from Verizon here!!  I need to remember to come here when I have student presentations! 


  1. I've always wanted to stay there. But so far we haven't. Maybe next year.

    1. Have you been to Valley of Fire SP, just north of your home? It is first-come first-served with water and electric and some of the most gorgeous scenery in NV. And Willow Beach Marina has full hookups and is just east of you on the Arizona side of the Colorado. One of my most favorite places! Judy