Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #13

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Ibn Battuta

Sunday, March 2 through Thursday, March 5, 2020 Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona:  This premier military campground, known as Agave Gulch, is consistently rated on militarycampgrounds.com as one of the top 5 military campgrounds in the West.  Their very fair site assignment policy of “first come-first served” usually requires a stay in overflow with no hookups until a full featured site becomes available…which suits us for a short stay.

The park is nicely landscaped in the full hookup area, very well run, clean and affordable.  As a testament, many military snowbirds use Agave Gulch for their winter hideout.

As nice as it is, we seldom stay here due to the fact that we have family in Tucson who thoughtfully provide dooryard surfing opportunities.  But, following a stint of dry camping, as we did at Organ Pipe National Monument, this is a great place to drain tanks and resupply before moving on to our mooch-docking site in North Tucson.

The base is home to squadrons of A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft which are seen daily flying about on various training missions.

Affectionally called “The Warthog” by pilots and crew, the A-10 has been in the Air Forces inventory since 1977, and although its appearance is a bit odd looking…

…the A-10 is a very formidable aircraft.  Also known as “The Tank Killer”, it is primarily utilized in support of US Army and USMC ground operations.

Another aspect of DM AFB operation’s is the training and certification of vintage military planes to fly in close formation with modern aircraft.

For two days during our stay, we were treated to frequent flyovers of this unique display of military formations.  The training, and eventual certification, of civilian pilots flying WWII and Korean war era planes is required for pilots to fly their historic aircraft in close proximity to modern jets.  These performances, seen at airshows across the nation, are known as Heritage Flights.

However, the largest Tennent at DM AFB is the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group, known as “The Boneyard”.

Google Image

Where over 4,000 surplus or obsolete military and government airplanes are put out to pasture.  And, much to my pleasure, the RV Park, primarily a repository for surplus or obsolete military pensioner’s, borders the Boneyard…

…yep, old retired military airplanes next to old retired military folks!  Oh, and the above shot isn’t trick photography…there was a winter storm, in the form of monsoon rains, bearing down on us from the west.

On the southern border of DM AFB is The Pima Air and Space Museum, where one morning I met brother Dan who lives in Tucson.

With over 300 aircraft covering 80 acres…

Google Image

…this interesting collection of civilian and military aircraft features every era of aviation history.

In residence is the…

…world smallest propeller aircraft…

…and the world’s smallest jet, along with the world’s smallest helicopter!

There were vintage military planes…

…such as the above pre-WWII aircraft…

…and more modern examples, such as the venerable F-14 Tomcat of Top Gun fame.

Also, on display was a US Navy PBM Mariner seaplane…

…which according to family lore, a two-year-old Billy flew in while cradled in the arms of his mother on a flight from his birthplace of Kaneohe, Territory of Hawaii to San Diego, California back in 1949.

Also. there was a…

…B-29 Superfortress and a …

…recovered Japanese airplane used as a Kamikaze bomber.  These planes were simple in design and built for one purpose.  As such, the landing gear was not retractable…the wheels were designed to be jettisoned once airborne in order to make the aircraft more aerodynamic.

One of the largest planes, so large it had to be displayed outside…

…is the B-36 Peacemaker.  A strategic bomber with a 230-foot wingspan powered by six 28-cylinder radial piston engines and four J-47 jet engines for a combined 40,000 horsepower!  The 7-foot-thick wings featured a crawl space to reach the engines in flight if need be.

Dan and I enjoyed a fabulous day at one of our countries finest museums dedicated to the history of flight.  When in Tucson, make sure you put this great museum on your bucket list!

On another day, Kit had an intense desire to go see this gentleman…

…who sells these beauties!

Gee, I wonder what kindled her latent desire?!?!

After drooling over new Airstreams, and to get Kit’s mind off her obsession, we enjoyed a meal at an old iconic restaurant.

Where we enjoyed our first taste this year of truly authentic Sonoran Mexican food…and was it some good!

Well, that brings to a close our short stay at the campground on DM AFB…tomorrow we head for our brother and sister in law’s place in North Tucson.  So, as the sun sets across the campground…

…we wish you a heartfelt goodnight!

Friday, March 6, 2020:  Up, broke camp, and headed out late morning under sunny skies and a temperature of 71 degrees…perfect southwest wintertime weather!  We meandered north along Tucson’s Skyline Drive…

…to our next destination…

…where we settled into site #1 and prepared for an enjoyable stay with our favorite innkeepers.

 

Saturday, March 7 through Sunday, March 14, 2020-DewBea RV Ranch, Tucson, Arizona:  This world class exclusive RV Resort is owned and operated by these two fine folks…

…brother Dewey and sister-in-law, Bea!

Also, in residence at this premier private RV Resort are these two customer relations representatives.

This is one of our favorite camping opportunities.  Officially known by their exclusive clientele as the DewBea RV Ranch or by the more friendly… “The Doobie”!  The cost is right, the hosts delightful, and the premises are lovingly landscaped!

The big fellow on the right in the photo above is an Octopus Agave…the protrusion in the center is know as a “spear” and will soon be festooned with flowering buds.  Unfortunately, this plant, which is likely many years old, will die off after flowering, but fortunately it had already provided for the next generation.  An amazing plant, even more so when one considers that its sap is prime ingredient in the making of Tequila!

A few more examples of Dew and Bea’s skill in landscaping follows:

Aloe

Barrel Cactus

Crown of Thorns

Inch Plant

Hedgehog

Rainbow Cactus

Brittle Bush

Hierba Purpura

And the always beautiful, but occasionally prickly, Bea-Bud Cactus!

Many folks from back east believe the desert southwest is featureless and devoid of color.  However, they are sadly mistaken as in my opinion, Arizona is one of the most colorful and diverse of pretty much any state in our nation!

The winter weather in Tucson is normally pleasant…sunny, dry, and temperatures in the mid 60’s…but occasionally one wakes to this!

Which almost instantly greens things up…

…and, the dramatic sky…

… softens the normally bright sun!

Brother Dewey is a gearhead as well, and enjoys driving his…

 

…1955 Chevrolet about the neighborhood.  However, this stock appearing resto-mod has very few stock components, it features a 350 CID crate motor, automatic transmission, and vintage air for summertime comfort.  The original 235 CID motor, and some of its internals…

… has morphed into yard art!

During our visits, I like to spend some one-on-one time with my other Tucson brother, Dan…so, on one bright cloudless day, we made

annual pilgrimage to the tiny burg of Oracle, about 25 miles northeast of Tucson and nestled in the shadow of Mount Lemon.

Dan grew up in this village, and the old homestead now belongs to him.

Although the building isn’t suitable for occupation anymore, the large lot with nice views has potential for his retirement home.

Driving around town we came across…

… the local Catholic Church he and our mom attended.

Then in the foothills, we checked out the mountainside home…

… that Dan’s and Dewey’s, father built back in the 1970’s.  Sturdily constructed of reclaimed material, such as basketball court flooring from the old high school, and stones for the three-story fireplace excavated from his property.

Oracle is a quirky little town, full of quirky folks, such as the family that resides in this quirky homestead.

A combination home, museum, junk emporium, and folk-art studio…

…made from other folk’s castoffs!

Before leaving Oracle, we stopped into our favorite Mexican Food joint…

…Lupe’s!  Where Dan ordered his old standby, Cheese Crisps.  And I enjoyed a unique dish…

…Brisket Enchilada’s with the traditional beans and Spanish rice. It was an odd combination, Texas Brisket and Mexican, but very tasty!!

Returning to Tucson, we took the indirect scenic route which meandered across the desert…

…to I-10 where we headed home.  Great day…thanks for driving Dan!

Well, this has reached my cutoff limit of 20 pages, so I’ll finish covering our stay in Tucson next issue.  But before I go, another sunset…

…goodnight!

Kit’s Bit’s: As always, I am grateful for Dewey & Bea’s hospitality.  We so enjoy visiting with them and catching up on their day-to-day activities.  Dan often comes over to join us and we all help putting our meals together and visiting for the day.  Some days we venture out to do some sightseeing, others, we just hang out and nap or read.  Nice retirement routine!  Thank you all so much for your hospitality!

UPDATE 02-07-2021:  During this past difficult year, Dewey and Bea’s beloved dogs both passed.  However, they added a new member to their family…a rescue by the name of Paco!

Cannot wait to meet Paco. And to see other members of our West Coast family…hopefully soon!!!

Bill

16 thoughts on “Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #13

  1. Hey Bill, hope you and Kit are enjoying the great Maine winter. Doing a lot of snowmobiling and fishing up here in the Greenville area. Retirement is still great and plenty of projects to keep us both busy. (I have plenty of hobbies that keep me occupied). Heated my garage with radiant floor heating so the garage, 24×40’ is my hangout!

    • Hi Den, great to hear from you. Kit and I are due a ride up to Greenville this summer and would enjoy seeing you and Vicky. We are spending the winter attending to some long neglected home repair and improvement project. Also getting out a bit to responsibly socialize with friends and family. Take care, and please stay well.

  2. So nice to see one of your adventures especially now. I love it when your adventures take you thru the beautiful southwest and I totally agree that AZ is one of the most colorful and diverse states in the country! And the sun sunsets and sunrises are always gorgeous! Tucson is a must see destination for anyone visiting AZ. Sorry to hear of the passing of Dewey and Bea’s furry family.
    Paco will be very loved…

    • Hi Nancy, great to hear from you…hope all is well. Sure miss seeing our Sage friends, and looking forward to the return of normalcy. Take care, and please stay well.

  3. Oh my goodness, it was great to see a continuation to your 2020 excellent adventure. I look forward to the next installment.
    I pray that all is well with you two during this Covid crisis.

  4. Bill and Kathy, Great read as always; the pictures are gorgeous. Hopefully, this Covid will end soon, and you can get on the road again later this year. It seems like the winter in Maine was well spent. We are hoping to see you this summer when we get back to Vermont. Take good care.

    • Hi folks, great to hear from you and thanks for the nice comment. We will likely stay in Maine through the year and hope to see you this summer as well. Take care, and please stay well.

  5. Bill and Kit, glad to here from you again. I was curious if you were on the road again or hanging around Maine this year. Kathy and I decided to stay until we an get the vaccine so we may be here until next year. We usually head south in January. Drive safe and stay safe.

    • Hi Kip, we did decide to winter over…first time in twelve years. From what I can tell, this is shaping up to be a relatively mild winter. Will likely stay put and plan for a winter RV trip in 2022. Take care, and stay safe.

  6. HI NEIGHBORS,
    VERY INTERESTING TOUR OF THE AIR STORAGE FACILITY AND MUSEUM!
    THIS PANDEMIC MAY ENCOURAGE YOU BOTH TO HIT THE HIGHWAY VERY SOON.
    GLAD THAT WE HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO EXCHANGE E MAILS NOW AND THEN THIS WINTER!
    SHOTS ON THURSDAY 2/11FOR JEANNE AND I.
    STAY SAFE, WE’LL GET THROUGH THIS SETBACK!

    CHET AND JEANNE

  7. Thought you had hit the road when I saw the email! Figured the weather was getting to you, let alone the pandemic….. Signed up and waiting for our shots-who knows when we will get the notice!

Leave a Reply to Dennis Paine Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s