Sunday, March 8, 2009


Yesterday was a PERFECT day for hiking, sunny with a very slight breeze and a forecast high of 68 degrees. We needed to make a trip to Trader Joes, which happens to be just a few miles from the trailhead for the Pima Canyon trail, recommended to us by both Jeanie and Joy, so we decided to give it a try.

The Pima Canyon trailhead parking lot is in an obviously affluent neighborhood on the slopes of the Santa Catalinas. The trail begins on a narrow public right of way, fenced with barbed wire on both sides, leading from the parking lot through the private property to the wilderness boundary. There are some mighty striking homes in this area, with fabulous views of the city of Tucson. We did a lot of gawking as we tripped our way along the rock-strewn trail.

After about half a mile, we left the huge, upscale homes behind and began climbing through Pima Canyon. This hike was quite different from those in Catalina State Park, as the watercourse in the canyon (mostly damp sand) supports a stand of mighty cottonwoods, bright green with new leaves this time of year. Though you wouldn't know it from these photos, we often were in deep shade, hiking a rocky trail rimmed with damp green vegetation. It felt downright wierd!

After almost two weeks at Catalina State Park, we will be moving on tomorrow, heading west to begin our end-of-winter migration to Sacramento. We plan to be in the Sacramento area on April 1st, so we have about three weeks to explore southern California as we head north.

Haul out the maps! Get out the campground books! Start planning!

Preparations have been epic. We hit Costco on Friday, Trader Joe's on Saturday, and Safeway this morning. Our newly repaired refrigerator and freezer are bulging with goodies (including JoAnn and Doug's TJ's shopping list - we will see them on Tuesday). The under-the-bed "pantry" is packed. Be alert opening any cupboard - who knows what will fall out? I'm not sure why we travel with a month's worth of food - especially when traveling the west coast - but if an earthquake hits, we can take care of any small community for several days. :)

Our next several months look like this: from now until April 1, we'll travel from Tucson to the Sacramento area - beginning with a week of boondocking in Borrego Springs to view the prime of the wildflower season. April and half of May will be spent in Sacramento, visiting family and friends and making the usual rounds of dentists and doctors. I've signed up for a 6 weeks hooping class, too.

Then we're off to our first ever "government" volunteer job, as Trail Hosts for the Mosier Twin Tunnels section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail at Hood River, Oregon. This photo shows me, standing on "our trail" in June of 2007. Quite a difference between this photo and the one of Odel above, on the Pima Canyon Trail, huh? Even at noon in June, I had a fleece vest on!

When we visited Hood River, Oregon, in 2007, we walked this section of trail many times. At the western trailhead, we noticed a single site for an RV, the trail host site. That seemed to us like the best volunteer job we could imagine: monitoring the condition of the trail, visiting with walkers and bikers, and staffing the small visitor center at the trailhead parking lot. We contacted the ranger last fall and secured the job for June and July.

Here are the restored Twin Tunnels, blasted out of the gorge walls for the first road through the Columbia River Gorge, built between 1913 and 1922. The tunnels were abandoned and filled with rock when the new interstate highway was built through the gorge (by 1960), then a huge restoration project was undertaken 20+ years later to save some of the abandoned road for use as a hiking/biking trail. In June and July, it will be ours. We are so excited!

This afternoon, we are meeting again with Margaret and Jeff (recovered, we hope), the new fulltimers we met here at Catalina. Margaret has another list of questions, and I have a list of things to mention to her, too.

I'm starting to make notes; after my last post about recollections of our first year as fulltimers, Donna sent an email asking what to think about when looking for a rig. Since I rarely blog about time we spend in Sacramento, I might do a short series while we are there on how we chose and purchased Scoopy (our perfect home), and what WE find necessary for the complete enjoyment of the fulltiming life. More planning! Once you get rolling, it's difficult to stop.

Tomorrow, we hit the road.


  1. Have a great time in your travels. The "job" sounds divine!
    Check out this earth oven I found on I Love Cob-isn't it beautiful?

  2. Hi Laurie

    "I might do a short series while we are there on how we chose and purchased Scoopy (our perfect home), and what WE find necessary for the complete enjoyment of the fulltiming life."

    That would be awesome! I hope you do this short series....I would love to read about it. Your blog is one of my "top favorites".


  3. We're so glad to hear you won't be far from us this summer. We love the Mosier area, so we'll definitely make a trip over to see you two.Let us know when you get up near Portland!