Sunday, February 5, 2012


Signal Hill Picnic AreaAfter pulling out of Paws and Hooves Ranch on Wednesday (for the last time) and settling in for an overnight at Tucson’s Pima County fairgrounds (click here to read our recent review), we enlisted Jeanie and Ray to come along to check out a new-to-us Mexican seafood restaurant, Mariscos Chihuahua (the one on Grande Avenue).   We’d seen the menu online; it included both ceviche and pulpo – memories of Panama - and my mouth watered. 

Our opinion: delicious!  Oh, that ceviche tostada was outstanding… yum.  It was great to spend the evening catching up with Jeanie and Ray over margaritas and fresh seafood.

Next day, we were up and on our way early, driving through rush hour traffic to Lance’s RV Service on the north side of town.  Our service list had grown – besides installation of the new Splendide washer and dryer, we needed a small adjustment to the wood trim on our big slide and decided to have the generator serviced.  Leaving Scoopy in Lance’s hands, we took off for a busy day. 

Saguaro N.P. Petroglyph. PetroglyphFirst stop?  Late breakfast at Coyote Pause Cafe, a cozy restaurant near the entrance to Tucson Mountain Park.  Then we headed off west once again, to Justin’s Diamond J RV park (click here to read our review and see photos).  Justin’s, owned by “Doc” Justin and his wife, Christine, is our favorite commercial RV park in the Tucson area, and we had called earlier in the week to see if we could snag one of their unusually large sites on short notice. 

Christine, a native of Viet Nam, is one of the most friendly, energetic and personable RV park managers we’ve met – and she has a great memory.  We exchanged hugs, and she confirmed that she’d reserved a spacious site for us.  The prior renters were leaving as we went to check it out – we’d arrived at the perfect time. 

I was surprised to realize we hadn’t been at Justin’s since September of 2008, over three years ago.  The landscaping has matured, and Doc and Christine have continued to improve their park.  Their unusually large spaces are particularly welcome this time of year, when every site is occupied.

Huge site 74Once we secured the site, we were off again, this time to the Tucson Mountain district of Saguaro National Park.  On the welcome advice of a volunteer at headquarters, off we went to the Signal Hill picnic area for the short hike to view 1,000 year old petroglyphs… which stretched into a pleasant, 3 1/2 mile loop hike back to the parking area.

By then, it was 1:30, and the work on Scoopy was slated for completion by 2 pm.  When we arrived just after the hour, we found three RV techs inside, grunting and exclaiming as they tried to get the dryer onto its shelf above the washing machine.  The three worked well together; they even kept their senses of humor as they alternately applied brains and brawn to the problem.  It took longer than anticipated, but we pulled out of their parking lot at 4 pm, just before the worst of rush hour – whew.

(While service work is on my mind… if you don’t already know about the RV Service Reviews website, be sure to check it out the next time you need service work:   Reviews are written by RV’ers – be sure to add your own experiences, too, good or bad.  It is a great resource for those of us who are likely to need service or repairs in an unfamiliar area.)

Washer and Dryer for insuranceBy the time we settled in to our site at Justin’s, breakfast was a dim memory.  With wine in hand, Odel skimmed through the owner’s manuals for the new washer and dryer (light-years beyond the basic, hard-working Kenmore W/D we had replaced) while I boiled pasta and nuked a frozen container of Odel’s fantastic Italian sausage pasta sauce.  Oh, the joy of homemade, frozen food and a microwave!  :)

Odel tossed a load of laundry into the new washer on Friday morning, and we entertained ourselves watching our tumbling laundry through the glass door of our first ever front loading washing machine.  It appears to use fraction of the water we needed in our old top-loader.  And the dryer… tumble, tumble, tumble – STOP… and then tumble in the other direction.  It changed direction every couple of minutes; at first, I wondered if it was broken.  Will that keep our sheets from rolling themselves into a giant, wrinkled ball in the dryer?

So we are happily settled in our site here at Justin’s for the next couple weeks.  I’m heading off an a plane again next week, to Sacramento; Odel picked Tucson as his home while I am gone.  Justin’s offers great desert hiking right out the back of the park, and Odel has sussed out good deals on the city golf courses.  Life is good in the beautiful Sonoran desert of Arizona.


  1. Don't know how you always do this. Great newsy post with lots of terrific information for everyone.
    Thanks AGAIN!

    Your site looks terrific and that petroglyph is amazing.

  2. Sorry to report that your sheets will still roll into a big ball :(

  3. We stayed at Justin's for 6 weeks last winter and loved it. Doc and Christine are great people and you are right about the sites, bigger than most commercial sites. Enjoy your stay!

  4. Great newsy post. Thanks for the heads up on the RV service review -- that will definitely come in handy when needed!

  5. Thanks for the wonderful job describing Justin's. We will be there March 5-11. Glad to hear it is even getting better. We love to hike and ride bikes. So excited about his place.
    Glad to hear all is well with the dryer. Enjoy!

  6. I have some 2-for-1 tickets to the Desert Museum if you are interested. I could stick them in the mail to you and you'd have them the next day.

  7. We still have the old Kenmore at home..our daughter has some great new front loaders, and loves them...Justin's, eh?..gotta remember that one.

  8. Thanks for the terrific reviews of the park and some new information for us about RV service. We and I'm sure everybody else really appreciates your in depth reviews!

  9. great post tanks for the link on RV service review..very handy...congrats on the new front loads...

  10. Enjoy your stay in Tucson. We stayed at Catalina State Park for a week recently and had a fabulous time.

  11. Too funny. We're here in Tucson, too at the Davis-Monthan AFB FamCamp and we spent the day in Saguaro NP.

    Tuscon is certainly a beautiful area!

  12. Nice to catch up with you guys! If Suzy weren't just recovering from her surgery (and she is doing very well, by the way), we'd probably want to make a trek out to meet you in person! Looks like about 50 - 60 miles from here.

  13. I love your blog, my first visit but it won't be my last! I appreciated all of the interesting links you provided! I created a shortcut to put RV Service Review on my desktop where I could find it if we need it! This is a valuable resource if you spend as much time on the road as we do! THANK YOU! mmmm Mexican seafood?? YUM!

  14. Wow, thank you for the link to the RV service review site. We need all the help we can get, being newbies and all.

    I enjoy your blog and have you bookmarked.


  15. Hi guys. We are neighbors. Sitting in Desert Trails near the entrance to Diamond J. Would enjoy putting a face to you writtings. We have had alaska family here and have had a great time showing them 'our' AZ.
    LeRoy & Anne in Liberty