Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tohono O’Odham Reservation to Tucson Mountain Park

Note: Two separate blogs posted today to get caught up!

(Tucson, AZ) On Thursday, despite truly enjoying our time in Why, we decided to move on, mostly because we did not have Sprint cell phone service.  If we come back again, we will likely stay longer and buy a month of Verizon which does work here.

We drove the 120 miles to Tucson along two-lane Highway 86.  It is wild that we were in Pima County the entire time.  I figured this might be the largest county by area in the US but when I checked found out that in Arizona alone, there are 5 bigger counties! 

We were actually on the Tohono O’Odham reservation the entire drive as well!

It’s a lovely drive with almost no traffic and miles of untouched land.







The Tohono O’Odham tribe even own the mountain on which the Kitt Observatory sits.







We did something on this trip that we really don’t like to do.  That is, we started driving without knowing where we would be staying the night in Tucson.  We had hoped to stay at Justin’ s Diamond J RV Park  since both JoAnn and Doug and Sandy and John were currently parked there.  However, since we had no phone service,  JoAnn checked for us and let us know via Facebook that Justin’s was totally booked. 

Since we had no cell phone service it was a bit hard to plan our landing.  In fact, we did not reconnect to Sprint until just outside of Tucson, a definite concern considering its Rodeo Week in Tucson. I had my list of possible parks prioritized and started making calls as soon as my phone started working.  We were thrilled that on our first call the Tucson Mountain Park, Gilbert Ray Campground still had sites available for 40 foot rigs. Since this is a first-come, first-serve campground, we headed straight there, hoping they didn’t have a rush for the upcoming holiday weekend suddenly show up before us.

While this is usually a self-registration park, during the busy season, the campground office is open.  Being new to the place and having seen some review comments about small sites, we expressed those concerns to the nice lady in the office and in no time she had us assigned one of the biggest sites in the park.


The site was really easy to get in to as it was on a loop.  There’s enough room to actually park the jeep over on the driver side of the rig if we have company.


There’s plenty of awning/patio room.


And even our own little enclosed desert garden area behind.   The cost is $20 per night tax included.  The downside is that is for 30-amp electric only and there is no shower house.  You can stay for a total of 7 consecutive days. 


This little couple is apparently sharing the site with us.  Did you know that Gambel’s quail are monogamous and usually mate for life!   What a sweet pair!


Later when we took a walk we noticed there were several more big rigs headed in.  There are 130 sites here and I’d guess every 5th one is long enough for a big rig. 


Since it was a travel day, we decided to head in to Tucson to eat.  That meant taking Gates Pass Road over the mountain.  It looked like it was glowing in the setting sun.


On the other side of the mountain, we were greeted by a full moon coming up over Tucson.


I was in the mood for pizza and found an Italian restaurant with great reviews called Bianchi’s Italian.

I understand the good reviews considering the pizza itself was jock-full of fillings, with a good sauce and lots of cheese. For the size of the pizza, the price is reasonable. Unfortunately by the time it got to our table it was barely lukewarm.  I guess we don’t really understand this kind of restaurant.  They are set up like fast-food, place your order at the register, pay and take your drinks , get your own napkins, utensils, etc., and set your number on the table.  Not the kind of place you would expect to tip.  Yet, when I paid on the charge card without adding tip, I noticed the waitress give the paper a dirty look and then shove the drinks at me seeming perturbed.  They literally dropped the pizza on our table 20 minutes later.  Ken attempted later to go up and get a second round of drinks for us, beer and margarita,  but there was no bartender at the bar area and the registers were packed with new customers. I think this could be a good place to eat, we just had a less than satisfactory service.

But, the pizza was huge so we had half of it to bring home and warmed up as leftovers its still good pizza!

All in all, another really good day in our every-changing neighborhood.

Hugs,  C

1 comment:


I like that quiet drive between Why & Tucson & when we leave this morning we may take that road or we may head north through Tucson up to Casa Grande & then go west. We never know which way we'll go until we see the sign for the interchange. I have heard both the Diamond & Ray parks are nice but we have never been to either one. You are not far from the Living Desert Museum & the Old Tucson movie set. They are close together & make for a day's outing. Your Jeep looks identical to ours in make, model & color:))