Hey friends, welcome back to GrandAdventure! I'm your host Marc Guido, and in thisepisode we're going to explore the Tucson area including Saguaro NationalPark, so stay tuned.
So for our visit to Tucson we're stayingin an RV park in Tucson Estates.
It's called Desert Trails.
This is a reallyunique RV park and actually used to be a water park, so instead of being kind oflaid out cookie-cutter, all the rows kind of even next to each other, things kindof wind around with a lot of character.
And speaking of characters, look who Ibumped into! This is hilarious.
I've got TR Bowlin.
Hey everybody, how's itgoing?You might have met TR in some of our Premieres in the chat room, but TRruns a channel, a YouTube channel for RV travelers all its own.
TR, why don't you tellGrand Adventurers about TR Bowlin? Yeah, I'd love to, thank you Marc.
Yeah, I've got aYouTube channel and I've been doing it for, oh, nigh on three years.
I'm not quiteas focused as Marc.
Mine kind of bounce around a little bit.
Some of it is RVhow-to.
I live in a 15-year old RV so I spend a lot of time working on it, getting it fixed and repaired.
And then I winter in Tucson and I travel the westthrough the summer.
And I got up the other morning and look who's parked nextto me.
Isn't it though?It is.
Hey TR, you said you live in a 15-year old RV.
Tell us about your rig.
It's a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star.
It's a 40-foot Class A.
You know, it's pretty much your typical40-foot Class A, but I do want to admit that I'm quite envious of Marc and hisrig because he gets to go to a lot of places that I can't even imagine goingin this big old thing that I drive.
TR does do quite a bit of boondocking inthis thing.
You'd be surprised.
And I have my route.
I know where I can go.
I'vegot my spaces that I can get, and you know, I just I love being out on the road.
I'm a full-timer, and so I've been doing this full-time for just about eightyears now.
Well, there are some absolutely wonderfulhiking and mountain bike trails that head up into Tucson MountainPark right here from the RV park.
That's one of the reasons like why I likestaying here when I pass through this particular area.
Do you want togo take a walk out there? Let's go! Aright let's go take a walk.
So we're basically out here with TR, which is really cool.
We've got our own private naturalist out here to explainto me all the stuff I'm seeing, because I don't know what I'm seeing.
I don't, Idon't understand, I don't know one plant from the next out here, but I'm gettingquite the education from TR.
So an interesting fact about these saguarocactuses is they depend on what they're called “nurse plants”.
And when thesesaguaros are very small they're very susceptible to drought, and so they'llget established in these plants like this, which helped them stay out of theheat, the wind.
It reduces the amount of evaporation that comes off the plant andhelps them get established out here in this very dry Sonoran desert.
So what happens, eventually does it crowd out that creosote?Yes, eventually it will crowd out the creosote and we may see an example of that here in just a moment, but if you look over here, here's a great example of another one that's in herewith these palo verdes.
And then tucked in there is a big huge barrel cactusthat's demonstrating the same behavior.
They get established under the canopy ofthese trees, which shades them out and provides them with a much bettermoisture profile and helps them get established.
Palo Verde is a really interesting plant.
If you notice the bark is green.
That's because there'schlorophyll in the bark and these plants can photosynthesize with no leaves on it.
You notice on that tree there is no leaves yet, but it is photosynthesizingright now.
That's an adaptation to very arid climates like we find here in theSonoran Desert.
If you don't have leaves you're not losing water to theatmosphere.
The bark has a waxy coating on it which produces, or excuse me, whichreduces the amount of water moisture that will transpire, will move throughthat bark as they're trying to get CO2 out of the air.
Tired there, Missy? Only about 10 miles south of downtownTucson, and just southeast of our RV park is the Mission San Xavier del Bac, anhistoric Spanish Catholic mission founded in 1692 along the banks of theSanta Cruz River.
The original church was built to the north of the presentFranciscan church.
This northern church or churches served the mission untilit was razed during an Apache raid in 1770.
The mission that survives today wasbuilt between 1783 and 1797, which makes it the oldest European structure inArizona.
With a summit elevation of 9, 159 feet, Mount Lemmon is the highest point in theSanta Catalina Mountains that line the northern edge of Tucson.
The MountLemmon Highway runs up the Santa Catalina Mountains from the east side of Tucson, up to the top of Mount Lemmon.
The beautiful curving road is a favoritedrive for tourists, for locals escaping the summer's heat, and cyclists, and has beenrecently designated as the Sky Island Parkway, part of the US National ScenicByway system.
Yes, those are snowflakes in the air.
In fact, the summit appears to be obscured by a snow squall.
Well, would you look at this! In the spanof only a few miles we've gone from saguaro to snowfall.
Just below the summit, Mount Lemmon SkiValley is the southernmost ski area in the United States.
The Ski Valleyreceives approximately 180 inches of snowfall annually.
Just down the road from the ski area, thesmall town of Summerhaven is a summer residence for many, but there are someyear-round residents as well.
There are many small cabins, most ofwhich were rebuilt after the Aspen fire of July 2003.
Pinal Airpark is a county-owned publicuse airport north of Tucson, but its primary purpose is to serve as aboneyard for civilian commercial aircraft, where the area's dry desertclimate mitigates corrosion of the airplanes.
It is the largest commercialaircraft storage in heavy maintenance facility in the world.
Nearly 10 yearsago, airport economic development director Jim Petty had opened thefacility to the public, giving free tours of the airport in the airplane storedthere.
Tucson Mountain County Park abutsboth the Desert Trails RV Park where we're staying and Saguaro National Park.
Itincludes the beautiful Gilbert Rey campground with 130 RVsites with 30-amp electrical hookups available for $20 per night, as well asfive sites designated for tenters only.
It has centrally located water, picnictables, modern restrooms and an RV dump station.
Shower facilities, however, arenot available.
Reservations are available online but the campground's H loopremains first-come, first-serve for last-minute arrivals.
Tucson Mountain County Park alsoincludes Gates Pass, which links Tucson Estates with the City of Tucson.
It's a beautiful drive and an opportunity to check out some of the native flora.
Itdoes, however, come with a 40-foot length limit and 12, 000-pound gross vehicleweight limit.
Finally, let's head into Saguaro NationalPark.
The park is divided in the east and west sectors on either side of Tucson.
Both preserve Sonoran Desert landscapes' fauna and flora, including the giantsaguaro cactus.
We'll explore Saguaro National Park West, also referred to asthe Tucson Mountain District that covers about 25, 000 acres.
The Tucson Mountain District has 12miles of paved roads and 8.
5 miles of unpaved roads, including the five-mileBajada Loop Drive that we're traveling here.
So we hope you enjoyed that little trip.
Weare practicing social distance and despite the fact, despite the fact thatwe shook hands .
That is so hard to get over! It really is.
You know, and of course we are being careful.
You know we are.
Marc's been here a couple days but, youknow, I mean we are maintaining appropriate social distance despite thefact that you saw us shake hands.
In order to get us both inthe shot we end up having to sit here for a moment.
That's okay, I'll go backand disinfect.
Exactly, I'm going to go gargle with isopropyl alcohol, and all thatkind of stuff.
Well TR, thanks for showing us around the Tucson area.
We've reallyenjoyed our visit here to Tucson and our visit with TR.
Marc, you know I knowyou're not big on staying in RV parks.
Long enough to get a good hotshower or dump the tanks, get some fresh water.
Isn't that the truth!And I totally agree with you there a hundred percent.
Isn't that the truth! Well, we'regoing to head on up to Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction east ofPhoenix, so if you're not yet a Grand Adventurer, now's the time.
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