Tonopah (yay!) and Tucson (hmmm…)

“I’ll explain. And I’ll use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand, you wart-hog-faced buffoon.”  – Westley

Mom taught me that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  Not that I ever heeded her sage advice, especially during my pre-gluten free days (extreme irritability/irrationality is the most obvious of my symptoms).  In fact, I remember saying some very unflattering and physiologically improbable things to at least 2 bosses (who immediately became ex-bosses) and a few ex-boyfriends.  I do hope the ex-boyfriends have forgiven me; the bosses–not so much–you guys totally deserved it and I hope you are scarred for life…but I doubt it.  Anyway, when I sat down to write about our time in Tucson I could tell it was one of those times when I would need to exercise restraint.  So let me tell you first about Tonopah, AZ and as my blood pressure drops I will work on coming up with some nice things to say about Tucson.


Tonopah, AZ is about 50 miles west of Phoenix in the shadow of Saddle Mountain.  It is sparsely populated and very quiet.  We stayed at the Saddle Mountain RV park for a couple of days to catch up on laundry, shake off some of the Sedona red mud, and scope out the BLM land at Saddle Mountain.

We found a lovely spot at 33°27’38.3″N, 113°03’43.6″W.  To get there, you turn south (left if coming from town) off W. Courthouse

Cally enjoying her freedom while we hiked in Tonopah.

Rd at 33°27’52.6″N, 113°03’44.6″W.  We really loved the place for the quiet, solitude, space for the dogs to run, lots of hiking opportunities, and perfect stargazing conditions with pretty quartz rocks sprinkled around.  What’s not to love?

OK, I think I’m ready to say nice things about Tucson now.  The roads are paved, there are people and stores around, and the weather was nice.  Tucson was easy on our camera battery–Roger took zero pictures.  Justin’s Diamond J Resort was good except that’s where Pepper had her first close encounter with a cholla; aka teddy bear cactus.  Excuse me?  Teddy Bear Cactus?! First of all, those words do not belong in the same sentence unless it is “Oh no; I dropped my teddy bear on a cactus!”.  Second, while they look fuzzy from a distance, the only teddy bear they resemble is this one, but with many, many more (and much sharper) teeth!

They are also called jumping cactus.  They don’t actually jump but the vicious spiky balls of doom are so lightly attached to the plant, that the slightest touch will transfer them from the plant to your shoe/shirt/pants/paw.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fishhook barbs on each spike ensure it lodges deeply and firmly.  And don’t think you can just pull it out, no, no, no!  Because if you grab it (as poor Pepper did with her mouth), the thing breaks into TWO spiky balls of doom; one of which is now stuck in your hand (or in Pepper’s case, her gums).  NOW what are you going to do?  Have I made it clear yet that these hurt more coming out than they do going in?  Long handled hemostats are the best tool for removal.  Alcohol–LOTS of alcohol–is the best thing for healing (and I don’t mean pouring it on the wound).

Deep breath, okay, back to nice things about Tucson…the 57th Escapade—Escapee’s Club Rally—was held in Tucson this year.  We had a great time, we met lots of wonderful people, especially Kathleen and Tom Anderson, Dave McKenna (we hope to meet Vicki McKenna soon), and Curtis Coleman, founder of RVillage (see Dread Pirate Roberts’ Favorite Booty page).  We learned a lot about the different chapters of the club, and attended some interesting and informative seminars about RVing.  As a result, we are planning to travel out of the US next year for the first time since hitting the road—Mexico here we come!

One more good thing; there are two very good dedicated gluten free cafes in Tucson, you can read about them on my Gluten Free on the Road page.

Look who stopped by to visit and dog-sit! Always great to see Jim and Brenda and what a nice surprise!

During our time in Tucson we also had some warranty work done on Fezzik which took several days spread out over 3 weeks and was almost as unpleasant as hugging a teddy bear cholla.

I once heard someone say they liked Tucson and I’ve been told there is a great museum in town, but as for me; I’m all out of nice things to say.