Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plenty of Things to Do in Tucson

Now and then some friends ask if we have enough to do? I guess that is a fair question to ask a retiree.  The answer is Yes!  And sometimes we feel like we do too much ~ like we should 'pace ourselves'.  Like our former life before retirement though, sometimes we are busier than other times.

La Mesa RV in Tucson had a big RV show last week.  La Mesa is such a large company with 6 or 7 dealers in Arizona and California and were the only sponsor for the show.  They brought hundreds of Class A's, Class C's, trailers and fifth wheels from a number of their dealerships.
Its been a while since we have been to one so we went out to the Pima County Fairgrounds and walked around.  They had a free lunch and that was actually a highlight because we sat down at a table and met a nice couple from Alberta. They were in town for a few weeks and are planning for retirement and the RV life in a couple of years.   They are considering a fifth wheel but like the motor coaches.

We walked around a took a look at Tiffin Phaetons and an Allegro Bus.  They are really looking good but we didn't see anything that made us feel like our 2007 Roadrunner needed to be replaced.
We also took a look at a Winnebago Tour model which has a humongous slide out that goes all the way down the DS.  It really gave the place a lot of room.  Full slide slide outs appear to be one of the more common innovations in the last couple of years.
One thing I haven't seen too much is front galleys.  We liked the idea of the refrigerator up front when we were first looking a couple of years ago but that idea may have come and gone...

We saw a couple of Carri-Lite Cameo fifth wheels and took a look.  That model was high on our list when we were thinking we were going to go that route instead of with the Class A.
Next we looked at a few Class C's.
It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Since we were on the east side of town, we went over to the Saguaro East National Park Visitor Center to pick up a good trail map for future hikes in the park.
The Tucson area has a few swap meets and we have been to the one at Tanque Verde which is not too far from Davis-Monthan AFB where we are staying.  On Saturday we went out to the one at Tohono O'Odham on the Indian reservation.

It has a different clientele and feel to it compared to the Tanque Verde swap meet.  There was a lot more used stuff here and a lot more food stands.
The little goat and chickens were cute.

After the swap meet we went over to Sabino Canyon for a hike.
It has a lot of great trails that are well marked and not difficult.  Toward the end of the hike, we saw some RVs that belonged to volunteers at the Park.  I believe they have 4 or 5 sites.

We have been talking about going to Nogales, Arizona for a while, so we decided to do that on Sunday after church at Calvary Chapel in Tucson.  The drive was a pleasant one and an easy 75 miles to the border town.

I had been here in 1975 with some buddies on our way to Guaymas, Mexico for a few days.  But it was nothing like I remembered.  It was a lot more built up and the border crossing like all of them is very substantial.
It is a beautiful Sunday and after we found a $4 parking place we went across the border.  One thing we immediately noticed was that were not a lot of Americans shopping.
And the shops were basically empty.
We didn't need any pottery or blankets or jewelry.  Or anything for that matter... We only spent about 25 minutes and walked down a couple of streets before we decided it was time to head back.  It was quite different than our trip across the border in Nuevo Progresso in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.  Here -  the economy is in bad shape and were were pestered by shop owners to come in and buy things.  We are okay with a little bit of that but here it bordered on desperation.  We felt uncomfortable saying no so much that we left.  It was not what we had hoped it might be.

I guess at night, the border guards have issues but we saw no evidence of unsafe places or drug violence.  There were no police sandbags with weapons like we had seen at other places.  Still ~ 25 minutes was enough and it was time to go.  The long lines back at 98% Mexicans who were going to shop in Nogales.  It took about 20 minutes to get through the long line.

Coming across the border to the U.S. back into Nogales was a different story.  Nogales was bustling and the shopping was brisk.  We found a handbag and a golf shirt ($3.97) and a hardware store with lots of inventory and good prices.
It was a little over an hour drive back to Tucson and we passed by Tubac and Green Valley, two places we have heard about and we may want to visit.

That's what we have been up to the last few days...hope you all have a great week.  And thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Until next time ~


  1. if that was the rv show near the arizona football stadium we too were there and walked through the Tiffin's on site... we may have crossed paths and not even known it...

  2. That was a very interesting and varied post! I sure enjoyed all the photos and the ideas of where we might want to go next year. We like going to RV shows just to look around...always something interesting.

  3. Glad to read that you were a pacin' yerselves. I figures yer blog would take a half day to read if you wrote about all ya were a doin' if'n ya didn't pace yerselves and went all out.

    I.M., yer loyal reeder
    Me and Nilda's blog

  4. It's sooo fun to kick the tires on some new RV's...We love to do it too...and...Nogales is suppose to be one of the more "sketchy" towns to cross into..Glad you made it back and had no problems..Stay safe...and we can see that you stay busy!!

  5. Busy, busy, busy! I haven't been to a big RV show in a couple of years. But, after seeing your pictures, I think it would be fun to go just to kick a few tires!

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  7. It is always fun to get out and kick a few tires..love the layout of the Winnebago Tour!..those big slides make a huge difference!
    Sure seems like you and Pam are pretty darn busy!..so much for the quiet life of the 'retired'!

  8. An RV show WITH a free lunch. How good can it get!