Tucson is in the Sonoran Desert. It has been a relaxing visit to Tucson. Unlike the summer there is nicer weather this time of year. It is lots greener than the Mojave Desert. The Sonoran Desert has the Saguaro cactus (pronounced suh-war-oh) and lots of other vegetation, all with sharp parts. They don’t need signs telling people not to touch them. We were very surprised to see these signs in Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert.
Originally published February 15, 2019
Picacho Peak State Park
After leaving Gila Bend we drove first to Picacho Peak State Park which is about the halfway point between Gila Bend and Tucson. Picacho Peak is a well-known landmark used for centuries by travelers crossing between the Gila Bend and Phoenix areas toward Tucson. It has a very distinctive profile that is easy to see for more than thirty miles.
In my mind, Phoenix and Tucson are both very hot and pretty much equal when determining a good place to winter over. We have only briefly visited Phoenix during our travels and never stayed very long. Until now I had only been to Tucson when flying helicopters with the Navy. I had never stayed there either. Tucson was about the maximum range for my helicopter and typically we would fly from San Diego to Tucson and back on the same day. doing overland navigation all the way.
What I didn’t expect in Tucson were two things. At Davis Mothan Campground they don’t take reservations. I expected that after spending a couple of days in the overflow section of the campground then we would transfer to the section that had full hookups. After checking and expecting to spend a week at Davis Monthan that we shouldn’t expect to move at all. The waiting list was long. The second thing I didn’t expect was that it was going to get cold. Had we known this we may have stayed in Gila Bend or Yuma. Those two options were in the wrong direction. We were headed east and maybe further south.
When in Tuscon we stayed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in the overflow section of the RV park. The park is operated on a first-come-first-served basis and at this time of the year, you can expect to be in the overflow section before getting to say in the normal part of the campground.
Saguaro National Park
While in Tucson we visited Saguaro National Park both the east section and the main part of the park to the west of the city. Both are beautiful but if you only have a small amount of time, the east section is the way to go. South of the west section of the Park is Tucson Mountian Park which extends and seems to double the side of the National Park.
Tumacacori National Historical Park
Tumacacori National Historical Park is a small Spanish Mission that has been largely restored to its original condition which was by the early 1900s almost falling down. The museum was very interesting. Tumacacori Mission was first established by a Jesuit Priest Father Kino in 1691 on one of his expeditions north across Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California. The Tumacacori mission is the oldest mission in Southern Arizona.
After the Pima rebellion in 1751 and the destruction of the original mission site, the mission was moved to its current location. By 1848 which we consider the beginning of the old west (Cowboy) period the mission was abandoned and began falling into disrepair. In 1854 Arizona was established as a United States Territory with the Gadsen Purchase. The restoration was started in 1908 and continues to this day.
Now in the spring of 2023, we have been to Picaco Peak and Tucson three times. On each visit and revisit we find new and wonderful things to do while in the area. Picaco Peak is still our number one stop between Gila Bend and Tucson. Some of the links below were developed on subsequent visits.
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