Life in the Cactus Forest, Our RVing Style

Greetings again from the Cactus Forest, our boondocking spot on BLM land just north of Tucson, Arizona! When we arrived here on February 3, we expected we would just be staying here for a night or two before moving on to Yuma. But here it is eleven days later, and we’re still here. The weather here has been absolutely perfect, the scenery is spectacular, and we just haven’t felt the urge to move on.

Sunset view from our campsite

Of course, no campsite is perfect. The one thing that I really don’t like about this area is the shooting range that’s about two miles down the road from where we’re parked. Every single day there are people using the range, firing all kinds of weapons, off-and-on throughout the day. Fortunately it’s a designated area for shooting, and people aren’t just wandering off into the desert and firing their guns willy-nilly. But all the racket does tend to destroy the peace and quiet of the area, unfortunately. I’m just glad we’re at least two miles away so it isn’t as disruptive to us as it is to some of the people camped further down the road.

Most days I take a 4 to 4.5-mile walk right after breakfast to start my day. If there’s no shooting going on, I see a lot of rabbits, chipmunks, prairie dogs and birds along the way. So far, no rattlesnakes have crossed my path, which is fine with me. Andy takes his walk a little later in the morning–he doesn’t walk as far or as fast as I do, so we each do our own thing. I walk to the west because the road is longer that way. He walks to the east because there are more people to talk to! 🙂

Big Class A and a large travel trailer camped about a half-mile west of us

We’ve left camp a couple of times to run errands or take care of the rig. We made it seven days before we had to empty the tanks and fill up our fresh water. Andy drove the rig about 26 miles north to the Flying J station in Eloy, where he was able to dump the gray and black tanks and refill the fresh water tank. He tried to fill up the gas tank, but they cut him off at $75 (yes, he should have just pulled out a different credit card and started a new transaction, but he didn’t.) And they were completely out of propane.

So Andy left the Flying J, drove across the freeway to the Pilot station and finished filling up the gas tank. The total was 34.5 gallons at $3.529/gallon for $121.70. But there was still the matter of propane, which the Pilot station does not carry. He called me to let me know what was going on and said he was going to swing by an RV park to see if they had propane for sale. I told him I would check online to see if I could find a source for him. I used the iOverlander app to quickly find a Chevron station in Marana that sold propane, and I called them to verify that they actually had some available (they did); then I messaged Andy the Google Maps link with directions to the station.

I love technology!! Andy returned to our campsite with Lizzy 3 totally refreshed!

Last Friday we drove in to Tucson to treat ourselves to lunch at Barrio Brewery, a place I found on Yelp that was highly rated. They have a Mocha Java Stout dark beer that Andy really, REALLY liked. I had the Rae’s Ruby Red IPA that was delicious. The food was pretty good as well, with some of the best french fries I’ve ever eaten. If you’re looking for good pub food in Tucson, we highly recommend this place!

Lunch at Barrio Brewery in Tucson was awesome!

We’ve met some wonderful people here at the Cactus Forest, and interestingly, the people we’ve clicked with the most have been from Canada. I met Arlie, a woman from British Columbia (originally from Virginia USA) who is traveling solo in her RAV4 with her cat, sleeping in a tent. She has a beautiful soul, and is enjoying exploring Arizona on her own terms. Andy met a great couple, Marc and Christine, from Montreal, who are also car-camping with a cat, but without the tent. They have been on the road for almost six months, came to Arizona “by accident”, and have now decided they are going to be annual snowbirds here. Andy invited Marc over today to tour our Class C, as they are trying to decide what type of rig they might want to move forward in. Car camping is tough enough for one person, I can’t imagine two people and a cat doing that for six months! Kudos to them for doing what it takes to follow their dream!

As Andy and I were sitting outside by the firepit one night last week, our conversation turned to our “RVing style”. Most people think of the RV lifestyle as being filled with travel and sightseeing, moving across the country visiting parks, monuments, tourist areas and landmarks along the way. And when we first started our RV life back in 2017, we had a lot of that mindset as well.

However, after being on the road for awhile, first as full-timers and now as part-timers, we have found that our RVing style is something different. Our priority is not to see as much as we can. Instead, our priority is to find a place where we enjoy just BEING, and then just BE THERE for as long as we want to or until our time limit is up.

We look for a place that has the best weather, some beautiful scenery, places to walk or hike for exercise, services like groceries and a dump station nearby, and that doesn’t cost too much–the same sort of things you look for when you’re looking for a new house (well, maybe not the dump station). When we find that place, we like to settle in for awhile and just LIVE there, soaking it in and getting to know the area until something changes. If it gets too hot or too cold, we move on. If we’ve stayed the 14-day limit, we move on. But we never feel pressured to keep moving to see or do the next thing. We enjoy just BEING where we are.

Night falls on our little home

And speaking of that 14-day limit, we’re about to reach that here. We have to be out of here by Thursday, so we’re watching the weather. Tomorrow (Tuesday) there’s a front that will be moving through from the west, bringing some strong winds, 20-30 MPH with 40-45 MPH gusts. Not a good day for driving. On Wednesday, the temperatures will be about 20 degrees cooler after the front passes, with a very slight chance of precipitation. Depending on how full our tanks are, we’ll pull out of here either that day or wait until Thursday. Either way, we’re headed toward Yuma this week, for who knows how long.

Moonrise over the saguaros

I’ll be sad to leave this place, but as Andy said, it’s really not that far from our home base in Deming, so we may decide to come over here more often. We’ll see!!

Thanks for taking time to read our blog! Feel free to share it with family and friends who might be interested in the RV lifestyle. If you want to keep up with our adventures, please subscribe. You can also find us on Instagram at Instagram.com/Suzanne.Hight if you want to keep up with us between blog posts. And we do occasionally post videos to YouTube–if you would like to subscribe to our channel, check it out here.

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