Holiday 2008 ... Fourth Stop: Picacho Peak State Park, AZ


the Last of a 4CU RAlly

& Decompression

The off-roaders had circled their wagons (RVs) to create their own little enclaves of sand-lovers.
For the first time ever, we came upon an Airstream gong in the same directi0n as we were! But they didn’t say “hey.”
Playig “Pictionary” was certainly an ice-breaker! We all had a hoot. We no doubt play this again at future rallies!
And then 
the rain started ... lots of rain this trip!
Rich & Sadira had spent New Year’s weekend in Southern Arizozna and stayed at The Shady Dell in Bisbee, so we 
had lots to catch 
up on.

Leaving Borrego Springs we drove southeast toward Brawley, CA , south of the Salton Sea, and eventually El Centro, where we picked up I-8 to head back to Arizona. On this route we passed through the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreational Area and found all those folks who had gone on eaastward when we turned north to Borrego Springs. There small conclaves of dust-lovers hunkered down together in

their sandy playground. It was as thought they “circled the

wagons” (RVs) to create their only little communities …

some had identifying flags flying, and all were surrounded

by their “steeds” (off-road dirt bikes and quads). It sort of

reminded us of the communal setting seen in the Mad Max

movies of futuristic survival in barren desertscapes. One

has to admire their enthusiasm to the life and give them credit for getting out there and doing what the love to do.

It was a pleasant drive back through the Imperial Valley toward the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and Yuma. The only real difference we noted this time through was that there were even more RVs lining the dunes along the Interstate … it is the off-roader’s heaven. It was still the holiday weekend, so the dune riders were in full blown party mode at that point. It was not as windy as it had been when we came through the first time, so the dunes felt more calm overall.

Soon we were crossing the California/Arizona border at Yuma and were well on our way back to Picacho Peak State Park between Phoenix and Tucson where we would meet with a number of Four Corners Unit (WBCCI Club) for the very tail end of the New Year’s Rally that was being held there and being hosted by our friends Louis & Sergio from Phoenix — yet another group of Airstream friends.

On the interstate between Gila Bend and the I-8/I-10 junction we came upon a 25’ Safari Airstream from Colorado heading in the same direction. This was the first time in our travels that we’d actually encountered

                    another Airstream going the same direction. We were pretty

                            excited, especially as they were going a bit slower than

                               us, so we eventually caught up with them. As we

                                passed them we were all ready to wave and give our

                                Airstream salutations, but when we got along side of

                                them, neither of the folks in the tow truck even looked

                                our direction! The lady driving looked pretty intent on

                                  her responsibilities. We were disappointed that they

                                   didn’t acknowledge us — with at least a wave of recognition — but we decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to honk our horn or flash our lights for fear of distracting the driver. So we went on our merry way.

We stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs and let the Girls do the same and get gas, so it took us longer than we thought it would to get back to Picacho, We pulled in about 4:00 PM and made our way to the Quail Group Camping Site where the other shining Airstreams we’d seen from the highway were gathered.  We pulled in and immediately the “welcoming committee” came to greet us “late bloomers.” They knew we were coming, but they had expected us a little earlier (as did we) so they were glad we were there safe and sound. So were we … it was a long drive … 7 hour. The New Year’s Rally at Picacho had been hatched after we’d already committed to spending New Year’s in Anza-Borrego, so we missed most of it, but it was good to be there and to see friends and make a few new ones at the eleventh hour. We got there just in time to unhitch, crank down the stabilizers and get a cheese and cracker platter together for the last pot luck of the rally and join those who were left from the rally. Many of them had already gone on their ways.

After dinner it was time to play “Pictionary,” one of the planned activities of Louis & Sergio. For those who don’t know the game, the group is divided into 2 teams … each person writes down a person, place, action and thing on separate slips of paper and they are all put in

a bag for members of the opposite team to draw one by

one. The object of the game is to draw the item selected

so that your team members can guess what it is. It’s kinda

like a picture version of charades. It was a hoot. By the

end of the game we felt like we’d been there for the

whole rally … and we knew we had missed a fun time,

for sure. We were just glad we could be there for part of

it. We got to see Louis & Sergio, Ron & Mark (new players from Tucson), Jim & Mini (she had not been at the Labor Day rally), Julianne, Mike & Sheri, Richard & Jan, and we were happy to meet Steve & Faith, Mike & Tracy, and Carl & Cindy on this brief encounter.

After the game, some of us gathered around the large fire pit and enjoyed some conversation. Most were leaving the next day, and we planned to move to an electric loop and stay at Picacho for a few more days to “decompress” before making the final ride home to Tucson … just 45 miles down the road.

Sunday morning the rain started about 4:00 AM, and it came down pretty good. Great. That would put the damper (sorry) on everyone’s departure

             that morning. Everybody was waiting for a lull in the rain to walk

                their dogs and get hitched up. Finally there was a lull, and like

                    ants coming out of a hill after a storm, people emerged from

                    their aluminum cans wearing rain gear and either dashing

                    about to pick up their chairs and rugs or leading their dogs

                    along the road to do their business. It rained off and on. We

                    weren’t rushing because we had until 2:00 PM to move to the

                     other loop, but we didn’t want to miss saying goodbye to anyone, either … so we were out there with them in the cold rain. We were used to rain on this trip!

Our friends Rich & Sadira (Prescott, AZ) had been down to Bisbee and Tucson with Rich’s Airstream for New Year’s weekend and they were planning to stop at Picacho for a night Sunday on their way home to Prescott, so we had seeing them to look forward to, as well. They called when they were about 10 miles from Picacho so we told them to find a space in the electric cloop, then come on over to the Quail Group Area and we could introduce them to some of the folks in the Four Corners Unit. They showed up just as Louis & Sergio stopped by for coffee and chat before they took off. Richard & Jan were moving around, too, as were Ron & Mark. Mike & Sheri had left early before we got up, so unfortunately, we missed them in the rain.  Julianne, who we’d enjoyed seeing the night before was up early and on her way home…but we saw her wave as we she went by before we could get out the door to say goodbye … sorry, Julianne. Mike & Tracy and Steve & Faith were parked several spaces down the road … they were planning to stay until Monday (but were not moving to the electric loops).  We’re glad that Rich & Sadira got to meet a few of the wacky 4CU folks. We’re hoping Rich renews his membership in WBCCI, but with the 4CU unit. (Right, Rich?)

Everyone gradually got themselves hitched up and on their respective ways, and we did the same. We moved over to the electric loop where Rich & Sadira had found a pull through, and set up camp in the site next to them … which happened to be one of our favorite ones!  It was still raining off and on all day, but we had a chance to spend some good time with Rich & Sadira. We’d last seen them when we were in Prescott last summer. They had stayed in The Shady Dell in Bisbee where

we’d spent Thanksgiving weekend with Louis & Sergio

and Julianne and the fun folks of the Dell, Jason &

Jennifer, Ken and Jason’s mom Annette … so we had

lots to catch up on between their Bisbee adventure, what

they been up to, Rich’s new photo gallery and large

format printing business, and what future travel plans

are. They are heading to Anza-Borrego in February to

meet Larry & Bill for a camp out. Small world, eh?

Check out Rich’s blog, The Airstream Chronicles


Monday we got up early (again!) to see Rich & Sadira off so they could get home at a reasonable time of day. By that morning the rain had stopped pretty much. It was still overcast and there were low clouds hanging lazily  around the peaks, but as the day progressed, things began to dry out some and it turned into a nice day, albeit cool. Our camping chairs had gotten soaked the night before and our door matt was like a soaked sponge. So we laid those out in the sun and hoped they’d dry during the day. It’s amazing how fast the wet roads, paths and puddles dry up and the clouds move away to let the sun shine through in the desert. 

The rest of the day was a quiet one for us. So much had taken place over the last two weeks on the road that it was nice to have a day to just relax and think about it all. And the fact that the sun was finally out made it

                               that much better.  We had a pleasant final night that

                                    night, watched a movie and turned in for a good

                                       night’s sleep. Tuesday was our day to return

                                        home. Again, we did not rush because we didn’t

                                        have far to go and Arizona state parks have a

                                       liberal checkout time (2:00 PM). We took the

                                      time to walk the Girls again, have a nice cup

                                       of coffee and get the trailer ready for its final leg

                                        of the trip back to Tucson.

Once we were on the road, it only took us 45 minutes to get to the outskirts of town, but what seemed much longer to get from there across town to our house … between an area of construction (merging two lanes into one with no warning) and a disabled car in one lane further down the road.

We got home to find the house still standing and the yard in need of a little TLC because we’d had a couple of freezes while we were gone and the lantanas needed to be trimmed … but other than that all was well. We’d turned the water off at the alley before we left in case there were hard freezes, and our neighbors had kept an eye on the house and brought in our mail. We unpacked, and got the Bambi washed to remove what road grime the storms had not rinsed off, and put away … and were settled back into the house within a couple of hours.

“Where to next?” we asked each other. “Let’s see. There’s a free weekend in a couple of weeks. We should go somewhere!”

Click on the slide sho icon below to see pics from Picacho Peak, and then you can go to other trips or other legs of this trip. We hope you enjoy!

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Much had happened over the past two weeks, so it was good to have a day to rest and remember it all. Yes, we are ready to go again.
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