Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 18 Sonora Desert Museum and Salt River Canyon

May 18 Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson, Arizona

Up early at 6AM, 52F and sunny. I'd always wanted to see the desert with the Saguaro cactus standing like sentinels. The Sonora Desert Museum is a private museum meaning no public funding. It is exceptionally well run with docents available for tours through all parts of the acreage. The weather forecast was for 98-100F so we wanted to be there when it opened at 7:30AM to give these northern bodies a chance to survive the heat. Fortunately it only got into the high 80s and was windy, quite enjoyable actually. Later in the day on the road it hit 98F.

Docents greeted you and pointed out all the free suntan cream spray machines and water bottle refilling stations. We doused liberally and probably drank a couple of quarts of water over the period of three hours.

The saguaro cactus were in bloom !! The variety of cactus was amazing. Docents were stationed under canvas shelters along the paths and they explained the life cycle of the big giants and the birds and animals the depend on them. There were also large enclosures for a mountain lion, brown bear, Mexican coyotes and a large exhibit of reptiles thankfully behind glass.

We did all the walks including the one out into the desert. Fortunately there were very few people around so you actually felt what it must have been like to cross the desert as a settler. By noon we'd had it and drove on stopping at the visitor center at the Saguaro National Park for another short walk.

On to I-10 to 87 to 60 and a fabulous drive through the Salt River Canyon on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. This is like a mini Grand Canyon that you actually drive down into and back up. Joe said it was like riding through "intestines". The F-450 has all the power needed to take those 12% mile long grades. You can see part of the road in the top left of the photo.

This is what the road looked like on the Delorme mapping. I was driving and Joe was calling out the curves as they came up. Lots of pull out areas to let faster drivers by.

We ended up exhausted and camped in the Sitgreaves National Forest near Show Low, AZ. A cool wind off a lake and all the camper windows open was refreshing and a great end to a long, tiring but good day. What an incredible country we live in.

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