Through New Mexico into Arizona: First Week in Tucson

After our three day stay at Balmorhea State Park, we picked up the pace and sprinted to the West Texas border and into New Mexico.  I-10 in Texas is 880 miles long, so it is almost a relief to finally cross into a new state.  We pulled over just across the New Mexico line to eat lunch and do a bit of research via Gas Buddy on where exactly to fuel up and finalize where we would stay the night.  Unlike many a day during our first year fulltiming, it was nice to pull into a rest area for something mundane rather than due to mechanical problems.

Knowing we would have a tight budget this month, we decided to save a few bucks with a one night parking lot stay at a Walmart in Las Cruces before continuing on to Arizona. We had just topped off the gas so had plenty to spare for the big generator, allowing us to run the AC until the cool desert evening made things comfortable.

The next morning we pushed deep into Arizona, stopping at Davis-Monthan AFB’s Agave Gulch Family Campground in Tucson.  The RV park here is another great deal: $20 a night for full 50 amp hook ups with sewage, free park wide wife (better than “RV Park average” but still slow or unavailable at times), very well maintained facilities and all the amenities that a big military base provides.  We also used one of our free night certificates from the Air Force Frequent Camper Program we had purchased late last year.

The scenery is about as nice as you can make a desert military base, with extra care having gone into the landscaping, and the interesting view of the aircraft bone yard nearby.  Hundreds of retired military planes stripped of components, windows and entry points covered in plastic, slowly degrading in the hot desert air, surrounded by cactus and other desert flora.

The length of our Tucson stay would be largely dependent on our ability to gain vendor access to the local farmer and artisan markets.  After our success in San Antonio we had finally found enough forward planning space to seek events along our route.  While still in Texas we submitted email and online application requests to three different market managers, but did were not accepted in time to participate in anything the weekend of our arrival.  We made the best of it and scoped out one of those events on Easter morning to get a feel how we might do there.

We finally received approval for a couple of markets the following weekend, and had to make a tough decision about whether to linger in Tucson a full week.  Since we were still waiting on Rosemarie’s passport and she would be flying out of Phoenix a few days after that market weekend, we chose to extend.

While killing time there we took advantage of all the great outdoor hiking and cultural activities.  Haha, just kidding, Tucson in late April is freaking hot!  The sun just blazing down on you all day, temps in the 90s with limited shade, so we just tried to keep cool while turning our stay here into a “working port” rather than a “liberty port.”

Rosemarie did a thorough cleaning of Serenity’s interior, reorganized all of our jewelry displays and finished items, and spent the rest of her waking hours creating a a slew of knew offerings.  I repaired part of our damaged awning, changed the water filter, cleared a clogged line, started the insurance claim process to replace our cracked windshield, fixed our leaking potable water hose, finally installed our new shower head, cleaned our AC inlet filters, did our taxes (on the last day, of course) caught up the blog, cleaned out the heating vents, and bathed the cat.  Yeah I know how they are supposed to be a self cleaning item, but our odd kitty loves to roll in the sand.

Late on Friday afternoon we headed south towards Ranch Sahuarita for the early evening market run by Food In Root.  We met with manager Tim who got us set up on the manicured lawn of the resort.  Along with roughly 20 vendors we had a small but steady stream of potential buyers, and ended up doing quite well.  I have developed a loose “profit margin happiness scale” ranging from depressed and on up through disappointed, grudgingly satisfied, content, happy, excited, to ecstatic.  This one cleared happy by a comfortable margin.  We spoke with Tim about other markets his organization runs, and we have the option of coming back next weekend for a couple of those events.  I plan on being in Phoenix then, but if we don’t get accepted at markets there I might just back track while Rosemarie is out of town.

That same Friday Rosemarie came down with some sort of bug resulting in cold sweats, shivers, general discomfort and the like.  She soldiered on through the evening market, but the next morning was in no condition for that day’s event.  Not a problem; she had prepped everything, it was all loaded and ready in Loki, and I had done one event without her in Key West last year.  So early Saturday I headed north to Sabino Canyon to participate in the market at Three Canyon Beer and Wine Garden run by Art Lounge Productions.

Market Manager Janna settled us in and assigned us a spot in between a baked goods chef and an organic tea vendor.  It started extremely slow, and more than an hour in to the four hour event I was not sure we would even clear the $25 table fee.  Fortunately we had a last hour rush that saw me still selling things 20 minutes after the market technically ended, so we ended up nicely into a “content” result for the day.

That’s our eight day stay at Davis-Monthan AFB.  The remaining week of April is still mostly in the TBD category: the only things we know for certain is our shift over to the wonderful Gilbert Ray County Park just outside Saguaro National Park and Tuesday appointment to get our windshield fixed.  After that I know we will be driving up to Phoenix for Rosemarie’s Wednesday morning flight, but whether I stay there or return to Tucson while she is in Florida will, as I mentioned earlier, depend on what markets, if any, we get accepted to in Phoenix.

4 thoughts on “Through New Mexico into Arizona: First Week in Tucson

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