All posts by terrycbarber

I am a disabled veteran, retired military and retired pastor. MaryAnn’s a retired special education teacher. Our next chapter, traveling the open road in a Leisure Travel Van.

Summer Adventure 2021: Week Two – On the Road Part Four

In week two we traveled from the Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park and then we continued into Idaho to Henry’s Lake State Park about 15 miles west of Yellowstone.

Grand Tetons and Yellowstone’s borders touch and these parks together cover a massive area larger than some states. Snow caped mountains, wild rivers, water falls, and mountain lakes are everywhere.

MaryAnn and I had been here around 20 years ago, but things are not what we remember. But what we did remember is the unsurpassed beauty and splendor of this place. Everywhere we looked was a declaration of God’s power and a testimony of His grace and His hand in this magnificent world in which we live.

Let’s take a look at God’s handiwork…

Jackson Lake, Grand Tetons.
Jackson Lake
Grand Tetons
MaryAnn & Me bike riding in the Grand Tetons.
Hidden Falls at Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons.
Grand Tetons.
Grand Tetons
Grand Tetons
Grand Tetons
From the road between Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.
The road between Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.
Wyoming cowboys
From the road to Yellowstone.
From the road to Yellowstone.
From the road to Yellowstone.
The road to Yellowstone.
Where did the road go?
The road inside Yellowstone.
The road inside Yellowstone.
From the road to Yellowstone.
From the road to Yellowstone
The entrance was hard to get a picture of because of all the people trying to get their picture taken in front of the sign.
The road inside Yellowstone.
We stopped to get some pictures of a herd of Bison.
MaryAnn isn’t as close to the Bison as it may appear.
Had to stop at Old Faithful just like all the other hundreds of thousands of people.
Old Faithful
The road inside Yellowstone
Elk in Yellowstone
Elk are everywhere in Yellowstone
More Elk
It’s in the 80’s Fahrenheit, the Elk were looking for shade.
A bridge near Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone.
Same bridge without the zoom lens.
One of many water falls in Yellowstone.
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs
MaryAnn, Tai & Jane on the boardwalk at Mammoth Springs.
Tai & Jane on the boardwalk at Mammoth Springs.
Tai, Jane, and MaryAnn at Mammoth Springs.
Mammoth Springs
Our Tiny house is always easy to pick out of a crowd. This picture was taken with a zoom lens from about 200 yards away.
Yellowstone River
The road inside Yellowstone.
From the road inside Yellowstone.
The road from Yellowstone to Henry’s Lake, Idaho.
Welcome back to Idaho!
Henry’s Lake, Idaho
The surrounding mountains at Henry’s Lake.
Entrance to Henry’s Lake.
Surrounding mountains at Henry’s Lake.
Henry’s Lake
The view from Henry’s Lake.
Our campsite at Henry’s Lake.
Our campsite at Henry’s Lake
Mosquitoes at Henry’s Lake were so bad that we had to leave the next day and head north. The dots on the side of the van are mosquitoes, the Van was covered with them!
On the road in Montana.

From Henry’s Lake we continued north to Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana. We stayed through the weekend at Great Falls to resupply, do laundry and dump tanks in preparation for boondocking in the National Forest in week three. Until next time, safe travels my friends…

Summer Adventure 2021: Week One/Two – On the Road Part Three

In this addition we travel from Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada to Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah and then on to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The road to Grand Teton National Park was marked with snow caped mountains and raging rivers filled with fresh ice cold snow melt water. We zigzagged through Utah, Wyoming and Idaho several times before arriving in the Grand Teton National Park.

Prior to arriving in the Grand Tetons, we stopped for a few days at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah just north of Salt Lake City to dump our holding tanks, fill up our fresh water tank, wash clothes and resupply our refrigerator and pantry.

While at Hill Air Force Base I had a flat tire on my ebike and had to get it replaced. Mark, a fellow retired military and RVer came to my rescue and did all the work replacing the inner tube on my bike, thanks a lot Mark! Take a look at the beauty and wonder of the Grand Teton National Park…

The road through western Utah.
Welcome to Utah!
More of the road in Utah. As we got closer to Salt Lake City the topography started to change.
From the road to Salt Lake City.
We stopped at the Red Barn Ice Cream store for some homemade ice cream on our way to Hill Air Force Base.
Mountains around Salt Lake City.
Downtown Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City
More of the mountain views around Ogden/Salt Lake City.
Our parking spot at Hill Air Force Base RV parking lot.
The road to Grand Teton National Park.
More from the road to Grand Teton National Park.
Welcome to Wyoming!
Welcome back to Utah!
Nice fixer upper!
Welcome back to Wyoming!
Welcome to Idaho!
Welcome back to Wyoming! The road took us in and out of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho several times before we finally stayed in Wyoming to get to Grand Tetons.
From the road to Grand Teton National Park.
Afton, Wyoming is a very beautiful little town on the way to Jackson, Wyoming.
Located just outside Grand Tetons.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park
We made it to the Grand Tetons!
Our campsite in the Signal Mountain Campground inside the National Park.
We hiked around Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons. Mirror image.
Jenny Lake
MaryAnn & Me at Jenny Lake.
Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake, mirror image.
Jenny Like, smooth as ice!
We hiked to the Hidden Falls, a five mile journey!
Me and MaryAnn at Hidden Falls on Jenny Lake Trail.

After our five mile hike around Jenny Lake we took the boat back across the lake to the visitor center. After lunch we road our ebikes around the Grand Teton National Park for about 19 miles. We had a great adventure in this beautiful National Park.

The boat ride across Jenny Lake.

Next time we will be leaving Grand Tetons and traveling into Yellowstone National Park and then on to Henry’s Lake State park in Idaho…

Summer Adventure 2021: Week One – On the Road Part Two

In this post we are continuing east through the mountains of eastern Nevada. The snow covered mountain ranges are everywhere. Our next stop will be in the Great Basin National Park. It’s at the Great Basin we test out our new ebikes and found them lacking. We had to contact the company “Blix” to find a solution to their poor performance going up hills. Come to find out putting more air in the tires is all we needed to do. We will also give a taste of the glamorous side of RV life in this episode of our blog.

Come along as we explore the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada…The road from Ward Mountain to the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada.The Barber Road is the road less traveled.Views from the road to Great Basin.One of many snow covered mountains seen from the road to the Great Basin.

Beautiful snow caped mountains.The entrance to Great Basin.Our campsite in Baker Creek Campground inside the Great Basin National Park.Views from our campground.From our campground.Our first day we explored the National Park with our ebikes going down the mountain was a wild ride at 30-35 miles per hour. Coming back up the mountain to our campsite was quite a workout at only 5 miles per hour. My bike barely made it back up.A selfie with four people is actually a lot harder than it looks. Fortunately someone stopped to help us out by taking our group picture.

Our second day we hiked up the mountain. Tai stopped to pose for a picture. He looks like he’s enjoying our hike, but actually he hates hiking!We stopped to take a break while on this 5 mile hike up the side of the mountain.MaryAnn’s reading the trail map to see where we are on the mountain.MaryAnn, Jane & Tai on the mountain trail.Jane & Tai

A short video clip of the trail up Baker Creek Trail in Great Basin National Park.

The glamorous side of the RV life, emptying our gray and black holding tanks!

Before we left Great Basin we had to empty our tanks and fill our fresh water tank. In the process of filling our fresh water tank, MaryAnn “claims” her hand slipped losing control of the water hose and soaking me down with ice cold water! She claims it was an accident, but she was laughing the whole time!

We have been on the road for only four days and traveled from Rio Rico, Arizona to the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Ward Mountain Campground in the Humbolt National Forest and the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada.

On this fourth day of our road trip we continue northeast into Utah. We’re about two weeks behind on our post due to lack of internet connection, we are actually in Montana right now, but we promise to get caught up.

Our next stop is Hill Air Force Base north of Salt Lake City, Utah and then on to the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming…

Summer Adventure 2021: Week One On The Road – part one

In this first installment of our summer adventure 2021 we left our home in Arizona on May 23rd. We plan to be on the road for two months exploring eastern Nevada, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Our first stop was at White Tank Mountain Regional Park west of Phoenix. This is one of our favorite county parks in Arizona, not expensive and the views are outstanding!

From White Tank Mountain we continued our journey to Las Vegas where we planned to meet up with friends and traveling companions, Tai and Jane who will join us on our latest epic adventure.

After meeting up with Tai & Jane and spending the night at their beautiful home driveway camping, we continued on to Ward Mountain Campground in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in eastern Nevada.

The view from our campsite in White Tank Mountains. Notice the bird on the picnic table.
Before we can start our summer adventure we have to pack. In our Komo Rear Storage I packed our two ebikes, an inflatable kayak and various gear for our trip.
The Traveling Pups are ready to get on the Barber road!
All systems go! Engage!
About four hours latter we arrived at White Tank Mountains!
Our campsite in the White Tank Mountains.
Another angle of our campsite.
The view from our front door.
The Traveling Pups enjoying the view at White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
Another view from the campground, this is Phoenix in the distance.
Part of the Hoover Dam from the road to Las Vegas.
Welcome to Nevada!
Driveway camping at Tai & Jane’s house in Las Vegas. Tomorrow we begin our summer adventure 2021.
Tai & Jane’s house the night before we start our road trip. Next stop is Ward Mountain!
Pics from the road through eastern Nevada.
From the road to Ward Mountain.
From the road in eastern Nevada.
The road in eastern Nevada.
Snow covered mountains were around every curve in the road.
More from the road.
Ward Mountain in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Here we are at Ward Mountain and the beginning of our summer adventure!
Our campsite at Ward Mountain Campground.
Sunset on Ward Mountain.
Me & MaryAnn on the third day of our summer adventure 2021. Two months to go on the Barber Road!

We’re just getting started, on our next post we travel the road from Ward Mountain to the Great Basin National Park…

News from the homefront

We’ve been busy preparing for our next road trip adventure. In just two days we’ll be back on the road again this time for two months! The road is calling us to eastern Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Our first stop after leaving Arizona will be in Las Vegas to meet up with fellow Leisure Travel Van (LTV) owners and good friends of ours, Tai and Jane, who will be joining us on this trip. Tai and Jane have the LTV “2019 Serenity” model, ours is the LTV “2018 Unity FX” model.

We plan to boondock in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near The Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. Spend Memorial Day weekend at Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City, Utah. Then on to The Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone in western Wyoming.

Then we plan on meandering through Wyoming for a while before heading north to Montana and The Glacier National Park. In mid June we plan to cross over into northern Idaho and spend a month meandering through the National Forest and the many mountain lakes of Idaho.

Our neighborhood roadrunner stop in for a visit while we were busy preparing for our trip.
Our latest addition to our arsenal, we’re planning on kayaking as many lakes as possible on this trip.
MaryAnn is getting excited about our next adventure! She can’t wait to do some kayaking.
The kayak is inflatable and when deflated fits into this bag, giving us plenty room for other things in our Tiny House.
We took our new kayak to a nearby lake to see if it would float – it did! There is a learning curve for getting into and out of a kayak. Hopefully we’ll get the hang of it.
We do have life vests, we were in the process of putting things away when a passer by offered to take our picture and we forgot we had already taken off our life vests..
Since we added the kayak, we needed to add this shelf in our Komo Chest to give us room for the ebikes and the kayak equipment. The ebikes will fold up and be placed on the shelves, the kayak will store on the right of the shelves.
The traveling pups got a much needed haircut in preparation for our next adventure, they’re getting very excited as well!
They look so much smaller after going to the groomers.
We bought a new bed/cot for the traveling pups while we’re hanging out at the campsite.
Hopefully this will keep the pups off the ground and out of the dirt.
The blanket on the top of the pups bed/cot.
Luna looks quite comfy on her new bed/cot.
I don’t think she is liking me taking her picture.
The pups like their new bed!
Peeta is also enjoying his new bed.
Peeta is taking a nap on his new bed.
FedEx dropped off these huge packages! What could be inside?
New Ebikes! Yep, we decided to upgrade our bikes to one that can go twice as far and is twice as powerful!
Of course these are folding bikes. It’s the only way to go when space is at a premium living in 180 square feet.
A lot of packing material had to be removed before we could actually see what our bikes looked like.
Here it is! Our new Ebikes! These bikes were made in Taiwan. Ebikes are made in Asia, anywhere from Vietnam to China.
Both our new bikes are green. It was the only choice since we didn’t want white.
It’s “Blix, Vika+.” “Vika” is Swedish for “folding”. The lithium battery is 48 volts and the motor is 500 watts. It can travel 45+ miles on a charge.

All our supplies are collected and our clothes are packed. Fresh water tank is cleaned and sanitized, black and gray water tanks are cleaned and empty. Tires are checked, oil level is good and batteries are ready. The road is calling and we must obey! Come along with us as we continue our adventures on the “Barber road…”

andersonville, georgia

We visited the Andersonville American Civil War, Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Georgia in May 2019. The official name of this POW camp is Camp Sumter, 45,000 Federal prisoners were held captive here from February 1864 until May 1865. During these 14 months 13,000 of these prisoners died of disease, malnutrition, exposure and poor sanitary conditions.

Originally the camp was designed to hold 13,000 prisoners. However, by June of 1864, just four months since it opened, the prison population had grown to over 26,000.

Andersonville is a very sobering place, a bitter reminder of what people are capable of doing to one another. Someone once said, “If we don’t learn from history, we will repeat it.” This is a place that every generation of Americans should visit. God forbid we as a nation ever forget…

In the 14 months the prison was in operation, close to 13,000 POW’s died of disease, malnutrition, and exposure to the elements.

The first prisoners were brought to Andersonville in February, 1864. During the next few months approximately 400 more arrived each day until, by the end of June, some 26,000 men were confined in a prison area originally intended to hold 13,000. The prison grounds were expanded from its original size in an effort to accommodate the large numbers of prisoners, but was still too small to hold the thousands of Union soldiers eventually held here. The largest number held at any one time was more than 32,000 in August, 1864.

Handicapped by deteriorating economic conditions, an inadequate transportation system, and the need to concentrate all available resources on the army, the Confederate government was unable to provide adequate housing, food, clothing, and medical care to their Federal captives. These conditions, along with a breakdown of the prisoner exchange system, resulted in much suffering and a high mortality rate.

Andersonville Prison ceased to exist in May, 1865. Some former prisoners remained in Federal service, but most returned to the civilian occupations they had before the war. During July and August, 1865, Clara Barton, a detachment of laborers and soldiers, and a former prisoner named Dorence Atwater, came to Andersonville cemetery to identify and mark the graves of the Union dead. As a prisoner, Atwater was assigned to record the names of deceased Union soldiers for the Confederates. Fearing loss of of the death record at war’s end, Atwater made his own copy in hopes of notifying the relatives of some 12,000 dead interred at Andersonville. Thanks to his list and the Confederate records confiscated at the end of the war, only 460 of the Andersonville graves had to be marked ” Unknown U.S. Soldier.”

On the grounds at Andersonville is the National Prisoner of War Museum.
American POWs held captive in Japan when the A-Bomb was dropped died at Hiroshima.
A memorial to all American POWs throughout history.
The cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia.
One of the many memorials built here on the grounds of Andersonville.
Andersonville
Each State of the Union that had lost sons here at Andersonville built memorials here on the grounds of the prison and the nearby cemetery.
A memorial to the sons of the state of Illinois who lost their lives at Andersonville.
The soldiers of Illinois who paid the ultimate price at Andersonville.
Turn you to the stronghold ye prisoners of hope, Zechariah 9:12
Andersonville.
Originally the prison covered about 16 1/2 acres of land enclosed by a 15 foot high stockade of hewn pine logs. It was enlarged to 26 1/2 acres in June of 1864. The stockade was in the shape of a parallelogram 1,620 feet long and 779 feet wide. Sentry boxes, or “pigeon roost” as the prisoners called them, stood at 30 yard intervals along the top of the stockade.

In the picture above we are given an understanding of the kind of conditions the POWs were forced to endure, living in stick tents the soldiers made themselves if they could find the materials left behind by their fallen comrades. Otherwise they just slept out on the ground with no protection from the weather.
The only source of water for the prison is a spring fed stream that ran through the prison yard called the Stockade Branch, The stream is still flowing there today.
In the middle of the field is a memorial for the fresh water spring at Andersonville.
The memorial to the fresh water spring that miraculously sprung straight up into the air during a thunderstorm when lightning struck the ground in the prison yard.
The memorial of the fresh water spring at Andersonville.
Prisoners returned to Andersonville years latter and gather at the fresh water spring.
The fresh water spring.
The stream that flows through the prison yard even today, 156 years later.
A memorial the sons of Ohio that lost their lives at Andersonville.
Memorial to the sons of Rhode Island. Inside, about 19 feet from the wall, was the ” DEADLINE ,” which the prisoners were forbidden to cross upon threat of death.
The sons of Wisconsin
MaryAnn walking the grounds at Andersonville.
While we were visiting Andersonville we camped at Lake Tobesofkee State Park.
Our campsite.

In case you were wondering, these atrocities committed against POW’s didn’t occur only in the South. The POW camps in the North have similar stories to tell of the horrors witnessed by the Confederate Prisoners of War.

The “Barber Road” continues through Georgia next time…

Southern Arizona Leisure Travel van tour 2021: Day eleven – twelve

Our last stop on our Southern Arizona Tour was at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Mexican – U.S. border. The elevation at Organ Pipe is around 1.600 feet, the high temperatures during the day in mid-April were nearing 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t worry – it’s a dry heat – humidity less than 9 percent!

We chose to end our tour here in Organ Pipe, perhaps next time we lead a tour through southern Arizona we will continue on to Yuma. Some of our LTV group went on their own to Yuma. Among other things, there’s a state historic park in Yuma – a prison that dates back to when Arizona was still a territory, opened July 1, 1876 and closed September 15, 1909. But we’ll have to include that in our next tour of southern Arizona.

Many of the pictures in this post were donated by our Leisure Travel Van tour group. Let’s take a look at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument…

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LTV owners – (From Left) Tai & Jane Taitano, MaryAnn & me with the Traveling Pups – Luna & Peeta. at the entrance of Organ Pipe.
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Organ Pipe Cactus.
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LTV owner – Tai always comes prepared! (Photo by Gordon Dupries)
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From the road into Organ Pipe.
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More from the road to Organ Pipe.
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Saguaro Cactus are plentiful in Organ Pipe National Monument.
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Arches along the trail at Organ Pipe. (Photo by Gordon Dupries)
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Views from the campground.
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Our last group gathering! (Photo by Gordon Dupries)
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LTV owners- Ed & Cynthia Doyle in Organ Pipe.
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From the campground we could see the border wall in the distance. (Photo by MaryAnn Barber)
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Views on the trail above the campground.
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From the trail above the campground.
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LTV owners – MaryAnn Barber and Linda Douglass hiking on the trail above the campground.
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An unwelcomed visitor under Ed & Cynthia Doyle’s LTV. (Photo by Cynthia Doyle).
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This is how some of our group prepared themselves for our visit to Organ Pipe. (Photo by Mary Williams)
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Organ Pipe Cactus.
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Views from the campground.
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More Organ Pipe.
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The three amigas! LTV owners – (From Left) Jane Taitano, Linda Douglass, and MaryAnn Barber hiking on the trails in Organ Pipe.
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Linda Douglass (On Left) Jane Taitano hiking in Organ Pipe.
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Organ Pipe in the campground.
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The road to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
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Views from the campground.
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More of the road to Organ Pipe.
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Part of our Leisure Travel Van caravan on the road. (Photo by Cynthia Doyle)
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Views in Organ Pipe.
Entrance to Organ Pipe.
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Our LTV caravan. (Photo by Cynthia Doyle)
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Mountains in Organ Pipe.
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Jon & Mary’s LTV at sunset in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. (Photo by Mary Williams)
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Our LTV campsite at Organ Pipe.
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Our campsite.
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Some interesting Saguaro Cactus on the road to Organ Pipe.
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Sunset in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

This post concludes our 2021 Southern Arizona Leisure Travel Van Tour. This was truly an epic adventure! We started the journey as mostly strangers and ended as good friends.

Traveling is always a great adventure for us, a chance to see something new. There’s only one thing better than traveling – that’s traveling with other people with similar interests! Seeing new things and being on an adventure with other people makes the journey so much better than traveling alone!

The road of life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. We need God’s help and each other to navigate all the challenges life brings our way. Don’t try to go it alone. Until next time on the Barber Road…

Southern Arizona Leisure travel van tour – day Nine & Ten

We left Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge on the morning of day nine of our tour driving north on AZ Route 286 toward the Tucson Mountains. We passed the Kitt Peak National Observatory driving through part of the Tohono O’odham Reservation along the way.

Our next stop on our Southern Arizona Tour is the Tucson Mountain Park and Gilbert Ray County Campground. Places of interest at this stop will be the Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park West, the Pima Air & Space Museum, and San Xavier Mission…

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The Kitt Peak National Observatory from Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge with a zoom lens.
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AZ Route 286 north to Tucson and the Tucson Mountains through Buenos Aires.
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Route 286
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Our next campground.
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Ever see an 88 year old man climb on top of his Leisure Travel Van to check on his air conditioner? He ran into a low hanging parking lot roof while visiting the Pima Air & Space Museum – there’s a reason why the sign said, “No RV’s in this Area.”
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LTV owners – from left: Gordon Dupries (with bike), MaryAnn Barber (sitting), Maggie Hogan at Gilbert Ray Campground.
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Our campsite at Gilbert Ray, no water hookups just electric – but a water isn’t too far away, it’s across the street.
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Our 2018 Leisure Travel Van, Unity FX.
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Every night our tour group gathered together to discuss the day and what we were going to do the next day.
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The Desert Museum really isn’t a museum at all, it’s a zoo. (Photo by LTV owner – Mary Williams)
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LTV owner Mary Williams at the Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owner – Jon Williams)
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Javelina babies at the Desert Museum. (Photo by LYV owner – Mary Williams)
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Coyote at the Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owner – Mary Williams)
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Mountain Lion at the Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owner Dave McCowan)
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LTV owner – Marge Coakley at Gilbert Ray Campground. (Photo by LTV owner – Bill Coakley)
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LTV owners – from left: Donna McCowan (in scooter), Dave McCowan, Jane Taitano, and MaryAnn Barber at the Pima Air & Space Museum.
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There’s Dave McCowan up on top of his LTV! Really Dave, you need to get down from there before you fall down!
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Gordon & Suzi Dupries out for a bike ride at Gilbert Ray Campground.
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Gilbert Ray Campground.
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Sunset at Gilbert Ray.
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In the Tucson Mountains. (Photo by LTV owners – Kerry & Maureen Johnson)
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Stormy Night at Gilbert Ray, didn’t get one drop of rain on the ground! (Photo by LTV owner – Maggie Hogan)
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Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owners – Kerry & Maureen Johnson)
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Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
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Desert Museum. (Photo by LTV owner – Maureen Johnson)
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Desert Museum parking lot. (Photo by LTV owner Dave McCowan)
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Gilbert Ray Campground in the Tucson Mountains. (Photo by LTV owner – Maureen Johnson)
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Prickly Pear Cactus on the trails at Gilbert Ray. (Photo by LTV owner – Maureen Johnson)
Saguaro National Park West.
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Saguaro National Park West. (Photo by LTV owner – Maureen Johnson)
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Saguaro National Park West. (Photo by Maureen Johnson)
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San Xavier Mission (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
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San Xavier Mission (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
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The inside of San Xavier Mission. This is the oldest still in use building in Arizona. The mission was founded in 1700 by Father Eusebio Kino a Jesuit missionary who also founded the Tumacacori Mission. San Xavier is located 10 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19. (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
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LTV owner – Ed Doyle at Gilbert Ray. (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
Saguaro National Park West.
Saguaro National Park West
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Flowers preparing to bloom on a saguaro at Saguaro National Park. (Photo by LTV owner – Cynthia Doyle)
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park west of Tucson
Ocotillo in Saguaro National Park.
Harris Ground Squirrel in Saguaro National Park, I took this picture while on a bike ride through the park.
Couldn’t resist another pic of the little guy!
Okay – one more!

Our next and last stop on our Southern Arizona Tour will be Organ Pipe National Park. Come along as we explore our southern border with Mexico…

Southern Arizona leisure travel van tour – day eight: buenos aires national wildlife refuge

On day eight of our tour we boondocked in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge east of Arivaca and on the border of Mexico. Many of our LTV owners had never wilderness camped before so we took them a little out of their comfort zone to experience something new, hoping to inspire them to unplug from electric and city water once and a while.

MaryAnn and I love boondocking, also known as dry camping, in national forests and on Beau of Land Management (BLM) land. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite places to camp, it’s close by our home and it’s wilderness. There are designated campsites that are a half a mile or more apart from each other, nothing but peace and quiet.

Since many of our group had never done this kind of camping before, they’re were many questions about the house batteries, solar panels, and generator use.

Buenos Aires is one of those places where if you didn’t bring it with you, then you have to do without it. There are no convenient stores, no gas stations, no sewer or dump stations, nothing but you, your rig, and the wilderness…

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There are plenty of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities at Buenos Aires.
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We stopped at one of the hiking trails on the way to our campground, this trail had a paved walkway for about a mile.
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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for bird watching. We caught a picture of a Vermilion Flycatcher.
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One of my favorite areas of this hike. If this tree could talk I’ll bet it has some amazing stories to tell.
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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by mountains.
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The view from our campsite.
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The views.
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This is camping at its finest!
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LTV owners – Tony & Maggie and Bill & Marge getting settled in at Buenos Aires.
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Circle the wagons at Buenos Aires. Camping here is free, no reservations required.
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Dirt road access to the camping area.
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Campsites are large enough to accommodate all 12 LTV’s and more.
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This is the only saguaro cactus I have ever seen in Buenos Aires.
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Out for an early morning hike.
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LTV owners – from left: Me, Nathan & Paula Rakestraw hiking in Buenos Aires.
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Some of the energetic people in our group hiking in the early morning or is it better described as speed walking!
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It looks dead and dry. That’s because the Mesquite trees haven’t woke up yet from the cold winter (temperatures in the 30-40’s at night still here) and this is the dry season in southern Arizona.
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Nothing like sitting around the campfire on a cold night in the middle of wilderness. Notice the lights under the rig in the background, the purpose is to discourage pack rats from coming around our LTV’s.
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LTV owners discussing the days adventures on the road.
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Looks rainy, but this time of year the best we can hope for is “virga” this is rain that evaporates before it gets to the ground because the percentage of humidity at ground level this time of year is as low as 5%.
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Our Leisure Travel Van at Buenos Aires.
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The hoods are open to discourage the local pack rats from climbing into the engine block and chewing on wiring.

In southern Arizona and throughout the southwest, pack rats are prevalent. Pack Rats are attracted to our RV’s because the wiring in the engine block are made from soy beans – they eat soy beans. To discourage the pack rat from coming into the engine block we open the hood and turn on lights under and inside the engine block area.

There are two things pack rats and other rodents don’t like – open skies above them, because of predator’s like owls and hawks and lights at night, the dirty rats prefer to lurk in the darkness.

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Our designated campsite. Here in Buenos Aires people just chose what ever site suites them, it’s first come first serve.
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Sunset in the wildlife refuge.
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Beautiful night in the wildlife refuge.
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Can’t resist a picture of southern Arizona sunsets!
Notice the sunsetting on the side of our LTV.
Nightfall is upon us, time for a bonfire!
I know it’s the third time I have shown you our bonfire, you have to admit it looks inviting!
No one else is here for at least a mile!

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, the best kept secret of southern Arizona! Shhh… let’s keep it that way! Our tour of southern Arizona continues next time at Gilbert Ray County Campground in the Tucson Mountains.

Southern arizona leisure travel van tour – day seven

On day six of our Southern Arizona Tour we explored Nogales, Rio Rico, Tumacacori, Tubac, Amado, and part of Green Valley. This area of the Santa Cruz River valley is where our home is located. We even took some of our Leisure Travel Van friends to see our home nestled in the foothills of the San Cayetano Mountains here in Rio Rico.

Some of the attractions we visited in this area of southern Arizona: The border wall in Nogales, the Santa Cruz Chili factory, Tumacacori National Historic Park, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, and the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley.

Most of the photos shared in this post were donated from the people of our tour group.

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Spanish Colonial Jesuit Mission established in 1691, Tumacacori National Historic Park.
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Interstate 19 connects Nogales with Rio Rico, Tumacacori, Tubac, Amado, Green Valley, and Tucson. This interstate is the only interstate highway in America that uses kilometers instead of miles.

There are two stories that explain how Interstate 19 became the only interstate highway in America that uses kilometers instead of miles:

Story number one – In the early1980’s congress was considering changing the U.S. to the metric system. It seemed like a done deal at the time, so in preparation for the change, congress chose Interstate 19 in southern Arizona to be the first to change over to the metric system. However, when it was all said and done, the plan to switch to the metric system was abandoned and Interstate 19 was left as it currently is today, measured in kilometers instead of miles.

Story number two – President Carter wanted to make the visitors from Mexico feel welcome so he ordered Interstate 19 to be changed to kilometers.

I will neither confirm or deny either of these stories. You will have to decide which one to believe. However, apparently the second story is actually the “official” story. Personally, I prefer the first story and I’m sticking to it…

Leisure Travel Van tour parking at the Tumacacori National Historic Park.
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We visited the Chili factory in Tumacacori and got samples.
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LTV owner – Ed Doyle at the Tumacacori National Historic Park.
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The Spanish Colonial Jesuit mission was first established in 1691. The building you see here is the third mission established in 1756. The first two Missions built (One built in 1750 and the other built in 1691) were located directly across the Santa Cruz River on the eastern side.
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This national historic site is currently under-going restoration. You would require a face lift too if you were over 265 years old!
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The rear courtyard of this mission contains 265 year old cemetery.
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A close up of the 265 year old mission at Tumacacori.
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Another angle of the rear courtyard at the mission.
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Inside the mission, the restoration process continues.
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LTV owner – Kerry Johnson, exploring the Tumacacori mission.
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Tubac is just down the road from Tumacacori. Tubac is known for its art and history.
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Kerry & Maureen Johnson’s three week old Leisure Travel Van, Murphy Bed model in Tubac. Notice the hands sticking up above the wall? Those are the hands of LTV owners – Suzi & Gordon Dupries.
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Located in Tubac is another historic site, the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.
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Established to protect the area from Apache raiders.
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A replica of the original Spanish Catholic Church at the Tubac Presidio Historic site. The original building was destroyed by fire.
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A schoolhouse at Tubac Presidio.
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LTV owners – Gordon & Suzi Dupries and Maureen & Kerry Johnson visiting the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley.
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LTV owners – Maureen Johnson with Cynthia & Ed Doyle at the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley.
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Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley.
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Our campsite at De Anza Trail RV Resort, Amado, Arizona. Just down the road from Tubac.
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Our campsite.
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While at De Anza Trail RV Resort the LTV group enjoyed a delicious chicken meal put on by the kitchen staff at the resort.
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Some of the LTV tour group went on a bike tour of the area. This LTV owner – Jane Taitano.
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LTV owner Cynthia Doyle took these pictures from inside her rig while passing our bike riders. This is LTV owner – Jon Williams, his trailer passenger is their dog Jackson.
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LTV owner – Rolland (Tai) Taitano.
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LTV owner – MaryAnn Barber.
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From left: Tai & Jane Taitano, MaryAnn Barber, Mary & Jon Williams and their dog Jackson in the trailer.
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The mountain views from De Anza Trail RV Resort in the Santa Cruz River Valley. This is Elephant Head Rock.

We have lived in this area since 2002. We bought our Leisure Travel Van in 2018 and have traveled in it over 67,000 miles, seen 44 U.S. states including Alaska, 8 Canadian Provinces including Newfoundland, and still love coming home to southern Arizona to witness the beauty of our own backyard… Next post – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.