January 1, 2021

2020: The Year Some Would Rather Forget!

*I decided to break this down and make it two posts.  This is the first half of 2020.  I was just too preoccupied during the year to write...

What a ride!!

January to March 2020

The year started out great with a six week trip for work and ended up at the Pima County Fairgrounds for an Escapees Hangout.

We headed out January 22, 2020 working in three different California locations before crossing the state line into Arizona.  We had made the Hangout reservations back in the fall of 2019.  We had never been to a group rally and we were looking forward to meeting new friends, enjoying new experiences and figuring out if we would even like the desert setting.

Before we arrived I had found out that Tina and John would be joining us.  They told their friends to expect us.  Imagine our surprise when Laura, Rob, Amy and Dan greeted us at the welcome table by name! New friends and we had only just arrived :-)  The week would be filled with entertainment, games and plenty of memories in the making.

Activities are optional during a Hangout.  You can choose whether or not to participate according to your mood, physical abilities or whatever. 

we saw a unique heart shaped leaf


friends on the trail :-)


One of the activities I joined was a hike at the nearby Saguaro National Park.  There were about a dozen or so others who joined.  This is where I saw my first Crested Saguaro on the trail, along with plenty of other majestic giants!

Rufus isn't allowed on the trails inside Saguaro NP so Ron decided to take him on a walk in a green grassy park instead.  We all had a good time in our respective activities.




even giants start out small

my first Crested Saguaro sighting










Plenty of other bloggers have seen Crested Saguaros before me.  I've been fascinated with them for quite awhile.  While on the hike through the park, we spotted this beauty.  It was a little off the trail so in order to get a better look, I had to walk carefully around other cacti.  So worth it!  I think it must've been near 25' tall.


We had pre-purchased tickets for the Sonoran Desert Museum when we signed up for the Hangout.  This unique museum is part nature trails, part aquarium, part animal enclosures, part gift shop and so much more.  Take a look here.  I'm sure there's something for everyone!

As expected Rufus isn't allowed in the museum or on the grounds.  We sure are glad for full hook ups and cooler temperatures.  He stayed back at the rig by himself enjoying some peace and quiet.

The museum's nature trails have scattered signs so that visitors can learn something about the various cacti.  Here is another Crested Saguaro and a little information about their crowns.  From it's descriptive sign: This unusual young saguaro is just beginning to form a crest, which may eventually grow to more than six feet wide. A crest can develop when the growing point, or meristern (which produces new stems and spines or leaves), elongates into a line. In time the growing line may become greatly convoluted, like a brain.

nice resting spot along one of the trails

so many hats :-)

During the cooler months, yes it gets cool in the desert, the staff cover some of the more delicate species with bags.  The purpose of the coverings is to protect the new growth.  When you see a saguaro with a narrow spot, it likely froze during that period of growth. 

frost victim

One of the most spectacular avian shows we've seen was put on during our visit.  Unfortunately the shows are temporarily discontinued due to Covid.  The birds are free flight.  The birds are varied for each show depending on their health and mood.  Ron got some awesome photos!

 Yes, the Saguaros are really tall!!

Another outing was a visit to the Pima Air & Space Museum.  There are nearly 400 aircraft on display at the 80 acre field.  There are six hangars, three of which are dedicated to WWII.  Rufus joined me for the day!  He and his friend, Fergie, enjoyed the shared car ride.

Fergie (L) and Rufus (R) enjoyed their visit

All  of the armed forces divisions are well represented here. 


There are so many aircraft here, most with descriptive signs.  I strolled around for a few hours admiring them while I wondered about the lives impacted by each.  From the people who made them, to the people who flew them, to the people who missed their loved ones while away from home, to those that never came home.  So many lives impacted!

AirForce One 1961-1965

they forgot a "P" in KIPP

Super Guppy Cargo Transport 1965-1995

Nights were filled with games, socializing (pre-Covid) and other fun shenanigans.  Of course, what's a great time without a great send-off dinner.  This was held inside the Cantina at the fairgrounds.  The taco bar was delicious, the drinks were abundant and the entertainment was fantastic!

The Status Crowes

Laura (host), Amy, Dan, Rob (host)

new friends: Dan, Amy, Ron, Rene', Tina, John

We sure had a great time!  The Hangout met and exceeded our expectations!  Ron and I are looking forward to another one in our future :-)

Our next stop before returning to California was another moochdocking experience.  Jodee and Bill bought a house in Tombstone, Arizona and put in an RV spot on a portion of theie property.  They even have water and 50amp power :-)  To our surprise Raven is too large to fit easily.  Instead of staying on their side yard, we get front row parking in their driveway!  

a cold dusting of snow was a surprise!

great spot out front

Rene', Ron, Bill, Jodee
One of the many benefits of life on the road is visiting friends on our journey.  It just happens that Debbie and Steve were in the Phoenix area as we were heading back to California.  Another excuse to get out and enjoy nature!  Steve had to work during the day so Debbie, Ron, the dogs and I went to nearby White Tank Mountains for an afternoon of hiking.  The dogs enjoyed the cool water at the base of a waterfall although it wasn't much of a pool.

no one else around for miles

petroglyphs on the rocks line the trail

Hurley (L) and Rufus (R) are soon friends

Debbie, Rene', Ron
Later the same night we met up again for dinner at Black Angus.  Sorry but no photo of the group :-(  We enjoyed a nice steak dinner and hours of lively conversation!
More work on our way back to Sacramento, California had us on the road until early March.  Then COVID hit...  
March to June 2020 

California closes down.  What the heck!  It's a good thing we make it back to our rental pad.  While some are wondering what they'll do for work, we're very busy at our shop making sneeze guards for a local hospital.  Time flies by and it's soon time to head out again.  We ordered a new rig back in February.  Covid halted the production line but it's back on the line and we'll need to be in Michigan to pick it up before our loan approval runs out of time.

Stay tuned for more of the year we'd rather forget! 

*As always, the photos can be viewed larger by clicking on them. 



  1. Well good times for you guys so far! The hike in White Tanks was fun. We still haven’t done the Pina Air Museum. I like your thought about all the lives impacted by just one plane. Sobering.

    1. I admit, 2020 wasn't all that bad for us :-) We're quite fortunate and I'm grateful everyday! We found out that we like the desert, as long as it isn't 100*+ weather... The museum is worth the admission price. Plus, Hurley would be able to join you-even inside the buildings :-)

  2. Ah yes, there were a few months of COVID-free life in 2020! How fun it was to have you here to visit. Hard to believe it was already so long ago. Glad you got to spend some time at White Tanks, it's one of our favorite spots - and you had great friends to share it with.

    1. It was a fun visit with you three for sure! Next one we'll have to plan more time though. And maybe when the weather is more cooperative :-) Who would've thought we'd get a snow flurry in February in the desert?? We have great friends everywhere!


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