Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Is A Must Visit

Better start early for this sonoran experience, winter is the best time to visit as the temperatures are a perfect 65ish degrees. We packed a lunch, cameras, water bottles and good hiking boots and literally spent all day exploring,  joining all of the free seminars. The bird presentation was amazing – Raptor Free Flight (seasonal), where visitors watch from the flight path as native birds of prey whiz by so close visitors can feel the brush of feathers. There are two presentations daily and each demonstrates different birds. One program showcases Harris’ Hawks, the only raptors in the world that hunt as a family group using strategy, like wolves.

The snake and reptile program scared me to death, with rattlesnakes  20 feet away yikes. There are three live animal presentations: Live and (sort of) on the Loose, showcasing often-misunderstood venomous reptiles

  • A visit will forever alter your definition of the museum as 85% of what you will experience is outdoors.
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  • The grounds are comprised of 97 acres of which 47 are developed and curated; there are two miles of walking paths, 16 individual gardens, 1,200 native plant species and 56,000 individual plants.
  • The animal collection currently includes 230 native mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds including a multi-species hummingbird aviary.
  • The Museum includes an Earth Sciences Center which recreates an underground cave, complete with stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Refillable water bottle stations and fountains are located throughout the grounds.
  • Dispensers with complimentary sunscreen are located in most restrooms.
  • The museum is open daily, year-round; hours vary by season. On Summer Saturday evenings the Museum is open until 10:00 p.m. with themed programs especially for families after 6 p.m.
  • Most demonstrations, live animal presentations and primary exhibits are included in the admission price.
  • The Museum is located 14 miles west of Tucson in Tucson Mountain Park at 2021 N. Kinney Rd. just 2 miles from Saguaro National Park (West) Visitors Center.

Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico

High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes. Carlsbad Caverns is an amazing National Park, at every turn it  impresses from the entrance of the cavern all the way to the 750 foot elevator ride back up to the visitor center. Definitely a must see! We were extremely lucky to have been able to finish the day viewing the bats exiting the cave at sunset, a huge check on our bucket list.


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If you have your Senior National park pass the entrance fee is free-what a deal, otherwise $25.00 per person..

Lots of Parking for RVS, you can pull thru or park along the curbs, well thought out for us in big rigs.

Bathrooms = Clean large flush toilets

Visitor center is huge with lots of tempting items to spend money on.

Cheers From Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥ 

Please join me on my next adventure in Ft Worth Texas with our family for the holidays




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Catalina State Park Arizona

Sometimes I’m not sure when we are headed to a new destination what’s ahead. I get anxious,wondering will the park be nice, comfortable, amenities that we enjoy, things to do and explore. Not to worry at Catalina State Park out of Tucson Arizona. Actually I should play this park down and really not tell you the truth as this is a true gem nestled at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife with nearly 5,000 saguaros. I would highly advise staying at least 2 weeks as when you are finished hiking, biking, visiting the ruins,attending the free concerts and Saturday wildlife exhibits you still need to explore what Tucson has to offer.
The campground itself has 120 sites, which are strategically arranged to give you much privacy yet an amazing view of the Catalinas. Campground slips are paved including picnic tables, bbq grills water and electric.Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with free hot showers. RV dump stations are available in the park with no limit on RV length. Campground is open year round. The fee is $30.00 a night with a 14 day limit.
This is one time we both did not want to leave, we were so comfortable in our site with a spectacular view of the Catalinas and so much to do the time just flew. We will return.



Sorry most of our pictures of this camping visit are MIA, if they show up I will re post. I did re cover a few enjoy and join me on our next adventure at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

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Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument is a United States National Monument located about 10 mi southeast of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, near Interstate 40. The canyon rim elevation is 6,690 ft; the canyon’s floor is 350 ft lower.

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Of all of the ruins we have lately been exploring, this was number 2 of our favorites, number 1 being Mesa Verde, so far. The ruins are up close and personable, yes it’s a hike but well worth it, 244 steps down to be exact. The views around every corner are truly spectacular and the ruins are very well preserved. Walnut Canyon lets you experience the ruins along the very trail the ancients used. This was Grampa and Gramma Thompson’s very favorite ruins to visit and we can now see why.

Next Adventure follow us to The Bio Sphere2

Cheers from JUST AROUND THE BEND♥♥♥♥

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde is truly the Land Of The Ancients. Accessing Mesa Verdes premier sites is physically challenging. Most cliff dwelling trails are steep, uneven, with numerous steps, ladders, cliff edges and tight passages. The 7500 elevation and very dry windy hot climate can drain you fast if you are not properly prepared. Luckily, we arrived at the end of the season; temperatures were in the 70’s and nights 30ish. We found a lovely camp spot at Morefield inside the park, an seven-mile drive from the entrance, with a beautiful panorama. Being it is at the end of the season, no frills here, no, water, electric or sewer, pure dry camping-we did get a fire pit and very nice picnic table. This was a true test for our Solar and its working perfectly, I can blow dry my hair, vacuum, we even made sweet potato smoothies in the bullet. The park fee with The Senior America the Beautiful pass was $10.00 a night.
The first day we headed to visit Longhouse, we couldn’t get tickets as it was closing for the season so we opted to walk to the viewing platform, a 3 ½ mile loop, partially paved, with 4 additional Pithouse sites along the way named Badger House. The drive from our campsite to Longhouse parking was 23 miles of twisting, winding, curvy and a very steep roadway. Warnings along the way advising you cannot be over 25 feet long to drive this roadway, glad Julie was not on this road trip. The walk to see the ruins is worth it, unlike anything we have ever seen, the preservation, building skills and humans’ being able to survive in a bleak and harsh environment was astounding.
Our Next day’s adventure we were able to purchase tickets for a park ranger tour of Balcony House, $10.00 for two, named the most adventurous cliff dwelling tour. We met at the trailhead, approx. thirty of us in all and proceeded down a 150 ft. decent straight down, very, very steep steps. Then straight back up a huge ladder 32 steps to be exact to a ledge overlooking the vast Ancestral Pueblo Valley. If you happen to be claustrophobic, I would advise do not do this tour. We spent most of the tour on the ledge of an open cliff face with stone steps and tiny crawl spaces through rock tunnels. It is exhilarating, our Park Ranger was outstanding being an anthropologist he was informative and entertaining. The rest of the day, we spent self-touring other cliff dwelling and ended up at The Chapin Mesa Museum. The park is well marked with informative signage and easy to follow directions. There are a lot of dwelling you can visit, with wheel chair access and easy paved walking trails.

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Fort Stevens State Park – Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park in the fall is another 10 experience. The weather has been perfect with 72 degree days and 60 degree nights. Wind, none-that’s unheard of at the beach-right. Even though the park is literally packed with snow-birds, you would never know it. You practically have the most pristine paved trails to yourself and once you are back in  camp, it’s quiet and so relaxing. The campsites are situated so you have ample privacy, lots of trees and vegetation separating you from your neighbor. All sites have fire pits, tables, water and electric. Two larger loops have full hookups. Restrooms are clean, pretty modern with token paid showers. Full hookup for us was $32,00 a night, well worth it.

Our first day we were so excited to explore the many bikes trails, we actually got up early, packed snacks, water and off we biked hoping to end up at the beach. We geocached along the way and found many, ending up at the beach and exploring  a wrecked cargo ship named The Peter Iredale . Well what’s left of it.

Second Day was exploring bunkers, watching ships come in and out of the mouth of the Columbia River and more biking. This particular bike exploration brought us to a new trail which led to a very pregnant very large elk just grazing in a marsh right next to the trail. Wow are they big! The last day of our time here we are going to spend at the beach and yes probably get there by bicycles. What a fun, relaxing and memorable time this has been.



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What To Do Here:

First thing we did was get our bikes unloaded and hit the many miles of beautiful trails.

Find the beach – yes we rode our bikes directly to the beach- You can drive there also.

Tour the many bunkers

Geocache – So many very creative caches to be found, most you can find on your bikes or by walking, we found many!!!

Start a fire in your fire pit  and relax

Explore The City Of Astoria and be sure to ride the train

Visit The  Peter Iredale a wrecked cargo ship

See you next time from Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge, HOH Rain Forest and La Push-Wa

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles on Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road.


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HOH Rain Forest

The Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, USA. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation

Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the Visitor Center — the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles), and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). Now for the big walk (we missed this one today)  Hoh’s major hiking trail is the Hoh River trail, which leads 17.3 miles to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus. The Hoh Lake trail branches off from the Hoh River trail just after the ranger station and ascends to Bogachiel Peak between the Hoh and the Sol Duc Valley.

We opted for the two shorter walks and it was incredible. Highlight of the day, we encountered a huge male elk. Thank goodness he was just resting as they had warnings there had been several elk attacks.


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Last stop on our Olympic Rain Forest Adventure is La Push,Wa. La Push is a village on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It lies at the mouth of the Quillayute River, surrounded by Olympic National Park. It’s known for wild Pacific beaches like First Beach, with its huge waves. Forested trails lead to Second and Third beaches, where numerous birds gather on offshore rock formations. At Rialto Beach, tide pools surround Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural rock arch.


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See You On The Road – Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥



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