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.
  • This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • 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.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Arizona

Squeaky wooden floors greet your entry into the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. Hubbell’s mercantile has been serving Ganado selling groceries, grain, hardware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878.

Discover Hubbell Trading Post NHS, where history is made every day a National historic site on Highway 191, north of Chambers, with an exhibit center in Ganado, Arizona. It is considered a meeting ground of two cultures between the Navajo and the settlers who came to the area to trade. It truly takes you back in time. A lovely visitors center with a interesting tour of the original Hubbell Farm House. Definitely worth a stop, with plenty of RV parking, picnic tables and clean restrooms.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Until Our Next Adventure Cheers From Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥


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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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♥♥♥♥

pr 20170823_172443Harvest Hosts Affiliate Banner

Canyon De Chelly National Park

Canyon De Chelly

Cottonwood campground is located at the entrance of Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The campground consists of 92 sites, two group sites. All campsites are paved, no electric or water or sewer, its dry camping all of the way.  The campsite has three restrooms no showers, water station and dump facility. The campground is first come first serve, No reservations and cash only for payment, which is $14.00 a night. Park is open year round popular during October to April.

Now that we have  our trailer settled in our camping site it was time to make reservations for a jeep tour of the canyon.  We contacted Arizona Jeep Tours, spoke with Oscar Yazzie, 928-781-2113 and yay we had a tour at 9 am the next morning. Oscar advised us to dress warm, bring water and snacks and a personal guide would pick us up at our trailer. Sure enough, our guide was spot on time and arrived at 9 am sharp, in an open blue jeep wrangler, hence the dress warm.  Our guides name was JJ and he is pure Tseyi’ Dine’, not Navajo he assured us. Per JJ our guide Navaho means STUPID. We rode off towards the entrance to Canyon De Chelly; you cannot enter this Heritage area without a guide. The four hour and 30 mile round trip tour was very informative; we learned much about the people and their beliefs.  The ruins were highly historical yet slowly deteriorating due to the hands of man and Mother Nature. Many petroglyphs and pictographs remain in amazing condition. Be sure to bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares. If you are on a quest for history of the Navajo/Dine’ people, the jeep tour is highly recommended.

Later in the day, we took the scenic roadway that takes you on the south upper rim along the canyon with outlets to observe the canyon. Again – Bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares in the parking areas.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Join us next time at Walnut Canyon for more Indian Ruins

Harvest Hosts liz-logo-1


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

JUST AROUND THE BEND  ♥♥♥♥liz-logo-1
Harvest Hosts


Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
                                                                                                               Harvest Hosts Affiliate Banner


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point