Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier, BC, Canada

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slowing down in Tucson, hike and satellite frustration but learning

We left Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort on Sunday morning and did a looong pull of 317 miles to Justin's Diamond J RV Park on the west edge of Tucson near Saguaro Nat'l Park West. Fortunately we got an early start and we gained an hour moving from Mountain Time to Pacific Time. Before I forget I did get to play golf on Saturday morning with the guys from the Heartland Owners Club get together. I've always wanted to play a desert course so I took the opportunity. It's a lot harder that it looks on TV with the pros. It's a beautiful course and I all I will say is my score reflected only playing 1 - 2 times per year and the difficulty if you're not in the fairway. I'll post some pictures in another post. Glenda and I also rode our bikes around the roads and down to the beach area at Elephant Butte Lake State Park. Definitely a place to stay at if we get back to that area in the future. Much more our style of "camping". Pictures to come later.

Once we got to the RV park in Tucson we checking in and were able to use our Passport America membership for the 6 days we are in Tucson....$21.00/night which is 50% off the regular campground fee for our site(premium site) and our size rig(over 32 feet), that's $126.00. We were going to take a pull through site but we talked to Christine, the owners wife, and she told us about the back in sites on the back row of the park that had great views of Tucson Mountain Park plus the pull through sites were in the front part of the park near the road we came in on. We had enough listening to traffic noise the last few places we've been.  Well Christine was right and I needed practice at backing onto sites. Glenda and I were NOT on the same page, at first, as to where the rig was to be in the site. The sites are divided into larger gravel to park the rig on and small gravel to use as the patio area. Glenda thought the rock would damage to the tires but everyone else was parked that way so once we came together on the parking it went a lot smoother. At first I thought I would never get that rig turned and parked but we got it done. (photos to follow of the site in the next post) Anyway, once we got set up we sat out under the awning for a while and then went to an early dinner at McD. We came back to the rig and tried to relax for the night but instead I tried to set up the satellite dish and after an hour and getting too dark to see.....I gave up for the night and just raised the antenna and we got ONE, yes ONE clear channel. Fortunately it was a CBS channel and we could watch a couple of shows and the news.

Very frustrating since I had been successful up to this point in tuning in the satellite. Seems I had just been lucky in my prior attempts at the other parks. So I got on the internet last night and did some research on elevation and azimuth. The website I researched explained that the elevation is the angle from the horizon upward in degrees that the dish should be set at. You should then set the correct elevation first and then move the dish side to side to attain the correct azimuth. North is zero degrees and south is 180 degrees. I went to the Direct TV menu and there was a Dish Pointer tool. I put in the zip code where were are staying and wrote down both the numbers(elevation 51.1 and azimuth 148.8). I then created an inclinometer to help measure the angle of elevation of the dish. I would try again after getting groceries and some fuel for the truck. More on that shortly. We decided before going on our errands we would explore the hiking trails behind the RV park. So that's what we did. The landscape is beautiful . Click on the photos to enlarge.

Off we go

Blooming Cactus

Glenda hugging a cactus....ouch

These look fuzzy but look out

Prickly Pear Cactus

The majestic Saguaro

View back at our rig - zoom lens
We walked out on the trails for about 30 - 40 minutes. It was only about 9:30 - 10:00 but it was already getting hot. Funny thing is I didn't sweat as much as I would have in Illinois and the typical humidity there. Make sure when hiking in the desert, you take plenty of water. It was a great introduction to desert hiking. We headed out to do errands. First we stopped at the Tucson Camping World and picked up a few items we just couldn't live without. :-) Then we fueled up the truck and went to get some lunch. We ended up at a Del Taco, a new Mexican fast food place for us. The food was good and kept us from over doing it at the grocery store. We found a Wal Mart and enjoyed watching Wal Martians as we shopped. After errands we got back to the rig and I attempted to get the satellite dish pointed in the right elevation and azimuth. It took another 20 - 30 minutes but my research paid off and we finally got locked on and enjoying our satellite TV tonight. Glenda couldn't miss DWTS(Dancing with the Stars).
Glenda thought it would be fun to get my picture working on the satellite with my new hiking hat on. I know, how cool is that. :-)  We grilled out some turkey burgers, chips and veggies. While I was grilling I happened to hear something near our site. I quickly got my camera and was able to get a shot of a Gambel's Quail.
Tomorrow we plan to go to Saguaro Nat'l Park West and the Arizona - Sonoran Desert Museum. Should be interesting and fun. Stay tuned. 


  1. Isn't Wal Mart people watching fun, you really get an idea of the local population. We went into the local grocery store, another interesting experience. Nice you could get a site on the back row, you'll enjoy the views much better. We use walkie talkies for getting into a site, too many times Dave can't see me while getting positioned.

    I know there are some satellite apps for the smart phone, don't know one of those might help, we bought a automatic one, our only issue is making sure it has a good line of site. Don't think you'll have to worry about that too much out west. We just had to get some longer cable to get our dish out far enough. Nice hat, you'll need it out there.
    Enjoy the Museum & Nat'l Park...

    1. Great having numerous trails right out your back door.
      I finally have elevation and azimuth figured out. I do like the hat and it came in handy at Sabino Canyon today. Tomorrow we do some really hiking at Saguaro. Thanks

  2. Happy for you both finally make it to Arizona! Looks like you're having fun already! We didn't get to see the Desert Museum. Let us know how it was. If you have the time and it's not too far some other really great things to see: Old Tucson, Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns (both tours are incredible, not your typical cavern, it's a living, warm one), Bisby and Biosphere II in Oracle. Have fun!!!

    1. Thanks Debbie...we are having fun. Looking forward to getting to our site in Gold canyon and exploring the Phoenix area. Drove by Old one there. We did Sabino Canyon, Desert Museum and going back to Saguaro tomorrow. Time here in Tucson coming t an end soon. Found some good Mexican food. Del Taco and you have to go to Calle Tepa(very authentic) in downtown Tucson. Too much to see in just a few days.

  3. Yes, we are familiar with Del Taco. I'll keep Calle Tepa in mind for April. Your in for a treat with all the wonderful Mexican restaurants in AZ!