Every morning I walk to the trail head behind the RV park and enter desert heaven. I make my way through various cacti, creosote bushes, sand, rocks, and palo verde trees toward Tucson Mtn. Park. Sometimes I make it all the way to the park, sometimes I don’t go that far. It is seldom I see anyone on the trails, and that completely fills my little introverted heart with joy. LOL
I stole the photo at the top of this post off the Desert Trails RV Park website btw, b/c as hard as I’ve tried to take my phone and get photos of the trails I walk every day, I can’t bring myself to do it. I just can’t “ruin” the walk that way. Today, in anticipation of needing a photo for this post, I actually put the phone in my pocket and got out the door. But I couldn’t do it. I turned around, came back inside, and left my phone as usual. I did take this one (below), though, but only b/c it’s in our “yard” and right outside our door.
One of the main reasons we left Colorado was to escape to warmer weather and less snow. This is our first winter in this area, and the weather here is mild and sunny and just what the proverbial doctor ordered. We are finding that “cold” here means dipping down to the high 30’s at night and high 50’s during the day. But that is not the norm. Most days are in the low to mid-70’s and the nights are in the 40’s – just right, in other words. When it gets chilly and one of us complains about it, we both realize what we’ve done and we start laughing at ourselves.
We’ll head to Yuma, AZ (also great winter weather) in January and stay there for a month, then we’ll be back to the Tucson area for awhile. After that, we only know we’ll be back in northern Colorado for the month of May 2023. We continue to watch the housing market, and we continue to scout out places where we’d like to settle down for this last stretch of our lives.
And we both are ready for some more space. LOL. Living in an RV is fun. It is exciting. It is an adventure. And it is also tight – with little privacy. We are both looking forward to having our own separate offices again at some point in the future. However, if you are thinking of trying it, I totally recommend it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
RV life has taught me a lot about myself. One of the main things it’s made me aware of is how few physical things I really need. To have his lifestyle, you have to pare down your life. And for me, that has been eye-opening. It has also forced me to always put things back where they go. You have no other option. It’s either that or there is no space to do life.
Once again, I have no wise, or even witty, summation for this rant. I just wanted to keep you informed about what we’re up to, b/c life got busy and I haven’t written in such a long time. And btw, I can recommend Desert Trails RV Park for introverts. B/c despite having lots of sites, it is mostly quiet. Plus, it has such great trails to explore at the back of the park that take you for miles. You can even go as far as Tucson Mountain Park and keep hiking into the park.
We drove our RV, Gordito, into Mexico – to San Felipe. It was not an entirely pleasant experience, but at least we learned what to do and what not to do when driving an RV into Mexico.
Firstly, you must get your FMM (temporary visa) BEFORE you go through the Mexican customs line with your RV. This means that you can get it online well before you travel, or you must stop right before customs to go into the FMM office to get one. Don’t skip this step like we did. You’ll have to go back and get it anyway, so do it before you get into the country.
As of this posting (May 2022), the Mexican gov’t requires everyone who visits the country to have an FMM – even if you are only gonna be there for a few days. The FMM office is usually off to one side right before you have to stop and get your RV searched. Look hard, or you’ll miss it like we did. AND: It is not called the FMM office.
And yes, they will most likely stop you and want to walk through your RV (and look inside cabinets, etc.), your toad, your trailer, etc. after you go in and get your FMM, get back in your vehicle, and drive into the customs line. However, they were super nice and polite during the inspection, and it took hardly any time at all.
We drove the two hours to Pete’s Camp without incident on a quite decent road, even though it was really windy. We took Highway 5 south from Mexicali, which has one military check point along the way. Again, they were polite and nice, and after telling them our destination, they waved us through. Note that they did not require us to show our stamped FMMs, but we learned that they sometimes do.
We did finally make it to San Felipe. And it was so worth it. We stayed at Pete’s Camp, which is just north of the town of San Felipe, and right on the Sea of Cortez. It was a bit spendy for our taste, but again, so worth it. Each site has its own canvas shade area and full hookups.
The beach is right there. And it was fabulous. Each day, the tide worked its way out and then back in. And when it went out, it went way out – almost a quarter of a mile. But that meant it left some excellent sand bars for walking and exploring. The beach was clean and smooth and beautiful.
I got in at least one – usually two – long, solitary walks a day, as I made my way down the beach in either direction (beach for miles). Introvert heaven! Pete’s Camp was clean and well taken care of. It had the restaurant and gift shop up on the hill, and bathrooms (take your on TP each trip) down on the beach. They wanted payment in cash or pesos only.
I can highly recommend Pete’s Camp for introverts – with some caveats. Don’t go on weekends, Mexican (or American) holidays, Mexican spring break, or the “on” season (when it’ll be full of Americans escaping the winter in the U.S.).
During the week, it was heavenly and almost empty. We were there in late April and most of the time had the place almost to ourselves. However, when Friday evening rolled around, that completely changed. The place filled up with locals and other Americans.
And not only did it fill up, it got loud. The folks at each site turned up their music (loud, loud, loud!), so that we had to listen to competing music all weekend. There was the music coming at us from all directions, kids running everywhere (including through our site), loud sand toys (side-by-sides, ATVs, etc.) constantly creating more noise and dust, and even fireworks all weekend. It was not pleasant for this introvert.
However, come Sunday morning, nearly everyone but us left and it was all quiet again. So, lesson learned about Pete’s Camp. We heard it was pretty much the same at all the RV parks in the area. One RV camp manager told us, “It can get wild and loud on weekends, but we keep it under control,” whatever that meant. LOL
On our way back, and at the military checkpoint, they stopped us and wanted to walk through Gordito. We welcomed them in, as they were super nice – and so young. Just young boys in the military. And still, very polite.
We made it back to Mexicali, and then into Calexico, CA with no problems. However, this time, instead of making our way out via the West border crossing (where we came in), we opted for the East one. And if and when we go back to Mexico in that area, we will definitely choose to enter via the Calexico East border crossing. It was bigger, newer and more easy to navigate in an RV. Not only that, but it does not empty you out right into downtown Mexicali, which is tight, tight, tight for an RV with toad.
Another note about the Mexican customs crossing. They insisted we needed to have registration for our tow dolly. We readily showed them our (specially purchased Mexican) insurance and registration for the RV and Prius, but they also wanted the same for the dolly. They advised us to go back into the U.S. and go to the DMV and get it registered, b/c it might be asked for further on in our trip into Mexico by other officials. We explained that it did not need registration in the U.S., and therefore, we not only didn’t have it, but would be unable to go back and get it.
We tried to explain that even if we went to the DMV and asked for such a document, they wouldn’t administer one, b/c it’s not required in the U.S. Finally, they waved us on, telling us it might cause problems later. It did not. No one asked about it.
IMPORTANT: Even though cannabis is legal in many states in the U.S., it is illegal to cross the border (either direction) with cannabis products of any kind into Mexico – even CBD lotions, etc. Likewise with guns, ammo, and even pepper spray. Do your research before going. Keep in mind that they have the right to use drug- and weapon-sniffing dogs at the border.
Also: Remember to purchase your Mexican auto insurance before going. I used my own insurance agent in Colorado, and she emailed me the documents before we crossed over so I could print them. We had to get insurance for both car and RV.
And last, but certainly not least, our T-Mobile phone/service was all but useless once we crossed into Mexicali. Yes, we had our phones on “roam,” but it did no good. That meant we couldn’t use our GPS to get to Highway 5, to San Felipe, to find the FMM office, to call anyone to ask for help finding that office, or to do some translations (our Spanish is muy malo). Service was spotty to nonexistent. (Remember at the first of this post when I mentioned the unpleasant part?) It was super stressful.
What’s the remedy? Get a paper map. Study the route beforehand, etc. If your Spanish is not up to speed, look at online photos of the specific border crossing you plan to use and the lines you need to be in – both entering and exiting. Also look at photos of the signs pointing you to the office in which you get your FMM. Check out that office’s parking lot photos. Is it big enough for your RV? Have it all planned out before you get there, so you don’t stress yourself out like we did.
Even with the difficulties we had, I can still say it was worth the trip and stress – b/c the beach and sea were so excellent. If you decide to drive your RV into Mexico, prepare well and know it’ll be worth it.
Kaibab Lake Campground is just a few minutes north of Williams, Arizona, on your way to the Grand Canyon. Williams claims to be the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon.” It is a small and quaint little town that still has most everything you’d need if you decide to camp here awhile.
We chose this campground because it isn’t an RV park and also isn’t boondocking. It is somewhere in between the two. They don’t have any hookups, so it’s like boondocking, but all the roads are paved and the sites are marked and already set up, so it’s also quite orderly like an RV park.
It is situated in the forest and is quite beautiful. The sites are far apart, there’s a lake, they have vaults (bathrooms), trash cans, water faucets with drinking water, plus it’s only one hour south of the Grand Canyon. If you’ve ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that the closer you get to the Grand Canyon, the more expensive everything gets. So it was nice to find this spot that wasn’t too expensive, but still gave us access to the park.
I can highly recommend this spot for introverts. It’s quiet, beautiful, close to – but not too close to – town, the sites are far apart, and it’s easily accessible for all. It has back-in sites, pull-throughs, and double pull-throughs for those traveling with a group. It is also great for tents, of course. We paid $26/night (cheap by RV park standards), and I think the double sites were $40/night. Even though there were quite a few campers while we were there, it was nice and quiet. We were there in early May, and it did get chilly at night but was great during the day.
In colonial times, the British built golf courses in India to offer them the same recreation as back home. But they did not foresee the monkey problem. Monkeys loved to take the balls and run off with them. They tried all sorts of things to keep the monkeys from taking the golf balls – including building tall fences, luring them away, cutting back the jungle, trapping them (the list is long), etc. As time went on and they had tried dozens of cures, they finally concluded that there was nothing to be done to keep the monkeys from the golf courses.
And that is what Kevin and I are doing now, I feel. We are playing the ball where the monkey drops it. We don’t know where he will drop it, when he will drop it, or if he will even drop it at all. He might chew on it first, or even swallow it. We just don’t know from minute to minute.
In other words, there are no guarantees. We are traveling and coping and learning and adapting. We had to stay in Yuma, AZ recently much longer than we wanted to for repairs to our RV, Gordito. We like full hookups, but don’t like to pay too much for sites. We like the amenities of RV parks, but not the noise and crowd. We are now trying to figure out how boondocking works for us. Our list is long too.
All this to say that there is a new flexibility requirement with this lifestyle that I, as a recovering control-freak, am attempting (most of the time, unsuccessfully) to navigate.
And I am certain that this part of our journey is just as important for me (us) as seeing the sights and traveling the land. It feels monumental for me to radically accept that I am not in control of pretty much anything except how I react and respond to what and who is around me, to realize that I want freedom more than I want to continue that fight.
So yesterday I danced with trees. We are now near Williams, AZ in Kaibab Lake Camp Ground, and it is beautiful here. And it has been hella windy (yes, I said hella). The tall, straight, pine trees protect us down below from the gusts, but we can hear the wind in the treetops. I can see them sway and hear them creak – which is one of my all-time fave things on our planet. So yesterday I grabbed onto a nearby tree and let it take me dancing.
It was like following a micro-blues lead on the dance floor – only a thousand times better. I could feel the subtle shifts and sway. I could hear the “music” (wind through the treetops). I had to focus and get quiet inside to be able to follow. I had to ground. I had to settle. I had to wait for the next gust of wind. I had to be patient and trust my lead. I had to let go of any judgements about anyone walking by and possibly seeing me hugging and dancing with a tree. I had to stop trying to control anything. I had to let go while still holding on.
And it was one of the most wondrous things I have ever allowed myself to do, one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever given myself. I highly recommend it. It’s a great lesson in following, in allowing, in just Being.
I have no profound end to this rant. Maybe it’s just about allowing – on the dance floor, in life, in our hearts, in our minds, in our dear bodies. I don’t really know. I am still learning, and we are simply doing our best to play the ball where the monkey drops it.
After leaving the Yuma area, we traveled north to Laughlin, NV (Bullhead City, AZ) to meet Kevin’s brother for a late lunch. Then we made our way to Nevada Telephone Cove Dispersed Camping area, which is on the banks of the Mohave Lake. It is only about ten miles northwest of Laughlin and camping is free. It is my understanding that if you go to the Arizona side of Mohave Lake, you have to pay for camping, but please do your own research to make sure. I found it, once again, on FreeRoam.
While the site is only about 10 miles from Laughlin, be advised that 4.5 miles of that distance is on a sandy, gravel, washboard road with some twists and some steep grades (short though they are). So be prepared to have your gizzard jiggled out for 4.5 miles. We have a 27’ Class-C (who gets a bit cranky on washboard roads) with a toad, so had an issue with one steep hill. Gordito began to spin down into the sand. We did make it, though. On the way out the next day, we unloaded the car and I drove it out ahead of Gordito, and he made it just fine.
We are discovering that most BLM lands are accessible by gravel (usually washboard) roads, so if that is the price we have to pay for peace and quiet and privacy, then so be it. It is worth it.
We arrived there late Friday evening, knowing it would probably be busy/crowed with weekenders. And we were correct. Telephone Cove (TC) is simply a stretch of beach on the shore of Mohave Lake where you can stop anywhere and camp. There wasn’t a place on the shore, so we circled around and got a primo spot on the opposite side among some shrubberies (you are required to say that with a British accent, ala Monty Python style – LOL). We put our door facing the mountains and not the lake, and so got privacy that way. The ground was level enough to not have to use levelers – for just one night, anyway.
We noticed rigs bigger than ours when we got there, so don’t worry about getting in. If we did it, and they did it, you are bound to succeed. There was one site right on the shore that was obviously un-manned but “saved.” Not sure of the rules on BLM land for that sort of thing, but we thought it was really bad form. We could have camped on the shore were it not for that.
The area offers a vault (bathroom), a huge dumpster for trash, a few trees and shrubs, and a boat launch. There were plenty of toys present: side-by-sides, jet skis, boats. Due to it being the weekend, we expected this. The sign there stated that you can stay up to seven days in a row.
The lake was cold, and the breeze was hot – nice combo. However, it was so hot that we had difficulty getting to sleep later, even with all the windows open and a (hot) breeze. It finally did cool down sometime later in the night. This is when we decided to invest in some smaller, rechargeable (maybe solar), clamp-on fans. We ran the generator for a bit so we could use the air conditioner to cool us down before going to bed, but we are hesitant to run it too much, because we know peeps want peace and quiet. However, we noticed several other rigs running theirs, and from our camp, we could not hear them. I think we just need to get used to running it more when we need to.
I would highly recommend TC BLM area for introverted boondocking – especially during the week, not on holidays, and not in summer (kids are out of school and on vaca with the fam). Please note that we were there in mid-May. On our way out the next morning, we saw LOTS more folks coming in with more toys for weekend fun, so introverts beware. LOL
What’s your fave rechargeable (maybe solar?), smaller, clamp-on fan for camping?
After several days of waiting on RV repairs in Yuma, we are FINALLY(!) on our way north (and hopefully to some place cooler). We could have gone ahead and driven Gordito as is, but he had a few things that needed to be done and now we can feel more confident about getting to where we want to go safely.
However, we only got as far as a few miles north of Yuma to the VFW Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camp because it was late when the shop finished with Gordito. But we were determined to leave and break the holding pattern we had been in for nearly a week. So around 6pm we pulled into the area. And after beginning to feel like we were being held hostage in a bad version of a low-budget horror film about being unable to exit a hot city with little to no T-Mobile cell coverage (even with our cell phone booster), we were happy to have made it even this short distance away. At least it’s progress, right?
I was surprised to find that I actually liked the VFW BLM land. Yes, it is right next to I-95 and a railroad track – so it is somewhat noisy. But hey, that’s what earplugs are for. We heard a few human voices, but not many, and nothing loud. The area is mostly flat with some native, shrubby plants scattered throughout. RVs and vans were parked at intervals – but not too many (remember, it’s hot as hell already in Yuma even though it’s only early May), because most everyone else has, wisely, bugged out.
At the back of the area are large trees, and we managed to snag a spot right against the trees, thus putting us in the shade (hard to come by in these parts!). We put our front door facing the trees instead of the camp area and have a lot of privacy that way. It’s so much nicer than the one photo I saw on FreeRoam. I took some photos the next morning to include here and on FreeRoam if it’ll let me add some. I’ve only used the app a few times so far, so I’m not sure of the possibilities.
The VFW BLM has no services, to include no dumpsters, no water, no dump station, no electricity. So, pack it in; pack it out. Anyone can stay; you don’t have to be a veteran or anything (even though I am a veteran). At the entrance, it said to register with the camp host, but we never figured out who or where that was. And considering the week we’d had (stressful!), we were exhausted, so drove in and parked. No one ever said anything to us about it, so…
The site was very level, so that no leveling blocks were needed. Although I’m not sure we would have bothered anyway, considering we would only be there for one night. The ground is mostly rough sand, so in high winds it might be dust-stormy around here, but it was good weather for us. I expect it would be hot as hell – even in the shade – during the day, but we got there late and left early, so it was mostly cool breezes through open windows for us.
Even with the highway right nearby, there was plenty of wildlife – birds, crickets, bunnies. And because there were so few folks here and everyone was parked with plenty of space between, this introvert felt quite comfortable. I didn’t like the lights at night, however. I like to sleep with no lights outside at night. People-made lights ruin the nighttime, IMO. There were a few lights near the entrance, around the VFW venue (building) there were really bright once we went to bed.
Google said VFW BLM was only 2. 6 miles (8 minutes) from Yuma, so if you stay here and need to shop or go see a movie, you’re well placed to do just that. It’s kind of the best of both – outside the city but with the city close enough for comfort.
I would tentatively recommend this place for introverts – probably dependent upon the season. Do some more research about other times of the year if you plan to make this a destination. Keep in mind how hot it is here, too, in the summer. In the winter, this would be a perfect stopping place, IMO.
As boondocking goes, this is only our third time trying it. Once was last year and in a Wal-Mart parking lot. So that one doesn’t really count for the introverted boondocking experiment. However, the other two times have been successful as far as this introvert is concerned. I could get to really like this.
What are your favorite boondocking (and good-for-introvert) places?
If you’re an introvert and looking for paradise, it might just be Fortuna Pond (some places list it as “Lake”) outside of Fortuna and Yuma, Arizona. We spent one night there, and it was heavenly for this water, tree, and bird lover. And I think boondocking might be the answer to the introvert’s question of how to survive RV life.
I must admit that I have been sitting squarely on the struggle bus here lately due to having to be around too many people, too much noise, too many lights (you know, human stuff), etc. for too long without a significant break. Because while I love having full hookups, I do not like most RV parks. In fact, I have yet to meet one that totally works for me. My mental health has been suffering, therefore. I’m stressed out, easy to anger, easy to panic, prone to freak outs and panic attacks, impatient, jumpy, super sensitive to noise, movement, and lights.
To counteract this problem, I doubled up on my meditations each day and started being more mindful about practicing my mindful techniques (funny how that works, huh?). I began making a list simply titled, “What Do I Need?” All these measures are helping. I decided to try something else that might not only soothe my soul but that is also free; I suggested to my partner that we do more boondocking. I like the idea of being away from noise, lots of peeps, and lights for a day or two here and there to keep me in the functioning, contributing adult category (something that was slipping away from me).
So, last night we spent the night at Fortuna Lake. It is listed as a pond in some places. In others, it is listed as a lake. I’m not actually sure if there are two different areas, or if the naming of one area is the issue, but wherever we were (the signs there said “Fortuna Pond”), it was wonderful. It is about 15 minutes outside Yuma, Arizona. And it is an oasis, as far as I am concerned. It was a small body of water surrounded by unmanicured grasses, trees, and shrubs. It is listed as bureau of land management (BLM) land, so there is not a fee to stay there. And you can stay for up to 14 days in a row, according to the BLM rules.
In order to find BLM/boondocking possibilities, I downloaded a free app out of the playstore called FreeRoam (they’re a nonprofit) that I really like. You can set your filters for all kinds of stuff, and it will point out the areas that might work for you. It has info, reviews, and photos of each area. I haven’t tried it for regular RV parks, but I like what it’s showing me for free boondocking possibilities.
Fortuna Pond had all kinds of wildlife, very few peeps, and the only human-made noises were one train that passed, distantly, at night. I also heard approximately three vehicles while we were there. They passed by on the nearby dirt road. And the road to get there does need to be addressed. When you turn off the paved road to get to the pond, you must drive about 2.5 – 3 miles on a dirt and gravel road, most of which is washboard. I am not a fan of washboard roads, but I have to say that road was worth the jiggling to get to such a great spot.
We were there in early May, so it was hot, but that also means fewer peeps. I would recommend going during the week and avoiding weekends and holidays. Fishing is allowed and apparently the lake is stocked on a regular basis with trout, bass, sun perch, catfish, and carp. I have heard other folks have gone swimming in the lake, but we did not. I did see two snakes swimming at dusk, so stay alert. I am not sure of the type of snake (they were too far away to tell), but they were not small. Also, it is my experience from growing up in a hot place with lakes that dusk is a snake’s preferred swim time. So maybe swim but not late in the day? Don’t take my word for it though, do your research.
We have a 27-foot class-C with a toad, and we had no trouble finding several spots we could stay. We chose a spot right on the pond and it was great. I got to listen to birds and frogs – and very few peeps. Perfection. It was sandy, but we had little to no wind, so no dust in the air. And sand is to be expected because Yuma is in the desert. And it was hot that time of the year – again: desert. I have read that the pond can be very busy and crowded during weekends. Indeed, there were several locals there for the fishing as day-users even on a weekday.
We ran our generator for a short time when we first got there around 6pm to cool down the inside of Gordito, but it cooled down nicely outside after dusk. It was the first time on our trip that I got to sleep without my earplugs. I wanted to listen to the night as I slept, and I was not disappointed. We had a new moon, stars, water, bird song that turned into cricket song as it got dark, bats that came out a dusk, and a cool breeze.
It was somewhat buggy (it’s a lake area, after all), but I will let you in on my secret for repelling mosquitos. Take a high-quality garlic supplement. I take them year-round. The high-quality ones can’t be smelled by people, but it can by insects. And apparently, mosquitos don’t like peeps marinated in garlic, because I never have mosquito problems. It will not work if you take one or two before an outing. You have to have taken them for a while, so that you are nice and saturated.
I highly recommend this spot for introverts – and anyone who wants to fish, likes wildlife, and craves peace.
I was at this sweet little garden in March 2022. It is tiny and so worth seeing. The best part for me was the fact that the cacti were just beginning to blossom. Although small, this garden packs in the delights. It has a gazebo, a kid’s area, several benches for sitting in the shade, an amphitheater, a vegetable garden, a herb garden, etc.
It is across from a high school, so introverts should choose their visit time/day carefully. I was there early on a Saturday morning and had the whole place to myself. Perfection! Because it has a kid’s area, be aware that families may show up later – especially on weekends. Also, it is located within the city and right on a city street, so there will be some traffic noise. When I was there, however, the noise was minimal.
Directly from the county extension’s website: “The Robert J Moody interactive demonstration garden is an ongoing project maintained by Master Gardeners and the Moody Garden Society. Their efforts benefit the entire community, as a plant resource and educational area. Moody Garden is comprised of many different gardens including cultivated plants, emblem, native plant, tropical, vegetable and xeriscape displaying the many different types of plants that can be grown in Yuma County.
“Plants are labeled for identification, and you can take a self-guided tour or have someone from the Master Gardener Program, Moody Garden Society, or University of Arizona do a tour. There are also numerous kiosks throughout the garden identifying each area and its purpose.
“It is located next to the U. of A. Yuma County Extension office at 2200 West 28th Street, Yuma, AZ.”
I highly recommend you visit this place – whether introvert or not. Take a book and some snacks, and enjoy the beauty, diversity, and education offered by this little sanctuary in the city of Yuma, AZ.
I was at this garden in March 2022, and I really liked it for three very distinct reasons. 1. I got there right as they were opening, and no one else was there (yay! Score for the introvert), 2. the desert was beginning to bloom, and 3. it was weird. And I really like weird things – until things get TOO weird. And then I get weirded-out. LOL
Please note: Check their website for their hours/days/seasons of business.
Directly from their website: “The Yuma Conservation Garden is located at the northeast corner of Pacific Avenue and Highway 80. The 28-acre site includes a botanical garden featuring Sonoran desert vegetation, a watershed model, a pond for wild and domestic waterfowl, and a display of antique farm equipment.”
This garden is across the highway from Yuma’s international airport, is right next to the fairgrounds, and seems quite out of its element. It has some really old and wonderful farm equipment inside the garden, is laid out in paths that sometimes kind of peeter-out with no warning, has signs that are so old that most are illegible, but also has some wonderful plants and landscaping. It is free to the public (with a spot for donations), and you can purchase duck food at the entrance to feed the ducks at their pond. And despite being right on the highway and across from the airport, I highly recommend the experience – especially if you like slightly funky things. Their website is a bit primitive, but I imagine the whole thing – garden and website – is done by volunteers, so I’m okay with that.
Right after I got there, another introvert showed up. I know she was an introvert, because only once in the 28-acre spread did we cross paths. And when we did, neither one of us spoke, smiled, nor even made eye contact. Therefore, I loved her immediately. Thank you, whoever you are, for letting me be my introverted self.
So, this place is perfect for introverts – if you get there early. I stayed as long as possible. I had to finally leave because people were showing up. I love this place and will go back through it if and when we go back to Yuma, AZ. I was so smitten that I went to my car when I was done and brought them back a donation.
This place is southwest of Tucson, AZ. It is located, according to their flyer, on the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham (Desert People). It sits on 21 acres with two miles of walking paths through various habitats. It houses 230 animal species, 1200 types of plants, has a comprehensive regional mineral collection, and world class art exhibitions (again, directly off their flyer). Check their website for days, seasons, and hours of operation.
As far as introverted appropriateness: We got there right when they were opening – at 8:30am – on a Saturday morning, and we were one of only three vehicles present. We got our tickets and were ready to go in. However, we decided to wait until it warmed up some. The tickets were good for all day. It was in the 40’s and at the museum’s higher-than-Tucson elevation, the wind was whipping around, and even in the extra clothes and coats we had on, we knew we would not be comfortable walking around outside for several hours. If we had been able to stay and go through that early, it would have been perfect.
We came back right after lunch when it had warmed up some and not only was the parking lot full to the proverbial brim, there were three full-size yellow school buses present. So needless to say, it was really really really crowded.
However, this museum is totally worth seeing. Despite the large crowd, we took our time and spent probably three hours going through the entire museum – inside and out. They have an aquarium; a reptile and amphibian hall; an Earth sciences center and cave; an area to see an ancient Arizona Sonorasaurus; a mountain woodland; a desert grassland area; desert loop trail (complete with a coyote); a place to see and pet stingrays (do stingrays LIKE being petted?); a cat canyon (containing an ocelot, bobcat, and gray fox); a kid’s play area; a bee education area (complete with solitary bee hotels); riparian corridor; free-flight aviary featuring desert species; an underground area (for burrowing animal observation); a free-flight hummingbird aviary; touch-less water bottle refill stations; as well as restrooms, restaurants, gift shops, coffee bar, etc. Please note that some of the restaurants/shops were not operating as per usual due to Covid protocols.
I do not like zoos, because I am not a fan of capturing, housing, keeping (usually in an artificial environment), and showing off wild animals simply because humans want to look at them. So, I had some issues with seeing their wild animals caged for the public’s amusement. They were wonderful to see, I appreciated their beauty. But mostly it made me sad. But all zoos make me sad. So, keep this in mind when you visit the museum. The non-captured wildlife portion of the museum would be worth seeing in and of itself, so I can still recommend the place – for introverts and extroverts alike.
And if you are an introvert, simply choose your day and time (and watch the weather) wisely and it could be a really great experience for you. In fact, it would be spectacular to see the (again, mostly outside) museum in the quiet with the morning desert sky as a backdrop.