Hiking in the Tucson Mountain Park

Making Desert Trails Our Winter Home


Gail Hanley’s glittery cactus garden

We have started taking to this RV Full time Adventure, thanks to our new winter home in Desert Trails RV Park. We are located in a very small RV space (E11), right next to Gail and Dave Hanley, also of Steamboat Springs.  They have been coming to Desert Trails for the past 5 winters and are very well entrenched.  After a couple of years in the same space we are in, the Hanley’s were able to move over one space to the larger E12.

Desert Trails Park Map

Desert Trails Park Map

This space is located right next to a large cactus garden that Gail has adopted and is nurturing.  She has been decorating it for Christmas for the past several weeks (they arrived before we did).  There are bird feeders (more on birds in another post), Christmas decorations, bird baths, twinkle lights, and pot shards to add color.  Dave has added a couple of home-built water fountains he has made from scrounged up parts.  The sound of falling water in a desert setting is wonderful.

Gail Hanley's Cactus Santa

Gail Hanley’s Cactus Santa

Our space is a tad pie-shaped and pretty narrow.  The Prowler (our trailer) is 32 feet long and barely fits into the space.  We have to park our truck crossways in front of the trailer to get everything to fit.  It hasn’t been too bad up until now, but neighbors moved in this week, parking their cars (2) face-in to their 5th wheel, so Cooper is having to parallel park right in front of our trailer, barely leaving enough room for him to open his door.

Spaces in the park are assigned by seniority.  You are able to reserve a particular space for the next year if you pay a deposit in advance.  A space only becomes available if a “regular” decides they are not returning or want another open space.  Some people in this park have been coming for decades.  I can see why.  The park is a pretty funky, as it used to be an old water park and still has lots of the abandoned water features.  The other residents are extremely friendly, the activities are plentiful, and located right next to the desert parks, Tucson Mountain Park, Saguaro National Park, and the Desert Museum, with hiking right out the door, makes it pretty special.  There is another RV park right next door with absolutely no amenities but larger spaces.  I wouldn’t trade.

Hiking in the Tucson Mountain Park

Tracy Hiking in the Tucson Mountain Park

Once we got our trailer inserted into its spot (with a few attempts), we proceeded to unload outdoor chairs, and Cooper’s mini-smoker (Green Mountain Grills). Our next missions was to stealthily trade out the crappy picnic table at our site for one of the newer ones in the BBQ area nearby (Dave said it was OK to do – first come, first served), and strapping our outdoor table cloth from the Steamboat Art Company to the table. With that we had the bare basics.

Cooper unloaded our scooters and bikes from the truck and we were set for the moment.  We have been adding to our space ever since. A huge outdoor rug to cover the rocks/gravel to make our space feel more homey. Hanging hummingbird and other bird feeders for some nature feel and white rope lights around the outside of the rug to keep the javalinas  and pack rats away.  I made an attempt at Christmas decorating, in the little cactus garden between Gail and Dave’s site and ours, by hanging gold-painted bottle tree pods, that I had found on the ground in Casa Grande, in the paloverde tree and hung old CDs, for bling, on the agave plants.


Christmas Decorations: Gold bottle tree pods and CDs as decorations

I am really glad we chose to start our RV life here at Desert Trails.  With the friendly nature of the inhabitants, we already feel a part of the family.  We have already learned so much from the people who live here as they help us settle in, learn the ropes and make suggestions on things like WiFi, places to visit and where the cheapest propane is.  We’ll be experts in no time and able to help others soon.