Visit to Desert Museum and Nash Repairs
On Tuesday, January 2nd, I arrived at the Snyder Hill BLM area on the west side of Tucson. I had a couple items I wanted to take care of on the Nash and to do some sightseeing around the Tucson area.
I’ve read good and not so good reports about Snyder Hill. The big plus is its proximity to Tucson. Of course, this also means it is pretty heavily used. One’s experience seems to be a matter of timing and who else happens to be there. From what I can tell, most people camp on the west side of the hill. When I arrived and drove through that area it was pretty full. As I was driving in along Ajo Highway, I noticed a couple rigs on the east side of the hill. I drove around to that side and there is a nice flat area with lots of camping. I set up on a level site that was in the middle of the area. During the seven nights I was there, only 3 or 4 rigs camped on the east side. Everyone was very quiet, so it worked out great for me. This is not a particularly scenic location, but it is very convenient.
One evening, I walked up to the top of the hill. This is the view east towards the city.
I needed to find an RV Service Center for a couple repairs and also to fabricate a new rack that would hold the two AGM batteries I wanted to add. Doing a google search, I found Carl’s RV, which had very good reviews. I went by there on Tuesday as I came into town to talk with them about what I needed done. They gave me an estimate which seemed reasonable, so we scheduled an appointment for 8am the following Monday.
I had heard of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum several years ago when I flew into Tucson to go on a backpack trip. Since then I have wanted to visit the Museum. So on Wednesday morning, I drove the short distance over there. This is a living museum showcasing the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. They have numerous species of desert plants growing – cacti, agave, and many others. Also they have amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. I spent the full day there and could easily go back. It was very enjoyable.
One of the highlights is the twice daily free flight raptor program. They have several species of raptors, from owls to hawks to falcons. During this days programs they flew a great horned owl, barn owl, peregrine falcon, caracara and a family group of four Harris hawks. The raptors would soar up into the sky, would swoop just over the spectators heads and land in the trees just a few feet away from the viewing area. It was really amazing!
Great Horned Owl…
I had planned to visit Saguaro National Park and the Tucson Mountain Park this week. But Wednesday evening I developed a cold/sinus infection which sapped all my energy. So Thursday and Friday, I stayed home and rested as much as I could.
Arizona is known for its spectacular sunsets, but I mostly had nice sunrises.
In the meantime, I had called a few dealers for the batteries I needed to purchase. I was unable to locate anyone in Tucson who had them available. I contacted a dealer in Phoenix who could get them in one day. So I ordered two and on Saturday made the 2.5 hour drive up to their location to pick up.
On Monday morning I drove to Carl’s RV. I had two warranty repairs to do. One was to replace the water line to the kitchen sink. At the spot where the line went beneath the floor, there was a gouge in the line. It wasn’t leaking, but the wall was very thin in that spot and I was concerned with it failing. I had sent a photo to Northwood and they had approved the repair. This is the only workmanship issue that I have had to this point. And Northwood does not require going to one of theirs dealers for the repair. So that is a big plus for anyone who is traveling full time. It’s usually easier to find an independent shop to get into faster than a dealer.
It was quite a job to fish the new line around in the under belly and up to the kitchen connection. I was very pleased with the work.
The other thing I needed done was to fabricate a new tray on the trailer tongue that would hold four batteries. I currently have two batteries that sit down between the A-frame of the trailer. I needed a tray that would sit on top of the frame and wide enough to hold four batteries. The new tray came out great. Carl’s did a very nice job. Also, I now have a bar across the batteries that I can lock so they can’t walk off.
I now have four Lifeline AGM 220AH batteries. This gives me 220AH of usable power (50% of 440AH total). On the roof, I have 520 watts of solar panels. I haven’t really tested the system yet as I have had all sunny days. When there are 3 or 4 cloudy days in a row, I will know how it will perform. My goal is to meet all of my electric power needs with the solar system. I currently don’t have a generator.
If you are in the Tucson area and need any work done, I recommend Carl’s RV. They are very busy, but were able to work me into their schedule, which I really appreciated.
The water line work was finished up Tuesday, so from there, I headed west to KOFA National Wildlife Refuge to meet up with some folks from the RVForum.net.