Sunday, March 8, 2015

Casino Boondocking and a Madera Canyon Hike…

Madera Canyon Acorn Woodpecker 1Madera Canyon Acorn Woodpecker 2

We left the Diamond J RV Resort and drove a whopping 6 miles over to the Casino Del Sol where we are boondocking in the back parking lot. There are a bunch of RV’s here maybe because of the Escapade Rally which starts on Sunday. Many are part of the WINS or Wandering Individuals Network as evidenced by their WINS window decals and their dry erase activities board posted in the lot.

Madera Canyon and Quail Creek AZ 036Madera Canyon and Quail Creek AZ 030

From Diamond J we originally planned to move on over to Bisbee, AZ but with overnight temperatures still dipping below freezing we decided to stay two nights at the casino. We are now spending another night as we may want to see some RV’ers that we know who recently arrived in Tucson.

Oh yes… did I mention that March 3rd marked our four year fulltiming anniversary?  It is hard to believe we are entering our fifth year. Crazy how time passes as it seems just like yesterday that we were stressing out trying to sell the house, get rid of the stuff, pack up the RV, spend a night in it for the very first time, and get to Georgia in time to see Katie's collegiate softball tournament in Georgia!  Now four years later I put together a map of where we have been to assist us in planning where we want to go next. If it appears as if we are avoiding the breadbasket this would be true. I am sure there are some neat spots there to see but since we like mountains, beaches and deserts there aren’t much of those in that part of the USA to lure us that direction…

Madera Canyon Broadbilled Hummingbird 1Madera Canyon Annas Hummingbird

Happily while in Tucson we were able to see RV’ing friends as we met Terry and Jerry (Just Wanderin’) at a “dive” called Tiny’s Steakhouse and Saloon. Sharon and I weren’t starving as we had just visited Sentinel Peak Brewery using one more Groupon where we had some fabulous jalapeno poppers as an appetizer. On our way home we decided to go on over to Tiny’s a little early to have one more beer on their really good happy hour. It is a good thing we went early as the tables sure filled up fast. As we sat at the bar we were disappointed to discover that the ribs that John and Jane (Flamingo on a Stick) recommended, saying they were to die for, are only served on Mondays. Sigh…

Madera Canyon female Vermillion Flycatcher 2  Madera Canyon male Vermillion Flycatcher 2

Had it only have been us we would have left after our beer but since we were meeting other people we secured a table and had dinner with Terry and Jerry. We had planned to split some ribs but split a double burger instead. Terry and Jerry’s food looked great and the portions were huge but our hamburger was only about average. Heck the burgers done animal style at In and Out Burger are better… but the company and conversations made this a great stop. I still wish they had been serving ribs… maybe next time.

Madera Canyon White Breasted Nuthatch  Madera Canyon Stricklands Woodpecker

The next day we drove down to Green Valley to check out one more Robison community called Quail Creek. This one has the Villas which are more like town houses with a smaller footprint than all of their stand alone homes. We met with our sales representative, Shirley who gave us a tour of the smallest home and of the villas. We really like the smallest floor plan villa which isMadera Canyon Wild Turkey about 1250 square feet. That may not seem like much of a home but to those of us who RV we know it is easily 3-4 times larger than what we currently live in! Shirley Hallett was very gracious, answering all our questions and giving us a wonderful tour of the community as well as a delicious complimentary lunch at the community grill.  She was great to work with as she really listened to what we wanted and didn't waste our time seeing larger homes we really weren't interested in.  It is always nice to work with someone who cares and listens as she did so if you visit this place ask to see Shirley!

After our tour of Quail Creek we drove over to Madera Canyon where we enjoyed some much needed hiking. The vegetation in this area reminds me of that seen in the Guadeloupe and Big Bend Mountains of Texas but is still showing those winter colors of shades of brown. My main interest in hiking Madera Canyon was to experience some of the excellent birding this area is known for and we didn’t leave disappointed.


We were fortunate enough to spot some of the birds that are endemic to this area such as the Bridled Titmouse, Painted Redstart,  Strickland’s Woodpecker and Magnificent Hummingbird (one that is nearly 6 inches in size!). Other cool birds we spotted included the Acorn Woodpecker, Broadbilled and Costas Hummingbird, Grey Breasted Jay, Pine Siskins, Lesser Goldfinch and a very colorful Townsends Warbler. The birding and hiking was excellent and really fun for us both!

Madera Canyon Gambels QuailMadera Canyon Grey Breasted Jay

That evening we met up with another RV’ing friend named Rick here at the Casino. We first met Rick and his wife Barb at Betty’s RV Park and then stayed with them in Long Beach, Washington. Barb had flown out to assist their daughter to prepare for the birth of their soon to arrive granddaugher.  It was great to see Rick (we missed Barb) to catch up with their happenings and travel plans. Really great people!

Now we have decided we will spend one more night here at the casino and then move on to Bisbee… this will give us time for one more visit in the beautiful Saguaro National Park...


  1. Gorgeous bird pictures!! Congrats on 4 years. We are in year 6.

  2. Congratulations on your first four years. May there be many, many more great years ahead of you.

    Gorgeous bird photos!

  3. I love your pictures of the birds. I'm also looking to catch them but many times aren't lucky enough to see them until they are on their way out. Great to see you both again.

  4. Really nice that you got to meet up with Terri and Jeri, but too bad you missed out on the ribs.

  5. Arizona is a great place for birding. Nice shots!!! Have been enjoying all those communities y'all have been visiting too. We are really wanting to get back out that way.