Enjoying Friends, Hikes, and Bikes in Tucson

Tucson, AZ

We have found that we really enjoy staying in the Tucson area, as there is much to do and see.  If you like to hike, this area is teeming with great trails.  Steve and MonaLiza (The Lowes RV Adventures) are also staying in the same park (Lazydays KOA) and recently joined us on one of those trails, a hike to the top of Wasson Peak, in the nearby Tucson Mountains.

This was our third time hiking up this trail, but we enjoy it and were anxious to share it with Steve and MonaLisa.

One hiker has an eye out for birds, the other is looking for crested saguaros

Looking west along the trail

Looking back at the trail from near the top

Enjoying the view from the peak

Our tour guide points out locations in Tucson

We took the King’s Canyon Trail and Sweetwater Trail up the mountain, then hiked the Norris Trail, Esperanza Trail,  and Gould Mine Trail back down.

Heading down the Norris Trail

Along the Esperanza Trail Steve’s sharp eyes spotted a nice crested saguaro on a hillside above us.

After completing the hike we drove into Tucson and met Dave and Sue for a great meal at El Charro, one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the area.

L-R Dave, Steve, MonaLisa, John, Pam, Sue


One evening while Dave and Sue were staying in the KOA we invited their dog, Lewis, over for an evening of chasing a ball around our motorhome.  Since he couldn’t find our site by himself we invited Dave and Sue to tag along and share a spaghetti dinner (one of Dave’s favorites) with us.  Apparently Lewis has a “thing” about throw rugs as he enjoyed creating a pile with the one in our living area!

Where did the ball go?  If I had thumbs maybe I could find it!


One warm afternoon we took a break from the hiking trail and road some of the great bike trails that weave through and around Tucson.

The Santa Cruz River Park Trail

A nice covered picnic area along the trail

The Santa Cruz River is dry most of the time.  As we rode along side of it on the bike trail, a rider and horse came down the river bed at a fast pace.

As they came up next to us they stopped, turned, and headed back up the river bed.

We rode through downtown Tucson we found our way to the Aviation Bikeway.  The trail crosses over Broadway (one of the main streets in the city) by way of the Rattlesnake Bridge.  The north side of the bridge forms the mouth of a rattlesnake . . .

. . . while the south side forms the tail rattler of the snake.


Earlier in the week Dave and Sue moved from the KOA to Catalina State Park, located north of Tucson in Oro Valley.  The next day friends, Jodee and Bill (On the Road Abode), stopped at the same park for a two day stay.  We took advantage of their visit to have an afternoon get together at their site.  Steve and Mona Lisa joined the group as did friends of Dave and Sue.  Walter and Cindy P lived down the street from them for many years in Geneseo, NY.  This year they are in Arizona traveling with daughter Geneva in their fifth wheel for the winter.

Catalina State Park is a beautiful place nestled up against the Catalina Mountains.  The campsites are large and most have electric and water.  But the best part of the park is the view of the mountains.

Late last week we received a message from friends Hector and Brenda (Island Girl Walkabout) that they were coming to Tucson for a brief visit.  We had not seen them since there returned from a fantastic trip to Alaska last summer so we were anxious to see them and hear all about their adventure.  Brenda had heard that El Charro was a good restaurant and suggested we meet there.  Of course, we had just been there last week but we love the place so were very willing to go there again.  Steve and MonaLisa are also friends with them so they joined the group.



Does this place look familiar?

The scene in the photo above might look a bit familiar.  Yes, it is the same table we sat at last week.  We first ate at El Charro three years ago while in town for a Discovery RV National Rally.  We were part of a group of six and, you guessed it, we sat at the same table!

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45 Responses to Enjoying Friends, Hikes, and Bikes in Tucson

  1. Sue says:

    Its always a busy time in Tucson, isn’t it! We love it there also. It was great spending a bit of time with you all at Tucson and a bonus again in Catalina. Lew wonders where you are…..

  2. Zsuzsa Klush says:

    I can hardly wait to ride my bike on those trails. Very cool bridge !

  3. Leigh says:

    Glad we got to see you guys, even if it was just for a quick visit!!

  4. explorvistas says:

    You know I am loving that bike trail. ;). Put THAT in the ‘must do’ column!

  5. mfish4299 says:

    We, too, are in Tucson. We are at Voyager. Be sure to try Paco and Mom’s. There are two locations. We went to the diner on S Kolb. They are only open until 2 pm but the other location (cantina) is open until 10 pm. Fabulous!

  6. We are looking forward to returning to Tucson next week. Looks like we have lots of new trails to take. We are staying at Rincon West RV Park. It seems pretty ok there with direct access to the bike trails. You can’t beat good friends.

  7. pmbweaver says:

    Tucson has been our favorite place for years. Those are awesome trails.

    WOW…a rare photo of Sue from the front.

    We need to carry our bikes again. What a great trail. We walked a little of the trail and ran into the rattlesnake. How cool.

    We tried to get in Catalina State Park one year. No luck. It is such a lovely setting. Looks like a great time had by all!

    El Charro,,,on our list.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, you need to bring your bikes the next time you come to Tucson. The city has so many wonderful bike paths. We’ve never been able to plan ahead far enough to get into Catalina either. Maybe one day:)

  8. geogypsy2u says:

    I’m thinking you’re a great crested saguaro seeker teacher. Love seeing you all in warm weather clothing (as I sit in multiple layers in front of a heater). Love the snake bridge. When you find an exceptional restaurant it’s always worth many returns. In Kanab I highly recommend Escobars for authentic Mexican, not open on Saturdays. Tucson seems quite the place for social gatherings.

    • placestheygo says:

      We may have had warm weather clothing on the other day, Gaelyn, but not now. We have a few very chilly, breezy days with nights in the high 20’s…brrr! Luckily, it is back to warm weather clothing by Friday:) Thanks so much for the restaurant recommendation. We need to return to Kanab to do some hiking in the Grand Staircase. Tucson is the place many fulltimers to seem to end up this time of year.

  9. Jeff says:

    Now that’s a Crested Saguaro! That’s the cover foto for your yet to be published ‘Crested Catus for Dummies’ coffee table book. Or how about a calendar?

  10. Ingrid says:

    Catalina SP looks like a great park but I’m always too late trying to make a res. After having full hook-ups for a while, I think I’ve gotten spoiled and don’t want to give up that connection. I know you two like those hookups as well. Fun times with a great group of people and that food looks yummy.

  11. Jodee says:

    Great pic at the summit – back when it was still warm! Glad you found the rattlesnake overpass – it is amazing at the right time of day, the sun turns the diamond shapes copper 🙂 We loved getting to hang out with you guys again and meeting new friends as well. I’m sure our paths will cross again down the road – maybe Utah!

  12. Gay says:

    Catalina SP is beautiful and we go there for hiking. We are just a little spoiled and do love the full hook-ups so we have always stayed at Lazydays. I do want to do the Wasson Peak hike & will be checking that out. You are so right about there being lots to do here.

    Looking forward to meeting you and John in person…I think it was about 3 years ago when I found your blog. It actually changed our lives. Joe and I had never hiked until then!

    • placestheygo says:

      We, too, love our hook ups. We’ve only stayed at Lazydays when we are in Tucson. We’ve enjoyed hiking in Catalina. I wish they had more trails, though. Wasson Peak is a great peak to summit. It is a nice loop hike that isn’t a killer. So glad we turned you and Joe onto hiking. I enjoy it so much. See you Thursday, if not before:)

  13. Sherry says:

    This group just keeps getting bigger and bigger and having more and more fun. Wish I was close enough to crash the party, especially that hike. Nice picture of the foursome John. I also really like the one with the fabulous view and those cute young hikers looking out for birds and cacti. Food, Fun and Friends. Mighty nice!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is a great group of people and we have had so much fun. But the group is slowly moving on to new areas. But new bloggers are coming this way:) Would have been nice to have you and David crash our party:)

  14. Becky says:

    Looks like you’re having some great adventures. We are looking forward to seeing you next week.

  15. Laurel says:

    Soooo much fun…with so many great people! Looks like Tucson was the place to be this winter! Love that you hiked Wasson Peak with ML and Steve — but you didn’t give them the full experience if you didn’t take them bushwhacking through the cacti!! We need to check out those great bike trails next time we’re in Tucson. I like the snake.

    • placestheygo says:

      Tucson does seem to be the place this winter. We actually started the Wasson hike correctly this time, Laurel…haha! You and Eric will really enjoy the bike paths. The city has done a wonderful job with making it very bike friendly. I really like that we can get on the trail right by our park so we don’t have to drive the bikes somewhere.

  16. Fun times with full timers! Boy am I envious of all your trail time.

  17. Larry says:

    Looks like there is plenty to do around Tuscon – we’re considering it for next year.

  18. Nancy says:

    That circle around the campfire… friends and a view. Can’t get any better then that!

  19. Sheila says:

    Have you been to Kitt Peak; Howard and I enjoyed a visit there! Fun times in a fun place!

  20. I can’t believe our month is almost over. We really had a great time with everyone and meeting new friends. More fun times ahead !

  21. We passed through Tuscon earlier this week. I would love to meet up with you and Hector and Brenda someday. I follow both of you. I can hike again! yeah!

  22. Erin says:

    Such neat hikes … we really enjoyed the Tucson area back in 1991 … looking forward to getting back that way in the next few years.

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