Verde Ranch RV Park in Camp Verde, Arizona, is prepared for hot weather. We got a shaded site – Solar panels up high for them, Shade below for us. Wonderful!
The last night we were at Verde Ranch, we were entertained by a huge lightning storm. The rain wasn’t too intense, but the lightning lit up the whole sky, and was almost constant. We didn’t hear thunder, but the light show was fantastic! I recorded a bit which I’ll share below… unedited as far as frequency of lightning strikes. It may bore you to death unless you like lightning like I must. If you’re bored, skip to about 2:20 for the grand finale.
When the storm ceased, I took a few time exposures of the wet night. Fun!
Tucson was our next stop, and we had a shaded site there as well. One evening we had another storm, with tremendous winds that drove the rain sideways. Our rig is heavy enough it really doesn’t move when you walk around in it, and weather never affects it much. (full disclosure: the washer spin cycle does make it vibrate.) But this night it felt like Godzilla was shaking the coach wanting in from the storm. The power went out about 8 or 9, and didn’t come on for about 10 hours. We ran the generator, so we could use the air conditioners, till the storm cooled everything down.
In the morning Cherryl took a walk first, and came back for me, saying “you’ve got to see this!” As we walked around the park, we saw tables and chairs thrown around by the wind. I was a bit surprised, since they are open metal mesh furniture that has weight but offers little wind resistance.
Then we saw a major branch that had fallen and moved a long ways from its tree…
And then the most tragic scene… a huge tree that fell right on a motorhome!
We talked to the remarkably calm owner – he had been sitting in the driver’s seat watching the lightning when the tree crashed into the side of his motorhome. He spent the night in the motorhome, and had to work hard to get the door open. Now he gets to wait for insurance adjusters to figure out what’s next.
Saguaro National Park almost surrounds Tucson, with land both east and west of town. We went for what was supposed to be a little over a mile long walk… It was really hot, and we’d left our water in the car (how much water do we need on a little one mile walk?) (PLENTY!) It was the longest mile I can remember walking! But fascinating.
Notice below the “Skeleton” of the Saguaro Cactus – very strong woody fibers that outlast the softer portions if it dies.
Plenty of flowers brave the heat. Some too small to believe if you didn’t have my fingers in the picture. Many plants prefer thorns to flowers.
In our dehydrated, delusional state we didn’t identify most of the birds we found. I’m pretty sure about the Gila Woodpecker, but the two on the top right are still a mystery. Ideas anyone?
After leaving “Cactus Country,” we headed towards Orange County, southern California, where I grew up.
By far the highlight of the week was spending a little time with dear old friend Bob, his daughter Pam and her husband Larry. I can remember our family camping with them 61 years ago! So I’ve known them for a while… Such wonderful people! Here we are at his favorite Thai restaurant, where the staff knows and loves them. Great people, great times!