Monday, February 17, 2014


Well, not quite home but pretty darn close to a home on the road for us.

A truck stop in Gila Bend - exit #119 - the Shell Gas Station.

You see, we have stopped at least once each of the five winters that we have spent south - and - Derek and I were here back in 2006 - our first road trip to the USA.

So - we have been to the town of Gila Bend and/or this truck stop for a total of six times. It is the only place in the USA that we have been six times!

But first!

Heading out of Tucson Tuesday morning. From our overnight spot in the parking lot of Barrio Brewing Company we headed north to a Trader Joe's. Happily stocked up we headed west along River Road to the I10. 

We really enjoyed our two days in Tucson - I have a feeling we'll be back now that we have actually spent some time IN the city.

Looking towards Picacho Peak on the left. At the base is one of our most favourite State Parks - Picacho Peak State Park. I think we have been there three times - but not this year. As we drove by I didn't see any units there - strange….

LOVE all the saguaro cactus in this area. Thankfully it wasn't long before we got off of the busy I10 that leads to Phoenix for the I8 - much quieter.

Just before exit 151 that takes you to the 84 we noticed some RVs parked beside the highway - and picnic shelters. Hmmm - what is that we asked each other? So - we decided to investigate - we didn't realize there was a place to park out there.

We headed up the 84 for about 1/2 mile to a road on the right - the Jim Kortsen West Pinal Park.

The link above says that it is a free campsite - but it isn't. It is free to picnic for the day but it costs $10 a night to camp. 

Desert camping with a few sites - some large some small. 

Obviously we parked in one of the larger ones. I doubt we would spend the night. The location between the interstate and a highway makes it a bit too loud for our tastes and $10 is a bit steep for desert camping, especially since Buckeye Hills Regional Park (where we were headed) is much more scenic and quiet and IS free. 

But - we thought we would include this info because it would be a good stop for a break and an overnight if you find yourself here near quitting time.

The ride between here and Gila Bend is one of the most beautiful - I had forgotten. Many of the flowers are out along this stretch. The shoulders are lined with purple flowers - too bad the pictures don't show that better.

And lots of yellow flowers on the southern slopes.

Anyway, that is how the ride went from Tucson to Gila Bend.

Exiting at 119 we headed straight for the Shell Station. First up - dump and water. FREE dump and water for all of our RV friends out there. Plus a HUGE parking lot. Yes, it is filled with truckers quite a bit, especially at night, but there is room for everyone. This place is very very busy - always is. 

With that out of the way, we found our spot. Much of the parking lot is paved. We go over a little to the gravel since few trucks or RVs will venture off the black top.

Yup - we look pretty lonely but both nights we had company. That is ok - Derek and I don't mind the hum of the trucks plus most here turn off their engines. Not much has changed since we were here almost a year and a half ago - although they do have swanky new restrooms.

Next up! Swirl cones all around. A Wood Clan tradition. We have done this with Cassia a total of three times now. With all of the heat we were all looking forward to this.

Then a trip to see the dinosaurs. I took lots of pictures of here the last time we were through back in the fall of 2012. That was last year on our way to the Mexican border.

Cassia's T-Rex impersonation.

They sure are a little more rusty now, aren't they.

Ha! I just realized I took this picture last time too!

During the two days we were here, Cassia must have visited the dinosaurs at least 10 times. 

Gila Bend always seems to have the nicest sunsets. 

There is a town of Gila Bend. We have been there a few times. Actually, the first two times we were only at Gila Bend - we didn't know about the Gas Station. In 2006 we just had our truck and stayed at the neat hotel - the Space Age Lodge.

We were happy to have free wifi and a laundromat. $1.50 per load - pretty good - and VERY clean.

Home sweet home.

Thanks Shell Gas Station - see you again next year for our seventh visit!


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  1. Keep your eyes open for snakes now as they have woken up early this year because of the warm weather.
    Keep on having fun.

    1. We definitely kept our eyes out for them Brenda - and our ears! We thought they may be out but didn't see any thankfully. Now we are out of the zone.

  2. Just beautiful sunsets nearly every evening out that way!!!!! That was a daily thing for me when I was in New Mexico and Arizona.......almost always different, and literally breathtaking!!!! Oh, how I miss the southwest........


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