Tucson AZ to San Diego CA and our Highway Breakdown

We arrived in Tucson and set up camp at the Catalina State Park. Our campsite was fantastic with a view of the mountains and hiking trails right from our front door and into those mountains.

View from our campsight at Catalina State Park

View from our campsight at Catalina State Park

Our first hike included Lucy, but the trail had stickers that bothered her feet. Mike ended up carrying her back down to camp. The next day we did an 8-mile hike (without Lucy) for some beautiful views on the Romero Trail.

Hiking with Lucy

Hiking with Lucy

Mike had to carry Lucy back home because of stickers

Mike had to carry Lucy back home because of stickers

8 Mile Hike For Great Views and a Great Workout!

8 Mile Hike For Great Views and a Great Workout!

Blogger friends Ingrid and Al (Live, Laugh, RV) highly recommended a visit to the Sonora Desert Museum, making sure not to miss the Raptors in Free Flight demonstration. Thank you for telling us about it because we loved it!  What an incredible museum! We only wish we had arrived earlier because half a day there wasn’t enough. The Raptors in Free Flight was definitely a highlight. The huge birds fly just inches over your head. One of the wings actually touched me on one of the fly overs!

Mexican Red Wolf at Sonora Desert Museum

Mexican Red Wolf at Sonora Desert Museum

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

Raptors Free Flight

Raptors Free Flight

His Wing Hit Me!

His Wing Hit Me!

And, of course, we had to take the Old Tucson Studios tour where so many famous westerns were filmed. The Golden Gate Mountain in the distance is recognizable in hundreds of old movies and TV shows.

Golden Gate Mountain from Old Tucson Studios

Golden Gate Mountain from Old Tucson Studios

The day wouldn’t be complete without a re-enactment of an old west shootout.

Old Tucson Shootout

Old Tucson Shootout

We were excited to learn that the 27th annual Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games was scheduled for the weekend. It was a great way to spend the day because these folks really know how to have a good time! We enjoyed the parade of bagpipes, the food and beer, the Irish music, and of course the unusual games!

Irish Festival and Highland Games Opening Ceremony

Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games Opening Ceremony

Fun Music!

Fun Music!

Scottish Highland Games - Caber Toss

Scottish Highland Games – Caber Toss

HWD - 56lb Weight for Distance Competition

HWD – 56lb Weight for Distance Competition

Hammer Throw - is thrown over the shoulder

Hammer Throw – is thrown over the shoulder

Our next destination was Yuma, Arizona. After traveling for a little over 2 hours through the desert, still about an hour away from Yuma, our engine started to overheat! Mike pulled over immediately and saw antifreeze dripping from our radiator. Good grief! We were on a narrow shoulder on Interstate 8, so close to the traffic lane that the semi trucks blowing by rocked our rig. It was scary! Our GPS showed a rest stop about 3 miles ahead. We unhooked our tow car, then Mike added antifreeze to the radiator in the hope that he could make it to the rest stop. I followed him in the car. After about 1 mile, he pulled over on the shoulder again. The radiator was leaking too much and the engine started to get hot again.

Breakdown on the way to Yuma on a narrow shoulder!

Breakdown on the way to Yuma on a narrow shoulder!

We called Good Sam Roadside Assistance and explained our situation. One of the challenges is that we are a 40 foot Class A motorhome and cannot be towed. We require a Landoll flatbed trailer. Another problem was that it was 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. AND we were stuck out in the desert about an hour away from Yuma. It took Good Sam awhile to find someone to help us, and our help was coming all the way from Parker AZ (about 3 hours away!)

It was pitch dark now and we wanted to get off the Interstate. We were communicating with the tow service and they told us that it would be much safer to load us on the trailer if we could get off the highway. Mike added water to the radiator. We were hoping that we would be able to drive the 2 miles to get to that rest stop. Again, I followed him in the car and was happy to see that he was going to make it. But then we couldn’t believe it when we saw that the rest stop was closed and the exit was blocked off! Mike continued to drive another 1 ½ miles to an off-ramp that put us on a frontage road. I felt MUCH better waiting for help on this desolate road, rather than on the busy highway. I even cooked dinner while we waited.

The Landoll arrived about 8 p.m. and took about an hour to load the Bear. It was fascinating to watch and I got much of it on video. It’s a major ordeal! The next challenge was that there were about 7 bridges to pass under during the hour long drive to Yuma. The driver had to get off the Interstate and take side roads around a couple of the bridges. Mike and I followed in our car and we held our breath each time we watched the Bear go under the overpass with only inches to spare. I’m sure I got a few gray hairs out of this experience. We were unloaded in the parking lot of Yuma Diesel Service where we would find out in the morning if they could service us. By the way, it took another hour to unload us.

01 Roadside Assistance

Loaded on the Landoll Trailer for the trip to Yuma

Loaded on the Landoll Trailer for the trip to Yuma

It was almost midnight by the time we got to sleep. So what did that cost us? Nothing. Good Sam Roadside Assistance is one of the best investments out there for RVers.  We spent the next 2 days at Yuma Diesel Service. Apparently, our radiator had a small hole in it. They thought maybe a rock got kicked up from the road into the fan and shot a hole in the radiator. The radiator had to be completely removed and sent out for a weld repair. If one of the seams of the radiator had split, that would have been a component failure and we would have been covered under our extended warranty. But since this was a hole from a rock, the bill was all ours. Bummer.

2 Days at Yuma Diesel Service getting radiator repaired

2 Days at Yuma Diesel Service getting radiator repaired

Now that our repair was done, we could get back to our sight-seeing agenda. We toured the Yuma Territorial Prison and the Quartermasters Depot.  The prison was built in 1876 and held a total of 3,069 prisoners during the prison’s 33 years of operation.  The Museum was filled with fascinating stories of some of the Southwest’s most hardened criminals.

Yuma Territorial Prison from 1876

Yuma Territorial Prison from 1876

6 prisoners per 9x7 cell with iron bunks

6 prisoners per 9×7 cell with iron bunks

That's what they all say

That’s what they all say

Wooden Railcar at the Quartermasters Depot

Wooden Railcar at the Quartermasters Depot

We also hiked the trail through the Yuma East Wetlands.

Yuma East Wetlands

Yuma East Wetlands

1915 Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge and Union Pacific Railroad Bridge

1915 Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge and Union Pacific Railroad Bridge

So after a few days, we moved on to do a little boondocking near Borrego Springs in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California. We loved being all by ourselves in such a beautiful location.

All By Ourselves near Borrego Springs, CA

All By Ourselves near Borrego Springs, CA

Fellow bloggers ‘Wheeling It’ wrote about this area and described a hike near here in a slot canyon that looked interesting. We found the location and really enjoyed the Palm Slot trail.

Hiking the Palm Slot

Hiking the Palm Slot

This was a really cool hike!

This was a really cool hike!

After taking a scenic drive to Julian where we greatly enjoyed the apple pie, we headed to Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego. We spent a fun day catching up with our good friend Ray Torres, and making plans for more fun get-togethers soon. Looking forward to it!

We had lots of laughs with best friend Ray.

We had lots of laughs with best friend Ray.

By tomorrow, we will be getting settled in at our daughter’s house in Moorpark where we will be staying for the next 2 months. We’re really ready for some family time over this holiday season!