While we were stuck at the La Quinta in Tucson we spent a day visiting Tubac, Tumacocori and the Mission San Xavier del Bac. Tubac was an easy 30-minute drive south on I-19. I had never heard of the town, but a friend had recommended we visit so we went to check it out. The tiny little village is most famous as an artist colony featuring a small commercial district full of galleries, shops and restaurants.
When we arrived in town it seemed like we had stumbled upon something special based on the number of tourists who were already there milling around the streets and visiting the retailers. We found a free (Mike liked that) parking space along the street and set out with Piper and Cessna in tow to explore the area. We walked up and down each of the roads and through several plazas enclosed by mom-and-pop businesses. Since we had the dogs with us, I did not get to go inside any of the boutiques and I was secretly hoping for an opportunity to return for a serious shopping session. After about an hour of strolling and looking, we were hungry so we decided to stop for lunch at a place called Tubac Jack’s. They had an outdoor patio with umbrellas to provide shade. It was a perfect day to eat al fresco and enjoy the warm February weather.
A lovely lady named Nancy served our delicious meal and as we were paying our bill we started asking her some basic tourist questions. Another gentleman was outside on the patio and came over to address some of my inquiries about the Tumacacori National Park that was located just down the road. As it turns out, he was the owner and we ended up visiting with Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack for another 45 minutes or so. Really nice guy. He told us all about the story of how he discovered the restaurant/bar and why he had decided to buy it several years ago. We told him some stories from our travel adventures before we finally left and drove over to check out Tumacacori.
I had wanted to return and spend some time in the stores, but wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to fit a return trip down there during our time in Tucson. That was until the Lazy Days shop called us at the La Quinta and told us the rig would not be ready on Friday as we had originally hoped. There are vacation resorts and there are dreary hotels. Vacation resorts are fun to enjoy. They make you feel special in an environment full of high style and distinctive amenities. Dreary hotels cause you to start questioning your life choices. The La Quinta was nice enough, but nothing special. After four nights in the lumpy bed with the crappy pillows, it was becoming a dreary hotel.
Our displacement was depressing me more and more each day, so I was growing bitchier and bitchier by the hour. We decided that if we were going to be extra homeless for another week or so, we should try to find somewhere to move where we would have a kitchen. I was worried about the packages of frozen meat we had to bring from the freezer in the Monaco. It was proving impossible to keep our stash of steaks, chicken, ribs and tamales frozen. I was scared it would all be ruined if it defrosted and we were not able to cook it and eat it. We were already spending too much money on coach repairs and hotel bills, the last thing I wanted was to start throwing our grocery money down the drain too.
Mike wasn’t having too much fun enduring my “mood”, so he agreed we should try to find somewhere to stay that had a full sized fridge and freezer, plus a little more space for the four of us to spread out a bit. I went online and started searching for studio or 1-bedroom places that had kitchens and were pet friendly. Since the world’s largest gem show was in Tucson at the time, we could find no options in town. Nothing. I expanded my search and found an affordable two-bed, two-bath golf villa in Tubac. Pet friendly and everything! I couldn’t process the registration application on www.vrbo.com fast enough. This was all happening on a Friday evening and we wanted to transfer locations on Saturday. After I processed the registration, VRBO told me the owner had 24 hours to accept our reservation request. We couldn’t wait 24-hours because we needed to check out of the La Quinta by noon if we were moving on Saturday. I sent the owner a separate email and explained how we were on a four year trip in a motor coach with our two dogs and we were in a hotel while it was in the shop… yada yada. Guess what! I got an email from the owner after about 15-minutes. It was Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack. He was the owner of the villa!
He said he had guests in it at the moment and would need most of Saturday to get it turned over and ready for us. We offered to check in on Sunday morning instead, and the deal was finalized. I could stand one extra night at the La Quinta if I knew for sure I would escape on Sunday morning. Which is exactly what we did. We got up and loaded all of our crap into the Honda and sailed down I-19 to Tubac Jack’s. We met Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack at the restaurant and followed him over to the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa where the villa was located on the main entrance road. He showed us around, gave us the keys and left us to get situated. My mood was improving as each second ticked by on the clock. We unloaded our gear and I unpacked our bags. Mike transferred our food from the coolers to the fridge/freezer. I starting a load of clothes in the laundry facilities shared by the other villas in the development. This Sunday actually happened to be Super Bowl Sunday, so after we were situated and the dogs were walked/fed, we drove over to Tubac Jack’s to watch the game with a group of locals in the bar.
Most of our time in Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack’s villa was spent relaxing and enjoying our neighborhood. I tried to cook as much of the meat from the freezer as possible. We took the dogs on long walks through the beautiful neighborhood at the golf resort. Mike hit balls at the driving range. I booked a pampering package at the spa. He sat out on our back patio and soaked up the sun. We walked to town for a couple of meals. All in all, I was becoming more and more pleasant as each day passed.
We had booked the villa from Sunday until Friday… hoping, of course, that we would be able to pick up the Monaco from the shop on Friday afternoon. We were going on two full weeks now, and surely that would be enough time to complete the repairs. During the middle of the week, Lazy Days called and said the rig would not, in fact, be ready on Friday as hoped. It would be ready NEXT Wednesday. I immediately sent a text to Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack to see if we could extend our stay four more nights. He returned my message with a very apologetic text and told me that was not possible, as he had booked the place with new guests starting Saturday. He offered to let us stay one extra night – on Friday – and I told him we would have the place spotless when we departed as early as possible on Saturday morning. Then I proceeded to have a full blown melt down.
We were going to have to find somewhere ELSE to stay. It was going to cost more money. The issue of our frozen food was front and center again. The rig might not ever be ready to pick up. We were stuck! Mike took the news a little better than I did. He accepted the news in stride, I called my aunt and cried on her shoulder for about two hours until I felt a little better. The most convenient option for us would be to move across the parking lot to a room at the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa. At least it wasn’t a dreary hotel. They did allow pets. And the pool was heated! We walked over to the registration desk and asked about availability. For a little over $1,000 we could stay there for four nights. I handed over my mastercard and the clerk printed me a confirmation number. I was still worried about our frozen groceries, so I sent another text to Jim-you-can-call-me-Jack and prefaced my request with assurance that this would probably be the most odd question he ever received from a villa tenant. Could we store our frozen food in the freezer of his restaurant until we left town on Wednesday? The dear man said yes! Problem solved, stress level reduced.
On Saturday morning I got up at 5AM to clean every inch of the villa and use the laundry room to wash the last of our clothes I was trying to keep clean. At 9AM I drove over to the restaurant to drop off our cooler of frozen goods while Mike waited with the dogs for me to come back and pick him up. Then we moved the Honda to a shady spot in the resort parking lot across the street. We checked with the resort to see if we could check into our room early, but it was still occupied so we would have to wait. We walked the dogs around the neighborhood and then camped out at the pool until noon when a room was ready for us.
The next four days went quickly with long daily walks, some more golf, lots of pool time, and several yummy meals at the restaurants in town. We took one daytrip over to Madera Canyon for a hike with the dogs. On Wednesday we loaded our car AGAIN, and called the shop to tell them we were coming to pick up the Monaco. The shop manager was not in his office, so Mike left a voice mail. After stopping for lunch at Tubac Jack’s (and to pick up our food from the freezer), we were driving back to Tucson around the noon hour. The shop guy called us back to say that all the paint work was done, but only half of the other repairs had been completed. They were able to fix our over-the-air TV antennae and service our Aqua Hot system… but the chassis had not been lubed and the tires had not been rotated. REALLY? We had dropped off the rig on February 1st. It was now the 17th. Good grief! The chassis and tires could be addressed in the span of one day by a competent shop, so we would tackle those tasks on another day in another town.
I dropped Mike at the repair shop and then drove over to the adjoining Lazy Days (KOA) Campground and reserved us a full hook-up spot for one night. Then I drove through the humongous park to make sure I could guide him to spot #1554 without any mishaps. Once I had my bearings, I went back to the shop and led him back to where we would be staying on our last night in southern Arizona. We had reservations at a state park in Cottonwood beginning on the 18th – where we would only have water and electric hook-ups. No sewer connection. We were settled by about 2PM and I used the next nine hours to do a deep cleaning of the coach while I could take advantage of unlimited water. I washed sheets, towels, and all of our dirty clothes. I wiped down the fridge and washed all of it’s shelves/drawers before I reloaded our groceries into it. I cleaned the shower, bathroom sinks, toilet and kitchen sink. I put fresh sheets on the bed. The floors were swept, vacuumed and mopped. Mike worked on the outside, cleaned and vacuumed our car, walked the dogs and picked up In N Out Burgers for dinner (it might be a Texas thing, but I like Whataburger WAY better). By the time we went to bed we were exhausted, but we were back home in our own bed with our own pillows, and every inch of it was clean. We would literally have a fresh start in the morning when we pulled out of the park and back onto the road again. Let The Martin’s American Adventure continue!