Late afternoon view of SKP Park in Benson, AZ

Late afternoon view of SKP Park in Benson, AZ

Desert weather....finally!

Desert weather….finally!

My last post definitely generated a lot of comments & interest. I knew it would, but it also kinda hurt (mentally) to write & read. One can only take so much seriousness in a week. So today’s post is going to be utterly frivolous, light and fluffy….and that kind of reflects my week here in Benson. Mostly our stop here is about cleaning the rig, doing errands and Paul’s trip home. In other words, pretty banal stuff.

But we’ve had a few interesting encounters, the first of which was our very first weather of the entire winter. While the rest of the country has been battling with deep freeze and all kinds of nastiness, southern AZ has been basking in one of the warmest winters on record. They badly needed some rain here and we finally got a few days’s worth at the end of last week. It’s always impressive when weather comes through the desert especially since the wide-open views means you see it coming from miles away -> dark ominous clouds, swirling winds & a kaleidoscope of changing colors until you finally get to rain.

Which leads to my other interesting encounter…Arizona mud!!

Now I’d heard about Arizona mud from other RVers for many years, but had never really paid much attention to it. You see I used to live in England and as everyone in the world knows there are few things that rival good ‘ol British mud. Once you’ve been stuck up to your knees in it (which I have), you pretty much feel you’ve experienced the pinnacle of sludge and sticky matters. Mud, don’t know mud! What could possibly compete?

Yup, that's about an inch of the red stuff on my flop

Yup, that’s about an inch of the red stuff on my flop

Well clearly I’d never seen Arizona mud. The red clay that covers most of this state and which is deceptively rock-hard most of the time, transforms into a thick, oozing, shoe-sucking mire once you give it a few drops of water. After our single day of moderate rain (which penetrated no more than an inch into the ground) it was so darn sticky I couldn’t walk the dog more than 20 feet without getting several pounds of the stuff caked to my flip flops. It may not have the depth of the British stuff, but it has an adhesiveness and suction of which I have never seen the like.

I have new respect for the stuff, I tell you and all I can say is thank goodness we weren’t out boondocking in this!

I’ve also, as usual, had my share of pleasant socializing. Boondocking buddies Tom & Dianne checked into SKP Benson last week, while long-time RV bloggers Rick & JoAnne came into the park just a few days ago. Plus I was contacted by blog readers RV Nomads and spent an excellent evening catching up with these vivacious young travellers over a Mexican dinner in town. No pics of any of this…can you tell I’ve been busy?

I may look like I'm sleepy, but I'm keeping a CLOSE eye on you...

I’m keeping a CLOSE eye on you…

On the fur-family front Polly has been incredibly occupied keeping track of me and the cats. I think the poor girl feels she’s failed when the “pack” separates (i.e. Paul leaves) so she becomes all the more clingy and persistent to make sure the rest of the group stays on track. I get a prompt wet nose wake-up call every morning at exactly 7:30AM, get pestered to walk at precise times through the day and am deliberately reminded of bedtime by the dog placing her head on my arm staring at me intently until I make the move. Honestly I have no life, but she’s such a darn cutie that I really don’t mind at all. This is what it means to be “owned” by animals, right?

We’re now only a few days away from Paul’s arrival back home which will be a huge relief for doggie, a joyfull occasion for me and will signal the beginning of our travels north. I may do one more semi-serious post before that time, but we’ll just see how it goes. Keeping it light and fluffy for now…


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59 Responses to Keeping It Light & Fluffy Today…

  1. Mary says:

    We were lucky that it was pretty sandy were we boondocked outside Wickenburg, so it wasn’t bad at all during and after the rain. It was fun walking in the washes afterward and seeing all the cool rocks that were newly exposed.

    • Emjay says:

      Keep an eye out for flash floods after a rain, particularly when there are high hills/mountains off in the distance. Those dry washes can be tricky after a rain. But fascinating too.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Glad to hear the mud wasn’t an issue there. I also find the SMELL of the desert is just amazing after a rain…everything comes alive!


  2. Jack Arns says:

    Hi Nina,

    New guy to your blog here. I appreciate the Arizona Mud as I have been stationed (USMC) in the dessert areas in Calif/Ariz; 29 Palm’s to Yuma. Mud is irritating but the FLASH FLOODS are something to behold. What was considered high and dry was subject to flooding so fast that the jeeps were floating by within a few hours of heavy rain. Keep an eye out for those forecasts! Love your posts and am now a big fan. Jack

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, the flash floods are very, very scary. We DO try to keep an eye on the forecast. I know the rainy season in AZ is something else to behold. Gotta be very careful during those time frames.


  3. MonaLiza says:

    Polly looks pretty serious and seem to have a questioning eyes. When is he coming back?

  4. Diann in MT says:

    I really appreciate yours and rvsue’s blogs. You both put such a personal spin on the adventures. For those of us who vicariously enjoy wonderful places of adventures, a great big THANKYOU!
    Polly sure looks serious in that photo although her mom suggested light and fluffy. I guess, she is fluffy…:>)))

    • libertatemamo says:

      Glad you enjoy the blog :) Polly is taking this business very seriously. She’s going to be so relieved when Paul is finally home again.


  5. Love the fishing picture!

  6. Bob & Sheila says:

    Have the identical issues with our beloved pampered and sweet labradootle Mattie !!

    • libertatemamo says:

      What can you do…? Our pets are just so darn lovable that you just make ‘em your life, AND we’re happy to do it!


  7. Bill says:

    Loving the pictures!


    • libertatemamo says:

      Glad you like ‘em! It’s fun to photograph the changing landscape out here, especially in a storm.


  8. We have had that Arizona mud on our car tires. What a mess. We had to go to the car wash and actually scrub it off. Yuck!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I believe it! Once that mud solidifies again it is ROCK HARD!! It’s really quite nasty stuff….rock hard when dry but slippery & sticky when wet.


  9. scott says:

    And I thought my wife and I were the only ones “owned” by our pets! How funny that your pooch acts just like ours. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I always say you never own pets…they own you, but it’s just so great to be “owned” that way :)


  10. Anne H says:

    I was worried about that rain! I was right next to a little wash on palm canyon road in Kofa – but fortunately, all the water stayed in the little washes, the wind didn’t push my little trailer over, and I didn’t get mud – just a little mushy desert gravel.

    The beast looks fine in the RV park – perhaps a bit smug since she knows she lives most of her life in more adventurous locales!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thank goodness the rain wasn’t too bad for you. It was only a little pour too (about an inch). If it had been a major rain I believe the washes would have started flowing too.


  11. LenSatic says:

    I’ve followed your blog for awhile now, but never commented. Now that you are in our back yard… :) We live along the San Pedro River between SV and Bisbee. We’re totally off-grid and, when we first moved here, we had to use a generator for power while the house was being completed and the solar installed. After a monsoon rain, my wife went out to add fuel to the gennie. Wearing flip flops, she stepped into the mud and it grabbed her shoe and she was stuck. When she reached down to retrieve the shoe her other foot slipped and she fell into the mud on her butt. I heard her yell and stuck my head out the door and said, “Welcome to Arizona”.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yes, that’s the EXACT experience I had last week-end! Wow…you guys are brave to buy such a remote spot and make it your home. I bet that’s quite a story (probably a whole blog!) in itself. I do love that area of AZ….beautiful country.


  12. LenSatic says:

    Forgot to add that we gave up washing our Jeep and Tahoe a long time ago. ;)


  13. Rowanova says:

    Light and fluffy indeed, Nina. Or maybe just a relaxed state of mind after such a big and important post before. Well deserved I might add. :)
    At any rate, nice job, and thanks for the great pics again. Stay poised while hubby works his way back to your reunion.

  14. Sue says:

    I’m with sweet Polly – its very important to keep the “pack” together.


    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I think the poor doggie really believes it’s her fault we’re separated…that somehow she didn’t herd us together well enough. She really doesn’t like it when we’re apart, the sweet girl.


  15. Dianne & Tom says:

    Fun to be in the same “neighborhood” with you, and we look forward to time with Paul again when he returns. Good to have you visit, and I enjoyed popping by your place for a visit. Nice to have a good place out back for the girls to run… Polly and Nell are both such good dogs, and it’s nice that they get along so well… or, maybe they mostly just ignore each other so well :) Anyway, come by again when you can… love for you to see how our project is coming along. Be well! D & T

  16. Judi says:

    Nina, I have some animal questions. We are not ready to sail yet as we are still looking for our 40′ beast. Funny but we tend to look at Holiday Ramblers and Monacos. Ours will be named Nina Grace. Nina after my mom (Antonina) who died this past Dec and Grace after my DH mother. Anyway….here are my doggie questions. We have 2 Bichon Frises.
    1) They are 6 and 7 years old and we have had them since babies. For one reason or another they have never been home alone and I fear in a MH that they may not do well, have any ideas?
    2) Do you not worry about ticks, fleas, scorpions, spiders, snakes and the likes of?
    We currently live in Las Vegas and yes we have scorpions but have only seen 2 in 20 years living here, never a snake (knock on wood) and we don’t have ticks or fleas. They are pure white and we keep them short haired, closer to what poodles look like but I am worried of all of the above. Hoping your experiences will help as we are hoping to boondock too! Thanks much and SOOOO LOVE your blog! Judi

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Judi,

      Regarding your questions. For the first one my recommendation would be to start leaving your doggies alone for short periods while you are at home. So, basically start “training” them to be alone before you get into the MH. The way dog trainers typically do this is leave the house without any fuss whatsoever (just walk out) and then return 5 minutes later. Then, start increasing the time. It also helps to leave the dog something to do (e.g. a chew or such) while you’re gone. I think the more training you can do before you leave, the better the transition to the MH.

      For critters we just try to practice good “leave it” and recall with doggie. I’m aware and checking the trail while we’re walking, and we try to pay attention before we step out of the MH. There is always some risk, of course, but that’s how we try to handle it.

      Hope that helps!


  17. Jackie says:

    Great for you that Polly waits until 7:30am or so. Our Aussie mix is awake at 5:00 with the coyotes but waits patiently until twilight. I.e. 6:38 am. AZ time.

  18. Donna K says:

    That mud could be the source of a new income stream for you and Paul – looks like it would make up into some mighty fine bricks haha!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      You know it’s funny, but I was joking around on ideas of how to many money on this stuff…mentioned to someone that if I slapped it on my face and looked any younger we’d have a gold mine on our hands LOL


  19. Caryl Marie says:

    You.all are so darn cute! Mud… Truly a topic of fluff and frivolity!! We lived in an orange orchard in SoCal where the red ‘DG’ (decomposed granite) was the type you so eloquently describe. In fact, the new home actually carried signs of it for years!

    And, THE CLOUDS… I think when we finally get on the road I’ll have to make tiny little side trips just to see them!

    Beautifully done, Nina!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Decomposed Granite…interesting! I’m going to look this up some more. I’m sure there are lots of different clay/rock compositions out here, but the red stuff is quite particular.


  20. Kathy Webb says:

    Hi Nina, nothing like a storm on the desert, but eww that mud is slippery! :) So was it Magally’s or the little Mexican restaurant in town?! Molly sends nose taps to Polly! I don’t think she could handle the desert heat any more. If it gets above 60 on our walks she’s panting! lol Hope Paul gets home soon! Take care, K.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I went to both actually. Went to Magally’s with the Nomads and just did Mi Casa with Jil and Tom last night. No doubt at all Mi Casa is far superior….yum, yum!

      Polly has actually been struggling a bit with this hot AZ winter…above 80 and she really doesn’t like it. Missing the OR coast!!


  21. Laurel says:

    Oh boy, do we ever know about that slick heavy red desert mud — and it afflicts not only Arizona, but also Utah and the rest of red rock country. I’m remembering a hike last fall in Goblin Valley that turned into a mile of slogging through deep, slippery mud! I think I still have that mud on my boots…

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’ve always wanted to see Goblin Valley, but have not (yet) made it. Sounds like you eventually found a pretty sweet boondocking site there. And you’re right that the red, slick stuff is all over Utah. It’s fine when it’s dry, but when it gets wet it is something else!


  22. Mike Maples says:

    Hi Nina we are up the road a bit in Florence work Camping at Desert Gardens RV park for the winter. We had some pretty good rain here too All of the retention ponds in the park had water in them for the first time this winter. On a side note my wife and I went to Mexico for some dental work last week. We started with one of the larger dental companies. After a day of being on what felt like an assembly line we switched gears and walked over to Dr. Urea’s office and set up appointments with her. I actually drove over to Los Algodones yesterday and had a root canal with one of the Doc’s that she uses next door. The root was a little infected so it needs to medicated for about a week. Going back next week to get a crown. My wife will be getting one root canal and six crowns. That would have been a tough bill to swallow with a U S dentist. She asked me how I heard about her. I told her that we follow your blog. She is a little blown away with all of new patients that follow your blog.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well, I’m really happy you had a good experience at Dr.Urena’s. I do think they’ve been a little surprised at the referrals from my blog. When I called to make my appointment earlier this year and told them my name they immediately said “are you the one with the blog??”…so I guess word was getting out LOL. I’m always happy to refer good businesses.


  23. jonthebru says:

    You were so gracious in the comment responses in your ACA post, you deserve a lot of credit. Polly, by the way, has you wrapped around her paw!

  24. Nina–keep us informed of your route north so hopefully we can meet up somewhere!

  25. Pam Stuart says:

    This website is amazing. Just getting started with hopes of being on the road full time by this time next year and, of all the sites, yours has been most useful and enjoyable to read. Thanks and keep it coming, please.

  26. Hey Nina, nothing wrong with soft n fluffy! I went to a high level two week management improvement seminar in a isolated resort in Va. It was all about improving subordinate and peer productivity by the use of “Warm Fuzzys”!!! Hey Sadie n I are in Quartzite, yea!!!! We r doing the lapidary club.lesdons! Very interesting! Sadie n Bill

  27. Caroline says:

    When I tell John about something from your blog I always start with…”Polly’s Parents …”

  28. Brenda says:

    Polly is so adorable, hope the pack is together by now.

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