Sedona is an Oasis if you are driving South in Arizona. We followed the Oak Canyon on Hwy 86A down to the town. Along the way there were many cars parked for walks in the mountains around town. It is a modern tourist town with hiking in the summer and skiing in de winter. One of the parks we wanted to visit was not busy but the day rate is too expensive to justify paying for just an hour or so that we want to spend there. Instead we drove to the other side of town and went to the Red Rock state park. It is a small park with well maintained short walking trails. It was donated by a well-to-do local family. They had a lovely house built on one of the red rock hills in 1948 but actually never lived in it. It has been empty ever since.
To avoid going through Phoenix on our way to Tucson, we took the smaller roads further to the east. The surrounding is remarkably forested. This must be due to the height. Sometimes the road wind up to 2200 m and we had to let faster trucks and campers pass. In the low valleys (800 m) the countryside is much more barren and you started to see all types of cactus along the road. We spent an extra night along the road camping close to Lake Roosevelt (another artificial lake created by a dam in the river. Also here there are many recreational facilities along the lake).
In Tucson we spent a lovely 2 days at the house of David and Sam. We had met this elderly couple back in Canada. They drive a large RV towing a car. We gave them a lift to a small campsite along at Boya Lake where they were thinking of camping but not sure if their camper can turn around. David had been travelling all over the world. He even slept in the Fondelpark (Amsterdam) in 1972 when Rudy was doing the same but they did not meet each other (so they think). Sam comes from Thailand and has been living in the US for over 50 years. Needless to say that Jamaliah and her had also several stories to share. On Sunday they took us out to the nearby Air force base. There, on the “Bone Yard” are hundreds of large military planes stored. They are preserved as much as possible helped by the dry climate. At the site there is also a large military airplane museum. We spent over 3 hours wandering around, outside in the sun and inside in the huge halls admiring many WWII planes but also more modern planes and helicopters. In the evening they took us out for dinner in a great Italian restaurant.
When leaving Tucson on the way West to Interstate 10 followed by Interstate 8, we made a stop at the Sonora Desert museum. They have a large outdoor paved walkway through many types of Cactus but also bird enclosures as well as “canyons” with Big horn sheep, cats and puma. Indoor they had reptiles and local fish in aquariums. It was still a long way west to Yuma where we wanted to cross into Mexico. Via iOverlander we found a perfect spot off the interstate in the desert to camp. The sunrise in the morning was made picture perfect due to the glowing red reflections against the clouds.