Hot Fun in the Sun

It has been a week long on fun, and short on quality photos. There’s a lot to be said about having such a great time that you forget to record anything for future reference. What was all the fun about?

20180126_11331482552024.jpgT@bazona! An annual gathering in the Arizona desert of fun-minded folks who share a passion for camping in their T@Bs, T@Gs, and T@DAs, T@B and T@DA share a common heritage, as they were both manufactured by Dutchman – T@B from 2004-09, and T@DA from 2008-10. Dutchman then got out of the small trailer business, and the T@B line was picked up by Nucamp. It’s more of a traditional teardrop shape than ours is, but loaded with charm and features. A T@G is an even smaller version – about the size of a queen-sized bed, most (?) with a clamshell kitchen.

We registered to join T@bazona last summer, and were fortunate to snag a site in the Usery Park group campground (no electric/water), where we camped with 25 other campers adjacent to the main campground, home to another 30 or so nestled in gorgeous sites with electric/water, firepits, and picnic tables.20180124_1428551804002955.jpg There were probably 80 people in all. This gorgeous county park in Maricopa County (Phoenix) is a a treasure – a maze of hiking/biking/bridal trails encircle the campground.

It’s beautifully maintained – kudos to the folks here who support this wonderful park system with their tax dollars. We’ve stayed at other Parks in the County, and they are all places to which we would return.

T@bazona is socializing with like-minded campers, sharing food, campfires, and the occasional adult beverage, and (of course) camping stories, tips, and tricks.20180127_1816321517153322.jpgThat’s the #1 reason we enjoy these rallies so much – avid campers trick out their rigs, and are proud and happy to show off the results. It’s all about solar, storage, decorative tips, towing, WiFi, and awnings/shelters. We had campers from as far away as Maryland, two rigs from Michigan, and from all points inbetween – everyone has their own style.

We have an organized sort of Parade of Homes, where  we traipse from camper to camper looking at all the cool stuff everyone has done. Most of the attendees were in T@Bs, along with a handful of T@Gs. We were the sole T@DA this year. Here are a few things that I’d never seen before (remember, I warned you that I took very few photos)…

Solar oven. There were cookies baking inside. Not sure how great this would be in Michigan, but it seems tailor-made for Arizona.20180127_144242408289790.jpgHow about this nifty propane radiant heater? Never seen one of these before. This could heat up our little awning on a chilly night.20180131_1713591686625743.jpgWe’re not big on game playing, but who wouldn’t love T@B checkers?20180127_135748656221599.jpgOur next project may be to develop some kind of aerial pole thingy to boost our wifi cell service. In areas where we have a weak signal, we usually wind up putting one of our phones on the roof of the Campsh@ck to boost the signal for our hotspot. I’ve been campaigning for John to mount a flagpole holder on the camper, and put a fishing pole in the holder. We could put the cell phone in a baggie on a hook and raise it up above the roofline to boost signal. Not pretty or elegant, but hopefully effective. John took a bunch of photos of possible projects, but he’s being pretty secretive about sharing them (for now, anyway).

We did get in a hike to the wind cave at Usery, with camping pals Mickie and Kim. 20180126_1020002127100023.jpg20180126_095349926059056.jpgIt was a gorgeous morning for a hike, and we wound up and up along the trail to the cave, about 1000′ elevation over a two-mile hike. Perfect morning to hit the trail, and I’m happy we got our hike done by the time the afternoon furnace-like heat kicked in.

After four days, it was time to leave. We were excited to head to Catalina State Park for a rendezvous with our Vermont friends (and former T@DA owners) Cathie and Jay. They’ve since moved on to an Airstream, but retain a small-camper enthusiasm for the outdoor life. We hoped for a more sedate experience in Catalina than the last time we visited. 

Go for a hike? Sure? We wandered up the trail with Jay to Romero Pools, which we have visited a few times in the past. It was shocking to see how little water there was.20180129_110405959072727.jpg20180129_110647-11827750297.jpg Where’s the pool? Other times we have visited, we’ve been treated to the delightful sound of running water down the mountainside into the pools, and dozens of hikers cooling off hot feet in the cool flowing water. This was a very different experience. Nearly barren. It was hot on the trail – we suffered.20180129_115821-11850123116.jpgEverything here is so dry – we are one matchstick away from a catastrophe, it seems. In the seven or eight years I’ve been coming to this area, this is the first time where there has been ZERO snow in the upper elevations. Mount Lemmon has an elevation of about 9200′ – there should be some snow up there in January. Seems like this is a bad sign for the area in the coming months.

Ahhhh….we’re now in the comfort of our Madera Canyon cabin. If you are a reader of this blog from a year ago, you’ll recognize this view.20180131_170553-11329694649.jpg Yep. For the next month, we are stretching out. Hike. Bird-watching. Coatimundi. Time with my sisters (who are both in the area for this month). SuperBowl. Cycling. If you want to find me in the next month, I’d suggest you look on the porch swing on the right.

We began our first day here with the most incredible views from of the supermoon eclipse. Set our alarm for 4:30 am, and sat outside with coffee, watching the eclipse develop over the mountainside. For the second time in a year, I was very sad not to have photography equipment up to the challenge of a celestial event. It was magnificent.

Feeling very peaceful….wishing the same for you.



15 thoughts on “Hot Fun in the Sun

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I love reading what other people are doing on their camping excursions. Maybe next winter I will get down in that area. Be well and safe.


  2. Sorry we missed a chance to see you at T@bazona, a visit from my 92 year old father while we were staying with friends in Phoenix consumed us! Heading out early Monday to try and catch the first tour at the Titan museum before heading to Chiricahua National Monument for hopefully some quiet camping after the insanity of Phoenix. From there its off to the Davis Mountains and then Palo duro. First night out this trip we lost use of our Alde with a blown thermal fuse on the PCB( it’s never the easily replaced fuses). A $1.50 part requires soldering so won’t get fixed until we get home. Some of our coldest camping is ahead of us but we have propane to heat water and our sleeping bags to keep us warm, makes it more like camping anyway! Enjoy your month at the cabin!


    • I’m sorry we missed the chance to hook up at T@bazona, too. It was a great time – we met so many new T@Bbers. It’s amazing to me how much fun these rallies are – certainly outside of our usual camping m.o.

      The Titan Museum is interesting, and I love the Chiricahuas. Arizona certain has no shortage of interesting visual sights. Do you have a reservation at Palo Duro? We stayed last time in the Mesquite campground, and loved that the most, although the bathroom is a fright. But for showers, you can drive a mile or two, or bicycle over to the brand-new bathroom at the next campground. Such great hiking there – each time we visit, we stay longer.

      So, maybe we’ll see you on the road another time. Happy camping.


      • Reservation yes, but no specific site as I don’t think TX lets you choose specific sites until the winter of 2018/2019. We’ll take what they assign us but will ask for Mesquite given the choice. Thanks for the tips!


    • The rallies are fun. I know of at least a dozen around the country at various places and times. It would be great to meet you. Most of the information is shared on the T@B Facebook pages, or on Nucamp website.

      See you down the road.


  3. Are you saying you two will be a month in Madera Canyon? I’ve never been to Madera Canyon and have been looking for an excuse to go there. If you are staying for a month, I will plan to camp there if February does not turn too cold. Is the campground near where your Tada is parked? Are there generally open camp sites? — Sylvia


    • Yes, we are here for a month. My whole family is in the area, so it’s a great chance to get a little family time.

      We are about a mile or two up the Canyon from the campground. I haven’t been down there yet this year. Sometimes it’s full, and sometimes not. Seems like it’s mostly campers of some type up there – don’t know if I’ve ever seen any tents. I’ll do a walkabout some day soon, and give you a report. It’s over 5000′ at the campground, so can get pretty chilly at night. We’re about 5400′.


  4. I can see how you’d be able to pick up a lot of tips and tricks by meeting with others who have the same type camper that you have, and I’ll bet that it’s a lot of fun also.

    The cell phone on a fishing rod sounds dangerous to me, I’d forget that it was up there and get hundreds of miles down the road, on;y to find that the phone had fallen off some where along the way.

    I remember the cabin from last year, I drooled over that location for the entire time that you stayed. and I’m sure that I will this year too.


    • I don’t think we would have a chance of driving off with a dangling cell phone attached to a fishing pole still in place. As it is, we now just lay the phone on the roof by the door to boost signal. I think we’re on to a good, cheap workable solution here – don’t rain on my parade. 😊 I even found a free fishing pole that had been left behind at the campground at Lake Mojave, but John was scoffing at my idea, and wouldn’t take it.

      The turkeys up here are crazy. We park our truck under the overhang of the deck, and they gather around down there. Yesterday, one was in full display, pecking at his own reflection in our chrome bumper! We heard the noise, and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Maybe it was the full moon. Sadly, they must be very hungry. They are coming right up on the edge of the deck here to get birdseed. It’s so terribly dry – no water in the creek at all. Must be very difficult for them right now.

      Take care, Jerry.

      Liked by 1 person

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