Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
We left off in Part V in Tucson getting ready to go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This is a really neat place that is a cross between a botanical garden, a zoo and a museum. We arrived in time for the morning Raptor Free Flight demonstration which was really fun. During this demo they let raptors like this Horned Owl fly free across an open area where they’ve put little morsels of meat in trees and perches.

Horned Owl Arizaon-Sonora Desert Museum

The birds swoop over people’s heads and then perch and pose for a while before swooping over to the next tree are perch. This Ferruginous Hawk looked like she was ready to eat any one of us for lunch.

 Ferruginous Hawk Desert Museum Tucson

The flew ravens and other hawks but these two birds were the only ones I got good shots of.

After the free flight demo we wound our way through the various displays. We saw this Desert Fox taking a nap in his fur lined den. It made me think that he had to have his blankey for his nap.

Desert Fox Desert Museum Tucson

The Javelinas were out. They’re a pretty weird critter really. They are peccaries and members of the New World Pig family but not related closely to the critter we think of as a pig.

Javelina Desert Museum Tucson

The Coyotes were out but of course this fellow trotted over to a rock and sat down with his back to me. After way too many photos I did finally got a somewhat decent photo.

Coyote Desert Museum Tucson

The Mexican Wolf was much more obliging about posing for me. He’d been pacing back and forth in his enclosure and was kind enough to stay still for a moment so I could take his photo.

Mexican Wolf Desert Museum Tucson

There were wild turkeys and deer mixed together in the enclosure across from the wolf.

Wild Turkey Desert Museum Tucson  Mule Deer Desert Museum Tucson

But best of all were the cougars curled up next to the glass with there backs to us. You don’t get this close to big cats like this very often. Look at the size of those paws

Cougars Desert Museum Tucson

There was a river otter out playing in the falls in it’s enclosure. I was very happy to manage to get a shot since he was really a fast swimmer.

River Otter Desert Museum Tucson

Just past the otter there was a docent holding this Barn Owl and talking to a group of kids.

Barn Owl Desert Museum Tucson

There weren’t many flowers but there was this great Aloe.

Aloe Desert Museum Tucson

Just past this Aloe there is a Walk-in Aviary with hummingbirds. The last time we were there we didn’t see many. This time there were many and they were nesting. Here you can see one feeding it’s young (or maybe working on it’s little fuzzy nest).  

Humming Bird and nest Desert Museum Tucson

And then sitting on the nest. I mean really, wouldn’t you drive all the way to Tucson to take a picture like that? I would.

Humming bird on nest Desert Museum Tucson

There were feeders here and there and the birds would drink out of them and then sit and rest nearby.

Humming Bird Desert Museum Tucson

These purple Costas Hummingbirds are really wonderful. This one sat still for the longest time. One of the docents said she thought it must like to have it’s picture taken because it sat and posed like that regularly.  

Costas Humming Bird Desert Museum Tucson

Just as we were getting ready to leave the aviary I spotted one more hummer on it’s nest. There was one bird working on making a new nest. And she was taking material from an old nest and carrying over to weave it into her new nest. Recycling at it’s best, I guess.

Humming Bird on nest Desert Museum Tucson

Having happily seen more birds than I could have ever hoped for we went on back to the trailer and had lunch. Then we packed up and motored off to Brenda, just east of Quartzite, AZ. It’s not a very memorable place but hey it filled the bill for the night. The next day we drove to Pomona and camped at the KOA at the County Fairgrounds. This is a great place to camp if you’re looking for a place to camp in the LA area. Two days later we were in Napa to visit Walter’s brother, Russ, and his wife, Dorie.

After leaving Russ and Dorie’s home we drove up the Napa Valley and over to the coast to stay in Trinidad which is a place we often stay in on our way home. The next morning we saw a large herd of Elk in a grassy area in front of an RV park in Orik, CA. There was on big bull with quite a rack.

Elk in Orik, CA

And he had a whole bevy of beauties with him.

Elk in Orik CA
Later in the day we saw more elk just inland from Reedsport, OR as we followed the Umpqua River past the preserve where we’ve seen them a number of times before. This time it was a stag party!

Elk along Umpqua River outside of Reedsport OR

We spent the night that night in Eugene and then returned home the next day safe and sound.

It was a good trip and we were both excited about how well we’d met the physical challenges of camping and hiking. We learned we need to stretch and exercise more on the days we drive a lot but that we can without much trouble handle all the tasks that were required of us on the trip. So we passed the test we set out for ourselves. That means many more adventures to come!