Well, it has been a while since we took Airstreamy out of the driveway. We have been so busy with the holidays and new year that we haven’t had time to take her out on adventures, like we so badly want to. On Instagram, we noticed a lot of fun stuff happening in/around Tucson this weekend. We saw that Mali Mish and Watsons Wander were both going to have their Airstreams down in Tucson. My Instagram handle is @fifilynn and my husband’s is @hibbardcustom. I begged, begged, begged Matt to go down with me for Friday night and we would come home Sunday morning. He agreed and I jumped up and down in excitement. Besides getting to meet fellow Airstreamers, we’d be able to go to the 59th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show, which is something that I had been wanting to go to for years. We have 3 dogs and knew we couldn’t bring all of them, so we decided it was Hank’s turn for a roadtrip. Meet Hank, our Boston Terrier from the AZ Boston Terrier Rescue. We’ll have had him for a year, come May.
The campground of choice for Mali Mish and Watsons Wander was Gilbert Ray Campground located on the West side of the Tucson mountains. We were excited to know that 2 sets of full-timers recommended this campground. Reviews of campgrounds online can be a mixed bag. I’ve come to realize that other airstreamers’ blogs are probably the best place to go for recommendations on the best places to adventure. I haven’t been let down yet!
We made the decision to go down to Tucson around 8pm on Friday and by 9:30pm, we were on the road. Matt went to fill up the gas tank on the Expedition and I went to gather weekend necessities. We packed our suitcase, grabbed some food and pulled out of the driveway.
We arrived to Gilbert Ray campground just before midnight. Dan and Marlenne (Mali Mish) let us know that they were in loop A and that there were several vacant sites in their loop. The campground reservation office was closed, so we did a self-check in, found ourselves to loop A and proceeded to back into our spot, 44A.
Here is a map of the campground:
I cleaned the inside of the airstream, while Matt got us all hooked up. Gilbert Ray doesn’t have a sewer or water connection on each site, but for $20/night, we weren’t expecting to have all the amenities. Our water pump wouldn’t work when we got hooked up, so we ended up dry-camping…thank god for dry shampoo and cleansing clothes! And, our heat was being finicky. We woke up freezing in the middle of the night and Matt had to relight the pilot.
Here’s some photos of the interior on our first night.
I had asked my facebook friends to give me some recommendations for vegan places in Tucson, and I received a lot of responses. We knew we would be out all day, so we decided on places for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in advance. Before heading out for the day, we went on a walk around loop A with Hank.
Our camp site
Occasionally, we saw wild animals (kidding). Check out this pomeranian that was flirting with Hank
You can tent camp at Gilbert Ray, too.
A panorama of Gilbert Ray campground from loop A
I wish I took a better photo of this retro Boler….it was soooo cute! For more info on Bolers, check out Bolerama.org.
There were several Airstreams in our loop A
Pardon my thumb….another Airstream
Hibbards + Airstreamy
How’s this for a sweet photo of an Airstream in the Tucson desert?!
We decided to pack up and head to town for the day. Our first destination, LaCave’s Bakery, a vegan-friendly donut shop. We parked and noticed a car show across the street.
LaCaves Bakery has been around since 1935. The donuts=epic!
We grabbed a dozen donuts (oink, oink) and decided to find the gem show. There were multiple gem shows open this weekend, which made it a bit confusing for us. We showed up at one site, to find out it was the site of a gem show last weekend. Then, we decided to hit the 22nd Street gem show. I thought this gem show was a let-down. I really wanted to see some unique modern pieces.
We then went searching for the main gem show, the 59th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show. Upon pulling up, there was a line for tickets out to the street. I didn’t want to wait in a long line, so we decided to grab some lunch at a recommended vegan joint called Loving Spoonfuls. Matt had the Route 66 cheeseburger and I had the adzuki burger. We really enjoyed our meals, which came with potato salad and chips. They even gave us a water dish for Hank.
We did a little sight-seeing around town. There are some great mid-century neighborhoods and the cutest historic houses. I found that I took photos of mostly fixer-uppers….I think that is probably the most charming thing about Tucson. A house could be ready to fall down or covered in graffiti, but it sits there; it doesn’t get knocked down like it would here in the phoenix metro area.
We decided that we would try to go back to the large gem show and the line was gone! I wasn’t expecting there to be sooooooo much to see. The gem show was beyond worth the $10 admission. The dealers here had some of the nicest jewelry I have seen! I honestly could have bought like 20 pieces, but I practiced restraint. I really was on the lookout for modern pieces, and there were at least 10+ dealers with the raddest pieces I’ve ever seen! I told Matt he didn’t have to go in with me, so he took Hank for some sight-seeing. If you decide to go to this large gem show, plan to give yourself at least 2-3 hours there. I felt like I could have easily spent 4+ hours there.
I walked away with an amazing sterling silver and assorted gem bracelet. I really liked the modern style and colors.
I bought a special ring for my sister, which is very similar in style to the settings in my bracelet
Here are some photos I snapped at the show. I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos of the higher-end designer pieces.
Matt picked me up from the show and we went to find dinner. We had a recommendation of Guilin Chinese, which is vegan-friendly. I got some vegan ‘veg chicken’ fried rice and ‘veg chicken’ kung pao. Matt got regular chicken fried rice and vegetarian egg rolls. This is some of the best vegan Chinese food I have ever had! Yum! We got our food to go, so that we could try to catch the sunset at our camp site. We got back a little too late to get good photos, but we caught the tail-end of the colorful sky.
We ate our dinner and decided to see if we could meet up with Dan and Marlene of Mali Mish. They came over to see our Airstream and then we got a tour of their fabulous airstream. Their airstream is was the 2nd airstream I have ever been inside of. They have a 2007 Airstream International 25FB Ocean Breeze. I loved the color theme and layout, which included a bamboo-look vinyl flooring (this may be an option for our future flooring, when we remodel the kitchen) white cabinetry with bamboo plexiglass doors and a very beachy decor.
Here is a photo from Mali Mish’s instagram feed, from the Gilbert Ray campground
Dan and Marlene allowed us to take a couple photos inside, as we are going to use their interior as inspiration for our future remodeling.
We hope to run into Mali Mish on future adventures. Check out their blog about their full-time adventures Mali Mish.
We knew another set of airstreamers had just arrived on Saturday, so we messaged with them to arrange to meet up. Amanda and Tim of Watsons Wander have a 1999 25 ft. Airstream Safari. They snagged a great space in loop H of the Gilbert Ray campground. Here is a photo of their Airstream from their blog:
Amanda and Tim are full-timers and have redone the interior of their airstream. It gives us a lot of ideas for cabinetry hardware, flooring, and window coverings.
Tim and Amanda, it was so nice to meet you! Hope to see you guys soon!
We enjoyed a quiet night in our airstream Saturday night. And, we woke up early to get ready to head back to Scottsdale. Once we hit the road, I recalled that I had read about a truck polishing stop in Eloy, AZ called M & M Truck Polishing on Air Forums. I couldn’t find a phone number anywhere online, so Matt agreed to have us do a drive-by to see if they were open. We found them at 518 S. Penn (it actually ended up being on Sunshine).
On the way to Eloy, we saw this hotel sign, but it seems that the hotel didn’t exist anymore.
We got a quote direct from them and at $1500 for our 31 footer, which I think it is a steal. They said that if we make an appointment in advance, they should be able to have it done in 2 days. I can’t wait to see reflections in our airstream very soon!
We saw an airstream on our way back to Phoenix
I have the travel bug! I envision a future trip to Oak Creek Canyon in AZ as our next day trippin’ adventure.