The Bar J Ranch in the far southwest corner of Tucson is a comfortable place to stay. Owners Paul and Gale Murray are pleasant hosts and Paul, in particular, will do most anything to make “his people” comfortable. I stayed there for six months in the winter of 2008-2009. In addition to being a good place to escape the nasty northern winters, it is located near Tucson Mountain Park, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and the International Wildlife Museum. The Bar J is a small RV Park but the sites are roomier than most places I’ve been. There is no swimming pool (I found that I rarely used a swimming pool at any RV park I’ve visited), but there is a Tiki Hut created with an artistic hand by Paul and Gale. (I just went through my photos of the Bar J and can’t believe I don’t have even one of the tiki hut.) The monthly fees are very reasonable.
By the time the camper was parked in my old site, plugged in and leveled it was late Friday evening, January 27th. I spent a couple hours catching up with Gale and Paul, and with my old neighbors and friends Joe and Ottie Smith. You may recall that they come to the Bar J every winter – “snow birds” that drive all the way from Maine. When I had stayed here in 2008 with Geordy, they had two dogs, Go-Go, a pure white, gentle giant of a German Shepherd, and medium sized mixed breed named Cinnamon. It took only a short time for Geordy and his two neighbors to become fast friends and every day we took long walks on the sand and gravel roads near the Bar J, mostly letting the dogs run free. Sadly, a few months later, Geordy died at the early age of eight years on September 14, 2009. The Smith’s dogs also passed away over the couple of years since last we met. I acquired Duffy in November 2010 and the Smiths also acquired two new dogs, Cinnamon and Honey, aka The Spice Girls. It was an identical situation when Duffy met his two new neighbors – a short period of getting acquainted and then fast friends who would romp and play until they dropped from exhaustion. One time these three rambunctious amigos were playing catch-me-if-you-can around the RV park when they spied an old couple walking toward our two sites. They ran to greet them and Duffy jumped up on the woman as Cinnamon and Honey ran circles around them, all wanting to make new friends. When Paul saw the dogs “accosting” this elderly couple, always having the well-being and safety of his “people” in mind, he came over and said for us to tie them up and he put the kibosh on their freedom. Later that day he came back to us and said he would build a fenced in dog area and it would be done by the time we returned next year. Well, the next day he brought a posthole digger, some chain link fencing, posts, a gate and a few bags of concrete mix and proceeded to built a “safe” area for our pooches. To our delight, within another day it was finished. The Smith’s and I pitched in for a shade awning to create some protection from the sun in the new doggie play pen. We continued our daily walks in the desert but now could leave our pets to play in their new fenced-in yard. We set up chairs outside the enclosure and spent hours being entertained by their playful canine antics. It was better than watching TV – no commercials and it was truly live and unscripted.
Ralph and Lynn, our good friends from Helena with whom we camped at Cattail Cove, you may remember, had moved to Organ Pipe National Monument so Duffy and I broke camp at Bar J and drove to OPNM to spend a week with them. Organ Pipe is another unique desert area and at this time of year, March, is very comfortable. There were many trails to hike in the park and a few geocaches to find.
Afterwards Duffy and I returned to the Bar J and Ralph and Lynn camped nearby in Tucson Mountain Park where we visited with each other a few more times before they hit the road to continue their travels.
Click on the links below to view images from our stay at the Bar J.