Tiny Solar House Goes To Arizona

Next stop on the solar powered tiny house tour across America was the lovely sunny state of Arizona. We parked at Justin's Diamond J RV Park on the outskirts of Tuscon, conveniently located just minutes from Saguaro National Park. Checking off Saguaro marked our 12th National Park visit in under 7 months!

The park is named for the large saguaro cactus, native to its desert environment. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear, are abundant in the park.

Ancient Native American legends involve humans turning into saguaros, and after seeing all types of varieties across the park, it’s hard not to attribute human-like qualities to them as they seem to wave, bow, flex, and welcome us, each one very much its own ‘person.’

Pictures From Saguaro National Park

Bring em on!

Bring em on!

Hands up

Hands up

Is this guy flexin'?

Is this guy flexin'?

Detail

Detail

Cactus family

Cactus family

What do you think - Can you see any human-like qualities in the above cacti? 

After getting our exercise hiking around Saguaro National Park, we headed into town to check out the Tucson vibe. To our surprise, we found abundant bike lanes throughout downtown, numerous craft breweries, affordable fine dining, and some really, really cool art murals! 

Pictures From Downtown Tucson

Downtown art mural

Downtown art mural

Pedestrian tunnel at night

Pedestrian tunnel at night

Enjoying a tasty cocktail

Enjoying a tasty cocktail

Part of the goal of the tiny house travels is to research various cities where we might settle down. Austin was great, but we moved there about 5 years too late, hit by a high cost of living and way too much traffic & congestion on the roads.

By contrast, Tucson felt like a little known secret of America. We found the city was affordable, friendly, and safe, with a happening art scene and lots of promise for the future. Sure, the summers are hot (real hot), but the winters are mild and the humidity is low, so temperatures should be more bearable (in theory). Tuscon is definitely on the list, along with Ridgway and Fort Collins Colorado.

After a week in Tuscon we were back on the road, headed north to check out the scene in Sedona.

Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. At an elevation of 4,500 feet, Sedona has mild winters and hot summers, much like Tucson.

Pictures From Sedona

sedona
If you look closely you can see solar panels atop many of the roofs!

If you look closely you can see solar panels atop many of the roofs!

Last on the tiny house tour of Arizona was Yuma. You might recognize the name of the city from the western movie 3:10 to Yuma.

All cowboy references aside, Yuma is one of the driest, sunniest, and least humid areas of the lower 48 states of America, and has the lowest frequency of precipitation along with the highest number of days per year (175) with a daily maximum temperature of 90°F or higher. Dole is one of the largest employers of the region thanks to an environment highly conducive to growing produce and vegetables.

Accordingly, more than 85,000 retirees make Yuma their winter residence, and we enjoyed our experience of being 'snowbirds' for a few days, helping out with some farming work-trade in exchange for free rent and good conversation at Tree Love Farm.

Pictures From Yuma & Tree Love Farm

Isaac, Lia, and the rest of the crew we encountered at 'The Jungle' (as the locals call it) made delightful new friends, and we hope to make it back to the area in March/April. 

12,000 miles into our solar powered journey of America, generating 100% of our electricity from the sun! Living off the land supported by an off-grid solar kit for 7 months!