I thought I’d take a quick break from all our route planning and share a few photos. Yep, it’s just about time for us to hit the road and get those RV wheels rolling in a new direction.
When Cee posted about today’s photo challenge, I knew just the photographs that reflected the word ‘silence’. It was a peaceful, quiet, and foggy morning along the Texas Gulf Coast……Now back to that travel plan…..I’ll post about that tomorrow 🙂
In the past there just never seemed to be the right opportunity to participate in one of these weekly photo challenges. I’m either behind on posts or my internet connection is sketchy due to our location.
Now that I’ve brought you all up to date on our happenings and this weeks photo challenge is “reflections”, it seems like the perfect opportunity to jump into the WordPress weekly photo challenge arena.
I enjoy this type of photography. Whiling reviewing my photos and narrowing down the choices for this post, I reflected on my emotions at the time each photo was taken. Under each photograph is one word depicting my feelings at that particular moment…. what I felt the moment I clicked on that shutter.
You know that saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is”? Well, I’ve carried on about Lake Pleasant and what a perfect spot it’s been for me to recover from the flu and the first few weeks it was, but all good things must come to an end.
Lake Pleasant is located northwest of the city of Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a favorite with locals and travelers alike. So one can expect a fair amount of traffic on any given weekend when the weather is ideal for water activities; add in a three day weekend or fishing tournament and the crowds come in droves…..party central.
Allow me to share the recipe; Fishing tournament, Carnival, Car Show, Spring Break, and $10 a night dry camping. Let’s add in some alcohol, carnie type people, loud music, and no restrictions on generators. Oh yeah, what fun!
Al and I were comfortably nestled into site T-59 enjoying a little quiet solitude, perfect weather, and just the right about of socializing. Friday and Saturday night we’d need to move out of our site and boondock as all sites were previously reserved prior to our arrival. No problem, or so we thought.
The event tents and carnival rides started arriving Monday and an area was fenced off. Local camper’s started arriving Tuesday to position themselves for the upcoming weekend and a regular flow of traffic continued the rest of the week. The locals parked their RV’s then returned home for the work week. They came back Friday after work with their wagons already circled bringing lots of friends, family, and plenty of kids.
By Tuesday afternoon, Al and I quickly moved our trucks into a position to try and save a small parcel of gravel lot for ourselves fearing we wouldn’t be able to find a spot to homestead. By Thursday morning we didn’t recognize the place. Our little slice of paradise was being transformed before our eyes…..and not in a good way.
Thursday we found ourselves needing to make a run to the dump station and as long as we broke camp we opted to position ourselves into our boondock spot a night early. Al talked to our boondock neighbors and came up with a plan to park the vehicles so no one would try and squeeze in between us. We’ve seen that happen before.
These new neighbors were quite happy with Al’s friendliness and cooperativeness. A conversation ensued and Al asked if they were here for the fishing tournament. Although they planned on doing some fishing, their main purpose was cornholing……. SAY WHAT!!!
As a matter of fact, they informed Al that they were getting ready to practice cornholing for the upcoming tournament and he was welcome to watch…..SAY WHAT!!!
The internet is an entertaining tool. Wanting to provide you, my dear readers, with information on Cornholing, I did a quick Google search on the term and you can imagine the interesting information that popped up. Since this is a G rated blog, you’ll have to do you’re own Google search on the other meaning of cornholing.
For the purposes of this post…… cornholing, also known as bean bag toss, is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing little bags of corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. Our neighbors practiced cornholing into the wee hours of the morning in preparation for Saturdays big tournament. Thanks for the great nights sleep guys….grrrr.
That’s ok, they were still nice neighbors compared to what we could’ve been stuck with so I won’t complain. There was a lot of craziness that occurred that weekend including some serious accidents.
Brawls, arguments, loud music, unruly children, dust and noise from ATV’s, and regular visits from law enforcement rank mild in comparison to the head on ATV collision or the missing diver and this is just the stuff I know about.
I found the weekend to be more stressful than fun and I’m glad it’s over. I do plan to return to Lake Pleasant but I’ll be sure to do my homework and avoid any events or three-day weekends.
That said, I’m parked near my favorite square of green grass and back to enjoying a little slice of paradise. And best of all, I’m feeling better than I have in quite some time.
Camping near water always makes me happy; add in fabulous sunsets, fun company, and an easy twenty-five minute commute to our son’s home and I do believe we’ve stumbled upon the perfect place to call home….. for a while anyway.
We discovered Lake Pleasant three years ago and have camped in several different areas around the lake focusing on boondocking aka dry camping.
This year we opted for something a little different.
There is a fee to access Lake Pleasant since it’s part of the Maricopa County Regional Park system.
There are several campgrounds as well as lots of boondocking possibilities…….all for a fee….not free.
On the eastside of the lake is Pleasant Harbor. Pleasant Harbor has a RV Park complete with full hook-ups, swimming pool, and other amenities. Pleasant Harbor is NOT part of the Maricopa County Park system and is privately owned. In addition to the full hook-up sites they offer “temporary sites” with electric and water. They also offer plenty of land for boondocking.
The temporary sites all back-up to a large square parcel of green grass with a community picnic table. This is where Al and I find ourselves parked. We don’t mind forgoing the sewer hook-up for a view. In this lifestyle there’s always trade offs and it’s important to determine ones priorities.
In addition to all the RV parking is a large marina. The marina is complete with docks, a restaurant, and boat rentals. We enjoyed lunch and drinks at the marina more than once and checked out the various watercraft available for rent. From paddle boards, to kayaks, to wave runners, and boats, they seem to have it all.
We’ll keep those boats in mind for next season when I have my energy back. I’ve always wanted to try paddle boarding. Looks like a heck of a workout.
It isn’t long before Al and I get settled into our new home and are invited to join our neighbors – fellow RVer’s at the community picnic table for happy hour. Most evenings found us hanging out at this picnic table enjoying snacks, drinks, fun company, and watching fabulous sunsets.
And then there’s the blogosphere…. it would’ve been rude of me not to invite my fellow RV bloggers in the area to join us for happy hour and a sunset.
We met Linda and Mike from Bear Tracks blog before and were quick to meet up again when we realized we were both camped at Lake Pleasant.
We introduced Linda and Mike to our side of the lake and they liked it so much that they came over to boondock for a couple of nights. Personally, I think they had way too much fun hanging with our group that they didn’t want the party to end 😉
Then there’s Susan and Bob of Travel Bug Susan. I used Susan’s blog as a reference tool when we were in Texas this past winter.
Although they are full-time RVer’s, they spend the majority of their time in San Antonio. Schedules and weather didn’t allow for a meet up in Texas but Arizona worked perfectly.
How about non-bloggers Karen and Curt…..talk about a small world!
We ran into Karen and Curt last winter while camped at Cave Creek Regional Park. Here’s a quick excerpt from last years post when I wrote about running into them……..
It’s time to take Bear for a walk. It’s Christmas Eve 2012 at Cave Creek Regional Park and it’s a gorgeous, sunny, and warm day. As I walk around the campground, I enjoy looking at the various license plates. I come across a rig with Colorado plates. I wave to the woman outside. She waves back and says, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?” and starts walking towards Bear and me.
I ask, “I see you’re from Colorado, what part?” I expect a response like, “Denver area” and was shocked when she said, “Pueblo West”. Pueblo West is located two-hours south of Denver and has a population less than twenty thousand. What are the chances of camping in a small Regional Park in Phoenix, Arizona, and running into someone from the same small town we live in?
I tell her where we live and ask what street she lives on. She proceeds to tell me and offers details of where the street is located. I look at her quizzically and remove my sunglasses as I ask, “Is your name Karen?” Startled she responds, “Yes. Do I know you?” “I’m Ingrid…. Al and I built your home”. “Curt, Curt…..come out here”, she yells.
Al and I owned and operated a business in home building for fifteen years. We built a home for Karen and Curt in 2001. So it had been awhile since we’d last seen each other. We spent that evening hanging out and catching up over cocktails.
What are the chances we’d run into these folks again? Well, two weeks ago Karen and Curt pulled in across from us. They don’t follow any blogs and thus had no idea that we were here. Some meet ups are just meant to be, and now I’m working on turning Karen into a blogger.
We’ve had a great time getting to know our neighbors around our square of green grass; Ron and Linda from Wisconsin have the white Super C and black trailer next to us.
Ron is into cars, thus the big, black trailer. He travels with a rebuilt hot rod that he just won a major award for at one of many car shows in the valley. Their Escalade travels in the lower half of the trailer with the hot rod riding above….2 cars, 1 trailer-how cool.
Diane and Bruce from Iowa are in the black motorhome on the left (photo above). Diane and I share a passion for cranes and had fun discussing the Sandhill Crane migration in Nebraska. Next time we return to Illinois for a family visit, I may have to schedule that trip around the Sandhill Crane migration.
I know we’ll stay in touch with these folks and perhaps even rendezvous back here at Lake Pleasant next season. However, we’d love to meet up with Diane and Bruce at Custer State Park in South Dakota for the Buffalo round-up held in September. They try to go every year. We’ll see if we can make that work.
As with all RVer’s, there’s a time to stay and a time to move on with the promise of meeting up again somewhere down the road.
The morning of moving day provided the perfect excuse for good-byes over donuts and coffee. We bid farewell to Diane and Bruce as they head south to Tucson and Karen and Curt as they head north to Cottonwood. Until we meet again!
Yes, I’d say we’ve found the perfect place to call home……until the desert starts heating up and pushes us in a northerly direction.
Well, maybe not so perfectafter all. There is a downside to staying at Lake Pleasant and we’ve endured our fair share of less than pleasant moments.
I’ve shared the good, next up I’ll share the not so good.
It was February 18th and time for us to leave Benson and head to Phoenix, Arizona. Al had an appointment on the 19th in Phoenix and thus we couldn’t change our plans as much as I may have wanted to. I couldn’t believe how ill I felt. I was sick. I could barely stand without the thought of my legs collapsing.
I’d been feeling slightly under the weather for several days prior but when I woke up that morning I could hardly function. I had two bites of toast and some water. No coffee for me that morning. That alone had hubby very, very concerned. For my regular followers, you all know how much I love my morning coffee and a beautiful sunrise. So forgoing coffee was a sure sign I was ill.
If I recall, it was another beautiful Arizona morning but that wasn’t enough to pull me out of bed. I laid in bed until Al hooked up the 5th wheel. I even remained in bed while he pulled in the slides – which is usually my job. So Al did his job and mine. Once he was ready to hit the road, I crawled into the truck and laid my head down on the center console.
I don’t ever sleep or nap while we drive. I enjoy being Al’s backseat driver co-pilot and navigator. So this was extremely rare and unusual for me to nap. I couldn’t seem to keep my head in an upright position. I couldn’t eat anything but kept drinking water which required a couple of stops during our 3 hour drive from Benson to Phoenix. When Al pulled into a rest stop, I didn’t even have the strength to walk the short distance from the truck to the restroom. Instead I climbed into the rig. That RV door was a lot closer than the building door. I was so incredibly weak.
That was the longest three-hour drive of my life and it couldn’t end soon enough. That drive was by far much worse than the 9-hour drive we took from San Antonio to Las Cruces and seemed hours longer…..go figure.
We pulled into Pleasant Harbor without a reservation and smooth talking Al managed to score a monthly rate even though we’d need to move around to different sites. They didn’t have any sites available for a complete month. Normally you can only get that monthly rate for a given site…..standard practice in the industry. So we were very appreciative of the kind staff, especially given the state of my health.
The moment Al had the rig backed into our site, I climbed into bed where I remained for the majority of the week. That flu bug knocked me down bad. I’m fortunate I didn’t end up in the hospital, not that the thought didn’t cross my mind or Al’s. I don’t ever recall being so sick.
It’s been a month since I was bedridden for a week and I’m still struggling with a lack of energy and a nagging cough. It’s been frustrating not being able to take advantage of the hiking trails here at Lake Pleasant, but I still consider myself lucky especially hearing of others enduring long hospital stays or even those loosing their battle with this nasty flu virus.
Even though I’ve felt less than stellar this past month, Al and I still managed to get in some socializing with fellow RVer’s and bloggers. Plus with our son living in the area, we get to enjoy regular visits with him.
We definitely picked the perfect spot for my recuperation; a great campground, beautiful view, entertaining company, and perfect weather. Bonus; the desert is blooming….. yep, perfect place to hang and recover. Each day I’m feeling better and stronger and I appreciate all your well wishes since I posted about my illness. I hope to be back on the trails soon 🙂
From Tombstone, Arizona, we continued south on Highway 80 to the town of Bisbee. I’d heard a lot of fun things about this former mining community and was really looking forward to exploring this quirky little town. Al and I anticipated Bisbee being similar to the town of Jerome, which we loved thus we were excited to experience Bisbee.The previous four days my energy had been low and I had a scratchy throat. I just wasn’t feeling like myself. As opposed to my usual go go go enthusiasm, I found myself having to push just to get out the door for any explorations. So as I share my thoughts on Bisbee, bear in mind my state of health.
During its heyday, Bisbee was a bustling mining community centered around the Queen Anne mine. Today Bisbee is a tourist destination complete with art galleries, gift shops, museums, and mining memorabilia. Once the Queen Anne Mine ceased mining activity it was quickly turned into a tourist experience. Each mine tour is guided by a former miner.
We thought we’d take one of these interesting mine tours after lunch. First we explore the town and shops. I love the old buildings and architecture. The town is also known for its abundance of stairs and even conducts a race every year.
Many of the shops were closed the day we visited and the ones that were open were vastly overpriced. $95 for a cotton blouse seems a tad much to me. Moving on, we couldn’t wait to have lunch at Santiagos and boy it did not disappoint. The food was great. I would consider going back to Bisbee just to eat at Santiagos.
After lunch we strolled around town a little more. I wasn’t feeling up to touring the mining museum or doing the Queen Anne Mine tour. We decided to hop in the truck and drive around…..I just wasn’t “getting it” and I was trying really hard to like this quirky Arizona town. What was I missing?
Driving Bisbee’s side streets in a F250 with extended bed proved to be a bit of a challenge and probably not the smartest decision we made that day. At one extremely narrow point there was concern we’d be stuck between two buildings. Thank goodness we’re not a dually because we definitely would not have fit. I felt like we were driving through a small village in Europe…..tight squeeze. The architecture was enjoyable.
Al and I were disappointed with Bisbee. Was it because I wasn’t feeling well? Was it because we didn’t tour the mine or museum? I don’t know, but just because we weren’t ‘feeling the vibe’ doesn’t mean you won’t. Check out Amanda‘s take on Bisbee. She and Tim had a great time in Bisbee.
There’s so much more to see and do in southern Arizona and if I had been feeling better you bet I would’ve taken in more of the sights…sights I was really looking forward to seeing since last year. Oh well, guess we’ll just have to catch some of these sights on the next time through. We have an appointment in Phoenix on Feb. 19th we need to get to……. (remember; due to illness I’m behind in my blog posts but catching up)
As we continued down Highway 80, it wasn’t long before we saw the sign for the Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona. This was the only site Al and I were truly interested in visiting in Tombstone.
So much of the good and bad of early Tombstone lies buried here. Quite often referred to as ‘the old cemetery” it lay neglected for years until some interested local citizens helped to preserve this historic site. Buried here are outlaws with their victims along with general Tombstone citizens. Many of the grave markers were labeled as “unknown”, which I found rather sad.
Many of the death’s were the result of shootings or hangings – legal or not. Quite a few were suicides. Drowning, diphtheria, accidents, and killings by Indians were other popular causes of death.
As Al and I strolled up and down the rows reading the grave markers, it became clear these were hearty folks who lived during exciting times, but also during a time where it was common for illness to easily take a life.
Here’s a few markers that we found of interest;
Tom Waters; shot, 1880
He was the father of Eva Waters and shot over the color of his shirt.
Chas Helm; shot 1882
Shot by William McCauley. Two hot-tempered ranchers who disagreed over the best way to drive cattle – fast or slow.
Holo Lucero; 1882
Killed by Indians
Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury
Murdered on the streets of Tomstone 1881. Tragic results of the O.K. Corral battle, which took place between the Earp Brothers with Doc Holliday and the cowboys. Three men were killed and three were wounded.
James Hickey; 1881 shot by William Clayborne
He was shot in the left temple by Claybrone for his over-insistence that they drink together.
A. Deloach; 1882
Margarita stabbed by Gold Dollar
Two dance hall girls quarreling over a man and Gold Dollar won.
John King; 1881 Suicide by strychnine
Mrs. Stump; 1884
She died in childbirth from an overdose of chloroform given her by the doctor
Lester Moore; Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, No Les, no more.
Moore was a Wells Fargo agent at Naco and had a dispute with a man over a package. Both died.
Dutch Annie: 1883
Sometimes called Queen of the Red Light District
John Heath; 1884
Taken from county jail and lynched by Bisbee mob Feb. 22, 1884. He was called the leader of the five men who were legally hanged and was said to have planned the robbery. He was hanged from a telegraph pole a short distance west of the Court House.
Douglas Lilly; killed 1881
A driver for the Sycamore Water Co. was thrown from the wagon, trampled by the horses and died instantly when the wagon ran over his head.
After spending a good hour wandering around the cemetery, it was time to continue down the road to the town of Bisbee. Oh, I guess you want to know why we didn’t spend more time exploring the town of Tombstone? Well, unfortunately Tombstone (this is my personal opinion) has turned into a commercialized tourist destination which Al and I have experienced plenty of in the past.
So we forgo the OK Corral shoot out reenactment or the numerous other little venues that would leave us with a lighter wallet and little to show for it. I hear there are some interesting buildings and museums to see that some might find of interest and if you’ve never seen one of these western reenactments then I would encourage you to experience it at least once….could be fun.
We were satisfied with the graveyard tour and although free they do encourage a $3 donation and in return you’re given a printed pamphlet letting you know who’s buried in which row and the cause of death. The fee goes toward the maintaining of the grounds. Al and I didn’t mind the three bucks (total) to tour the grounds and hey that pamphlet came in handy while writing this post. We were glad we stopped.
To say weather is fickle is probably an understatement considering the unusual and extreme weather the United States has experienced this winter. Last winter Arizona encountered some record low temperatures. Tucson even endured a rare February snowstorm which Al and I were fortunate to have experienced in 2013. Yes, fortunate because it was extremely beautiful, but we were also very happy when 24 hours later there were no signs left of the unique storm.
Last year’s Arizona record low temps had us rearranging our plans numerous times. The plan to explore southern Arizona was scrapped due to the inclement weather. Benson, Tombstone, and Bisbee will just have to wait.
This winter found us experiencing record low temperatures in southern Texas while Arizona was enjoying unusual warmth. Hum…..my only response to that is, ‘Don’t follow us as those record-breaking lows seem to tag along with Al and Ingrid”. That said the original plan to drift around Texas for the month of February was quickly changed when the use of the term “Polar Vortex” kept making its way into the Texas weather report.
After a quick weather Google, we were off for a week to Benson, Arizona, to explore parts of southern Arizona that we bypassed last year. Southern Arizona is somewhat mountainous and elevations can range from 2,000 feet to over 7,000 feet. We know it’s all about elevation when it comes to weather and temperatures and this season appears to be very agreeable around these here parts.
We settle into a really nice RV site at the Escapees SKP Saguaro RV Co-op in Benson and set about making plans for our explorations around southern Arizona.Our first stop is just 4 miles down the road in the town of St. David. This quaint little desert town of less than 2,000 residents is rich in Mormon history as Mormon settlers founded this community in the 1800’s. During the 1900’s non-Mormon’s from Oklahoma and Texas moved to the area along with the discovery of gas production.In the 1970’s the Holy Trinity Monastery was established. Al and I were quick to tour the grounds and even checked out the on-site RV Park. We felt the sites were extremely close together, but for those seeking spiritual enlightenment it might be interesting to spend a night or two.
The meditation garden was pretty and peaceful. The church architecture was beautiful as is the humongous cross. We noticed a couple of gorgeous free roaming peacocks.
Strolling the grounds was a very peaceful experience and I’m glad we stopped. For more information you can visit the monastery website.
Continuing down the road, we stop in Tombstone……..
It was the second week in February and our time in Texas had come to an end…..a rather reluctant end I might add. Al and I were pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed our stay in Texas and we’re already looking forward to returning next winter.
Although initially saddened to bid farewell to Texas, it isn’t long before the excitement of hitting the road and heading toward a new location takes over. I’m still not sure what came over us that we decided to travel from San Antonio, Texas, to Las Cruces, New Mexico, via one very long day, but that’s precisely what we did. We managed to put west Texas in the rear view mirror after a nine-hour, 600 mile travel day. Farewell Texas, until we meet again!
We settled into a nice RV Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico, for an overnight. The folks at Sunny Acres were super nice. We were given a roomy pull-thru site allowing us to keep the truck and 5th wheel connected and the bonus…..a brewery located just down the street within walking distance offering a nice meal and cool beverage after a very long day of travel. Yes, we would stay at Sunny Acres RV Park again.
Travel day two was easy in comparison to travel day one as we found ourselves on the road less than four hours. We drove approximately 230 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Benson, Arizona.
We arrived in Benson, Arizona and quickly set up home for the week at a lovely Escapees RV Park. This was our first time staying at the SKP Saguaro RV Park and they just happened to be running a special for first timers; $50 for the entire week…..score!
This RV Park came highly recommended by friends and it definitely did not disappoint. There’s easy access to miles of desert hiking trails just behind the RV Park.
The sites are very well spaced and it’s convenient Benson location makes it a great base camp to explore southern Arizona. And to top things off the folks are ALL super friendly, engaging, and warm. This may become a regular stopping point for us as we travel between Arizona and Texas.
Valentine’s Day just happen to fall during the middle of our stay at the Escapees Saguaro RV Coop and we attended a Valentine’s Dinner hosted by park volunteers. Dinner; surf & turf – lobster and steak – followed by a delicious dessert of Bananas Foster, one of my all time faves. The food was outstanding and once again, we felt very welcomed. What a lovely evening and to top things off each gal was given a long-stemmed rose.