RVing in a Big City

I love the diversity of spending time camped in nature one day and living near a major city the next.  It’s an amazing joy not to have to choose one or the other and it’s probably one of my favorite things about living in the RV full-time – I’m not committed to a location. This sense of freedom is hard to explain, but I firmly believe it’s one of the top reasons RVing can be addictive.

Fork in the road

Fork in the road – city living or country living?

When you come to a fork in the road take it! – Yogi Berra

Fork in the Road …

The freedom to choose where we camp is wonderful, but there are times I feel torn and have trouble making a decision.  Which way should we go? There’s so many things to see and do in a big city; museums, events, restaurants, stores … the list goes on, but the solitude and beauty of nature is always a strong draw and many times that’s my preference.

photo taken with Panasonic DC-ZS70

Taken with my new Panasonic DC-ZS70   Set on Auto – F6  – 1/125 – 373mm

Guess what? I don’t have to choose one or the other to call home.  One month here, one month there, or next month it’s something in between. That’s how we roll. Ah, the beauty of full-time RV living. We get to be non-committal.

After spending three months in Phoenix, Arizona (Oct, Nov and Dec), we started off the New Year by moving over to western Arizona to the small tourist town of Lake Havasu City. We’ve visited this area many times before and love returning. Even though our first two weeks here have whizzed by, I’ve had time to reflect on our three month stay in the big city.

inspiration, crafts, ideas, quotes

Phoenix, Arizona

It’s a rare treat to find a RV friendly city, and when we do, we like to plan a lengthy stay allowing us plenty of time to immerse ourselves in everything big city life has to offer. Since our children live in Phoenix and Phoenix is RV friendly, this city has become a regular stopping point for us. You’ll find us traveling in, out and around Phoenix regularly.

Phoenix resorts

JW Marriott Camelback

The Phoenix valley is not only a super popular snowbird location, but also popular with vacationers and convention traffic.  Peak tourist season is January, February, and March … March being the busiest due to baseball spring training.

Reservations for whatever kind of travel you choose during those three months are a definite must. You’ll also find lodging prices at a premium.

The lodging options are abundant and diverse. For those of us with RVs, we can find everything from basic campgrounds to full on RV resorts complete with pools, pickleball courts, and golf courses. For non RVers, there’s everything from inexpensive hotels, to Airbnb’s, to mega resorts, and everything in between.

Did I mention how awesome the weather is around here? That is, excluding summer of course!

Lost Dutchman State Park

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park is one of our favorites. Barely fifteen minutes to grocery stores, restaurants plus amazing hiking trails right out our door. Scottsdale and Phoenix are an easy drive away.

I can't adult today

There’s a never-ending schedule of art shows, craft shows, or home shows to attend throughout the year in the Phoenix valley. My daughter and I always manage to find time to attend a few.

I’m never at a loss of things to see or do during my visits to the Phoenix valley. Although hiking and photography top my list of favorite activities, there are so many other great recreational and educational opportunities to explore.

Here are some of the things we’ve done in Phoenix …..

Scottsdale farmers market

Farmers market held all winter long in Old Town Scottsdale. Photo taken Dec 23 – yep, DECEMBER!

beignets farmers market

My friend,  Faye, and I enjoying freshly made Beignets at the farmers market. Come on, can’t be all about veggies! Since we visited the farmers market early morning, it was still on the cold side. By noon, we didn’t need those jackets any more. There are bunches of 5 star restaurants with award winning chefs located throughout Phoenix and Scottsdale …. plenty of culinary delights to satisfy any palette.

TD Ameritrade seminar

Conventions and seminars are held throughout the year. Our son and daughter join us at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort for a TD Ameritrade seminar.

JJ Kinahan

This was the second day of the TD Ameritrade seminar and I got to meet Joe “JJ” Kinahan. If you’re a trader or CNBC watcher like me, shaking hands with JJ was a treat. JJ was getting ready to hit the links and enjoy the beautiful Phoenix weather while it was snowing in Chicago. TD Ameritrade and Think or Swim hold educational seminars once or twice a year in Phoenix and Al and I try never to pass one up. Always educational. We attended one of the best seminars yet this past December and had a couple of ah-ha moments.

I was really excited about attending the WordPress Camp, but was sorely disappointed. I thought I’d be surrounded by fellow bloggers in the audience, but instead the vast majority of attendees work in the tech industry. This conference was geared toward businesses who work behind the scenes, who write code and do lots of other stuff that I can’t begin to articulate. It was all Greek to me. At least the food trucks were good!

Desert Botanical Garden butterfly display

Daughter taking a selfie with a butterfly at the Desert Botanical Garden

Chili and Chocolate FestDaughter and I watch a cooking demo at the Chili and Chocolate Festival

western history

Lots of western history to explore around here along with the amazing trails.

Family and friends

Being able to spend time with family and friends is our number one reason for hanging around Phoenix

Let’s get social …

Because Phoenix is such a popular travel destination, we never know who we might bump into. It’s always a pleasure! During our three-month stay in Phoenix, we enjoyed several get togethers with bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

Blogging

Happy hour at Cave Creek Regional Park. From left to right: Dave, Faye, Al, Sue, Dave, me, and Lewis in the front. We all met via our blogs first – blogging leads to friendships!

Jeanette doesn’t write a blog but she’s been following mine for a while and she reached out to me last year as she and her husband were preparing to RV full-time. Since then, they’ve sold the house, moved into the RV and are workamping at Usery Regional Park this winter. We’re hoping to do some boondocking with them this spring once the hot weather pushes us all north.

Nancy on the left, me on the right. Nancy and her sweet man don’t RV but they do like to travel. They own a home just north of Phoenix. She and I met via our blogs a few years ago and we enjoy getting together whenever we’re both in town. She’s always so kind including us in their social gatherings at their home. Thanks Nancy

This is just a small sampling of the folks we socialized with during this years three month stay in Phoenix. Every time we visit this city, our social calendar is as full or empty as we’d like it to be. Over the years, we’ve made some great friends via the blog and via RVing and Phoenix is the perfect city to physically connect with like-minded people.

How about wildlife?

Although I enjoy most aspects of big city living, I have a need to be close to nature and wildlife. Fortunately, with plenty of parks and open space, I’m still able to get my nature fix while staying in Phoenix.

coyote

You can expect to see or at least hear plenty of coyotes.

wild burro

wild burros are more elusive and a treat to see while out hiking

Gambels Quail

The Quail are everywhere and I find them exceptionally entertaining.

Gambels Quail are everywhere, and if you can’t see them, you can quite often hear them. Since they fly as a last resort, spotting a covey of quail running across a street, sidewalk, or trail is a common sight, and always makes me smile.

Hummingbirds are also very common and entertaining to watch. Gosh, those little things buzz around so fast that it takes a great deal of patience to capture a photograph of one – a non blurry photograph. Obviously my patience during this visit eluded me as evidenced by the lack of a photograph. Oh well, next time!

Another fun thing to do …

There’s some great scenery in this part of Arizona. Just outside of the city is one of my favorite scenic drives. Driving the Apache Trail makes for a perfect day trip, but before embarking on this drive do your homework. The stretch of road between the town of Tortilla Flat and Lake Roosevelt is a gravel road and can be pretty rough in spots.

holidays in PhoenixIt was a very busy three months …

Aside from all the socializing and activities, we tried to get in as much hiking as possible to work off all those extra calories consumed. It was the holiday season after all.

In addition, we managed to complete a bunch of maintenance on the trucks, RV, and our teeth 😒 And as if that wasn’t enough, I threw myself into a RV remodel project.

I’m not ready to reveal the remodel just yet, but let’s just say, there was at least 24 yards of fabric involved with 10 more yards in my future. I’m loving my new window treatments and the fresh new look and wish I’d a done this sooner. Since we’ll be bouncing around Arizona the next few months, I’ll focus on completing the remodel in May when we’re back in a full hook-up site and sitting stationary for a few months. We  plan on spending most of the summer back in Prescott, Arizona again.

And speaking of sitting still, it came as a total shock to Al and me that at the end of our three-month stay in a RV Park in Phoenix, we weren’t ready to hit the road. Usually we get antsy after about a month and can’t get the wheels rolling quick enough.  Not this time! We hemmed and hawed about extending our stay …. there’s that fork in the road again …. decision time. In the end, we lifted the jacks on New Years day in search of new scenery.

Cheers to new and fun adventures in 2018! Maybe we’ll bump into you down the road 😀

Affiliate links below ….

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78 thoughts on “RVing in a Big City

  1. Fun times are always had! I made this blog post! Yay! Yay! Yay!

    We enjoy having you over and I so enjoy when we get out and have a girls day! I have not returned back yet to the Scottsdale Market. But I will!

    I am having a few problems with my heel. I have been resting it since we got back from Texas. Ugh! 😒

    We miss you both!

  2. Great post, Ingrid! Nice overall perspective on the valley and what it offers. Your photos are always wonderful. We have always loved coming down to Phoenix and Scottsdale for a break from Colorado cold. Although this year CO has been one of their warm winters. What a year to leave! Winter has been chasing us since late Nov in Georgia, across SC, FL, AL, even in New Orleans and across Texas. We arrived in Benson yesterday and are looking forward to 2 1/2 months of warm days and cool nights here, in Casa Grande, and then Tucson. We are planning April through August now. Will let you know if we get a couple weeks near Scottsdale early April before wandering back to Colorado.

    • The Arizona winter weather has been very agreeable this year. I’m loving it and so glad we took a pass on our usual Texas sojourn. We’re hanging in Lake Havasu City right now until March then we’ll venture into other parts of the state. Keep me posted on your where abouts and maybe we’ll meet up in April when we’re near Page or Cottonwood. Our plans our still fluid right now 😊

  3. Great info! Freezing here in NC with more snow on the way – Phoenix looks pretty enticing right about now! For some reason I’m not receiving the emails when you post. Just happened to be on reader and saw that I’ve missed several! Guess I have some catch up reading to do as well as investigating if something is wrong with my settings?! 😬

    • Brrr! I sure don’t miss those cold temps. I’ve had the same problem with blog notifications disappearing. This always seems to happen when WP does some kind of upgrade/change. Ah, technology!

  4. Your blog continues to inspire me. We wandered further west than we have yet, landing at the top of a hill in Bisbee, AZ, and loving it!
    Thanks for putting a name to all of those sweet little quails that scurried ahead of me as I walked each day. L❤️VE them!!
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Thank you Donna. Bisbee is an eclectic little town. The state of AZ offers a lot of fun places. Along the Colorado River (AZ/CA border), is a Rver’s playground. We’re enjoying Lake Havasu City.

  5. Ingrid,

    Thanks for sharing your camping spot with us. Bet there will be a few more people there in the future because of it:)

    It’s about the travel is what you told me a while back. I’m keeping that in mind as we look forward to our time on the road.

    I also referred a friend to you regarding a camera purchase. Cheri from Travels with Bentley blog (http://deanandcheri.blogspot.com/) is from Kansas and they are fulltimers. She may or may not get with you depending on if she is set on getting a replacement camera. Still loving the Panasonic you suggested for us. Amazing pocket camera. I keep it in an over the shoulder case and forgot I had it on the other day when I got home. Very handy camera.

    I always look forward to your posts!

    Mark from Missouri

    • Hi Mark – glad to hear you’re enjoying that camera. I recently purchased Panasonic’s latest pocket camera and really enjoying it. 2018 will find us sitting still a lot … most amount of time in the past 4 years. So our explorations will be confined to AZ once again. Travels can be near or far!

    • It was a very enjoyable three months (excluding the vehicle and teeth repairs lol). We’ll be sticking around AZ most of the year for personal reasons. But that doesn’t mean the cameras won’t be getting a work out!

    • Agree – I’m super happy our daughter moved to Phoenix. It makes our lives so much easier. We’ll be spending the summer in Prescott again and I’ll usually head to the valley a few times a month. I’m not bothered by the Phoenix summer heat, but that doesn’t mean I spend time outdoors lol.
      I’m loving the new camera as a every day walk around camera. I still prefer the 200 but don’t always want to carry it with me, and I am definitely not into using my iPhone 5 for photos. Not sure I’ll ever embrace the phone photo craze.

    • Thank you Jim. The southwest side of the valley is probably my least favorite. Therefore if you enjoyed your visit there, you’ll love other parts of the valley. So many interesting and different sights. Be sure and let me know the next time you plan on being out this way.

  6. Great post. When you mentioned the the WordPress seminar was all Greek to you, I read it as Geek, and then thought perhaps one and the same. Ha – we have a small sign on our wall that reads, ‘not all those who wander are lost’. Our wandering is curbed at the moment, but it will resume again soon on a part time basis, and I can’t wait.

  7. It’s always great to be able to spend as much time as you want with family (and you don’t have to move in with them to do it!) It’s such a good mix to be able to enjoy the country, but still be close to “civilization.”
    If we make out west again maybe we can meet and compare blogging and hiking notes! 🙂

    • Would love to meet up. I was actually in the middle of planning a Lake Michigan loop tour for late summer, when our son requested we remain in AZ for his wedding 😃 Thus, WI and MI will need to wait until ’19. I’ve been missing the Midwestern fall colors and MI offers the best.

  8. This post had so many great things in it! I have friends who live in Phoenix… I may need to plan a visit again soon with my camera. I attended a WordCamp here in San Diego a few years ago and had the same reaction you did. I expected bloggers too. I’ve heard that some WCs have added a bloggers track and I’ve suggested one several times to those who are planning this year’s meeting… we’ll see.

    I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting several fellow bloggers and the experience is fantastic! There is an instant connection – much like meeting old friends.

    I hope you don’t mind me making an observation about your blog… lately, there have been ads with very irritating audio that play instantly when I first open your blog. Not only can’t I turn it off, it doesn’t allow me to read your post before it plays completely. I’m not sure you are aware of this so I thought I’d point it out (again, I hope you don’t mind).

    • Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was sorely disappointed with the WC. I wish they had described the event more accurately. No, I don’t mind you pointing out the irritating video. I wish I had control over it. I’ve experienced the same thing on other blogs and even my own. Video plays havoc with my monthly data… sigh! We love connecting with fellow bloggers. You’re right – feels like meeting old friends. Thanks for commenting.

    • Thanks Karen. I don’t expect it to be a very exciting or travel heavy year. My son will be getting married late summer and we’d like to hang around AZ. But I’m sure I’ll still find some new discoveries.

  9. Isn’t Yogi Berra a hoot. His saying just crack me up. Fantastic photo of the “fork in the road.” Great eye.
    You have had a wonderful three months. Without you saying, I am sure that being with the kids was the highlight. Family always is for us!
    There is so much more to Phoenix than what most people think…usually our family thinks too hot and desert. We are always telling them about all the areas around the city, especially Usery Mts! I think that is our favorite area.
    Enjoy your adventures in AZ. We will miss it this year. Always a great time. Not to mention the near perfect weather.

    • Yeah, that fork in the road saying always makes me laugh. Agree, there is a ton of things to see and do in Phoenix and it’s very diverse, which is why we enjoy it so much… plus family. When we’re staying in Prescott, I’ll still visit Phoenix throughout the summer. Sure it’s hot but I just do the same thing that’d I’d do if I were in Chicago in the dead of winter … hurry to the heated car or in Phoenix’ case hurry to the A/C LOL.

  10. Good morning!

    We have enjoyed reading your travel blog and seeing all your wonderful pictures since we met you guys in Pueblo El Mirage a few years ago.

    We see you are spending some time now in Lake Havasu City. Was curious where you stay when there. We have enjoyed staying there for a number of years now but always stay in a park that is a member of our camping club. Wouldn’t mind finding someplace different from time to time. Would appreciate any suggestions you might have.

    Happy new year to you guys and have safe travels. Looking forward to future blog posts. Steve and Jan Piscitello

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

    • Hi Steve – nice to hear from you. We’re actually staying on private property right now. We have friends that live here in Lake Havasu City with a double lot and we park next to their boat and motorhome. Nice friends, huh! A couple RV parks to check out for next season might be Havasu Falls and Campbell Cove. DJ’s and Prospector’s are a little rough around the edges but ok in a pinch. We LOVE Lake Havasu State Park but its electric and water only with a 14 day limit stay. We snagged a lovely site there last week for a night. Safe travels to you guys and thanks for stopping by.

  11. This post was perfectly timed as we’re heading out that way now. You officially have me looking forward to Arizona (though I am completely depressed that there was a chili and chocolate festival and we missed it😭). Question: how far in advance did you book your Phoenix campgrounds? I found spots for us in Tucson, but it was not easy and I started last summer! I’m assuming Phoenix might be even more difficult. How far in advance do you generally need to book reservations to get into one of these campgrounds?

    • We booked last April and when we left we booked for next season. If you still want to visit Phoenix, you might want to call Pioneer RV Resort in north Phoenix (near the town of Anthem). They usually keep some sites available for big rigs passing through (nightly and weekly). Our friends Faye and Dave are staying there and they would be a wealth of information on the area. Keep me posted on your travels. We’re in Lake Havasu right now but our plans are in Jell-o until May 1 when we have our next reservation.

  12. Only you would caption that first photo Fork in the Road. It’s perfect.

    Seeing your gorgeous photos again made me feel (slightly) ashamed of my own hurried snapshots. Resolving to actually stop while taking a photo every now and then.

    Hope to see you on down the road again. Meeting you and Al was a treat.

    • You do great with your phone – don’t change a thing. I spent the morning mingling with VW’s. Can’t wait to download my pics but my computer is going wacky. I’m using Al’s while I set mine back to factory install… grrr! It was great finally meeting you and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

  13. We enjoy both nature and interesting cities, too. As you said, the ability to experience it all is one of the huge benefits of having a home with wheels. Looks like you had a wonderful three months in Phoenix with family and friends. I would have loved that Chiles and Chocolate Festival!

    • Isn’t it fun experiencing all ends of the spectrum? We’re lucky we get to enjoy the big city and the boondocks and bounce between the two plus everything in between. I love some of the small specialty festivals and art shows and that farmers market in Scottsdale is awesome. You’d love!

  14. Thanks for this lovely visit to Phoenix and AZ, Ingrid. It was fun to hear about your activities, see your friends and family, hear about your RV lifestyle. The photos, as always, are so beautiful, and I especially like the wildlife and desert captures. The first one with the saguaro shadow is a joy, and the coyote, burro, and Gambels quail are stunning. Cheers to a new year of great adventures and sweet times.

    • Thank you Jet. We had a very active and mostly fun three months (dental work and auto repairs don’t fall under the “fun” category lol). Phoenix has an unusual amount of nature compared to other big cities, which makes it very enjoyable. Hope things are moving along at your home!

    • HI Linda! I’ve missed you. Hope you’re still enjoying life in the snow. One of these summers we’ll need to come visit. I’ve heard good things about that state park not far from you guys. But this summer we’ll be hanging in Prescott again. Our son is getting married at the end of the summer on a ranch just west of Prescott and I’d like to hang around this summer for any happenings.

  15. We typically take the fork leading to the remote country but the last few weeks have found us the more populated areas of Tucson and Casa Grande. We have found ourselves shifting from hiking to taking advantage of the shopping, breweries and restaurants and thoroughly enjoying them. Maybe there is room for a little mix of both in our lives!

    • We love bouncing back and forth between urban and rural life. Maybe that’s why we can’t make a decision on a home base. Our search continues! Hope we can meet up in the next month or so… Al has some summer sausage and jerky to share.

  16. Oooo, I can’t wait to see the remodel. Redoing our window valances, and everything else we did made such a difference. That farmers market looks great, we have never been. Everyone RV’s differently. Some need to be constantly on the go, some like to put down little roots once and a while. Whatever works.

    • You are so right, we all have to find a travel itinerary that works. One size does not fit all. The new window treatments made such a huge difference… love it. I still have a chair slip cover to make and redo the dinette chair cushions (again) and then it’ll be time to redo the bedroom curtains. Yeah, this can all wait until we get to Prescott in May. I’m done for awhile and still nursing an uncooperative back.

  17. Great post and photos, Ingrid. You gave all angles, and it’s up to us to choose at the fork. One of these days, maybe our fork in the road will put us back on the road and headed out your way again! 🙂 Happy rolling in 2018 to you and Al!

    • Thanks Donna and I too hope you guys get rolling again. I’m sure you’re missing it. But at least you’re out there birding again. Love seeing your photos. Keep us posted on how you like the area.

  18. You always find fun things to do no matter where you are! I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your wonderful photos. Here’s wishing you a new year filled with lots of adventure and safe travels.

    • Thank you Beth. 2018 will be rather low key for us in the travel department, but a wedding might add a little excitement to our summer. Yep, our son is getting married late summer. So I’d like to hang around Prescott for the summer. It’s an easy hour + drive to Phoenix for any festivities.

  19. Great post and beautiful pics! I used to travel to Phoenix frequently for business and your photos brought back some great memories. Did you have a chance to visit Talesin West, the Frank Lloyd Wright school? It’s a wonderful experience!

    • Thank you. As a former home builder/designer, I have wanted to visit Talesin West but have yet to do so. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll need to make it a priority next fall!

  20. Nice article, nice pictures. I like hearing about places other full-timers stay, it gives us some ideas of where we might want to go. We’re still in our first year and learning more each day. Right now, we’re hanging out in Southern Utah and Nevada since we found most parks in Arizona full. You’re right about needing reservations for Jan, Feb and Mar. We’ll know better next year and book farther in advance. Hope to meet you on the road someday… Happy Wandering

    • When we went full-time 5 years ago, we pretty much traveled without reservations and managed to always find some place to stay. With RVing at an all time high, it has become increasing more difficult to just wing it, which is a bummer…kind of takes the spontaneity out of the lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by.

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