With the desert heating up, it was time for us to bid farewell to our children and start our journey north toward Idaho. I had spent the last month perusing the atlas to see which route we wanted to take. It didn’t take long to figure out where I wanted our first overnight location to be ….. a place I’ve longed to revisit; Page, Arizona or more importantly Lake Powell.
I’ll jump at any opportunity to camp near water and this little spot is a gem. We first stumbled upon the Lone Rock boondocking beach back in November of 2012. We were in the midst of out running – dodging snowstorms from our sticks and bricks home in Colorado, and although we managed to avoid most of the snow, we did encounter a few flakes while camped at Lake Powell’s shore along with some severe winds.
You can click here to read my post on that entertaining day. Ah yes, fond memories!
Back to us hitting the road bright and early Tuesday morning…. We had intended to leave Phoenix on Monday, but just about all of Arizona was under a high wind warning. And let me tell you, those nasty winds had us rocking and rolling to the point we felt like we were living on a boat.
It was a smart move on our part to wait a day. The winds had moved on and the five-hour drive from Phoenix to Page, Arizona, was uneventful and full of unique scenery… just the way we like it.
We paid $14 for a two-night stay with the senior pass card. Ah, there are perks to marrying an older man 😉 Since we had stayed here before, we failed to ask the ranger the best route down to the beach and found ourselves almost getting into a serious pickle. The sandy road, although mostly packed, had some challenging obstacles from water erosion that required the F-250 be put into four-wheel drive to insure we avoid that pickle. Seems the lay of the land around here is ever changing.
Once settled into a nice level spot off by ourselves, it was time to explore and in the process discover a better road to the pavement. We sure don’t want to head out the same way we came in.
During our last visit to the area, the weather was so inclement it pretty much kept us RV bound. This time around, I was determined to visit the Horseshoe Bend scenic overlook and since impending storms were on the horizon, I didn’t waste any time.
With storm clouds approaching and winds sandblasting me, I wasn’t able to spend as much time admiring the view as I would’ve liked, but I was definitely a happy camper. This is a place I intend to revisit. Hmm, perhaps we’ll need to look into one of those boat tours through the canyon (even though we’re not usually tour users). Looks too spectacular to not consider and research further. There are times I do miss our boat!
Our two night stay is over and today we’re heading toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Or so we think. As I sit here typing, we’ve decided to keep our day fluid and pay attention to the weather. We encountered thunder, lightening, and lots of rain overnight and we’re a tad bit hesitant to drive the sandy road exiting the beach. We’ll wait for a couple of hours and then make a decision. Spending another night here along the shores of Lake Powell isn’t the worst thing. However, the pull of seeing hoodoos is strong.
I’m a little bummed the weather forecast for the next few days is not looking good. I’ve been so looking forward to hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park and a steady dose of rain will squash those plans. Fingers crossed, I at least get a little break in the weather for a few photo ops!
We ended up staying in Phoenix about 2 weeks longer than we originally planned. That meant a slow lingering meander through Utah was shortened to a mere four days. We had a reservation and appointment in Grand Junction, Colorado, that required us to maintain a travel schedule or I assure you we would have moved through Utah a lot slower. I love this state.
Al and I don’t usually like long travel days, but we were really looking forward to some time in Moab. Therefore, we drove from Phoenix to Moab in one day…. one very long day. After an eight and a half hour drive, we pulled into a boondock spot next to our friends Linda and Mike. They were thankfully saving room for us.
Even though Al and I split the driving, we arrived tired and were grateful to be greeted with hugs and chilled margaritas. Thanks guys.
But their hospitality didn’t end there.
When Al went to start the generator, Honda EU2000i Super Quiet Portable Gas Powered Generator Power Inverter 2000, 120V, the cord ended up in his hand. Yikes, four days of boondocking with no power would definitely drain our batteries. Thus, the generator would need to be repaired. Sounds like a project for two strapping young men to tackle (can I hear a little Tim Allen grunting?) Fortunately for us, last year Mike and Linda added a ton of solar to their RV …. so much so, that they not only powered their own RV, they powered ours as well. Yes, wattage envy!
Our four day stay whizzed by and the weather was a mixed bag; cold, warm, cloudy, sunny, windy, calm. We had a ton of fun on Mother’s Day starting with the guys serving their wives mimosa’s.
One mimosa down and another in hand, it was time for me to fix breakfast…. by choice, of course. I wanted to fix everyone one of my nutritious skilletini’s, which I’ll feature on my food blog in a couple of weeks.
We all got a big chuckle out of the fact Mike could not seem to remember the work skill-e-tini and instead referred to the breakfast as a spank-a-tini.
From that point on, the dish was referred to as a spankatini.
So what’s in the ‘spankatini’? Italian pork sausage, butternut squash, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and cilantro…. topped with two eggs and a side of bacon.As if sausage and bacon at breakfast wasn’t enough pork in our diet for the day, the guys took us out for a Mother’s Day dinner at the Blue Pig in Moab for some yummy barbeque. I’m sure somewhere on our table was a slab of ribs 🙂 Please don’t tell Miss Piggy that we started and ended our day eating pork. It’s certainly not something the four of us do regularly, but we were in a rather celebratory mood – it was Mother’s Day after all. With the exception of the champagne, I’m sure it was all Paleo approved 😉
The next day, Al and I hit the road with Grand Junction, Colorado, as our destination. But before we get to Grand Junction, we have a little dirt to share…..
Once settled into our new home, a home with a view I might add, we set out in search of some petroglyphs aka rock art. After a little research, I knew just where to go. From our home located off Highway 191 we headed south and picked up Utah highway 279.
Utah road 279 located several miles north of Moab is a paved two lane road that meanders along the Colorado River and is a popular place with rafters, canoeists, and kayakers . There’s numerous places to access the river as well as a few designated campsites.
The hunt for these petroglyphs or rather referred to as Indian writing and also known as rock art is an easy search. There are actually a couple of brown signs near pull-outs that say “Indian writing”.
Al and I parked the truck and stood near the road glancing up at the red rock wall. After a couple of minutes scanning the wall, I screamed out while pointing a finger, “There….up there. Can you see it?”There are several areas along this rock wall that were engraved with Indian writing – petroglyphs – rock art, whatever one calls it, that obviously told a story. Most of the rock art is located on the smooth blackish face of the wall at least 20 feet up or higher.I could’ve stood there for quite some time starring up at this unique historical site trying to decipher the story. This was someone’s journal…..a blog post! Hmm, wonder how long it took them to complete a blog post with all the carving and chiseling required. I guess we have it pretty easy with our simple clicks and auto correct 🙂
We continued down Utah road 279 also known as Potash Road and stopped to observe some rock climbers. Ah, to be young again. However, even twenty some years ago I would’ve viewed the climbing part as perhaps a little too much work, but repelling? Now that’s fun and I would still consider doing that today…..just beam me up Scottie and I’ll repel down.
We continued down Utah road 279 but not without getting side tracked with a gravel road that shot off to the west. A little four-wheeling in the back country found us surrounded by huge majestic rock cliffs that left us admiring their beauty in awe.
In the above photo, can you see little ole me climbing up the hill with camera in hand? Look at the size of those boulders. I wouldn’t want one of those tumbling down towards me.
Had we taken a map with us, we may have explored this back country road a little more, but the further in we drove the worse the road conditions got. No map and a worsening road had us turning around. We returned back to paved road 279.
Shortly after this slight back country road diversion and back on 279, the pavement ended near a large boat ramp. This was the perfect place for our picnic lunch. Beyond this point, folks with Jeeps or bicycles access Shafer Road; a gravel road leading up to Canyonlands. High clearance vehicles are a must as well as a sense of adventure.
Across from our picnic area was the Intrepid Potash Plant. I’ll share more about Potash in my next post. For now it’s time to return to camp.But before returning to camp, we needed to stop at Lion’s Park located at the intersection of Roads 191 and 128 in Moab to fill up our five gallon jugs with water.Remember our day from hell……you know the day we blew a tire? Well, that blown tire damaged our water lines. We all know what a precious commodity water is especially when boondocking (dry camping). Every time we turned on the water pump, we’d lose some water on the ground through the sliced line, thus we found ourselves going through water a lot quicker than normal even with our MacGyver patch.
With jugs filled, we returned to camp where Al preceded to fill our RV tank with fresh water. Being self-sufficient in this lifestyle is a must and having a MacGyver for a husband is a big plus.
It’s interesting how all winter long we stayed in RV Parks with hook-ups with a plan to spend most of April boondocking. As luck would have it, we damaged the water lines just as we were entering our boondocking phase of the journey, which required us to travel through some pretty remote parts of Utah.
Unable to find the ‘right’ parts to fix the water lines properly, MacGyver aka Al used some tape to stem the loss of water and with a little more conservation on my part, we managed to still enjoy our boondocking. Yep, it’s good to have a MacGyver around. Once we get to a bigger town, we’ll getter all fixed up.
We’ve enjoyed the past four days camped at Goosenecks State Park in Utah, but the itch to move on has set in. With Moab a mere two hours up Highway 191, hubby and I hit the road but not before taking one final look around camp. We find ourselves doing a quick recap of our stay at Goosenecks State Park and what made our stay so enjoyable;
Discovering how the town of Mexican Hat got its name
Fearlessly enjoying inclement weather and high winds camped on an open, exposed mesa
Enjoying sunrises and sunsets with a view that stretches endlessly.
It was such a positive and fun experience that Al and I feel this may just become a regular stopping point as our travels take us between Colorado and Arizona. I will add it is very remote country; perhaps some might even use the word desolate to describe it. Thus, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, it’s hard to dispute the beauty of the landscape.
After an uneventful scenic drive (we like uneventful), we arrived in Moab, Utah. We originally planned to stay at Ken’s Lake Campground where we stayed last fall, but changed our minds wanting to explore new territory. However, I would definitely recommend this BLM campground. There are a bunch of sites that can accommodate almost any size RV and the internet connection was relatively good.
Hum, wherever shall we stay? We found a large parking lot in Moab to park the RV while hubby and I set out in my truck….the “scout vehicle”…..and scout we did. We already knew we didn’t want to stay in any of the BLM campgrounds along Highway 128 and thus we didn’t even bother checking them out on this trip.
Hwy 128 meanders along the Colorado River in a canyon and is very scenic. However, the campgrounds are designed more for tents, pop up trailers, or small RV’s. Of course, there are always a few sites that might accommodate larger RV’s, but they first need to be available. Spring and fall are very popular times to visit Moab, Utah, and the BLM campgrounds fill up fast. Finding an open site isn’t always easy.
Most of the campgrounds along Highway 128 are very tight and almost impossible for us to maneuver our truck pulling a 31 foot 5th wheel around. That said, we skipped the BLM sites and ventured further north along U.S. 191 toward the Moab airport in search of a boondock spot. I’m looking for a home with a view! FYI…….. Moab offers a ton of RV Parks with full hook-ups and lovely accommodation’s as well as plenty of hotels.
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.
We’re out-of-town on an adventure without internet service. Yep, left the technology behind. So during our absence, I thought I’d leave you with a few images about why it’s tough being a dog…. from Bear’s point of view !
Mom is always stopping to take pictures. I don’t know why she insists I be in her photos. She says Brittany Spaniels are super cute. Can’t I just stay in the car and sleep?
Then there’s the sleeping.
On our last camping trip to Crested Butte, we actually slept in a tent. Hey, what’s wrong with the RV? And although it was fun sleeping next to mom in the tent, it got super cold at 10,000 feet in elevation and the pillow case was a mere 250 thread count. Certainly not what this Brittany Spaniel is accustomed to.
At home, the leather sofa is always comfy. Mom even helps my back-end up since I am no longer able to jump up on my own. You know, I was never allowed on the furniture until I got older. Yep, that’s right. I used to get on the furniture when they weren’t home and immediately jump off when they returned. Then one day I figured, what the heck, what are they gonna do about it? All I have to do is bat my puppy dog eyes and mom and dad melt. They’re such push overs. There are benefits to getting old !
However, my eyesight ain’t what it used to be.
But my nose still works great ! I have to really insist and try hard to get dad to share his sandwich with me. With persistence, I always win in the end.
Mom and dad rely on me to be on guard at all times. It’s a tough job, but someone around here has to do it.
Dad keeps me on a leash. I don’t know why I can’t walk the streets of Crested Butte freely like Pork Chop the Golden Retriever. We’re bud’s ya know !
Well, we’re off on another adventure. This time we’re traveling in luxury and taking the RV. My nose will be working overtime. Yes, it’s a dog’s life……
Our site here at Lake Pleasant is turning out to be one of my favorites on our adventure thus far. You can’t get much closer to the lake without being on the lake. Yesterday was a perfect day. We settled into this new location by enjoying the warm sun and the light lake breezes. The evening was spent around a campfire and stargazing while enjoying a glass of red wine.There’s only three other RV’s parked near us and we make friends with the folks in the two other 5th wheels.The folks in the 5th wheel to the right are snowbirders from Washington State. They start their three-month escape from the northwest in January at Quartzsite. We found this couple very entertaining, warm, and engaging. We had an immediate connection when we realized we were all involved in the aviation industry at some point in our former careers. We spent an evening exchanging stories over a roaring campfire.
The couple in the 5th wheel on the far left have been full-timers for fourteen years and are formally from areas in Wisconsin and Minnesota that Al and I would vacation near. Once again, we find a common thread and the conversations are so very enjoyable.During our conversation around the campfire with the folks from Washington, we get on the subject of solar power, batteries, and propane heaters. We embarked on this trip with factory equipment in the RV and our Honda 2000 generator. We knew from the start one battery would be a challenge but somehow we’d manage. These new friends invite us over to their rig the next morning. With notebook in hand, Al and I spend over two hours getting educated on solar, batteries, etc. How very gracious of these folks and very enlightening.
We also learned a bit more about these new friends. Not only are they world travelers, they also enjoy frequenting clothing optional locations. I admire their confidence, adventuress, self-assured, and warm nature. We hope to meet up with these folks again, perhaps in Quartzsite next January….. with our clothes on, of course 🙂
The couple from the midwest was equally as helpful and warm. They also shared information on Escapees and informed us on an upcoming get together at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, AZ. Our last evening at Lake Pleasant is spent laughing around a campfire. We usually avoid discussing politics or religion, especially with folks we just met. However, our views on these matters appeared to be similar and very little was held back….very logical and opinionated exchange. This was so much fun, stimulating, and thought producing. Hope to run into these folks again and continue the discussion where we left off.
Mid week, we had long time friends join us for dinner and drinks around the campfire. We’ve know this couple for close to thirty years (boy, when I
Long time friends
say that, it makes me feel old). They’ve lived in the Phoenix area fifteen plus years, and we always make it a point to arrange at least one get together with them on our travels around Phoenix. We try to schedule a hike at Usery Park with them, but run into conflicting schedules.
Our son also joined us twice during our stay. We always cherish the time spent with him.
The original plan was to stay at Lake Pleasant for a couple, three nights at the most, but in the end…. turned into a nine-day wonderful stay. Lake front property at it’s best! Who could resist?