Justified Paranoia

After enjoying yet another gorgeous evening at Lake Pleasant, we hit the road last Sunday morning. Usually I’m excited on travel days because it means we’re off for new adventures, but last Sunday I was engulfed with a sense of paranoia. A feeling of what will go wrong this time.

RVing
Our last evening at Lake Pleasant

Once the wheels started rolling, I settled in and calmed down. However, several times I did ask Al, “Did you hear that?” or “Do you smell that?”  “Stop worrying, Ingrid”.

A little over an hour later, we pulled into our friend’s place in Apache Junction. Our travel day took us from the far northwest side of the Phoenix valley to the far southeast side of the valley in the town of Apache Junction.

Apache JunctionApache Junction is a favorite location amongst RVer’s.   There are more RV Parks than one can count as well as the ever popular Lost Dutchman State Park and Usery Regional Park can be found here.

And with the picturesque Superstition Mountain ever present in the background, what’s not to like about this area?

We find our friend’s place with ease and are met with open arms. They own a place with a double lot and the second lot has full hook-ups for us.  Yippee!  While Cheryl and I hug hello, with pointed finger John engages Al in a “what happened there?” discussion. Remember …. a week ago we had new waste lever valves installed?  That required pulling down the thermopan (belly cover).  Well, the reinstallation didn’t hold up thus the thermopan was dragging on the ground ….. grrr!  Looks like our stay with friends won’t be all socializing; it will also entail some repair work.

Superstition Mountain
Superstition Mountain

However, we did manage to introduce John and Cheryl to the Organ Stop Pizza.  This is one of those must see places during any visit to Phoenix, Arizona.  It’s a one of a kind experience and the food is good as well.  Definitely worth a visit at least once.

And then I can’t forget to mention the lovely evening we managed to squeeze in with friends G & T.  Thanks guys for a great meal and wonderful company.

After a very busy but short stay in Apache Junction, it was time to get those wheels rolling.  In the past, we’ve always taken Interstate 10 toward Tucson then east toward Texas.  This time we wanted to try something different and took two lane Highway 60 east toward the town of Globe.

Apache Indian
Highway 70 near San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation

The raw scenic land continued as we picked up Highway 70 which meanders through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.  The name Geronimo is most definitely associated with this territory.  You can click here for more info about the history or here for the Apache website.  While taking in the sights during our leisurely drive, hubby, the history major, briefed me on the atrocities that occurred around here; not exactly a proud moment for the white man.

New Mexico State Parks
Set up at Rockhound State Park, New Mexico

Finally, we picked up Interstate 10 in the town of Lordsburg, New Mexico.  It wasn’t too long after that, we arrived at our destination:  Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico.  And although I do feel justified in feeling paranoid about something going wrong with the truck or the RV, I’m pleased to say after a 4 1/2 hour drive we made it to Deming without incident.  Knock on wood Murphy has been left behind.

FYI…. my studly MacGyver did a great job fixing the thermopan.  I don’t know what I’d do without him 😉  New Mexico

The John Wayne Signature Collection (Stagecoach / The Searchers / Rio Bravo / The Cowboys)
Moon New Mexico (Moon Handbooks)

 

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Time flies when you’re having fun!

Wow, I can’t believe our stay in Phoenix has already come to an end.  The past two plus weeks have flown by.  We even extended our stay at Lake Pleasant by a couple of days because we just weren’t ready to leave.Phoenix Arizonadesert sunsetsAs usual, the desert sunsets did not disappoint.  Since our days were filled and thus we were kept pretty busy, it was always a treat to relax in the evening and enjoy the view over a drink.

So what kept us so busy?   Well, the new couch lead to a few other projects; some necessary and some just for fun.  The just for fun projects started with removing the wallpaper border which I found outdated, unnecessary, and simply didn’t like.

Although tedious, it was a fairly simple job that required a little muscle to pull and peel off the wallpaper border.  Any left behind adhesive was easily removed with soap and water.

Smart TileNext up was installing a tile backsplash around the stove.  I didn’t feel I had a lot of options as I don’t believe in using ‘real’ tile in a RV.  After a bunch of research I went with the “Smart Tiles”.  Basically they are a resin/plastic based peel and stick product that is flexible.

I know a lot of RV’s out there have beautiful ceramic tile installed and it looks great.  However, the home builder in me emerges and I just can’t help but feel it’s just a matter of time before cracks develop in real tile and grout.   A ridged, breakable product installed in a moving object just doesn’t seem to compute in my mind.

I recall a fellow RV’er once saying, “We live in a rolling earthquake”, and boy was she right.Phoenix Arizona

Next up, we had some necessary maintenance done which we enlisted the help of professionals.  We took the RV over to Little Dealer Little Prices and had the wheel bearings repacked.  This is something that should be done about every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or every one to two years and we were definitely pushing it.  So I’d say we were a little overdue.trailer bearings

There’s a lot of maintenance Al and I do ourselves, but repacking the wheel bearings is a messy job that we felt best left to the professionals that have the facility and equipment to tackle the job properly.

And while the RV was in the shop, we had the waste tank release mechanisms reworked.  Our release levers worked on a cable system, which I think is the most ridiculous asinine method ever developed.  It sure is a crappy situation when one of those cables decides to break 😉  The new levers are fantastic and offer piece of mind.

Once out of the shop, Al and I went to work on some other household maintenance. Al cleaned out the ‘basement’ and reorganized.  Any items we felt we wouldn’t need over the next few months would be stored over at our son’s home.  Let’s lighten the load!  While Al (at least part of him) was in the basement, I was on the roof with the caulking gun touching up.  After all, our journey would be taking us from the dry arid desert to the moist Gulf coast.trailer bearings

Our time in Phoenix, Arizona, wasn’t all work.  We managed to incorporate plenty of visits with our son and several get together’s with fellow RVer’s.RVing in Phoenix

And did I already mention the fabulous sunsets?  I could get used to these views.

Saturday we enjoyed dinner with our son and hugged him and my little red truck goodbye for a few months.  My Tacoma is safely parked in our son’s garage while we head off to the Texas Gulf Coast.Pleasant Harbor RV Resort

The Texas journey begins ……

 

Mosaik Self Adhesive Wall Tile in Murano Dune (Set of 6)

Dicor EPDM Rubber Roof Lap Sealant, 10.3 oz, White 501LSW-1

 

Remodeling and Debauchery

As I choked back the tears, I gave daughter one last hug goodbye before climbing into the truck. We not only bid farewell to our daughter but also said goodbye to our beloved Colorado for the year.  It was a great summer filled with plenty of discoveries and new-found friendships.  We already look forward to next summer.boondocking dry camping

Alas with frost nipping at our heels, we set off on our 1,125 mile journey to Lake Mead, Nevada. We were on a mission …. a mission that entails redecorating the RV.  We’ve now been living full-time in the RV a little over a year and although I don’t miss living in a sticks n bricks house, I do miss certain niceties.  One of which is our beautiful leather couch and loveseat.  I really miss that couch and loveseat.  Before the movers showed up to haul them off to the storage unit, hubby and I even contemplated swapping out the RV couch for our leather loveseat.  It unfortunately just wasn’t going to work.  So we hit the road as is over a year ago.

free camping in Las Vegas Nevada
sun setting over the Lake Mead desert

But the RV couch has remained a source of discontent for both Al and me. I hate the chenille fabric and really miss the leather.  I’ve continued to shop online off and on for a new RV couch ever since hitting the road full-time and a tentative plan to head to Elkhart, Indiana, in the summer of 2015 was being discussed.

remodeling RV
This is the couch the RV came with. I do like the storage drawer so storage is an issue with anything new I pick.

Allow me to digress and backtrack a tad. Last March while camped in Phoenix, Arizona, we were joined by fellow bloggers, Linda and Mike.  During one of many conversations with this engaging couple, the subject of RV remodeling came up.  Linda and Mike were making plans to head up to Oregon to have solar panels installed as well as possibly replacing the loveseat with a desk…..  “Say what? Whatever shall you do with that soft, supple, butter cream, leather sofa?  I call dibs!”

camping at Lake MeadWe spent more time hanging out with Linda and Mike as our paths continued to crisscross during the months of April, May, and June.  Each time I stepped into Linda’s RV, I continued to longingly eye that loveseat but contained myself from saying, “When can I have the loveseat huh, huh, huh?”  At that point they still hadn’t decided if they were going to go forward with the remodel.

Fast track to September – just when I was convinced my loveseat shopping would need to resume and that trip to Indiana was inevitable, I received an email from Linda asking if we were still interested in the loveseat?  “Dah, YEAH!”  A price was quickly agreed upon and then talks ensued for the logistics to be worked out.

We were in Denver, Colorado, and they were in Eugene, Oregon.  We were separated by approximately 1,300 miles but our winter plans had us traveling in opposite directions. Where ever shall we meet?  Lake Mead, Nevada, it is!

You can read about Linda and Mike’s remodel here.  It turned out great.

RV furniture
Our new couch as it sits in the center of Linda and Mikes RV. For traveling, they had to strap it upside down to the other couch. They traveled like this for over 1,000 miles so their friends could enjoy this loveseat. I did call first dibs after all 😉 In all seriousness, we very much appreciated the above and beyond effort because they did have an opportunity to sell it in Oregon. Friends indeed!
RV furniture
Linda and dog Lucy help supervise the guys as the couch comes out of Linda and Mike’s RV.
RV furniture
Lucy makes sure the guys don’t damage the couch as they take it into our RV.

So now you know why we needed to go to Lake Mead….. to pick up our new loveseat.  Let the remodeling commence.  Come on, you didn’t think I would stop with a new couch.  Nope, now there are chairs to reupholster……   and of course a few other things here and there, but all in due time and I’ll share it all in a future post once our DIY projects are complete.

camping in Las Vegas
boondocking at Government Wash at Lake Mead, Nevada
free camping at Lake Mead
not a bad place to call home for a few days. Boondocking with friends at Lake Mead.

debaucheryWith the heavy lifting complete, what do two couples do boondocking in the desert in 100 degree heat with no air conditioning?  But of course, sit in the shade, drink, eat, and solve all the problems of the world.  After four days of desert dwelling and plenty of debauchery, it was in everyone’s best interest we bid farewell before we all needed to check into a detox center, but we do have plans to meet up again down the road.  Perhaps more desert dwelling is needed.

skilletini
Eating well. We start the day off with a hearty ‘breakfast skilletini’… red potatoes and veggies with eggs on top with a side of bacon.  Note – no bread involved…. Paleo eating all the way!
Paleo muffins
Or how about starting the day off with fresh-baked banana muffins and zucchini bread? Paleo of course!  I love my little RV oven.
free camping near Las Vegas Nevada
All alone boondocked at Government Wash at Lake Mead 😦 Time for us to move on as well.

Al and I are now comfortably parked in familiar stomping grounds back at Lake Pleasant located northwest of Phoenix, Arizona, and not far from our son’s home.  Our stop here will be short.  We’ll get in plenty of visits with the son, take care of our DIY projects, and some RV repairs, then hit the road around the 24th.  Until then, I’m thoroughly enjoying the desert sunsets….. they’re the best!photography

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime

Clean & Excellence, 32 Oz., Go Green, Waterless Car Wash Solution, Biodegrable, Non-Toxic, High Shine

Mixed Emotions

When one lives a nomadic lifestyle, the time to move on is inevitable.  Eventually, we always embrace pulling up stakes and hitting the road in search of ‘greener pastures’. For Al and I that time has come. That itch to move on started presenting itself weeks ago. However, the down time was just what the doctor ordered.Phoenix ArizonaWe’ve been happily camped on the northwest side of Phoenix for the past six weeks allowing me the opportunity to recover from a nasty bout of the flu. The warm temps, blue skies, stunning sunsets, and wonderful company have rejuvenated me and I’m ready to hit the road.flowering cactusJust because I may be ready to hit the road doesn’t mean I don’t have mixed emotions about doing so. As much as I’m looking forward to our wheels rolling again, there’s a part of me sad and reluctant to leave. We’ve had the pleasure of connecting with some fantastic folks during this long stay in Phoenix, as well as managed to fit in plenty of visits with our son. The weather has been near perfect and the scenery very pleasant.

saguaro cactus
Hugs and kisses goodbye to everyone and everything I love in Phoenix

That said, we have mixed emotions as we bid farewell to Phoenix…..as we say so long dear friends…..toodles stunning sunsets….see ya later blooming cacti.….bye-bye wonderful son….adios Arizona….till we meet again.

Phoenix Arizona
This is the hardest part about leaving Phoenix – saying goodbye to our son

Tomorrow we’ll be pointing the RV in a northerly direction and venturing into some less than populated areas. Some might even call these areas remote. Let’s just say, internet and cell phone service will be hit and miss…..more miss than hit.

RV in Utah
Look where we’re going!

So today, Al and I sit in front of our computers making a plan….a plan with a backup and a backup to the backup and all jotted down on paper – hard copies. We have a tendency to still do things the ‘old school’ way – you know – an old fashioned atlas, paper maps, and real books.
Benchmark Utah Road & Recreation Atlas, 4th editionThe Benchmark Atlas’ are great.  We won’t travel off the interstate without one of these in the vehicle for the appropriate state.  They’re an invaluable tool for exploring.

The old way has served us well when modern technology is elusive and elusive it shall be.  We’re prepared to not be connected for the next two weeks…..eek blogging withdrawals!Arizona sunsetsWe have our route planned out, our camp spots pinned down, and hope the weather doesn’t play havoc with us. Fingers crossed!

Monument Valley
On the road again…Goin’ places that I’ve never been…Seein’ things that I may never see again…And I can’t wait to get on the road again….

Note:  I still enjoy ‘real’ books and knowing we won’t be connected for a while I like them even more.  I have the Kindle app downloaded on my laptop and went to read one of my books the other night and couldn’t.  Apparently I needed to download the latest Kindle version….. really?  Grrr!  Thank goodness I travel with some REAL books.  I pulled out one of my Moon Handbooks, the one for Utah.  I stumbled across these great travel books twenty some years ago long before our RV days or internet and recently I purchased up to date versions of several different states.  These books are small, they don’t take up much room, available on Kindle, and are packed with tons of info; sights to see, places to dine, available sleeping accommodation’s, maps, history, plus so much more.  These Moon Handbooks are a great resource for anyone who loves to travel ♥

Moon Utah (Moon Handbooks)

Cornholing and Boondocking

cactus wrenYou 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.

Pleasant Harbor
Pleasant Harbor marina – a floating village

ferris wheelAllow 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!

Bill Luke Bass Days took place the weekend of Friday, March 14th.

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.

boondockingThe 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.boondocking

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.dry camping

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.

boondocking
Our boondock spot for the weekend – we’re on the left – blue truck

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!!!cornholing

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. boondocking

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.

Lake Pleasant
Law enforcement looking for the missing diver – body was eventually recovered

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.Arizona sunset


Campfire Treats

Vino2Go Merlot and Pink 10 Ounce Insulated Wine Tumbler Set With Drink-Through Lid, Set of 2

St. Dalfour Gourmet On The Go, Ready to Eat Pasta & Vegetables, 6.2-Ounce Tins (Pack of 6)

Bloggers, Neighbors, and Happy Hour

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.

ocotillo cactus
ocotillo cactus; a favorite especially when in bloom

ocotillo cactusWe 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.

Pleasant Harbor
Pleasant Harbor….our rig is the center one

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.

Pleasant Harbor Marina
the marina at Pleasant Harbor

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.Pleasant Harbor

blogging
Mike and Linda; Bear Tracks Blog

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 😉

blogging
Bob and Susan of Travel Bug Susan.   Note – Linda and Mike’s RV in a boondock spot to the left of Bob’s head

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.

blogging
Karen & Curt’s RV is the first on the left. We’re on the right next to the black trailer that belongs to Ron and Linda.  The black MH on the left is home to Diane and Bruce.
sandhill cranes
Oh, how I’m missing the birds of the Gulf of Mexico! Sandhill Cranes

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.

RV social life
Happy hour – Karen, Al, Linda, Don, Bob, Susan, Curt, and Mike in the background between Susan and Curt

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.happy hour

dunkin donutsAs 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!

dunkin donutsboondockingYes, 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 perfect after 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.


60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Phoenix: Including Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale

KEEN Women’s Clearwater CNX Sandal

St. Dalfour Gourmet On The Go, Ready to Eat Pasta & Vegetables, 6.2-Ounce Tins (Pack of 6)

Untimely appointment

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.Saguaro in bloom

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.desert in bloom

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.flowering cactus

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.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.flu virus

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 🙂

lakes in Phoenix Arizona
Another beautiful sunset over Lake Pleasant, Phoenix AZ


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Farewell…until we meet again!

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.

Egyptian Geese
Egyptian Geese at Canyon Lake, Texas

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!

road trip
Filling up with gas in New Mexico

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.

milepost 0Travel 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!

SKP Saguaro
RV Park – SKP Saguaro Coop, Benson AZ

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.

Benson RV Parks
Just beyond this gate are miles of trails

Benson Arizona RV Parks

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.

Benson Arizona
Our spacious site with lovely views
Escapees RV Saguaro Benson
There were several of these rock arches along trails and in the park

romanceValentine’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.

The next day Al and I were off to explore Tombstone and Bisbee………Benson RV ParkUpdate:  We’re currently camped at Pleasant Harbor located northwest of the city of Phoenix, Arizona.  I’m still in the process of recovering from the flu and continue to struggle with a lack of energy and persistent cough……but hey, no complaints as I didn’t end up in the hospital or pushing up daisy’s thus I consider myself lucky.  So until I regain my strength we won’t be traveling, exploring, or hiking.  I’ll enjoy my lovely view of Lake Pleasant and the gorgeous sunsets every evening while hanging in my lounge chair.  Photos of those sunsets forthcoming!

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RV Friendly County – City

camping in Phoenix ArizonaI really enjoy places that are RV friendly.  For the most part, I’d say the majority of Arizona falls into that category…..

Maricopa County is a county located in the south-central part of the state of Arizona.  It’s population as of the 2010 census is 3,817,117 and the land encompasses about 9,224 square miles (23,891 km).

The city of Phoenix is Maricopa County’s seat as well as the Capital City of Arizona.  During the Real Estate boom of 2006, west valley municipalities ranked in the top ten fastest growing cities in the United States.

Maricopa County was founded in 1871 and has five Indian Reservations located within the county.

Now with the history lesson over, let’s talk about why this county and the city of Phoenix are so RV friendly….

First, and my favorite, are the Maricopa County Regional Parks.  You can click on the link for more in-depth information.  For now, I’ll briefly share with you what I know and where we’ve stayed;

boondocking
we boondock at the shores of Lake Pleasant

Lake PleasantLake Pleasant Regional Park is located northwest of the city of Phoenix and is easily assessable off Interstate 17.  The lake is a popular draw with locals for water sports of all kinds.  There are three campgrounds as well as the opportunity to boondock.

This is a reservoir and water levels are closely monitored and managed.  In the fall, water levels are usually low, thus exposing plenty of land for boondocking.  By March all that exposed land is well under water.

Last February when we were camped at the lake, each morning we awoke to the water encroaching closer to our lakeside boondock spot.  The lake was filling at the rate of a foot each night.  It was a matter of days before the rangers notified everyone to move on and within the week what was once our campsite was now underwater.

boondocking
Each morning the water got closer. The day we pulled out, the water was nearly to the pavement. No more fire ring to sit around….at least not without soaking our feet 🙂

Since it’s all about the water at this park, you’ll find warm, sunny weekends year round to be crowded.  As I said, its a popular place with the locals.

boondocking in Arizona
Thanksgiving 2012, Lake Pleasant….water level extremely low causing plenty of land for boondocking – the crowds were just beginning to show up for the long weekend

Cave Creek Regional Park is located north of the city of Phoenix.  Over the past three winters, we’ve spent the most amount of time at either Lake Pleasant or Cave Creek.  Cave Creek is probably our favorite…. due to its close proximity to our son’s home in addition to it’s peaceful tranquility and great hiking trails.RVing near Phoenix

Most of the campsites will accommodate just about any size rig, but there are a few sites that slope severely presenting a challenge for some RV’s.  The sites are well spaced and have nice views.  There are lots of great hiking trails accessible from the campground.

RVing in Phoenix
a typical site at Cave Creek Regional Park – sites are similar at McDowell and Usery

Shopping, fun sights, museums, and events are all within a short driving distance away.  Bonus; mornings and evenings the skies are filled with hot air balloons and the sunsets are spectacular.RVing in a big city

camping in PhoenixMcDowell Regional Park is located northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona.  It’s a favorite with many as evidenced by our inability to book a stay at this popular Regional Park. We’ve attempted several times to make a reservation at this beloved place to no avail.  So I have no personal experience, but based on the opinions of other RVer’s, the sites are similar to Cave Creek and Usery and the hiking/biking trails are top notch.

They do offer a dry-camping overflow lot for those unable to score a campsite, as do the other regional parks.

Usery Regional Park is located on the far eastside of the town of Mesa, Arizona.  It too is a very nice facility with an abundance of trails.

The campground has paved sites with a picnic table and fire ring.  Again, nicely spaced and lovely views.  We only spent two nights here last year and would have stayed longer if not for other obligations.

What sets this park aside from the others is it offers an onsite archery range and across the road from the main entrance is a gun range for trap, skeet and sporting clays shooting.  Saguaro Lake and the Salt River are within an easy drive from Usery Park.

Salt River
The Salt River….. north-east of Usery Regional Park

White Tank Mountains Regional Park is located on the very far west side of Phoenix.  In comparison to the above mentioned Parks, this is by far the most remote.  The camping facility is rustic.  Sites range in size from small, meant for tents or short trailers, to longer with the ability to accommodate large Class A’s or 5th Wheels.  There’s some pavement here and there but I’d say the sites are mostly gravel and spaced nicely.  This campground has the feel of boondocking in the middle of the desert but with the convenience of facilities.

We enjoyed our ‘waterfall’ hike at the White Tanks the other day, but probably won’t return because of its remote distance.  If you’re looking for a quiet, remote camping location with electric and water then this might be the place for you.

RVing in Arizona
interpretative trail at White Tank Mountain Regional Park

These five parks are all located on the outskirts of Phoenix providing a RVer with all the sophistication and amenities a big city has to offer while parking our rigs in a beautiful, nature surrounded environment.  The best of both worlds.  Oh, and let’s not forget…..these places are not just meant for RV’s but are also perfect for tents.

RVing in Phoenix
We loved our stay at Cave Creek Regional Park

Next up a beautiful state park on the east side of Phoenix…….Arizona sunset

Lake Front Property…

Arizonans love their outdoor recreation. National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, and Regional Parks are plentiful in Arizona with beautiful weather to accommodate every outdoor recreation imaginable.Lake Pleasant

One of our favorite spots in the Phoenix area is Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  We arrive mid-week to a near empty park……love it.  We pick a spot near the shore of Lake Pleasant and set up camp.  The nearest neighbor is over 200 feet away.RVing

Lake Pleasant is a mecca for boaters, anglers and ATVers alike and with a long weekend approaching, Al and I know our solitude will be short-lived.  The holiday brought boats, rigs, and folks of all kind. Lake Pleasant

Our camp spot was within view of the Marina.  As Al and I sit outside enjoying the Arizona sunshine, we are duly entertained by watching the variety of boats passing by and watching various RVer’s set up camp.Travel

Ah….Al and I reminisce……it’s times like this we miss our wave runners and boat.  Perhaps one day we’ll pick up another wave runner or at the very least a kayak.Arizona

After a lovely stay at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, we’re off to Cave Creek Regional Park – a first for us.RVing