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

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 😉

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… 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.

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.

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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 🙂

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Another beautiful sunset over Lake Pleasant, Phoenix AZ

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