Continuing with the Theme

RV Park near Phoenix
Pool side cabana at the RV Resort

It seems I have a theme carrying on here with the last couple of posts regarding RVing in the Phoenix Metro area.  Perhaps I should have titled these posts Part 1, 2 and now 3.  Oh well, twenty, twenty hind sight!!!

So let’s continue with the theme…….what makes the Phoenix Metropolitan area so RV friendly?

  1. Maricopa County Regional Parks
  2. Lost Dutchman State Park
  3. The multitude of Private RV Parks

Rumor has it there are more than 600 RV Parks in Phoenix and Maricopa County.  Although I don’t find that hard to believe, what I will dispute is the title “RV Park”.  I personally feel there is a definite distinction between a “mobile home park” and a “RV Park” (recreational vehicle).  That said, the majority of the private parks have mobile homes on site, quite often referred to as “Park Models”……kind of a fancy term for a mobile home, single or double wide.

RV Park
Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort –  there is an on site 18 hole golf course

Ah, but these parks aren’t your average run of the mill trailer park.  Nope, most are geared toward retirees and intended as second homes with a Resort style atmosphere.  When a lot is vacant, the site is offered to those of us in RV’s.  We are able to rent nightly, weekly, monthly, or extended.  Gosh, one could live in a spot year round if they wanted to.

It is in one of these RV Resorts, the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, that I find myself parked for the months of October, November, and December.  I’m amazed with the amount of amenities and social functions available.  One can choose to be as social or anti-social as one cares to be. The east valley in the towns of Mesa and Apache Junction have more of these RV Resorts than I can count.  Just be prepared to have a Park Model as your neighbor and most have an age restriction of 55 plus.

Park Models
Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort

There are always pluses and minuses in every situation and what works for one person may not work for another.  My personal experience is the atmosphere is very different at a resort with Park Models than one without.  Since Park Models are not easily moved, the resort feels more residential with guests well established.  With a 2 week maximum stay in a state park, folks are more transient and all passing through within days.  Short term verses long-term!

There are very few Private RV Parks in the Phoenix area that do not have Park Models.  They do exist with a little research and one we’ve enjoyed staying at in the past is Deserts Edge RV Park .  The big plus for us is its close proximity to our son’s home.

the purple park
We have a nice pull-thru site at Deserts Edge RV Park

Deserts Edge RV Park located on the north side of Phoenix off Interstate 17 and Deer Valley Road is referred to as the Purple Park.  We love the location plus it’s a super dog friendly place.  So friendly, they have 3 dog runs and a dog washing station.

the purple park
Bear was not happy about the dog washing station. However, after weeks of boondocking last winter, I sure was!   Deserts Edge RV Park, Phoenix AZ…..the purple park

This is a small RV park.  They have a bunch of pull-thru sites perfect for a short stay and back-in sites for longer stays.  Spacing is typical.  They have a swimming pool, very small workout room, and a onsite laundry facility.  As I said, it’s a small park but with no age restrictions and no Park Models.

Other pluses; there’s great shopping nearby, RV Dealer Little Dealer Little Prices is located just down the street, and great hiking within a short drive at Thunderbird Conservation Park.

RV Parks in Phoenix
We’re on the left…..Destiny RV Resort

Another RV Park we’ve stayed at is the Destiny RV Resort located in Goodyear, south-west of Phoenix.  We attended a Good Sam Rally last year and this RV Park was conveniently located to the event.  Our stay was short and we spent most of our time at the Rally and not at the park.  So I can’t offer any further info on this place other than we prefer staying in other parts of the valley.  However, the park is conveniently located off Interstate 10 and for those heading toward California this could be the perfect stop.

With all the variety and options of places to park your RV in Maricopa County, it’s no wonder this is such a popular winter destination.  But the fun doesn’t end with the parking of the RV….it’s just the beginning…….

Best of Both Worlds

rose flowersThere’s nothing like being surrounded by agricultural fields and yet having every imaginable store available within a fifteen minute drive. Top it off with an abundance of awesome hiking trails in the surrounding area and I’d say we’ve stumbled upon the best of both worlds.

Within an easy ten minute drive from the RV Park, I have my choice of Safeway, Fry’s, or a super Wal-Mart to stock up on necessities. Along the way to the store, I pass cotton fields and rose fields. Yes, beautiful fields of roses in all colors as far as the eye can see.

agriculture
acres of roses surround Luke Air Force Base (seen in the distance)

I adore roses. About the only thing that might top this are fields of tulips.  I’ve seen some stunning fields of tulips during Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Festival. I wouldn’t want to have to pick between tulips and roses…..yep, my two favorite flowers.   Being the girly girl that I am, I love flowers and they always put a smile on my face.

As I drive to the grocery store bebopping to tunes on the radio, I take in the sight of acres of roses to my left, acres of roses to my right, Arizona Mountains in the background, sunny skies, a light breeze, and 70 degree temperatures. Any of life’s little problems that I may be dealing with at the time seem to fade, even if for just a bit.agriculture

The fields of rose plants will eventually be harvested, split, divided and sold to nurseries and retailers for consumers to purchase so they can add landscape beauty to their yards.  At one time, the agricultural fields in the Phoenix area were abundant with citrus plants; oranges, lemons, limes.  I’m not sure why the farmer’s have switched from citrus to cotton and roses, but the rumor is margins and ease of growth.  Cotton and roses can also withstand a rare winter freeze much easier than the citrus. However, there are still plenty of citrus groves, they just happen to be located in other parts of the valley.agriculture

Although I may not have initially been too thrilled with this RV Park and its location, I’ve since discovered plenty of beauty and convenience. Yep, these roses sure can make a gal smile 🙂agriculture

OH, NO….she didn’t?

OH, NO….she didn’t?

RV ParkI’ve settled into life parked in a RV Resort in Phoenix, but I’ll be ready to move on come the end of December.

After our time spent in Colorado and Utah, I miss that ‘in your face, knock your socks off’ kind of scenery.  Although I find plenty of beauty around the RV Park, it just takes a little more effort to find it.

Every day I make it a point to either bike or walk around the Park seeking out things to photograph.  Allow me to share a little incident story that happened during our second week at the RV Resort…….

It’s a beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, afternoon.  I go for a stroll around the RV Park with camera in hand; searching for life’s little beauties.  I’m in my own little world enjoying the flowering cacti, the ducks near the pond, and butterflies.  Oh, yes the butterflies.Monarch ButterflyI’ve attempted to photograph butterflies in the past with virtually no success.  Today is different.  I’m excited.  A few of these lovely guys held still long enough, allowing me to snap a couple of really nice shots.

I’d like to continue snapping away but nature calls.  I’ve already been standing with my legs crossed long enough.  I really gotta go!  I’m just around the corner from the pool and restroom.  I quickly head in the direction of the ladies room entrance on the street side.  After using the pool several times this week, I’ve gotten in the habit of using the restroom and showers.  The women’s restroom is off to the right and the men’s is off to the left.  Pretty easy.

Just outside the restroom, I stop.  Ooh, ah…..there’s another butterfly.  I cross my legs again and snap a few more photos.  Deep in thought, I quickly run into the restroom on the right, pick the first stall, put the toilet seat down and ahhh….relief.  Hum, I wonder, “Why was the toilet seat up?  Cleaning was hours ago”.  And just as my eyes got big with disbelief, I hear a man’s voice, then a second one.  “Oh no, I didn’t?”

Oh yes, I did.  I find myself in the Men’s Restroom.  The women’s restroom is on the right when accessing from the pool area BUT on the left when entering from the street.  Oops!Butterfly

Oh my gosh, what do I do now?  I scooch my obviously female, painted toed feet back in an attempt to hide them.  I really don’t want to be discovered.  It crosses my mind to step out, politely excuse myself, and admit my blunder profusely apologizing, but the camera slung over my shoulder screams otherwise.  “You couldn’t bring the pocket camera today, could you?”

RV ParkWell as it happens, I picked the stall at the end giving me a good visual of most of the toilet and shower area.  I peer between the stall door.  I see one of the men at the end who had just come from the pool and was preparing to take a shower.  Oh, no, no, no …..do not take off your pants, please.  Thank goodness he entered the shower stall with swim trucks on.

Then the other guy walks toward a toilet stall.  I quickly back toward the wall wondering if I should stand on the toilet seat so my feet are not seen.  Oh dear…..how long will I be stuck in here?  With both men behind doors, I do a final scan between the panels before bolting out of there.

With heart pounding, head down, I don’t slow my pace or look back until I’m well away from the restroom, not knowing and frankly not caring if anyone saw me bolt. 

I have my camera slung over my neck and am reminded of some of the other shots I was hoping to capture today.  There’s these really cute gazebos in the pool area and the lighting is perfect.

I walk back to the pool area, put my hand on the gate….I can’t go in.  What if someone saw me running out of the men’s room with the camera?  My mind runs rampant…..  “There she is.  Catch that women.  She was taking photos in the men’s room”.  Oh the shame!  I have two more months scheduled at this RV Park.  I envision the whispers and pointing fingers as if I’m wearing a scarlet letter; V for violator.

No, the desire to photograph anything is long gone.  I rush back to the safety of my RV with every intent of not telling a single soul about what just happened. 

Shhhhh…..please don’t tell anyone.RV Park

Resort Living in a RV

Resort Living in a RV

I promised Al I would approach the RV Park with an open mind.  Life around a full-fledged RV Park is very different from that of a National Forest Campground, State Park, or parking on BLM Land.

Don’t get me wrong, the full hook-ups are wonderful.  I don’t have to worry about water usage.  This particular RV Park is also loaded with amenities.  I guess that’s why they call it a RV Resort.

Phoenix RV Park
Entrance to Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, Phoenix AZ

When we first turned into the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, we were greeted by a grand, Halloween decorated, security entrance complete with “guard” aka volunteer workamper.  We were enthusiastically welcomed and escorted to our site.  Once we were parked, we headed to the registration office.  Check-in was quick and we were given our ‘welcome packet’ complete with name badges and event schedule.

RV Park Phoenix
Registration Building

RV Park El MirageHum, event schedule?  First let’s start with the fact the RV Park Resort has its own 18 hole golf course complete with restaurant.  Many of the guests have their own golf carts; whether they play golf or not. This is a large park and golf carts seem to be the popular mode of transportation.   More than half the park consists of Park Models (mobile homes) and the rest are RVer’s like myself.

RVer’s are able to book their stay nightly, weekly, or monthly.   Somehow we heard of the special the Pueblo El Mirage Resort was running for the fall season.  Stay for 4 months during September, October, November, and December for a total cost of $750.00.  That figures out to be less than $190 a month.

RV ParkWhen we hit the road at the end of June, we were in a daze and state of exhaustion.  The idea of parking in one spot not far from our son’s home and the sweet deal on price sounded perfect.  We booked our reservation, but decided Phoenix was still too warm in September, as well as I had way to many other exciting places I wanted to visit along the way.   Therefore, we showed up October 2 bringing our monthly stay to $250 a month; still a heck of a deal.  Once January rolls around, this same RV site goes for more than $800 a month….yikes.

golf
Pueblo El Mirage 18 hole golf course

The mass RV migration to Phoenix happens right after the Christmas holiday.  We learned the hard way last winter to make reservations for the months of January, February, and March or you’ll need to find a spot out in the desert and boondock…. which in itself does have its perk’s, but in a very different way.

RV Park
You won’t find this boondocking in the middle of the desert

Back to the resort life……. The grounds are beautiful.  The buildings, restrooms, pool area, and workout facility are kept spotless.  Plenty of shopping is nearby.  I even went to my very first “Trader Joe’s“.

Since it’s still considered early in the ‘season’, for now we have plenty of elbow room with no immediate neighbors to our sides.  However, each day more and more rigs pull-in so that could change any day.

There is one major drawback to the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort location; it’s very close to Luke Air Force Base.  Now mind you living with a former Naval Aviator, the low flying jets roaring above the RV don’t seem to bother us as much as some of the other guests.  Saturdays and Sundays are quiet but Monday through Friday the boys might start flying as early as 7 in the morning.  How loud are these guys?  Loud enough to be forced to stop a conversation mid sentence, unless you’re good at reading lips.

For Al and I it’s a form of entertainment as we watch these young men and women practice their maneuver’s and live their dream.  Al remembers the excitement and adrenaline rush these young folks are experiencing.  In a strange way it makes us feel young each time our head tilts skyward.  I did say ‘strange’.

We reminisce about our airline days and how our dreams have changed over the years.  We haven’t lost our wanderlust, we’ve just changed the mode of transportation and sleeping accommodation’s.   No bed bugs to worry about in the RV.

Although the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort wasn’t my first choice of places to call home, it is growing on me.  Besides, in two months it’ll be time to roll on down the road.  I do believe I’ll end the post here…..that pool is calling to me……

RV Park
80 degrees, sunny, and no crowd

A Favorite Spot

With a light morning breeze blowing through the RV, I glance out the window toward a view of the Colorado National Monument….well, kind of a view….as I peek around, up, and over other RV’s there sits the Monument in the distance.  Ah, the RV experience; it is what we make of it.  Unfortunately for now, I don’t have the views or space I have become accustomed to.

Fruita Colorado
Colorado National Monument photographed from James Robb State Park Fruita

The month of August finds us parked in a full-fledged RV Park in Grand Junction, Colorado.  We normally gravitate toward State or Regional Parks.  For now, we have no fantastic views or hiking trails out our front door….bummer.  I think I’ve become a little spoiled.  The Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction is an ok place to call home while Al and I do a little organizing and repairing on the RV.    The Junction West RV Park is conveniently located to shopping, restaurants, AND my brother’s house.  It also offers nice spacing between rigs, showers, laundry, and free WiFi.  Yep, this will do while we tend to the business at hand.

Junction West RV Park
Junction West RV Park, Grand Junction, CO

San Juan MountainsI’ll admit, I sure wasn’t ready to leave Ridgway State Park or the views southwest Colorado has to offer.  I’m always hesitant to make a recommendation on a location or campground.  I’ve come to realize, the personal element quite often plays a major role in ones overall experience, as does weather.

For example; let’s say the weather is nasty for your entire stay or you and your partner aren’t getting along or you become ill, the best scenery in the world cannot compensate for any of these examples or a combination of negative factors. Thus, your experience might be one you wouldn’t care to repeat or recommend.

On the other hand, when the stars are aligned, all is well in your little world, your life is filled with joy, you and your partner are in harmony…. the most mediocre view, so-so weather, and an ok location can conjure up the most pleasant of memories; such fond memories, that it becomes a place you hope to return to as well as recommend to your friends.  Then your friends go and can’t figure out whatever were you talking about.

When we first pulled into Ridgway State Park I wasn’t overly impressed.  I couldn’t figure out why everyone talked so highly of the place.  However after my eight day stay, I would put this place at the top of my list of favorite places.  What made MY stay so enjoyable that I would call it a favorite and even recommend it?  Well, I’m pretty sure the stars were aligned and hubby and I were in harmony, so that helped….LOL, but the real reasons why I fell in love with Ouray County;

  • The views….the photos say it all…..talk about beautiful country!San Juan Mountains
  • Location; lovely Ouray, Ridgway, and Telluride are nearby

    Ridgway
    Ridgway, Colorado
  • hiking and biking trails out our front door and beyond are abundantRidgway
  • beautiful lakes; enjoy water activities or sit lakeside and ponder lifeRidgway
  • family and friends; my brother and his wife joined us plus we met up with fellow RVer’s / bloggers

    Ridgway
    Al on the left, sister-in-law middle, my brother on the right…..good food, good company
  • weather; cool nights for sleeping – comfortable daytime temps for hiking – the occasional storm to add drama

    Ridgway
    mountain storms can be scary and pretty at the same time!
  • excellent spacing between campers; campsites are well spaced

    Ridgway
    Plenty of room around camp for everyone to warm their toes
  • plenty of interesting history;  the movie “True Grit” staring John Wayne was filmed around Ridgway.  Ghost towns and remnants of old mines are readily found in the backcountry.Ridgway
  • nature……nature aboundsGrand Junction
  • A 4-wheelers paradise; exploring the backcountry via a jeep or ATV, miles and miles of gravel and dirt roads take you up and over mountain passesRidgway

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I think you get the idea of why this area has become a favorite spot of mine.  Yes, I’d say there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this southwest part of Colorado.  I think it’s one of those places worth visiting at different times of the year.  I know I’m hooked.  I foresee a revisit in my near future!

Ah, but first……those RV repairs…..  😥

Mt. Sneffels

Ridgway

Lake Havasu City

Al and I have wanted to visit Lake Havasu for quite sometime.  We also wanted to check out Quartzsite, AZ.  With no firm plans or commitments, we depart Desert Edge’s RV and head to Interstate 10, westward bound.

on the road again!

We stop in Quartzsite for gas and I hop into the Rig, make us a couple of sandwiches, take Bear for a short walk, and after eating check the place out.  Quartzsite is an interesting, eclectic sort of place.  The RV parks are jam packed this time of year.  So we decide to head north on Hwy 95 toward Havasu and make several notes about the Quartzsite area for next winters excursion.

Lake Havasu City is loaded with RV Parks and just outside of town are numerous spots to boondock.  It is a playground mecca for adults.  There are endless places for ATV/Four Wheeling.  All sorts of water activities are available from boating, jet skiing, sailing, paddling, etc.  If you don’t have your own toys, there are dozens of places to rent the toy of choice.

Lake Havasu

We want to camp as close to the water as possible and pick Crazy Horse Campground to spend a few nights.  Fortunately for us, the campground is all booked up and we are sent to their overflow lot.

Our home for five days

When I say we were fortunate the campground was booked, I sincerely mean fortunate.  The RV’s in the campground are packed in like Sardines.  Hardly enough elbow room between units…..not my cup of tea!  The overflow lot overlooks the lake and there’s plenty of room for everyone.  The ATV trails provide excellent hiking for Bear and me, that is, until all the ATVer’s show up.

young girl on her ATV near our site

Saturday some young kids have fun tooling around on their four-wheelers.  They drive slow and responsibly and we’re not bothered by their activities.  It’s nice to see kids being kids and playing out in the dirt instead of sitting in front of a computer/TV screen.

Although I would not recommend Crazy Horse Campground, I would recommend staying in their overflow lot.  The Campground is old, the staff and guests were less than friendly, but the location is awesome.  We were able to walk to the famous London Bridge and stores.

London Bridge

The RV Park is on an island/peninsula and we need to cross the London Bridge for access.  The shoreline along the island and mainland is a lovely park setting with walking trails, a dog park, marina, beaches, and picnic areas.  Lake Havasu City was developed by Robert McCulloch in 1963 on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu.  He later purchased the London Bridge, which was dismantled and shipped to Lake Havasu City.  It was completed in 1971 and connects the peninsula to the mainland.

activities of all kind!

Al and I take advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather and walk the London Bridge and shoreline.

If you can think it, they do it!

Later back at the campsite, we are buzzed by what I call flying lawn mowers.  There are about half a dozen buzzing around and Al is totally infatuated.  I believe the proper term is powered gliders and Al is ready to return to the skies.  Yeah right, I don’t think so!  Although Al does not

powered glider

miss his commercial aviation days, he does occasionally miss those daring Navy missions and flying on and off an aircraft carrier.  Aah, to be young again!

I leave Al to his thoughts and have him build me a campfire while I prepare dinner.