Data Diet

I love my mobile lifestyle.  To be honest, the lifestyle can be quite addictive. What started off as we’ll do this for a year or two until we find that special place to settle down has turned into four years and soon approaching year five of full-time RV living.  Egads, where does the time go?Desert Wildflowers

My one big dislike, a bone of contention, to this RV lifestyle centers around the internet.  The internet?  However, did we manage to survive before this remarkable invention?  I still remember a time when the TV flipper was the youngest kid in the family.  The invention of a TV remote control was a life changer for my little sister.

butterflyBack to the internet … when we first hit the road in the RV full-time, we started off with a Verizon mobile WiFi hotspot / jetpack with 5 GB of data that worked fine for a few months.

However like any RV newbie, we were so busy running around exploring those first few months that we didn’t spend much time on the internet. But once reality set in, we needed to get back to business which meant back to needing steady and strong internet connection.

Thus, we signed up for 30 GB of data, first through a Verizon reseller, and then later directly with Verizon.  All was fine until about a year ago.  We never stream. We don’t watch videos.  I don’t use the GPS on my iPhone and yet we seem to gobble up data twice as fast as we did previously.

egret

Data usuage? Gag!

We’ve run in to other location independent folks who seem to be experiencing similar data problems.  Some have switched providers or changed their plans.  I still haven’t desert poppiesfigured out why the increase in usage since we haven’t changed our habits.  If anything, we spend less time on the internet.  It’s been extremely frustrating.  I’m not sure what the fix might be, but in the meantime, I’ll need to curtail my internet fun leaving the gigs for our internet biz.

So yes my dear friends, I’m on a data diet and it does not make me a happy camper 😭

Our two months in Texas really spoiled us.  The RV park offered strong free WiFi right at our campsite. And boy oh boy, did we take full advantage of endless internet.  The you tube videos were rolling regularly … the educational kind, not the funny cat trick kind ……. well ….. maybe the cute puppy dog kind, but mostly educational.

So much fun!  But now that I’m back to using our jetpack with limited data (sigh, sad face, tear), I’ll need to plan visits to the library or coffee shop more strategically, which is just not as enjoyable as sitting at home with feet propped in my jammies and socializing with all my blogging pals.wildflowers

Oh well.  Such is the life of a full-time RV’er.  Life could be a whole heck of a lot worse. Seriously! Check out these photos of the amazing desert wildflowers.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Phoenix valley covered in so many beautiful wildflowers.  It’s crazy pretty around here lately.butterfly

I’ve tried to get out with the camera to capture her beauty, but between RV repairs, health matters, visiting with our children and navigating data issues since our return to Phoenix, Arizona, it has been a bit of a challenge.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and with the valley heat soaring those flowers won’t be sticking around too much longer.  Thus, over the next couple of weeks this gal will be hitting the trails with the camera at every opportunity.  Stay tuned!wildflowers

Superstition Wilderness Trails West: Hikes, Horse Rides, and History
Hiking Arizona’s Superstition and Mazatzal Country: A Guide to the Areas’ Greatest Hikes (Regional Hiking Series)

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Lost or Found

Have you ever traveled somewhere that spoke to you or rather called to you;  a place you just wanted to return to time and again?  That’s how I feel about the Superstition Mountains also known as the Superstitions located in Apache Junction, Arizona (the far southeast side of the Phoenix valley).  There’s something mystical maybe even spiritual about the place.Superstition Mountain

Apache TrailOur original plans after Tucson were to head over to the Ajo area and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but the pull to return to the Apache Trail was too strong to ignore and thus the Superstitions won.  I love having fluid plans that can be changed on a whim.  Mr. Saguaro and I do a happy dance.

In the past, we’ve always taken Interstate 10 from Tucson to Phoenix.  It’s usually a stressful drive with lots of truck traffic, high speeds, and folks following way too close for my comfort.  It’s just another congested interstate that I would prefer avoiding.

Therefore, we opted to take the scenic route this time.  We headed north on Highway 77 to 79 and eventually 60.  We arrived safely at the Elks Lodge in Apache Junction after a very pleasant drive.  I’m not sure I’lI ever want to take Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson again after discovering this alternative route.Apache Junction AZApache JunctionThe Apache Junction Elks had plenty of room for us to dry camp and we found a nice little corner with an amazing view.  There was a down side; we were parked close to Route 88 aka the Apache Trail, and during the day there was a fair amount of traffic noise.  The view definitely made up for it though.  Oh, and yes, you DO need to be an Elks Lodge member to stay here.

During our past visits to Apache Junction, we’ve always stayed at Lost Dutchman State Park.  It’s definitely a favorite as it sits at the base of the ominous Superstition Mountain with hiking trails right out the RV door.  I credit the Lost Dutchman State Park for introducing the joy of hiking to hubby.  You see, Al was in the military and he remembers all too well the military boot camp type of hiking with heavy packs he was forced to do when he was younger.  Thus, getting Al “into” hiking took a lot little cajoling on my part.

During our stay at the Lost Dutchman State Park three years ago, I introduced hubby to the Jacobs Crosscut Trail.  Al found a great deal of pleasure hiking that trail, so much so that he started initiating our hikes.  This visit to the Superstitions was no different.  We started off with a portion of the oh so perfect Jacobs Crosscut Trail and then veered onto some new trails.hiking trails Tonto National ForestWe found ourselves hiking four times during our one week stay and even had some good friends join us.Superstition Wilderness

G & T live in Apache Junction and spend their summers escaping the desert heat by taking their RV to higher elevations either in Arizona or Colorado.  We’re never at a loss of things to talk about and it’s great comparing RVing notes and discoveries.

Tortilla Flat

Cheryl, Pete, Al, me

Tortilla Flat ArizonaSpeaking of friends, we reconnected with Cheryl and Pete.  We first met this entertaining couple two years ago when we parked next to each other boondocking in the Arizona desert in Quartzsite during the big RV Tent extravaganza.

It was fun visiting, sharing lunch, and talking well into the afternoon. It was great fun returning to Tortilla Flat for a very yummy burger and a little goofing around.

Between hiking, errands, and socializing the week whizzed by.  We moved up to Lake Pleasant for the first week of March to visit with our son and reconnect with a group of snowbirders who can always be counted on for a good time.Superstition Mountain

And now we’re back at the Elks Lodge in Apache Junction for more hiking and socializing.  The Lost Dutchman Mine may still be lost, but we’ve found a new passion ….. hiking at the Superstitions.  Perhaps I can convince hubby into staying longer than just a week.  I can be rather persuasive when I want to be 😉Tonto National ForestSuperstition Mountain

Merrell Women’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe,Beluga/Lilac,8.5 M US
Columbia Women’s Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt, White, Medium

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)

 

A Tour of Phoenix

Since my last three posts focused on places to park our RV’s in and around the Phoenix area, I thought I’d share some things to see and do while visiting, The Valley of the Sun.

Capital Building

The State Capital Building – Phoenix, Arizona

Center valley – downtown Phoenix:  Since Phoenix is the capitol city of Arizona, you’ll find the state capital building and legislator buildings downtown.  Although the Capital building itself is not on the grandeur level of other state capital buildings, the beautiful park setting and war memorials make up for the simplistic architecture.

War Memorials

War Memorials – Capital Building in the distance

Papago Park is located in Tempe just north of Arizona State University. Here you’ll find the Desert Botanical Garden which is a great way to familiarize oneself with the plants of the desert southwest.  The Garden usually hosts a special venue or exhibition at different times of the year.  During a previous visit, they had a special Avery housing thousands of Monarch butterflies.

Papago Park

Papago Park located in Tempe, Arizona

Currently the Botanical Garden is adorned with vibrant glass art created by famous Artist Dale Chihuly.  Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from craft to fine art.   Sorry folks, no photos from me on this exhibit, as I took a pass on a visit to the garden this season.

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock – Papago Park

Not interested in the garden?  How about a quick hike up to “Hole in the Rock”, located just around the corner from the Botanical Garden in Papago Park.  This is a favorite spot amongst locals to watch the sunset over the city. Nearby “Hole in the Rock” is the “Tomb of Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt”.  The Tomb is interesting – a mini pyramid, but the view from this vantage point is pretty awesome.  It overlooks Papago Park and the Phoenix Zoo.

Apache Trail

A drive along the Apache Trail provides beautiful scenery

East valley – near the town of Apache Junction is the Superstition Mountain and Lost Dutchman State Park.  I would put this on any “must see” list.  As we drive north on Highway 88, aka the Apache Trail,  Our first stop is on the right at the Superstition Mountain Museum. Just a short distance further up the road on the left is the Goldfield Ghost Town.  This old gold mining town is a fun little stop to stroll around and get a sense of life in the 1800’s.

Superstition Mountain

great hiking at the Superstition Mountain

As we continue north on the Apache Trail, the Lost Dutchman State Park is on the right and offers some of our favorite hiking trails.  You can access these trails from the Day Use area or from the campground.  The state park is a fee use area.  Rangers and volunteers are more than eager to share their passion for this one of a kind place. The Apache Trail is a scenic drive with lots of photographic opportunities.  We like to take our time and enjoy the scenery.  A stop at the shores of Canyon Lake is always lovely.  We’ve even thought about renting a kayak for a few hours but just haven’t had the chance thus far.

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake along the Apache Trail

After Canyon Lake is the town of Tortilla Flat, population of 6.  You’ll find a great little restaurant with a super fun décor and yummy burgers.  Even if you won’t be dining, do step inside and check it out and be sure to peek into the lady’s room for the comedic painted stall doors.  The general store also serves up some of the best homemade ice cream around.

Apache Trail

Past the town of Tortilla Flat the Apache Trail gets rugged

Should you continue the journey past the town of Tortilla Flat, be forewarned this is a gravel road with drop offs and not for the faint of heart.  The road will lead past Apache Lake and eventually end at Roosevelt Lake.  It’s a long, all day excursion.

Apache Lake

Apache Lake

Apache Trail

The Apache Trail north of Apache Lake

In an attempt to not make this blog post ridiculously long, allow me to quickly add some other things to see and do in and around Phoenix……..

  • Baseball –  In Spring AND Fall you’ll find plenty of major league baseball teams in training. There’s plenty of games to keep the sports enthusiast duly entertained.
  • Enjoy architecture? Visit Taliesin West
  • If music is your thing; The MIM…..Musical Instrument Museum
  • Meandering around old town Scottsdale is always a fun pastime.
  • Lake Pleasant – Lunch at Dillon’s Restaurant Scorpion Bay Marina on the floating pier/dock.

    Lake Pleasant

    Lake Pleasant – northwest of Phoenix

  • Retail shopping…..the list is endless and since I live in 250 square feet I refrain from frequenting these establishments…..wink, wink….”I know I can squeeze another pair of shoes in here somewhere, but let’s not tell Al” 😉
  • For true western fun – on a FRIDAY evening, visit the western town of Cave Creek and have dinner at the Buffalo Chip Saloon…..watch live bull riding and mutton busting.

    Buffalo Chip Saloon

    Buffalo Chip Saloon, Cave Creek, AZ

  • AND for a truly unique dining experience that you just HAVE TO try at least once…..the Organ Stop Pizza.  We enjoy the food but it really is an ‘experience’.

This is just a short list of things to see and do in The Valley of the Sun, and reason enough why RVer’s and non-RVer’s alike choose to call Phoenix home for the winter. 

Magical, Spiritual, or just Beautiful

As we approach the Lost Dutchman State Park, we are awed by the imposing Superstition Mountain looming in the distance.  We are on the far east side of Phoenix near the town of Apache Junction, Arizona.   Lost Dutchman State Park sits at the base of the intriguing Superstition Mountain and campers are graced with its beauty.

Superstition Mountain

Lost Dutchman State Park….we’re the first rig on the right – Jan 2013

I’m drawn to this place.  There’s something magical, maybe even spiritual about the Superstition Mountain and camping at its base at Lost Dutchman State Park affords a visitor an up close experience to its varying personality. Weather and light have an impact on the character and mood of this unique mountain.

Superstition Mountain

Camping with a view….Lost Dutchman State Park at the base of the Superstition Mountain

The campground has 104 campsites, 35 of which have electric and water.  Most of the sites are level and paved.  There’s nice spacing between sites and all offer great views.  Yep, it’s all about the view!

Our first visit to this lovely place was in the Spring of 2011.  The campground was booked but we were able to dry camp in the overflow lot.  We planned on staying four days but ended up staying ten.  I remember talking to my dad on the phone who lives in the Chicago area.  It was mid March and my dad was enjoying a warm 80 degree day and wearing shorts.  I was sitting in Phoenix, Arizona, wearing a winter coat and watching snow fall.  What’s wrong with this picture?  It was a very funny situation and although initially I wasn’t too thrilled about the cold temps, witnessing the rare beauty of it all was well worth the bundling up that was required.

camping near Phoenix

A rare spring snowstorm hits the Superstition Mountain – March 2011

camping near Phoenix

The many moods of the Superstition Mountain – March 2011

I tell you, there is nothing like waking up to this vision.  As the sun rises on the far side of the Superstition Mountain, it lights up the valley leaving those of us camped at the mountain’s base still clouded in its shadow.  As the day progresses, shadows seem to play a game of hide and go seek…. a constant moving of shade.  Later in the day when the sun is to the west, the mountain glows in a varying array of color.

camping in Phoenix

As the sun sets, the Superstition Mountain glows

RVing in Phoenix

As the sun moves throughout the day, so does the shade and shadows on the Superstition Mountain

Lost Dutchman State Park offers a picnic area for day use for those unable to spend the night.  So whether you are an overnighter or a day user, you will love the hiking and photographic opportunities here. I know it is one of our favorites. There are trails for every level of hiker.  If you only have time to pass through the area, I would highly recommend a short stroll on the “Discovery Trail”.  This easy interpretative trail meanders between the day use parking lot and the campground.  Along the way are plaques detailing sights, vegetation, and wildlife.

Camping near Phoenix

The sundial along the Discovery Trail

Superstition Mountain

The Superstition Mountain – photographed near the coyote sundial

I believe the best vantage point for capturing the entire Superstition Mountain is at the Coyote sundial located off the Discovery Trail.  I found myself meandering along this trail several times a day throughout our past visits.

Another plus to staying at Lost Dutchman State Park are all the other sights to see in the area.  That in itself will require a separate post(s).  We were never at a loss of things to see and do, but our favorite time was spent enjoying meals at the picnic table or drinks around the campfire.  With a view like this, what’s not to love!

camping in Arizona

dining with a view!

No trip to the Phoenix metropolitan area would be complete without a visit to the Superstition Mountain.  Whether you find it magical, spiritual, or just plan beautiful, this is a sight not to be missed.  I’m saddened that our adventures this year will not include a stop at Lost Dutchman State Park.  The memories of our past visits will need to hold me over until next years journey.  For now, I remain camped on the far west side of the valley watching the cotton being harvested  🙂

A Trip to Phoenix

I recently received an email from a friend who lives in the Midwest letting me know she and her hubby are planning a trip to Phoenix, Arizona this May.  She was wondering if I’d share some ideas on things to see and do in the Phoenix area.

Since she and the hubby will be flying into Phoenix and renting a car, I need to get my head out of the RV lifestyle first….lol.  Also it’ll be May in Phoenix, which means temperatures will be in the 90’s and100’s.  That said, the first thing I would do is find a Wal-Mart or Target.  Purchase one of those white disposable Styrofoam coolers and a case of bottled water (the 23 fluid ounce size) and a bag of ice.  Staying hydrated in the desert is crucial and each person should drink a minimum of 3-4 of these bottles a day.

Ok, with the important stuff out of the way, let the fun begin……   FYI – any words in blue are linked to additional information…..just click on the words in blue for further details.

Papago Park

Papago Park, Phoenix, AZ

Hole in the Rock

Romantic spot to watch the sunset over the city – hole in the rock

1Papago Park is located in the center of Phoenix.  The Desert Botanical Garden is a great way to familiarize oneself with the plants of the desert southwest.  Even if there isn’t time to stroll the Botanical Garden, a drive around Pagago Park is still fun.

During our most recent trip to Phoenix, we managed a visit to the “Hole in the Rock”.  This is a favorite spot amongst locals to watch the sunset over the city.  The hike up to the hole is relatively easy.  Much easier if you’re wearing tennis shoes and not flip-flops.  Yep, we saw a couple of gals hiking up in flip-flops…duh!

Near Hole in the Rock is the “Tomb of Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt”.  The Tomb is kind of interesting, but the view from this vantage point is pretty awesome.  It overlooks the park as well as the Phoenix Zoo.

 

 

2.  On the far east side of Phoenix near the town of Apache Junction is the Superstition Mountain.  I wrote about this stunning site in my last post and I would rate this high on the “must see” list.   How about an all day excursion?  Let’s plan the day……head out in the morning (be sure to have that cooler filled with water and ice) drive toward the town of Apache Junction and head north on Highway 88 aka the Apache Trail.

First stop will be the Superstition Mountain Museum on the right side of the road, even if it’s just to photograph this chapel.  Definitely worth a quick stop.

Just a couple more minutes up the road on the left is the Goldfield Ghost Town.  This old gold mining town is a fun little stop to stroll around and get a sense of life in the 1800’s.  If you started the day a bit late, this is also a great place for lunch, but I would recommend targeting Tortilla Flat for lunch if at all possible.

After Goldfield, continue north up the Apache Trail toward Canyon Lake.  We’ll reserve Lost Dutchman State Park for the return drive.  The Apache Trail is a scenic drive with lots of photo-op opportunities.  So take your time and enjoy the drive.  The marina at Canyon Lake offers various watercraft for rent.  Perhaps a little kayaking after lunch?

The town of Tortilla Flat, population of 6, has a great little restaurant with a super fun décor and serves a great burger.  Even if you won’t be dining, do step inside and check it out. Be sure and peek in the lady’s room for the painted stall doors.  The general store also serves up some of the best homemade ice cream around.

Now it’s time to turn around and head back for a stop at Lost Dutchman State Park.  By now it should be late afternoon with the sun in the west.  This is my favorite time to photograph the Superstition Mountain.  Enter Lost Dutchman State Park and walk the Interpretive Hiking Trail….super easy, informative, and great location to photograph the mountain.

On your way back to the hotel, stop at the Organ Stop Pizza for dinner.  Quite the experience and it IS an experience, and the food is pretty good too.

3.  A few other ideas….

4.  A full day excursion?  Escape the heat of Phoenix and head on up to Red Rock Country.  Explore the scenic town of Sedona and the surrounding area.Sedona

There’s no loss of things to see and do in this desert southwest city.  Phoenix known as the Valley of the Sun has become a second home to hubby and me.  I hope my friend and her husband enjoy their visit as much as we enjoy our visits.  Safe travels 🙂

A Favorite Stop

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  We sure did.  We traveled out-of-town to visit family.  It’s always nice to catch up with family and friends whom we haven’t seen in a while.  During our short visit, we were able to share photos and travel tales of our winter excursion to the desert southwest.Apache Trail

Flatiron

Superstition Mountian….the Flatiron

It was during a series of conversations that I realized I never posted about our stay at Lost Dutchman State Park.  I guess the combination of poor internet and having way too much fun, put blogging on the back burner.

It was early January when we headed over to one of my favorite places in Arizona.  Nestled at the foot of the Superstition Mountain is Lost Dutchman State Park.  We first discovered this spot back in March of 2012 and for us no trip to the Phoenix area would be complete without a visit to this unique area.Lost DutchmanLost Dutchman

We enjoy camping at this State Park for at least a few days to be able to take in the beauty of the environment.  There are numerous hiking trails right outside our front door, and the view…..  Gosh, what can I say about the view?  The mountain looks different at various times of the day as the angle of the sun and the weather changes.  Simply stunning!Lost Dutchman

There are also lots of things to see and do in the surrounding area.  If you’re adventurous and looking for a scenic drive, I recommend taking Highway 88 from Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Lake…..aka the Apache Trail.  We did this all day trek last year.  Click here to read all about it.  There are some fabulous places to stop, hike, or even paddle along the way.  The beautiful lakes are a pleasant surprise in this desert environment.

Superstition Mountain

Siphon Draw Trail

Superstition Mountain

Siphon Draw Trail

Some of our most enjoyable hiking is here at the Superstition Mountain.  There is a trail for just about every level of hiker.  This year our stay at Lost Dutchman State Park was short.  Shorter than we intended due to commitments.  However, we did manage to get in a couple of two-hour hikes during our stay and even entertain some long time friends who live in the area.

I’ve always enjoyed entertaining and just because we’re RVing doesn’t mean we’re relegated to hot dogs and beans.  Nope, I still like a white table cloth…..even if it is plastic.  Lunch consisted of a grilled, marinated chicken breast on a bed of greens with a side of herbed flat bread.  The meal was paired with a couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio followed by a desert of apple crisp……yum 🙂 And of course, nothing but the freshest of ingredients and all prepared by moi.

Lost Dutchman State Park

White table-cloth dining with a view!

After a delicious lunch, the rest of the afternoon was spent strolling the interpretive trail, hanging at the campsite visiting, and watching the sunset while enjoying popcorn and music around a campfire.  Yes, roughing it at it’s best!

Lost Dutchman State Park

Sundial – interpretive trail

Lost Dutchman State Park

Interpretive trail

After another fabulous stay, we vow to make Lost Dutchman State Park and the Superstition Mountain a regular on our travels around Arizona.Superstition Mountain

Superstition Mountain

Preparation…

In preparation for our extended trip to the desert southwest, Al and I review past RV trips and ask each other a series of questions.  What did we like?  What didn’t we like?  Did the RV fit our needs and work well for us?  What equipment, if any, were we missing?  Would we make any changes?

After considerable discussion, we decide on a slight RV remodel and the addition of some new equipment.  We only need seating in the RV for the twothree of us; Al, me, and Bear.  Thus, we remove one of the chairs and replace it with a desk.  That leaves us with a loveseat and chair….perfect for our needs.

Al decides he’d like to build a custom desk to my specifications.  Ah, ain’t that sweet?  I had already shopped for options at numerous stores to no avail.  So Al and I head off to Home Depot in search of lumber choices.  AND their she sat…..sitting near the entrance of the Home Depot just waiting for me.  I whip out my trusty tape measure, carefully checking the dimensions not once, but twice.  She’ll fit perfect.

RVAl responds, “Are you sure you like the finish?  It doesn’t match the rest of the cabinetry in the RV, you know”.  After a moment of contemplation, I comment, “Love it.  Matchy, matchy is so 80’s”.  I remind him of the mix of finishes in our sticks n bricks home.  So it’s home she goes!

Next on the list….    Last March, while my dad, in the Chicago area, was enjoying unusual warm and balmy temps, Al and I were camped on the east side of Phoenix watching snow fall on the beautiful Superstition Mountain.  I’m bundled up in winter attire in Phoenix and my dad is wearing shorts in Chicago….this was sooo wrong.  The forced air heat in an RV is an energy drainer and not efficient when dry camping – i.e. no hook ups.  Thus, Mr. Heater is my new “Buddy” for cold nights in the desert.RVing

There were a couple other purchases made as well, which I will share in upcoming posts, but right now I gotta finish packing…..we’re hitting the road asap!

Home ?

Wednesday we left Lost Dutchman State Park and headed to a RV Park in Goodyear.  Lost Dutchman and the Superstition Mountain is a magical place….a spirital site….a location Al and I will be sure to revisit.  We barely touched or explored this glorious area and look forward to a return in the near future.  We weren’t ready to leave.  We experienced first hand the extreme weather changes and its impact on the character of the Superstition Mountain.  The changes in shade and color.  The change in personality.  The unique draw to explore this mountains’ nooks and crevices.  Obligations beckon and we leave Superstition Mountain with the fondest of memories.

We arrive at our RV Park.  Level up the Rig.  Take note of our surroundings.  After a week at Lost Dutchman, this is definitely a let down.  No offense to the RV Park, but there’s just no comparison….no views.  It’s a fine place to crash for a couple of nights.  It’s close to the Phoenix International Raceway, home to the Good Sam Rally.  We wanted to stay somewhat close to the location but not at the Rally.  We always have Bears’ needs to take into consideration and we didn’t want to be too far away from him or the Rig.  The Destiny RV Resort was an easy 15 minute drive from the Rally location.  Thus, we could spend all day at the event and return to the Rig for lunch and a dog walk if necessary.

Destiny RV Resort

Thursday morning we head off to the Good Sam Rally.  We looked at dozens of RV’s and visited booths in the Tent.  By mid-afternoon, we accomplished our goal and head back to the Rig.  We even manage to squeezed in a short visit with some folks we met in Mesquite earlier on our journey.

Al and I originally planned to return to Colorado nice and leisurely, wanting to take our time and spend a night or two in Tucson and parts of New Mexico.  Unfortunately, responsibilities require us to head home directly.  I’m sure Catalina State Park and Elephant Butte will still be there in six months.  That bucket list continues to grow 🙂

Friday morning we head north on Interstate 17 to Flagstaff.  With a son living in Phoenix, we routinely travel between Phoenix and Pueblo, Co…..last year five times.  So we have this route pretty well memorized.  Flagstaff can be a tricky location and we are always sure to check weather and road conditions prior to embarking on any drive.  Weather looks good, construction so, so.  We make it to Hwy 40 with no problem.  When we’re pulling the Rig, we take the drive in two days.  When we’re driving just the truck, we’ll take it in one day.  So since we’re pulling the Rig, our destination will be Albuquerque.  We like to stay in the Sandia Resort and Casino parking lot.  They have a great restaurant, bar, and friendly staff.  This is one of our regular stops whenever going through Albuquerque and one of our favorites.

Sandia Casino parking lot

The drive between Flagstaff and Albuquerque is fortunately uneventful and Al and I help the time pass by listening to an audio book.  I like to go on eBay and purchase audio books to help break up the drive.  My favs are romance novels and my favorite author is Johanna Lindsey.  Al and I are duly entertained and we arrive at Sandia in an energetic, good mood….dinner and drinks were yummy.

The next morning we pull out of Sandia before the sun rises and make the easy five-hour drive from Albuquerque to Pueblo West.  As we pull into the driveway, Al and I look at one another.  Home?  We feel detached.  We’re not happy to be “home”.  Why?  We’re tempted to turn around and head back out.  Where too?  Doesn’t matter.  Hummm, are we ready to go full-time?  Mentally and emotionally…YES.  Obligations and responsibilities still bind us, and thus the Full-time RV lifestyle will need to be postponed for a bit.  We now have a goal, a plan, and a timeline.  Too be continued!

Our Education Continues…

Oh, what shall we do today?  The Group (Escapees – Boomers) have a few different things planned for today.  Some folks will be hiking, some geocaching, and some attending a little class.  We decide we can never have enough information on Solar panels and batteries, and thus attend the get together and discussion on solar.  The couple leading the discussion have been full-timers for fourteen years and are a wealth of information.  We had an immediate connection with this couple from day one and know we’ll stay in touch and rendezvous with them back in Arizona in the fall.

The class/discussion on batteries, inverters, and solar panels continues for two plus hours.  I take notes, plenty of notes.  Some of the information is a repeat of info we’ve heard before but confirms our knowledge, basic knowledge that is.  We’re getting smarter and feel more confident of what and how to set up our Rig for future  trips.  Our biggest problem and thus our first purchase will be batteries.  I’m glad we didn’t make any changes to the Rig prior to this trip.  We most likely would have ended up needing to redo any changes.

We are learning so much and appreciate all the help and information from all the seasoned RVer’s we’ve met.  In a few months we will hopefully get’er all set up and properly outfitted for boondocking.  Speaking of “boondocking”.  After lunch, we had another little get together to discuss boondocking.  Topics included; how to conserve water, finding boondocking sites, dealing with gray water and black water, and an exchange of personal ideas and tips.

In the evening, I choose to have a little solitude and cuddle up with Bear while enjoying a glass of wine and reading a couple of magazines.  Al, the social butterfly, joins the group around the campfire.  All is well !  Tomorrow we’ll be heading out.  We have a reservation at a RV Park in Goodyear.  Thursday we plan to attend the Good Sam Rally and start heading home on Friday.