Thursday, March 26, 2015

Springtime at Lake Roosevelt, AZ

We started the spring season by heading to Lake Roosevelt, which is northeast of the Phoenix area. We spent some time here last year and really liked it. We were going to go directly to Bermuda Flats, a dispersed camping area right on the water but alas it is Spring Break time and it was wall to wall RVs.
Bermuda Flats
We checked out a number of other spots including Bachelor Cove where Savannah got a bunch of large round stickers in her fur and so that would be a no even if it wasn't already crowded. We decided on Cholla Campground, which like all the places in this area are first come first serve. We got a nice site with a large sitting area. Cholla Campground is a forest service campground with around 200 sites that all have shaded ramadas. You don't pay at the campgrounds or dispersed camp areas. Instead you buy Tonto Passes, which are 6 dollars(3 dollars for us seniors) per vehicle per day which is good for camping and day use. We had stopped at the visitor center before going to the campground. No hookups but water and dump are available two days a week in the campground and 2 days across the road. The sites are big and lots of vegetation between the sites. I put our chairs next to the picnic table which is under the ramada and was able to get shade all day just moving my chair a few feet.

 The pictures above are taken from my recliner in my nice shady spot. I spent a lot of time just reading and enjoying the great weather and views while listening to the numerous types of birds in the area including a family of quails that quickly walked in the area in front of where I was sitting.
Some of the sites have water views of the lake but they of course were taken. We did take several walks on a trail that overlooked the water.

Oh by the way, this campground is the largest all solar powered campground in the US.
Below are a few pictures I had fun with and an untouched typical beautiful Arizona sunset.

One day we took a drive up a road across the street from the campground to get some nice views from higher up. Lots of great desert flowers. It is spring time for sure.

You can see Cholla Campground in the picture below.

The next post will include a change of scenery as we take a drive to Payson and the Mogollon Rim and a move to Bermuda Flats.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Escapade and Time in Tucson Area

We got to Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson on Saturday. The 5 day event starts on Sunday, the 8th. This is the 55th Escapade put on by the Escapees RV club. and the third we have attended. This is the first in Arizona and has turned out to be a popular one with over 900 rvs of all types. There are workshops and presentations geared toward RVs, both full and part timers, crafts, line dancing, entertainment. When we got there, we saw our friends, Larry and Orene, who we first met at the Escapees Mexican Connection trip several years ago. We joined them at their rig for a happy hour along with Margaret and Frank, who we also know from the Mexican trips. Sunday night was the opening ceremony. Kay Peterson, who started the Escapees Club along with her husband who passed away a few years ago, was the main speaker that night. She is 88 and is a great speaker with a wonderful sense of humor. I wish her speech was longer as she is very interesting. Her children are involved with the running of the club and now her grandchildren are as well. The club started with average age of members in their 40's and now around 75 percent are over 65. So the grandchildren have started a loose group within the club called the XCapers who should appeal to younger people. A good idea to keep this wonderful club going. They had entertainment every night but we just went one night to see Brent Web, the Master Mind, a Mentalist type of magician. It was fun and would love to know how he does his tricks. We attended various presentations, including some travel ones by Nick Russell, who publishes the Gypsy Journal, and also writes some mystery books that take place in Arizona. We have read the first six of the Big Lake series, and waiting on his seventh, which he is now working on. We also spent some money while here. . They have an area where rv products are sold, including satellite TV. As our rooftop satellite hasn't been working for awhile and we have been using our outside one which is a hassle to get set up. We decided to go for a while new unit instead of having it fixed as we have real old Direct TV receivers which once they go kaput we would need to buy a new unit anyway as the new receivers don't work with our old system. Tuesday it was installed and we are very happy with the results. We can now record programs again as we couldn't use our tivo dvr in the motorhome. We also now have HD. Our TV is HD ready but our system wasn't. I also finally upgraded my flip phone to a smart phone,a Galaxy Prime Core. The Verizon connection at the Fairgrounds wasn't working very good, especially with so many people there and we later ended up having to go to one of the Verizon stores in Tucson to get the phone fully set up. The reps at the Fairgrounds never set up the upgrade or some other changes we made and we ended up having to pay some upgrade and other charges the reps hadn't told us about. Working with Verizon is so fustrating as you get different answers depending on who you talk to. Anyway we had a good time. We did leave on Thursday before the closing ceremony as it is one of the Spring Break weeks coming up and we wanted to make sure we could get into the first come first serve campground, Gilbert Ray Campground which is in the Tucson area.
We were able to get into the lovely campground and spent 7 days, which is the maximum time you can stay, enjoying the scenery. We had gotten over our colds but Joe developed a knee problem while at the Fairgrounds and was limping around most of the time we were there and at Gilbert Ray and so no long walks or sight seeing. It was a nice place to just kick back and enjoy the nice weather with just a small amount of rain.

We did have a snake sighting. I was sitting outside reading when a guy came over and said there was a large snake heading our way. I thought it might be a time to go inside which I did. I tried to get a picture of it from our window but it was hard as the men capturing it were in the way. You can barely see a little part of it in the second picture below. You can see part of the hook and below it is part of the snake.

The snake is just to the left of the box with the orange looking top.

More beautiful Arizona sunsets. Next up in our adventures is a return trip to Roosevelt Lake, a few hours trip north of Tucson. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tucson to So Cal to Tucson

We had planned to hang out in Arizona until the Escapade in Tucson but needed to go back to So Cal for my Dad's Celebration of Life. We had a week before it and so made a few stops along the way. We wanted to stay at Picacho Peak but it was full. It was getting late in the day and we drove to American Girl Mine again as we knew the area. When we got there it was dark and even though we went to the area where we recently stayed, it was a little hard to figure out where to turn off the road. We drove in just a little ways and found a large area to stop. The next day while taking a walk we stopped and talked to a Canadian couple who we met the when we were here before the Mexican trip. We also met a gentleman who was traveling with his wife and kids for a year seeing the country. What a great experience for kids. More younger people are traveling in rv's, working on the road and sometimes with children that they home school.

We did some shopping but that was about it. Joe got a cold and gave it to me. Thanks Joe. It was a nice place to just relax and rest up while we weren't feeling well. The celebration of life was on Saturday, the 28th at Kori and Nick's place. We checked in at San Mateo Campground, near San Clemente on the Thursday before. On Saturday we went to Kori and Nick's. It was a nice gathering with family and friends. Kristi and Kori made a nice slideshow of pictures of my Dad.  Really liked the one of him taken when he was in Panama during the war. He was in shorts sitting next to a surfboard. Joe wished he could ask him if he tried surfing.  It was a nice day but we will certainly miss my Dad as well as my Mom. The next day we went to Kristi and Brocks for awhile, visiting and going over some things related to my Dad's death. Kristi has been the one to take care of all the things that need to be done and I thank her so much for it.
When we were in Mexico we had planned to go kayaking but discovered that we forgot our kayak seats. Uurrgh!!! Having a storage unit at Jojoba we need to be careful to make sure we have everything packed into the motorhome before we leave for our trips. Anyway, when we left the area, we stopped at Jojoba to pick them up and got a few other things as well. It was raining hard when we got there and continued as we drove to Borrego Springs, our next stop. We went the back way that goes on Montezuma Road , where at the summit we actually saw snow on the road and on our windows. We got a little nervous that it would get heavy on the roads but it didn't and as we made our way down the long slow drive to Borrego Springs the weather improved. We headed to Rockhouse Road, one of our favorite desert boondocking spots. Again, we didn't do a lot as even though we were feeling better, we still had lingering coughs and still feeling a little blah and so didn't go on any hikes or drives.

We made reservations for Picacho Peak for 4 nights right before the Escapade. The desert is just beautiful now with all the spring flowers and Picacho Peak is especially lovely.

Now onto the Escapade.