Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pie, Walmart Solar, VLA, and Crash at Elephant Butte

Mazatzal Casino

The Mazatzal Casino in Payson was a great place to meet a friend of a blogger friend of John’s, who had contacted us about getting together while we were both in the Payson area. It had several lots for parking, and the third one was perfect to accommodate our rig with the trailer. We all had their $2.99 breakfast special that consisted of eggs, hash browns, and two strips of bacon, compliments of our new friend. We had a very good hour and a half visit, wished each other safe travels, and were on our way.  

I interrupt this blog post to give you a News Report on 5/24/16…

It pays to pay attention to what happens as we travel this lifestyle. As I am writing this blog on 5/24/16, I am listening to ABC-15 out of Phoenix which reports that State Road 87 between Shea Boulevard and Bush Highway is shut down. Police officers are on the scene. A vehicle has been reported going the wrong way and shooting out of their window with a long rifle. We are safe, but this is a stretch of road we had traveled from Fountain Hills on our way to Payson, and it was a stretch of road we were on many times when we lived in the Phoenix Valley.

Back to the Blog and our Travels

Traveling east on 260 through Tonto National Forest, we eventually came to the rise where we started up to the Rim. This long climb is nearly twenty miles, mostly at a roughly 6% grade, to get to the top of the Mogollon Rim. Driving the steep grades on this long climb reduced our speed to 30 miles per hour, but given the fact that we have a gas engine, it was not a surprise. Still, the RV and trailer performed flawlessly, and never overheated.



Our intent was to stop for the night at Pinetop-Lakeside to boondock in the casino parking lot. We loved being on the road again, and were leisurely enjoying the scenery so much that we did not realize we missed the turnoff in Show Low. When we drove through Show Low, instead of staying on 260, we took Route 60. It wasn’t until we arrived in Eagar, that we realized what we had done. So we took a side trip through Eagar that led us through town and past the school. Then we turned around, and by that time, we decided to pull off on a side street next to a church, fix lunch, and then continue east.

Pie Town

We had read about the Pioneer restaurant in Pie Town that had been closed. A lady and her daughter came to Pie Town one day, and saw the closed restaurant. The lady liked to bake pies, so it seemed a natural for her to buy it and open it back up.

Come to find out, they opened at 11 AM and closed at 4 PM, because they only served pies – no other food. It was nearly 6 when we rolled into town. We saw another small restaurant about a block west that did serve food, but they closed early also, at 6 PM, even on Saturday. By the time we parked and got to the door, it was locked. They were cooking barbecue at an outside trailer and had a plate that someone had ordered but never came back to get, so they offered it to us free, rather than throw it away.

We told them we were surprised that the Pioneer restaurant had closed already. We thought they might be open until 7. That is when they told us they do not serve food down there, only desserts. We accepted their to-go container with a huge barbecue sandwich on a bun and a little bit of potato salad on the side, and thanked them, but also told them we were hoping to get a pie. The lady said she could sell us a pie and immediately led us inside where there were five pies setting on a rack. Since I do not get apricot very often, that is the one we chose.

They also told us that after the publicity came out about the Pioneer Restaurant in Pie Town, two other restaurants opened up, but none stayed open into the evening hours. Strange, but we guess they must know when their traffic slows up.

I honestly do not know what I was expecting, but was shocked when she said the pie was $9.95 for a six-inch pie. By the time she added in the tax and a 15% tip (we felt obliged to tip since the sandwich was free), our bill was $12.50 for one pie that was no wider than a ball point pen was long!



Wanting to stop before dark, we continued 20 miles east on Route 60 to Datil, where we found a great boondocking site for the night, right next to the entrance to the Datil Well Campground entrance! OK, so it was only a turn-out in the road, but it served our purposes well. Even though it was within 50 feet of the road, there was very little traffic, and we slept very well.

Both this photo and the new header photo were taken before we left this boondocking spot.
After we were comfortably parked, it was time to eat. I took one bite of the sandwich which had already cooled to a not quite warm temperature, and gave my half of the sandwich to John. After paying $12.50 for the pie, and having a cold on top of everything else, my appetite was gone. But he said the sandwich was very good, with the BBQ pork piled high, but still not worth the price of all the combined food.

Furnace Problems

It was hard to believe that the temperature would dip to 34 degrees that night, but we were at an elevation of 7400 feet. We had extra blankets with us and the furnace in the motorhome to keep us warm. But wait! I woke up in the middle of the night and the furnace was blowing cold air. After checking to make sure it was not set on air conditioning, I shut it off.  No heat was better than cold air! We retrieved our Mr. Heater Big Buddy heater from the trailer in the morning to warm us, and it didn’t take very long.

Breakfast was a cup of nice hot instant coffee and the pie that we cut in half. The top crust was a little thicker than I was used to, and a pleasant consistency to eat. The top crust looked like pieces of the crust had been cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter to form a nice heart decoration on top of the pie.

But, we also realized it was no better than any other store-bought pie, and for the price they charged, was a total rip-off. If we pass this way again, we’ll make sure our stop is at the “original” Pie Town restaurant, and then update our findings. For this visit, we have to say that Pie Town was really nothing more than an expensive tourist trap with nothing to show for it.

We cut the pie in half
When I was growing up, sometimes a person having a piece of pie would teasingly say after they ate one piece, that it wasn’t enough to taste. They needed a second piece to taste. That is the best way I can think of to describe how I felt. Only in my case, I actually had trouble picking up the flavor from the apricots. Admittedly, it might have been that I was over-paying $12.50 for it. As time wore on into the next day, and I had a chance to forget about the $12.50, the apricot flavor caught up with me, and I had to admit that it was good. I could actually get a sensation of the delicious flavor of the apricots. Or maybe it was just that the cold was wearing off.

Very Large Array - VLA 

The road seemed to go on forever without a twist or a turn
Within twenty miles down the road, however, we were in the National Radio Astronomy Observatory VLA Telescope area, which we toured at least ten years ago. The VLA are telescopes directed to the skies to gather astronomical data. They are mounted on huge satellite dishes. Each satellite dish is mounted on a platform that can be moved over their system of railroad tracks for proper placement to gather data. The tracks extend about nine miles out in three directions. They can be seen in the Jody Foster movie, “Contact”, from the early 2000’s.

This is one of the VLA telescopes that was to our left as we got closer to the VLA facility on the right.
Walmart SuperCenter outfitted with Solar Panels



From Socorro, we traveled south on Interstate 25.  Almost the entire parking area at the Walmart in Truth or Consequences, where we boondocked the next night, was covered with carports and solar panels. The main feature of these solar panels was to use energy from the sun, but they also provided shade for cars, while customers were inside shopping.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Monday, after filling up with propane, we spent the rest of that day and night in Elephant Butte Lake State Park overlooking the picturesque lakeshore. We needed to dump our holding tanks and get fresh water. We could either pay the day use fee of $5, or the overnight fee of $8. We opted for the latter.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Shocking Crash

When we got ready to pull out, John backed up the motorhome and trailer, taking great care to make sure we did not get hung up in soft sand. The shocking crash that followed was when he turned left and stepped on the gas to make it through the soft sand -- the cupboard door over the sink flew open, and dishes came flying out onto the floor …. crash, bang, landing on each other and everywhere on the floor for at least three feet each way toward the front and rear from in front of the sink cupboard.

Watching all of it in motion was a very helpless feeling, but after he got totally turned around and stopped, we swept up the pieces. It could have been worse. Only one Corelle dinner plate, one lead crystal coaster, and one glass lid for an older 1.5 quart dish broke, but from the pile of broken glass, you would have thought it was much more. We have never had a problem with those doors flying open. Guess there is always a first time, but now we have a small Irwin bar clamp to secure and keep the doors closed from any future attempts to fly open.

Many of the doors need latch repairs anyway, and we’ll replace them with positive closing/locking latches, but that is one of those things on our “want list”.

OPG – Other People’s Generator

Our last night in Truth or Consequences, we boondocked at the Walmart Super Center. It must have been about 4:30 when another motorhome pulled up and parked across the sidewalk from us heading the opposite way. This blocked the nice breeze we were getting through the windows. They had no more gotten parked when they started their generator, which dumped gas fumes into our living room window. They shut it down for about 45 minutes to run into Walmart, but started it up again when they returned and ran it until nearly 10 PM. That was awful. Folks, if you ever want to run your generator, then please have the courtesy to park far away from other boondockers. They do not want to hear the noise from your unit, nor smell the exhaust fumes.

Our Own Generator Repairs

The dealer where we bought our motorhome said they would repair the generator. They let it run long enough to start the air conditioner and see the display lit up on the microwave. The first time we used it, three days later in Fountain Hills, it started and ran fine, but there was no power coming into the motorhome, even though everything was plugged in as it should be and all breakers were on.

Fortunately for us, we found and were able to boondock at a Walmart conveniently located near a Generac Generator dealer in Albuquerque. We called the generator repair shop. They were very helpful and suggested we call back in the morning to see if they could work us in, which they did. After two hours, their technician had troubleshooted two problems, made the repairs, and other necessary adjustments, and let it run fifteen minutes to make sure it was fixed. They were very professional and we were very glad they could work us in, especially since they were a dealer. We were not anxious to have anyone else waste time playing around with it. The bad news was the bill for $374.39.

Santa Fe

With the generator repairs behind us, we headed north toward Santa Fe. The mountains in the distance, at over 12,000 feet, still had snow on them.

Northbound lane of I-25 headed to Santa Fe
We boondocked two more nights at the Walmart in Santa Fe. While boondocking, we used our time doing research on things to see and do in the area and places to camp. The downtown area had several interesting sights to see. We also located a Corp of Engineers Park, but even with our senior pass (which would get us 50 percent off), the fee would be ten dollars per night. Other options available included free parking at casinos located north of town, but we had no need to go farther north at this particular time.

The first night at Walmart was quiet and peaceful.  The second night a large motorhome parked across from us in the next row, opened up all of their slides, and had their generator running all night up to at least 10 AM the next morning. I woke up once during the night feeling like I was breathing so many exhaust fumes that I could taste them. I got up, got a drink of water, took some deep breaths in the kitchen area, and walked around and finally decided to try lying down again. I will say it again, folks – Think -- if you intend to boondock and run your generator, please park far away from other rigs not only due to the noise of your generator, but also due to exhaust fumes that can enter the indoor air space of others.  

There were also many car and van dwellers in this parking lot, and they are a lot closer to the ground than we are. We can only imagine the stench of foul air that they had to endure all night because of this one inconsiderate individual!

Some repair guys came the next morning.  As we watched, the motorhome with the “all-night” generator had one slide that would not go in.  One repair guy stood on the outside talking to the owner behind the wheel as the owner followed their instructions to put the slide in or out, while a second repair guy lay on the ground looking up underneath. If I understood what they were saying, a part had rusted out underneath and would not let the slide go back in without the mechanic holding the part together. They told the owner he would have to drive it to their shop for them to make the repairs. Good riddance!

Albuquerque and Area

Further research included what kind of accommodations were available in Albuquerque and which Walmarts allowed boondocking. One of the casinos did not have boondocking because they also had a campground. Other casinos in other directions did allow boondocking, but were not convenient for our needs. We also checked on monthly rates for campgrounds that met our criteria and found one with a monthly rate of $564 and one for $310 that we had used in earlier travels. Our experience with campgrounds with monthly rates is they want an electric deposit of up to a hundred dollars for monthly renters and at the end of the visit will read the meter and refund the unused portion of the deposit.

While in the area, Angel had his annual visit to the vet, where he got all his shots and medications so he stays up to date. It had been two days short of a year since his last visit.

Water filters have also been purchased for the motorhome, each one at a cost of $29.98 plus tax. As in the past, we opted to get two filters, one for sediment and one for taste. The filters are something we would have gotten sooner or later. We opted to do it now because the water in the area where we are is terrible! It is so full of minerals that boiling one pan of water on the stove will leave it covered with a coating of white! Since it is recommended that we change filters every 30 days, we also purchased two charcoal filters and two wound filters so we would have an extra on hand. We buy bottled water for drinking, and take our empty gallon jugs to Walmart and refill them for 27-cents each. Yesterday we purchased a 35-pack of Great Value 16.9 oz bottles for $3.33 and before that a 24-pack of the same for $2.48.

We have another visitor arriving near the end of this week, and more adventures coming up. If you would like to be notified when a new post is done, please enter your email at the upper right of our web page to subscribe. Be sure to go to your email and confirm your subscription.  We respect your privacy and do nothing with your email address. It is strictly a convenience so you know when new posts are ready.

Don’t forget to visit http://incargonito.blogspot.com to get John’s take on our travels.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Exploring in Tonto National Forest

Bonuses

Our main focus when going to Payson was to visit an old friend we have known for nearly thirty years. Our visit included a lot of bonus things we were not expecting during those nine days. Not only did we play cards with our friend and her daughter and son-in-law, we also visited during dinner with her son, and even got to see photos of flowers from and talk on Facetime with her other daughter who lives in the northwest.  And during a couple other evenings, we also watched several shows on HGTV, and episodes of Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and Dancing with the Stars, the latter of which featured several dance couples who received perfect scores all across the board.

One day we looked through the kitchen window and in the middle of the bird bath was a large bird setting on a rock just as peaceful as could be. None of us were sure what kind he was.  He was all white, and much larger than the size of a dove or a pigeon, but he was in no hurry to vacate the bird bath. The next time I looked out the window, he was gone, and we did not see him again while we were there.

Tonto National Forest

It was May 3rd, actually a lovely, sunny, not too hot, not too cold, kind of day when our friends picked us up in their 4WD pickup and we headed east out of Payson to explore in the Tonto National Forest. Payson, if I have not mentioned it, is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. Our friends were interested in looking for crystals and geodes, so we stopped at the Ranger Station as we headed east out of town on Route 260. The ranger was very knowledgeable in telling us the best places where people find these gems, and providing us maps for the area. Checking at the local ranger station when exploring new areas is always a great idea.  There may be dangers as well as sightseeing opportunities of which you are not aware, and the maps may also have information for primitive camping in the area.

The names of these forest roads have not yet sunk into my brain, but having the map from the Ranger Station was a great aid. We made a left off the highway on (Fire) Control Road. As we drove by Tonto Village, we made a mental note of a little restaurant/bar/grocery combination, just in case we were still in that area if or when hunger struck. Soon after that, the pavement ended.

First we explored for Crystals

There was a site on the map marking the area people search for crystals. At this time of year, we were not allowed to do any major digging other than with small hand tools. On the other hand, we were allowed to pick up specimens on the surface. There were some places where other people had dug and never bothered to cover the area where they had dug. Crystals are clear, but if they are covered with mud, you have to train your eye on what to look for. It is possible to find them in sizes ready to mount, yet many may be smaller and possibly broken.

Did we find any?

Here is a picture of the nicest, clearest one I found –

Nicest, clearest crystal I found compared to a penny



This was truly another adventure – and I would not recommend it if you are not equipped with a 4WD vehicle. The video below will show some forest roads that we traveled. This was on a dry day. If it had recently rained, the surface would probably appear much different.

Overlook at the end of Diamond Point Road

A sign along Diamond Point Road said there was an overlook up ahead, so we continued on to find it. Highway 260 from the overlook was out of sight, but the view below over the valley was awesome. It was possible to get photos of trees at the higher elevation with the valley below. Trees, living and dead, created some impressive pictures against the landscape. There was also an off-limits fire tower and antenna on the mountain top. As a matter of fact, when John and I left Payson, we could see the fire tower and antenna perched high on top of the mountain above us on the north side of the road. We recognized these as being the ones we photographed on this outing.

Muddy Tracks

Muddy, but negotiable tracks on Diamond Point Road
We encountered some muddy looking deep tracks on some of the forest roads. That is why it is best to have a 4WD vehicle when exploring, especially if it's raining. Interestingly, the road was smooth in other places. As we continued to explore off road we found a washed-out road and a small tree across the road. Since the three of us could not begin to budge the tree, it was necessary to back up and take another fork.  I am always on the look out for wildflowers, and this trip was no exception nor disappointment.

Dead Trees and Trunk Barks

So much beauty is in the forest! All we had to do was look. We saw different kinds of bark on the trees. Some dead trees looked like they had a story to tell just by looking at them. In some areas, there were piles of trimmed branches where it looked like the forestry service was thinning out or doing what they do to preserve the forest. It was amazing to me to see the number of dead trees in various sizes that were left standing. Their barren, naked, look really stood out among the live trees and surrounding greenery. It was as if they became the focal point.

Tree in the Forest
Lunch Break at the Double D

We took time for a lunch break and retraced our route back to the little restaurant/bar/grocery at Tonto Village that we had driven past earlier in the day when we entered the forest.  We enjoyed a tasty Mexican pizza, made from scratch, and ate it in the dining area. To get to the restrooms, we walked through the bar area. In the bar area, peanuts in their shells were setting around in small buckets for customers to nibble. We sampled a few and, like everyone else had done, threw the shells on the floor. The ceiling area of the small bar had caps attached everywhere.  The entire ceiling was covered. A note at the door told clientele that alcoholic beverages were allowed on the porch, but not off of the porch, nor in the parking area.

Stream Beds and Geodes

After leaving the restaurant, we continued our trek on Control Road. Most stream beds where we stopped were dry. Some beds had been washed out and had limb debris within their walls. Others seemed to travel a greater distance as far as the eye could see. One particular stream bed had many different-sized rocks. In fact, as we walked we began to hear some buzzing and soon realized there was an area with bees, so we gave them plenty of room and retraced our steps.  They did not bother us other than to let us know they were there.

One of the stream beds we explored
Another area near a rock type of wall, we found more rock specimens, some very nice and sort of round. Geodes, we learned, are not all alike. The locale where they are found affects their makeup. Some geodes if not broken can be shaken and a sound can be heard. Most of the rocks we identified as geodes did not make any sound if shaken. Many already broken, had a hard lighter color surface inside.

The Mogollon Rim and more…

Mogollon Rim
The Mogollon (mo-ge-on) Rim came into view several times during the day from different views. It is a rim that appears around the highest point of the mountain range, with the sky above it. It is way above the greenery of any valley below.

As we continued sightseeing, we saw a few areas where people were camping in individual dry campsites. Some selective spots could have accommodated a motorhome. The biggest problem would be getting over the ridge on the roadside created by a plow.

If we saw a trail leading off of the forest road, it was not uncommon for us to check it out. This is how we happened on to a special memorial. It was in memory of the firefighters who lost their lives in the Duke Forest Fire.

Eventually, our road turned to blacktop and we drove through a settlement called Whispering Pines. We came upon a sign that said something about a water wheel or mill, so we turned around. It was a walking trail, but when we saw the fee was $8 per person, that convinced us to change our mind and continue on our route. As we turned around, we noticed a beautiful, high cliff across the road, not to be confused with the Mogollon Rim, however. The high cliff was beautiful, but totally different in appearance from the rim.

The overlook at Star Valley afforded us even more views in Tonto National Forest as we continued our route back into Payson.

This has been a quick review of our day exploring in Tonto National Forest. It was a gorgeous day and it was our last outing before we left Payson. Click on the video If you would like to see photos of many of the things and more that I described above.


When we arrived back in Payson, we were on the Houston-Mesa Road, which brought us out across from the new Home Depot. It was time to celebrate another fun day, so we headed for Del Taco to enjoy their Tuesday night special – 3 tacos for $1.29.

When we left Payson we headed for both new and familiar territory. A word of caution, though -- You may want to “eat” some of my photos in the next post.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Classics of the Century

We’re On our way to Rim Country – Payson, Arizona 

The mountain scenery on this one and one-half hour drive is incredible.  It’s been at least ten years since we traveled State Road 87 north to Payson. During the 1930's, Payson was very isolated. The trip from Phoenix to Payson would take eight to twelve hours. Throughout the 1950's, work on a paved road progressed and paving was completed in 1958. State Route 87 has since been expanded to a four-lane, divided highway and is known as the "Beeline Highway". It has spectacular views and mountain grades.

Saguaro (sa-waar-o) cactus dots much of the landscape in areas where the climate and elevation support its survival. Hugh rock formations with high cliffs are prevalent on the left side as the road twists and turns down steep grades with only guardrails on the right separating the sharp dropoffs to green valleys below. I do not recall seeing any scenic overlooks or pull-offs, but the scenery from the road is fantastic.

Then the road cuts through the mountains, and the rocky areas line both sides of the road for a ways, giving way to mountain grades that open up again to the valley below and the mountains far into the distant. The mountain scenery with landscape among the rocks, high cliffs, and sharp drop offs to the valley below was even more spectacular than I remember. One of the mountain grades was posted at 11 percent, and several others were six percent on this very scenic four-lane.

A Little About Payson

It was known as Green Valley when founded in 1882. The town's name was changed to Payson after Illinois Representative Lewis Edwin Payson helped establish a post office March 3, 1884. The town is surrounded by Tonto National Forest, and has many year-round outdoor activities. It claims to have the world's oldest continuous rodeo. Its first one was held in 1884 and has been held every year since. Read more about the history of Payson at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payson,_Arizona.

Garth Brooks was here

Sunday after church, we gathered at Macky’s Grill with friends of RV friends that we have known for thirty years.  As we were about to leave, I saw a couple pictures of and autographed by Garth Brooks, who had eaten there.

Hand and Foot, 313 and ...

While in Payson, we had a wonderful visit with friends and had fun playing games in the evening. We have not played Hand and Foot in ages, plus we learned a new card game called 313. One evening we all went to Mike’s Fish & Chips.  It was very good, quite similar to a place called Arthur Treacher’s where I used to go for noon lunch with the girls when I was working.

Our friends, with whom we spent time sightseeing in Kingman, were south of Payson at Jake’s Corners, an RV park about twenty miles down the mountain from Payson, and made famous by a movie of that same name.  April 30th, the day of the Rim Country Classic Auto Club’s (RCCAC) Beeline Cruise-In, they picked us up. We headed over to Jack-in-the-Box for a fast bite to eat and then over to Green Valley Park where up to 300 pre-1990 cars were on display.

Rim Country Classic Auto Club’s 23rd “Beeline Cruise-In”

Green Valley Park has an oval paved walkway that is wide enough to drive on. Cars were parked in the grass nearly all the way around on both the inside and the outside of the circle. Other cars were parked along the street in nearby areas where the street had been blocked off to regular traffic.

Just before we arrived, a light shower rained on the classics, and some of the people were wiping raindrops from their treasures. However, fortunate for us, the rain let up and it turned out to be a great day for walking around and enjoying all of the beautiful cars. As to how many were on display, it was hard to count. By 2:30, possibly due to the weather, empty spaces were created by some who were leaving.

Other than my being partial to red, it was hard to pick a favorite. Here are a few of the cars that are also in the video that follows.

1932 Ford
My grandpa had a 1937 Ford. This is a 1940 Ford Deluxe.
Model A Ford
1946 Ford
I'm not really partial to Fords, but I do love red.  In fact, the first new car I bought was a 1968 red Rebel two-door hard top that I had for approximately 6 years.

Check out this YouTube video to see all of the cars I photographed at the Beeline Cruise-in Car Show. There is a variety of makes and models, including Chevrolet, Cadillac, Ford and more. How many can you recognize?



Green Valley Park Memorial Wall

Green Valley Park has a beautiful memorial to veterans of all wars. In memory of my dad who was in WWII, here is a close-up of the plaque for WWII veterans. The other plaques are similar.



John has a photo of the entire memorial to veterans of all wars on his blog.  We took off in two different directions, so our photos are not all the same.  If you would like to read and see more photos of the car show, check out his blog at http://incargonito.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-beeline-cruise-in-car-show-payson-az.html

Learn more about the Rim Country Classic Auto Club at their website: http://club-hemmings.com/RCCAC

Our visit to Tonto National Forest will be ready soon. We had another beautiful day with our friends exploring off-road for crystals and geodes and sharing more of our experiences. If you would like to be notified when it is posted, click on the link at the top of my web page to add your email. Make sure you go to your email and confirm that you want to subscribe.  We respect your privacy and do nothing with your email.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

A Visit to Congress!

Boondocking at the North Ranch

On the way to our next destination, we settled into a boondocking site for a couple of nights at the North Ranch Escapees Park in Congress, Arizona.  It is located about 16 miles north of Wickenburg.

This Escapees park is a co-op, which means people own their own lots and use them or rent them out if they are gone. Many lots had a park model, while there were still a lot unoccupied as many travelers had already left for the season. The clubhouse was spacious.  There were multiple rooms, one of which had a television, a seating area, and a table with a jigsaw puzzle in process. Mostly cactus and yucca plants were visible throughout the park. In the distance, one can see the mountains.



Cactus Flowers and Yucca Plants

The cactus flowers and several tall yucca plants were fascinating to me.

Prickly Pear Cactus with yellow flowers

Prickly Pear Cactus with two colors of flowers

Single Yucca bloom

Two Yucca plants about ready to bloom
Pickle Ball

Pickle Ball was a favorite activity at this park.

Barn with Pickle Ball court inside

Welcome to the Pickle Ball Barn
Angel loved the doggie run.

It was at one corner of the park, so it was a nice long walk to reach it. There were some tennis and other balls in the fenced area, so he had fun running and fetching the balls.  They were scattered all over.  As he finished playing, he picked up each one and moved it to an area shaded with a three-sided lattice that provided shade. In one corner of the doggie run, there was a water spigot with a stainless steel bowl under it.  At first he wasn’t sure he wanted to drink, but with a little coaxing after I put my hand under the spigot, he decided to take a drink.

Candid Shots of Angel

Angel is a very good traveler.  He has his routine, and adjusts very well to ours as well.  When it comes to pictures, he plays hard to get.  However, I have managed to get some photos.
Boondocking at Ehrenberg

Asleep on my pillow in the trailer
He just happened to look my way as I took this photo of him with John on the couch in the trailer.
Relaxing, but still alert

Watchful

Alert

Barking --- my little protector

Hurrying back from one of his walks
When we left the Escapees Park in Congress, we went to Wickenburg, caught 93, and took it to 74 until it turned south as Scottsdale Road, which took us into Scottsdale, where we turned east on Shea Boulevard and took the road thru Fountain Hills. Then we headed north on 87, a very scenic stretch of road, with mountain scenery and mountain grades.

More is in store – stay tuned -- as we continue our adventure of traveling and living full time in an RV.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Change is Good

Where to Next…

At this time of year, we really did not want to go further north into cooler temperatures, and south of us the weather would be a continual warm-up, so staying in Kingman, Arizona, for a while seemed like the best bet. Kingman was a very easy city in which to navigate.

The Chrysler mini-van had already sold according to schedule. In fact, if we had not already paid for a month at the Kingman KOA, we could have left March 1st.  We had gotten a call during the last week in February when we were back in Ehrenberg, and a buyer with cash in hand was waiting for us to return. We could have saved ourselves $25 for the paper ad, because it sold before the paper ever hit the stands, but when we placed the ad, we had no way of knowing that would happen.

In and Out Burger fast food restaurant and the unadvertised lunch box for $5 at Popeye’s Chicken at the TA truck stop were not the only specials in town. Del Taco had three tacos for $1.29 on Tuesday evenings. The Golden Corral had a nice restaurant here also. With a senior discount between 1 and 4, we could eat at Golden Corral for $7.59 each.  We would arrive around 3:30 and start eating lightly, so we would be ready for steak when they put it on the grill at 4PM. The rest of the time we made light meals on our own.

The KOA was a nice park with a reasonable monthly rate at $330, plus electric. My previous posts have already talked about some of the exploring we enjoyed. The cement pad and picnic table at our site made a great place to photograph items. The result was getting one entire box of organ music divided into six sets of six books each, listed, and sold on eBay.

Switching Gears

After living in the trailer for six months, we knew the time would come when we would want to get something a little bigger, but we were in no hurry. Our space was very limited, and every little corner was utilized. Finding things in the van was a nightmare, even though we had eliminated at least twelve large boxes.  We were moving and rearranging boxes every time we put those remaining back in the van.

Size was important because we did not want anything too big.  We had had a 40-foot motorhome with a tow car when we traveled out west in 1994, and even though it was very livable, that size would prohibit us from going places and doing things by the mere size of it. A unit small enough that we could use as our daily driver and keep our trailer to use as our studio seemed more appealing. Instead of stopping our life to downsize, our life goes on as we continue the process. Traveling full time in an RV does not mean we are constantly going and seeing things every day. Some days we are on the go because we do like to see the sights, while other days, we just enjoy our tiny house atmosphere.

As far as RVs go, we had looked at some but nothing seriously. John looked at various internet sites, and we also stopped to look at a few on sales lots. We had visited the Cranky Ape facility in Kingman. A number of cities throughout the country have Cranky Ape repo’s that appear on http://crankyape.com. It was interesting to look, but for any number of reasons, nothing jumped out at us saying ‘take me home’.

Then one day while taking a break from other projects, I came across a unit on http://RVTrader.com that had a lot of things going for it. It was offered by a dealer located in Quartzsite, so we made arrangements to go look at it.

Scenic Drive thru Lake Havasu and Parker, Arizona

Every time we made a trip to Ehrenberg to get things out of storage, or went to Quartzsite (in this case, to go look at an RV), we went through Lake Havasu where the famed London Bridge was located. John McCullough, known for the McCullough Chainsaws, was responsible for purchasing and bringing the London Bridge to Lake Havasu.  It was taken apart brick by brick with each brick marked, so it could be reassembled at Lake Havasu. Lake Havasu became a city in 1964.

As our road wound through the mountains and the town of Parker, besides regular homes, we saw many park model homes and RV lots along the water. Occasionally, we could catch a glimpse of a golf course green on both sides of the road in small clearings. Getting a photo of them was next to impossible. By the time we saw one of the beautiful greens and aimed the camera, the road was curving or a mountain hid it from view.

Photos of Parker, Arizona:








The Deal …

The RV we went to look at had many features that we liked. In fact, a week later, we returned to Quartzsite, traded in our Chevrolet hi-top van, closed the deal, and bought it.  As we retraced our steps through Parker and Lake Havasu this photo shows the climb on Highway 40 going into Kingman.



Flowers at the KOA

As winter gave way to Spring, the bushes separating many of the campsites at the Kingman KOA began to flower, some with rose-colored flowers and some with white. This one was taken through the window behind the sofa in our motorhome.

Flowering bushes separating campsites at Kingman KOA, taken thru window behind sofa.

Why this RV?

Many reasons, including its length, which is short enough that we can use it as a daily driver. The mileage is low compared to a lot of units. And more...here are some photos.

It’s a 1996 Gulf Stream Sun Sport model on a 1995 Chevrolet chassis with a 454 engine.  It is a Class A and is only 27 feet, 8 inches long. Total height is 11’3”. We were familiar with the chevy 454 engine because it was the same one used in our 34-foot 1986 Honey motorhome. Gulf Stream coaches are manufactured in Nappanee, Indiana, my old stomping ground. Also, John knew and had personally done work, soon after we got married, for the owner of Gulf Stream at his residence.

Front and left side of motorhome
Rear view of motorhome

The tire cover on rear matched three others in the storage compartment used to cover tires when parking for extended periods. They gave us a new one specifically made to fit the rear spare, which we changed later.

Front and right side of motorhome
Floor is laminate. Dominant colors are blue, shades of which we both like. Layout has a sofa that makes into a bed. Behind it is the kitchen area with a coffee maker, microwave, stove, oven, and two-bowl stainless steel sink and more upper and lower cabinets.
Looking toward the back
With the side dinette already removed, my spinet piano (at some future time) will fit through the door and along the side which now has a two-door cabinet and a swivel, recliner rocker with footrest.

Piano will fit here.

Kitchen area with reflective tile squares in corner
Queen island bed in back is a lift and store bed with lots of storage.

The split bath is located between the kitchen and bedroom area with the sink and toilet to right of  aisle.

Across center aisle from toilet and sink area is shower with skylight.

Looking forward, upper cabinets are available throughout the coach.
Driver and passenger seats both turn around to provide extra seating.
Both seats have lumbar support.
It has 52,000 miles on it and there is an electric brake controller for the trailer in the cockpit area
Having completed the fun task of rearranging things between the motorhome and the trailer, it feels good to get back to a somewhat normal routine. Join us as we continue our journey of  traveling while living full time in an RV.

Your interest in what we are doing is appreciated.  Feel free to leave a comment. We thank you for clicking on our links, whether you are just looking or want to make a purchase.  We may make a few pennies, but it does not add anything to the cost of your item.

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