That way you can scroll down and follow the story.
APRIL 3 MONDAY
is now Sat. and watching the final four and on Sunday will relax and read
the paper) We plan on heading out on Monday east on I-10 and getting off
on exit 31 and taking HWY 60 to Wickenburg. You Escapees people know that
area as Congress North. We stayed last year at Congress north so know the
Its spring and time for all
good Full Timers to think about their spring and summer plans. We
have wintered in Quartzsite, and while it was fun while the fun lasted
its time to bo on the road again. This morning we did the final packing
and cleaning. Hooked the trailer up, and held our breath, would the
slides work. would the satellite dish stow, would we be able
to hit the road.
Hooked up and ready to go
And gone. Our home of the last few months in now just another bare patch of desert on the fringes of Q. WE has a big day planned, a whole three hours of travel time, with a stop in Wickenburg at noon to visit the grocery store, go to the bank, and pick up a couple of baubles at the hardware store. One stop shopping in wickenburg. A tank of Diesel fuel was added to the mix and we continued on our way, ending up at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.
APRIL 3 MONDAY AFTERNOON
We had found the park last year when we went to phoenix from The october camp in Congress, but did not stop. The internet informed up that there was primitive camping for five dollars a night, and we were up for that. Arrived at the park at 2:00 pm and then went about looking for a campsite. Registered at the south entrance, and went to the visitors center, where they informed us that the best camping was at the north entrance. After having to back up and turn around once with the road being closed due to high water we got to the North entrance and got settled in.
Our excellent site overlooking a quiet cove.
After setting up it was time
for a hike. This view is but a short distance from our camp.
I always enjoy the contradiction posed by a large body of water surrounded
by miles and miles of saguaro cactus.
And a reminder of spring, the
flower cluster of the ocotillo cactus caught my attention on the hike down
the hill. More to come tomorrow.
APRIL 4 TUESDAY
road again, but only for a short trip up the road to Cottonwood, Az.
Tonight we are setting in Dead Horse State Park with full hookups.
The batteries are very confused, they have not been plugged into
Ac power since last Sept. We have 50amp power and a water hydrant.
We also made our arrival in civilization official hitting a Walmart, Home
Depot and Safeway all in one day. Here we are located in our
new home for the next few days. The forecast is for rain and high
winds tomorrow, we stay here for a few days of exploration while
waiting for the weather to improve in the north and east.
Went for a short drive this
afternoon and ended up in Jerome, The road climbs quite rapidly from
Cottonwood, narrow with lots of switch backs and longggggg drop off.
Would not want to be on this road with any ice or snow. did get a
of shots out the window and the street scenes below.
A great site Jerome
Chamber of Commerce Another site all about Jerome,
Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920's. The Depression of the 1930's slowed the mining operation and the claim went to Phelps Dodge, who holds the claim today. World War II brought increased demand for copper, but after the war, demand slowed. Dependent on the copper market, Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining 50 to 100 hardy souls promoted the town as a historic ghost town. In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.
Jerome sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Men and women from all over the world made their way to Arizona to find work and maybe a new way of life. Today the mines are silent, and Jerome has become the largest ghost town in America.
With the weather predicted to be bad tomorrow, we will plan on a day in camp, possibly take the truck in for service if we can get in. I would like to go back to Jerome and walk around and look at the shops, but who knows right now. I do know what breakfast will be, bought bagels, cream cheese, and sliced ham this afternoon.
Still in Cottonwood at Dead Horse state park. The weather started out today as predicted and never got any better. We had rain and sleet showers off and on all day. In between showers we were out and about town. This morning we could look into the hills above town and see the dusting of snow in the higher elevations.
We stayed at the state park as we didn't see or read about many other options. And with the bad weather it was nice to have unlimited electric to waste as we saw fit.
Went to the Chevrolet dealer Larry Green here in Cottonwood for an oil change. The dealership was very nice, a new three million dollar building that they moved into in October, but very little customer traffic. Got a quote of $75.00 for the service check up and probably should have called the GMC dealer down the road for a second quote, not that they didn't do a good job, but the entire time we were there had to listen to hard core christian rock on their speaker system. The oustside patio speaker was very loud, with constant songs about the lord and salvation, and we after to listening to this for an hour, did go and complain to management. After a smile, each employee would just say that the Muzak was directed by the owner. Must be a great place to work if you don't fit the owners perfect mold. We were surprised that a place of business would play something like this, and would want to take any chances offending customers. Word of mouth is a great marketing tool and as we spoke to people around town in visitor centers, etc. we received the same response that they did not have a positive opinion of this dealership. A letter will be sent to GM.
Wanted to go to Montazumas Castle
National Monument but got lost trying to get there. We did find the
fish hatchery and had a good time feeding the trout in the show pool.
When we got back to Cottonwood I went to the Bank and Ron went to Safeway,
then back to camp where we got to watch several more rain showers roll
Tomorrow we are going on a road
trip to Sedona and points north.
And another fabulous Arizona
sunset picture from our campground in Cottonwood, they never quit.
APRIL 6 THURSDAY
Today was our Sedona, Red Rocks day. The Red Rocks area is very beautiful, sublimely so, the great shame is they had to plop Sedona down right in the middle of it. Sedona to my way of thinking is a carnival come to town and never left. Lots and lots of ticky tacky tourist trappy shops, with some very high end art galleries thrown in for good measure. We drove the length of Oak Creek, and then climbed the hill to the ridge top for a quick viewing of the overlook. Last night it had snowed, with bits of the snow still remaining. The area at the rest stop was full of tourists, and where ever there is a concentration of tourists there springs up a Native American flea/silver market. This was no exception, the vendors were setting up as we got there, complete with propane radiant heaters.
The view below is from the upper lookout at the Sedona Airport. They wanted a buck per person to view at the stop. We didn't see anyone inserting a dollar into the machine. It didn't give a receipt so what the heck. The forest service requires the purchase of a permit if you are going to park on any of the Forest Service lands in the area. The local governmental bodies see the views as a cash cow to be milked. The tourists supplying an ever flowing supply.
We had planned a picnic lunch at some overlook with the grand views as our decor, but we got to Oak Creek and turned around in the Wendy's parking lot and Ron decided he was having a fast food withdrall, instead of my gourmet lunch. (Insert by Ron... this was the first time in a long time Terry had made a travel lunch, let be known I harassed him into doing it.) After lunch we walked main street looking in the various shops and had an ice cream cone for desert. The ice cream cost more then lunch at Wendy's. Our final stop in Sedona was the community arts center, where the staff was busy setting a new show. By mid afternoon we were on our way back to Cottonwood. On the way back to Cottonwood we decided to drive the road back up to Jerome and then went up higher up HW 89A to the top of the ridge at 7040 alt. up to the pass summit.
Driving the road above Jerome is a true mountain highway experience. The road is narrow and has many switch backs, and there are many long drop offs. The road reminded us of the highway between Oury and Silverton Colorado. Ron loves these mtn roads but they make me nervous when I am looking over the edge and seeing blue skies and nothing more. We saw a lot of motorcyclists on the road and in Jerome. They really like the experience of the winding road.
We had a great day, exploring an area we had never been to, and we know that we missed seeing things that we should have gone to. Had an email from a Jan back in Quartzsite that we opened tonight that had a couple of Sedona suggestions, a couple of galleries that we should have gone to featuring work of a couple of very prominent silversmiths. Maybe next year.
Friday we are thinking of hitting the road again. We are looking at the area around Winslow and from then on to Canyon De Chelley. After that it will depend on the weather. Would like to hit Navajo Dam, but the weather looks like it might be to cold.
We have landed at Winslow, AZ
a short drive up I-17 to Flagstaff and east on I-40.
have gone just north of Winslow and stayed at the Homolovi
Ruins State Park at a cost of
soooo nice here, we are thinking about statying for the weekend. As this
from USAToday online weather.
In the morning we have to go for water. Remember we have 3 ea. 15 gal. tubs so we can get a couple of them filled and not have to move the 5er. With empty holding tanks we could stay here for a LONG time. We have enough food to feed an army. No more room in the fridge. So a great weekend is in the offing. Like camping again. Take another look at the picture above to see the layout.
It just hit me why we like it here.... Water... Lake... Canyon. Things we missed for many months in Quartzsite and here it all comes together in the high plains at about 5000 ft. No wind and perfect.
I did not like Sedona. Another
tourist trap and way too much money being spent on fancy homes by the rich.
Nobody needs to live like that when people are starving. I have to
admit I am a socialist at heart, and think some of the wealth should be
shared where it will do some good. I know some do share, but much
more is needed.
Oh and later Bill Maur is on HBO as it is Friday and we will give hime another change. This season has been lame and just more of the same old tried lines from him and his repeat guests. The only good part is the 'New Rules' at the end of the show
APRIL 8 SATURDAY
Today we were in maintenance mode, we were also very relaxed and did things at a leisurely pace. After getting up late we decided on breakfast in Winslow, and after getting ready left for town. Our first stop in Winslow was at the Denny's restaurant out on the interstate next to Wall Mart. We got in and sat down, and then began to notice that it was uncomfortably warm in the building, and after our apologies to the server left to see what else was available.
Our Breakfast destination ended up being the breakfast buffet at the Flying J. We were late, and they were just about done with breakfast so we hurried up and loaded our plates. They then proceeded to tear the breakfast buffet down and replace it with their lunch buffet. The breakfast dishes were adequate, but not spectacular, but when we went back for lunch dishes we were very disappointed. Ron got a pc of "rubber" chicken, and I got BBQ pork ribs that were extremely tough, and had very little meat to them. At ten bucks per person all we can say is that we were full.
While at the Flying J we then pulled up to the RV island and filled our water barrels. It's nice to have a RV friendly company like Flying J around. Watched the other RVer's filling up with Diesel fuel and propane while our barrels filled. With errand one out of the way we began to look for a laundromat.
The first laundromat that we came across was on the one way streets that parrall the interstate. There were no vehicles in the lot and we thought we would have the place to ourselves. When I went inside to check the place out there were a number of scruffy characters in the back of the building drinking. Guess we now know why no one was there doing laundry. Finally found a Nice laundry/car wash out by the Safeway store.
The Laundromat we landed at was doing a big business on Saturday morning. Luckily I found three washers that were not being used side by side, and I got the loads going. Ron went to Safeway while I was starting laundry and picked up a few paper towels(scratch item no. 2 off the list) while I waited to add the liquid bleach to the load of white clothes.
Ron washed the truck while waiting
for the clothes to dry and when done we headed back to the trailer.
This pic is of the picnic area
of the McHood park where we are staying. Trying out the new panorama
software George from the Adventures
of Tioga and George team turned us onto. WoW thanks George!!
Tomorrow we plan to check out
the Mogollon rim. Going down FR 34 which is HW 99. Go across on Rim road
and back out on HW 260 up to Herber and then north back to our campground
Public Lands Info Center web site for the above maps
APRIL 8 MONDAY
was a big day so didn't post when we got back to camp at Winlsow.
We came down FR 34 same as HW
99 from Winslow.
We started out early sunday morning making the gourmet lunch of summer sausage and cheddar cheese on rye, with grapes, a can of four bean salad, tea and diet pepsi. We set off on hwy 99, expecting a black topped hwy the entire way. When we got to the road to Heber we were in for our first surprise. Surprise, the road is not paved, and not only not paved is not much more then a track through the desert. We were not too disturbed, we could always come back on the road we were on, which we "knew" was going to be paved to the rim. Our next suprise came about ten miles down the road when the pavement ended and the forest service road began. It was not a bad road, well graded and packed, we still were making good time.
We got to the rim about 10:30
am and found that the rim road was for a very short stretch that lead into
HW 260 was again paved and very nice. We stopped and visited a number
of campgrounds in the area. Most of the campgrounds in the area were
very cramped, and had lots of trees. It was not the kind of area
where you wanted to be with a large fifth wheel looking for solar power
and a satellite connection. The going rate for camping was $12.00.
When we finally got to the rim we were overlooking HW 260 as it climbed
to the rim. We sat on the rim and admired the view which stretched
far to the south, and south west. The rim was a vertical drop
of a hundred or so feet, then a steep slope to the valley floor.
From here we were going to go to Heber, but decided on going to Payson, then back up HW 87 to the rim for further exploring. The rim road on this section was not paved, and there were few places where it overlooked the rim, but there were numerous turnouts that went to the rim.
We drove the rim road for about ten miles, and then found out that we could go no further, a fire some years back had left a number of standing dead trees which were now falling accross the road, and with the danger of falling trees the forest service had closed a portion of the rim road and detoured us to the north. We could have gone further on the rim road, but decided to drive out.
There is a great deal to explore
in the area of the Mogollon Rim. Many forest service roads going
out to the viewing areas of the Rim. and on the lower side of the rim many
campgrounds and small streams to explore. It is an area that we want
to return to for further exploration.
We hooked up Monday AM and headed east on I-40 as it was to be a cloudy day with a cold front moving in but we lucked out with strong tail winds. We like that....
was to go to Thoreau and stay overnight in one of the many $10 full hookup
RV sites I remembered the last time we heading up State Route 371 to Farmington
on the way to Navajo Dam. But when we got to Thoreau we realized this was
not right... We had stayed in Grants a couple of years back and found
the cheap RV parks when we were heading west not now when we are going
east. So I screwed up so we got fuel and took off for Farmington. 112 miles
to the north. NM went on daylight savings time so we also lost an hour.
Well we got to Farmington headed to Bloomfield and stopped for supplies and decided to just head to Cottonwood campground at the state park at Navajo dam. Got there about 5 PM found a great site with electric for $14 a day. It is cloudy and may rain so we think $14 for a great site with power is a bargain.
After 6 months on solar power I can indulge in unlimited POWER. And the price is good. This is one of the great trout fishing locations in the country so we may just stay here for several days if not a week or more. Go to the NM State site for all about this San Juan River fishing experience. The weather forecast is for warm and sunny so looking forward to a great time. There will be trout pictures in the days to come. Terry only does catch and release so the stories could get bigger. So may not get pics of the fish. I'll get somthing to show.
Lands Info Center is where I get the above graphics.
The link is also listed in our
Travel Resources section on our main web site. HitchItch.com
APRIL 9 TUESDAY
After getting my licensee it was off to fish. This morning I started out in the "Texas" hole, which is the first deep water below the dam. As always it was crowded. The guides put their boats in here and then row to the top of the pool, then drift down. This is easy "fly fishing" for their clients, no casting, put a San Juan Worm, a couple of split shots and a bobber on the line and let it float. The guide controls the drift and then when a fish is hooked coaches the client into getting the fish to where it can be netted. The trick comes when there are several boats in the hole each waiting their turn to drift down and then row back up as there were this morning.
I was wade fishing and found a good spot at the top of the run where the river enters the hole. Fished the foam lines with a nymph, and later switched to a dry fly, but did not catch anything in the morning. Went home for lunch, and read the paper and then went to the Simon Canyon area. Was fishing a dry fly and caught two very nice trout in the 16' to 18" range. The first fish I hooked broke me off, and I rehooked him a few minutes later and was able to reclaim my first fly. Several other fish also broke off, one of the hazards of using a 6x tippet (for the none fishermen this a very thin line)
About three in the afternoon the drift boats that were up in the Texas Hole all morning started drifting by me on their way to the take out point. A number of them must have decided that running the river was not worth the effort as only three of the boats came down stream. The others must have taken out where they put in, kinda of defeats the purpose of drifting the stream?
Had a minor accident this afternoon,
one of the little hand held radios that we use to keep in touch decided
to go for a swim. While I was fussing about tying on a new fly it
got unclipped and fell into the river. Had to get my shirt sleeve
wet all the way up to my arm pit to retrieve it. Ron has it disassembled
and drying it out. Will see if it comes back to life or I'm on the
hook for news one. Ron sez I did it on purpose see I didn't have to communicate
back to the campsite.
Ran out of tiny flies, so after getting home and starting a chicken soup with home made noodles I had time to tie a few of the size twenty dry flies that were working this afternoon. Will tie a couple of twenty two's later. Hate such tiny flies, I can barely see the hook eye when I am trying to tie on a new fly. May have to start carrying a magnifier.
The rest of the week is supposed
to be great weather, and I am going to get the most out of it.
The river runs right through
the state park, I (Ron) took a walk today and garbed these pics.
APRIL 14 FRIDAY
all messed up today as we thought it was Saturday. We paid for the campsite
through next Wednesday. Put the card on the post and off to town went.
We have not had cell service in the campground so when we got a signal
it said it was the 14th. FRIDAY. We decided that it was ok that it was
only Friday. The campground is full with over 50 sites. We filled
up with diesel $50 bucks and the tank was over half full. $2.87 a
gal. It has gone up. But we just don't pay attention anymore. Or even talk
about it. Just fill up and move on. Went looking for a new digital camera
in Farmington, NM. Saw a Fiji 35200 on Best Buys web site but the local
store didn't sell them. Looked in the phone book for other stores and couldn't
find one in town, so passed on buying a new camera. I have had two Fuji
cameras and this new model looks like just what I want. Link to a Review:
Fujifilm FinePix S5200 Digital Camera
Terry took off for Simon Canyon
access to try his luck as it is later in the day about 5 pm here.
APRIL 17 MONDAY
We on the other hand have been taking it easy. I did not feel well on Saturday and Sunday, but feel better today., and Ron did not have the time to get the web site updated.
Went fishing today, but did not do very well. Fished in the Flats above the Texas hole. Lots of very shallow, crystal clear water in braided channels. Was advised to use a 6x tippet, and very small flies, size 24. I had one fish that I was able to hook up, but it broke the tippet as soon as I set the hook. The rest of the Afternoon was spent casting over additional fish, but I could not get them to play with me. Will be running into Town later to see if I can pick up any tips or hints. Quit fishing about 5:00 pm as the wind was coming up and at times was quit gusty. Our Weather Watcher program had a warning posted on the screen advising that there was a wind advisory for NW New Mexico till 8:00 this evening.
Have to fix my wading boots each time I go out to fish. The felt sole is delaminating, and I can not glue it until I have had a chance to clean the felt and get everything completely dry, until then I duct tape the sole each morning and it will last the day. There has been one comment about the appearance of my boot, but I am not going to take a couple of days off from fishing when I have all summer to fix the boots. Am thinking about adding removable cleats to the boot when I reglue the soles.
APRIL 18 TUESDAY
APRIL 19 WEDNESDAY
to decide today if we were going to move out tomorrow or stay through the
weekend. We have been here for 10 days now. It is time to dump and do we
pull all the stuff out and do it in place or just head out in the morning
and dump in the campground fac. So it was time to do a little research
on the net to see where to go and where to stay on the road ahead.
It will be US 64 across northern NM. We would like to stay at Heron Lake
State park and see how the fishing is on the Chama river (may be to muddy)
I had a good day when we went to Bloomfield today to get propane, diesel,
We were also a little leery of the road, it had been reported to us that the road was a very difficult pull and that we might have trouble getting through, steep grades, narrow road etc.. All the reports were wrong. There are some portions where there are long grades, but no posted steep grades. It was a nice drive, the road had been rebuilt a few yrs back and had held up well. We could recommend this as a good drive.
Wanted to see what the Rio Chama was like, had read a bit about it on the internet at some of the Fly Fishing Sites, but had only a little information. Had been told at Abe's Fly shop that the river above the dam at El Vado Lake would be off color with spring run off and not fishable. They were right. The good stretches of public water above Chama will have to wait till next time. Below the dam at El Vado Lake the water looked to be clear, but access is limited, private water and all that crap.
We ended up at El Vado State park, and we are the only ones here. When we pulled in the sign at the entrance said they had no water. When we talked to the Parks employee who was cleaning up the grounds he stated that they were going to try and get the water system up and running tomorrow.
Here we are an electric and water site with no water. We asked if the camping fees would be reduced due to the lack of weather, but the Park Employee could not give us an answer. It is $14 they might reduce it just for us.
Tomorrow we will head further East, We want to get a good start so we can get settled in before the week end campers get off of work. We intend to be somewhere in the Taos area. Tune in tomorrow to se if things go as planned. We plan to head to the Orilla Verde Rec Area. See the map above.
Notice in the next
few days I will break up the April travels into segments so the download
will be faster on eash weeks adventures. Stand by for better page loads....
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