We reluctantly left our serene, peaceful BLM spot next to the palo verde trees north of Lake Pleasant (north of Phoenix). Wow, what a great place to relax. . .& watch the wild burros. We traveled on the 303, 101, & 202 in Phoenix getting to Apache Junction. I’m relatively impressed with the Phoenix traffic — or lack thereof actually.
We originally thought about staying at the Lost Dutchman State Park (I’ve heard several people really like it there) — but at $30/night, plus that ridiculous park entry fee that almost all states tack onto their camping fees in state parks (what, like we don’t realize it makes the cost of the campground MORE?), this tightwad just couldn’t handle those charges. Doing an RV park search on my Android Allstays app with a filter for <$20/night charge showed two parks in Apache Junction. The first one was a discontinued telephone number, but the 2nd one had one opening for the next three nights — Carefree Manor RV Resort on Delaware Street [480/982-4008] for $15/night FHU with one of various 50% club discounts, plus $2.50 for electric. It was a nice park, closely packed, with quite a few park models & trailers/5th wheels that weren’t moving anytime soon. Very friendly & helpful park residents too.
As much as we really like to boondock, it was SOOOO nice to have water & sewer hookups again. Then I realized we’ve had ONLY electric service for the past five months, ever since leaving Colorado, so even with the crowded surroundings, it was really nice to have city water (no glug, glug from the water pump) & sewer (just like normal folks). After getting set up, we decided we’d rather travel the Apache Trail the next morning when we were fresh & not worry about trying to rush to beat sunset — so we just relaxed all afternoon, catching up on recorded TV programs while enjoying some of the treats we got at Trader Joe’s.
Thursday morning we drove over to the Camping World in Mesa to pick up the metal screen door latch (made by Trimark, CW product #70718). This is the nicest CW we’ve ever been in — a huge variety of products, nicely arranged. We also found the stretchy cord to re-string our recliner lawn chair that blew out while in Quartzsite. And I got a good no-spill water bowl for Kira (in blue, no less) that is smaller & doesn’t need to be emptied each time we move (wastes water). Then we were off to the Apache Trail (giddy-up go.)
The Superstition Mountains (east of Apache Junction) are indeed majestic looking.
Passing north of the west end of them, the paved road eventually went right next to Canyon Lake (dammed-up portion of the Salt River). It looked like a very popular place for fishermen.
We wiggled around & eventually ended up at the infamous Tortilla Flat (tor-te-ya flat [no “s”, singular]). After waiting 20 minutes or so for a table, we had a pretty good lunch of beef enchiladas at their restaurant (with walls, ceiling, & most everything else covered in signed dollar bills).
A couple of miles after Tortilla Flat, the road turned to gravel/dirt. A few places were relatively smooth, but most of it was seriously washboard bumps. Even with a smooth road tho, many curves were marked 10 or 15mph. And at least 5 miles of the road were only single lane — watching for on-coming traffic & carefully picking a spot to meet. We stopped at a rest area/restroom in the middle of this one-lane portion with gorgeous views to the mountains to the west. By this time, the clouds were creating very dramatic scenes across the vast landscape.
The views along the trail were AMAZING. Definitely worth the trip. And there were many trees in the washes with gorgeous Spring-green leaves (a welcome sight to this Midwestern girl).
We finally zigged & zagged, up & down to get to Apache Lake (still along the Salt River). What a beauty.
More bumping along & we FINALLY got to Roosevelt Lake. . .AND PAVEMENT!
We headed south to Globe/Miami, picked up Hwy 60, & headed back to the trailer in Apache Junction. Whew — what a long day of drop-dead views & endless bumps. I’ve posted over a hundred of pretty decent photos taken just today of the Apache Trail in a new Picasa album. If you click on any of the above photos, it will take you to view them all.
Friday morning with the threat of RAIN arriving later (or in a day or so) to the Phoenix area, we dumped the tanks, filled our water tank, & packed up everything else to start our slow migration east toward Missouri, stopping in NM for the next month or two to wait for Spring. We took Hwy 60 SE from Apache Junction, thru the beautiful Devil’s Canyon (includes a tunnel), & then picked up Hwy 70 east of Globe, heading SE into New Mexico to pick up I-10 at Deming.
We spent the night boondocking on a desolate patch of desert BLM gravel/sand off Hackle Road, just east of Safford AZ — but it was free & flat. Of course we got satellite TV without interference, but also had good 4G Verizon service. High clouds made for filtered sunshine most of the day & a nice breeze kept us comfortably cool. Tomorrow, March 1st (our 2nd wedding anniversary), we’ll arrive in NM to buy the annual $225, giving us 13 months of camping by buying it on the first of the month, & start investigating as many NM State Parks as possible, while working our way north, always keeping an eye on the weather.
I almost feel guilty enjoying our winter when so much of the US is having such horrible winter weather, week after week for months — ALMOST. I can’t help but wonder what the country would be like if the majority of the population was more mobile, moving with the seasons, & of course living in smaller homes (with wheels). Why do humungous houses equate as wealth? Why not more elaborate systems of self-sufficiency? It’s very comforting to know we can move our home away from fires, floods, snow/ice, extreme weather, congestion, pollution, & drought, while surviving hail & earthquakes in our fiberglass trailer. It’s fun to imagine a much more nomadic society tho.