Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dry Camping

We tried dry camping Sunday and Monday - we found out we're really dependent upon electricity. The generator did not work (will try to get it repaired on Friday - $115 minimum!!), so we conserved battery usage in hopes it would last a couple of days.

We did pretty good the first day; not much that really needed power, except pump and lights - no internet access available. The Rolfe C. Hoyer campground has been recently refurbished; very clean and spacious (http://bit.ly/cZrIF0).

On Monday, we decided to see what Canyon Point Campground (http://bit.ly/dumPOo) had to offer. It was on the way home - not too far East of Payson. We arrived before noon and no "electric" sites were available. Drat!

We asked if we could look at the campground for future reference. The gatekeeper said "sure", but we had to give them a $3 deposit - refundable if we left within an hour. We wanted electricity, so we drove that loop first. Glad we didn't get a site - very crowded and many kids. Certainly not the quiet camping we had just left.

The next loop were the dry campers. Hardly anyone there! Huge sites, a very far apart. And, we could get 3G!! What the heck, let's stay.

Still, the main drawback was lack of electricity. Especially troublesome since I used the iPad a lot (Alltel broadband card with Cradlepoint hotspot). Next time I take some allergy drugs - not used to pine trees and wildflowers, and recliner-type chairs. I figure water/tanks could last 2 days, even with long showers. A working generator will make it right.

Temperatures at that elevation were very cool at night (mid-40s) and very nice during the day - 70s. Finished several books

We returned home to 100! I think we're gonna try dry camping in the mountains again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What a Road!

After our morning walk yesterday, I got the bright idea we should drive over to Clifton, AZ. I wanted to see what the campgrounds looked like between Clifton and Alpine. We left at 8am and, 500 miles later, returned home at 7:30pm. What a drive - much slower than I even considered.

I think we arrived in Clifton about noon. Ate at Basha's deli - didn't notice the Hotel/Restuarant/Bar across the highway that was hosting a large Porche Group lunch. The food was ok, and better for us than the Restaurant - at least, I like to think that.

News to me - Clifton has the largest copper mine in North America - The Morenci Copper & Gold Mine. A VERY large hole in the ground. A very impressive excavation; wonder what the mountains used to look like? See photos here.

The highway North out of Clifton has to have some of the curviest roads I've ever seen. Very slow driving. I'd recommend anyone with an RV try this road and just see how good your brakes really are! Well, a couple hours later we arrived in Alpine. Greatly behind in our schedule AND not seeing any especially nice campgrounds. Don't think we'd go camping along that road, anyway.

Something of note. While passing a campground not too far South of Alpine, we were stopped while three large semi-trunks negotiated the sharp turn into the campground. These trucks were from Houston's Trail's End Restaurant and Mobile Catering, Kanab, UT. This appeared to be a BIG operation. The hand-drawn sign on the highway said "ICP". Later on we passed two large trunks hauling potable water. Anybody have ideas about this?

At Eager, we saw black smoke and several emergency vehicles; some from as far away as Pinetop. Last night we learned that a small airplane had crashed into the High School. Luckily the school was empty at the time.

We did find our camground - the Rolfe C. Hoyer campground (near Greer). A very, very nice National Forest facility. http://bit.ly/d88lKl. We plan to try it out in a couple of weeks.

Oh, by the way, the road North of Clifton makes the Salt River Canyon drive a real cruise.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

South Mountain

We've heard about South Mountain near Phoenix, but had never been there. So, today we did.

It's about a 40 mile drive from Gold Canyon, South of Baseline on Central. A very serene drive today (except for a couple of crazy downhill bicylists). Great views! Highly recommended.

Take a look at the photos on SmugMug - http://bit.ly/apryWm

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


For the past two weeks, several cacti have been blooming. Some of the prettiest are the Organ Pipe. They only bloom at night, and the new blooms are gone by the next evening. Here is a picture of one in the park we were able to get in the morning before the blooms began fading.