Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our New Fox

If you know our dogs, you know that they are fox colored and many people say they look like foxes.

In our search for a better insulated RV (so we can travel more places) we happened onto exactly what we need AND it has pictures of foxes on it! 2012 Fox Mountain by Northwoods, who also make the Arctic Fox, the original 4-season RV. It is the same floor plan as our current Cougar so it will be very similar, but it is much lighter. We got a great trade-in deal so will be making the swap as soon as I can get a half day off work.

Look out world, here we come!

Sunrise, Sunset

I had heard that Arizona has beautiful sunsets and I have to agree. Most evenings there are no clouds so it is just the glow of the sky. But on partly cloudy days the sunrises and sunsets are amazing! Right now the days are just the right length for us to catch both when we normally walk the dogs. 

Went out this morning to have breakfast at a cafe and thanks to the clouds there was a beautiful sunrise. I took several pictures with my iPad and Google put 2 of them together for me!

It's amazing how the colors change from one minute to the next.

A week ago I took some pictures of the sunset, from the truck, which don't really show the colors I was seeing. I should get out my real camera and give it a try. Now where did I pack it...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apache Trail

I have not researched the Apache Trail but I know from our drive through part of it, they were brave! AZ Hwy 88 runs from Roosevelt Lake to Apache Junction through a steep canyon in the Superstition Mountains. The sign telling us part of it was not paved didn't appear until we were already a few miles into it and really too narrow to turn the truck around. Many miles were unpaved and some was single lane but all was hairpin turns! It was quite an adventure! We hit pavement again just before Tortilla Flat which had the first signs of civilization, a quaint saloon. From there it was an easy drive to Apache Junction.


We have been exploring the area around Casa Grande starting with the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument east of town. This "Great House" is the largest known structure built by the ancient natives of the Sonoran Desert. The 4 walls face the compass points, there is a hole in the upper wall that aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice and other holes that align with the sun and moon at specific times. Our own North American Stonehenge! In order to preserve the clay walls from further decay, a protective roof was built over it. This great house was near the center of a walled village and there is no explanation for it's abandonment.

Then we drove through mountains and desert to the northeast to Tonto National Monument near Roosevelt Lake on the Salt River. Tonto contains several cliff dwelling sites, we visited the Lower Cliff Dwelling which was only a one mile hike/climb. The Salado People built these dwellings over 700 years ago. Earlier they had farmed the Salt River Valley. It has been determined that flooding occurred in this valley followed by severe drought in the 1300s. The current theory is that the Salado People headed to the hills at that point. By 1450 they gave up this way of life and migrated to many locations becoming some of the current tribes of the area.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

ChromeBook vs ATT

I wanted to test the suggestion from Google that I was having problems with my internet connection because I was using ATT Hotspot wifi on my new ChromeBook. So here I am at McDonalds testing this theory. I have completed some other tasks without problems so this is sort of a test blog. Too bad I don't have more pictures. We are in Casa Grande, AZ, between Phoenix and Tucson. It is a little dusty here, the park is in sort of an industrial area, the land is flat and without real cactus like around Tucson but of course landscaping inside the park includes all sorts of non-native plants. We saw cotton being picked, a few irrigated fields of alfalfa and many huge feed lots in the surrounding area. Our current RV park is:

Most of the park is permanent "park models" which are like
small mobile homes but are technically RVs. There are spots
for "overnighters" like us. We have a large lot on the end
with our own saguaro and palms. Most of the residents
spend the whole winter here. Lots of activities and social
events every day. We decided to stay at least 10 days.

Up close and personal!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More Desert (sorta like more dessert)

After troubleshooting on my new ChromeBook and calling Google (very good and quick tech support) I was told that my connectivity issues are due to incompatibility between this "laptop" (Best Buy says it is not a laptop because it is only used for internet) and our also new ATT Wifi Hotspot. Go figure! Enough grumbling, I am way behind on posting pictures! So I will try this on our 8 year old MacBook. 

Back to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum/Zoo...

Saguaro with woodpecker holes

Organ Pipe Cactus

Teddy Bear Cholla

Barrel Cactus



Interesting place, this desert. Plants and animals are specialized for life in the heat and dryness which sometimes creates strange appearances. We visited Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and learned a lot about this special habitat. But Google is not letting me post with all the pictures so I will try fewer.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Just got back from Tombstone which is only 15 miles south of our current location in St. David, AZ. There was an online offer for 3 free nights at this RV park they are trying to resurrect, so here we are southeast of Tucson. Driving down yesterday it was much warmer passing through Phoenix (90), then cooler in Tucson (84) and much cooler here (70) and we arrived at 3 pm. Low was 45 overnight and the highs for the next few days will be in the mid 70s. Nice! And we are almost in Mexico! But the park is pretty run down, mostly empty, dusty, they are spraying for black widow spiders, 10 miles to the closest town (Benson - has 17 RV parks and a population of 6,000). So we headed to Tombstone today and it was a good time, which of course is the reason the town sprang up in the desert; a good time for the silver miners with, well, silver. There are folks in costume giving free history lessons and some buildings still the originals from it's heyday when there were some 20 saloons in 3 blocks with brothels upstairs. And there were stagecoach rides. I was disappointed that the reenactment of the shootout at the OK Corral was $10. I have seen enough shootouts in Northfield, MN, which was Jesse James but hey, a shootout is a shootout. We wandered and stopped in at Big Nose Kate's Saloon ("The most original cowboy saloon in Tombstone") for lunch and a good time. It reminded me of Silver Dollar City (near Branson, MO).


Finally started seeing the Saguaro Cactus that is the poster child of Arizona. When traffic slowed for construction I got a better shot.
Then we stopped for gas and there was a HUGE one waiting for me to take it's picture. I wish I had asked Rollie to stand next to it, I think it was 30 feet tall.

Hope to make it to Saguaro National Park near Tucson. They don't grow all over Arizona, we didn't see any in the northern half and we drove many miles on many highways.

Central AZ

We spent 3 nights at a very nice RV park (Distant Drums) in Camp Verde (I had Spanish in high school so know how to pronounce the work for "green" but here it rhymes with "birdy") which is smack dab in the middle of Arizona. With a pool, hot tub, exercise classes, free coffee and popcorn and a fenced dog park, we were pretty happy. Only an offer for 3 free nights (see next post) pulled us away from this one. Did I mention there was a Canadian couple who also have a Shiba Inu? We were close to Sedona so spent a day there sampling wine (warning to midwesterners: They charge $10-12 to sample 4-5 wines, you don't get to choose which ones and they are all dry wines) and walking around admiring the views of the red rocks.

In Camp Verde there is a cliff dwelling called Montezuma Castle. I didn't catch why it was named that but it was pretty amazing, even though it has been somewhat restored. The overhang has protected it from rain for over 700 years. The spring was obviously the reason they decided to build here. It was like an oasis, and I assume the reason it was named Camp "Green" by the cavalry when the fort was built nearby.