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More Beautiful Campsites

I swear I’ve never seen so many gorgeous free campsites as there are around here!  Today I went to check out Rock Crossing Campground in Coconino N.F., on the recommendation of Aida Schenck who I think knows more than anyone about boondocking in AZ.  What a great place! It’s got water, toilets and even dumpsters! (Finding places to drop your garbage is one of the hardest jobs of boondocking, so finding a dumpster is like finding gold!) The water was not turned on quite yet. It costs $8 a night (1/2 price with Geezer Pass) though some are double sites so they cost…..double! There are several pull-thru sites but the best ones are back-in sites perched right on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. How would you like this as the view from your campsite?!DSCN2474

I really liked the bbq grills they provided at the campground…have never seen any like this before, they have hoods! That would allow you to be a lot more creative with your cooking!          DSCN2475

Someone suggested I give more complete directions to these campsites, so I’ll try to remember that.  To find Rock Crossing CG, go 4.4 miles from the intersection of Hwy 87 and Lake Mary Rd. in Clints Well. Turn right onto FR 751 and drive 2.3 miles to the campground.  N34.34082, W111.13258   Elev. 7222′

To get to Blue Ridge Reservoir, go an additional 2.1 miles past Rock Xing CG. There’s a boat launch and up the hill, a vault toilet and dumpster!!  I believe it you go farther up the road past there, there are some free dispersed campsites (Aida said there’s a road that goes off just before the “No Camping” sign). I went a little ways up the road; it’s very rocky but you don’t need a high clearance vehicle, just go slow. I turned back because I had to pee……boy that reservoir looked like a great place to kayak!   Here are a few pics, including some brave hardy flowers that seemed to grow right out of the rocks!  N34.5558 W111.19927  Elev. 6783′

There were also some pretty dispersed campsites between Hwy. 87 and Rock Crossing CG.

I haven’t been able to get a photo of them yet, but the squirrels here have about 1″ long pointy ears that stick straight up!!  I think all the squirrels I’ve ever seen have tiny ears close to the head so you don’t even notice them.

It’s supposed to get quite windy today, 15-25 mph sustained with gusts up to 40 mph. I hope these tall Ponderosa pines have good roots!  And I’m glad they took that huge dead tree down yesterday.

Yesterday I drove out to check out Kehl Spring CG, deep in the forest. It’s 7 miles from Hwy. 87 on a little one-lane dirt road (FR 300).  There are 5 campsites there with picnic tables, fire rings and a vault toilet.  I didn’t get the GPS coordinates for it, but you turn off of Hwy. 87 near Mile Marker 281 onto Forest Road 300. The sign out on 87 says “Rim Road and Knoll Lake”. Go just 500′ and then turn left and go 7 miles to the campground. At about the 6 mile point there’s a gorgeous overlook for the Mogollon Rim, and I got really great wifi and phone signals there! (no Verizon or ATT signals at all at the CG)  I think it’s at about 7700′.

The camp host here, Rudy, said that there were several elk feeding with behind my campsite at 6 a.m. a few mornings ago!  So I’ve been getting up around then and looking out the windows, with no reward. Yet.

 

 

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Clints Well

 

I’ve moved to a beautiful little campground in the Coconino National Forest (free, too!), Clints Well CG.  It is just 1/2 mile outside of Clints Well on Lake Mary Rd (Hwy. 3), though it’s not much of a town….gas station, mini-mart, post office and little restaurant. The post office is housed in an 8×10 metal storage building!!!  That’s a first.

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There are 7 sites in the campground, in the Ponderosa pines. There’s a camp host there in summertime and he keeps the vault toilets well stocked and immaculately clean. They even have fly strips and good-smelly thingies inside! I think all the sites have a mix of sun & shade, so it’s good for solar energy, though I do move my panel around a bit from morning to afternoon sun. Here’s a couple views. The first two are of the gigantic tree the forest service guys felled this morning!

Nancy Brooks, another A-frame camper, joined me on Sunday until today. We had a nice time yakking and one day we went to Payson via the very long way around!  I saw a sign that said “Mogollon Rim” so we took that little dirt road to see what was up there. Well it turns out, it was 20+ miles on that little one-lane dirt road before we got to the Rim, but it was stunning!

And as a matter of fact, I’m parked at that same overlook right now, it’s the closest place I can get a wifi signal for my ATT mobile hotspot! It’s another 8 miles further to get back to the paved Hwy. 87, and when we got out to there we saw a sign that said “Payson 28 miles”.  We’d gone almost 30 miles on a teeny dirt road that would have been only 5 miles via Hwy. 87!  Oh well, it was a gorgeous drive through the Coconino National Forest, beautiful Ponderosa pines with lots of beautiful dispersed campsites all along that road (FR141) And as I always say when I get lost, “It’s a nice day for a drive”.  We saw one wild turkey (don’t they usually go in groups?!) and a coyote along the way.

I’d be tempted to move to one of the dispersed sites except I like having a picnic table for a change! And I’m getting a good Verizon signal there. (no ATT signal at all in Clints Well)  Here are a couple of the dispersed sites on FR 141, less than 1/2 mile from Hwy. 87:

I am staying at Clints Well until the 25th or 26th, when I meet up with my best camping buddy from NC, Jeanne Lloyd.  We meet back up with Deb & Bernii around May 1, back in Kingman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Payson, AZ

I hope everything goes OK today; we are moving to Payson, AZ. It’s supposed to get hot here in Wickenburg (high 80’s, low 90’s!) and Payson is at a higher elevation, around 4500′, so daytime temps should be in the mid-70’s.

I got my rear car window fixed yesterday, yayyy!  I hated driving around with it wide open all the time. One of our “neighbors” here was able to get the inside door panel off and had it fixed in about 15 minutes!!  I guess it had just been jostled off it’s track on the rough road in Chloride. When I had talked with his wife earlier she said she was excited because today was Payday for them and they were going to go buy a $20 stovetop griddle that would span 2 burners. Well I had one of those that I never use, so I gave it to them in exchange for fixing the window, and we all were happy!!  Nice.

THANK YOU all for using my Amazon link to order your goodies!  I earned $127 this month!  There’s a link at the top right, and if you use that to get to Amazon, I get 4-6% commission on everything you order! And it doesn’t cost you anything extra.  (If you get the email version of the blog, you’ll have to actually go to http://www.littlebittyliving.com to find the link)

Well. Two days later. The first time I used that window, it broke again! So now I have it pulled up tight and a very pretty piece of duct tape holding it shut. I’ve said it before….my poor car!!

I’m camped at Flowing Spring about 3.5 miles outside of Payson.  Deb was going to stay an extra day and Bernii was going to take the scenic route through Prescott and join me.  Once I got to Payson I discovered that  Bernii had decided to stay with Deb an extra day. Then the next day, I hear that they’d both changed their minds and were on their way to Pahrump, NV! Wow, my head is spinning from all the changes! But it’s fine, I don’t mind; y’all know I am fine being alone.  We’ll all meet up later at Kingman on May 1 or 2.

I thought Flowing Spring was just 2 big parking lots with a vault toilet in the middle, and nice tenting sites on 3 sides.  I had a really hard time getting my camper leveled and it still could be a little higher in front, but my jack leg is up as far as it’ll go! On the 2nd day I drove farther up the road and discovered some beautiful dispersed campsites right on the Verde River!  They were all full but I’m hoping some of them were just weekenders and maybe I can move today to a nicer site.  I saw the sign below and I didn’t have a bucket so went to the Dollar Tree in Payson and bought one. I actually do carry a shovel! I found one with a broken handle somewhere and brought it along. Later I realized these tools are only needed if you have campfires, and I don’t!

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There are high hills all around with sections of layered rock exposed; it reminds me a lot of Eastern KY and TN.

There’s no ATT wifi signal here but I get 2 bars of Verizon phone, so I can send and get texts. And town is really close. Right now I’m at a national forest campground which has flush toilets and running water, dumpsters and a nice shady place for me to part and write!

Payson is a much larger town that I thought it’d be….Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Dollar Tree, etc. are all here. And gas is quite a bit cheaper than we’ve seen in a while; only $1.85 a gallon.

Doing my monthly bookkeeping. Since Jan. 27 I have spent $20 on campsites. I think that’s something like 8 cents a day??   Since Dec. 23 I’ve spent $20. Isn’t that amazing?!!  Well I think so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chloride

Just got back from a little day trip to Chloride, a little tiny silver mining town incorporated in 1865. It’s now an almost-ghost town. It’s got a lot of character!  Lots of metal “yard art” in several places. (Click on a photo to make it bigger)

A boot fence,

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Pretty cool little general store with lots of Rt. 66 goodies (naturally)

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And I loved these boot birdhouses:

And Deb says she’s changing her Facebook photo to this. Yep, we buried her still wearing her sunglasses and her Breathe-Right nasal strip.

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Outside the store was this fantastic rock!  I wanted it BAD but it’s a bit too big.

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This old gas station had a tiny railroad track running around it, and it even had a little roundabout for changing tracks!

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A nice young lady in the store gave us a map and showed us what to go see. She told us about some Roy Purcell rock murals that were 1.3 miles down a dirt road…hahaha, ROAD!  It was a really rocky little path (at best). A couple times Deb had to get out and show me where to drive so I wouldn’t bottom out on the big rocks sticking up.  But once we finally got out there, the murals were pretty cool.

On the way out to the murals we saw a couple bright red patches way up the side of the mountain. We looked at them with the binoculars but still couldn’t figure out what they were; they looked like mums!  Then later in town we saw this cactus in full bloom, and we are pretty sure that’s what was on the mountainside.

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After that rough road, the next time I stopped the car and rolled down the windows to keep the dogs cool, one of my rear windows would not work! It will not roll up at all, and if I pulled it up by hand, it just slid back down. So Deb had the bright idea to pull it up all the way and jam some little sticks in at the bottom as wedges, to hold it in place. So far it’s working but….my poor car! It’s going to be a total wreck by the time I get done with this trip!

On the way out of town we saw this old station wagon passing by….heaped up with pure junk on the top of the car and all over the hood!  ???

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We had lunch at Yesterday’s Restaurant which used to be an old stage stop, and there was a big group of people there who were filming a music video! We weren’t able to find out the name of the group, but the waitress said they were from France.  Who’d come from France to make a music video in little bitty Chloride, AZ?!  Maybe someday we’ll find out. There was also a very strange stuffed Doberman behind a glass case inside the restaurant. We should have asked for the backstory on that!  We could have had Spam sandwiches, or peanut butter & bologna, or peanut butter & bacon sandwiches!!  (We didn’t.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Chillin’ Out

Brrr!  The cold snap has officially hit. It was down into the mid-30’s last night (but my little Coleman SportCat heater kept us toasty) and today’s high will probably only be around 60. Still, it’s a bright sunny day; who can complain about that?!  Yesterday was super-windy, 18-25 mph with gusts up to 50!

I have many chores to do now that I got my Social Security check for the month. I was down to only $11 in the checking account so was not able to do any money-spending for the past couple of days.  Now I need to wash clothes and Roxie, refill my propane tank and get an oil changed in the car. Funny how I resent having to do ANY chores at all.

We can stay here until 3/31 and I’d like to go to Clints Well Campground (free!) near Happy Jack, AZ next. But the elevation there is 6868′ and they are still having nights in the 20’s and even some snow in the forecast!  So maybe I’ll end up going to the free Oak Flat CG near Superior first. The problem there might be that it’s too warm…..the elevation there is only 4050′ so we will just have to keep an eye on the weather forecasts and make a last-minute decision. We have a little over a month before our friend Jeanne joins up with us in Winslow and we head off to “do” Sedona, The Grand Canyon,the five national parks in Utah and Canyon de Chelly.

A friend of Deb’s is on her way out here from Gulf Shores; we think she might arrive Saturday or Sunday. Her new RoadTrek’s windshield got stoned twice so she’s held up in TX getting it replaced.  What am I, the Pied Piper of boondocking?? I seem to be attracting quite a crowd of followers; who’ll be next?!!

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Sedona Red Rock Country!

Well I’m very disappointed. I’ve been hoping to see a live armadillo, and just read that they don’t live in Arizona! I guess I’ll have to cross that one off my wish list.

Here is the recipe for the wonderful chicken ranch roll-ups that Kathy brought the other day. https://tinyurl.com/hrlrky4

This morning we packed up and hooked up, not without some frustration. I have an iBall hitch camera that I LOVE but it’s been behaving badly. There’s a camera part that you stick on the back of the car and a little video screen that plugs into a cig. lighter outlet. It works perfectly if I plug it into my DC outlet in the camper but when I plug it into the car, all I get is a screen full of static. ??? It used to work, and I can’t figure out what’s causing the static. I tried unplugging the GPS and that didn’t make a difference. So anyway, I’m back to trying to hitch up the old way, and it takes 14 or 15 tries to get it just right, getting in and out of the car each time, and then I’m all hot and bothered and my face is it’s usual summer hue of beet red.

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We are now camped off Red Rock Road (FR 525) not far from Hwy. 89A, the main drag between Cottonwood and Sedona. It’s not a great campsite but it’s got good cell signal, there aren’t any cholla cactus here and I was tired of driving. It’ll be fine for the next 4 days. The road seems very busy and people go fast so there’s going to be a lot of dust in our future.  I’ve read that all the Pink Jeep tours go down this road so I guess I’ll have to take the car and wander farther in to see what’s what.  I’ve got a nice but distant view of the red rocks here but I can’t wait to see them up close.

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Oh and I found out why there were a billion people in Wal-Mart on Saturday…stocking up with junk food for Super Bowl Sunday! You can tell I’m a big sports fan, hmm?

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Joshua Tree N.P. at last!

Yesterday I went to Mecca, CA to the International Banana Museum.  I was very disappointed to find that it’s now only open on weekend afternoons. I was able to pick up a few much-needed groceries at the Toro Loco grocery store though. It was like taking a walk through a mercado in Ecuador!  All the signs were in Spanish only, and many of the meat cuts were the same as in Ecuador, and there were many strange things in the meat case that I don’t want to know what they were!  Too bad the prices were not the same! I paid $4.99 for a pound of good carne molida (ground beef) that would have cost $2.00 in Ecuador.   I never heard one word of English spoken in there!   I also stopped in at the 99 Cent Store and got a lemon squeezer gizmo so I can make fresh-squeezed lemonade from some of my bunk-mates.

I tried to go to Painted Canyon too but chickened out.  There was a sign at the beginning of the road that said “4 Wheel Drive Required”. I ignored it and went about 2 of the 3 miles in when the sandy road started to get soft and squishy, so I turned around and came back out.  Darn.

Here are some of the interesting rock formations on the way to Mecca.

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My cousin is going to send me Roxie’s Flexi-Lead that I left there, via General Delivery.  I was shocked to learn that not all post offices accept General Deliveries!  I’m so glad she called and checked first.  Now I’ll have to get her to send it to Parker Arizona, our next destination, as it’s too late to receive it around here anywhere.

I can’t thank y’all enough for ordering through my Amazon link! (Above right) Last month I made $58 and this month I’ve already topped that!  It sure helps., and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Today we finally made it to Joshua Tree National Park!  Boy, it’s BIG!  We did a big loop around the park but never went all the way to the northern border, and I put over 100 miles on the car!  Since we’re camped near there, we went in from the south entrance & stopped in at the Cottonwood Visitors Center for a map.  The ranger told me that dogs are allowed anywhere a car can go, which includes several unpaved roads, some for 4wd only, some good for 2wd.  Also they are allowed on the paved trail at the Oasis of Mara near Twentynine Palms.

Entering from the south, you don’t see any Joshua trees for 25+ miles.  I drove through the Belle and White Tank campgrounds, they’re nice but I was expecting to see the sites backed into the rocks and they weren’t.  I guess the campground I remember that was that way (rocks on 3 sides of the sites) must have been at Indian Cove CG which must be entered from north, and does not connect to any other park roads.  I’m pretty sure that’s where my rock climbing school took place.  I only saw a few climbers in the southern part of the park.  See the teeny people on top?

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I was hoping to see some Bighorn Sheep and I even went on the unpaved Bighorn Pass Road and through Sheep Pass but the sheep were not cooperating.  The only animals I saw were a couple little gerbil-like things!

Here’s a photo of two of the campsites in Belle CG and White Tank CG. Don’t you love that little rock balanced on top of the rest?

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Finally we start seeing some Joshua trees!  This is on the Bighorn Pass Road:

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And here’s the Cholla Garden.  Wow, zillions of those evil little suckers!  These are called Jumping Cholla. I got this explanation from Wikipedia:  “The “jumping cholla” name comes from the ease with which the stems detach when brushed, and sometimes they even jump short distances. Often the merest touch will leave a person with bits of cactus hanging on their clothes to be discovered later when either sitting or leaning on them. The ground around a mature plant will often be covered with dead stems, and young plants are started from stems that have fallen from the adult.”

From afar, they look very fuzzy and cuddly:

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But up close, they get more sinister:

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And lots of loose ones on the ground, too:

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Each of those spines has microscopic barbs! So removal is extremely painful, and the sites often get infected.  Bad plant, bad!

The rest of the photos are some cool rock formations. I love that it looks like some gigantic child was playing blocks with the huge rocks!

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Tomorrow we head to Crossroads CG on the Colorado River near Parker Dam, CA.

 

 

 

 

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Bear Belly’s and Copper Harbor

Today Jeanne, Deb, Perin and I went to Copper Harbor. On the way there we stopped to take a photo at The Gay Bar. It’s not a “gay bar”, it’s the bar in Gay, Michigan!

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Then went to the Bear Belly Bar & Grill in Lac LaBelle for lunch In spite of a very ordinary look on the outside, the inside was gorgeous! Lots of stuffed critters on the pretty pine walls (bears, a big fat beaver, big fish, and deer). The bar overlooked the lake (or should I say lac?) and you could get your food and sit outside if you wanted. We stayed in. We tried their award-winning chili, burgers with fries, another had a marinated steak sandwich. All very very good!

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After lunch we went on to Copper Harbor and went to Ft. Wilkins; cruised through the campground and thought the sites were awfully close together. We went to the old fort too, that was pretty interesting! The old buildings have been refurbished by the CCC back in the 40’s, and in summer they have people all dressed up in the old garb, ready to answer any questions.

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The enlisted men’s quarters were actually outside the fort gates!! Hmmm.
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The log construction was pretty interesting, had not seen this type of log notching before.
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The fort has a great view over Lake Fanny Hooe.
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We made a quick stop at a rock shop and then of course after all that walking around, we had to have some ice cream. I tried the lingonberry sundae…HAD to sample the lingonberries, after all! Then we got back in the car and went on the Brockway Mountain Drive. It goes almost 800′ above Copper Harbor with really incredible long-range views! This would be gorgeous during color season, I’m thinking about coming back for that.
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Then back home to the dogs who were very glad to see us after being gone for 7 hours! Mudslides around the campfire completed our day. Wow, so good!
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Little Bay de Noc Again, and a New Canopy!

I’m back at Little Bay de Noc Campground near Escanaba, and now a friend from Gulf Shores, AL has joined me!  It’s finally cooled down again so days are in the low 70’s.  Night are a tad chilly, around 50.

And I finally got the conduit brackets installed so I can use my new canopy.  I love how quickly it went up, and that there are no guy lines to trip over.  It’s small, just 5′ tapering down to 30″ wide but it gives a pretty good amount of shade.  I still have a bit of work to do but for now it’s functional.  And cheap!  6 conduit brackets, 3 adjustable painter’s poles (2 of them very short) and 4 yards of coated nylon. What do you think?

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