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?!!


Kingman, AZ

We left the 85 degrees heat of Wickenburg on Wednesday and only drove about 15 miles, to the North Ranch Escapees RV park in Congress. It was hot there too but I wanted to use their $5 dry camping (for members; $12.50 for non-members) and take a shower. I haven’t had a shower since I was at my cousin’s house in January, so I probably was about due for one, LOL. While I was in the shower, someone exited the other part of the bathroom and turned out the light….it was pitch dark in there!  I had to grope around and fumble for my flashlight, and I dropped it on the floor but finally got it to light and found the light switch. Sheesh!  I really wanted to do laundry there too, it was only $1.25 for wash or dry. But I didn’t want to unhook the car and drive over there, and it would have been too much to carry all my shower stuff plus the laundry in one trip.  With my knee hurting so much, I knew one trip was all I had in me.  Deb was able to use their dump station, buy propane, fill up her water tanks and have a shower.

This morning we were headed for cooler temps in Wikieup, but when we got there it still seemed way too hot so we just got gas for an outrageous $2.19 a gallon (the two gas stations up the road wanted $2.99!) and headed to Kingman. We found a GREAT campsite just off a paved road, with trees and shade and a 4G ATT wifi signal and pretty good Verizon signal!  And it’s higher elevation here so seems to be 5-6 degrees cooler here than in Kingman which I think is about 10 miles up the road. At I-40 Exit 59 you head south on DW Ranch Road and go about 3 miles, it’s on the left before you get to the private residences.  There’s space here for lots of RV’s, though there’s a dip that I scraped bottom on a little bit. ( I do not have a high clearance vehicle)

Here’s the new view out my door. Yes, it’s just a tree. But how wonderful to have a TREE after all that desert camping!


Here’s the view looking the other way. More trees; aren’t they wonderful?!!



And here’s poor Princess Roxie, still having Bad Hair Days in the dry air here. Looks like she stuck a toe into an electric outlet!




Saguaro National Park

Yesterday we went to Saguaro National Park West. We saw a 15 minute slide show in the visitor center and then took the Bajada Loop drive, which is a very bumpy dirt road. After the first couple thousand saguaro cacti, they all start to look alike.



It looked like some of the Mickey Mouse….er….Prickly Pear cacti were starting to bloom??



I was sitting in my lawn chair in the shade the other day when I heard a loud buzzing sound, and a beautiful hummingbird flew right up to my face and hovered there for a few seconds!  At the park I found out, it was an Anna’s Hummingbird. Here’s a photo I got from the internet; isn’t it gorgeous?! A lot of RV’ers bring hummingbird feeders with them. I am thinking about buying one.


Deb and I went to the Casino del Sol the other day. We signed up for their club and got $5 in free slots play plus a coupon for 50% off food.  I lost my $5 in less than a minute so I went and had a delicious chocolate soda at Moby’s (only $2 with my coupon!). Then I lost another $7 of my own money very quickly and called it quits. I HATE myself for squandering that much money.  Deb ate at the buffet for only $7.50 with her coupon, and said it was incredible. I hate her. Oh…no I don’t, but I wish I’d just eaten instead of blowing it on slots. She also spent money on slot machines. I guess I should just limit my slot machine playing to my Kindle, but there’s always that slight chance that you’ll win BIG! (I often win big on the Kindle!)  Now I am craving chocolate sodas.

Deb’s thinking about going to Wal-Mart to get new tires for her truck today. I’m thinking about washing my hair, that’d be my big project for the day! (And I may not get around to it)  Deb and I are falling into a pretty good routine; neither of us are morning people so somewhere around 11 a.m. one of us will check  to make sure the other is not dead, and then go back to our important job of reading.

The weather has been wonderful…around 70 degrees daytime! It’s supposed to be hot (84) both tomorrow and Friday. I think we are going to get all hitched up and ready to go on Thursday evening, then leave Friday for Wickenburg, and drive during the hottest part of the day.  The temps look great there; mid-70’s daytime and mid-40’s nights.







Travel Insurance

I had to purchase another travel insurance plan today.  I don’t need all the fancy bells & whistles like Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage; I just need a bare-bones policy that’ll cover my deductible & co-pay for medical costs, the stuff that Medicare won’t cover. I always purchase my travel insurance through, they seem to have the best rates & the most options. I got a policy good for 90 days with $100k secondary medical coverage and $250k medical evacuation coverage for $29! Not $29 a month; $29 for 90 days! InsureAndGo USA is the provider. It’s comforting to know that at least while I’m traveling, a major health problem would not be life-altering for my pocketbook.

I’m so impressed with myself….aside from last weekend’s state park stay for the A-Frame rally, which I had paid for back in November, in the past two months I only spent $15 on campsites!  And that $15 was for SIX nights of camping, too.  So that averages out to $.25 a day, not bad!  I stuck to my budget this month and was even able to save a little bit.  Yayy!

Yesterday I got up early (for me) and saw the hot air balloons traveling really low. Can balloons go under power lines?! I swear these two did, though they were beyond the hill so I couldn’t see the baskets. Boy, if they did, imagine the poor people in the baskets…..that must have been a little stressful!



It’s been dipping down into the 30’s the past two nights, so I’ve kept the little Coleman SportCat 15o0 btu catalytic heater going. It keeps the camper at 62 degrees, which seems very luxurious! Here’s the heater setup with the little u-shaped barrier I made so Roxie won’t accidentally swish her tail onto the heater and burst into a ball of fire. The little green battery fan circulates the warm air and runs on rechargeable batteries, which have to be recharged daily. I’ve stuck a piece of foil over the front of the fridge so it doesn’t get too warm. This is a great little heater, it just sips propane….it will run for more than 24 hours on one bottle! I’m not sure why Coleman quit making them, unless it’s because they don’t have oxygen sensors or automatic shut-off switches if it turns over. I also have the Coleman ProCat model that’s 3000 btu but it’s too much heat for this tiny camper unless the outside temps are less than 25 degrees. DSCN2201

Finally I dragged myself out of bed early this morning to see the sunrise. Maybe I was a bit late, as it wasn’t that exciting. But here’s a photo just to prove I did it.



A Little More of Sedona

My Ben & Jerry’s did not stay solid but it was the BEST chocolate soup I’ve ever had.

Well my tire was flat again this morning; I expected that. I am very impressed with Good Sam road service! I called them at 9:29 and the guy showed up 18 minutes later!! He was all done and out of here by 10 a.m. He put the spare tire on and it might be the original spare which would make it 9-10 years old.  It has plenty of tread and is in good shape, so I left it on. Who knows how old the other tire is, it’s the used one I bought and it could be just as old. So we’ll try this. I’m glad I got to see how to access the spare tire (it’s tucked up underneath the car) and what tools to use. Not that I’d ever change a tire willingly, but you never know; I could have a flat and be out of cellphone range. There was a big ol’ nail in the tire but I took it in to Sedona and got it fixed for $15.

I saw this raven strutting around downtown….I love ravens!


While we were waiting for the fix we drove around a bit. What a gorgeous place….around every turn is a different stunning view!


And I thought it was interesting, how this tree has grown all twisted.






Cottonwood A-Frame Rally

Well the A-frame rally at Dead Horse Ranch State Park is over. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t take a single photo the whole 3 days!  There were 17 or 18 A-frames there, of all makes, models and sizes, from 6.5′ long (box size) to the (seemingly) gigantic Chalet 1935 which has a 15′ box size! And lots in between. The “standard” box size is 12′ and is 15′ overall.

On Saturday, Dan from the local RV service place came and did a question and answer session with us and I think we all learned something! I learned that it’s OK if my camper levels are different on the tongue and inside the camper, and that I should level it to the inside floor.  (I’ve been kind of splitting the difference).  After that we all traipsed around to see everyone’s campers and what cool modifications they’ve done.  My favorite was Deborah Capodices’s adorable tiny ALiner A-Lite which is the smallest model. It comes with just some benches with cushions which all go together to make a bed that fills the space. But she’s made a single sofabed with colorful cheery fabric and has a little tiny sink & stove on the other side. And maybe a fridge, but I can’t remember. This is one that I really really meant to get photos of, but fell down on the job.  I’m sorry!   I heard someone say about mine, “Well she sure knows how to fill the space”!! LOL

Party Central was at Donna Morey’s site, and she’s a fantastic hostess! She had fresh coffee going early every morning and snacks, cold water, etc. all the time.  We had a terrific potluck dinner on Saturday night and there were always people sitting around chatting all day and half the night.

What a GOOD TIME!  I met so many super-nice people! It was odd at first to have men in the group….I usually camp by myself, with the Women A-Frame Campers group, or with women friends. I don’t know how long it’s been since I socialized with men!  Just have to remember not to talk about your Lady Parts.

I SO want to come back next year but probably will be spending next winter in NC/SC.   But if you are an A-frame camper and can make it next year, it’s going to be held on President’s Day weekend, Feb. 16-20. Mark your calendars because this event is not to be missed! Dead Horse Ranch starts taking reservations 12 months in advance. If you reserve early and it turns out you can’t go, you get a full refund minus only a $5 reservation fee. There’s tons of interesting things to see & do around here too…inside the state park and in the surrounding area.

So now I’m back at my former boondocking site halfway between Cottonwood and Sedona, on FR 525 (Red Canyon Road). I had scoped out a couple nicer sites that had trees for shade, but of course they were already taken.  The weather looks pretty good to stay here for the next 10 days or so.




The Desert Bar

We drove out to the Shea Road BLM area and I think we’ll move there tomorrow. It’s right off a paved road about 5 miles from Parker, and the ATT signal there was better than here.

Then we went to The Desert Bar.  The directions on their website are not very good but after a couple false starts I discovered that Google Maps knew where it was.  Boy you really have to want to go there!  It is 4 miles down a really REALLY bad dirt road!  Lots of twists and turns, going mostly uphill, with big rocks sticking up. I thought a low-slung car would never make it but a minute later, a SmartCar came around the bend, so I guess any car can do it.  It took 30 minutes to go the 4 miles.  It must be good for business; once you finally get there, you’re ready for a stiff drink or two!

The Desert Bar is out in the middle of the desert, a big open-air place run by solar energy.  It’s only open in the winter on weekends, since it’d be way too hot in summertime.  I am so mad that my camera ran out of battery while I was there!!  The battery lasts a really long time so I tend to forget about it.

Since the bar is open-air, dogs are welcome!  I didn’t know about that so poor Roxie stayed in the car.  There was a live band playing today, and they sounded pretty good.




Maybe the coolest thing about the Desert Bar is the ladies’ restroom….it’s open air, too! The stalls are backed up to the rock wall, with very heavy rusty iron sides & doors.


And here’s the view while you are washing your hands:


I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve taken photos in a bathroom! For more pics and the history of The Desert Bar you can go to their website at

I really wanted to get some of their beer-battered fries and a brew and sit for awhile but my p0cketbook screamed, “Are you NUTS??!”  But I did stop on the way home at the do-it-yourself car wash and spent $3.25 to wash the car. Boy that’s something you won’t hear me say very often…..that’s the first time the car has been washed since I bought it in April!  But the Yuma mud had really left it a mess. I was so proud of my nice shiny car when I got back here….only to find that I did a bad job!  It’s still got some dirt streaks.  Sigh.  And now it’s apparent that the damage from the jacknife incident is worse than I thought.

I got a new neighbor today….I feel so insignificant!! DSCN1971




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.



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?


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?



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


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:



But up close, they get more sinister:


And lots of loose ones on the ground, too:


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!





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