Happy Anniverary To Us

It’s the first anniversary of Roxie’s and my move from Ecuador back to the U.S.!  We both think it’s been a pretty good year, all in all.

We have a new family member, a little green pepper plant! I’m not usually big on naming things but somehow I felt she needed a name, so….it’s “Vegamite”!  “Veggie” for short.  Is that nuts?  Yeah, I’m afraid so. Anyway I hope I can keep her happy and alive with all the moving around we do.

I’ve been going to the Payson Library to use their free internet. I’ve never seen this before; in the kid’s book room they have a big-person door and a short little-person door!!  So cute!


Yesterday we stopped off at the little dog park. At first there was just a little Yorkie in the small & not active dogs section, then two big labs came (they were old so it was OK) Roxie enjoyed the freedom, I think, but she didn’t play with any of the dogs.

I’ve been trying to substitute yogurt for ice cream, since my fridge does not have a freezer.  I can tell you that it definitely is not the same at all. 😦

We are moving tomorrow, I think to Clints Well Campground near Happy Jack, AZ. It’s a higher elevation, around 7000′ and the nights will be in the high 30’s but I think it’ll be OK, my little heater does a pretty good job.



Verde River

We’re still at the Verde River campsite; I’m tinkering with the idea of moving but I seem struck with inertia when it comes to actually packing up and doing it.  I’ve been looking at the weather for some of the surrounding areas but can’t decide where to go next.

This morning I saw this bright yellow bird across the river….and I can’t identify it. It appeared to be mostly yellow with some black on the back or wings. Anybody got a guess?  Sorry the photo is not very good, it was far away and it kept hopping around a lot. It sure was a bright splash of color!


It’s been cool at nights, down to 35 degrees sometimes but the days have been really nice, right around 70.  We had two days of rain!!!!!!  That was strange, after going so long in the desert with no precipitation at all. We even get dew at night here!   The sunsets are pretty but much milder than in the desert too.


I saw this sign near the library. I just love weird signs!  Ehhhh…no comment on this one, though there are several that come to mind!


I need a dentist again.  That bridge I got in Mexico is already loose and wanting to fall out!! Well I can’t afford to go to a dentist until after my next SS check on April 27, so it’ll have to be loose til then.  How depressing that it seems like there’s always something going on that needs money thrown at it.



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 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!


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.








Back to Wickenburg

We’re baaack! There were really high winds predicted for Kingman and a huge surrounding area today, plus a very cold snap starting tomorrow, so we packed up on short notice and moved back to the Box Wash (at the Vulture Peak Trailhead), about 6 miles S. of Wickenburg. They’re having some wind here too, but only 15-20 mph, not the 25-30 mph predicted for Kingman!  And the nights here will be going down to the low 40’s, not mid-30’s.  We scored a really nice big campsite about 1/3 mile from Vulture Mine Road this time. Last time we were very close to the road, in a big gravel parking lot. Our new site has quite a bit of Teddy Bear Cholla though, and Roxie has already gotten a little clump of it in her leg hair, just from walking in the parking area! I caught her trying to pull it out with her teeth….no no no! She would NOT want cholla spines stuck in her mouth!  Deb came to our rescue with the needle-nose pliers while I held onto her leg and head so it wouldn’t get embedded. I learned that last time we were here that you can’t just pull them off with bare hands, as they leave little teeny microscopic hairs in fingers.  I guess I should start carrying the pliers while we walk.

I’m  very surprised to get a decent wifi signal occasionally here, especially since we are about 1/3 mile from the road! It comes and goes but I’m grateful to get anything at all. I couldn’t get anything when we were parked near the road last time.

We met up with our new friend Cheryl yesterday afternoon and had a chat-session. She is just up the road a little ways; I can see her van from here.

I don’t think we have any plans except I’m kinda hoping to experience some more of that good pie from Nana’s Sandwich Shop.  Deb’s friend Bernii is held up in Tucson waiting on a new windshield for her RoadTrek, and will be joining us here on Wednesday or Thursday, and by Saturday it’s going to be getting hot again here so we’ll probably leave for cooler climes.

Here’s my new view out the door. I am right next to a small palo verde tree that really doesn’t throw much shade at all. The bark is really VERY green! I had to look up “palo”. Palo Verde means “green stick” in Spanish, which certainly is appropriate! DSCN2385

palo verde

There are quite a few saquaro cacti here; I really love them. Those fuzzy cacti in the foreground are the Teddy Bear Cholla. Hey that’s a lot better than being around the Jumping Cholla, which can throw their spines at you if you get too close!DSCN2389

The desert is starting to really blossom. This is an Ocotillo tree, naked except for the strange blooms.



The creosote bushes are nearly done blooming, and where there was a bloom, now there are the cutest little tiny round balls of seed fuzz, like dandelions but tiny, only about 1/4″ in diameter.







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,


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



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.


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


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



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.


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!  ???


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.)







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.







On The Road to Chiricahua

February’s Amazon Associates income was a bit over $200 this month!! Can you imagine what a difference that makes in the life of someone who’s income is $1200 a month?  It’s HUGE!  You guys are the BEST; thank you so much for remembering to use my Amazon link!

I have big news; Deb, a camping friend from Gulf Shores, AL is on her way out here! Unless I drive her completely nuts, she’ll be following me around for the next 7 months, from AZ to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, and then up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the summer!  I know my friends who were worried about me being all alone can now breathe a sign of relief.

So I got off my duff and finally moved from Sedona. I didn’t even like that site all that well, it was so terribly dusty! But I think inertia set in and I would have stayed there forever if Deb wasn’t arriving soon. I am backtracking and meeting her at Chiricahua National Monument tomorrow; hoping to snag one of the really nice creekside boondocking sites just outside the park.  When I first got to AZ I was actually on the backside of Chiricahua at Sunny Flat CG but didn’t make it to the actual National Monument. Sunny Flat still remains the most beautiful campsite of the trip so far.  I’m hoping the little one lane dirt road over the mountain is ice-free now and I can show Deb my favorite campground. If it’s not passable, then it’s about 100 miles by road!

I drove about 6 hours today, through the Tonto National Forest, up & over some mountain passes, through the piney woods and then into the hilly saguaro cactus terrain, and then down into the valley with lots of irrigated farmland. Went past Roosevelt Lake and the shoreline camping looked awesome! I stopped in at the visitor’s center to get info on the new Tonto Pass rates. Camping used to cost $3 a night for seniors but now there’s no discount at all and the rates went up to $8 a night! The only discount is on the annual Tonto Discovery Pass, it’s $60 for seniors instead of the usual $80. That does entitle you camp free at the shoreline sites, but not in any of the campgrounds. (I’d want a shoreline site anyway). Just not sure I’d get my money’s worth out of it.  The pass is good for shoreline camping on three different lakes though (Apache, Bartlett & Roosevelt) so I’ll have to do more research to see if any of those are higher elevations that would have cool enough weather for me.  Deb also hates heat!

I am camped for the night (didn’t even unhook the camper) on some BLM land about 8 miles south of Safford, AZ. It is 1.1 miles from Hwy. 191 on Haekel Rd. The entrance is in the middle of a big curve in the road; the road goes left and the road to the boondocking site goes right. Haekel Road is paved, so I won’t be eating any dust tonight! I’m the only camper here but there are hundreds of cow-pies all over the place so we might get some bovine company later on! If so, I hope they’ll be nice and friendly.

I didn’t take any photos along the way today but here’s the view from our camper door.



Honanki Heritage Site

Yesterday we drove out to the Palatki and Honanki ruins, which are both on our campsite road. I was pleased to find a drinking water spigot at Palatki, so I was able to fill up 4 gallon jugs.  I didn’t go into Palatki; I thought I’d save that for when Jeanne joins me but it’s a 1/2 mile walk which I think I can do. I did go into Honanki to see the cliff dwellings; it was also 1/2 mile walk rd. trip and my bad knee is NOT thanking me today, but it was pretty interesting. There are 15 rooms left more or less intact. It’s hard to comprehend that these mud & rock walls are almost 1000 years old!  It looks like each family had a little tiny room walled off from each other. I meant to ask the docent what they used as a water source but Roxie saw me coming and started barking and people were looking around for the duck and I forgot. Yes, my dog sounds like a duck; the result of being 1/2 debarked. It’s weird but MUCH more pleasant than the brain-piercing shrieky bark she had when I first got her.

On the walk I saw this really cool burl on a tree stump. I love all the texture it’s showing.


I also loved the textures of this rock; I thought it looked like wood grain! Erosion can sure make some amazing sculptures.


On the way there the scenery was just gorgeous. It’s so frustrating to me that I can’t capture the brilliance and color with my little point-and-shoot camera. When I got back I looked up digital SLR cameras again but I was right the first time; I can’t afford one, let alone the filters & lenses I’d also want!

I have woken up early the past three mornings and have really TRIED to at least get up and look out to see if the sunrise was worth photographing, but I couldn’t make myself do it.  It’s cold in the camper (around 50) and I just don’t want to have to get out of bed before Roxie makes me.  I did drag out at 7:30 this morning and take her out though, and was rewarded with a wildlife sighting!  The whole time I’ve been in Arizona, I think the only wildlife I’ve seen is a couple of bunnies in the state park campground. But today I saw a couple mule deer!  They were a ways off and on the move, but it was gratifying anyway. I really thought I’d see more animals camping out here in the desert but it just hasn’t happened…..there aren’t even many birds here! I also got to see the hot air balloons lifting off over Sedona, which I think happens every morning.

I dug out my brand new cast iron enameled dutch oven that I bought back in May and never used, and I made meatloaf!  I cut and folded the edges of a small foil bbq drip pan and lined it with heavy duty foil to make higher sides, plopped my meatloaf mixture in and started it cooking on the stove. With the dutch oven it’s impossible to tell what temperature you’re cooking at, but in about 20 minutes it smelled dreadful and I realized all the grease was leaking onto the bottom of the pan and I was going to have a horrible mess to clean up, and me with no running water! Why didn’t I think to line the whole bottom of the pan with foil?!  I let it bake for almost an hour and then checked it, and it was beautiful!  And it tasted just exactly right; a miracle since I didn’t use a recipe or measure anything.   It really hit the spot, and the cleanup wasn’t as bad as I thought. I scraped off the worst of the goo with a nylon scraper, then heated some water on the stove & put several tbsp. of baking soda in, swirled it around and let it sit awhile, then later everything came off easily and the pan looks like new again!  Yum.  My next project is to try and figure out how to bake my sourdough bread in it. I just need to find a pan that will fit, and I’m thinking those small disposable loaf pans might work!  Next time I go to town I’ll stop at Dollar Tree and see what they’ve got.






Still Thinking About The Rally

The warm fuzzy feelings from the rally are still with me! It really was one of the best I’ve attended.

I forgot to mention yesterday that we also had a very talented professional photographer in our group, Lisa Langell. She put on a quickie seminar with tips on how to get good photographs. Unfortunately I missed it, but I heard it was great.  She put some business cards on the table and they were all different photographs, with her info on the back so it didn’t interfere with the photo at all.  It’s just a good thing I’m an honest person because I really wanted to take them ALL!  I took one of a beautiful sunset with a saguaro cactus in the foreground, to remind me of Arizona.  Check out her website; you’ll be amazed, and maybe you can even pick out the one I got; it’s there!

And back on the subject of camping with men, I came away from the weekend still convinced that my favorite theory holds true for me: “Men and cats are fun to pet, but I wouldn’t want to own one”.

I found a stock photo of an ALiner ALite, like the cute one that was at the rally. You can see how much smaller they are than mine…..glad I’m not trying to live in one of those!  They weigh around 600# so nearly any car can tow one.


Donna gave Princess Roxie a very special treat; some original chicken fingers! She finds them very interesting but doesn’t seem to want to actually eat them. I think she ate one finger of the first one, but that’s all.

chicken fingers

Some of the rally attendees posted some wonderful photos from the weekend on Facebook and now I feel even worse that I didn’t get my camera out at all. My apologies!

Here’s my rig set up off Red Canyon Road (FR525) halfway between Cottonwood and Sedona.



There are mountain views on all sides!  I tried to park closer to the morning shade, which comes from some quite spindly little bushes, but the site was too far out of level.





What a surprise, it’s yet another beautiful sunny day in Sedona! The temp went down to 35 last night but is supposed to go to 80 today! Huge temperature swings here.

It’s my brother’s birthday today; he would have been 71. As you know, some of his ashes in a little brass apple are traveling with me, so as a treat I let him come out and see the hot air balloons this morning. He’s not getting any cake though!





There were 3 balloons but 2 were too far away to photograph. I wonder if I could see hot air balloons every morning here if I just got up a little earlier?

Yesterday we went to Cottonwood and did laundry and got some groceries, then came back and drove on up this road to see what all the activity is about!  Turns out this is the road to the Palatki Ruins Heritage Site. I didn’t go all the way to the ruins, they are 7 miles up and you have to have a reservation to see them. But when I got back, I read in my notes that the views are great from there, so I think we’ll go back today. I did find some more good boondocking sites along the road too, and I might come back here after this weekend’s ALiner Rally at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, if the weather is going to be good.  I am such a planner; it bugs me no end to not know where I’m going next! But I have to wait and get weather reports and then figure out where is not too hot or too cold.

There’s tons of cool stuff to see in this area but I haven’t been exploring it much, as I’ll be back for another 6 days in early May, with Jeanne and maybe her sister Joanne. Exploring is always more fun with company!

These cacti are all over the place here. I don’t know what their official name is but I call them “Mickey Mouse Ears”


Last night there was another brilliant sunset. Arizona is so GOOD at that!


Thank you, everyone, for buying your Amazon purchases through my Associates link (above right)!  I am SO grateful, especially since you have to remember to take the time to do that extra step.  I love you guys; you’re the best!!



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.

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.


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.



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?


Buckeye Hills Regional Park

Last night I cooked a little pork tenderloin on the Weber Q grill. Isn’t it pretty? Tasted really good too, and I have leftovers!


Now we’re at Buckeye Hills Regional Park just outside of Buckeye (duh!) and 30 miles west of Phoenix. Deb, one of my blog followers, mentioned she’s got a solar panel she’s not using that I could have!  So I thought I’d get closer to Tucson in case that works out.

The place is pretty full but everyone is scattered way out, so I only have one neighbor, about 100′ in front of me.  It is free camping for 14 days, though our neighbor said they’d been here since October, so apparently it’s not enforced. If we can stay here for 20 days that’ll be great; then I can just zoom up to Sedona for the Valentine’s weekend A-Liner rally at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Good thing that’s already paid for, or I wouldn’t be able to go.

There’s a bathroom, picnic tables, and trash barrels here!!  For FREE!  OK the bathroom is pretty awful but I just need a place to dump the porta-potty, so I don’t care.  Some of the picnic tables have shade thingies over them. The trash barrels are already overflowing, but it’s the thought that counts, right?  Still amazing amenities for a free campsite! And I’m getting a good wifi signal too.

Here’s the view of the mountains from the door side.


And a corner of the restroom & some of the picnic tables hiding among the saguaro cactus.



On the way here I took a tiny detour to go through Hope, AZ.  I felt like I needed some Hope.  Imagine my dismay at seeing this sign on my way out of town!! Sigh. I was afraid of that.



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.