Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Days 60 - 63: Albuquerque NM

Day 60 - 63:  Nov 27 Wednesday - Sunday, Dec 1

This morning our rv took us from Caballo Lake State Park NM to Albuquerque NM via route 25

We wish we had more time to spend in New Mexico and that it was a warmer time of year to do it.

Here is our schedule: 

11/27  set up for Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival Annual Holiday Show

11/29 – 12/1  SHOW

12/2 we will bolt south to get out of this cold and somewhere at least warmer for a few days while we regroup for our next show.

Day 59: Safford AZ to Caballo Lake State Park NM

Day 59: Nov 26 Tuesday

Got neighbors yesterday, I guess we were due…inconsiderate ones.  Up rolled a big toy hauler and since this is ATV area, you know what’s coming.  Out rolled three 4 wheelers, on went the generator (they are pretty close to us, next site but there is plenty of open land around us) which stayed on until 8 pm, and the ATV’s sat there for a good hour while they set up…just running!  Then the riding began and the revving up began…good thing it turns light early and they arrived late.   At 4:45 AM on went the generator again; I was awake but this just did me in.  To think I was going to wait until 6 am to turn our generator on out of consideration (which meant I couldn’t get up until then as it was 35 degrees in camper).  32 degrees outside upon waking.  Oh, well at least we had a pleasant (but cold) few days of peace.  We are leaving today anyway…after a soak, of course.  Hot Tub Man would have it no other way.


Route:  From Safford Az to Caballo Lake State Park NM.  Route 70 east into NM Lordsburg to Deming via route 10.  North on 180 to 26 to Hatch NM (Chili capitol) and north on route 25 to Caballo Lake State Park.

This route was mostly scenic with lots of open country HUGE dairy farms (never seen so many cows in one place as out west) passed some cotton fields.  Hatch is the self-proclaimed chili capitol with many places selling dried chilis.  Chilis where hanging everywhere and some were drying on roofs and on tarps on the ground.  If I knew what to do with them I would have bought some.


Today was errand day…buy the extra quilt for David.  Food shopping.  There are quite a few rv’s on the roads today perhaps for Thanksgiving coming.  The campground electric sites are almost all full but we managed to get one despite arriving at dusk.  There is a little bit of snow on the ground here and there leftover from a recent snowstorm which we thankfully missed.  At $14 per night with electric Caballo Lake State Park is a sweet deal:)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 58: Hot Well Dunes, AZ

Pink sunrise on the mountains
Day 58:  Nov 25 Monday

Last night David and I attempted to sleep in the same bed because it was going down just below freezing and his bed lacks some blankets (which we will fix shortly).  The extra blanket is on my bed (thanks hon).  He lasted in my bed until about 1 am and then went to his despite the blanket shortage.  Despite the cold we both managed to sleep well enough after that (actually better because we weren’t banging into each other).
What a treat!


This a.m. temps outside 31 degrees; Inside rv it was 35 degrees.  The house battery would never run the heater all night so I just got up and turned it on until it warmed up to a livable temperature in the morning. (We used to winter camp for fun in tents, before kids, before each other).



Happy hot spring grasses
We are staying at Hot Well Dunes again tonight.  The weather pretty much all around us is going to be below freezing and here it should remain just above. Oh well soaking in the hot springs…someone has to do it

Scenes from Hot Well Springs
.Hot tubbing for the day….on an off, getting ready for art show in Albuquerque, NM next Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, planning routes home for start December 8.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 57: More Hot Well Dunes

Scenic but cold and rainy

Day 57: Nov 24 Sunday

Cold spell!  When I awoke this morning it was 37 degrees inside and 38 outside…coldest yet.

Well that called for a dip in the hot spring but first it had to fill up…so around 10:30 we hopped in.


I think we were in it for about 1.5 hours (I am never this lazy). 

After lunch I ran around and took some quick photos and it was cold soooooooo….we had to go

In the hot tub again….for about 2 hours…chatting away.  Before you know it dinner time arrived

And that day was gone.  Again we shut the tubs down…meaning until the solar pump stopped pumping in the hot water and before they magically emptied.

One of two tubs
Below freezing tonight and a whimpy house battery.  Running generator as needed.  Cabinet doors open to hot water heater and plumbing (where possible).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 56: Hot Wells Dunes, AZ

Day 56: Nov 23 Saturday

It is windy and it is cold and it is raining intermittently…this all started somewhere in the middle of last night.  A check of the weather for the next four days reveals that some winter storms are coming in and we have to be careful where we go after this (for Monday night).

The clouds were thick and low all day and night. BUT we decided to check the hot spring tubs to see what was up.  When we checked in the morning (first thing), the water was pretty much gone.  By the time 1 pm rolled around they were filled and the solar pump was still pumping despite ZERO sun.  In we went and I suspect we might have spent two hours soaking; it was either relaxing there or sitting in trailer.  During our soak, it rained on and off so my hair was not quite soaked but very damp.  The reason we got out was that the solar pump that keeps the tubs filled with the hot water had ceased working; it was pretty gloomy out.  We love soaking.
The temp outside today was around 44 degrees but we were warm in the tub!   Oh, we had the tub to ourselves both yesterday and today.
We will stay here again tonight as the temps are just high enough to keep from freezing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 55: Arizona - Hot Well Dunes

Day 55: Nov 22, Friday

Rained during the night and early morning…only the second time during this trip.

After checking for any washouts in our part of the camping area, off we drove.  No problems driving out.  With more rain coming today (if the weather dude gets it right) and tomorrow,

We made a quick decision as to where to stay the night tonight.  Our “schedule” was rearranged.

We stopped at The Produce Wagon just outside of the Chochise Stronghold camping area and on the main road.  Their sign advertised FRESH PRODUCE so I was there.  As it turns out, they did have some fresh produce (very and some not so much) AND the also had bulk packaged natural foods (like organic dried beans, spices, flours, etc).  I got some more beans, some spices and FRESH spinach.

Our drive took us back on route 10 going east (we’re still in AZ) then route 191 north to Safford and from Safford  east and south to Hot Wells Dunes, a blm area with two hot springs.  After picking up a few things in Safford Walmart, we headed down the long paved road to the springs.  Nice to have a paved road especially since more rain is here.  After a bit of futzing around we found the springs and secured a site in view of the tubs…perfect.  There was just time for a dip in the hot springs.   Solar energy runs the pump so when the sun is gone for the day so is the incoming hot water (and in fact a few inches of water gets sucked out when the pump is done for the day).  We waited for the water to get sucked out.  GREAT…just what my back needed.

Since rain is coming, we will probably be here a couple of days.  David loves hot springs so this is his treat!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 54: Cochise Stronghold/Coronado National Forest AZ

Day 54: Nov 21, Thursday

Our overnight in Coronado National Forest was quiet…one other trailer group here.  No one camping in the paid Cochise Stronghold area when we where there to hike this morning.  We attempted to do the Cochise Stronghold hike BUT when we got two miles in we “noticed” that
There were rather dark clouds coming over the mountain.  We also heard a clap of thunder…so we headed down.  It turns out it didn’t rain but a few drops hit later on. 

With rain coming and we are a couple of miles in on dirt roads that are subject to drainage, we
Decided to take a walk and see what other sites we could find that might be better.  Found a site with no overhanging trees and no run-off from rain.   Good thing we walked it because there we some low branches that are class C would not have liked and some pretty deep road grooves (needs to be graded again). Last night coming in when it was almost dark, we just picked anything.  Coronado National Forest near Chochise again tonight.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 53: West side of Dragoon Mountains, AZ

Colors of sunset were fabulous
Day 53:  Nov 20, Wednesday

A very quiet night’s sleep last night (heard a few coyotes before bed) and woke up to a fabulous sunrise coming over the Dragoon mountains.  Peeked out and saw a border patrol truck go by (all the way out here)…so I stopped them when they were coming back and asked them if we were okay out here.  

That was a yes.  I asked them if they ever caught anybody out here and they said no. (They were young.)  So I go inside and tell David what they said.  HE tells me that when he was here maybe eight years ago with Graham, they HAD seen them with caught illegals down the dirt road on the way out!!!!!  Good he told me that now…..I might not have slept.  Actually it is not the illegals that I am worried about.  It would be that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time for illegal drug activity.  We are maybe 50 miles from Mexican boarder and 50 miles is not that far.


Our house battery appears to be slowly dying.  (This is the battery that doesn’t run the engine but the “house” things like fan in refrigerator control, lights, water pump, etc.)  We will make it home with it but then replace it with three batteries; David will need to weld something in order to fit them all.  We go to bed with that battery full and by morning it is down 1/3.  And when I run the morning heat, that makes it very low at times.


A short walk in morning to take some photos…including OUR herd of cattle.
Sunrise was not too shabby either


Today our rv took us to…Tombstone for a visit (sorry no pictures).  The cameraman didn’t take any and either did I. Nice little tourist town and I had hoped they would have retained some of the wild west flavor and it did not disappoint me.  David had the world’s most expensive frozen self serve yogurt there at $10 for a cup; un chaperoned he picked the biggest cup…after all yogurt is healthy right?  Are the m&m’s  and chips he put on it healthy?


From Tombstone, we took Davis Road to route 191 to spend the night in Cochise Stronghold area.

Davis road was an unexpectedly nice ride even thought it wasn’t designated as a scenic route…fields of gold and just a few houses towards the end.  It was in a valley that was surrounded by mountain ranges.
The road into Cochise Stronghold was a bit rough once you got into the national forest but we made it…just as it was turning dark.

Quiet and peaceful just us and our heard of cows

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 52: Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park
Day 52:  Nov 19, Tuesday

Route 86 west of Tuscon…who would have thought that cars plied that highway at all hours of the night… I heard them most of the night. 

Pano view of the park

Cute ground squirrel

The road surface is not very good so you hear more kathunking going on.  Barking dog in the distance, laughing coyotes, airplanes…bring me back to the boonies.



Old Saguaro
Today we visited Saguaro National Park.  Nice park.  We did some shorter hikes (in shorts and t shirts).  More cactus than we will ever see anywhere…especially Saguaro  that has a limited range of growth (Arizona, parts of New Mexico and Mexico).  Amazing cacti everywhere you looked.


There are tons of them here

We didn't really want to see anything else in Tucson so we headed out into the boonies again.  David selected the Dragoon Mountains on the west side as he has climbed here in the past and I didn’t care as long as I got a good night’s sleep.   

Upclose saguaro

More rock art
After driving 10 miles on a dirt road (this time there are ranches along the dirt road) we found a spot to park.   I did mention to David that someday WHEN he gets stuck with this rv in the dirt/sand, he will hear about it for awhile.

Cows in the fields eating grass (yes, some grass growing finally).  Nice location at the base of the mountains.  Sunset was so gorgeous.  I am pretty sure the cows will be quiet.  I Cannot wait to see sunrise here! 

hedgehog cactus
Sunset at our campsite near Tombstone

Now this is camping!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 51: Near Tuscon, AZ

Day 51: November 18, 2013  Monday
Petroglyphs at painted rocks

We awoke to another fine day…no rain, pure sun.  This morning we took the SHORT walk to see the “painted rocks” which were pectroglyphs.  I do believe this is one of the more prolific sites for rock art and we’ve seen a fair amount.  I should say a little about Painted Rock Petroglyph site.  It is a BLM park east of Gita Bend in Arizona.  There were only 8 campers there while we were there…not bad and there was room for maybe 70 campers/tenters.  We brought water in and that was good because there was non (like most blm sites).  I would have stayed another day but no hikes in area unless you make them on the 4 wheel roads.

View of Campground

It was decided that we would move on today towards Tucson.  We have some destinations in mind for the next few days and ultimately we need to land in Albuquerque next Wednesday.  We weren’t quite sure where we would end up staying the night (a common theme) but we were pretty sure that Walmart would be avoided and BLM lands would be our aim.


Along the way we stopped to dump our tanks and take on some water and we also happened to notice that our propane needed filling again even thought we haven’t used it much…a little heat in the morning.   The temps have been cool enough at night (40’s or maybe low 50’s) and pretty warm during the day  high 70’s or low 80’s.


As the sun began to set, I picked out a place for us to overnight tonight.  A small blm campground…which is really just a parking area west of Tuscon off of route 86.  It will suffice for tonight but I can hear cars whizzing by….



I should say that the last two times we got gas it was $2.94 and $2.99 today.  YAY!  NY is about $3.34 right now…gougers!

Lots of petroglyphs


Information for fellow rver’s:  Holt’s shell station and RV Park on exit 119 of Interstate 8 had free dumping, free water to drink and they had propane.  Their rv park has Escapees and Passport America discounts…although we chose to not stop yet.  The rv park was small but fine for one night; parts of it back up to the truck overnight area.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 50: Sunday, November 17 Arizona (Kofa, Yuma, Painted Rocks)

Day 50:  Sun, Nov 17


We left Kofa Wildlife Preserve today and headed towards Yuma.  Along the way we took some more cactus pictures.   


YUMA veggies - collards to be exact
Before we even made it to Yuma, I was mesmerized by fields of greens (think veggies).  I thought for sure I was in OZ.  From the Farm, a farmstand north of Yuma caught my eye and we stopped there.  No greens in this stand yet but we did try a DATE SHAKE which was fabulous!!!!!  It is vanilla ice cream with pulverized dates blended in.  I don’t even like dates but this was good, excellent.  I eyed some lemons but they were green so I asked when they would be ripe.  The lady behind the counter told me that they are ripe now and oftentimes yellow lemons are gassed to speed up the process…..ugh!  I bought some to slice up, freeze and put in green smoothies.


After the farmstand and seeing all those fields of greens, we thought Yuma was going to be a place to stay.  However it was not to be; we like rural and this was pretty much a big town with everything anyone could want shoppingwise.  We are not here to shop but to enjoy some serious boondock camping.  So after a trip to Walmart we left. Ironically, this Walmart had the worst wally vegetables that I have seen.  How does that happen where there are fields of collards, lettuce, etc.  Off to find some too hang out. 

Interestingly, there MANY rv's heading west towards...YUMA! An amazing is filling up fast!   Glad we are going to miss it.

Fish hook cactus
The night ended in Painted Rock Campground west of Gila, AZ.  This is a BLM campground $8.00, what a deal.  Our cell phones work, our mifi works well…perfect!  Honestly we did try to find a free BLM spot down the road here but there are none to speak of…tribal lands (which I do not begrudge but it was not on the Benchmark maps as tribal lands but blm lands).  Quiet and peaceful.
Interesting sightings today:  a few HUGE cattle feedlots with accompanying odor,

Lovely GREEN fields of luscious growing green things (I miss trees and green of NY)…kind of tired of brown.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 49: Kofa Wildlife Refuge - Arizona

KOFA a view from the hilltop/our rv is in there near the road
Day 49:  November 16, 2013

Because it was so quiet and peaceful here, we decided to stay a second night and just chill.  No driving for David and a desert to explore and Yuma can wait.

Kofa - deadly cholla
We spent our time walking, doing some photos, cleaning up rv a bit, cooking up a pot of beans/grains and chilling.  During our walks I was trying to find a small/infant sized saguaro cactus...wasn't successful.  I read that young cacti usually grow under the protection of a nurse tree and are very hard to find...well there isn't that much growth here so I still don't know why I didn't find any smaller than 3 feet tall.

My research tells me that the young saguaro only grow 1 - 1.5 inches per year during their first eight years of life.  Here in KOFA there were many unbranched saguaros...meaning they were less than 50 to 70 years old!!!  Saguaros are considered mature at 125 years old!  It may weight six tons and be 50 feet tall (water storage inside contributes to weight).

KOFA views

By the afternoon we were one of two rv's left in the park and we had one drive in/drive out visitor....nice and peaceful.

Heard some coyotes last night.  The only wildlife we saw during the day were a jackrabbit and some quails.  Big horn sheep live here but we didn't see any. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 48: Quartzsite and south

Palm Canyon - California Fan Palms
Day 48:  November 15th, 2013  KOFA Wildlife Refuge

We left  our quiet boondocking digs early in the morning to head to Quartzsite.  Not having been there before and having done no research, we didn't know what to expect.  The one thing we did know was that we would end up boondocking in the KOFA wildlife refuge south of Quartzsite by about 18 miles.

Hiking...our class c is dot in the valley
Bird's nest in saguaro

hiking area of Palm Canyon

all things cacti

cacti growth
Quartzsite is home to a large gem and mineral show in January and February each year but we didn't know what to expect in November.   I was hoping that I might find some finished cabochons to bring home and I was successful in finding some colorful turquoise, some displays, and a  strand of beads.
My customers will love the finished products. 

that is one BIG cactus
doesn't look so big does it..see below
We found Quartzsite to be mostly devoid of homes but rich in motorhomes and rv's in all vintages from old and crusty to the most modern.  Because we may never be here in January or February (but we might), we tried to picture it at that time of year.  Would all the rv spots be filled? (There was potenetially a lot of them between full service parks, mom & pop spots, the BLM lands, the Long Term Visitor Areas).

creepy tarantula that I almost stepped on...very creepy

There is also an RV show here in January where apparently as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people in rv's converge on this small town with not many services.....
Some day we hope to be able to see what all this is about in person.
We arrived early afternoon at the KOFA Wildlife Refuge in time to do a quick hike to Palm Canyon.
The California Fan Palm naturally grows here in the recesses of the canyon and its the only place in Arizona where it grows.

night shot #1
All things, Saguaro Cactus.  The Sonoran Desert is the backdrop for our overnight tonight and tomorrow, couldn't be better! Well we don't see saguaro in NY and they are the quintessential cactus.  So after our hike we tried to find the most interesting and typical cacti specimens to photograph.  I had a good time photographing the cactus.  The cactus complied the clouds complied and, of course, the weather was fine!
night shot #2

Oh, shockingly, there are maybe three rv's here including us and they are well scattered.  Only two
visiting cars came in today.  It is seven miles on a very good dirt/gravel road.

Oh, by the way did I mention that we have 4g Verizon hotspot.  Splendid scenery and quiet...cost = priceless!