Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2017 Page 1 - January - March
25th/26th January to 3rd February - Phoenix, USA
The whole purpose of our trip to Arizona is to buy another RV (motorhome). A slight delay on getting there in that our flight ends up being delayed by 21 hours, but we finally make it. There are thousands of RV's for sale here within half an hour of downtown Phoenix. After a couple of days we find one that suits both of us (and our budget) and the paperwork is put in motion. Always RV where we buy from are outstanding. They provide us with an address so that we can register with DMV (number plates etc.) - which they did for us. The address as can be seen below is "genuine". Not only did they sell it to us but also cleared up any and all bits of maintenance we picked up on, offer storage for when we are not using it and have a full maintenance/service yard with great friendly staff. Couldn't have done better.
4th - 6th February - Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
We have decided to get to know "Harvey Too" by sticking with places we know and have previously been to. Our first stop is Roosevelt Lake which we know well. 1st night at the Schoolhouse campground and then on to Windy Hill for a couple of nights. Just as we left it! Brilliant.
7th - 9th February - Roper Lake State Park
On to another old haunt at Roper Lake. We were last here over Christmas a few years ago when we spent part of Christmas Day in the natural Hot Tub. And yes - that's pretty much where we headed this time as well.
10th - 11th February - Kartchner Caverns State Park
Again, Kartchner Caverns had been visited before however at that time Ron was just recovering from a back problem and couldn't actually visit the caves. Remedied this time though and well worth it. As can be seen by the photos the weather is pretty damn good!
12th - 13th February - Bisbee - Queen Mine RV Park
And so on to Bisbee. This is the one place on this trip that we haven't been to before. We generally don't do cities and towns but this place had a good write up. Huge copper mine right behind us is actually a quite stunning view. On the first night we hit the brewery bar but find by the time we leave (about 8.00pm) all the restaurants bar one are closed. So Mexican it is. Second night we head for a bar called "The Quarry" which has been recommended. A few drinks and dinner but also some great company. The old guy sat next to Julie suddenly appears with the below "portrait" and then the guys on the other side that we have been talking to turn out to be the band playing that night. Actually very good music and definitely Pink Floyd influenced. Called "Cambrian Explosion".
14th - 17th February - Patagonia Lake State Park
Just can't seem to keep us away from water for too long and here we are back at Patagonia Lake. One of Julie's favourite bird watching places. This time we sign up for a hike to a secret Petroglyph site. Good guided tour led by one of the Rangers. Difficult final ascent to the Petroglyphs as they are located on the very top of a serious hillside. Worth the effort though.
18th February - Gilbert Ray Campground, Tuscon
Last time we came here was to visit the Tucson Desert Museum which is just up the road. This time it is a means to an end as a halfway stop to our next destination and to sit out some rainy weather. Also allows us to fill up with water and empty out the waste tanks.
19th - 21st February - Organ Pipe National Park
One of our favourite places for hiking here. Definitely well and truly in the Arizona desert with the Saguaro cacti. And as can be seen there are some pretty large specimens. You are always warned here about illegal immigrants as the park is on the border with Mexico. Last time we were here we did see cast off water bottles but nothing this time.
22nd - 23rd February - Painted Rock Petroglyph BLM Campground
An inexpensive campground run by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Think it was $6 per night. But yet again another Petroglyph site. Last time Julie had hummingbirds trying to get to the feeder before she had even positioned it. This time at least they had the decency to wait!
24th February - Wista Unit, Salton Sea, California
And so - into southern California and our old haunt of the Salton Sea. This place is really a man made sea created by accident. Late in the 1800's the whole area was designated for agricultural use. The problem was they had to maintain a water supply. So a couple of guys designed a canal from the Colorado river but unfortunately it got silted up. So in their infinite wisdom they secretly built a second canal without telling the government. Worse was to come. The Colorado had a spring flood which managed to overflow the new canal which then broke into the first canal which then flooded the area which since became the Salton Sea. Also being below sea level the water had nowhere to go. It has however become a major area for migratory birds. Our first stop at Wista Unit is usually a hunters campground but as we are out of hunting season there is no one there. Free camping ensues.
25th February - Salt Creek, Salton Sea
Just up the east coast of the sea a little to Salt Creek where we have been to numerous times. The train you see in the background of the photograph is one of about 10 a day which go from Los Angeles to (we think) Galveston in Texas. Apparently it saves lots of shipping time to the east coast of the US. Each train is about a mile long (1.6km) and can hold as many as 200 40ft containers. They can be a bit noisy at night though. Everytime they come to a track or road crossing the line they have to blow their horns repeatedly.
26th - 27th February - Headquarters, Salton Sea
Next stop - the Headquarters of the park where we take a bit of luxury and book into a full hook up site. That means mains power, water and direct sewage hook ups.
28th February - 1st March - Joshua Tree National Park
Our real favourite - The Joshua Tree National Park. We stay at the Cottonwood campground which we know well. Do our usual hike to the disused Gold Mine and have a picnic lunch on the top. Look carefully and you can just see the Salton sea in the background from our lunch stop.
2nd - 3rd March - Oxbow BLM Campground, Cibola Wildlife Reserve, Arizona
A confusing campground. Part of it is in Arizona and part of it is in California. Not a great issue except that the two states are on different time zones. We however have stuck to Arizona time for our whole time in California so we are not confused. Well no more than normal anyway.
4th - 5th March - Saddle Mountain BLM
And here we are back at Saddle Mountain BLM site which is where we visited before the RV was ready for pick up. The hiking and wildlife is always good here though more people seem to have found out about the place than when we were camping here before. We used to be just about the only people here. Now there are at least a dozen or so camping.
6th March - Saddle Mountain RV Park, Tonopah
Not too far up the road and we are booked into a formal RV Park. We have stayed here before and know the place well. The main reason for our stay this time is that we are nearing the end of our journey (this time) and need to get some laundry done, fill up with propane etc. Back to Phoenix tomorrow.
7th March - Always RV, Mesa
One night back in the yard where we started out. A list of jobs given to the service manager and an enjoyable night at the local grill and sports bar right next door.
8th/9th March - Fly UK
And so, back to the UK for a day and then back to Larnaca.
A very successful trip having done everything that we wanted to with more success than expected.