Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy National Hamburger Day!

This "holiday" was just the excuse i needed to drag out the new grill!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Campground Review: McHood Park Winslow, AZ

Starting my meander back northeast towards Michigan I spent several days camped at McHood Park located about five miles southeast of Winslow, AZ along Clear Creek and the reservoir it creates,

The park sits above Winslow's reservoir created from Clear Creek.
McHood Park is a nicely maintained, quiet park that was about half full during my stay.  Campsites are given out on a no-reservation, first come first served basis and there are three basic types in the main camping area, paved pull thru, gravel back-in, and paved sites next to picnic tables near the swimming area.

The Tank's pull thru.  The grill didn't have long to live.

Pull up campsites nearer the swimming area.

Then there were three really nice and secluded campsites with a ramada covering the picnic table somewhat away from the site but all were occupied when I pulled in.

If any of these are available jump on them!
Here's McHood Park's data sheet:

Hookups:                                             None                          
Fire ring:                                              No                              
Water Access:                                     Yes                             
Fresh Water:                                        No                                          
Trash Service:                                      Yes
Toilets:                                                Yes (flush)                                         
Showers:                                             No                                          
Dump station:                                      No                  
WiFi:                                                   No                                          
Level sites:                                          Yes                                         
Laundry:                                              No                                          
Store:                                                  No                                          
Pool:                                                   No                                          
Shade:                                                No                                          
Verizon reception:                                4G, 3 bars                   
Internet reception:                                3 bars              
Cost:                                                 Free for up to 14 days

There is also a large day-use area with picnic tables and water access to Clear Creek on the other side of the creek from the camping area.

McHood Park's day use area across Clear Creek.
The park boat launch into Clear Creek.
One factor that isn't conveyed in the above pictures that prospective McHood Park campers should probably be aware of is it is REALLY windy there most of the time, at least during my stay.  I had my charcoal grill sitting on the picnic table at my site and a strong gust of wind picked the grill up and threw it on the ground with enough force to break the top half's handle and severely dent the bottom to the point that I left it in the park's dumpster when I departed.  I really liked that little grill too!

I mentioned in the data sheet that there aren't electrical hookups at the park but there IS a dual electrical outlet in the bathroom that could be used to emergency charge a cell phone or other small electrical device.

It's a really nice camping experience at McHood Park and I would suppose that the part of May that I stayed there is normally the windy period and it's not like that the rest of the time so take that with a grain of salt.  I've placed it on the "Will return" list on my camping database!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Upgrade at the Grill Position

When I started full-timing almost three years ago I took with me a small charcoal grill that served me well.  I love to grill almost anything you can think of and I must have used that little grill 300 or 400 times.  A wind storm took the top off the grill and broke the handle and dented the top itself. as the wind blew it across some rocky ground.  That plus the three years of use convinced me it was time to retire my little friend so...

No tools required for assembly!
If I can get another three years out of this guy I'll be satisfied.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Campground Review: Telephone Cove Searchlight, Nevada

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers much of south eastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, following the path of the Colorado River as it heads south from the Hoover and Davis dams.  Dotted along the length of the National Recreation Area (NRA) are several individual campgrounds which are administered by the National Forest Service.  The most southern of these on the Nevada side of the Colorado is Telephone Cove.  I spent five great days there in early May and will definitely be going back.

The Tank's site....8 feet from the Colorado!
I sometimes get accused of keeping the best places I camp a secret (I don't) and if I did Telephone Cove would probably not be appearing in this blog, it's just that nice (on the weekdays, more on that later).

Sunrise over the Arizona side seen from Nevada.
To get down to the beach you have to drive four miles over a washboard gravel road with speed limits of 25 mph which you won't get close to reaching, allow a half hour and you'll still have all your dental fillings.  I arrived on a Thursday at mid-day and was able to snag the last primo campsite you saw in the above pictures.

You can see I have the last shade tree available.
Here's the Telephone Cove data sheet:

Hookups:                                             None                                      
Fire ring:                                              Yes                             
Water Access:                                     Yes                             
Fresh Water:                                        No                                          
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                         
Toilets:                                                Yes - vault                              
Showers:                                             No                                          
Dump station:                                      No                              
WiFi:                                                   No                                          
Level sites:                                          Yes                             
Laundry:                                              No                              
Store:                                                  No                              
Pool:                                                   No                              
Shade:                                                No                              
Verizon reception:                                4G – 3 bars                             
Internet reception:                                3 bars              
Cost:                                                  Free for up to 7 days

A coyote seen out of the Tank's screen door.
I'd been hauling my kayak all over the Southwest for two months without finding a place to use it until Telephone Cove.  While it was pretty consistently windy in the afternoons if you got out in the morning the winds were much milder and paddling a lot easier.  About a mile from my campsite was a little mini-cove within a cove I "discovered".

Entrance to the mini-cove.

Midway into the mini-cove.

Caves in the hills along the mini-cove.
Readers from Texas know the Colorado River as a brownish murky river.  It's hard to be further from that description with the river water you encounter at Telephone Cove.  It's so clear you can see bottom 15 feet down.

Bottom plants seen through the clear water of the Colorado.
There were a lot of ducks around the campground and you could tell campers have been feeding them (it's never a good idea to feed wildlife while camping) because they fearlessly came up and stood three feet away from me demanding a handout.

I'm given a dirty look because I don't feed wildlife.

Man this post is getting way too long.  I mentioned the campground was great during WEEKDAYS.  It changes on the weekend and probably not for the better if you like sleeping before 3 am.  The local young folks come out on Friday after work and rock the campground until the wee hours of the morning.  Same on Saturday then they all depart Sunday morning, probably to go to church.  :D

If you take my recommendation to camp Telephone Cove arrive on a Sunday or Monday and plan on heading out Friday,  you'll have a perfect five day camping experience.

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today's Haul

I walk a lot for exercise and to better enjoy the area I'm camped out in.  One time camping on the beach in Galveston with my friend Becky she brought out a plastic shopping bag and started picking trash up off the beach during our walk.  I've kind of inherited that practice from "Saint Becky".  Here's what today brought in:

On the positive I just spent five days at a really great area and I'll post a campground review real soon.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Campground Review: Sophie Flats Wickenburg, AZ

Five miles northeast of the small town of Wickenburg, AZ is some BLM managed land along a dried up river that's called Sophie Flats.  I camped there for a week in late April amid perfect temperatures, low-80's during the day with constant breezes and high-50's at night for ideal sleeping conditions.  Sophie Burden was a co-owner of a historic Remuda Guest Ranch and the Flats are named for her.

The dried up Hassayampa River running through Sophie Flats.
The Wickenburg Conservation Committee maintains several miles of hiking and horseback riding trails through the Flats although all I saw during my time there were ATV's whose riders seemed to prefer the sandy river bottom to the trails.  I actually wound up staying at Sophie Flats because a road I was following suddenly became way too steep for the Tank and I had to carefully turn around and head back down to the Flats.

The road up that hill became way too steep for the Tank so I turned around.
Here's the Sophie Flats data sheet:

Hookups:                                             None                                      
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                         
Water Access:                                     No                              
Fresh Water:                                        No                                          
Trash Service:                                      No                              
Toilets:                                                Only at the trailhead                                      
Showers:                                             No                              
Dump station:                                      No                              
WiFi:                                                   No                              
Level sites:                                          Yes                                         
Laundry:                                              No                                          
Store:                                                   No                                                      
Pool:                                                    No                                          
Shade:                                                 No                                          
Verizon reception:                                4G, 3 bars                               
Internet reception:                                3 bars                          
Cost:                                                  Free for 14 days

The topography of Sophie Flats is a good representation of Arizona's desert, billions of stones and bigger rocks and lots of cactus.

The road thru cactus to Sophie Flats.
There are several small roads off the main road to Sophie Flats that when followed take you to campsites where fire rings have been constructed out of the abundant desert stones.

The Tank's campsite with requisite fire ring.
  Some people I've talked with don't care for desert camping but I enjoy it.  Sophie Flats gets pretty noisy with all the ATV traffic on the weekend but during the weekdays it was surprisingly restful.  And of course you can't beat the price, right?

Thanks for reading!