Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chasing the Goldilocks Zone

This time of year is always sort of a challenge to stay in an area of the Southwest that isn't too hot and isn't too cold or rainy.  Casa Grande, AZ where I had stayed for ten days had a stretch of mid-90's days that forced me to run the AC in the Tank during the day, it still was cool at night but the AC in the Tank is loud enough that you would prefer not to run it if you could.   So I decided to head up to Northern Arizona back to McHood Park outside Winslow, AZ.  I reviewed it here:  McHood Park Review .  The weather at Winslow currently is days in the mid-60s with a lot of breeze and nights down into the mid-30's, quite a change from Casa Grande but I'm also at 5000 ft elevation at the park.

The Tank's site from across the Clear Creek Reservoir.
I'm thinking I'm going to stay at McHood Park through the end of the month and then meander east a little.  I don't need to be anywhere until my daughter's college graduation in early May in the Dallas area so I'm not in any hurry to make long drives or anything.

Clear Creek's runoff from the reservoir.
Arizona has a great climate this time of year and I think I've spent a good chunk of all my three winters in the Tank here.  It's a state with almost any kind of topography you want, desert in the southern parts with iconic cactus while up north you get mountains and Ponderosa pine forests.  If I ever get tired of life on the road I could easily see myself living in Arizona.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taco Salad

I'm still at the Rovers Roost Escapee Park in Casa Grande, AZ.  If you pay for a week the friendly Escapee's here tack on an extra three days free!, so I'm working on my three free days here now.  Here's a picture of one of my favorite lunches that even I can fix:

Mmmmm....Taco Salad!!
It looks like I was a lot more industrious than actually occurred.   Walmart (where I do 95% of my grocery shopping) sells a South West Chopped Salad kit that contains, obviously, pre-washed chopped salad but also a small bag of Dorito-like chips and a small bag of cheese as well as a pouch of Chipolte dressing.  I brown some lean hamburger and put it on top of the Wally World salad and then dump on some Pace Picante (Hot) sauce.  Takes about five minutes and tastes great!  I eat them all the time and imagine it's one of the more healthy meals I eat.  Give it a try!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Return To Buckeye Hills Buckeye, AZ

One of my favorite places to boondock in Arizona is the Buckeye Hills Recreation area which I reviewed a year ago here:  Buckeye Hills Review .  This time I camped the Rec area for thirteen days although I cheated once and drove into Buckeye itself after about a week to get groceries and workout at the Anytime Fitness there.  The last time I camped there the weather was just about ideal with daytime in the mid-80's and nighttime in the mid-50's.  This year, however the temperatures were about fifteen degrees above normal during the last half of my stay there so I eventually decided to move to a nearby Escapee RV park so I could get an electrical hookup to run the Tank's AC during the high-90's afternoons.  I'll write up a review of the Escapee park in a separate post.  Here's a few of the pictures from this year's Buckeye Hills experience:

Earlier rains had caused the wildflowers to flower in the area.
A typical campsite at Buckeye Hills with a stone fire ring.
A more "formal" campsite with it's own covered picnic table.
A "tiny" white Tank (left center) at it's site at the base of a hill.
One of the hiking trails through Buckeye Hills.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Campground Review: Escapee's North Ranch RV Park Congress, AZ

I drove about 160 miles east from Craggy Wash to the Escapee North Ranch RV Park which is about five miles to the south of the tiny town of Congress, AZ.  The site is both an RV park and a small community of Escapees who own lots to either park their RV's on in the winter months or to build small homes on them.  I'm an Escapee member so they cut me a lower price than non-Escapees and, seeing a forecast for about six days of nightly temperatures in the low-30's I signed on for a one week stay for $120 ($17 per night!) for a site with full hookups.  The electricity would allow me to run my small electric space heater rather than burning through a bunch of my little green propane canisters that my propane heater runs.

The Clubhouse at North Ranch.
In my previous stays at North Ranch I had visited later in the year but this visit was in "Prime Time" and the park was pretty full, almost congested.

The Tank's site.  The site on the drivers side is actually vacant.
Here's the North Ranch data sheet:

Hookups:                                             30, 50 amp, water, sewer                                           
Fire ring:                                              No (no campfires)                                                      
Water Access:                                     No                                                                  
Fresh Water:                                        Yes                                                     
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                                     
Toilets:                                                Yes                                                     
Showers:                                             Yes                                                     
Dump station:                                      Yes                                         
WiFi:                                                   Yes (Tengo Internet $3/day)                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                         
Laundry:                                             Yes                                                     
Store:                                                  No                                                                              
Pool:                                                   No                                                                              
Shade:                                                No                                                      
Verizon reception:                               4G, 3 of 5 bars                                               
Internet reception:                               3 bars                          
Cost:                                                 $19/night (member) $26.50/night (non member)

The streets of the North Ranch community have very little traffic and I got in my three mile daily walks with no problems.  On one walk I came across a nice little park featuring lots of different types of cactus called Saguaro Park.

Entrance to the cactus park the community has built.
Most of the plants have name tags to tell you what they are.
Spring flowering.
A rabbit in the shade, North Ranch had a large wild rabbit population.
If you full time in an RV becoming a member of the Escapees is something you should consider, and not just for the discounts at their chain of RV parks.  The also have a renowned mail forwarding service which maintains my mail address (and legal residence) for only $100 / year.  My plan to dodge the cold nighttime weather worked out great, on my last day at North Ranch the cold front moved on and I decided to move south and boondock again in the Buckeye area.  I'll do a write-up on that next.

Thanks for reading!