Homeward Bound!


Rockhound SP New Mexico

We leave Arizona feeling sad as it’s too soon to return to the cold.  But the mindless days of sitting in the sun and looking at the mountains are over for this winter.  Reality, in the form of doctors’ appointments and dealing with Medicare, calls.

Our first night on the road is at Rock Hound State Park in Deming, NM.  Lovely small park with a brand new bath house…which is not finished and not open.  The lights of the city are  twinkling through the windows.  Beautiful!





We experience another gorgeous sunset.  Our thoughts turn to next winter and the possibility of spending time in New Mexico.

After another 350 mile day, we are in west Texas at Monahan Sand Hills State Park.  This is our third visit as it is so convenient to I-20.  The exit is almost the entrance to the park.  It’s practically deserted, maybe cause of a forecast of ice in the AM.  We decide to NOT get on the road in the morning.


The wind howls all night.  I wake wondering if we are to blow over?  Our new stabilizers are working great but, infrequently, the gusts do make the trailer shiver.  The next morning it’s 30F for hours.  We wait until noon to shower and head out to the grocery store.  It will be another night in the sand hills.

Late in the day the sun emerges.  I take a quick walk…the wind is still bitter cold.  Oh! Missing those 80 degrees of last weekend!





The wind makes lovely patterns in the shifting sand.

I stay inside reading for most of the day.  After dark, on my way to the bath house, another trailer pulls into the campground, proceeding cautiously.  A white gleam bounces off my flashlight.  It’s a Casita!  Heading back to our trailer I say “hi” to these brave souls coming in after dark in the cold.  They are shocked when I point to our Casita a few spaces away.  John and Gail have just  come from Rice with a brand new 16 foot Casita!  They appear overjoyed to have a knowledgeable(?) person to help with the set up.  I am feeling great to be able to help.   I fall asleep wondering if they will be able to get the furnace turned on.  Hope they will not be human popsicles in the AM.


They are fine commenting, a bit, about the hard cushions!  I quickly give them info on the forums and we say “goodbye”.

Holiday Park Campground on Benbrook Lake, is our destination for Thursday night.  It’s a COE with hookups at a senior discount.

Benbrook Lake COE


We take a walk, David grills chicken, then we both read until bedtime.  So nice to have electricity with heat and the cell phone charging!

In no rush to hit the road this AM as we must drive through Fort Worth and Dallas.  Wonder when rush hour will end?

Many emotions are being experienced.  Sadness at leaving the desert, dread of cold and/or snow at home but also a happy anticipation of seeing friends, reconnecting with loved ones and settling back into a routine.

Time to wake the hubby and head out!


Sunsets Continued……



Saguaro Lake Marina


By Wednesday David is feeling a bit better.  We decide to explore other campgrounds in the A. J. area starting with Usery Mountain Park, a Maricopa County campground.  The park is  beautiful with mountains and hiking trails but it did not have the Superstition Mountain…..not interested in relocating.  From Usery we head to Tonto National Forest where many campgrounds are closed due to budget cuts.

Saguaro Lake Marina is our turn around point.  We sip ice tea on a patio overlooking blue lake, blue sky.



No alternative camps located, we return to our bit of real estate under the majestic rocks.



Valentine’s Day is approaching….we decide to do something that we never do while camping….go to a movie! 

The Flixster app locates our show in Mesa and we enjoy an afternoon with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.  Say whatever you will…August Osage County will make you appreciate your family! 

After splurging on fish tacos we head back to Lost Dutchman.

Saturday is a family visit day.  It’s only 37 miles from Apache Junction to David’s daughter’s home.  Lovely visit with a great meal at a Mile High restaurant.

It’s a holiday weekend, it’s hot and there are people everywhere!!!  Every hour or so I contemplate leaving for a remote campsite almost 100 miles away.  But the conveniences of Apache Junction with supermarkets, restaurants, electric outlets at Burger King and Fry's  and the mysterious mountain win out and we stay put!

The pain is still there, David reports, but it is tolerable.  We decide to hike the Treasure Loop Trail, a 2 1/2 mile trek with 500’ gain.  This is his first excursion up into the mountain.  The views are similar to the Siphon Draw hike.



Starting two hours earlier than the last hike, we are able to stay in the shade of the mountain for most of the climb. 

The rocks below are called the “Praying Hands”.  There is a trail but we opted out this year.


After six days in one spot, we move to another site…..(it was time to dump our tanks!)

While setting up, David comes inside and says he thinks “Bar Harbor” is next door!  Remember when we met the couple from Maine while scaling Dome Rock a few weeks ago?  They had a powered parachute that flew over the Casita gathering at Quartzsite.  This shot was taken on Glenda’s phone during one of the flights.

Mike and Jackie flying

It was Mike and Jackie!……and we had a great time visiting….David got a promise of a flight someday in the future!


Then another strange fiberglass coincidence occurred!  Within a few hours two 19’ Escapes pull in, one on each side of our trailer.  The couple to our left are from Washington state and I go over for a chat.  They live close to the Chilliwack Escape factory…I tell them about seeing all the trailers leave the Osoyoos rally last June as we entered BC, heading for Alaska.  Suddenly Sue excitedly asks if we went to the Osoyoos visitor center?  Pausing, I think and nod affirmatively.  She says that they met us there!  I barely remember speaking to an Escape couple….but there is something to be said for our strong Tennessee mountain dialect.  They remembered us from our accent!


Sue and Dave

Our time in the desert is about over….just a few more days.  We are thinking a lot about next year…and spending more time here.

Finishing with a few more sunsets…………..





Sunsets and Shingles, Moonrises and Movies


It’s hot!  And I’ve escaped to the Apache Junction library…which has been closed for three days to celebrate President’s Day!!!

Need to back up about 10 days! 

It’s Saturday night and we are in the middle of the fiberglass rally at Quartzsite.  Complaining of pain, David asks me to look at his back.  Huge red whelps run in a band around his torso.  Not sure, I tell him that it looks like shingles!  I lie awake in the morning hours wondering what to do?

Apache Junction is 3 plus hours away.  There will be doctors, a campground and his daughter’s home close by.  By noon, after saying bye to friends, we are heading back to Lost Dutchman State Park…..our place to go when we are sick and need to heal!!!

Monday is spent at a quick care facility…David does indeed have shingles!  Prescriptions procured, we head back to the park. 

I decide that Tuesday will be my day to hike Siphron Draw….the trail that has been calling me.  I was too sick to hike it on our last visit two weeks ago.  David is content to sleep and take his meds.

It’s two miles and 1000 feet elevation gain to make it to the Basin…the trail climbs another mile and another 2000 feet past the Basin to get to the Flat Iron.  I know the later is out of the question, but can I make it to the Basin?


It was 10 o’clock before I get on the trail…too late…the sun is already brutal.  It is all up!  By 11 I am resting frequently and wonder if I can hike until noon, my intended turn around time.


The rocks loom over me…their energy pulling me up closer.


The campground disappears as I climb higher.



This is looking west toward Phoenix.

And I look up at the Flat Iron…..named after our great grandmother’s iron…the kind heated by the fire.




I am exhausted!  Finding a shady spot..no easy feat…I stop and snack.  The last hiker said I am less than a quarter mile from my destination.  Taking inventory of my energy level, there is no more climbing left in my body.  A couple of Canadians rest with me and continue their climb.  I start down, marveling that I made it as far as I did.

The two young men from Quebec surprised me on the way down.  They said I had quit only three minutes from the Basin…it was only another short climb!  Oh well…another year!


 I am running out of time again!  It’s one hour to sunset and Darkness.

Going to publish and promise to finish the saga within 48 hours!


Q 2…..the Rally!

Sunday is our last full day in the Apache Junction area and I’m feeling strong enough to tackle the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet….1 1/4 mile and 1600 booths of shopping pleasures!  Think of a flea market on steroids!
  I’m in pursuit of breakfast and a new pair of Crocs.  Find both and a few other can’t-live-without items.  Check out my new Dawgs!
2014-02-03 19.57.10
The Avon booth supplied the purple nail polish!  ( I am a bit tired of looking like a homeless desert rat!)
Monday AM we pack up and head the 160+ miles to Quartzsite and the fiberglass rally.  On I-10, just past Phoenix, a rock comes out of nowhere and hits our windshield!  It leaves a dime sized hole, our first broken windshield.  The crack stabilizes and we decide to deal with it later.
Glenda and Jeff are already there.  We decide to camp just behind them, back away from the main gathering.  Many trailers are already here.
We walk around looking for friends.  Find Bob and Mary a few trailers away.
That the famous Dome Rock right over Bob’s head!
It’s too early for registration to be open…instead George is baking bread in his volcano.
Wednesday John and BJ arrive from Mesa.  They like our little back lot and settle just to our east.
Our spot early in the week before the masses arrive.
Thursday we decide to climb Dome Rock!  Two years ago we went as far as the road goes and could not see any way to get higher.  One of our new Casita friends says he has been to the top and there is a faint trail.  Donning our hiking boots, camelbacks and trekking poles, we trudge off.  It is a perfect day for a hike, cloudy and cool!
Casita Land is soon far below.
There’s another couple coming up the road behind us.  We meet Mike and Jackie from Bar Harbor.  They have a toy hauler with a powered parachute inside.  Fun couple who offers to take our picture.
The picture is deceiving…we are on the edge of a cliff.  The Casita gathering is just left of my shoulder.
As we strive to go higher, I zoom in on my hubby.
There is no trail!!! At least we could not locate one.  It occurs to me that we are being slightly stupid in our endeavor.  The rocks are loose and the incline is steep.  We could easily tumble down the mountain.  Admitting defeat, we turn around.
I shoot into the sun to document our view of the top…so close…but still just over half-way to the top.
We are just above the white slash (tailings)!
The week is passing peacefully, it’s surprisingly quiet!  We meet the dog walkers who wander by our camp.  At night, when the wind permits, we have a campfire.  Another couple from Tennessee joins our little group and we spin travel tales.
Meanwhile  the rally grows and spreads out.  There seems to be a desire to not be on top of each other. 
I manage to get sunrises and sunsets.
It’s Saturday morning and I am posting from Burger King.  Been here at least a couple of hours…wondering what I’m missing back at camp?  We plan to stay at Q a couple of more days…not sure what’s next.  Dreading the thought of going back to the cold and ice.  Maybe it will be over in a few weeks???