"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, February 1, 2021

Sandhill Cranes, Sunsets & Snow

McNeal, AZ
Whitewater Draw G&F

Two hours down the road continuing east from Patagonia State Park, we stopped back into Whitewater Draw run by Arizona Game & Fish.  It's always been Fish & Game in most states so it's weird to say it backwards.  Anyways, you stop here for the wildlife, not the camping. It's all about the Sandhill Crane migration.  Jan - Mar is usually the best time to see them.
You'll see geese, and many types of ducks here as well.
They have a few areas to park your rig for free camping.  There is an outhouse but it's closed due to Covid.  They had several porta-potties though as well as a dumpster.  No water so bring your own.  You can fit several rigs along the metal fence on each side.
We had great neighbors on each end of us  The folks in front of us made plenty of room for us to squeeze in.  The couple behind us fulltime in motorcycles and a tiny pull behind trailer.  We took out our portable propane fire pit and invited them both over for a socially distanced fire and beverages.  Tim & Susan live outside Tucson and invited us to stop by some time as they have room on their horse property with hookups.  We'll take them up on that sometime!  RV people are the best!  Rich & Chris have a vlog on their motorcycle travels.  It is called Two Wheels Big Life You can also follow their travels on their youtube channel.  They look for epic motorcycle routes around the country and camp along the way.  Their set up was very interesting.  

Video of Sandhill Cranes.

We spent a couple nights here, getting up at sunrise and walking out to the ponds at sunset to watch the cranes fly en-masse to the nearby fields to eat.

Many cranes as well as other birds in the pond and a great sunset.
With much less rainfall this season the ponds were quite low.
We came upon a sundial on the way back near the barn that we don't remember seeing before.
Quite the set-up.  We watched them teardown to see how they packed it all in.  
He drives a Harley and she drives a BMW.  They even have solar.
So long!  Perhaps we'll cross paths again!

We weren't very far from Tombstone so we drove over for a short visit with fellow RVer's, Bill & Jodee.  They recently bought a home here to use as a homebase for the winters.  They have done a lot of work on it and it's very cute.  Sits on a little hill with fantastic views all around.
Tessa looking stylish with her new haircut!  She is the sweetest and Hurley will be bummed to have missed seeing her.
Sunrise at Whitewater Draw.
And one of the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed each night.

Safford, Arizona
Roper Lake State Park
This turned out to be a great spot!  Small, clean and quiet.  Site# 47, no hookups $20.  There is central water and dump.  If you want W/E it's $30.  Our loop only had about 5 campsites on the outside of the loop with cabins on the other side of the loop.  The group campsites with ramadas were in the middle of the loop.  With Covid, the groups sites were not being used.  This worked well for us as our site barely fit us so they let us park the truck across from our site.  The thorny trees were not cut back on one side so we had to pull in as far to the other side as our jack legs would go.  This allowed our slides to go out and not rub on the trees.  Steve pulled us in perfectly!  It was very quiet in this small loop.

Our view from the campsite with the snowcapped Pinalenos Mountains right across form us. 
Not too shabby!
The lake is fairly small and surrounded by reeds.  Supposedly the fishing is good but we only saw a couple caught.

This camper next to us had the best site, right on the lake.
This was my favorite view.  Palm trees in the desert, on the lake, with snow covered mountains behind.
A beautiful flight.

Plenty of cranes here too.

We hiked around a bit and came upon an old crumbling home from long ago.

Another day we took a drive up the mountain to see if we could get to Mt. Graham which sits at 10,724 feet of elevation.  Mt. Graham International Observatory is up here but unfortunately it's closed due to Covid.  
We hiked around on the trail a bit and explored around.

Interesting bark on this tree.

We had a young deer run up the bank next to us.
We drove further up the mountain and soon we were in the snow.  Plenty of it still here on the shady
side of the mountain.

Pretty little creeks and waterfalls along the way.
The furthest we could drive up was at 8800 feet.  We stopped for a little hiking, geocaching and lunch.
This is the sunny side of the mountain.  There was a lot less snow but it was only 44 degrees.

Looking over the other side of the mountain towards the Tucson mountains in the distance.

On a pull out we came upon this huge snow toilet.  Thankfully there wasn't anything in it.  Yes, we looked.

One last sunset paddle and we'll be leaving in the morning towards Surprise where we'll be for 3 weeks.
We really enjoyed our short stay at Roper Lake State Park.

Waving to Picacho Peak as we drive by.  Before we get to Surprise we'll be stopping in Casa Grande for a couple nights to spend some time with some special people!

Casa Grande, Arizona
Pinal County Fairgrounds
We've been here before and it's a convenient stopover.  $20 for W/E/Dump.
Our RV friends, Curt & Glenda, are now off the road and in a beautiful Adult Community with a golf course, pickleball and many other amenities.  Grill Master, Curt, cooking some veggies for our Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.
Glenda made a nice grape salad to go with it and garlic fries.
Always fun with these two.  We're sure glad they settled in Arizona so we can visit them a couple of times a year!

The next day while Steve worked (poor Steve) the three of us drove back to Picacho to hike the back side of the peak.
Uh-oh.  Not a great way to start our hike!
It's pretty hot out but very pretty!

Glenda leading the way.  It was a great hike and we only ran into a few bees.  Thankfully (for me) they mostly preferred to bother Glenda.
We met back up with Steve for dinner at their clubhouse.  Great food, great visit, great friends!

Surprise, Arizona
Happy Trails RV Resort
The next 3 weeks we were busy with Steve's stepmom, Bunny.  We cleared out a lot of unused items and did some work around her place.  The weather has been unusually cool, wet and very windy!  We have one more stop in Arizona at our favorite, Lost Dutchman in the Superstitions.  Hello Flatiron!
Then it's off to see our other favorite turn 1 year old!
Here is Jaxon at 11 months eating his first pasta.