"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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Busy Times in Arizona: Dogpaddle, Racetrack, Border, Friends & Wicked Weather

Wenden, Arizona
Alamo Lake State Park 

Let's see, where did I leave off?  Ah yes.  We pulled into Alamo Lake in time to watch the sun go down and have some dinner. The starry skies and steak were amazing.  You could also hear the donkeys as they settled down for the evening.
Steak, twice baked potatoes and some Asparagus.
Here's what we woke up to.  The best site in the campground!  E44, $15, no utilities. They have different sites offering different choices and prices.  This is the closest site to the water.  The lake is quite full but even if it were totally full, you'd still have to put your kayak in at the marina. 
This site is very deep and has a couple of nice trees near the fire ring.

Here we are from a distance which shows how much privacy we had.  This site is at the end of a turnaround.

The lake sits in the Buckskin Mountains surrounded by the Arrastra Mountain Wilderness.  This is a very popular ORV area.

I have heard Bass fishing is fantastic here.  Next time we'll have to try that out.  Our visit here was quite short since we already lost a day due to a leaf spring repair in Needles on the way here.
We drove in to Quartzsite for a visit with some RV friends.  I made a wrong calculation and what I thought was 1/2 hr. drive in was actually 1 1/2 hours one way.  Oh well.  That's how special these friends are.  :-)  Above is Jim & Barb, Vickie and Steve.  After dinner at Silly Al's, we went back to Steve & Dianne's rig for a Tasting Event.  Classy stuff.
Harry, Steve & Dianne above.  Everyone brought some different beer and the tasting began.  Jim brought some very yummy Peach Moonshine.  Boy did those peaches pack a punch!  The Apple Pie Shine was a close second.
We talked and laughed and had a great time.  Most of our Fulltime RV group has gone off the road or bought properties and become Half Timers.  Even Steve & Dianne have some big changes ahead as they downsize.  They are usually here every year but now it may be every couple of years.  So glad we stopped by.
We'll miss Steve and Dianne's big 'ol truck!  It made for an easy way to spot them out in Q as well as a great windbreak.
One thing we really looked forward to was getting Hurley in the kayak for what may be his last time on the water.  He loves it.  The weather was perfect with no wind.

Traffic ahead.

He snoozed in the sunshine.
Somewhere under the water is the old ghost town of Alamo Crossing.  Built in the 1800s and flooded over in 1968.  The coordinates for the town are: 34.2605757 -113.5827076  Apparently the road to the town is still there and disappears into the water.  I'm not sure if it's even clear enough to see down under 80 feet, but I guess you could scuba dive down there.  The town is supposed to be in very good shape.
There are areas with a lot of trees and brush in the water.  Sure makes me wish I had my pole.  We saw a couple of others fishing but not doing too well.  Guess it's still a bit muddy.

Plenty of Pelicans on the lake.  Cracks me up to see them in the dessert instead of the beach.

This bush just glowed compared to the other drab green plants.
All lined up.
Our rig from the water. What a great place and one that we will return to.
Surprise, Arizona
Happy Trails Resort
Our two weeks here was very busy taking care of Steve's stepmom.  The time flew by but we did get out for one short hike to an interesting place.  It's right next to the Phoenix International Raceway.  As you drive down S. Avondale Blvd, you run right into it.  I was surprised how big this racetrack was.  Look for some parking near the Tres Rios Trail.  Follow the trail around and up Monument Hill.
 It's a short but steep hike up with great views of the racetrack and the valley below.  The elevation is 1155.
A memorial for a loved one along the way.

steep spot with loose rock.
If you are on the trail next to the racetrack, you are on the wrong side of the hill.  We took a wrong turn at first.
The Salt River with the Gila River nearby.
The top!  What is this marker you ask?  Turns out the Salt River was the original border between Arizona and Mexico. At the time of the Gadsen Purchase, it marked the northern boundary of  Mexico.  When it became part of the Arizona Territory the government used it as a starting place for surveys. This marker was set in 1851.  The border has since moved quite a ways south.  This survey marker designates the zero-point tied to almost every legal property description.


The Valley can be clearly seen from the top of Monument Hill. To the north is Avondale, to the south is Estrella Mountain and to the east and west is a line that seems to go on forever. That is Baseline Road. The road got its name for the Baseline and meridian survey that helps mark the center spot. If you travel 115th Avenue straight north you would end up at the North Pole.  So they say.
The racetrack looks pretty amazing from up here.  They do allow watching the races from the part of the hillside right above the track.

Our time flies by and we need to be back in Placerville.  This lovely sunset was a perfect ending.
The next morning as we drove off the previous nights cold storm dropped some snow on the White Tank Mountains.

Casa Grande, Arizona
Pinal Fairgrounds
We wanted to visit with Curt and Glenda on our way back so we spent a couple of nights back at the Pinal Fairgrounds.  W/50/dump, $25, It was super windy again so good to have a safe spot to wait for the winds to pass.  Our entire time in Arizona was very cold, windy and rainy while we were here.  I never wore shorts and we never were able to take our favorite, daily bike ride.

It was a short visit, but we enjoyed our time as always.  Curt made Smashed Burgers and Glenda had other goodies and a dessert of Apple Pastries with homemade ice cream.  Delicious.
We played a new card game called Skyjo.  It was fun and I actually won a couple of times.
See him peeking over?
Our departure day got held up when Steve had several important conference calls to finish.  I took Hurley out for a walk so it would be quiet inside.  Funny thing is that it is Round Up (practice lifestock fair) and everybody was unloading.  A trailer with a cow and another one with a meat goat pulled in next to us.  That goat was NOT happy and what a racket he made.  I was sure hoping all the noises weren't coming through on his call!
Quartzsite, Arizona

It was a late day, so we just pulled over in Quartzsite for the night.  We were up early and on our way.
One last stop for cheap gas before crossing the border of California where prices jump at least $1.00.  The race car of Austin Kregle pulled in next to us. He is a Formula Drift racer.
There were no winds along our drive and before you knew it we were approaching Palm Springs where our friends John & Tina were staying at the Thousand Trails. We stopped by for a quick hug as we were pressed for time.
Who are those homeless people and what are they trying to sell?  It was our friends with gooodies!  They knew I had had a very stressful few days so Tina brought me a Mimosa-to-Go and John dropped off some of his famous pasta sauce.  What great friends we have!  We chatted for a bit and met their good high school friends, Teri and Mike, and continued on.
Tina, Mike, Me, John, Teri and Steve.  They just got a new trailer and were here to try it out.
The peaks of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains were covered in snow.  It was magical.  Normally you can't even see these through the smog. It was such a beautiful sight.

Lancaster, CA
Elks Lodge
One last overnighter and we push on to Placerville.  This is the 2nd 7 hour drive and we are pooped.
We had hoped our drive home would coincide with the poppy bloom.  Not with all that cold wet weather though.  We only saw a tiny patch here and there.  In a few more weeks these hills will be coated with bright orange poppies!
It was a pretty drive none the less.

The blossoms followed us along Hwy 99.

We stopped in Fresno to a little hole in the wall place called Grandma Jane's Kitchen.  Great food but the service was very slow.  They have Mexican specialties.
A few more hours and just a little rain and we were back in Placerville.