Friday, November 7, 2008

Roper Lake State Park, Safford AZ

I know I need to catch you up on the past 14 days......... but I just wanted to share where we are now! Chuck and I have found a favorite new campground and we found it by accident! After driving 2 hours on graded dirt roads headed out of Young AZ, roads that were more like washboard than graded with hairpin turns and mostly downhill. Several hours after finding paved road again, Chuck was ready for a campground!

We are both sick with cold/flu and have been since Lake Casita CA where we left 8 days ago. I just looked on the Atlas map of Arizona and found Roper Lake State Park, just south of Safford AZ. It was about an hour away. We didn't have high hopes for this park after passing the "seen better days" neighborhood homes on the road here. At the front gate was a guy with a great big smile and welcome attitude. The camping fee is only $16 a night for water and electric! The best perk of all is the hot springs that flow into a rock lined hot tub at a perfect 97 degrees! To 2 sick campers.... this sounded great! We paid for one night and drove on in to find a spot! WOW! This park is beautiful! The campsites are well spaced with plenty of room and none of that "parking lot" feel that you get at some campgrounds.

The lake is an amazing blue color, nothing like I have ever seen anywhere else! The lake is full of ducks that Chuck says are Greebs. This morning, while walking the dogs, a group of gambrel quail paraded across the campground. Grin! The lake is stocked with trout from Nov. to March, there are trails everywhere and mountain view on 2 sides of us! We paid for 3 more nights! We love it here! We are applying for positions here as workampers! It feels like we have found our second home! Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Bye Bonkers :-(

I hate to say it, I hate to even think it! But last Sunday, Oct. 25th, Bonkers left us! Stupid human error! Not even her fault! Chuck has some friends that were at the Casita rally in Lake Casitas, CA. Jim and Carol have a cat named Jerry that has been camping with them since he was a kitten. He even rides around in his own stroller greeting everyone. Chuck and I wanted to introduce Bonkers to Jerry and his family. We put her harness and leash on, Chuck carried her holding her in his arms. Amazingly.... the first few minutes went ok. Something happened to spook Bonkers. because all at once she went ballistic and in 10 seconds flat, or less, she was out of Chuck's arms and out of her harness and running in long leaps and bounds down the dry creekbed! It was all over before anybody could react! I immediately went down the edge of the creekbed calling for her........... no response. Just before dark, I went again calling her and she meowed back, but she was too spooked to come out of hiding. the man at the end of the wash, saw her Sunday night and Monday night... so Tuesday Chuck went into Ventura and bought a hav -a-heart trap at Harbor Freight. We had had her carrier set up at where she was last seen on Sunday and Monday nights and all the food was eaten....... but once we set the trap up she was never seen again nor was her food touched. The parks rangers said there are a lot of coyotes there and for her to last 2 nights was amazing. We donated the trap to the park. I am so mad at myself! If I had just kept her in the trailer instead of wanting to show her off...... she would still be with us.
Needless to say, I am behind on this blog. There is a lot to show and tell you of what we have seen and done while in CA. We are now in Barstow at a KOA. Chuck took me to the ghost town of Calico, and it was soooo cool! I took lots of pictures so I will share later. We are on our way home now, with several more adventures and discoveries awaiting us. I will try to get caught up asap. Needless to say, preoccupation with Bonkers has been the main focus. It was so hard to leave yesterday........ but I really think it was no good waiting longer, I think she is gone. But I guess being a meal for a hungry coyote is better than being run over on a roadside. She was loved for 4 years and she will be with us always in our memories.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The rest of the photos

Sheilah makes very good fry bread! She laughs and calls this the white man's recipe! She just mixes water with self rising flour. She makes it "sticky" dough. Then she lets it sit in a bowl covered with saran wrap for about 30 minutes. Then she flours her hands and rolls fist sized balls out of the dough. Then they rest for a few minutes while the oil in frying pan gets hot. ( You will have to go to the photos in the previous blog to see all this happening!)
Next, Sheilah takes one of the balls of dough and begins to flatten it by flopping it back and forth from one hand to the other..... she does this so fast the photos were all blurry! In between all the dough flopping, she stretches it out too! Then, When it's just right, it slides into the hot grease!
Then the bubbles start popping up all over !!! In just a few minutes, she uses a fork to check the underneath, and when it is a golden brown, Sheilah turns it over. When all the dough is cooked, you add beans, meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato and you have a Navajo Taco! Or you can add butter and honey......... Or you can add butter and cinnamon! I'm sure, if you think about it, you can get real creative and make lots of good eating with basic Indian Fry Bread!

Chuck's first Navajo Taco! Yum!

AZ day 2 and Navajo Tacos

Chuck and I woke up...... sunshine and a bit of a chill in the air...... felt wonderful! Sheilah and Chuck had chores to do in the garden and we didn't want to be in their way, so we decided to head up to Prescott! WOW, lots of changes to Prescott since I was there 20+ years ago! All grown up with chain restaurants, 2 Walmarts, Home Depot and Lowes across the road from each other........ new roads, dozens of housing developments everywhere........ GROWTH! But downtown was still wonderful! Chuck found a new shirt and a pair of boots and I found a bead shop! GRIN! We had one of the best Mexican meals ever in this little hole in the wall restaurants right across from the courthouse. Really good. We didn't eat much, because I had asked Sheilah to make some Navajo Fry bread....... I hadn't had any in 17 years and my mouth was watering for some! So the photographs are of Sheilah making fry bread for us, then to make it better, you add beans, meat, lettuce and tomato and you have a Navajo taco to die for! YUM! I'll have to post the other photos on next page.....!

Geri,Chuck, Chuck and Sheilah! 2 Chucks can be confusing!

We finally arrived at Chuck and Sheilah's house in Paulden AZ. Paulden is just south of Ash Fork on I-40. Their property sits in a beautiful

Valley surrounded on all sides by mountains! I hate this picture of me, but here you get to meet me, Chuck, Chuck and Sheilah.

Sunrise and sunsets cast a pretty pink glow to the mountains. The photo you see on the left is of their house and garage and part of their huge garden! They had just had a frost when that cold front went through, so some of the plants weren't real happy...... but you could tell this had been a very productive garden! Sheilah and Chuck take all their veggies to market in Flagstaff and it's been keeping them very busy!

Drive by shootings



Bobbie as co-pilot



Drive by shootings......... photos grabbed from a moving vehicle! From NM to AZ.
Along I-40!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From Tucumcari to Gallup

Rain leaving Texas!
Rain leaving Tucumcari NM
Finally, no rain, but still banks of clouds once we got about 2 hours west of Alburquerque! Just east of Alburquerque, the rain turned to sleet and then to snow... just when all the road construction started too. Snow only lasted a few miles (so did construction) but it was beautiful to see all the snow on the trees higher up and scary to think it might be that thick here too in a few minutes! I wish I had thought to take pictures as we were driving through Alburquerque! The way they have built their road interchanges and ramps is so beautiful! Art all along the I-40 corridor! Painted overpasses,,,,,,,,,,, graceful arching roads crossing over each other........... I even forgot to be frightened because it was so beautiful! We spent Tues. night in Gallup NM under clear blue skies and chilly nights!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the road to Tucumcari NM

Rain, Rain and more rain! It wasn't a hard pour. just a persistent weeping of the skies! We continued west on Highway 9 and when we crossed the Texas state line, it became 203. We followed 203 to Headly and picked up highway 297.
The two laned Highway 9/203 were hilly, windy and rainy, but so beautiful, just a good slice of back country! The roads were in excellent condition and very lightly traveled! When we arrived at Headly Highway 297 was a great 4-laned road also in excellent condition and very little traffic! Highway 297 took us right into Amarillo I-40 West with ease! 4 hours of driving so far, skies just banked with clouds each row a deeper gray than the first..... but always was that last row of clouds teasing us with what looked like the sun must just be behind that row of clouds! Our goal was Tucumcari NM for the night. Buffeting winds, constant rain made driving miserable! Low gas mileage too! To say nothing of more expensive gas! Arkansas and Oklahoma it was always under $3 per gallon, got the cheapest at Exxon $2.67 a gallon! Now we noticed Texans were back up over the $3 a gallon mark! New Mexico seems to waver around the $3 mark so far. We finally pulled into Tucumcari about dusk..... hard to tell since the whole day had been gray....!
We went to a KOA there, as you exit I-40 you go left under the overpass and turn left and it's right there. NEW OWNERS! This used to be a dump of a park with very poor ratings! The new owners came in last year and totally revamped back bathroom and showers and repainted the front ones! Nice folks too! Just a pain to have to set up in the pouring rain and by this time the temps had dropped from mid-70's when we left Quartz Mountain to mid-40's and a wind chill to the 30's.......brrrrrr. Before we pulled into the campground, we road through Tucumcari... sad to see a town once so vital on route 66 looking so run down, but we found a great restaurant called Del's Restaurant. Great food, good friendly service! So we got to the camp, set up, settled in and slept well! Woke up to more rain!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crowder Point, OK

Top 2 photos are from Quartz Mountain SP in Oklahoma and bottom photo is sunset taken at Crowder Point Campground OK.

Chuck and I had hoped to camp at Robbers Cave, OK on Saturday 10-11-08, but the park was full to overflowing! They were having horse events, boy scout events and just plain folk like us having a golly gee weekend with BBQ's and fun! We drove around and just want you to know, this was a beautiful Oklahoma State Park! It was about a 5 hour drive out of Hot Springs Arkansas. So we kept on keeping on and found another campground just south of I-40 and east of Oklahoma City, we just happened to find a sign for Crowder Point Campground on Highway 69. It was nothing fancy, but it was a good campground in progress of becoming a great campground. We were right on the lake, next to the boat launch area and the sunset was great! I kept telling Chuck that Highway 9 ran directly parallell to I-40 just about 20 miles south of it. He insisted on doing I-40 thru Oklahoma! Let me tell you, I-40 in Oklahoma sucks ESPECIALLY when you hit Oklahoma City! It bounced and jarred every suction cup loose in the Oliver! By the time we got bounced out on the other side, Chuck wanted to know where that Red Rock State Parks was that I had been talking about? So we turned south on highway 281, just west of OK City and a short time later, we pulled into Red Rock Canyon. This is a beautiful camp area, it was privately owned when I first discovered it and now it has become an updated, very nice state park. If you are into climbing, there are rock areas designated just for climbing. Great campsites and picnic areas, FHU of just boondocking available . I wish I had taken pictures Chuck but and I stayed long enough to walk the dogs, admire the beautiful rock formations, calm our nerves and head on. I do need to warn you, that when you enter Red Rocks, it is a very steep road down into the canyon and a healthy climb back out! Make sure your tow vehicle is up to the job!

We followed highway 281 down to Anadarko OK (Native American Capital of the USA) and picked up highway 9 and headed west. Chuck had to agree, the roads were much better even though they were two lane the traffic (when there was any!) moved well. Too bad it was still too early to camp at Red Rocks....... but I started telling Chuck about another great campground I had heard about, but never visited called Quartz Mountain RV Resort State Park about 12 miles south of Lone Wolf OK on highway44. Tired from the beating he took going through Oklahoma City he was ready for Quartz Mountain! What a wonderful surprise! Several campgrounds to choose from with pull thru FHU to boondocking. We chose water and electric only. Soon we had a family of 7 white tail deer wandering around, oblivious to us until one of the dogs barked, then they just slowly moved away. We slept well and woke up to rain!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Above downtown Hot Springs is a beautifully brick paved walk. It takes about 30 minutes from end to end, we had all 3 dogs with us, so it took a bit longer with everybody stopping to ohhhhhh and ahhhhhhhhhhhhh over the cute
doggies! That plus the dogs had to stop and make sure they watered every plant!

We started from the center of town, there is a big visitor parking lot in the middle of town and the trail starts from there. We came out north of bath house row, so we took Central Avenue back to the parking lot. The old bath houses are beautiful! I wish we had time to go visit one.

After our tour of downtown, Chuck took me to myfavorite rock shop just north of Hot

Springs Village, Coleman Rock Shop. I have mined often for quartz Crystals at the Coleman

Mines, but we just didn't have time this trip!

Check out the size of those quartz crystals in front of me! WOW!

Downtown Hot Springs is worth a day to just walk around and explore! They are restoring a lot of the old buildings there and downtown is looking prosperious again! There are several of the old bath houses being restored now and 2 are fully restored and you are welcome to soak for a day or an hour, as long as your pocketbook will allow!

About 1/2 way down the palisades trail is the steamy hot water tumbling down the hill, over rocks, to the pool below. It doesn't look as hot and steamy as it really was, it was a chilly morning and believe me... the water was steamy!

We left Hot Springs Saturday about 9 am and landed here with a lakeside campground site in Oklahoma and will report more about it in my next posting. It's time to hit the road for another day!

Wow ! We spent 2 nights camped at Hot Springs Gulpha Gorge Campground. We arrived Thursday night, Oct. 9th and left Sat. am about 9 am.

This is a beautiful campground, all the trees are just beginning to turn colors., there is a beautiful little creek, the bathrooms are clean and several are placed around. However, no showers, no hook ups until next year. They are currently upgrading about 12 campsites in the upper tier for hook ups. But as I said, with our Golden Age Geezer Pass, it was only $5 a night! The campground has hiking trails into the town of Hot Springs if you are ambitious and healthy enought to climb straight up! Thursday night, the campground was full, everything from tenters to Monaco Coaches. Friday night the place was almost deserted! We spent what was left of Thurs, night cleaning up the camper and reading. Friday, we went to downtown Hot Springs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On the road again !!!

Howdy! Just wanted you to know we are on the road again! We left Monday, Oct 6. We spent the first night just east of Mobile AL in an Escapees RV Park that Chuck wanted to show me. He is a member of Escapees and we can visit their campgrounds all over for about $15 a night. Tuesday night finds us in Vicksburg Mississippi. We are staying at a casino campground for about $20 and they give you a free breakfast for 2 that came to $18, then we each put $20 in a slot machine... I went broke in about 10 minutes while Chuck doubled his money but quit when he got back to the original $20 "invested". The Casino is right on the Mississippi River... as you can see in the picture, and the campground is across the road. The Casino and campground are reached by taking exit 1a from I-20. Great campground, Wish I had taken pictures of it!

We left Vicksburg around 11 am and landed in Hot Springs National Park tonight. With the senior citizens Golden Age Pass (geezer pass) we are here for $5 a night! Beautiful campground! No hook ups so we will be boon docking 2 nights here. I'll take photos and share later!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crater of Diamonds State Park

If you EVER get the chance, go check out Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro Arkansas. It is the worlds 8th largest diamond mine and the only one that will let you keep the diamonds you find! It costs $6.50 to mine all day! You can bring your own tools, or rent them there. A claw type hand tool, a small hand spade, a bucket is all you really need! Chuck and I dug around in the dirt for 2 days! Chuck found a nice jasper and I found a few new places for muscles to ache but we had so much fun! Besides the usual great campgrounds that you find at Arkansas State Parks, thus one had great hiking trails.........paved or wild! The last day we were there, Chuck and I took the trail you see here and then kept on following it after the trail turned wild at the river! I was a bit nervous because I still don't trust these new knees as much as I should! Chuck encouraged me and helped me up or down some of the steep areas, and we all had a great hike. The dogs, Midget, Scottie and Bobbie, loved it! Back to the diamond mine........... the first day we were there 6 diamonds were unearthed! One was a fine quality 3/4 carat! In several area of the park mining area, you will see sings with shovels hanging from them. The one in the photo shows where the Uncle Sam Diamond was found. The shovels show where all the big diamonds first saw light. A lot of people cluster around those areas hoping to find another big one! We really enjoyed ourselves here. Now for a commercial! hahaha! While there, we discovered a great little Mexican Restaurant in Murfreesboro... Rico Habaneros and it was amazing! Great service, excellent food! About 1/2 mile north of the courthouse! It was so good, we went back the second day, not even wanting to try any of the other restaurants the town had to offer! Rico's was great. This is our favorite Arkansas State Park so far.......... I hope you get a chance to visit! This is a great time of the year to go, the weather was perfect for digging in the dirt! Next week, we leave for California! I'll keep you posted! Happy Trails!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rver II Rally page 3

A calm Dawn broke after the passing of TS Ike, to the credit of the RV park, it was well drained and hardly a puddle was left to show for the hours of rain that had pounded down on us. Betty and I took a predawn walk with the dogs and found only a laundry basket that had escaped from it's home. We all survived TS Ike very well. Chuck says goodbye to Poco. Sunday morning was the final gathering for pancakes with sausage and coffee. It was time to begin the goodbyes to all the new friends we had made! Paul and Sherry left Saturday to go visit her mom in Missouri so they missed sharing Ike with us. Almost everyone was packing up after breakfast and heading for home. I loved the wheel cover on the back of Steve and Tali's Oliver, "Not all those who wander are lost and the road goes ever on...." ! They obviously love life on the road! Mountainborn took a minute to brag about the box he had built onto the tongue of the Oliver to house his generator. Of course now Chuck wants one just like it! Mountainborn and Butcherknife go "boondocking" quite often and having the generator handy makes life easier! Finally, everybody was packed up but for 3 of us who decided to stay Sunday and leave Monday. So in the ready to roll mode, we all went down to Jake's Steaks for lunch! Another great meal at a restaurant within walking distance of the campground. We are going to miss our new friends! Most we had met via the internet and Oliver Forum or the Casita Forum, but just hadn't met in person. This was really fun for my first rally and I'm looking forward to next year! Next stop.... Crater of Diamonds State Park!