Friday, February 26, 2016

Sedona , Arizona

From Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument we travel north on Route 85 to Ajo(Ah-Hoe).  We love stopping here, walking around the square, and maybe a little lunch at the Oasis Cafe.

Jan had a Hot Roast Beef sandwich , and  I had a wonderful Reuben.

The night's stop is in Gila Bend and since it is so hot, we change southern plans and decide to head north to The Escapee Park in Congress, Arizona and then  on to Sedona where the elevation is over 4,000 feet.   We calculate minus 4 degrees for every 1,000 feet-----or cooler!!

The route from Gila Bend was Route 85 to Route 10 east to Route 303 north(west of Phoenix)to Route 60 north to Wickenburg and then Route 89 north to Congress.  From Congress we followed Route 89 north to state route 10 (truck route) to Kirkland and then Prescott. Route 169 out of Prescott headed us over to  Route 17 north to Route 179 heading into Sedona.

Love the town name

Our first stop is at the Red Rock Ranger Station for the Coconino National Forest.  They were very helpful in suggesting boondocking sites on the forest roads near Sedona.
 The site they suggested was just about 10 or 12 miles from the center of Sedona.  This was our view from the back window.  Even better, we were off of a paved road rather than a dusty dirt road. For distance, you can look for the road heading off above the pictures.
We boondocked here for four nights. Great spot!!

Since we were parked beside a path, on one day we had visitors come by on horseback.  The path goes well to the side of Lady Blue.

This view is from Main Street in Sedona.  Everywhere are views of the red rocks.  The town and the buildings are designed to mesh with the surroundings.

 Following early farmers, the town was discovered by Hollywood in the 1940's with a number of well known movies.  The following is a link to Sedona tourism.  Sedona Tourism  , Another link -check the top menu,
A number of the movie stars would gather each night at the Cowboy Club Grille . Check this link for all the 1940's movie stars that visited this restaurant.  Cowboy Club  Scroll down to read the story and see the names.

 The Courthouse Rock
 The Cathedral Rock
 A panorama view from the airport
Also from the airport.
The Bell Rock in the center
Jan and I from the viewpoint by the airport.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

From Yuma, Arizona to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

From Quartzsite we head south on Route 95 to Yuma, Arizona.  It is an interesting ride through the desert and past the U.S. Army proving grounds.  Once we are near to Yuma and its irrigation canals there are suddenly many green fields of produce.  Though a moving picture, you might be able see that this field is ready to pick cauliflower.
Usually a number of white school buses indicate the pickers are at work on a field.  This machine allows a number of pickers to sit or lay down above each row. Then they pick their row and fill the boxes as the machine moves slowly. Not the easiest work.

This appeared to be a broccoli field.  The very nice house in the background could be an owner's house.  There are many, many campgrounds in Yuma.  We chose to stop at the Cocopah Casino.  They offered a pleasant place to stay with a nice Mexican Cafe for 3 nights for $10.  No, we did not gamble

From Yuma, we travel east on Route 8 to Gila Bend and then south on Route 85.
The scenery becomes a very green and more dense desert landscape.  This is as we pass Ajo on the way to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
 Organ Pipe is one of our favorite campgrounds. This is our third stay , and it is even more enjoyable than the last two.  We have our own saguaro cactus right outside our window.
Lady Blue is quite happy in a roomy spot.  We use our awning
to get some shade from the high eighties sun. It seems the storm that is bringing very cold weather to the Northeast is bringing up warm air for us.  Oh well, we will just deal with it!
  No, there is no problem with the motor.  There are some industrious pack rats in the park that enjoy making homes under the cactus.  They love soft materials from engine compartments. The open hood discourages them a little.
We are a few short miles from Lukeville, Arizona, a town on the Mexican border. So, here it is already starting to be Spring.  This is a Gila woodpecker remodeling a nest inside the saguaro.

Also visiting in the campground is a Phainopepla.  Kind of like an all black cardinal.
The first settlers thought these small groups of cactus reminded them of organ pipes.  The organ pipe cactus does not grow very far north of the Mexican border----does not like the cold.
These are some organ pipe that are just beginning, along with a small saguaro.  At about 1700 feet elevation, this part of the Sonoran Desert is very healthy.  When we approached the area, it looked very green.
Often, the saguaros get started under a nurse bush until it can grow on its own.
No question about messing with these plants.  

The Teddy Bear Cholla looks very cuddly, right?
Wrong!  A close look says stay very far away!
What we believe is a cactus wren is perched on an ocotillo bush.  This bush looks like a bundle of sticks most of the time.  But every so often, sometimes right after rain, it sprouts small green leaves and blossoms.
Again, look closely and you will see some very sharp needles amongst the leaves.
The flower is a bright orange to red.  Some of the desert areas are looking forward to a very colorful Spring with some of the rain from El Nino.
Close by is a dead cholla cactus.  
A closer look at the skeleton.  Nature can be very efficient.
A number of Airstream in the park.  This one is from Idaho and the owner lists it as a 1953 model.
Note the vent that would be above the camping stove used inside.  He also said this one came with a fresh water tank which I thought was surprising.  Most units of this era had very few amenities.
Some of the other bushes are beginning to blossom.
Which attracts a number of bees.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Lake Mohave and Katherine Landing

We stayed on the LTVA La Posa West for our full two weeks. By that time many of our fellow Lazy Dazers were also leaving or had left already. We do see some long term campers out on the BLM land . One gentleman we talked to at the water fill was from Canada and was there for 5 months.

Remember that 7 months can be had for a total of $180. That guarantees you water filling , trash dumpsters, and a dump station. Way too long for Jan and me.

We headed north on Route 95 through Parker, Arizona. On through Lake Havasu, where we stopped last year to see the London Bridge. We stopped this year at an O'Reilly Auto Parts to pick up a socket wrench and extension to make emptying our water tank and cleaning it much easier. Our original reason for stopping was to replace our 300 watt inverter. We replaced it with a 400 watt Peak inverter. This is good to invert our 12 volt to 120 volt for charging phones and computers and running our satellite dish . We still plan to install at least a 600 watt hard wired inverter that would be happier running the satellite receiver when we are dry camping.

After Lake Havasu we continue on Route 95 to Route 40 west to Needles, California(just across the Colorado River) and then back on Route 95 into Arizona again and up to Bullhead City.

Bullhead City seems to be a bigger city every year on the Arizona bank of the Colorado. Across the river are many casinos. Maybe that is the reason. Above Bullhead City, there is a good marker for Katherine Landing Campground which is on the Lake Mohave . Lake Mohave link will help those who wish to delve into the complicated water rights claims to the Colorado River(Hoover Dam and delivering water to Mexico?) Lake Mohave is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Katherine Landing is a very relaxing campground. The sites are well separated with privacy provided by surrounding Oleander bushes. Last year the fee was $5 per night(dry camping), but this year-starting in January 2016--the fee for senior pass is $10 per night. We cannot argue. The campground is well kept and very quiet.

Always a fun walk down to the Marina--extremely quiet this time of the year-- and check on the ducks and giant fish. All looking for bread crumbs that visitors throw.

Once again, we hunker down while a huge storm comes in from California. The wind gusts are up in the 60's and we actually get a fair amount of rain and sleet overnight. As you can see in the distance we are treated to snow covered mountains in the area. This is the storm that closed down highways in Colorado and created tornadoes further east. Quite cold after, but we are happy to be out of the extreme weather.

A side benefit of the winds and rain is a beautiful sunset. Arizona seems to have quite a few. By the way, Katherine Landing is at the corner of California, Arizona, and Nevada.

All too soon, it seems time to start heading south again-- eventually on our way to Yuma and then Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. This time we pull over to some BLM land on Plomosa Road a little north of Quartzsite. Since we are only staying for a few days, it makes no sense to pay for the LTVA sections. This land is free for camping with a 14 day limit.

BLM land accounts for 1/8 of the land in the United States. Most lands are in the western 12 states and Alaska. This link gives you a link to the federal site. BLM Land . People in this section of the country feel very strongly about their right to this public land. Most are very good about following rules for the various areas.

As you can see, we have a beautiful yard to enjoy.

Jan is standing next to a small Saguaro cactus.

Jan is standing next to a big---wait a minute--BIG!!!-- Saguaro cactus.

No, Bruce, you do not look like a saguaro.
Why are Jan and Bruce smiling?
Maybe a welcome for new granddaughter Lilly!!!!

This was a unit at Quartzsite. The Lazy Daze is a good 20 years old. Anyone recognize the year of the Ford Econoline type front end? The VW beetle is about 1967--belongs to the Lazy Daze unit.

Those of us who had Beetles way back know that the bumper changed in 1968--among other features.