Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lake Havasu, Arizona and Mohave National Preserve, California

We really enjoyed our stay at Katherines Landing on Lake Mohave.
But, it was time to move on.  Lady Blue needs an oil change, so we head south on Route 68 to Route 95(Az) through Bullhead City. A quick ride east on Route 40 and then south again on Route 95 to Lake Havasu City.  We could have changed oil easily in Bullhead City, but we enjoyed parts of Lake Havasu before and decided to have another look. We passed a number of BLM land , free, camping areas, but chose to go to a private campground right on the lake----also a good spot for laundry. This was Crazy Horse Campground and the view above is from some of the beachfront sites.
 As you can imagine these waterfront sites are quite popular.  Lake Havasu hosts a number of events throughout the winter. Last weekend was a display produced by fireworks manufacturers.  We understand it attracts one of Havasu's largest crowds.
 The trip south from Bullhead City to Topock and then Havasu City follows the Colorado River and also the California/Arizona border. From the beach view, this is a ferry boat coming back from the California side.  It docks right in the campground. By the way the campground has 648 sites.  Very large!.
 Many rentals available at the campground. Everything from this pontoon boat, to jet skis and other boats.
 This view is towards Lake Havasu City.  This is the southern end of the city. A fairly short walk from the campground--a half mile or so---brings you to a couple of nice restaurants on the water.  The London Bridge--we had pictures on our blog in the January 31 issue of 2015--is just a short walk further.
If you are interested in past blogs just go to the right of the home page , scroll down past the "My Blog List" to the "Blog Archive" list.  Clicking on the arrow to the left of a year will give you the months list. Clicking on the months list will give you the issue titles list within that month.  Every now and then we have to check back to Grand Tetons or Glacier National, or pictures from different years in New England.

 From Lake Havasu we head back north on Route 95 to Route 40 west.  Once into California, we note a very unpopulated area into the Mohave National Preserve. We had marked a dispersed camping spot off Exit 115(boondocking) , but when we headed up the exit ramp we saw that the road was closed.???? 
Actually , it was a good sign, because we headed a bit further on Route 40 to the Hole in the Wall Campground exit for the Preserve(EssexRoad).  The campground is about 20 miles off the interstate.   Good separation at the sites.  $6 per night with our Senior Pass. The entire campground is dry camping, but there is a dump station with a fresh water threaded source. There are also a number of fresh water hand pumps around the loop.
 Hole in the Wall refers to the rhyolite rocks that have dissolved over the centuries to form walls of rock that look like swiss cheese.  There are a number of various hikes in the area. Some relatively easy--yea!-- some more difficult with rock climbing and metal rings mounted in the rocks for some more difficult parts of the climb.
 To make some of our New England readers happier, we will report that our warm outergear is necessary because our high daytime temperature is about 46 degrees and our night time temperature just went down to about 26 degrees.  That was while Boston was reporting 73 degrees yesterday-a record we understand.
We do climb a little. And we did hike for a bit over the different trails.  Another favorite spot.  This campground also had good satellite reception and cellphone coverage. No idea where the towers are and there are no towns nearby, but the signal was good.
We are continuously entertained by a number of jackrabbits.
Question for Lucas, Madison, and Emilie.
Do you know why jackrabbits have long ears?
Look it up on the internet or have Mom or Dad check. 
This was our view from the front of Lady Blue.
Different lichen along the hike. Some bright yellow. Others orange. The park host indicated that this section of California has already had over 4 inches of rain this year.  That is about the normal total for an entire year.
A view from our hike back towards our campground. Can you see Lady Blue?
Some of the holes are all the way through.
Sunset from the back of Lady Blue
A few pictures of one of our sunsets.  
More impressive was the wide open clear view of the stars at night.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Musical Instrument Museum and Tonto National Forest in Arizona

From Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, we headed back north on Route 85 to Gila Bend and the KOA for an overnight. Still the cleanest laundromat ever! The next day is a shopping stop at Buckeye and then up to Route 10. Heading east to exit 123 and north to White Tanks Mountain County Park.  This was an unplanned stop, but we are glad we did.  A beautiful campground that a number of campers had recommended in the past.  
Set up against the mountains west of Phoenix(listed as Waddell), there is a good view of the valley east. Do you see Lady Blue?
 Only 40 sites, so not easy to find a spot. We were lucky to get the next to last of the day.  There are miles of hiking trails and a nature center. 
 The next day we head straight out of the campground to the Route 101 Loop and head north around Phoenix.  Right near the Mayo Clinic, on the east side, you will find the Musical Instrument Museum.  Jan and I thank Nancy from Quartzsite Lazy Dazers for this suggestion. She had mentioned spending hours and days here and now we know why. The guitar above is from Daytonville, Connecticut, 1852. The first mass producer of guitars in America.
This is a 1932 resonator guitar from the Dobro company. Most people know these as simply Dobros.
While here, there were about 5 busloads of school students from different schools, as well as a number of other visitors.  Plenty of room and the kids were all fully involved in the museum. There are rooms of instruments, drums and others, to be played. Also a piano or two that can be played by any age or musical level. The historical instruments are clearly for viewing.
All kinds of instruments from bass saxophone to the largest string bass.
There are whole rooms devoted to different parts of Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Oceania, Europe, United States/Canada.  There is a wonderful room of mechanical music makers from a giant calliope to player pianos and more. 
There is a large Artist Gallery that allows you to hear excellent recordings of all kinds of artists(here John Lennon and Carlos Santana) as well as videos of their performances.  All eras and styles are represented.
Yes performs "Close to the Edge" 1974
Even articles that belong to performers. This is a concert outfit made for Roger Daltrey of the Who in 1968 to 1970.
A very nice presentation by Martin guitars.
A workshop showing tools used in making Martin guitars.
There is also a great presentation by Steinway pianos ,showing a complete piano action and a video discussing building and voicing of the keyboards. Also, another one by Zyldjian cymbals, showing stages in the making of their famous cymbals.
A leather guitar cover made to resemble one that Elvis Presley had commissioned.
A fairly normal looking guitar. But , this is a 
D-45 "Dreadnought" guitar, 1972, by Martin.
One of the worlds most sought-after steel string guitars.
This link will give you a lot more information about this museum. Note the concerts. Also, this is one of the top rated museums in the United States.
Musical Instrument Museum 

Sometimes, traveling Arizona is not as simple as you would expect.
When you look at a map, you would expect more roads going from here to there.  But, when you drive, you realize there might be some very challenging mountains in the way or, perhaps 80 miles or more with nothing but desert.
From the museum, we head east of the 101 Loop to Shea Boulevard. And then we hop on Route 87 north to Jakes Corner and then Route 188 south to Roosevelt Lake and Windy Hill Campground in the Tonto National Forest.
The views are spectacular. The cost is $8.00 per night on the Senior Pass.  This is a small part of the lake---it is 22 miles long and the largest lake totally inside Arizona.
 Not many campers here, so we just pick the best site available.
This is one of our favorite campgrounds.

Weather in Arizona can change quickly. More surprising after you get used to the typical warm, dry, sunny Arizona days.
 This storm came up suddenly with quite gusty winds, thunder, and rain.
 But then , we were rewarded with this bright rainbow.
Also surprising, it lasted for almost an hour.
Soon, we have to leave again and start heading west. But, heading west from Lake Roosevelt is not possible. We head north again on Route 188 to Route 87 south. Shea Boulevard west to Frank Loyd Wright Boulevard to  Loop 101, north on Scottsdale Road to Route 74. West to Route 60 and Wickenburg. Then Route 93 to 89 to Congress and the North Ranch Escapee Park.
To show you why, the above picture is heading north from Lake Roosevelt( in picture on right). Note the 4500 foot mountains on the left. No main roads through.  Of course, there was the possibility of going north through Payson and on to Sedona and then south.  A pretty ride, but a bit longer.
A view of the housing in Scottsdale/Fountain Hills approaching Shea Boulevard.
Houses do blend into the landscape.
Approaching Route 74. Note the houses on the hillside. There are at least 12 houses on the hillside. Do you see the one below "right below"?
Heading north from Congress, Route 71 to Route 93. This road is about 80 miles long with only a few houses, mostly desert.  A few Joshua Trees along the way.
As the elevation increases, the sights are more interesting.
Driving becomes more interesting too.
Route 93 brings us to Route 40 west.  We follow Route 40 to Route 68 in Kingman, heading towards Bullhead City and Laughlin. 
And right away , the signs to Lake Mead Recreation Area, Right here will be Katherines Landing, one of our favorite campgrounds. 
This is a picture of part of the marina just below our campground.  Situated in a cove and part of Lake Mohave, this is the southern section of the Lake Mead Recreation Area. This section was created by the Davis Dam in 1951. North of here is the Boulder(Hoover) Dam which created Lake Mead. This is the largest capacity reservoir in the United States, sending water to nearly 20 million people plus farmland  Just imagine, not too far left of this picture is the Davis Dam about 500 foot elevation. The lake heads north ( to the right) to Hoover Dam-a bit east of Las Vegas, and then Lake Mead. Go north and west about 112 miles-depending on water level-that is how long Lake Mead is. Continue along the Colorado River a little more east and north and you are at over 7,000 feet of elevation and in the Grand Canyon National Park.  
This website holds a lot of information about the Lake .

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quartzsite, Arizona to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

From Kartchner Caverns in  Benson , Arizona, we continue west on Route 10 past Tucson to Casa Grande. A few nights at our Escapee Park, and we continue on Route 8 to Gila Bend. Here we stop at a well designed private campground once called Augie's Quail and now is a KOA . Huge sites, well separated, with a super clean laundry.   From there, we head up Route 85 to Route 10 in Buckeye, AZ and then west to Quartzsite and our group of Lazy Daze owners at La Posa West LTVA.
We missed Roger this year, but Dan and Lynn stepped in and were wonderful as hosts.  For those who wonder, Quartzsite is surrounded by a lot of BLM land(Bureau of Land Management). You can camp for free on BLM land.  LTVA means Long Term Visitor. At LTVA you can pay $40.00 to camp for 2 weeks.  It is somewhat restricted in that you are supposed to have a sticker to be in this area. The $40 gives you access for two weeks to fresh water and a dump station. As you can see above, we have all kinds of room.

Our group is very laid back.  There is no schedule. We generally meet for a social at 5p.m. followed by a campfire. Some people just come for the social, some just come some days, some stay for just a short time at the fire.  This, above, was a pot luck that featured some wonderful foods.

Bring your own chair , plates, and utensils.

The social hour often continues at the fire. This year, the whole time was relatively cold, so the fire was quite welcome.

Sometimes the temperature was into the 40's before the fire was over.
 Thanks to Lauralee for providing the lanterns . They lasted for a long while as they rose up into the night sky.

Camille and Todd, new attendees at the Lazy Daze Quartzsite, were happy to show off their 1984, 22 foot multiplan, with a queen size pop up.

Note the popup is similar to a VW Westphalia.  Lazy Daze only made about 300 of  these.  This 1984, 33 years old!!, is in extremely great shape.  Camille and Todd have owned it for 15 years and used it to camp with their 4 children. There is a sofa that converts to a queen bed, a dinette that converts to a bed, a queen bed over the cab, and queen bed that the kids loved to climb up into on the roof.

 The inside is as great as the outside. Refrigerator/freezer on the left, couch that converts to a bed, storage on the right, bathroom/shower on the right, and the flat surface at the back opens up for a sink.
Dinette that converts to a bed.
The LD has the original engine and transmission too.

We know we have a few Jeep lovers out there in family and friends.
This jeep is owned by Bob, one of our Lazy Dazers.
Note from this side a large jack on the hood, double line winch on the front bumper, off road spotlights, an awning , and oversized wheels

We didn't ask, but we believe the orange that looks like a snowboard, is a traction helper for when you get stuck in the sand. Also on the back is a jerry can for fuel? and one other unknown item.
Note the sturdy roof carrier , spotlights on the back, and the shovel attached. This is a serious desert 4 wheeler.
 Just a few of  more than twenty Lazy Daze units from 1984's to 2016.
Another couple who were part of our Lazy Daze group this year were also avid motorized hang gliders( not sure what the accurate term is here)  They had fun sailing around the Quartzsite area.
We're sure there were many entertained by the glider.
Of course, part of the draw to Quartzsite at this time is the large RV tent and the tables beyond the tent at Tyson Wells.
One of our favorites outside is Slide Ridge Honey.  They are from Mendon,Utah and offer raw honey, honey vinegar, and a hatch chiles and honey vinegar marinade.
A plus at the table is a sample from the honeycomb. Of course, we bought some of each.
Also outside the tent were all kinds of motorhomes, fifth wheels trailers, and tag alongs like the Retro above. 
This link goes to their website Retro trailers
Also a link to new Serro Scotty Serro Scotty
And also some pictures of retro 16 foot Shastas Shasta Rv Trailer
These are quite short--14 to 18feet long--and reminiscent of 1960's trailers--like the old Shastas.  This one has all the modern conveniences like air conditioning, nice sink, stove, and microwave.

Another unusual sight in the parking lot was this Earth Roamer XVlt

We would call this a Class C motorhome for the RVer who is not faint of heart.  These are designed for the most rugged off road camping.
They are made in Colorado and started around 2002. The website link is here  The Earth Roamer XV lt

 Also seen at Quartzsite.
Homemade, note the antlers.
Other than that---?????
If you follow our blog , you might remember a similar truck from the Owls Head Museum in Maine.  This is a much smaller version. Note the pop corn popper inside.
Another random sight. A 1956?? Hudson?? convertible.
Not sure of the year. Pretty sure it is a Hudson. 
Check out this picture review link of Hudsons
 Do you need a used saddle , chaps, or boots?
We had to include this for Ed and Carol who told us about the Quartzsite Bakery a few years ago.
And yes, Ed and Carol, we picked up two apple fritters and a loaf of fresh baked wheat bread.
 Oh, did we mention the sunsets at Quartzsite?
Such a nice visit to Quartzsite. But, our two weeks are over with a blink of an eye.  Back east on Route 10 to Buckeye(which has a very good Wal Mart , Verizon, and Papa Johns). Then south on route 85 to Gila Bend. Then south on Route 85 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
 Home of some super tall Saguaro cactus
Did we say super tall?
But also the only place in the U.S. to find Organ Pipe Cactus.
Called organ pipe because---
they looked like the pipes of a pipe organ.
Organ Pipe has many lectures--both in the campground and at the visitors center. This is Scott setting up a wonderful telescope that is used for night time views of the sky and, in this case, daytime views of the sun.  They also have ranger led hikes and van trips to remote sections of the park.  Scott grew up in Utah where he became familiar with many National Parks.  He has spent time at parks in Alaska--taking visitors to see bears catching salmon--, Glacier National Park, and after this time, wants to spend time in Colorado parks.  
We love catching this view every day from the campground.
This pin cushion cactus is only a few inches tall.
We are just a few miles from the border.  A very quiet road.
We are happy with daytime temps in the 70's and night time temps in the 40's.  Very dry.
A wide variety of campers here. This one is home made.
Besides a few large motorhomes, there are many smaller Class C's, Truck Campers, and small Tag alongs.  Also a few Class B and tents in a fairly large campground.
Besides a number of Airstream trailers, there are a number of Casita type trailers here. This is a very light modern trailer that is quite popular with many part time and full time minimalist rvers.
This is a link for that company Casita trailers

Remains of an old Saguaro. The ribs held up a water laden tall cactus and are very strong for building.
A view of our campground from one of our hikes.
Can you see Lady Blue?  We have the awning out.
An Organ Pipe sunset from inside Lady Blue.
Oh those sunsets!!!!!