I’m finding it hard to keep the travel journal (blog) updated when we’re sitting in one spot for so long. There’s just not much going on here at the Triple “T” RV & Mobile Home Park where we’ve been parked since returning from Newport Dunes, CA. We paid the pretty reasonable monthly rate of $417 (+ electric fees TBD) and have been basically just sitting here helping out our daughter Jennifer and grandson Kaan while they slowly get settled here in Phoenix. Jenny goes to work pretty much every day while Kaan attends school (3rd grade) at a public charter.
One highlight of our stay here was moving sites. We moved from our original site, that was slightly behind Jenny & Kaan’s travel trailer, to a newly-vacated spot right next to them. The Urban Escape Vehicle was facing southwest, and now we’re facing northeast which is a little easier on the electronics in the front cap due to the intense Arizona sun. At least, I think it’s easier on the electronics e.g., DVR Receiver, Blu-Ray® player surround-sound system, Satellite Dish controller, etc., because now we only have the morning sun shining on the front of the coach as opposed to the intense mid-day and all afternoon/evening sun. The front windshield sure generates a lot of heat from the sun in a “green-house effect” kind of way and the air conditioners have been getting quite a workout while the recent daytime-high temps here reach 100°. We did purchase a roll of the silver reflective insulating material from a local RV store that we put on the inside of the windshield along with our existing sunscreen material… it certainly seems to help. I’ve been thinking of getting the sunscreen material that goes on the outside of the windshield, but to do that – I have to have it professionally fitted and fasteners have to be installed. Maybe I’ll check into that at the next large rally we attend where there’s lots of vendors. The see-thru sunshade material we currently have is two-piece and uses suction cups to hold to the inside of the windshield.
On one or two of the rare “not-so-sunny” days, I’ve been able to get a few general maintenance items accomplished; I’ve washed the vehicles, gotten the propane tanks filled, replaced the plastic motion-sensor windows on our outside “scare” lights and even installed new LED marker lights in the rear spoiler that finally arrived from etrailer.com.
Of course, no job is ever easy (at least for me)… the LED lights required some work to get installed into the rear spoiler. I had to enlarge the center hole for each marker light on the spoiler because the new lights had a larger diameter center section where the bulb sits and the wires come out the back. I used a small grinder bit attached to a drill to make each hole large enough to mount the new lights. The new lights look good and nicely complement the recently re-fastened spoiler that I wrote about HERE.
We have also done a few day-trips while parked here in Glendale. We can’t always sit around the RV park, right? One day, we drove down to the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande to visit my mom, stepdad, brother Steve & Cheryl. Our little dog “Coach” is doing just fine since mom stole, (I mean adopted), him 🙂
His fur is growing back after the buzz cut mom gave him a while ago.
Mom showed off her new brood of chicks. If she keeps this up, we’ll have to rename the place to “chicken farm” 🙂 Right Ma?
On another weekday outing, we drove over to nearby Westgate Entertainment District for the weekly Bike Night held every Thursday. You may recall that we attended a car show here a little while back that I think I posted on Facebook. The Westgate Entertainment District is a pretty cool place to hang out with lots of good restaurants. And who doesn’t like a car or motorcycle show…
There were lots of nice rides to check out.
Of course, we had to check out the Indian® Motorcycle stand to see the latest. Stilla’s brother Ludwig in Germany is now an official Indian® dealer (←link here) since the beginning of this year and although I’m a Harley guy, It’s fun to keep track of the competition.
On yet another day-trip, Stilla & I drove the Silverado over to White Tank Mountain Regional Park. I heard they had a campground here that I wanted to check out for future reference.
The freestanding, deeply serrated, 4000-foot-high White Tank Mountains separate the Phoenix Basin of the Salt River Valley from the Hassayampa Plain. Floodwaters have scoured out a series of depressions, or “tanks,” in the white granite rock, thus the name of the mountains.
We stopped at the Visitor Center located just outside the entrance gate. The Nature Center seemed to double as a library and also had several desert creatures; snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc., on display in terrariums. There was also an alleged desert turtle in an outside enclosure, but it must have been out on a hike because we couldn’t find it. After paying our $6 entrance fee, we drove into the park and found the campground.
There were only a few rigs parked at the campground. I think everyone with any good sense has already headed north to cooler weather.
According to a flyer I picked up at the Visitors Center, the campground boasts 40 campsites with tables, grills, fire ring, water, and 30 and 50 amp hookups. Restrooms and showers are onsite with a Dump station located nearby. Click HERE for campsite rates and information.
We did a quick drive-thru of the campground loop and took some pics (above). Then we exited the campground and drove around the regional park to check out the scenery. Many of the Saguaro cacti are about to bloom…
The park has a huge number of picnic areas and parking areas at the various trailheads. Click HERE for loop drive and trail map. We stopped briefly at a few of them to check things out but decided it was too hot for hiking.
We finished our drive and passed the Nature Center/Library again on our way back out of the park (below).
One weekend outing found us heading over to Saguaro Lake located 41 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix. The reservoir was created by the construction of Stewart Mountain Dam. Saguaro del Norte Recreation site is near the dam and includes the Saguaro Lake Marina (which includes a restaurant and boat concession), a Maricopa County Sheriff’s aid station, picnic tables, restrooms and boat ramps. Butcher Jones Beach, which can be reached by a road a few miles north of Saguaro del Norte, features swimming, picnic and restroom facilities.
The drive across Phoenix from the west to east was (as usual) laden with heavy traffic, but once you get on the N Usery Pass Rd and then N Bush Hwy the scenery is awesome.
Saguaro Lake is within Tonto National Forest and as such had a day-use fee. However, while we were checking out the signs at the entrance guard shack that was unmanned, a park ranger drove up next to us. He told us I could display my lifetime disabled veteran national park pass on the dash. We checked out the marina area after finally finding a parking spot at this (clearly) popular weekend destination.
Since there was only limited beach access near the marina, we drove a few miles north on N Bush Hwy to E Butcher Jones Beach Rd. We saw the signs for a swimming/recreation area on the northeast corner of the lake.
As you can see from the pictures (below), the beach was certainly crowded on this weekend.
In addition to lots of people, there were also a lot of wild horses in-and-around the beach and parking lot area.
I found a local news article on the wild horses. Environmentalists say the Salt RIver horses are destroying habitat, (link HERE). We thought it was pretty cool to see so many wild horses up close and took a few pictures (below).
After hanging at the beach most of the day, we headed back towards Phoenix while stopping at some the other recreation area pullouts that we had passed earlier along the way to the lake. Most of these areas provide access to the Salt River. One of the areas had a big business booming by renting inner tubes to float down the Salt River. (link HERE). At Phon D Sutton we checked out the meager camping opportunities – basically dry camping in a parking lot. Don’t think we’ll come back here with the Urban Escape Vehicle. At one of the parking areas, we caught this picture of a roadrunner (below).
And at another parking area that provided beach access to the Salt River… I was walking along the pathway when I heard a rattlesnake rattle. Startled, I jumped to the side away from the noise and then saw the source (below). Good thing this thing rattled to warn me, I was about to walk right next to him!
And we had to photograph another cool cactus (below).
And now – since I see this post is getting rather large… I’ll close for now and post a “Phoenix Day-Trips [part 2]” to bring you up to date on a few of the other outings that we’ve done recently. Check back…
BTW – We passed our 2nd year Anniversary of Full-timing in the Urban Escape Vehicle on May 2nd… Happy Anniversary to us!