Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yuma. Then Tucson.

November, 2016 - early March, 2017

From Cattail Cove State Park we drove 125 miles to the Yuma Proving Ground's Desert Breeze Military Campground, where we've spent a few weeks or months for four years. The campground is 25 miles north of downtown Yuma. We got arrived a few days before Thanksgiving. 

After only a week -- and because Bev wanted to spend more time at home for the holidays -- we left our motorhome hooked up to electricity and in our camping spot, and drove back to Salt Lake City in our Honda (our tow car).  

In mid January we headed south again. We spent one night at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino in Henderson, NV.  Not a bad hotel and it's right on our route, but the dogs whined or barked every time someone walked by our room, which was often. Not a restful night for us, the dogs, and probably anyone in adjoining rooms. There is a great hike nearby, on an old elevated railway bed -- the Historic Railroad Trail -- which we hiked a few years ago. Didn't do it this time because we were making a beeline for Yuma and the rig.

Then, after just a week in Yuma, we left for Tucson.

With the new dogs, we try to keep our drives in the RV short. Under 150 miles is perfect. With one stop along the way, everyone is happy.

But we just wanted to get to Tucson, which is about 250 miles from Yuma. So we planned a couple of rest stops for us and the dogs, made another stop at a Border Control check point where we were waved through, and arrived at  Agave Gulch RV Park at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. 

We love Tucson. The base is close to town. Tucson has museums, great shopping, lots of breweries, wonderful hiking, is an easy place to drive and is just generally a great place.  

But other than hitting a few brew pubs, this year we didn't take full advantage of what Tucson has to to offer. We did our usual routine of hitting the base gym almost every day. Then we went to dog parks. We took the dogs for walks. We looked for restaurants that allowed dogs on the patio (thank you, Barrio Brewing). 

For three weeks, Bev visited her Mom in Ohio -- where one of the days it was 70 degrees outside. In February. In northern Ohio. Being in the Buckeye State was great for Bev but not so good for Jim who stayed behind in Tucson and took care of both dogs who got sick. 

If you are interested in Tucson, look at any of our January and February posts from 2011 through 2015. It's a great city and we'll be back. With older and better trained dogs. 
We rarely go out to breakfast when on the road. But I'd read some good things about Brownie's, a diner/dive on Yuma's industrial Fourth Avenue that opened in 1946, so we made the trip.  Jim said the restaurant (and street) reminded him of places his family frequented when he was a kid and his family drove to construction sites for his dad's job. I had an omelet; Jim had pancakes. The food was  not as good as Mom's.  But it was decent and inexpensive, and fun to go to a diner that felt like it was in a 1960s time warp.
Christmas Eve in SLC with Ashley, Shad, and their kids -- all wearing our annual semi-matching pajamas.
We had huge snowstorms Christmas Eve night and most of Christmas Day. Here Jim heads toward a ladder to our roof so he can knock the snow of our TV satellite dish.    
Back in Yuma and enjoying warmer weather: Jim with the dogs at a Yuma off leash dog park called the Bark Park. 
The only photo we took while in Tucson this time:  Bev at the Arizona Beer House on Kolb Road.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona

November, 2016

On our way to Yuma: Stop Five.

We've camped at Lake Havasu State Park twice before and liked it. It's practically downtown, has sites close to the water, and is just a short kayak paddle from the London Bridge. But the weekend we arrived this time, a big RV/boat show was being held there.

So after Willow Beach Marina, we booked a few days at another Lake Havasu-area state park 20 miles south of town called Cattail Cove. Loved it. That's two stops in a row worth repeating.

Our camping spot was a short walk to the water. Jim did some kayaking, we both did some hiking, and the dogs took advantage of the only dedicated dog beach we've ever seen at a campground. 

The human beach at Cattail Cove.  Jim left his kayak here overnight after a paddle and took off again the next day.
Arlo and Maddie during one of many visits to Cattail Cove's dog beach.  Maddie's not much for playing fetch on land, but she's tenacious if the stick gets thrown in the water.
Jim and Arlo hiking at Cattail Cove.  Three more photos of that hike are below.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lake Mead RV Village and Willow Beach Marina

November, 2016

On the way to Yuma:  Stops Three and Four

After southern Utah, we wanted to spend a few days at Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas.  But it's first-come-first-served and a phone call to the park revealed it was already full -- so we called Lake Mead RV Village about 50 miles south of Vegas and got reservations for three days.

Turned out it was not our kind of place. Especially for three days. It's a big gravel parking lot far from the water, although it was much closer to H2O when Lake Mead was not so low. It did have full hook ups. But if we stop in the area again, next time we'll try Boulder Beach, a campground without hook ups that's right next door. Boulder Beach is also first-come-first served, but had available spots, trees, pretty campsites, and looked much more inviting.  

After Lake Mead RV Village we drove a mere 25 miles south to Willow Beach. Also part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it's between Lake Mead and Lake Mohave and was an amazing find: small, clean, and nestled in a valley with a view of the Colorado River. Beautiful. We kayaked, we hiked, and we loved the view and the modern campground. If we can get a spot we'll definitely go back there again when driving south from Salt Lake. Since it's part of a National Recreation Area -- and not run by a contractor -- we camped for half price with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass.
It must have been a mile walk from Lake Mead RV Village to the actual lake.  Here you can see an anchor with a long, long cable that at one time had enough water above it to secure a boat.
We did see some great views of Lake Mead while exploring by car. Lake Mead is the  largest reservoir in the US and was created by the Hoover Dam. Per Wikipedia (and our own eyes), however, drought and water usage has caused the water level to dip. It's now the number two reservoir in the country as far as water in reserve. Number 1 (again per Wiki) is Lake Sakakawea, in North Dakota (which we've also visited.)
Willow Beach:  Click on the photo to get a better view of the Willow Beach Campground at the lower left of the photo. That's Lake Mohave on the Colorado River to the right.
Jim looking at the sheer canyon walls near Willow Beach. There is a national fish hatchery nearby that stocks the river with rainbow trout.
Jim and Arlo on hike between the Willow Beach campground and the marina.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

On our way to Yuma: Fillmore, UT and Sand Hollow State Park

November, 2016

Stop One: Fillmore, Utah

We haves places we like to stop on our way to locations north or south. Our northern stop is Snowville, Utah, a two hour drive north of Salt Lake City.  Our probably-from-now-on stop going south is Fillmore, Utah, 142 miles south of our home.

If I'd been paying attention I would have realized Fillmore's Wagons West RV park honors Passport America, a discount RV club we belong to and we would have paid just $18 for a night's stay with full hook ups. Instead we paid twice that. But Wagons West is a convenient one nighter if we leave home later in the day and don't want to pull in to a park after dark. And arriving after nightfall is never in our plans. 

Fillmore, Utah: You know you are in a small town when Main Street is part of the all-terrain-vehicle route.  The town of about 2,250 people was named for Millard Fillmore and was the capital of the Utah Territory from 1851-1856.
Our camping spot in Fillmore. It's a nice RV park with level sites, plenty of nearby places to walk the dogs, and the manager is super helpful.  The only downside is the run-down restroom. Not to get all TMI on you, but I'm only 5'3" and my knees about hit the stall door.
Stop Two:  162 miles to Sand Hollow State Park, near Hurricane, Utah

Sand Hollow is Utah's newest state park and opened in 2003. It has 100 campsites in two campgrounds, including one where you can drive your off-road vehicle out to the sand dunes right from your rig. Not being off-roading fans, we stayed in the non-ATV campground.

We were more interested in the 1,000 plus acre reservoir. So we kayaked, hiked, and since we stayed there November 8, 9, and 10, tried to recover from election day. Full recovery has not yet taken place.

Beautiful campground, with lots of space between sites and beautiful views of mountains and the desert.

That's not our rig -- but it is a great view of the mountains as seen from the Sand Hollow State Park Campground.

Like lots of southern Utah, the park has beautiful red rocks on land...
...and popping out in the middle and the edges of the Sand Hollow Reservoir. That's Jim enjoying the red rocks from his boat.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We're home

We're home.  In Salt Lake City.  Or, to be specific, in the lovely suburb of Holladay, Utah, just 13 miles (less as the crow flies) from the center of Utah's capital city. We got here April 20, our son's birthday. HBD, Paul!

Starting last November we took a slow drive to Yuma, then Tucson, then California, then through Nevada to home. It was great trip. Other than one November post, however, I could not get motivated to write.

But if I don't write it down, I can't remember it. So I've done a retrospect of our trip, which I'll post beginning tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we're cleaning our house (how can one-left-at-home cat shed so much hair?), unloading/cleaning the motor home, tending to the lawn and flower beds, reconnecting with friends, and doing the stuff you do at home as opposed to when you're on the road.