Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The long long drive and moving on

Saturday night we met old (not old) friends Dave and Linda at the Tonto Grill.   Linda and Dave (my Dave) worked together years ago in our Papago Plastics days and we've kept in touch through the years.    As usual, we had a great time catching up.  They just bought a brand new RoadTrek motorhome and are happily learning the ropes so  we made plans to meet at Usery Mountain Regional Park for a progressive Happy Hour/dinner next weekend.   We can't wait to see their new addition.

Monday we took Lewis and set off in the Jeep.   Our goal was to do a little off- roading and find a nice waterside place for lunch and a quick swim.    We never reached our goal, however.    I underestimated the time it would take to drive through the desert to Sheep Bridge and the Verde River.   The road was very very rough and rocky, we had to drive very slowly.   The first 18 miles or so were fairly boring, mostly dust and desert scrub.    We arrived at  Seven Springs Recreation area in the Tonto National Forest around lunch time so we stopped beside the only "spring" we saw.

one of the Seven Springs 

We enjoyed the pretty surroundings for lunch, but didn't let Lewis swim because the water looked a bit "iffy".    We continued on the dusty, rocky road away from the little oasis and back up into the high desert.

It was a long long ride.   After about 33 miles, very slow bumpy miles, we came to a cross road.    A right turn would take us another 12-15 miles to the river and our destination.   A left turn would take us 27 rough miles over the mountains to the highway then another 40 easy miles home.   It was already almost 4 p.m. and we were beginning to see long shadows so we abandoned our thoughts of letting poor Lew out at the river and took the left turn.

Did I mention this was a rough and dusty road?   We passed one or two pick ups the entire way.      Mostly it was just the three of us and the mountains.

We came up over a rise and encountered a huge road grader trying to smooth down the track.    All it actually managed to do was rip up large rocks in our path.

He finally found a spot to pull out and we were able to pass and negotiate the rest of the road without his "help".

we discovered this beautiful pattern of dust on the back of the Jeep

Up and over the mountains wasn't my favorite part.    I took no pictures.

Dave and Lewis were very good sports.   I should have done my homework more carefully and realized how long this ride would be.   Or, perhaps we should have left much earlier in the day.   Either way I think it's safe to say that none of us enjoyed our adventure.   Ah well, some you win and some you lose.

As if to try and make me feel better, Mother Nature provided a beautiful display in all directions shortly after we arrived home.


looking south (ish)

then back west

Tuesday I couldn't convince Dave to drive anywhere so we stayed home and did laundry in preparation for Wednesday morning's departure.

the Four Peaks stayed in view the whole way to Usery

To avoid the crazy traffic on the day before Thanksgiving we took the long way  (but lightly traveled and pretty) from Cave Creek to Usery Mountain Regional Park via Fountain Hills and the Bush Highway.

We settled into our site (#58) after lunch and went for a walk in the surrounding desert.   I selected this site because it was the only one left available over the holiday weekend......I was prepared to just deal with it until the park emptied out and we had more choice but I was very surprised at what a great site it is!

Happy Hour view!

We have a lovely private area under a large Palo Verde tree to sit in if the sun is too bright and there is enough greenery around us that I don't even notice the motorhome in the next site.   This will be a perfect spot for the next two weeks....

Mom, mom, are you coming?  We're going into the desert, are you coming? Mom?

As we walked through the desert we came upon this broken giant.  I've never seen a huge saguaro down before, it made me sad.

But then I saw something that made me smile.....My boy running down the wash with a big grin on his face, so happy to see me.

Tomorrow we're looking forward to spending a quiet day at home, cooking shrimp and turkey and pumpkin pie, watching the Thanksgiving Parade and the National Dog Show. 

 We're thankful to be able to enjoy such a pleasant and peaceful time together.   We're thankful for the great fortune of our family, our friends, our health and the wonderful life we are living.


  1. Sorry your off-road adventure was not all you wanted it to be. But at least it was indeed an adventure! I have site #56 booked for a week of Spring Training games, just a couple sites down from you. How does it look? It was 1 of the 2 sites left when I booked, that's not a good sign ... There's a sorta ok off-road park just up the hill, check with the Ranger of how to get your entry permit.

    1. 56 looks decent, it's a pull out right next to the road into the group camping area so no neighbors on one side. There is someone in it right now so I can't take a picture!

  2. I always feel badly when I make a plan and it is a bust. But as you said, you win some and lose some. At least Lew got to join his family. He looks so excited to be running in the wash. So excited to share his joy with you:) Beautiful sunset! Love the new site and those gorgeous saguaro:)

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like a lovely day and meal planned. All with a dog show too!
    Poor Saguaro. Even the beautiful ones die.

  4. Sweet, sweet Lew! You did luck out...what a beautiful site! And a great place to call home.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Your spectacular sunset series made up for the the drive that didn't turn out exactly as you planned. :-) And that was quite the artistic red dust painting on your rig! Hope you're having a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for, and so happy that we'll be seeing you in December!

  6. Those graders make such a mess out of dirt roads - the worst washboard sections are usually those recently graded. Couldn't get Dave to try another one the next day huh? Those Arizona regional parks are all so beautiful. Your spot looks perfect. Seeing Lewis running to you makes me happy too - such a handsome guy!! Thankful to call you and Dave friends.

  7. Sounds like you found a fabulous spot and I loved the dirt pattern on the Jeep. Just shows how taking pictures does indeed make you more observant of those things! Hope you had a great holiday and hugs to all!