Marana Dog Park, Saguaro National Park

November 6, 2017. With mail in hand we grab a block of ice and head out taking 87 south and catching I-10 east to find the dog park in Marana, AZ. I love my GPS!  This girl would be lost, literally without it. I’m a right and left kinda girl; this go north, south, east or west kind of stuff confuses the heck outta me.  With the GPS I have to deal with none of that, although I only use it for city/main road driving. None of the boondock stuff where you could end up, well, in the boondocks but not in the spot you were expecting.  

I easily find the park and the boys have some fun.  A lot of fun!!!

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Once the boys have worn themselves completely out we head out towards the west side of Saguaro National Park.  

We find a boondock* site in The Ironwood Forest to spend the night and then we are off on Hwy 86 toward Ajo. I was not looking forward to this drive as it looked on the map to be pretty desolate, but we were surprised.  

Thanks for joining us!  Hugs, Shawna

*For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “boondock” it’s a camp made on BLM public lands or other places that have zero amenities. No water, no toilets, no tables, no nothing. Maybe a rock fire ring, but that would be a luxury site.  🙂  

The Trip to Florence/Coolidge

Novermber 3, 2017 We leave Oak Flat early in the morning heading to Florence and/or Coolidge.  Are you wondering why Florence and Coolidge? There isn’t a whole lot there, but I have mail waiting for me … or so I thought. What I had anticipated to be a stop for mail and then to move on became a weekend stay with no place to camp but Wally’s parking lot.  I had requested my mail forwarded from South Dakota too late in the day and it did not arrive on Friday as anticipated. We made the best of it.

One thing we did get to see were the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge,

and this neat old building in Florence, which is an interesting old town.

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We spent the days in Florence at two of their nice parks and our nights in Walmart’s parking lot. On Monday I was at the post office door the second they opened, the nice clerk dug through the mail that had just been delivered and we got our package.  And we’re to the next adventure!

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

 

Oak Flat C. G.

October 31, 2017. From Gila Box we head northwest on Hwy 70 to Globe. A planned stop and camp near Pinal Pass is nixed as I can’t find the BLM office and the sign pointing toward the area took me into a residential area. It’s me, not them, but I decided I was too stressed driving through the traffic in Globe (which is a cute little town, by the way) to spend any more time looking.  It’s getting a bit late in the afternoon anyway and the decision is made to travel on. 

By sheer luck I was looking in the right spot at the right time and spy a campground sign between the little towns of Miami and Superior on Hwy 60. We pull in seeing these brush teepees on the left. This sweet little campground was not on my map, so I am thrilled to have found it.  Honestly a lot of these little places aren’t on the map I have!! 

It’s a free campground with minimal amenities. We find a suitable site and settle in for the night. Around 2:00 a.m. the boys go nuts and a peek out the door reveals the silhouette of a very large wild pig.  I shine the flashlight at him its eyes glow green, and he wanders off. 

Being very curious about the area I look up some information. There is an on-going controversy between mining interests who want to privatize Oak Flat and the surrounding area so the copper can be mined, Native Americans who claim it is a sacred site and want it closed to the public, other Native Americans who claim it is not a sacred site, and outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep the area accessible for their activities. 

We stay two nights here and leave midmorning, November 3rd, heading toward Florence, AZ.  The drive takes us along the Gila-Pinal Scenic Route and it doesn’t disappoint. Devil’s Canyon is gorgeous and the bridge over Queen Creek is high … I did not get a photo of the bridge; no place to stop.

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Thanks for coming along on our big adventure. “See you” in a few days! Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: No                   Garbage: No
Bathrooms: Vault      Electricity: No
Tables:  Yes                Shower: No
Fire Pit:  Yes               BBQ: No, but there’s a grate over the fire pit
# of Sites: 16               Fee: Free
Other:  Elevation is 3900 Ft, open all year, pets need to be kept on leash or restrained. There is an area suitable for group camping. Trailers over 30 feet not recommended.

 

 

 

Riverview Camp Ground, Gila Box

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October 30th and 31st
It’s an easy, early trip from Bowie to Safford, AZ where we find a Wally and get supplies, and finally, finally find block ice! Walmart didn’t have it, but there is an “ice house” (that’s what the clerk calls it) next door and she assures me they have it.
Supplies bought and put away, the clean cube ice now in liquid form, is drained out of the water container that I cut the lid off of to hold the bagged ice is poured into a drinking water container. The block ice is put into the now empty ice container and we are off to the Riverview Camp Ground in the Gila Box Reparian Conservation Area.

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One small sign obviously wasn’t enough. They added another, bigger one!

It’s quite a drive, not in miles, but in pucker factor. The last few miles are still paved road, but it is winding, one lane, oh-my-gosh-it-looks-like-they-have-had-a-serious washout-can-I-make it, 15% grade in places, praying-no-one-comes-along-in-the-opposite-direction kind of road. We make it, but BOY HOWDY!!!

Expecting trees I am dismayed to find they are along the river, of course, that is down in the canyon where no camping is allowed. It’s a pretty view, though.
I choose a campsite and walk up to the iron ranger and pull out my checkbook, paying for two nights. $5 per night is the fee, but it’s half price with a senior pass.

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We may or may not stay additional time. The temps and internet availability will decide that for us. Although they have covered picnic tables, fire rings, BBQs, potable water, and very clean pit toilets, parking in the sun can make for very uncomfortable van temps that take forever to cool down even after dark.

Discovering there is no internet or cell service I get a lot done in the van over our two-day stay: inside blackout inserts removed and replaced with lace curtains, doubled for more privacy. I like this a lot better. I will keep the inserts to use to cover windows from the outside to keep the van cooler. I also shore up the drawer unit where the passenger seat used to be—the boys sit on the top while we are traveling—as it has shifted with all the rough road and steep grades we’ve driven on since driving in the desert southwest.

I also decide to keep the camp chair with its fold-down side table inside and open. A one-drawer plastic storage unit fits perfectly underneath and extra water jugs along the side between chair and bed. It’s easily lifted up to take outside when I want to do that, and the drawer underneath can be pulled out to take out to the table.

I put clear mailing tape on the rare earth magnets that I use to keep the outside window covers in place. They are strong enough to put blood blisters on one’s fingers if you lose your grip while trying to pull them apart, and the tape tabs seem to not only prevent that but also makes them much easier to pull away from the van when it’s time to remove the covers.

Having a place to sit and being able to see out when we are stuck inside due to the wind wreaking havoc with my sinuses or if a storm blows through will make those situations a whole lot nicer to deal with.

The campground is nicely maintained and there are lots of little rock-lined trails kept nice and tidy. I couldn’t find the camp host when I thought about asking who did all the rock work, but I would imagine it was a civic group or perhaps some inmates. In any case it’s looks very, very nice.

On our last evening in this camp we are rewarded with a very nice sunset. And perhaps a little Halloween treat —- can you see the dog in the sky? Or perhaps it’s a hound from the Baskervilles …


Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: Yes Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault toilets Electricity: No
Tables: Yes, with shade covers Shower: No
Fire Pit: Yes BBQ: Yes
# of Sites: about 15 with lots of space between Fee: $5 per night, half that with senior pass
Other: Nice walking trails, nice view, very steep downhill grade to get to this camp. The camp host had a large trailer, but honestly I would be very cautious if it were me towing that big thing down this road

Indian Bread Rocks

October 27th, 2017. Deciding to move on we leave Lordsburg, NM and cross into Arizona.  A search on freecampsites.net showed a BLM  recreation site near Bowie and that’s where I point Freedom’s nose; westward on I-10.  

Exiting the freeway  at Bowie we pass through the north side of town and travel through pistachio orchards heading toward the Ft. Bowie Historical Site.

Following the directions given on Freecampsites.net we take a right onto Happy Camp Road.  It’s dirt and a bit rough, washboard style. I drive slow. A small motor home passes us heading in the opposite direction and they wave and smile so I know if they can make it so can we, and we travel on. Seems like a long ways out but in reality it’s only a couple of miles.

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There is no one at the picnic area and no signs saying no camping so, liking the idea of a table and shade (only shade around!!) I set up camp: Swing away hitch tray moved to the side, solar panel taken out of the back of the van and plugged in, reflectix window covers set up as it looks like the afternoon sun will shine directly onto us despite the large shade tree.

No sooner am I set up and ready to do a walkabout with the boys than a couple from North Carolina pulling a small camp trailer come up asking if we are staying for the day or …. They want my campsite! When I tell them we are staying the man looks a teeny bit put out, but the woman is chatty and we introduce ourselves, discovering they, like me and the boys, are full-timing.  Full-timing meaning we live and travel full-time.

We chat a bit more, learning they are heading to Q for the winter also. They decide to set up camp a little farther north.

                                             The area has some terrific topography.

As interesting as the area is, being hot and tired and sick of stewing in my own sweat for days on end I consider moving on tomorrow, but the night cools down into the 40s and I sleep like a log. I can deal with the day’s heat if it cools down at night, so we will stay until we are forced to leave when our water runs out. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017. The morning is crisp and cool and after the boys are fed and do their potty thing, they want back inside to snuggle under the covers.  Too cold for The Chiweenie Brothers! These boys like heat! Charlie sticks his head out every once in a while to check the temperature,DSC_0053   but Fries is just a lump under the covers. He DOES NOT like to be cold–ever!  When I pull back the covers this is the look I get! DSC_0056

Today I will research where to go next,. I am thinking north instead of west since higher altitude sounds better than still-hot summer on the route I originally planned. I don’t want to arrive before the lovely winter temps settle in.

I am having a hard time adjusting to the “I-don’t-have-to-be-anywhere-at-a-certain-time” routine now that I am officially retired, but I’ll get there!  Learning to slow down has been hard.

The soft light of early morning gives a warm glow to the rocks surrounding the area.

As I sit writing this, Burger sleeping in the front and The Chiweenie Brothers snug under the covers these little guys visit camp.

October 30, 2017. A planned hike into the Ft Bowie Historical Site was nixed as it’s farther than I thought and I don’t think Burger could make the three mile round trip. Off we go to the next camp, and on the way out the boys spy these guys along the road.  Biggest dogs they’ve ever seen!  LOL!

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: No                                      Garbage: Yes, there’s a can in the picnic area
Bathrooms: Yes,  vault toilet      Electricity: No
Tables: In picnic area only         Shower:  No
Fire Pit:  Rock rings                     BBQ: In picnic area
# of Sites:  At least 6 close to picnic area, others farther away       Fee:  None
Other:  Small trailers easily fit, larger ones may be hard to turn around. Watch for big holes and dips in some of the camping spots.

 

LORDSBURG, NM

VETERANS PARK
October 24, 2017. I am a bit weary of fighting constant wind while driving, and I am sure the other vehicles on the highway are tired of me creeping along. I decide to stay a few days at the Veterans Park in Lordsburg, NM. It has no amenities other than covered picnic tables, a BBQ , and large garbage bins. There are some water spigots for watering the trees, and I utilize it, but boil it good before using as there are no signs saying it’s potable.
I think it’s lovely that they honor the brave men and women who have served our country.
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The area could use some cleanup, but I am grateful for a chance to park for a few days and catch up on the blog, do some reading, and to do a little reorganizing inside the van. Reorganizing is an ongoing process!
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October 25th.  The wind continues to blow and has my sinuses clogged keeping me inside again other than the necessary walks the boys need. Internet is good and we will stay another day before continuing our westward progress.

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HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY TO THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO GAVE UP A PART OF THEIR LIVES TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY. As Billy Cyrus said about servicemen: ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL. Thank you for your service!

I am starting a new feature on the blog and please let me know if it is helpful or not. It will be a compilation of the different things offered at campsites we use.

2Dogs thank you for your loyal readership.

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: Yes                         Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms:  No                Electricity: No
Tables: Yes, shaded        Shower:  No
Fire Pit: No                        BBQ: Yes
# of Sites: Fee:  About 15 with the above, and also areas to park that don’t have the tables or BBQs
Other:

Please be courteous. Keep generator use to a few hours in the day time. Pick up your trash and clean up after your dogs.  Dogs, as in all group areas anywhere, need to be leashed/restrained at all times. Leave your site better than you found it.  Purchase a few things in town. This is especially important when your site is free.

 

Deming, NM, Rock Hound S.P.

October 23, 2017. After a night in Walmart’s parking lot in Las Cruces, we head out. Hopping on I-10 we head west. I have no particular spot in mind for tonight’s stop, but once I see the sign for Rock Hound State Park, I know this is where we’ll stay. We take the Deming, NM exit and follow the signs.
Rock Hound is situated in the Little Florida Mountain range. It’s not the biggest park, but it’s one of the cleanest we have been in. The bathroom/showers are immaculate. The spiders are still big and this one comes ambling through our site as I begin unpacking the items needed to make our one-night stay comfortable: Solar panel set up and the one-burner propane burner for cooking dinner and making morning coffee. My camp chair with fold down side table. We’re set!
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I encourage him to leave without violence and so long as he stays away and doesn’t talk any of his friends into coming around we will stay at peace with each other.
This large, rugged mountain at the back of the park prevents the internet signal from reaching us and there are towers just on the other side of the mountain. I can see the tops of them, but no ATT signal gets through.

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The hillside is covered with paddle cactus. It must be a gorgeous site in the spring when they bloom!
The only drawback here is the one vault toilet shared between the non-electric and the day use area, and it’s located in the day use area. If you are in one of the six non-electric sites as we are you have to go down and around a gully to get to it. Not good if you have an emergency! LOL. The bigger bathroom with flush toilets and the showers are located in the electric sites. The water spigot is there also.
There is a short hiking trail with a manageable incline that takes you to a view point that overlooks the valley below and the Big Florida Mountains in the distance.

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And as the park name implies, there are various gemstones that can be found here if you are so inclined to search.
On Tuesday morning after a fabulous shower in the cleanest park bathroom/shower area I have ever been in we head out. Guess which direction? Ha!
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna