Riverview Camp Ground, Gila Box


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.

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.


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

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


I just know you’ve been waiting for the post on the new sleeping arrangements, lol.  A lot has happened since my last post, and that will be revealed in good time, but today I’m going to show you what was changed up in Freedom.

Previously the boys and I have been using the folded down bench seat for a bed. I never felt the need to use it as a couch, so it always stayed down as a bed, but even then there were drawbacks, such as the very small space underneath.  About the only thing that would fit were those very shallow plastic lidded boxes about 8” high.  There is a bar underneath the bench seat that allowed the seat to be folded down and back up very easily, but that bar also took up valuable real estate. Van dwellers know the value of that!

The bed was relatively comfortable; we utilized a narrow Thermarest mattress and a yoga mat together to make the padding wide enough and topped it with a cut-to-size piece of memory foam.  Pretty comfy, but always in the back of my mind was the storage that was being wasted. And needed!

I researched a couple of options to replace that bench seat, one being dismantling a plastic shelving unit I have to store my household tools and use those as a platform. Lots of measuring and envisioning what it would look like pretty much eliminated that idea.  The clincher was the fact that the width of the pieces were a skootch too small to fit over the wheel wells.  A skootch, yes.  THAT close.

That brought us to Plan B, and also utilized some things we already had on hand; my two-drawer plastic units I used for recycling.  Keeping the units together made for LOTS of storage (Eight big drawers!), but it also made the bed a bit too high. Not only would I not be able to sit up in bed comfortably, but it also blocked the only small windows–actually just wings–in the back from delivering air where it needed to be. Under the bed wasn’t where it needed to be. More importantly, The Chiweenie Brothers would not be able to jump up there very easily, and Chiweenie Brother comfort is top priority!

Discovering that those two-drawer units come apart, they were dismantled. I used four of the units (now one-drawer each) to make a sturdy platform on which to use a ¼ inch piece of cut-to-size plywood for the top.  Put together, the bed came ALMOST even with the sills under each window in the back. With the mattress in place, it would be perfect.  Half the drawer space, but a better arrangement, and the small wing windows can be opened for much needed ventilation.  The Chiweenie Brothers can easily get to their nest.


From the front, inside living area                        From the back, storage area side

I had previously purchased an extra wide sleeping bag to use as bedding, quilt, duvet all rolled into one in order to end the hassle of trying to make up that bench seat bed every morning. Those are not easy to contend with when it comes to making the bed.  Now I have a bed that will be much easier to make, but I also have this brand new sleeping bag with a sheet liner I fashioned to put inside.  We’re going with the sleeping bag. It’s easy, cozy, and big enough for The Chiweenie Brothers to snuggle into, too.  Burger has his own little spot between the two storage towers that I had enough room to install on the backside edge of the plywood. Three drawers in each of those towers face to the inside, the bottom ones I rearranged to open to the storage area in back.

The old, narrow Thermarest was replaced with a wider version which works perfectly with the new sleeping bag. Before putting the bedding in place I put a couple of extra blankets on the platform; perfect place to store unused bedding. Completely out of the way and takes up absolutely no measurable space.

The Thermarest and my memory foam were encased in a cot cover which is the perfect sized solution to keep it all together. We haven’t tested this out yet, but I think it will work just fine. There also appears to be enough room in said cot cover to add a couple more inches of memory foam if we need it.

DSC_0354 Thank you so much for stopping by today. Hugs, Shawna

“Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security” ~ Dr. Idel Dreimer



Another Soggy Weekend and Moving Past Posts

Wow. I cannot believe this rain.  The dogs and I, along with everyone else, are getting pretty sick of it, but it could be worse.  We could be in Monroe, Louisiana. My prayers and sympathy go out to these people who have lost everything.

The good news is that our lakes are filling up, so that truly is a blessing, but boy, getting there has been rocky!  Dare I say it?  There’s actually some sunshine forecast for next week.  That definitely makes me smile.

Just a little perspective on how much rain we are getting. The photo below, on the left, was taken in September 2015.  The photo on the right (not mine) was taken last week, March 2016 of the same spot at Fowler Falls near McCloud.



Below is the Fowler Falls campground area. The photo on the right was taken last September looking DOWN. The one on the left (also not my photo) is on level ground, taken last week.  I think we can be thankful that the past two weeks have given us all this water in two to three day shots with some breaks in between, and snowpack in the lower mountains hasn’t been all that deep.


Nothing really exciting going on in the way of travel, but good weather and good times are just around the corner.  I have, between a few bouts of “I can’t take this (rain) anymore” been busy with a few things.  I needed a sleeping bag  liner (Oversized, to fit in the oversized sleeping bag. The Chiweenie Brothers do not like to be cold), something to put the dog’s tie out stakes in, and a cover for my Camco heater, so those projects were taken care of last week. Every little step, no matter how tiny  brings us even closer to our Big Adventure. No photo of the heater cover as I am not finished with it yet.

The bag liner. A queen sheet folded in half and sewn along the bottom and half way up the other side. 

Dog stake bag made from leg of an old pair of jeans. Sometimes you just need to pull up stakes and hit the road.  Fast.  No cleaning required. Just stuff and store. *Smile*


Besides these projects, I have been working on moving posts from  http://twodogsandasinglelife.blogspot.com and editing along the way.  A lot of those old posts don’t fit into our new life’s goal so they will not be brought to this site. I am still in the process of weeding out, so my apologies if something appears here, but then disappears.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel,  Shawna

“I choose to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.” Louise Hay


Rearranging the Back of Miss Freedom

Good day!  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.

This past couple of weeks have been busy. I spent several days working on our Vome. Van + Home = Vome. I stole this word from a fellow van dweller.  Don’t you just love it!  It’s perfect, isn’t it?

When the boys and I got back from our first little adventure I jumped right in to tackle those things I had made note of that I wanted to change.  Mostly it was re-organization but two of the main things I wanted to accomplish were moving the three drawer plastic storage unit from being secured along one of the side doors to having it backed against the bed, and doing something different with the storage area at the back of the van.

Moving that three drawer plastic unit  means I can once again open both side doors.  I realized this needed to be done that first night out when, after a full day in the sun, the van was sweltering inside and it wasn’t cooling down.  Being able to open both the side doors should make a big difference.

The second thing —doing something different with the back.  It was organized, but I didn’t like the way it looked.  I am not opposed to making do and  I make do quite often, but once home I experienced an epiphany. I removed one of the shelves from a four shelf plastic shelving unit I have in the sun room and replaced the board and mickey-moused  wood cube I had in the back supporting the plastic Sterlite drawer units that give me so much storage.  So it went from using this

( sorry, in my excitement I didn’t get a photo of  “before” You’ll have to use your imagination for how this looked with the drawer towers on it. and one shorty unit to support the right end of the board) To this

 It’s organized and looks good too, I think.  The area underneath the shelf will give me room for the two AGM batteries I will need for power storage from the solar panels, and because I bought portable panels, they will have to be stored when we are on the move. Their dedicated space will be right in front of this storage area. 


Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Trails!  Hugs, Shawna