Eastward bound-Arizona and New Mexico Part 1-On the way to the DRV factory
Headed East, always seems strange to me, perhaps after spending most of my childhood westward bound with a fair bit of South and Northern paths East is always strange, like I’m going backwards. Having to go back to Indiana to the DRV factory to fix the slides certainly feels like a backwards step, not part of our plan at all but it is what it is..n’est-ce pas? We are certainly tired of the insecurity of not knowing if we will even be able to open them, or if we’ll be sleeping on the couch and peeing in a pail;) Time to get this done-Indiana here we come….
We know this road so well, can count the many trips to and fro and the changes over time. These big skies and the short stretch of sand dunes are a marvel. It always amazes me how fast the panoramas change.
We barreled our way East on I 8, after leaving California you lose the speed restrictions:) from there we headed North at Gila Bend and then Eastward towards Phoenix. I’d hoped to stay at White Tank Mountains Regional Park on the NW side of the city, but they were full so we tried another spot further North, Cave Creek Regional Park. You have to love good Camp Hosts that come out to give you a hand, some places lack a bit in the instruction area but the host was helpful and pleasant but let us know there was only an opening for one night…waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! I’d hoped to spend the next day exploring wildflowers but it looked like an over nighter only and then moving on.
It was a lovely setting so we enjoyed the sunset and I was up before sunrise, not my norm;) to catch as many flowers and birds as I could before heading East to New Mexico.
The park was ablaze in wildflowers of all types, as the light faded we walked in the arroyo with Groot and found an amazing saguaro asleep in a field of Chamomile:) The yellows are bursting and the hillsides are covered in them! The sun was fading but I knew where I would be walking back to in the morning:)
Hard to leave but we decided to head as far East as we could, not knowing where we would stop. It had been a long time since we had taken the I 17 North to Flagstaff, Mount Humphrey’s snow covered top loomed in the distance as we hit the I 40 and started East again. After Winslow and Holbrook, the reds in the mountains start to rise from the flatter plains. Past the tourist teepees and gas stations and and all the old billboards offering real Navajo jewelry and Mexican blankets, made in China;)
I’d found a small regional park, just South of the I40 after Gallup and we decided to call it a night there, sounded nice and quiet, lake, no one answered the phones but they did say it was open, what could not be good about that….well, they closed their gate at 5pm…locked tight…not a camp host in sight. Between the traveling and time change we had not set our clocks forward so we missed the gate by about 10 minutes…grrrrrr….we headed back to the Highway in a decidedly fouler mood and set up camp at a Mom and Pop’s stop in Grants, at least it was not sandwiched between the Highway and the train tracks! The Blue Spruce RV park within throwing distance of the Interstate. Very nice older couple set us up in spot 5, 50 amp, wifi. We watched as several RV’s came and went beside us after hours, I’m guessing the 50 amp plug there did not work and they simply moved on…pretty bare bones with a few permanents, it was a place to rest but we were gone fairly early in the morning.
Next came Albuquerque, we didn’t make any wrong turns like Bugs Bunny 😉 and onto Santa Rosa along the I 40. I was determined to find a park! I love them, they are quiet, lots of places to hike and Groot loves them too, enough said;)
I love the high desert views but it slowly gave way to endless miles of grass plains. I can imagine what the first settlers thought, will this never end;) It is bleak this time of year and seemed quite dry as well. Spring had not arrived to these high plains.
We pulled off the Interstate and headed North out of Santa Rosa towards, yup, Santa Rosa Lake State Park. I was getting excited, we pulled in and up to the camping area across a large dam for the reservoir and my heart sank, I’d called but there had been no answer for two days…the campground was closed to update the electrical system…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!…but, the jovial host, pointed down towards the lake and said, if you want, you can dry camp down there! Yipeeeee!!!! Saved!
Peace and quiet-water and reflections-and…what is that we spied as we were driving in but two RV’s with “Cruisin’ Kiwis” written on them. I’m a curious lass, they wandered over and we started chatting, where were they from in New Zealand, Whangerei!
Wait a minute! Really? I spent 6 months there in 1976 when I was a kid, we started talking boat names and before you knew it we had probably run into each other. Deborah, the lady I was chatting with lived on a boat in the Tay Basin and her Dad, Trevor, and my Mom sailed to Australia on a beautiful old 12 meter sloop called the Soliloquy. Her owner was running from the IRS in the states, Ken, and probably running out of money in New Zealand decided to sail to Queensland, in cyclone season. Half her crew had jumped ship just before they left so my mother, Randy, offered to navigate and Deborah’s dad, Trevor crewed as well! They ran into two cyclones after leaving on Friday the 13th, Trevor’s black cat was run over the day they left as well, as I learned from Deborah, by Trevor himself;) and she survived and lived to be 21, her name was Lucky, as was the crew of the Soliloquy. One more cyclone hit just after they made landfall in Mooloolaba, Queensland. No one even knew where they were for days! I wanted to share a picture I had of Deborah’s dad Trevor with her but no cell signal where we were so I emailed it to her today:) We live in such a small fantastic world! She said she would email her brother Boyd, to tell him, she said he’d tell her Dad we ran into each other! Boyd had the teenage misfortune of running into my mother once who came up to him and said “Hi, I’m Randy!” anyone who has been down under will understand the young man’s embarrassment;) Deborah says they still tell that story. It was truly a wonderful experience running into them, hopefully our paths will cross again!
Santa Rosa is a wonderful small Route 66 town that the interstates have passed by. The huge gas stations right off the freeways are booming but the main street is quiet. The grocery store was half empty but the old signs and motels and cafes that are open are quite a sight. We spent three days at the Park, trying to figure out a problem with new inverter, yet to be solved but did get a chance to breathe and explore some. Found wifi signal at the top of the outlook tower over the lake so could talk back and forth with my brother about our electrical problems:)
I spent an early morning watching the sunrise on a nearly flat calm lake. It is a still spot, a few birds, but as I said, Spring has not come to these high plains yet, soon. I watched a herd of Mule deer grazing in the canyons below the dam, babies already big, or perhaps they were last years. After the weekend was over we made camp and once more headed East, Texas here we come, but that, it part 2:)
Saludos amigos and see you on down the road a bit!