It’s a new month, which means I get to add +1 to my count of a few things:
- 9 months of full-timing in my trailer.
- 6 months since I was on an airplane or slept in a hotel
- 5 months of sleeping nowhere else but my trailer.
Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about when I’m driving 3-4 hours to get to my next campsite. The glamorous life, right?!
Last Wednesday found me crossing the state line into Arizona, finally leaving California behind after 3.5 months.
I didn’t go far, though, checking into the Roadrunner BLM site about six miles south of Quartzsite. It was my first time staying on BLM land, and it was way easier than I expected: fill out a form at the camp host’s table, then drive around till you find a place you like and there you go. I picked a view with mountains to the west and no one without about 300 yards of me, so quiet and private. That’s my campsite in the cover photo for this post (scroll up) and the photo below was my daily view. Not too shabby, right?
Quartzsite is a crazy place in January, and I hit just the end of the big RV tent show, scoring a few deals and avoiding any big expenditures. Well, $7 for ice cream, but that was ICE CREAM, people, so I splurged 🙂 After all, my 5 nights of camping was free!
Now I’m slowly making my way to New Mexico, via Phoenix, Tucson, and way SE Arizona. I’ve spent so much time in Arizona since my Dad’s family is from here that I don’t need to hit the highlights, already seen ’em. Sometimes, just a road sign will evoke a memory, like this one.
My dad’s last job was working here, and many years later, he and I went down to the gates to see the completed structures. There, on that long, straight road, he gave me the wheel of my mother’s new Camaro with a Corvette engine inside it and told me to floor it. I did, getting it up to 110 before I freaked out at how fast the road markers were flying by! Still one of my favorite memories of “Dad and me” road trips.
One place that I hadn’t seen was White Tank Mountains Regional Park, just west of Phoenix. It was suggested by a friend, and it’s a gorgeous place, just high up in the desert to see real craggy mountains and also the lights of the big city at night. Spacious sites, mostly level, and lots of bird song to listen to, so I loved it.
After a night there, it was off across the Sonoran desert (another National Monument!) to another campsite. On the way, though, this roadside view triggered another happy memory for me.
These towers of power are strung all over Arizona, bringing power to that state and to California. Every Christmas holiday when we drove to my grandparents in Mesa, I would spot them from my window seat in our station wagon. I called them cats because that’s what they looked like to me. I hadn’t thought anyone remembered that silly name except me until my Dad stood looking at Hoover Dam a few years ago and said quite clearly, “Look at all the cats” and my heart melted.
I had high hopes for my Catalina campsite having heard how beautiful the park is. But, this one last-minute spot didn’t work out so well.
I’m in a parking lot, complete with generators (no hookups for anyone except the camp host) and the people next to me are right next to me, like 4 feet away. So rather than subject myself to another night here, I’m bugging out for my next destination a day early. On to Chiricahua!
I’ll leave you with a beautiful view of Catalina, so the post ends on a good note.
But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: “Home is home, be it never so homely.”
Henry David Thoreau