We’ve now wrapped up our 2014 Adventure. Our destination was the great northwestern United States with a focus on the Pacific coast. It was a wonderful trip – really, everything we hoped it would be. Early in our journey we found southeastern Utah to be a pleasant surprise. We’ve heard so much about the vicinity of Moab; especially Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. These were even better than we expected and some of the most beautiful spots we’ve ever been.
We spent a couple of months visiting different places along the Washington coast and then another month along the Oregon coast. We loved it all and I especially enjoyed the splendor of the Oregon coast. If a person loves nature they will love that area.
We continued into northern California and soon moved inland to the Sacramento area and points east and south. After wearing jackets and even needing heat in the camper the warm temperatures were a shock to the system. Still, camping along the whitewater of the American River and then staying in the high country of Yosemite was a real pleasure.
It was with some sadness that we turned east and headed for Arizona because that meant we were now winding down our big Adventure. Still, we’re talking about Arizona here; long one of our favorite states. We spent a month there, working our way from the northwest corner of the state to ultimately exit at the southeast corner.
Before long we were back in Texas – enjoying the splendor of the state’s southwest. We’ve always liked the Texas State Parks and it was a pleasure to visit three of them, especially Davis Mountains State Park, as we worked our way east.
After almost seven months we’ve now arrived back where the Adventure began: Lake Conroe Thousand Trails. We towed the 5th wheel about 6300 miles and then drove about the same distance sightseeing and “just living.” We stayed in about 40 different campgrounds, generally for a week and a half at a time with several shorter stays when we were in “repositioning mode.” In January I’ll release our budget figures but we pretty much stayed on target through the year.
It was a great trip and I’m already looking forward to return visits to and through these areas.
Posted in Scott
Tagged Arizona, California, camping, National Park, nature, observations, Oregon, planning, sightseeing, state park, Texas, Utah, Washington
We loved it at the Escapees SKP Saguaro Co-Op in Benson, AZ. In some ways it is my favorite campground to date. The resort was designed by and for fulltime RVers who are members of Escapees. The fulltime philosophy and common sense approach is evident everywhere from the wide, paved roads to the excellent and much used activity center.
The sites are both deep and wide. Almost all of them are leased and sport various levels of improvements. Many have “casitas” which are small buildings with porches. Every improvement, though, is subject to a strict set of rules that allow for some personalization, but at the same time, maintain a level of conformity. Most casitas have a living room and a utility room in them. The sites are all gravel but leaseholders decorate them with cactus gardens and other decorations. Here’s the deal: when the leaseholder is out seeing the country, they can put their site in the rental pool. Travelers who rent don’t have use of the casita, but generally there’s a nice porch and other upgrades to enjoy. Many of these sites can be rented monthly if a person desires a longer stay. The lease program is so popular that there’s a years-long waiting list for an opportunity to buy in!
There are other sites that are set aside, some for short term visitors and others for long term visitors who come in for the winter. There are even paved no-hookup overnight spots.
Escapees are known for their friendliness and that is quite evident here. There are get-togethers every day and many activities. People go out of their way to introduce themselves and it’s quite easy to strike up a conversation. We especially enjoyed the daily 4:00 fellowship gathering in the activity center. Our stay was in mid-October and daily leaseholders who had been touring in cooler places arrived to settle down for the mild Arizona winter.
The property has no pool or spa and reservations are not accepted. Escapees facilities are famous for always finding a place for a traveler to park their RV even it has to temporarily be a spot with no hookups. The activity center has a large meeting room with a full-sized commercial kitchen, a large library, a workout room with modern equipment, and a crafts room. There’s also a nice porch with a view of the valley below and the Dragoon Mountains. This view is especially pretty at sunset.
If you get the idea that I like this place you are 100% right!
We enjoyed our time in Southeastern Arizona. Our RV Resort, located in Benson, was a great place to stay while exploring the area.
We happened to be in Benson on the weekend of the Benson-Butterfield Rodeo. The local parade was fun and very much a local parade with city officials, children on bicycles, and several horse and rider groups. After the parade we walked through the craft fair and farmers market and the city museum. One thing that made the rodeo especially fun was hearing the locals cheer their friends as they performed and rode. I especially enjoyed the fast action of the barrel racing. The young ladies are very skillful and the horses are beautiful and well trained.
Another highlight of our stay was a day trip to Tombstone and Bisbee. The Main Street of Tombstone is foot traffic and stage coach only. Many of the buildings are historic and it looks like an Old West town with lots of cowboys dressed in period clothing hanging out along the street. Many of them are participants in one of the “shootout at the OK Corrale” re-enactments that you can watch for a price. The cowboys are happy to pose with tourists for photos or just talk about their town. There are a wide variety of shops and restaurants to visit. I would love to come on one of their special event days. Most of the programs charge a fee but you can pick and choose or just wander around town and have fun.
Leaving Tombstone we drove on down to Bisbee to take the Queen Mine Historic Mine Tour. After buying our tickets we looked a the displays and watched a video about mining. When they called our tour we lined up and were given hard hats, slickers, and miners headlamps. We then went out and got on a small tram that took us down into the mine. Two guides gave us a great tour telling us how the mine was laid out and what it was like to be the miner. They demonstrated the tools they used and talked about the dangers they faced. At two places we got off the tram and walked down the tunnels to see what it would have looked like to the miners. It was both educational and fun and we highly recommend not only the mine tour, downtown Bisbee which is a unique experience in itself.
We know we hardly scratched the surface of interesting things to see and do in this area. On future trips we’ll check out the “Cochise Circle” of historic places related to the great Indian Chief, Wonderland of the Rocks at Chiricahua National Monument, and so much more.