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Author Topic: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA  (Read 872 times)

SargeW

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Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« on: June 10, 2020, 11:02:37 PM »
I have done a few of these type of travel blogs before. They mostly settle around the nuts and bolts of our stays, and some of the local flavor. Diane is doing a travel blog with much more in depth info about the areas in which we stay. http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

You are welcome to follow along, ask questions and give your own opinions and suggestions.  As always, life is all about the journey!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 10:05:38 AM by SargeW »
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

SargeW

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Re: Just the Fact Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 11:26:29 PM »
J&H RV Park
Flagstaff, AZ

Our first stop was at a park that we haven't stayed at since 1999. The end of December 99' actually.  I honestly didn't remember much about the park, but I did remember the owner.  While checking in I had a conversation with him that centered around the pending possible “collapse” of all infrastructure in the country (and the world) at the stroke of midnight on December 31.  He was quite serious about his beliefs, and shared that he had built a compound in the surrounding hills, complete with underground bunker.  When he learned that I was a current LEO, he offered to make me “Chief of Security” for the new compound.  I politely told him I would think about it, and made a hasty exit. Of course nothing happened on January 1, other than a few hang overs.  But the conversation still is fresh in my mind after all these years. 

J&H is a small park, neatly kept but not overly impressive. We paid $57 a night for a 7 night stay.
Sites are gravel as are the roads, but not a lot in the way of amenities. There is a small pet yard, a community fire pit, and a laundry room.  A few things have changed since we have been here last though. The rules are a bit extreme in some areas. 

First, it is now a 55+ and over RV park. No smoking is allowed anywhere in the park, even in your RV. No outside fires of any kind, and guests are forbidden from climbing any kind of ladder, free standing or on their RV.  RV maintenance is forbidden, unless by an outside service technician (which has a whole other set of rules to comply with).  I do admit to bending this rule a bit myself, a little more on that later. 

There is an escort to your site, even though the park is very small (53 sites).  Free Wifi is offered, but I didn't try to get on as our T-Mobile on  board wifi worked well. They have a laundry and a mini laundry.  The prices for the laundry are $1.75 per load to wash, and $2.00 to dry.  That seemed steep to me, but we have on board laundry and haven't used park facilities for a while. There is no pool or water feature. They do accept mail and package delivery.  I checked out the restrooms. They were still open, but all are restricted to one occupant at a time (Covid restricted). The are in good condition, but the handicapped accessibility is debatable. One of the shower stalls is wide enough for a wheel chair, but a awkwardly placed stool would make access to the shower difficult.  There are no RV sites designates as Handicapped. 

Part of the reason for staying here is it's proximity to area attractions like the Grand Canyon (about 90 minutes away by car) and several  areas to hike.  There are several breweries in the area and we did check out a few. Being this park is right up close the mountains, when the wind blows here, it can really howl.  Our first 3 days it blew day and night.  Finally on the 3rd day it finally calmed down. 

RVing is always an adventure, and part of my adventure this time is figuring out why the city water fill only fills the holding tank, why the over the door awing has stopped opening, and how to reattach a piece of trim molding over the bed.  I have already  fixed a vibration in the Wine Refer, a leaky water connection in the wet bay, and had a new AC compressor put on a few days before we left. Oh the joys of RV ownership! 

It's been a while since we have been out on the road, mostly due to the pandemic and “social unrest” in some places. But I will say that many of the folks that we have met here in the park have all been completely friendly, and just out to relax and enjoy the RV lifestyle.  Somethings not even a good Pandemic can crush.

From here we head to Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area, in Show Low,  Az.

And for those following Diane's blog, she just put it up tonight, with lots more information and pics.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

Rene T

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Re: Just the Fact Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 06:59:11 AM »
Just curious, is the compound still there and did you ever get to see it?
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

SargeW

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Re: Just the Fact Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2020, 10:05:16 AM »
I don't know Rene, I never had the desire to actually take the guy up on the offer. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's still tucked away somewhere, waiting for the next world ending event.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

SargeW

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Re: Just the Fact Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 12:16:29 AM »
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Show Low, AZ
This was our first trip to this campground as it is very popular and requires making reservations way in advance. Diane made our reservations in July of 2019,  and at that time the available spots were slim. In fact she probably reserved a site that someone else had released.  This is an Arizona state park, and is extremely well appointed.

We reserved a water/electric site although the campground does have full hook up sites. The sites are concrete paved, and most also have a small concrete patio, but most of the rest of the site is dirt/gravel.
The sites themselves are quite large, and there is a great deal of room between sites, and many trees help to make the sites feel private.

There are a variety of amenities available. There is the lake available for swimming and fishing, and many hiking and biking trails are also open. The town of Show Low itself has in interesting history, and a colorful beginning.  Legend has it that the town had two wealthy men that wanted control of the town. It came down to a poker game, and when neither could get the advantage on the other, one of them stated that they should “show low” card. The lowest card would win and take control of the town. One of the men flipped the “deuce of clubs”, which is the lowest suit, and number value in the deck,  The town was later named “Show Low”, and the main street in town bears the name “Deuce of Clubs”. 

We paid $33 per night, plus additional $5 reservation fee. Even the full hook up sites were only $35 per night. A good reason why this campground sells out so far in advance. We reserved our site in the “Ruddy Duck” loop. There are two loops each for W/E sites and FHU sites. And one other loop for tents. Our site, #6 had a great lake view, but not all of the sites do. And a word of caution. Some of the sites are set up on a “buddy” style. Two individual sites that face each other. Fine if you are camping with a friend, but not so much if you don't know the people. Be sure to ask when reserving.

We used our on board Wifi, and I switched to our Verizon account as the signal was better than the T-Mobile account. There is no campground Wifi offered. I checked the restroom facilities and was amazed how clean and modern they were.  Each room was an individual unit with a shower, sink and restroom facilities. They were will appointed and in great condition.  The shower was free, and they did have a specific handicapped room, but because of the way that they were built, any of the stalls could have accommodated a handicapped camper.

Our site had a fire pit, but due to high winds and dry weather, all open flame fires were banned. The use of propane cooking was still acceptable.  The campground volunteers that take care of the sites do a great job, when we got to our site the area was clean, and even the gravel in the site had been raked smooth. The dump station has 2 lanes and either are easy to get into.

We were only here 3 days, but I would return here again, and stay longer to explore more of the park and the town itself. I spent a good portion of my time working on some of the “issues” that popped up with the RV.  First and most important was figuring a way to get city water back flowing into the RV. A failed ball valve only allowed city water to refill the fresh tank. I finally came up with a workaround and put another ball valve on the exit side of the water pump. I then plumbed another city water line in and left the original ball valve to fill the holding tank as necessary. 

We did find time to take a hike on one of the trails in the park that circled the lake. It turned out to be 6 miles by the time we were done, but the mild temps in the 70's and breeze made it very pleasant.

From here we go on to Prescott for a week and stay at Point of Rocks campground.   

Pic 1 is the view of Fools Hollow lake from our site.
Pic 2 was our evening cocktail view of the lake.
Pic 3 is a Buddy Site, one of many in the park.
Pic 4 is a lake view.
Pic 5 is me spending a day at the water bay.

Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

SargeW

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Re: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 04:07:56 PM »
Point of Rocks RV Park
Prescott, AZ

This was our first time staying at this park, but we did drive it a few years ago. Probably the single biggest feature of the park is that it is surrounded with some beautiful and stunning rock/boulder formations.  Another positive feature is that Watson Lake and Watson Lake park are a short walk from the park from a trail at the back of the campground, which just happened to be right next to our site (so we got to meet a lot of people, whether we wanted to or not!) Most of the sites are fairly level side to side, but all surfaces are powdery dirt and a few rocks, so having a decent size rug is recommended.  The park is also fairly close to Prescott to make exploring the town a short 5-10 minute drive. 

Those were the high points, but there are some down sides.  Most disappointing is that the park is a dust bowl. I can't really say that the park has dirt/gravel roads as the gravel is non existent.  The slightest breeze or vehicle going by puts a cloud of dust in the air. The trees in the park are in dire need of trimming be able to get into the sites without them dragging the side of the RV.  There are no amenities to speak of in the park, other than restrooms and a laundry.  The lower set of restrooms is brand new and handicapped accessible (if you can squeeze past the roof posts in the walkway) but the upper restrooms are old, dated, and definitely not handicapped accessible.  There is WiFi offered, but it is only good for checking your email, no streaming allowed. Reliability of their WiFi is not guaranteed.  Our T-Mobile card worked well here, but I do have an exterior antenna that pushes up 5' over the top of the RV.

There is no pool, play area, or pet area, but waste bags are provided in a few places. Highway 89 also has some significant traffic noise, and we were not that close to the road.

We paid $44 a night for a 7 night stay, which came to $312 for the week with taxes.  The site was full hook up 50 amp and the power seemed to work well.  The water hook up was buried down inside a box that made it a bit difficult to hook up to. I needed 2 angled adapters to get my hose and in line filter hooked up. The water pressure is low, about 20-25 psi on my inline water gauge. Sewer is in the back of the site, so bring extra sewer hose.  Our site was a back in (#68). Out of 95 sites, 3 are pull thru and the rest are back in or pull in, and most are very close together.

The office is still using a “no contact” policy.  If you have a site reserved, there will be a tag on an outside message board with your name and site# on it. As such, we rarely ever saw anyone from the park during our week stay. No walk ins accepted, reservation only. I did need ice from the park store, so the process was to call the office,  give them a credit card (no cash accepted) and then they your product outside on a bench. So in 90 degree weather it is not advisable to call for anything until you are ready to be there quickly.

This is the closest RV park to Prescott, so there are reasons to stay here. Just don't expect a lot from the park itself.  There are some good hiking trails in the area, which we did a few. There is a “White Dot” trail to hike that has the trail marked with 2” white paint dots on the rocks. Be advised it is picturesque, but can be strenuous due to many rock formations. Watson Lake is open for kayaks and boats with electric motor propulsion only, 10 HP max. No swimming in the lake as it may be unsafe due to old strip mines in the area.

Rule restrictions are no tents, no wood fires, and prohibited breeds of dogs are Chow, Doberman, Rottweiler, or any kind of Pit Bull “type”. 

Pic 1) Our site in the campground
Pic 2) Looking back from the trail to Watson Lake towards our RV
Pic 3) View from overlook on the White Dot Trail
Pic 4) New remodeled bathroom
Pic 5) Old bathroom
Pic 6) Pathway to the new men"s restroom
Pic 7) Map of trails around Watson Lake
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

X-Roughneck

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Re: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2020, 05:31:08 PM »
Marty,

I will say Arizona is such a Beautiful state!

My old memory of Driving IH40 on a quick pass thru from Ft Ord, Ca back to Texas, in the early 1990s was totally wiped out and replaced with awe when we spent time in AZ 2018.

This trip when we left William's AZ on 89 up into Utah I was in double awe.

I am learning quick when it comes to RVn the treasures await on the roads less traveled.

Keep the reports coming. I cant wait to come back and spend more time in the Grand Canyon state.

Looking forward to hearing about the other places on your loop too.

Safe Travels to you.

JD

« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 05:41:19 PM by X-Roughneck »
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Only Lessons I never forgot, Were taught by my parents, or a Dog.

John/JD

SargeW

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Re: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2020, 10:48:16 PM »
Thanks JD, from here we move to Sedona, AZ for a week.   
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020

Sweetsurrender

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Re: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2020, 05:52:29 PM »
Looks like some of the sites are really the best!  Thanks for posting all this.  We love going to Arizona, and you are helping to narrow down some new locations to stay.  We have been trying to go to Fool Hollow for a year, and will take your advice and reserve now for next year. 

Pictures are super too!  Stay safe, and Happy Trails!
 

2019  29ft. Jayco Greyhawk
2017 Jeep Cherokee
Us and 2 dogs from
Henderson, Nevada

SargeW

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Re: Just the Facts Maam! A 5 month trip around the western USA
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 04:12:45 PM »
Rancho Sedona RV Park
Sedona, AZ

After the last few dusty RV parks that we were in, we were looking forward to Sedona, and we were not disappointed.  The town itself is also just a very interesting place, due to the surrounding colorful and unique rock peaks and formations that permeate the area.  Pulling into the campground the first thing I noted was the entrance road was paved, and then the roads to the sites are firmly graveled. 

Our site, #82 was a back in gravel pad, and had a long and wide patio in red colored cement.  Some large tall trees were at the back of the site that provided great afternoon shade.  Our site also backed up to the entrance to Oak Creek.  A berm separates the creek from the campground, but a well marked entrance leads you down to the water.  The creek itself is about 25' wide at this point, and up to 4' deep in the middle. The water is moving pretty quickly, but wading and floating in it are possible due to a man made rock “basin” up creek about 30 yards.  The water was very clear, and seeing the bottom was easy but there are large rocks covering the bottom so walk carefully if you take a dip. 

Sites 76 thru 84 are the biggest sites, and there was a large grass area in back of the site as well that was open to anyone to anyone to use, and provided the access to the creek. There is reasonable room between sites, but being able to position your chairs facing backwards towards the creek made the site feel much larger. Many large trees line the creek as well providing shade, and wind break if it get gusty.  There is also “Adult Only” sites if you desire.

I was impressed with the grounds crew that took care of the sites. After each guest left, they would come to rake and clean up the gravel, clean the benches and chairs, and wipe down all the hook ups.

It is pricey compared to previous parks, but they did make you feel like you were getting something for your money. We paid $75.60 a night, plus $2 a night for the dog. At least there is a grassy fenced pet area, and there are several places around the park that hold pet waste bags. Our weekly rate was $532 for the week. Dogs are allowed on the grass areas, and in the creek if you desire. For amenities the  park offers a grass volleyball court, horseshoes, tether-ball, a Bar-b-Que  pit, and various seating  areas around the park. There is a large community fire pit in the grassy area, but due to elevated fire concerns it was not being used at this time. There is also an on site laundry room. 

Our on board Wifi worked well here as we were fairly close to a tower in town. The park does offer free Wifi, but streaming isn't possible. Washing a vehicle isn't allowed, but they do allow an outside service to do it for you. I had them wash the rig the day before we left to wash away the dust and dirt from the previous parks. The service was “Gary's Mobile  Wash” and cost $100 for the wash and cleaning of all windows. I was happy with the results, but the service is very busy so plan ahead if you decide to use them.

The only negative I could find was that bathrooms. While clean and usable are not particularly handicapped accessible. There is a ramp built to get into the bathroom/shower area, but once inside the shower stalls have a 2” lip, are a bit narrow and have no grab rails. The toilet stalls are wider, but also  have no grab rails. The only set of restrooms is between sites 26 and 27, which was a fair distance from our site. 

Sedona itself feels very upscale and is a well planned community. But there is always a few peculiarities right?  Well in Sedona it's the traffic circles. Lots of em. With light traffic they work well, but on a crowded weekend they can back up and stall. Many “out of towners” just don't navigate them well. And there just isn't a way to avoid them most of the time. 

There are a lot of interesting and challenging hikes to take in the area, and we did a handful of them. They can be a little underrated, as some are rated as “easy”, but still may require walking up rocky paths and over boulders.  There are also many interesting specialty shops and  restaurants in the area, and we tried out a few. They required masks to walk in, but once inside they could be removed.

All in all I really enjoyed the week here and would come back.

Pic 1) Our campsite
Pic 2) Entrance to the creek is between the white signs.
Pic 3) Entrance to the park.
Pic 4) Sites further down from us.
Pic 5) Clean, but not handicapped accessible.
Pic 6) Looking down at the creek.
Pic 7) Saw this guy heading out looking for dinner. A small King snake about 18" long at the back of our site.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
2018 JLU Jeep Sahara
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!
Visit our travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick2020