We had a nice 3 days/2 nights camping at Arizona's Dead Horse Ranch State Park over Mother's Day weekend. We were planning on going to dinner Friday night at Pizza Bocce, a very well-known restaurant here in Cottonwood, but the wait was over an hour and a half, so we got some good BBQ ribs at another place. Several family members met us at the lake on Mother's Day for a nice picnic, kayaking and fishing. Weather was perfect with highs around 75 and lows in the 50s and not a cloud in sight. We camped in space #104, which was high up on a hill with a great view overlooking Cottonwood, Jerome and the surrounding mountains. Price was only $30/night. The site had a nice paved drive with a fire pit, picnic table, water and 50 amp electric, but no sewer hookup (they do have a dump site near the entrance). No wi-fi, but my Verizon phone worked well as a hot-spot so I was able to get some work done. I'm sure we'll be back here again!
This is a video that I created of footage from our new Garmin Dash Cam 55. This little camera is awesome. It records in 1440P resolution (this file is only 720P to put on the blog) and has voice control! While you're driving, you just speak commands to make it save video, take a still photo or record in time-lapse mode (Garmin calls it "Travelapse"). I added a 64 GB microSD card so it will record about a days worth of driving at a time before it starts recording over yesterday's footage. You can always tell it to "Save Video" if there's something you want to save for later. I love it!
Click the play button above to watch a short video of the event.
We attended our first Tiffin Allegro Club Rally this week. 315 Tiffin RVs and over 700 owners and spouses converged on the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona for 5 days/4 nights of fun-filled Tiffin-related activities including vendor seminars and displays several meals, concerts, ice cream socials, hobby & craft displays, swap meet and much more! I enjoyed the Freightliner seminar the most because I learned a lot about our Freightliner chassis that I didn't know. There were large vendor displays and a Tiffin accessories store where you could purchase Tiffin clothing and assorted parts. One of the best features of the rally was the Tiffin factory technicians performing up to three minor repairs on everybody's coaches. The nightly entertainment was a lot of fun with "The Piano Man", a tribute band to Billy Joel and Elton John on Tuesday night, Sarah Getto on Wednesday night and "December ’63", Frankie Valli tribute band after Thursday's farewell dinner. It was really fun getting to meet so many other RV enthusiasts and swap travel stories!
We had one issue occur on the trip, which I cannot fully explain. Our key fob to the RV wasn't working when we got there, which I attributed to just needing a new battery. Then, neither Pam or my key fob to the Jeep would work either. I thought it was just a big coincidence that all 3 key fobs didn't work, but I did tell Pam that I had a feeling that we were in some kind of key fob dead-zone. I pulled the key out of the fob and manually opened the driver's door to the Jeep, which set off the alarm for what seemed like an eternity! It finally shut itself off, but I couldn't start the Jeep or do anything. I suspected the Jeep's battery was going bad, so another Tiffin owner volunteered to bring over his portable jump-starter. After another 10 minutes of the alarm going off, we tried to jump start it, but it would not start. I ended up calling Jeep and having a tow truck haul it 15 miles to the nearest Jeep dealership. Of course, the key fob worked for them there at the dealership. They tested the battery and it tested OK so they took the Jeep out for a test-drive to make sure everything was working, and the battery failed on them during the drive, so they got it back to the dealership and installed a brand-new battery. After getting a ride from their shuttle back to the dealership, I got back to the rally just in time for the farewell dinner. Went out the next morning to load the Jeep up to leave, and the key fob didn't work again! Remember, all this time, the RV key fob didn't work either! I managed to get inside the Jeep and hooked it up to tow home behind the RV. Once we returned home, both Pams' and my Jeep key fobs and the RV key fob all worked perfectly! WTF?
We traveled the 150 miles from Phoenix to Tucson on Saturday, checking in to the Lazy Days KOA RV park for two nights before moving on to the Pima County Fairgrounds for the Tiffin Allegro Rally on Monday, Presidents' Day. This KOA was a real nice RV park with wide spaces and a good BBQ restaurant that even delivers right to your RV!
On Sunday, we took the Jeep about 75 miles to the top of Mt. Lemmon, via the Mt. Lemmon highway, which is a very scenic road that climbs from Tucson to over 8,000 feet. We're glad we took our coats, because the temperature went from 67° in Tucson to 39° at the top of Mt. Lemmon. We had lunch at the quaint, Iron Door Restaurant next to the chair lift, where we had a delicious lunch of homemade chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with a beautiful view overlooking the surrounding mountains.
I love our new Thompson's Treks bumper sticker that Krista and Jason made for us as a Christmas gift. Thanks guys!
We had a great time going on the Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express with the grandkids and more family members on Dec. 16th. The train leaves Williams, Arizona and travels to the "North Pole". The total round-trip takes about 90 minutes. Hot chocolate and cookies are served along with lots of Christmas sing-alongs, and the story of the Polar Express is read over the train's speakers. Santa makes his way through the train on the way back to the station to the delight of everybody. A great time was had by all!
We stayed overnight in the RV at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams. The temperature got down in the lower 20s but the RV stayed nice and toasty with the heat and electric fireplace (who would have thought that we'd need heat and a fireplace in Arizona?).
We don't usually dry camp, but when we do, it's usually somewhere beautiful. We camped out with relatives near Seligman, Arizona (35.312199, -112.702717) this past weekend while some of the group went elk hunting. After one night of failed generator auto-start setting, I got it down so that the generator would kick on at 11 amps and stay on for one hour, fully charging the batteries back up. Set the propane heaters to come on at 62° overnight, as the temps were in the low 40s. Good campfire weather! Beautiful blue sky during the day and amazing dark sky at night for great stargazing. We drove from Phoenix to the camp spot via Prescott and highway 89 to Ash Fork and returned on Sunday via I-40 to Flagstaff and back down I-17. Traffic wasn't too bad. Got home and rinsed the front and back off before going back to RV Harbor covered storage lot in Surprise.
We had a great time staying in the driveway of my brother's house for three weeks in Issaquah, just east of Seattle. We always enjoy visiting with all our Seattle-area relatives, and Paul's 94 and 95-year-old parents. This year's annual family picnic was held at Paul's cousin's beach house across Puget Sound, near Kingston.
We visited Mt. St. Helens for the first time since it erupted in 1980 (see video below). We were amazed at how much the area has grown back. When we were there 37 years ago, it looked like the surface of the moon because it was so gray and lifeless.
Our son and daughter-in-law's baby due date was Sept. 2nd, so we hung out at our favorite RV park, Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort, in Newport, Oregon for another 10 days and caught the total eclipse through a light fog (it was still pretty spectacular).
We spent a week in Medford, Oregon with our new grandson, who was born on Sept. 4th. Stayed at our favorite park in Medford: Southern Oregon RV Park.
A quick 3-day drive home to Phoenix via Susanville, CA to Reno, NV (stayed overnight at a nice park: Sparks Marina RV Park) to Las Vegas (stayed at the very average Las Vegas RV Resort - probably wouldn't stay there again) and back home to Phoenix. We were very happy to get back home to our nice, big house after 10 weeks in the RV, our longest trip yet!
Time to start planning another trip!
Day trip to Mt. St. Helens video:
We left Phoenix on June 29th and stayed through the 4th of July at San Diego's Campland on the Bay in space #I-7, which was right on the bay. It was a fun-filled 10 days with live music almost every night and several fireworks shows visible, all from our camping spot. From there, we drove to Pismo Beach and stayed for a couple of nights at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. It was a very nice spot, although it wasn't right on the ocean, but you could walk to it. We stayed at the Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville, CA for one night. I wouldn't recommend this park. It didn't deserve it's high rating on Good Sam. The next day we drove up I-5 to Medford and stayed at the very nice Jackson County RV Park for four days and visited with our son and daughter-in-law. Then, it was on to a beautiful ocean-front space #162 at Pacific Shores Motorcoach RV Resort for three days (this is our favorite RV park that we've stayed at in our four years of RVing). We went on to Long Beach and stayed at Anderson's Oceanside RV Park for two nights, which had a nice, short walk across the dunes to the beach. Then, on to Seattle for three weeks (see the next blog post).
We reserved space #I-7 at Campland on the Bay two years ago, and already have a space reserved for a week over the 4th of July for the next two years. You have to reserve two years out to get a good spot right on the bay! This isn't the place to come if you want peace and quiet! It's crazy with kids, partygoers and the like, but it's been a lot of fun and it's a great place to stay for the 4th of July because you don't have to get in your car and drive anywhere to watch the fireworks. We just walked about 100 yards from our space out onto the jetty and watched five major fireworks shows from our patio chairs, all with a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band playing live behind us, finishing with "Free Bird" as the fireworks from SeaWorld just across the bay were finishing. There's been a live band here almost every night. Saturday night will be a Journey cover band (really looking forward to that one!).
On the morning of the 4th, we packed a lunch, rented a pontoon boat and cruised around Mission Bay for two hours.
I can't think of a better place to hang out with the RV for the 4th of July!
States We've Trekked To