Jason and I took a side trip up to the Grand Canyon on Saturday before we boarded the Polar Express in the evening. Temperature was in the 30s with some snow and ice, making walking around the edge of the canyon a little treacherous. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the El Tovar restaurant with the best seafood chowder I've ever had! The lodge was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Winter is the time to go to the Canyon, compared to Summertime. No crowds at all!
What a wonderful trip with had with all our kids and grandkids to Williams and the Polar Express train. We rented a nice home in Williams through VRBO that had room for all 10 of us for a two nights and had a lot of fun on the two hour train ride singing Christmas songs, enjoying hot chocolate, cookies, silver bells, and meeting Santa. If you have kids, I highly recommend taking them on the Polar Express!
Since I sold our 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and we are no longer RVing, I've found that I missed having a second car, particularly, a Jeep. I loved that Jeep Cherokee that we towed around the country behind our RVs, so I started looking for a 2019 or 2020 model to purchase. I prefered to buy a used one, but I was having a hard time finding one with all the features that I wanted, like; Trailhawk model, sunroof, adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay, NAV with the larger display, 2.0-L I4 turbo engine, trailer-tow group, heated and vented front seats and more. After watching Cars.com and AutoTrader for a couple of months, one caught my eye because it was fully-equipped with absolutely everything that I was looking for. With only 4,800 miles, this one was perfect in every way. Turns out, it was a demo driven by a Chrysler Corporation executive in Detroit and was purchased by a local Jeep dealer here in Phoenix at an auction. I ended up saving over $10,000 by getting this 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite vs getting a new one with the same equipment. I wasn't sure about the color when I first saw the pictures on their website, but after seeing it in real life, I love the color. It goes very nicely with our Arizona greenery!
I called the Canyon Lake Marina and RV Campground on Wednesday to see if they had any spaces available for the weekend and they said the person on the call before me just cancelled, so I figured that I lucked out. After going there on Saturday, I see why people were cancelling. The lake was filled with debris from the heavy rain storms they had the previous week. Instead of nice and clear, the water was brown and filled with branches making boating dangerous. On top of that, the state was closing the one and only road in and out of the area all day on Monday to repair the washed out roadway, so we had to leave on Sunday instead of Monday, as we had planned. The campground wouldn't even refund our $70 fee we had paid for Sunday night! At least we had a fun Saturday with Kyle, Crystal, Beckett and Jason coming over for awhile.
Click the Play button to watch a 7 minute video comprised of mostly dash cam footage (depending on your internet speed, it might take a few seconds to load).
We made our annual RV trip to Seattle, leaving Phoenix on August 10th and returning on August 25th, 2019. This time, it was in our new 2019 Winnebago 24D motorhome.
We're already planning our next outing. Possibly New Mexico to see the fall leaves turn.
After searching for the right message to put on our RV's license plate for months, I finally settled on this. It was very hard to come up with something that wasn't already taken!
It's summertime in Arizona! Perfect time to take a camping trip to one of our favorite desert escapes near Williams, Arizona. High temperature here at this 7,000 foot altitude was 78° compared to 105° down in Phoenix!
Exact location: 35°09'31.4"N 112°10'15.8"W
We were lucky enough to get a last-minute spot at Fool Hollow Lake campground in Show Low, Arizona last weekend. We had a beautiful space right next to the lake (Cinnamon Teal Loop, space #22). This is one of our favorite camping areas because it has paved roads and spaces, 30 amp electric and water (no sewer). My Verizon phone worked well there as a hot-spot so if we wanted to go back again and stay longer, I could get some work done.
We also drove past the townhome we owned for 3+ years on White Mountain Lake. It was fun to see it again, although the lake looked real muddy from all the rains in the Spring.
We had a great weekend camping at the Pleasant Harbor RV Resort this weekend. This park is so convenient since it's only 14 miles from our home here in Arizona. Our son-in-law, Dave, took part in the very popular bass fishing tournament, which he has done several times before. The rest of us enjoyed the scenery, kayaking and a good BBQ dinner at Dillons on the dock Friday night. Our whole family celebrated Pam's birthday on Saturday with our own BBQ and cake. The grandkids kept themselves entertained catching bugs, fishing and playing catch.
Click above to play video.
We made our first "big" trip in our new Winnebago Navion over Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 16-18, 2019. This was a good test of the RV, as it was 377 miles from Phoenix to Lake Havasu and back over a variety of roads. On the way there, we went out via Highway 60 through Wickenburg, then through Parker to Lake Havasu. On the way back home, we took Highway 95 south to Quartzsite, then east on I-10 to test how it handled on the freeway. I was very pleased with the handling on the entire trip.
We stayed at the Islander RV Resort on Lake Havasu for the third time in several years. We had a great spot (#467) right on the lake next to the boat launching ramp which made for some fun boat-watching. Weather was cool, but mostly sunny the entire weekend. I'm getting disappointed in the Islander Resort because they're converting a lot of the RV sites into permanent vacation rental homes. I think I'll look into different locations next time we want to go to Lake Havasu.
This is one of the reasons we downsized from our past class-A sized motorhomes. I wouldn't have been comfortable taking our 41' diesel pusher down to the lakeshore of Lake Pleasant for a quick couple of nights like we did this past weekend. We found this size RV fits our desire to pack up and head out with little planning or preparation. We dry-camped for two nights and had absolutely no problems with the new RV. The solar panels powered us during the day and we ran the generator for two hours in the morning and again in the evening. I was a little disappointed that the the batteries were down to 11.5 amps by morning. I expected them to hold a charge better overnight but we really liked staying in this new Winnebago Navion 24D. It seems a lot bigger than 25' because of the well thought out floor plan and murphy bed. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with this RV!
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!
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.
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 (
What a beautiful four days we had at Lake Havasu, AZ this past weekend. We put our name in a year ago for a spot at the Islander Resort. They called me about six months ago to let me know that they had a spot available. We ended up with space #33, which was right on the lake with our own private beach for the granddaughters to play on. Son in-law Dave even got a little fishing in! Saturday’s festivities were rained out, but the rest of the time was beautiful. Highs were in the 60s and lows in the 50s.
Video: (click to play)
We had a great time dry-camping (no water, electric, sewer) in our RV this Labor Day weekend near Pine Flat (exact location: 35.051240, -112.154390) with a nice group of relatives, friends, and friends of relatives. It was a perfect, cool, 78° in the afternoons at this 6,500' high elevation about 20 miles south of Williams, AZ. Pam and I took a rigorous 12-mile day-trip in our Jeep Cherokee tow-car, but it was worth the jostling around because the views were spectacular overlooking the Red Rock Wilderness Area.
We wanted (needed!) to get out of the Phoenix heat so we went to one of our favorite spots in Arizona for a few days this past weekend. We stayed at the Woodfield RV Park, which is a brand-new RV park in Show Low, conveniently located right next to the White Mountain Vacation Village RV planned community. The weather was perfect around 80° for the highs and 60° for the overnight lows. Pam and I took a nice ride in the Jeep on Saturday and enjoyed watching the zip-line riders and the dark, black clouds, thunder and lighting at the Sunrise Park Ski Resort. We took the long way back home on Monday via Holbrook and Flagstaff to avoid the many up and down hills on Highway 87.
Thanks to the RV, we've been to some beautiful places and stayed in some great campsites.
States We've Trekked To