I’m back, and I’m in Arizona

I know, I know, I fell off the radar there for a while. For three… no… five? months. Well, there’s a reason… I haven’t been traveling quite so much. Oh no! How can this be? I live in an RV… how can one not be traveling if one lives in an RV?

Welllll… I burned leveled out in Phoenix, AZ for a while. There was a guy. Was. There was the dating time, the breakup time, and then the recovery time. And now you know that whole story, let’s move on!




(We’ve since made up, and we’re back to being friends again. Don’t worry babes, I still love you. winking-heart )

I’m currently parked in Payson, AZ, which is a lovely little mountain town a couple of hours north of Phoenix, where my best friend from college lives. The weather is gorgeous and perfect here (65 deg and sunny today!) not anymore, it’s #&*@$^* hot now, I started this post two months ago, for all you folks who are either still freezing to death or sweating to death elsewhere. I’ve been having a lovely time camping by lakes and getting relief from the blazing valley sun. Life works out in amazing ways!

So what have I been doing all this time? Why haven’t I written? Why haven’t you written? Well, my reason is that I’ve been engaged in all kinds of insanity exciting and mind-boggling activities. What’s your excuse?

I guess the best place to start is when I got to Arizona in the first place. I know I’ve missed about ten states in between and I assure you at some point in the distant near future I will get back to those, but for the sake of getting something down on paper let’s start back in February. My original plan of action (remember those? Anyone managed to stay on their original plan of action…. ever? I sure haven’t) was to stay for the first two weeks at the lovely state park known as Lost Dutchman, on the east side of Phoenix. When I rolled into the park, I nearly cried from relief for finally getting there after the long mind-numbing boredom of traveling across west Texas and New Mexico.


Lordsville, NM KOA. It's a FOUNTAIN of natural ugliness.
Lordsville, NM KOA. It’s a FOUNTAIN of natural ugliness.


So hooray! I was finally in Phoenix! Looooooong awaited Phoenix. Whoo hoo! BETTER things were going to start happening to me now!


Amidst my tears of joy, as I was getting my registration organized with the park ranger and about to roll off into the Arizona sunset towards two weeks of relaxation spending time with some of my favorite people, the ranger manages to sneak into the excitement of the conversation that my perfect site had no electric or water hookups.

Wait… what? Did she say what I thought she said? The blood in my veins started to slow down to a trickle.

“I beg your pardon?”

“No ma’am, you’ve got a non-electric no-hookup site. You’re in the tent/self-contained vehicle section of the park. Didn’t you notice the massive seven dollar difference in price from electric/water sites when you made your reservation A YEAR AGO?”

That would be a “no”.

As my face fell and began to crumple and my sanity began to loosen, she hastily checked her calendar to see if there was any hope for me to be able to change sites that very instant to a location that provided the utilities I needed for the next two weeks. I could manage without water hookup, but no way was my little 12V deep cycle RV battery going to keep me in the modern camping essentials of internet, heating, microwave and hot water for 14 days. Sigh.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but we’re booked solid for the next forty nights. We have no openings for electric sites until the end of March.”

Giddy UP.

Well, at least I knew how my first evening was going to play out. I got to look forward to the next few hours frantically looking for another park somewhere in the vicinity that had immediate availability in the middle of February – one of the most POPULAR months of the year for octogenarian snowbirds to flock to Arizona in their mighty retirement homes on wheels – of an electric site for the next two weeks. Super!

However, it could be worse. Turns out, I wasn’t going to be able to see either of my Phoenix friends that evening anyway, as BOTH of them had had their cars impounded over the weekend for various vehicular offenses. Seriously guys? Is there something in the water here? At least I had wheels that moved, even if I was in relative physical and emotional darkness for the night. Happy Valentine’s weekend 2015 to all of us!

As luck would have it, one of the other state parks within an hour of Phoenix (seriously, that’s the closest they have here, much to my chagrin – but they have a million RV “resorts” within minutes!) – Picacho Peak – had availability for the next two weeks starting the next night. Yippee!! So instead of being 20 minutes from my nearest friend and non-desert-y civilization, I was going to be an hour away and in the middle of cactus fields. Oh well, I had electricity, so I could take it.

The next day, instead of sleeping in and taking lovely photos of the glamorous scenery around me, I had to get up early to pack up and move… again. Argh. However, the evening before, since I couldn’t visit my grounded friends or fire up the DVD player and watch my Northern Exposure, I did manage to squeeze in a few snapshots:


Clearly this site is meant for tents.
Clearly this site is meant for tents.


After days of boredom... finally a hike!
After days of boredom… finally a hike!


I also managed to meet some very cool Canadians who were in the site next to me. Lots of Canadians come down to Phoenix for the winter, I have learned, although I suppose this is not exactly earth-shattering news. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a picture of them so they could become famous, but we did have some interesting conversations about their Little Guy trailer that I surreptitiously envied. At least THEY weren’t worried about not having electricity.


I really liked this park.
I really liked this park.


So the next day I moved to Picacho Peak. It’s actually a lovely park, if not quite as pretty or geographically convenient as Lost Dutchman. It was, however, closer to my one friend who lives in Arizona City, which is a bit south of Phoenix, so I got to see her on a fairly regular basis during that two weeks. We had a lot of fun! But first, we had to take care of the business of getting her car out of impound.

We had the inestimable pleasure of going to the courthouse in Eloy, which is basically a pimple on the face of the Arizona desert between Picacho Peak and Phoenix. This was standing in front:


I had to laugh.
I had to laugh.


Especially when just a few yards down the road we ran into this spectacle:


Nothing like a drug bust in front of the Lord's Word! Thanks Disco Queen for keeping us on the straight and narrow path of escape.
Nothing like a drug bust in front of the Lord’s Word! Thanks Disco Queen for keeping us on the straight and narrow path of escape.


We made our way to the impound lot to pick up my friend’s lonely car. Although, come to find out, her car wasn’t so lonely there!


Glad I wasn't THAT guy.
Glad I wasn’t THAT guy.


You gotta wonder what folks really get up to when they hit the Arizona wild. Hm. I think I was going to find out.

My next port of excitement for the week was to meet up with my other friend and travel up to the mountains for some outdoor fun. The “plan” was start early, run a few errands, have lunch with friend’s dad, go four-wheeling and then have sushi for dinner. Sounded good to me! Especially when this is my friend:


Dayum! What a hottie!
Dayum! What a hottie!


Well…. the plan sort of happened. We did go up to the mountains.


I think Phoenix is to the LEFT.
I think Phoenix is to the LEFT.


Much to my irritation though, we spent most of the day running errands. Bo-ring. I swear, if something could go wrong and waste hours of time, it did. The apples we wanted to get for the deer were out of stock, the Home Depot didn’t have the cabinet ready that we wanted to pick up and no one under a hundred was available to wheel it out and load it into the truck, my hot friend’s father did not appear at the appointed time and location and refused to answer his phone, and OMG if my boy bitched one more time about all the unanticipated dirt on his “new” tire… well, bad things were going to happen to him.

We did get to go four-wheeling though – finally – and that was AWESOME! Whoo hoo! We saw some other friends along the way:


No, we didn't hit any.
No, we didn’t hit any.


This experience was worth all the lame errand-running, I will tell you. Buzzing and bumping around in the trees was hilarious and a total blast. I even got to drive!




And here’s a nice video of the event (be warned… it’s loud. Mike Neff, you’ll love it):



The day ended rather late, but we did actually get to have our sushi. I think I might have committed murder if we hadn’t. Tired and dirty, we impressed everyone in the joint, but we didn’t care. We were starving. Squid salad, edamame, volcano rolls, sushicado, and of course my standard favorite, the always amazing Philly roll. It was all ambrosial and by God we ate for America that night.

It’s good to be in Arizona.

The following weekend, since I was only going to be at Picacho Peak for two weeks before I headed north, I spent with my other friend, now that her car had been released from prison. We decided to partake of the local ostrich farm. Unfortunately, like an idiot, I didn’t take any pictures of them. However, I did take some scintillating videos:


Yes, I know my “cute” voice can get annoying…


I haven’t decided yet if this is humiliating for the goats or not, but I’m leaning towards humiliating.


Yes, I say some dumb things in this one…


And then of course, we went monster truckin’!


This pretty much says it all. Naturally, we sat in the back.
This pretty much says it all. Naturally, we sat in the back.


Very exciting, I know. But I did see THIS!


I think these were the previous owners of the land. That's what 100 degrees of "it's a DRY HEAT!" will do to you.
I think these were the previous owners of the land. That’s what 100 degrees of “it’s a DRY HEAT!” will do to you.


But that’s not the end of the adventure! Last but not least, my friend is a master skydiver, and it just so happens that Phoenix has one of the world’s largest (it might be THE largest) skydiving center in the world – what luck! So naturally we had to go to the wind tunnel.


I know, I know, I can't even begin to say what this looks like...
I know, I know, I can’t even begin to say what this looks like…


And then this is what is going on inside:


I am soooo doing this one day.


And that was just my first two weeks in Arizona. Not too bad, by all accounts. Wait until you hear about the next two weeks!

And that’s where I’m going to leave this blog post. On a positive note for once. Until next time, folks!


More to explore

5 Responses

  1. Good to hear from you my Dear, Harmony Project starts again 8-24-15; we’ll be missing you and singing for you! Glad to hear you’re still kickin!

  2. Loved it!! Glad all is well cuz I got worried when I didn’t hear about your adventures I such a long time!

  3. Hey Heather,
    I have been wondering where you have been and if you ever made it back to Ohio. Not heading to the Keys this year, probably next year. Are you heading down this winter? Keep the blog coming I have missed you.

  4. I’ve done the indoor skydiving in Florida.

    It. Was. A. Blast.

    Since then, it gave me the confidence to jump out of an ACTUAL (perfectly good) plane.

    Twice so far. If I lived close to one, I’d be a frequent flyer for sure! -AJ

    1. I know, I need to do it before I leave Arizona! I’m jealous of your jumping out of a plane… it’s on the bucket list. But I’d pay good money to see the video of your jump. 😉

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