Friday, November 21, 2008

33-08 Mesa Arizona

Mesa Arizona

How exciting to be back out on the road. But before I head out, I stopped by to have my eyes checked and the doctor gave me a positive report. My eyes are a stable 13 pressure. Each person is different, but the Dr. was pleased with my progress with the new eye drops.

Note for campers: Be sure to protect you medications especially if they have a temperature sensitive range. One of my eye drops has a range of 56-77 degrees. Very hard to maintain in a camper.

Note: Remember, you can view any of the pictures in the blog fullsize by clicking on the picture.

But enough of that. Excitement is in the air as I hook up the camper and head south to Phoenix and Mesa Arizona. I’ve become addicted to being on the road. It’s about a two and a half hour drive for me, not much I know, but just getting the camper out on the road again is enough for me.

You would be proud of me as my Chevy diesel truck smoothly passed semi-trucks and fellow Rv’ers (pulled by a Dodge truck) going over the mountain range. I couldn’t be happier with the way the Chevy handles.

As I descend into the Phoenix valley, I’ve dropped a couple thousand feet and we’re back at about sea level. Smog fills the valley around the city proper but is less out east of town in Mesa where I’ll be staying for a week. Traffic isn’t too bad on the major highways leading through the city, as big planes fly low over the ribbons of concrete heading to the airport in what looks like the center of town. The roads are now monitored by electronic cameras that will give $250 tickets to speeders.

The suburbs spread out from Phoenix in all directions across the flat valley floor. Dry bare brown mountain ranges circle the valley. I arrive at my campground the Good Life Rv park. It’s a Passport America park, so I’m getting it for half off for the week. Not the prettiest of parks, most of the camp sites have “park models, over 1,000” crammed into each space available. My camper is snuggled in between them surrounded by concrete and immaculately kept paved streets. Previous owners put down tons of fake green grass carpeting, so my entrance looks nice.

The valleys skyline is dotted with tall Mexican Palms. Hundreds of them line the rows of streets in the park I’m in. The silhouette of palms against the red evening sky is gorgeous. I took a day trip around town and visited an RV sales place checking out 5th wheel campers. Found a few really nice ones I like, but not to worry, I’m not buying anything until the market stabilizes. The dealers are desperate though so if you find one, expect to pay a lot less than a year ago.

The Good Life’s park pool area is large, with two swimming pools heated differently for those who like it cooler or warmer. They even have two in ground hot tubs also at different temps. Lots of shade areas for those of us who can only handle so much sun each day. The water felt good to splash around in for a while. Then relax in the shade and read a good book. Oh, it’s about 84 today, as I see on TV the east coast is getting a cold snap all the way into Florida.

So here I am basically in a community with lots and lots of Park Model homes (miniature mobile homes) and of course the Mexican Palm trees and miles and miles of suburbs. It’s a true flat concrete jungle. One that gets over 95 days a year of three digit temperatures…. That’s 100 degrees plus each year. Yikees and folks live here. Well except for all the folks in the park I’m in and the dozens and dozens of others here in the valley. They’re snowbirds from Canada and Minnesota and have bought their piece of the American dream and it’s warm all winter. Leaving the minute spring arrives.

Needless to say I had to get out in the country so I headed east on Main street towards Apache Junction and the Superstition Mountains. Thought I’d check out the Lost Dutchman State Park. Yes this is the area that the Lost Dutchman Mine is… out there somewhere. Lots of good clues, but no one has found it yet. The drive out to Apache Junction was like a slow drive towards Old Arizona. The further I got away from Mesa and Phoenix, the older and sparser the surroundings. Old motel buildings, diners and run down Rv parks. More desert and sand. The palm trees were replaced by the Saguaro cactus, iron Mesquite trees and sage brush. I discovered that the Lost Dutchman State park was basically just a lot of hiking trails up into the Superstitious Mountains and a campground (no electric). So I bee-booped over to the Goldfield Ghost Town. Much of it has been restored/recreated, but it is on the original site of the town. The mine brought in over 4,000 folks, but when the mine flooded, it closed down and everyone left. One of the shop attendants suggested a trip on up the road about another 10 miles to Canyon Lake for a ride on the Dolly Paddle boat.

I was in the mood for driving through the mountains and desert and decided to head towards Canyon Lake. Good luck was on my side, as I got to the boat ramp 10 minutes before the only cruise of the day was to depart. They call the area the little grand canyon and the ride on the boat was really cool. Huge cliff walls, winding canyons, the dam that created the lake and best of all, I got to see a couple Big Horn Sheep climbing along the steep cliff walls. Now how cool is that!

After that, I felt like a million bucks. Now if I could just find that Lost Dutchman mine. The ships captain pointed out the mountain in the shape of a needle and said the mine is within the shadow of the needle. Now how hard could it be to find it?

But alas, my riches have all vanished in the stock market plunge and all that I have left is the richness of my friends. So thanks for being out there good friend.

I head to Tucson in the next day or so and will post another report or two describing my winter residence. Till then…. I’m still traveling the highways and byways…


K and G, Somewhere on the Road said...

Always enjoy reading your posts. We will be heading for Apache Junction AZ which is near Mesa in Jan and several of the other sites you already have been too. We would like to add your site to the links list on our site if we may.

Roving Reporter - Doug P said...

Thanks, yes you may add a link to my Blog. When I have a chance I'll def. check out your blog as well, as I plan on traveling to Alaska this coming spring/summer