Friday, March 27, 2009

06-09 Globe and Roosevelt Lake Arizona

Globe AZ
Roosevelt Lake

Campground: Apache Gold Casino. $20 a night, full hookups w/cable Tv. $310 monthly rate. Basically a parking lot with services. 2 nights.

Campground: Roosevelt Lake. $6.00 per vehicle (camper), no hookups. Good Verizon signal, no TV reception. 5 nights. Water and restrooms available on each loop.

Camper and Household tip: I recently had a huge swam of wasps try to make a home in my 5th wheel hitch and front side of my camper near the furnace vent. A fellow camper had a can of wasp spray, which I pretty near used up the entire can. When I went to get another can, the small local convenience store had none for sale, but the clerk recommended Dawn dish soap. She didn’t have any for sale, but ran next door to the restaurant. She came back with a big jug of Dawn and poured some out into a small container for me to try it out. Now aren’t folks just too kind. They’re like that out here in the country you know. Put some in a spray bottle and mix with water. Spray the wasps with the soap mixture… they can’t breath and die. Cheaper than buying the commercial wasp spray too.

Yipee! I’m on the road again. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back on the road, traveling the highways and byways. After saying goodbye to my many new friends at Desert Trails Rv Park, I hooked up the 5th wheel and pulled out of my site. I had been at Desert Trails for four months and I can honestly say it felt like just a couple of weeks. The time flew by.

As I slowly drove around the park before exiting out onto Bopp Road and Ajo hwy, I had a lump in my throat, thinking about all those wonderful Winter residences I had met.
A final wave goodbye and I was out on the road. Weaving my way through the construction barriers that line the main highway through Tucson, hwy 10, I got off on the north end of town at Ina Road and headed for the secondary hwy 77 heading for Globe AZ.

Just the act of having the 5th wheel hitched up and towing it down the highway gives me a wonderful feeling of adventure. After passing through the gazillion stop lights on the north side of Tucson, I was finally out in the country. The desert changed from flat rolling landscape to mountainous scrapple covered with iron wood, mesquite and creosote trees. In the higher elevations ancient growth saguaro cactus dotted the landscape. Many with 8 and 10 arms. Huge, massive, stately cactus, untouched by pollution and mans tampering.

There was road construction from a rock slide along hwy 77 where the road narrowed to a single lane as it wound around the steep edge of a mountainous canyon. Boulders and rocks lined the dirt road before switching back to rough pavement. A muddy river ran below through the canyon, something I never saw in Tucson, as all the rivers through town were dry as a bone. Dried up years ago from too much pumping of underground wells. Passing through dusty little towns, Mammoth, Dudleyville, Winkelman and Pinal Pass, some no more than a place to slow down due to the speed limit signs, before picking up speed again.

121 miles and I’ve reached my first destination along my Big Adventure to Alaska. Hoping all will go well as I start this huge undertaking. I’m in Globe Az. This is Apache country and I’m staying at the Apache Gold Casino. The apache reservation seems to cover much of the east side of AZ. I see many Apache in the area. They have a distinctive dark skin, round flat faces. They talk very softly to each other and the men rarely speak at all.

Not much to report in Globe, it’s an active copper mining town. The mountains have all been chewed up and spit out surrounding the town. A new mine is getting ready to be built and will go down over 5,000 feet. But first they have to build a million dollar pumping station to take all the water out of the previous mine that went down over 2,000 feet. The water will be used for irrigation in the area.

I’ve been told Globe has the best Mexican restaurants in AZ, but my short stay did not give me a chance to check any out. I did find a great antique store selling lots of south west items. Had fun just looking around.

Two days later and I’ve driven 30 miles north to Roosevelt Lake. I had tried to camp here last fall, but the temps were still in the 100 degree range. It’s late March and I’ve hit it at the perfect time. Temps in the mid 40’s at night and highs during the day reach 65 to 70. Sunny as well. I found a perfect campsite on one of the many ridges jutting out into Roosevelt Lake. I’m on a loop with only three campsites.
My view is spectacular overlooking the lake. I even have my own trail leading to the end of the ridge with 360 degree views of the lake and mountains.

The hills and mountain ranges are covered in a soft green carpet as everything is beginning to bud and bloom. Tonto Monument (Indian cliff dwellings) are visible to my left as I exit my camper. They are high up on the mountain. Two separate cliff dwellings tucked under solid rock overhangs. To my right is Roosevelt Lake and more mountain ranges beyond.

I’ll be here for 5 days, running off of my solar panels and testing my systems to ensure everything is set for the big adventure. Besides, I had purchased the camping tickets last fall and need to use them up. $30 bucks is $30 bucks and you know I have to get my moneys worth…

I’d decided to go to Tortilla Flats today, but after turning onto route 88, past the Roosevelt dam, I discovered that it is was an unpaved road for 22 miles. Instead, I took pictures of the dam, lower and upper shots. The day is perfect, sunny and cool. Wild yellow daisies cover the hillsides. At the top of the dam, I meet an older gentleman, traveling the area with his daughter.
He tells me of how he got to this area after being discharged from the Navy. He was down to 118 pounds and the doctor suggested he find a place in Colorado or Arizona to live. He headed for Globe Az where an uncle lived. Traveling back in the 50’s by car, no air-conditioning, he said he wasn’t sure he was going to make it down those hot dusty dirt roads. Before cars came to the area his uncle used to take the stage coach from Globe to Phoenix, along that route 88 I mentioned. It took 4 days each way to get there. Today it would take a couple hours, a portion of the road still being dirt.

Roosevelt dam was originally made out of carved stone chiseled right from the sides of the mountains surrounding the dam. It was the largest stone structured dam ever built. In the late 1980’s it was upgraded with concrete and rebar and an additional 77 feet was added on top. Today, the lake has reached its high water mark, with room to spare. I’ve been told all the lakes in the area are at full capacity for the first time in years. It’s good to see the lakes full up.

The old guy pointed out the old road below, that once went across the top of the old dam. Much of that old road is now submerged. His daughter said in a couple more weeks the mountains will be covered with desert poppies and the prickly pear will all be in bloom.
I drove over to Butcher Hook on the north end of the lake for some home style cooking (not my Mom’s, she was not the best cook). Had a 4 piece fried chicken dinner, fries, Texas toast and coleslaw for $7.95. Used to be $6.95 but they had to raise the price this past year. Filled up my truck with diesel and the attendant gave me an 8 cent discount on the fuel which brought it down to $1.88 a gallon. I think they usually only give the discount to locals. What a deal. Best price I’ve paid so far. Nice to have someone size you up and decide you’re a good guy.

A note on the solar power. The batteries are charging up great. Because I don’t have TV reception, I watch TV shows on my computer since I have great Verizon reception. Been catching up on some Late night TV shows and HGTV. Check out I’m able to listen to my radio, do computer stuff, have plenty of light and the furnace (fan) hardly uses any power to run at night, so the batteries are staying well charged. I even made coffee in my elect coffee maker today with plenty of power to spare. Of course the fridge, furnace and water heater are running off of propane.

To read a fascinating story about Tonto Monument go to:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read your comments about deciding NOT to go to Tortilla Flats over AZ 88 (known locally as the Apache Trail.) Although the road is dirt, it is not that bad. I wasn't sure if you intended to haul your 5th-wheeler for the trip. If you were, your greatest challenge would be at Fish Creek Hill, a two-mile section of road that climbs up the face of a cliff. The road narrows to one-lane for most of that climb.

The reason the section of road is known as the Apache Trail is that it was built mostly with Apache Indian labor in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The original stone-and-mortar Roosevelt Dam was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1911 and rededicated by President John Kennedy in 1961.

From an Arizona Native who grew up in Globe, AZ