Dead Horse Ranch State Park

24 02 2018

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona

The park’s unique name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.

We’re parked in site #66, an inside-the-loop site on the Red-Tail Hawk loop.  There are about 30 sites around this oval loop, another 25 sites on the next Coopers Hawk loop and 15 on the furthest tent-only Blackhawk loop.  Views from the Red-Tail and Coopers Hawk loops are best, but would provide less shade and probably more wind than the lower Quail loop of about 45 sites.  PARK MAP All RV sites provide water and electric with two dump stations available near the park entrance.  There are 20 or more OTA TV channels from Flagstaff or on repeaters out of Prescott.  T-Mobile is a full 4G LTE.  The dark, quiet evening is a welcome change from the in-city locations we’ve been at so far.  But, with temps continuing to fall into the 30’s we’re only here one night before continuing south to the Valley of the Sun.  More from Apache Junction…

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona, Site #66


Rancho Verde RV Park, Camp Verde, AZ

21 02 2018

Rancho Verde RV Park, Camp Verde, AZ

While not exactly as their brochure states “A Green Oasis in the Heart of the Verde Valley”, this time of year – this small park of about 40 spaces occupies a attractive spot near the Verde River just outside of central Camp Verde.  Camp Verde is only about 55 miles south of Flagstaff, but nearly 3800 feet lower and provides what the Camp Verde’ites tout is a climate milder than Flagstaff in the winter and milder then Phoenix in the summer.  But with temps struggling to top out at 50 and lows sinking into the upper 20’s each night – it’s not quite as “mild” as we’d prefer.

We’re parked in site E-2 at Rancho Verde, a back in site along Horseshoe Bend Drive, named for the big sweeping turn the Verde River makes near here.  This site suffers from a bit of early morning and late afternoon “rush hour” traffic.  However, this and most other sites are wide, deep enough for fairly large trailers and provide full hookups (water, electric, sewer port) for $45/night including taxes.  Approaching the park from highway 260, there’s another property along the way called Verde River RV Resort and Cottages.  Closed for what looks like major renovations, this park might provide a bit quieter sites once it reopens.

With only a overflow site available for Friday night, we opt to depart on Friday morning to explore nearby Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood.  More from there…

Rancho Verde RV Park, Camp Verde, AZ Site E-2

Rancho Verde RV Park, Camp Verde, AZ

On to Monument Valley

20 02 2018

Snowy Roads near Monticello, UT

After departing Moab in about 34 degree weather and bright sunny skies, we’re surprised by a brief snowstorm up around 7000’ at Monticello.  The roads actually become snow covered on our approach into Monticello, and we run through another snow squall a few miles south.  But, as soon as we decent out of elevations we’re once again on dry roads with sunny skies.  By the time we cross the San Juan River at Mexican Hat the temperature is up around 45 degrees.

This is our 3rd visit to Goulding’s RV Campground in Monument Valley – we where here both before and after our visit to the Grand Canyon last year in 2017.  We select site #34 which is perfectly level and long enough to not require unhitching.  While the park warns that their WiFi system may be slow, with very few other users (only about 5 rigs), the speeds seemed fine.  There are a couple dozen cable TV channels, but as usual, all in very cropped 4:3 ratio.  Our initial plan was to spend two night here in Monument Valley.  But, with temps around 20 degrees the first morning and forecast high of only around 40, we decide to pack up and head toward Flagstaff, AZ.  More from Arizona!

Goulding’s RV Campground, Monument Valley, UT Site#33

Goulding’s RV Campground, Monument Valley, UT Site #33

Good Morning from Moab

19 02 2018

Summer at the RV Ranch, Clifton, CO

After finalizing the loading of all of the “freezables” on Saturday we were on the road by about 1PM.  With high winds forecast across South Park, we opted for travels across I-70 west from Denver.  It was a fairly long day, arriving at the RV Ranch in Clifton, CO – just outside of Grand Junction – around 5PM.  Here we de-winterized and got set-up for our first night of the 2018 season.  We’re parked in site #94, a 30A, full hookup for around $45/night. Most of these 30A sites are back-to-back sites where your neighbor will be sharing the electric pedestal and water connections.  With street side slides, space will get pretty tight across this shared utility island.  PARK MAP Located just off of the I-70 business loop, this park suffers from quite a lot of road noise.  Perhaps in the summer with green trees, lush lawns and the swimming pool, this park would be more attractive.  But, in mid-February with lots of bare trees, brown grass, some upgrade construction and lots of noise – this park would be tough to prefer over one of the nearby Colorado River campgrounds, either Island Acres or Fruita Section.  The only reason we’re not at one of these parks is that it wasn’t clear if water is still turned off for winter.  With another high wind forecast we’re back on the road continuing west across I-70 by about 10AM on Sunday.  By 11AM the winds are starting to get gusty from the south, but fortunately we’re now headed nearly due south to Moab, UT.

This morning, Presidents Day Monday, finds us parked at Spanish Trail RV Park just south of Moab, UT.  Located along highway 191, the park is convenient but like the RV Ranch, suffers from some road noise.  They are in process of major upgrades at this park with a new pool, hot tub and shower house building.  Again, with summer shade from dozens of trees, a small patch of lawn at each site and the soon to be completed pool, this will be a great place to home-base for Moab explorations.  Last time in the Moab area we spent time at the Portal RV Resort north of town. This park wasn’t certain to be open by this weekend, so we bypassed it.  However, set back a bit further from the highway, Portal RV is a quieter and also has a new pool and hot tub opening for the 2018 season. With excellent WiFi (4M down, Roku streaming works great) and even faster T-Mobile cellular service )12M/5M), this park provides a good “work” environment for us.  And, at only $35/night plus taxes, it’s a good value.  Summer rates start at $49/night and go as high as $69/night for larger sites on Holiday weekends.

Summer in Moab’s Spanish Travel RV park

Spanish Trail RV Park, Moab

Spanish Trail RV Park, Moab

The morning news from Salt Lake City shows freeways clogged with traffic fighting heavy snow and icy conditions.  Here, just 200 miles to the SE, we’re seeing temps in the low 50’s, cloudy with sun breaks and some light rain.  However, the forecast is for dropping temps this afternoon and evening with the possibility of a trace of snow and lows around 20 degrees.  At this point our plan is to move south to Monument Valley tomorrow.  But, with the potential of snow or icy roads, we’ll see what morning brings.

The Rest of the California Trip

23 09 2017

After departing Sparks Nevada we’re headed to New Frontier RV Park in Winnemuca, NV.  We stayed in this park last August and still give it high marks.  NEW FRONTIER REVIEW

New Frontier RV Park, Winnemuca, NV

From Winnemuca we’re headed to the KOA in Wendover, NV.  We visited this park last year and REVIEW IT HERE.

Wendover Will

Our next destination is the Mountain View RV park in Wellington, UT.  However, arriving here we find a rather run down gravel lot next to a Motel 9 that holds little appeal.  We pass on the Mountain View and instead travel another hour to Green River State Park.  We’ve been in Green River twice now, REVIEW IS HERE.

Finally crossing the Colorado state line on day 30 of our California Road Trip, we’re pleased to meet up with good friends and enjoy a couple of relaxing days at Island Acres, a State Park campground in the beautiful Glenwood Canyon.  ISLAND ACRES REVIEW.

Wine Tasting in Paliside, CO

It’s been a great trip, filled with unexpected events; wildfire detours, hospital visits, a few thumbs down RV parks as well as my first time towing the RV.  What a fantastic experience!   And so ends our 32 night adventure to the Northern California coast!

Marina RV Park, Sparks, NV

23 09 2017

Marina RV Park, Sparks, NV

Sparks Marina RV Park is a beautiful addition to the new Marina district on the east side of Sparks, NV.  The centerpiece of this retail and residential space is 77 acre Helms Lake situated on a natural occurring aquifer.  At the retail mecca of “The Legends at Sparks Marina” you’ll find outlet stores from Adidas to Nike and Vans (seems like lots of shoes) to the big stores of Lowes, Target and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse (more shoes) and a foodies delight at Olive Garden, Fuddruckers and Taco Bell.

The RV park gets high marks both on with an 8.9 Excellent and on Good Sam – a triple 10!  With almost 200 sites, this is a large park.  The outside edge provides deep back-in sites with a privacy/security fence to the rear.  These fences are short enough to allow viewing over them from back windows, so they offer a bit more privacy than the 3 center pull-through rows.  Each site is full-hookup with water, electric, cable and sewer.  Each site also has a picnic table set on an island of AstroTurf and a couple of trees.  Our back-in sites also had several more trees and bushes to the rear.  All internal roadways and site pads are paved.  And the WiFi worked well.

Besides the sites themselves, Marina RV has a beautiful pool/hot tub, 24-hour laundry, Clubhouse with full kitchen, BBQ patio, ping pong and pool tables.  A very well stocked retail store, a putting green and immaculately clean dog runs.  For $45/night excluding the Good Sam discount, this is a great value – we’d return to Sparks Marina RV Park again.

Ponderosa Resort, Lotus, CA

22 09 2017

Ponderosa RV Resort, Lotus, CA

Good Morning from Lotus, CA

After a bit of a navigationally challenged day, we’ve made the relatively short trip from just outside Yosemite National Park to Lotus, CA – a small town just on the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills.  We’re headed toward I-80 which we’ll take at least all the way to Salt Lake city on our route back to Colorado.

We’re assuming that construction along highway 49 interrupted our navigation systems to the point of having us driving back-country roads with the minimum of  width and height clearance for our 3 large fifth wheels.  In a second departure from the planned route, we visited the residential section of some small town near Placerville along with a loop past the grade school and through a small mobile home park.  Arriving in Lotus, we find yet more road construction that causes us to miss the entrance to the RV park.  2 U-turns, some very narrow winding roads and a travel time nearly doubled were all good reasons for a rousing discussion among all of our drivers and passengers upon arrival.

We’re parked in sites E3, E4, & E5 at Ponderosa RV Resort.  This Thousand Trails/Encore resort is an interesting maze of curvy, hilly roads between 6 sections of RV sites, tent sites and cabins, many along the beautiful American River. Site options aren’t provided – you’re handed a park map and a list of possibly available sites – “go find one that works”.   From a non-member perspective, this isn’t a good value. No TV (cable or OTA), no sewer port and non-functioning WiFi – all for a bargain rate of $64/night!  We’ll leave this to Thousands Trail members where they pay between $1 and $10 for site upgrades such as a view and sewer dump.

Perhaps the best part of this park is the pleasant quietness of overnight.  But, we’re headed out later today – off toward I-80 through Reno, NV and on to Sparks.  More from Nevada!