Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, AZ

2 03 2018

Good morning from Gold Canyon!

We’re about 7 miles due south of Lost Dutchman State Park and only about 5 miles from the KOA that we left yesterday morning. We’re parked in Site #12, a site that is less desirable than we imagined due to a large roll-off dumpster that is occupying site #13.  Having booked this site with one of the resort operators, it’s unknown if they understood that we’d be sharing space with a roll-off or not. At any rate, the nearly constant trash drop-off and the 6AM dumpster swap twice during our 7 night stay left us thinking we’d like to quickly move out of the “dump”.  The site is very trashy and we’ve picked up a handful of nails and other construction materials.

The expected site – Canyon Vistas at Gold Canyon, AZ

The actual site – Canyon Vistas at Gold Canyon, AZ

There are 37 sites here in the “short term” area – those guests that will be spending less than a month in the resort.  Along with the dumpster, these are also the noisiest sites due to the proximity of Highway 60.  And, just at the Apache Junction KOA, the WiFi here is nearly nonexistent.    Apparently the nearest access point is at the bathhouse, about 600 feet away.  Even with the extender, the connection is a solid 24KB download!  Pitiful for a resort that charges over $500 a month for resort/lifestyle fees.  Fortunately our T-Mobile coverage is a full 4G LTE signal here.

As with many RV resorts in the sun belt, Canyon Vistas is in the process of migrating to park models. We estimate about 50% of the sites have been converted to park models.  Within the “longer-term” park, the facilities are spotless and provide unlimited activities for the very active-focused community.  Options include pickleball, shuffleboard, softball, water aerobics, Zumba, woodcarving, scrap booking, stained glass, a computer lab (maybe someone could work on the WiFi network?) and dance lessons.  Laundry facilities are first-class and work on the convenient card system at a bargain rate of $1.25/load.

Canyon Vistas at Gold Canyon, AZ, site #15. Possibly quieter and no dumpster!

On Friday, along with friends from home, we’re off to spring training baseball and a game between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamond Backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.  The weather turns out to be one of the best days we’ve had so far, and the cold beers, hot dogs and peanuts hit the spot.

Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamond Backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick


Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

25 02 2018

Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

We’re parked at site #1 in the Apache Junction KOA, the first of our multi-days stay in the Phoenix area.  RV spots around Phoenix prove difficult to reserve this year – and unfortunately we won’t be back to our favorite, Lost Dutchman State Park.  Even here, the KOA can accommodate us only until the 1st when we have to vacate this spot.  Site #1 is located near the office/entrance and surrounded by KOA Kabin’s and a few tent locations.  This is a oversized spot, with full hookups (water, sewer port and 30A electric).  After calling to confirm they had only one spot open (#1), I reserved online noting we’d like site #1.  Upon arrival we were charged a $25 specific site reservation fee, in addition to the $47/night reservation fee (less our Value Kard discount)

The facilities at this KOA are well maintained.  The pool and recreation building seem to be constantly busy with social activities.  The sites are raked and manicured between each departure and arrival.  The laundry room is also busy – with 6 washers at $2/load and 3 over-sized commercial dryers that also run about $2 with a combined load.  With great cellular coverage (there is even some type of cellular “tree” right in the park) there’s not much need for the parks WiFi – which is good.  It’s as unreliable as any we’ve seen.  Even with an access point next to us in site #2 and within 300 of the transmitter on the office building, the network is weak and inadequate for nearly any use.

Here on the outskirts of Phoenix we have 50 or more OTA TV channels,  most of the nationals are duplicated from Phoenix and Tucson.  Located on the edge of Apache Junction, the park is sandwiched between Tomahawk Road and Old West Highway, about 1 mile north of Highway 60, the Superstition Highway.  There is some road noise from Old West Highway and it would be worse on northern edges in sites 39-50 and 120-124.  The southern sites are probably the quietest, but maybe not the most appealing since they look out over a junk yard.  However, #12-#15 might be the best since they have fairly large trees to the back of the sites.

On Thursday we’ll pack up and make the 5 mile trip from the KOA out to Canyon Vista’s RV resort in Gold Canyon.  More from there…

Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

Apache Junction / Mesa KOA

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!