Queen Mine RV Park, Bisbee, AZ

11 03 2020

The Quarry Bisbee

Bisbee is THE small city to see in Arizona, so says Trip Advisor and Frommers.  So, instead of heading directly east as normal, we’ve detoured south from Tucson, through Tombstone and are parked in site #5 at the Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee, just a little over 7 miles north of the Mexican border.

The 25 sites of Queen Mine RV are laid out in a circle, 1 through about 8 are up against a hillside, the next 8 or so overlook the huge Lavender Pit and the remaining sites overlook Old Bisbee.  The driveway to the campground is steep, but didn’t require any special maneuvering for jacks or truck clearance.  An approach from the west on highway 80 is best for taller rigs.  Coming in from the east will require a transit of a the 13’5” Main Street underpass, or a U-turn past the Main Street exit allowing an approach from the west.  Departures to either direction avoid the underpass.

Queen Mine RV Park, Bisbee, AZ

Our $35/night rate included 30Amp electric, water, sewer, WiFi and cable TV.  All sites are capable of satellite reception so we didn’t try the cable TV.  We did use the park WiFi – sometime with good success, sometimes with poor.  The T-Mobile signal was weak, but provided enough hotspot service to satisfy light browsing and email.

Queen Mine RV Park, Bisbee, AZ

Bisbee itself is very reminiscent of one of the old Colorado mining cities such as Cripple Creek.  Built along the hills & gulches above the open pit copper mines, early stories tell of frequent flooding, inadequate sewage facilities, garbage in the streets and over 50 saloons, gambling halls and of course houses of prostitution.  In addition, the huge smelting operations completely de-forested the nearby hillsides which were soon covered in iron-colored tailings from the many mines in the areas.  It must have been a horrific sight!

Lavender Pit next to Old Bisbee, AZ – Google Earth

Today, Old Bisbee boasts hundreds of carefully renovated buildings, a thriving art/music/hospitality scene, wonderful summertime festivals and a cool, mountain location. With an amazing number of dining options, we opted for The Quarry Bisbee on Brewery Ave.  Within a 5 or 10 minute walk of the RV park, the Quarry provides great comfort plates such as meatloaf, chicken pot pie, patty melts and of course big juicy burgers.  We enjoyed our night out and will probably return for another visit to explore more of Bisbee.  From here we’re headed into New Mexico – more from along I-10.


On to Camp Verde

11 02 2020

Welcome to Arizona!

In the past we’ve talked about the rough, crumbling roads in Colorado and Texas.  Today we learned that Arizona highways (at least I-40 & I-17) are even worse.  After 2 nights parked within sight of I-40, we can vouch for the extremely heavy truck traffic on the route between Albuquerque & Flagstaff.  In the 10 mile corridor that we could see from the campground, there always seemed to be at least 40 or 50 trucks traveling east and west.  Obviously all of this heavy traffic is causing our already old, crumbling infrastructure to fail even faster.  Huge pot holes (some poorly patched, some just gaping holes) are encountered at nearly every bridge crossing and turn in the road.  Sometimes long stretches of washboard concrete patches shake everything inside the truck, and undoubtedly rearrange things inside the RV too.

We last visited Camp Verde in mid-February 2018 when we stayed at Rancho Verde RV Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park.  This time we’re parked at a relatively new park (Aug’2019), Verde Ranch RV Resort.  The new facilities at Verde Ranch are beautiful – from the manicured doggie “rest-areas” to the modern club house, outdoor pool and hot tubs – and even the laundry rooms.  Set along the Verde River at the junction of I-17 and AZ 260, it’s very convenient to Camp Verde, Sedona and Cottonwood.  Even Prescott is less than an hour away.  Some of the best river-side sites suffer from some highway noise, but the majority of the sites are far enough away, or behind a noise blocking hill.  The resort offers premium & standard pull-throughs, deluxe end/back-ins and standard back-in sites and even covered sites for use in the hot Arizona summer.  Along the river are 3 pickle ball courts as well as a couple shuffle board courts and a children’s play area.  With leaves, this lush green river valley will be a beautiful backdrop to the resort.

We’re parked in site 127, a standard pull-through site on the far North end of the property.  Sites provide 20/30/50 Amp electrical, water, sewer and cable TV.  Most of the sites are level gravel, but a few are still dirt, awaiting the daily loads of gravel that arrive at the resort. In early February, temperatures during our 4 night visit ranged from downright chilly 25 (snow on the higher peaks around town) to fairly pleasant 65.

After a fun evening out in Prescott (thanks Janice & Steve) and a quick exploration of the local brewery, we’re once again headed south to Lake Pleasant Regional Park & Campground – just on the northwest corner of the Phoenix metro area.  More from Lake Pleasant…


Meteor Crater & RV Park

9 02 2020

Meteor Crater

Somehow we’ve managed to bypass Meteor Crater Natural Landmark on two other trips through northern Arizona.  But, with routing directly from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, we opt to spend 2 nights at what will probably be just a tourist trap.

Meteor Crater is at I-40 exit 233, about 20 miles west of Winslow, AZ, 5 hours west of Albuquerque and 1 hour east of Flagstaff.

Arriving at the Meteor Crater RV Park, we’re pleasantly surprised.  Located just south of I-40, without the nearly constant SW wind, the park would probably suffer from the relentless interstate noise.  The park offers about 70 mostly pull-through level, graveled sites, full hookup as well as water/electric only.  Sites are nicely separated by islands of pine and tall poplar trees  (still without leaves), but not to the detriment of easy satellite placement.  Water faucets are heated, and along with a heated hose, we’re ready for any potential cold weather.  As it turns out, it is chilly, falling just below freezing both nights.  And, on the morning of our departure, even a trace of snow in the campground.

Other facilities at the park include a nicely stocked convenience store, a laundry room and free WiFi – which for the most part was OK, running along at about 5Mb – but at other times refusing to connect at all. There’s also a gas/diesel station where you receive a $.05/gallon park guest discount.

At the Meteor Crater Visitors Center, we receive a 10% discount as an RV park guest on the $20 entrance fees.  The facility includes a 4D “crater experience”, an 80 seat auditorium with a movie about the creation of the crater, many interactive exhibits, and of course a gift shop.  At the upper level of the center are both inside and outside viewing decks at the edge of the massive crater.  Estimated to have been created 50,000 years ago by a 150 foot wide meteor, the crater is 4000 feet wide, nearly 2.5 miles in circumference and initially over 550 or about 60 stories deep.

Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater

After being discovered in late 1800’s the initial assumption was that the crater was volcanic.  It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the crater’s origin was discovered as an impact caused by a meteor.  This knowledge, couple with the craters extremely good preservation led NASA to train early moon astronauts here, acquainting them with soil collection methods at the moon’s very similar impact fields.

All in all, both the RV park and the Creator exhibits were enjoyable – we’d recommend to anyone with an interest in natural history.  From here we’re headed across to Flagstaff before turning south to Camp Verde.  More from there…

Roper Lake State Park, Arizona

8 03 2018

Roper Lake State Park, Site #5

Good Morning from Cactus Flat, AZ.

We’re parked in Site #5 at Roper Lake State Park, about 6 miles south of Safford, AZ.  The 45 electric and water sites are organized around two loops set on the banks of 30 acre Roper Lake which is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and rainbow trout.  The Hacienda loop sites provide 20/30A electric, water, fire rings and picnic tables.  The Cottonwood loop provides 20/30/50A service, water, fire rings and covered picnic tables.  Each loop also has a shower house providing hot showers.  There is a dump station near the park entrance.

Roper Lake State Park and Mount Graham

The drive across from Gold Canyon into the Gila River Valley along Highway 60 was impressive, both the beautiful landscapes as well as the immense copper mines around Globe.  A note for high profile rigs:  The Arizona Department of Transportation lists the Queen Creek Tunnel at 22 feet.  Recent lighting improvements have reduced the headroom to 13’6”.  This low clearance is not currently noted by RV navigation software.

Set at the base of snow covered 10,720 foot Mount Graham, this area of the Gila River Valley has long been known for substantial artesian waters.  Within the park the state has constructed a large concrete and stone hot tub that is constantly refilled by 100 degree water.

Satellite reception is good, but only 2 PBS channels are on the OTA lineup.  The park offers free WiFi and actually works quite well.  And the T-Mobile network offers full 4G LTE cellular service.

We’ll be here at Roper Lake two nights, and then onto Las Cruces.  More from there…

Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas, Gold Canyon, AZ

5 03 2018

Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas

Located adjacent to Canyon Vistas RV Resort is Superstition Views, a 55+ luxury casita community that steps up the traditional park model into beautiful stucco homes with carports, RV ports and rooftop entertainment spaces.  Most of these casitas are small, around 700 square feet and typically feature a great room and a bedroom.  The RV port is optional, but with full hookups your RV can act as your master bedroom or a second bedroom when guests arrive.  These are prebuilt park models with added custom garage, carport, rooftop patio, RV carport and/or a combination of all built to your specifications. Then they stucco over the park model & the custom build so that they appear to be a single permanent structure on the lot. The lots are larger than the typical park model lots, allowing space for an RV in addition to the park model. The larger lots combined with the stucco finish give the neighborhood a much more upscale look than your typical park model community. It’s unclear if you own or lease the site, but “lifestyle fees” run around $500 per month which include many resort amenities, but no utilities.

Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas

Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas

Fun in Gilbert Heritage District

4 03 2018

Joyride Taco House, Gilbert, AZ

While visiting last year,  friends introduced us to the very hip Gilbert Heritage district, with dinner at Joyride Taco House.

This year we enjoyed two new restaurants in Gilbert, Barrio Queen and Whiskey Row.  “The Queen” touts authentic Mexico City dishes and one of the largest selections of Tequilas in Arizona.  At our table we enjoyed  carne asada, sonoran style and chili verde, especial de la casa.  Both were served in sizzling cast iron skillets with sides of rice and black beans. We can certainly vouch for excellent food – and they make a pretty fine margarita too.  We’ll be back.

Barrio Queen, Gilbert, AZ

Barrio Queen, Gilbert, AZ

After attending the Rockies/D-backs game, we decided to check out Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, just across the street from Barrio Queen.  As the afternoon turned into evening, the live band cranked up the volume, the large garage doors opened the play area to people strolling along Gilbert Rd and the place got a bit more rowdy.  The bar height tables that occupy the dance floor are wheeled out and the line dancing begins.  We enjoyed a few cocktails and appetizers including Grilled Whiskey Wings – not impressed, Southern Fries – to die for, and one order of each sliders: Meatball, American, Blue Cheese & Bacon and Tennessee Hot – most very good.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Gilbert, AZ

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Gilbert, AZ

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