Arizona on $3/day

After spending big bucks ($30/day) to camp at Fool Hollow, we’re ready for a dose of reality.  Our destination in the Tonto National Forest fills the bill with $3 camping (with the aid of our National Park Geezer Pass).  This particular location offers flush toilets (always a plus), and the big bonus of solar showers.  We had cold solar showers at one stop this month, but hope springs eternal.  This shows promise!  20150120_153902Once again, the drive to the new spot is pure eye candy.  20150121_152435We pull in to our campground, and are enchanted with the wonderful campsites in this large National Forest campground.  Water spigots are plentiful, but not on every site.  We don’t need that anyway.  There is no electric power, but we’ve got a bit of cell phone service.  All good!  This campground is set on Roosevelt Lake, formed by the Roosevelt Dam, near Globe AZ.  We score a terrific sites – above the lake, with spectacular views.  Here’s the map.  20150120_17350820150120_15020920150121_092537(Learning to create panoramic shots on my camera, above).  It’s spectacularly beautiful here.  The morning sun (below) was especially beautiful, in the way that it highlighted the desert and mountain colors.20150121_091244We only have one full day here, so we grab our bikes and head off to explore the Roosevelt Dam, on the Salt River.  20150121_123444Once again, we’ve got a photo-perfect day.  I just couldn’t stop taking pictures!  The Arizona Trail runs from Mexico, all the way through Arizona, into Utah.  Right here!20150121_12115120150121_122740We rolled into the Visitor Center, checking out the videos (I LOVE those!  We make a point to see them at every National Park or every Visitor Center where they’re offered).  I want to check out the Cliff Dwellings, John is less inclined to ride another five miles uphill, and clunk around in bike shoes up a trail of unknown quality to a cliff dwelling.  So, we part – he heads back to camp to hike with Jezzy, and I roll to the Cliff Dwelling Monument.  We are both happy with our decisions.

This Salado cliff dwelling dates to the early 14th century, and was likely inhabited for about 100 years.  There are actually two dwellings – the lower, which I visited, and the upper, which can only be seen on a Ranger-guided tour.  From the upper Visitor Center, the trail to the dwelling winds up and up, until it finally arrives at the cliff opening.  Whew!  I passed a lot of folks, sitting on the resting benches, panting, and appearing a bit stressed, physically.  What a view from up there!20150121_14412520150121_144455I really didn’t take any decent photos inside the dwelling – it was shallow, and it was pretty difficult to get any decent perspective on what my eyes could actually see.  But, it’s always worthwhile to take sights like this in, and absorb what bit I can.

The ride back to camp was something I really looked forward to.  I knew the first three miles would be downhill, and I looked forward to cruising.  NOT!  While I was up on the hillside, a vicious north wind picked up, gusting to 25-30mph.  I had to pedal my butt off just to stay upright, even though I was on a decent downhill slope.  At one point, I dismounted, and tried to walk my bike, as the wind was swirling so hard I was fearful of blowing into the guardrail, and over the side of the road.  If you know me at all, you know that I NEVER get off!  It was a horrible ride.  I cruised into camp, bonked and totally whipped from the ride.  Chalk that one up!

Is my credibility shot yet?  Nearly every campground we’ve visited this trip has been the Best. 20150121_14115020150121_12050320150121_115840 How can that be?  They’ve been so diverse.  So far, I can definitely say (for myself – John will have to chime in on his own….), that I loved this campground the best.  Organ Pipe is 2nd best.

The only shadow on this day has been our neighbor in this last campground.  She’s camping in her car with a large puppy.  I went over on Day 1 to say hi and said something stupid like, “Oh man, you’re brave to camp with a four-month old puppy” (A Great Pyrenees, which is an enormous dog).  “It’s not like I have a choice”, was her reply.  So, I stewed for two days, trying to figure out how I could leave her with a bit of cash.  Perhaps I just wanted reassurance that she has things under control.  On our last morning, I wandered over with a bag of dog treats and two $20 bills folded up in my pocket.  As things would be, she was very involved in a conversation with another camper and his dog.  I hung on the outskirts for a few minutes, then left her with the treats, and we rolled off.  Wish I had handled this differently – it’s weighing on me heavily right now.


18 thoughts on “Arizona on $3/day

  1. No matter the token, big or small it’s what makes the life go around. Sweet…lv it!!!

    Just watching Undercover Boss and in tears…good people come short! I vote you in…carry on…as I’m still following along all your road travel heart and soul!


  2. This one really was the best! All I can say is WOW!

    And the picture of the T@DA, the towels and Jessie was my heart warmer for the day.

    You are so brave to do that hike by yourself. I would be so anxiety ridden I couldn’t have enjoyed it. Wish my parents had ordered me with a bit more bravery. :)


    • High praise, Sharon. Thank you.

      We love having the grab handles on the Fireball. Think all T@B and T@DA owners use them to string clotheslines!

      I would always choose to hike alone, rather than be secretly mad at John for not going, and therefore not going myself. We’ve both had plenty of years on our own, which probably contributes to our independence!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Judy, you are such a kind and thoughtful person, I’m glad to call you my friend! And you’re a great photographer! Wish you were joining us in Florida! Sandi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope you have a great trip to Florida. Looks like they are paving the way for you down there!

      Point that big ol’ Airstream west next year, OK? We can all camp in the dirt – works better for us than sand. ;-)


  4. Oh My Goodness! That is mindboggling beauty. I love the biking story. If you couldn’t stay on the bike, I would have had to crawl, but I would have wanted to join you to see the cliff dwellings. That ancient culture has my awe and respect. How adaptable humans can be. I can only imagine how they survived in such constant adversity. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and narratives. I hope you collect them in a book.


    • It was scary wind, for sure. Found it even more difficult to push the bike than to ride tho. Very relieved to roll into camp! We’ve visited several cliff dwellings and great houses of the Puebloean culture. It’s always interesting.

      Hope you get a chance to visit yourself, sometime. Thanks, Alison.


  5. Jezzy looks comfortably happy. I grew up in the Phoenix area, but I don’t think we ever saw the places you’re visiting. Those are great pictures. It makes me miss the desert.
    So you bicycle part of the way? Ha ha, I don’t blame John for not wanting to pedal 5 miles uphill.


    • Next time you go back home, you should visit there. It’s great. We have a cycling saying – “Hills make you strong….wind makes you mean”. I try to go for a balance! ;-))

      I checked out your blog this morning, too. Even though I am nearly 100% sure I will never keep bees, i found it fascinating. Hope to travel up your way sometime. Thanks for the lesson.


      • If you do travel to the Pacific Northwest, save it for summer so you’ll be seeing blue skies instead of grey skies with sheets of rain. :)


  6. Judy…You’re such a good person! I’m sure your gesture was greatly appreciated. Put it behind you and enjoy yourselves. The pictures are awesome!



  7. The photos in this post are absolutely stunning!! How could the sky be that beautiful in every shot?? And I love the photo looking out from the porthole window. I’ve noticed you’re not using your thermarest awning much on this trip. Is there a particular reason?

    Looking forward to more Campshaw stories.


    • We tend to put awnings only when we need them. The Visor when we need to shade the inside from heat, and the Thermarest from bad weather. We love to be able to sit outside in the rain, and it definitely is useful when we need a spot to dry off Jezzy’s wet feet before letting her inside. Otherwise, we prefer the simplicity of no awnings. Hate to block the view, and the airflow. It hasn’t been nearly warm enough to need shade, and no rain so far…..(but it might be coming yet this weekend).

      The bright blue sky is crazy isn’t it?


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