The truck was finished on Thursday, I brought it in for an oil change on Friday and when completed, about noon we left the campground and Flagstaff for the south. We drove down to Mesa, Arizona which is a suburb of Phoenix. I had previously made an appointment at Camping World for the trailers annual servicing.

Camping World is kind of expensive but it has a national presence which makes it a known quantity. I guess I prefer this to taking the trailer to some unknown service center. Some people have written good things about some of these but just as many have written horror stories, so without a reference I'll bite my tongue and stick to Camping World. It's not just the money, Camping world is owned by the privately held  Affinity Group, which also owns the Good Sam Club, Trailer Life Magazine and Directory, Motor Life, Woodall's Directory, two road side assistant insurance companies, a bank, an emergency medical insurance company and who knows what else.

They may not rise to the level of a monopoly as far as the Justice Department is concerned but as far as I am concerned that's exactly what they are. We also reluctantly belong to the Good Sam Club and one of their road side assistance companies (which I'm dropping in May) and use the Trailer Life Campground Directory. I am not happy with this situation but they provide information and services that are not readily available elsewhere.

While we were still in Flagstaff we consulted the trailer Life Directory and the AAA Camping Book looking for a campground close to the Mesa Camping World. There were none. Well there were some but not close enough to guarantee that we would be there when they opened at 8 without our having to get up to early like 4 AM. As a result we  settled for and selected an RV Resort of which there are many and I do mean many and they are all 55+. Not knowing what to expect we were unpleasantly surprised by the resort which had more park models and was established more like one of Florida's retirement communities then a campground. Park models are really manufactured homes that used to be called trailers. Like their predecessors they have never seen the road except when they are delivered. Of course they are less expensive then the homes in Florida's retirement communities. Phoenix, Mesa, Scotsdale and the surrounding area have many of these regular homes as well.

Like Florida's communities there are many golf courses. The area provides a warm "Snowbird" experience for many seniors and some elect to live here year round but these RV Resorts are not campgrounds. None the less, we expanded our horizons and now know what to avoid. Unfortunately, this will not always be possible on this trip. We stayed there for two days and three nights and went to Camping World on Monday morning.

While there we visited Tonto National Monument,
The ruins at Tonto National Munument
In order to get to Tonto we inadvertently drove on 22 miles of dirt road. It was inadvertent because we didn't plan it, I misread the map and went the wrong way despite Debby's warning.

dirt road to Tonto dirt road to tonto

dirt road to Tonto dirt road to Tonto

Having survived the trip the next day we went to Casa Grand National Monument.
Casa Grande Sign explaining the holes
The local Native American's trace their ancestry to the people who lived here but the culture that they represented disappeared around 1400 AD. In addition to their advanced knowledge of the stars they also used complex farming and irrigation techniques and grew corn, cotton, beans and squash. Their disappearance as a culture is still a mystery. Scientists speculate about draught, disease and internal or external conflict.

After the trailer was serviced we remained in the area but moved a little further out to the Usery Mountain Regional Park, a county run regional park on the outskirts of Mesa, that includes a campground. A real campground one with tables, electric and water. We needed to replace our trailer batteries as one of them had a dead cell and wasn't holding a charge. We replaced two 12 volt batteries with four 6 volt batteries and it took me awhile to make the switch. Without going into a complex description of electric theory, suffice it to say that four 6 volt batteries provide more current, which makes longer dry camping less stressful. (I have a generator but there are often restrictions on its use,  I also prefer to stay with the  trailer when its running and that is not always the best way to explore a new area.)

While at Usery we climbed a hill to what they call the Wind Cave
Usery Hill Phoenix sign
From this height one gets a better view of the "Phoenix" sign which was a boy scout project.

In addition we walked a 7 mile desert trail.

and had our first introduction to the Saguaro which only grows in the Sonoran desert
and doesn't grow arms until it's over 75 years old.

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