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
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,
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.
Having survived the trip the next day we went to Casa Grand National Monument.
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
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
and doesn't grow arms until it's over 75 years old.
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