After being stationary for a month if felt good to hit the road again. Although not a long drive from Gold Canyon to Lake Pleasant it did require being in traffic and road construction, two things we don’t particularly like!! This is a county park with 2 separate campgrounds, a total of 148 RV and tent sites. We booked ahead online and could pick our spot. We chose a pull through site in the Roadrunner Campground overlooking the lake. Since we were only going to be there 2 nights we avoided having to unhitch and re-hitch up the car. It actually worked out pretty well since it rained the entire time we were there with the exception of about 2 hours one morning.
There are 3 main trails to walk/hike, Honeymoon, Pipeline Canyon and Roadrunner. During the short break in the rain we headed for the Roadrunner trail. They are all well marked and pretty easy trails. Along the way we spotted some Gambel’s Quail. These buggers are so quick!! Hard to get a good shot of them. The recent rains had some of the flowers blooming and gave me a chance to play with the macro mode on the camera.
Lake Pleasant is vital to the water supply of Phoenix and as of January 12, 2016 it was 81.25% full. In the picture below you can see part of the lift system that raises and lowers water into the CAP (Central Arizona Project). The CAP is a 336 mile diversion canal, it’s the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever constructed in the United States.
This area was absolutely gorgeous, the only bummer was the weather. The park is huge and has all kinds of covered ramadas for a nice afternoon picnic. I’m guessing it’s super busy in the summer time considering it’s proximity to Phoenix. We would absolutely return here again!
Here’s a short video of our arrival so you can get an idea of the location.
Escapees North Ranch – Congress AZ
Next stop, North Ranch in Congress, AZ. Guess what, it’s still RAINING!!!!! Finally after a couple days here the clouds start to break and we get to see some sunshine again. Don’t get me wrong, not complaining we could be shoveling snow!!
This is an Escapees park and since we are Xscapers (a club within a club for younger working RV’ers) we can use our membership benefits to enjoy reduced rates while staying here. There are a lot of “permanent” residents here and just a couple rows of gravel parking with hookups for travelers. They have a very nice club house and activity center, however most of it is geared towards retirees. That’s fine because we had a couple of very specific reasons for staying here.
First off, we wanted to get our SmartWeigh done. This is one of only a couple permanent locations in the country where they offer this program. They individually weigh each tire on your motorhome and tow car. This is important to us as we had no real idea what our weight was. Our rig is rated at 20,500 pounds and our hitch is rated for 5,500 pounds. They ask you to weigh fully loaded, meaning fill your fresh water tank, propane, etc… so you know what your worse case scenario is. We were not overloaded, however we will be making some adjustments to our tire pressure after this.
Secondly, we just needed a bit of a home base to get stocked up and we prepare to head out Quartzsite, AZ where we will be boondocking for two weeks straight.
One thing that really caught me eye at this park was a garden that obviously has been years in the making. They have been gathering all the desert plant species and created this beautiful garden area. Even labeling each plant and putting out little cups over the tips of certain plants on cold nights. It was really impressive and I can only imagine all the work that has gone into it.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum – Wickenburg AZ
The historic mining town of Wickenburg is just a short drive from North Ranch so we took an afternoon to visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Tucked in the basement they have re-created how life was like back in the 1800’s in Wickenburg. Some very neat exhibits! On the main floor they had some world class art exhibits, sculptures by Remington and Charles Russel paintings (no photographs allowed). There was also a very interesting exhibition called, All Things are Possible: The Sculptures of Michael Naranjo from the Tia Collection. Michael was blinded by a grenade accident during the Vietnam War and suffered severe injuries to one of his hands. How he is able to create such beautiful pieces is quite amazing. Here’s a link to an article the Albuquerque Journal did about him.
We spent several hours here. They even include headsets which as you move around the museum give you detailed information about each exhibit. It lets you go at your own pace and really made it a great experience. Don’t worry about cooties, notice the ear bootie cootie protectors??
Another Scenic Drive – Prescott AZ
It’s about a 48 mile drive from North Ranch to Prescott. However, that’s also the closest Walmart and we needed to do some stocking up before heading into Quartzsite. Wickenburg was much closer but the prices were super high!!! We love beautiful drives and this one didn’t disappoint. Prescott sits an elevation of 5,368 ft and there was plenty of snow on the ground up there. We even found a snowman sitting on the side of the road just waiting for us to take a picture! You didn’t have to go up very far before the desert terrain turned into pastures and cacti turned to evergreen trees. The route to Prescott we took the short route, but the really twisty windy curvy route. It’s beautiful, and it is restricted to vehicles under 40 feet. Some of the curves are so tight, a long vehicle wouldn’t make it. We took a longer, but faster less twisty windy curvy back to the RV Park. There is a wonderful overlook on the way back where you can see for miles, of course we had to stop and take a few pictures here!
We headed to Quartzsite, AZ to attend the 1st ever Xscapers Quartzsite Convergence and check out the huge RV show. There will be hundreds of thousands of people at the show and camped all over the desert for miles around. Should be pretty interesting!!!