We took a week off work to celebrate Thanksgiving. Okay, my boss told me I had vacation to burn up and it’s getting close to the end of the year. Since we can’t all take off the whole month of December(something about that whole needing someone in the office thing) I took the week off on Thanksgiving. Okay, so it’s 3 extra days. I’m still new to this whole “Paid Vacation” thing.
Unlike before, we decided against going out of state. I think my better half is trying not to get that Texas sticker on our RV. Instead we headed to the south eastern section of Arizona. I guess it’s for the best, as the trip down took one of our RV windows. “What was that? Did a gorram window fly off the RV?” Somewhere along I10 a mangled and smashed window frame sits. I didn’t actually see the window fly off. Well, sorta. I saw something fly off, but didn’t connect the dots until much later along the drive.
Our first destination was Hot Wells Dunes. The area is more of a offroaders kind of place. Many people go there to ride around in their 4 wheelers, and such. We were there on a Sunday, and it wasn’t too bad. It has a hot tub that used to be naturally filled, but the water levels have dropped to the point where it has to be mechanically filled by a pump. That pump shuts off at night, because it is powered by solar. Cool. Except that it’s empty at night when you want to relax…
There’s also a large pond where birds supposedly gather, but sadly when we were there, no birds were to be seen. Well, that’s not completely true. There were birds, but not really any that were taking advantage of the water. We stayed there for a couple nights. The first night was quite chilly. I had decided in my infinite wisdom that the window that had taken flight around Benson didn’t need to be covered or anything. The desert can get pretty dang cold at night. And it seemed intent on proving that to us. We were chilled to the bone that night. Even with the heater running the room got brutally cold. It was not a pleasant evening. The morning had us scrambling to make coffee to wake up and warm up.
The next day we actually just hung around the camp site. Aside from a trip to the hot tub we spent the day just relaxing. We had no internet connectivity on our cell phones. So we actually had to *GASP* talk to eachother. I found out my better half has green eyes. Seriously though. We had a pretty good time even though we had no internet. Or perhaps because of it. We did spy a roadrunner pretty close to camp. Something strange was going on with our batteries. We didn’t seem to actually be fully charging them. Usually by noon, my batteries are full, but this time they were still around the medium mark. The internal battery monitor showed full, but that shows full right up until the batteries are dead. I figured I would simply monitor it. If need be I can fire up my truck and charge the batteries.
I played with the dog most of the day. She was enjoying chasing after a hunk of log… No seriously. Not a branch, a hunk of log. I’d toss it, she’d come back with it. I would try to go to a smaller branch, so I could throw it farther, and she would sit there and gnaw on the big log. After a while I noticed she was tearing up her gums, so I called it on the fetch. We went inside the RV, and she laid on the couch.
That night we had a nice fire, and waited for the evening to come. I had fixed the window with a chunk of plexiglass I had laying around. What? Doesn’t everyone just have random plexiglass hanging around? Actually it was from the Air Conditioner opening I had previously. The rollaway AC used less power that the roof unit, and we kept cooler in the summer. I fired up the heater again that night, and of course the better half felt it was too hot. I can’t win. Well except Monopoly… Which I dominated that night.
Tuesday it was time to move. We were still having charging issues, but decided meh it’s not that bad. Lets move the RV someplace where the solar not charging isn’t going to affect it. And so we moved it to a place that is nice and shaded… That’ll surely help the solar charging issue. Honestly it’s a shame we were worried about the solar. Because the location is spectacular. Bonita Canyon Campground is just an amazing campground. They were worried about us scraping, but I wasn’t. We had been here before, but just checking the place out. There is a pretty sizeable dip before we get to the camp site. But other than that, it wasn’t too serious. Amazingly enough, the site was pretty level and worked out perfectly for us.
We were only here for two nights. The first night went well aside from my better half being too warm. We couldn’t have fires, which was okay, because we understood. Way too much vegetation. But that was okay. It was probably the warmest of the trip. The first night we took a walk around the camp site, and I realized we were walking in pitch black in bear country with nothing to defend ourselves. Now, don’t get me wrong, I doubt that a bear would randomly appear and “ROWR” *munch* us, but without any kind of defense, I was a tad nervous. I played too many games of DND I guess. Random encounters happen.
We brought along a “Big Buddy” heater. This was good enough to keep us mostly warm. Even with the furnace the front of the RV could get chilly. But after a few games of Milles Bornes (which I promptly lost. It’s French) we headed off to bed. We had an actual restful warm night’s sleep, and woke up the next day mostly rested.
The next morning we headed off to Fort Bowie. We passed it coming in, and figured it would be a good thing to check out. The web site said it was a mile and a half easy trail. Apparently whoever wrote that was in better shape than me. It was doable, but it certainly wasn’t easy. There is some interesting history there though. If you can walk it, I suggest you do. I got my phone to tell me that I had achieved a milestone and had my most active day EVER after doing that. But the story that goes with Fort Bowie is worth the miles on my shoes. Which incidentally was another mistake. I always wear boots, and decided to wear tennies. Not a good decision. Still worth it though.
We got back and apparently hadn’t punished ourselves enough so we decided to hike the Chircahuas. Seriously. We just got done doing 3 miles of unpleasant stumbling through mountainous terrain, and we hop on another trail. Totally worth it though. Not long into the hike we came across a whole slew of deer. then not far from that we hear, then see a red tailed hawk. The call is unmistakable. Unless you get your information on bird calls from TV and movies. Nearly every time you hear an eagle in TV and movies, the sound is actually the call of the red tailed hawk. Then at the end of the hike we saw some blue jays. A lot of them. At first there was one. And when my sweetie started taking pictures, they all came out of the woodworks.
Apparently the jelly legs we had wasn’t bad enough. We decided to go ahead and pay our respects to our friend who passed. He always wanted to head to the Chiricauha mountains, so we brought his ashes to the mountain.
My sweetheart and I shared the wine they had gotten on a cruise. They were a couple at one time, but had life happen and they decided to go their separate ways. Fortunately they were able to remain friends. And I was able to be his friend as well. To Steve. We truly miss you, and it was an honor to have been counted among your many friends. We returned down to our camp site, and my sweetie took a few pictures on the way down.
The next day was Thanksgiving. Our original plan was to have turkey day at the Wildlife Refuge so we could hear the cranes while we relaxed. That plan was shattered by the lack of cranes at the wildlife refuge. So we decided to head back to the Hot Wells Dunes.
It didn’t take long to realize that we had made a huge mistake. The Hot wells Dunes area becomes a massive off road meeting place. It was hard enough to find a spot, and when we did, it was a constant drone of off road vehicles. While we were there though I did get the opportunity to do a quick window repair…
We had our Turkey Dinner to the sound of two strokes instead of cranes. and the next morning we decided it best to move elsewhere. Not too far off is a free camping area that is also BLM land. Indian Bread Rocks has a whole slew of free camping areas. It was nice to have relative quiet, for the last few days of our trip.
Of course even with it being “quiet” we didn’t go without incident. After our first night we ran out of propane. Really… Sooo first thing in the morning, I’m humping my happy butt to the nearest place with propane. Actually, it wasn’t the nearest place, but it was the cheapest place.
Of course our entire trip was plagued with us having some kind of weird issue charging our batteries. Even here, we had the batteries dying down on us. With plenty of sunlight through the day it should have been good. Not to mention we were letting the RV sit for long periods of time not doing anything.
Somehow, during this trip we also broke our poor dog. So that’s the reason for the delay in getting this to you. Well that’s my story at least. Poor thing had to have knee surgery. She’s doing better now, but she had to suffer the indignity of the cone of shame.