Free Camping!

20140927_131543It’s the weekend of my birthday, and I needed to get out of town. The previous weekend we went up to an area of the Mongollon Rim(MON-gee-yon for non Arizonans). We had heard there was some good free camping up there. So the prior week we inspected and decided which sites we would like to check out.

There was a rodeo in town that week, so most of the sites were taken. But enough were open to let us know that we really wanted to camp there.

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20140927_131050The problem with free camping is that you have no power, or water. So you have to generate your own. As you may recall, our solar panels found themselves removed and somewhere on I 40. But I ordered a new pair of panels, and had them delivered. The install day was probably the worst day to install solar. We had been hearing reports of soon to be rain all over our camp ground. YAY! But I installed the panels anyway. We needed power. Sadly for me, the panels didn’t have enough time to charge the batteries before night came, and so we didn’t have enough power for the heater. grrr(and brrr).


My sweetie did manage to capture her first lightning picture though

I mentioned the rain as if it was just a summer shower. No, it sounded like we were in an hours long car wash. It would let up, and then the rain would slam into the RV again. Sadly this let us know of a major leak we had over our bedroom. By soaking our bed. This was not pleasant. We had to spend the night on our couch/bed. It was not comfortable. My sweetheart is now looking for a replacement couch… But we made the best of the night by playing a card came and drinking coffee.

Before the rain hit we explored the camp ground on foot. There’s a nice trail that we just couldn’t complete before the rains came.

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Best seats, not in the house.

The view from our camp site was magnificent. Even with the impending storms the view was breathtaking. We could stare out into the Mongollon Rim and see for miles. If you have small kids, you might want to be careful around these sites, as it would be very easy for one to fall off the edge, and likely not be seen for a while. But we loved it. And we got to watch a few ravens actually playing with some sticks. Then the rain started.


We’ve been through several rain storms, but this was the worst storm we had endured. We first waited outside under the awning, with the fire pulled up close. Then the rain got progressively harder, and then smothered the fire I had made. We moved inside, and played a card game until it was bed time. That’s when we learned that our bed was soaked from the rain. Somehow the edges of the RV roof had leaked enough to create a big wet spot in the bed. Not ideal.

So we pulled down the sofa into it’s bed and dragged the dry bedding over so we could sleep. We learned that it is NOT comfortable to sleep on. We also learned that our solar didn’t have enough time to charge the batteries before we lost daylight. This was less than fun when the heat didn’t work and the power shut off.

The next morning we awakened to being in the clouds. Really. It was a whole bunch of low clouds that because of the altitude looked like fog. But it rolled along nicely.

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20140928_091754A few tent campers decided they had had enough last night and apparently left in a hurry. And quite frankly they left in too much of a hurry, because they left their trash laying in their camp site. There’s no excuse for that. I don’t care if they were in a hurry. Toss that bag in with the rest of your crap. If you can’t take it back out with you, don’t bring it in. When we first came up to it, a raven was eating out of the bag. I have no idea what it was eating, and it very well could have been bad for it(probably). Please folks, pick up after yourselves.

20140928_103047-1The skies began to clear while we hiked around the camp sites. We were pretty sure we picked one of the best camp sites. Having been up here the week before to determine that may have had something to do with that. The only ones that were better were obviously taken. We had to swing back to the camp site, and grab lunch. For as cloudy as it started out, the afternoon ended up beautiful. We ended up hiking a little ways down the Carr Lake trail but had to turn back after we ran into an unexpected lake. We did get to verify that one of the camp sites I had been eyeballing waiting for the campers there to leave really was as breathtaking as I had expected it to be.


20140929_125203The next day We headed out to the area we had heard we could gather quartz relatively easily. Diamond Point has a bunch of areas where you can stop along the side of the road and gather quartz. It’s something we took advantage of. You could easily walk along the creek and see the quartz sitting along the sides, and in the water. We found a few pretty good looking chunks.

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I’m going to make a watch now….

Afterwards we went out to Bear Canyon Lake. We heard it was a bit of a hike to get your kayaks down there. And the Understatement of the Year award goes to… Man it’s a long trek. If I had brought my kayak down there I’d probably have just said, “Screw it, we’re leaving them down here.” It’s about 500 yards from the parking lot. And a mile and a half of hiking trail.

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Darned sun glare

After griping my way back up to the truck we headed back to the camp site to get ready to leave. But Mother Nature likes to mess with you when you least expect it. While driving back I call out “Deer” and my sweetheart says, “What?” “No, Deer” as I point to a deer bounding across the roadway, “AWWWW” as she reaches for her camera and prays that the picture will come out. There were a few more beautiful shots as we headed back to the RV.

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20140929_161714Sadly it was time to head back home, so we packed everything up and found a few worms had decided to make our RV mat a haven. I placed the mat in the bed of the truck to keep from getting all that dirt and water in the RV. Unfortunately the mat didn’t make it because the nut behind the wheel failed to ensure that it was secure in the bed. If you were behind me on SR 87 and it either hit you or you ran into it, I’m sorry.

More from the Mongollon trip here

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One Response to Free Camping!

  1. Pingback: The Long Drive and Gila Cliffs. | Tommycat's RV Adventures

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