We really should stop calling places our favorites. It seems each week we find a new favorite. Over the past year we have chronicled our weekend getaways and every other week we head out and visit a new place. I had thought that by now we would have started to repeat camping locations. Thus far, we haven’t his the same spot twice since I started the blog. For me this is kind of funny, because before I started the blog we would hit a rotation of specific parks over and over.
Then we started the blog, and thus far we still haven’t hit either of the parks we listed as our favorite. Until this time. The park we called our favorite park is Roper Lake State Park. And I have to admit, it’s not my favorite anymore. I don’t mean that it’s bad. Far from it. As far as the state parks go, it’s still our favorite. But after hitting all the free camping in AZ, and the gorgeous views we’ve seen all over the state, it simply cannot compare.
The last time were were here we had a very odd adventure. We lost a wheel, stayed in a Walmart parking lot, lost our power plug, and arrived in time to find out all the spaces were full. But they took pity on us and gave us a host site to stay at. This time, we managed to have next to no issues while on the way down, even with a rainstorm threatening us the entire time. We reserved the space ahead of time, and pulled in the day before because we both got an extra day off. The difference between the last time and this one made the drive seem like nothing. I even managed to squeeze out 14 miles to the gallon even with the 5th wheel behind me.
Our first day there was spent pretty much just hanging out at the campground. Despite enjoying the drive, it still takes its toll on my nerves. Strangely enough I was so grumpy the night we arrived, that I was mad at the radio in the RV despite the radio having said nothing negative to me… And while this trip was a relatively peaceful one(save a few morons) I still needed to unwind the next day from the drive. We wandered around the park and took in the scenery. We went swimming in the lake, and I pretty much just relaxed. After I made dinner, we went to the hot tub, and gabbed with a couple of the locals. While hanging out, we got a nice little visitor during the evening. A giant tarantula. I have a severe arachnophobia. It’s odd knowing that my fear is unfounded, but not being able to get beyond it. Even typing this and seeing the picture still has an effect on me.
The next day was our big driving day. It was July 4th, and of course everything is closed, but we decided on a nice drive. We headed out to Clifton and were going to check out a couple camp site in the area. I think I’ve mentioned before that we scout the areas where we intend to camp. The first site we came to initially I looked at as not having much to see, but then the canyon behind it really caught my attention
Afterwards we took a quick hop over to the float boat drop in point nearby
Clifton itself is not a place I would consider a destination, but it is definitely a place to visit if you’re in the area. It’s at the bottom of… well… cliffs. And there’s a really cool large isolation door that I’m guessing was used for blasting. I kinda want to go back when it isn’t a holiday to see what it’s like when everything isn’t shut down.
We drove past Clifton, and past the mine. Oddly the mine was still working even on the 4th of July. I guess they can’t afford a day off. We drove past the mine and all of the sudden like some kind of switch was flipped, it turned into a lush forest.
We were looking for the other campgrounds in the area. The application my sweetheart was using had several marked in the area. It seemed that we could just about camp anywhere. For free. We tried to get to one final campground, but the rain started falling. The roads were winding and slick. I was having a little fun feeling the truck ride with me. But I had to keep just a tad more control over it than it was giving me. I could feel the back end wiggle as we turned a few of the tighter corners. But the roads themselves were still solid.
We came around a bend and there was a sign where an older bridge had washed out. By the overgrowth it appeared that it had been a while since that bridge became a Dukes of Hazard obstacle. But the road carved a path around it. Further up I saw a sign that said “Do not enter when flooded” and the road curved beyond. I turned that corner and realized our trip was not going further down the road. If I knew the area a little better I might have chanced it, but the water was too fast, and I didn’t know how deep it was. I also know that even if I knew the road, not being able to see the road means that even if there was a road, before the water, there was no guarantee it was still sitting underneath the water. Maybe if I had a winch or some other way of rescuing myself, but I remember a drive along a causeway in Texas where the water rushed over the top, and it looked like an in tact water crossing, but about halfway through the whole road was completely gone. Fortunately for me at the time I trusted my gut and didn’t go on. My gut told me not to try this one. So I turned around.
We returned to the campground and I made us a couple steaks. My sweetheart decided that would be the best time to walk around the camp ground to take a few more pictures.
We went to watch the fireworks from the dam. We were told it was a great view, but it seemed to me that it wasn’t that great. We were pretty far from the fireworks. We kept asking whether we missed them, because we didn’t see any fireworks going on, until they finally started. It’s odd, but I have never said, “Wow, that’s too much” about fireworks, but the display went on for almost an hour. We drove back to the camp site stripped nekkid, got in our swimming gear and went to the hot tub.
The hot tub is one of the original features of the park. Though it’s been changed some. It used to be just a bunch of rocks as the rim. Now it’s actually got a nice concrete edge that’s… well… nice… I think it lost some of the charm it had before. But it’s still very nice to be able to soak in the hot tub. The hot tub is fed with natural artesian spring water. And it feels great on the skin. Even in the middle of summer with the blazing heat during the days, you can enjoy the heated artesian water.
We spent most of the time there talking with a man from Spain who was a teacher in Kentucky. It was great to hear the perspective on our country from someone who came here from across the ocean. It’s especially refreshing when that perspective is mostly positive, as we hear all too often negative views from those in other countries. That never sat well with me, and it’s nice to know that despite a lot of loud voices saying bad, many have a good view of the USA. I’m so glad the internet is wrong at times.
We woke up the next morning and it was too early to think of leaving. So we headed up the nearby mountain. Mount Graham is a gorgeous drive that I really enjoyed. As we went up to the top, we passed a couple of camp grounds, and I decided we would check them out on our way back down. We passed several deer on our way up. Some of which seemed to not give a darn about us driving by. The scenery of the drive is well worth it.
We returned to the campground again, and went for a nice swim in the lake again. It was starting to get further along in the afternoon, and I needed to get the RV ready to go. The brains of the outfit had done all of her cleanup before I even started mine. So while I did that, she got to hit the hot tub for a while. We got home, unloaded the RV, and realized it would be almost a month before our next trip. And we were a little sad.