Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas at Cottonwood, December 23-27

I left Snyder Hill and headed for Cottonwood for Christmas, tagging along with Joel. We stopped at the Lone Butte Casino in Chandler for the night.  I was there last year and it was quite a surprise to see the parking lot pretty vacant of RVs.  As Casinos goes, it a pretty nice one, but my favorite is still Casino del Sol in Tucson.

We arrived at the Verde Valley Thousand Trails Campground early enough to get  settled and get some chores done.  Cottonwood is a thriving little town close to Sedona, Jerome and several State Parks.  I had  never been to the area so Joel was eager to show me Sedona and the surrounding areas.  I didn't realize how much hiking and scenery there was in the area.  I think you could spend several weeks and not see it all.
 Cathedral Rock near Sedona

 Sedona Area

 Lagoon at Dead Horse Ranch State Park
 Jerome has a great attitude.  I like the "ish" part.  We actually watched the glass blower give a demonstration and these are some of the pieces he has made in the past that are for sale.

Joel and I have decided to head for Northern California to spend New Years with some of my high school friends and then to Pacific Grove where I grew up and where Joel lived and worked for several years, and also to see my mother.  This time I won't be tagging along though.  I have decided to put my "little house on wheels" in storage while visiting California and travel in Joel's big house on wheels while in California.  The San Francisco Bay area and the Monterey Peninsula are not very RV friendly and it's difficult to find RV parking.  Yikes, it a big step for me, but life is too short and Joel and I are having a great time traveling together.

Time at Cottonwood was way too short but I'll be returning at some point because my little house is in storage at the Thousand Trails park. The weather has been really cooperative.  After talking with my sons in Virginia, Tennessee, Northern California, and New Mexico, I realize how lucky I've been.  They are all experiencing cold, cold, snowy blizzard times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snyder Hill, Tuscon December 14-22

It seems like every winter I end up at Snyder Hill near Tucson for a few days.  Snyder Hill is a nice little patch of BLM land just off the Ajo Highway in the South Tucson area.  Its fairly quiet and provides a great access to Saguaro National Park and surrounding areas.  This year there did not seem to be as my RVs as there usually are.  Maybe be that is because I am here in December which is a little earlier than normal for me.

The sunrises are spectacular.

View from Snyder Hill  looking down on my little house and Joel's big house in the early morning.

One day Joel and I hiked up Romaro Canyon in  Catalina Park.  We hiked all the way up the canyon but did not hike down to the pools because it was too late in the afternoon. I was afraid it would be dark before we got back to the car.  The days are just too short this time of year.

                                  This looks like a forest, but only with cactus.

  The moon was already out on our way down the trail.

Another day we went and visited the San Xavier Mission.  I had visited the mission  last year, but it is so beautiful it is worth visiting more than once.

    The interior of the mission is stunning.  Much has been painstakingly restored.  The detail and colors are magnificent.

There is some rally nice hiking just down the road from Snyder Hill out of the Diamond J RV park and we explored some of the trails.

                                     This palo verde  caught my eye as we were walking.  The afternoon light makes it look like it is on fire.

  Joel kept his appointment at the VA hospital for a followup visit.  I was extremely impressed at the level of care provided and cooperation of the doctors and staff to accommodate Joel's roving life style.  Joel had to return for a stress test the next week and the staff and doctor at the clinic worked hard to schedule the stress test to co inside with the doctors appointment on the same day. Usually the test is done and the follow up doctor's appointment is weeks later.  According to the doctor, Joel did well on the stress test and is at a low risk for an another episode.

I'm going to tag a long with Joel and head a little north of Phoenix  for Christmas and am looking forward to exploring some new country.

Yuma and such, December 9-13

I arrived at RV Masters in Yuma to get the air bag fixed on my Born Free.  My check book sure has been getting a work out lately on fixing things. First the refrigerator and heater now the suspension system.   I'd been told that an air bag could run up to $500.00.  Ouch!! Anyway, Jerry at RV Masters had the airbag in stock and two hours later I was repaired and ready to go, and the cost far less than I expected.

Joel met me at RV Masters before I was ready to leave , and I tagged along with him, and stayed at the Elks Club for a few days.  There is a really nice bike trail near the Elks Club that takes you all the way  to downtown Yuma. Friday, Wanda and Ernie (WIN members and official snow birds of Yuma) had a gathering for friends who are spending the winter in Yuma.  Joel asked me to join him so I again tagged along.   There must have been fifty in attendance.  There were lots of WINS, Solos, and SI folks,  some of which I haven't seen since last Spring.  

Saturday, Joel convinced me to tag along with him to Tucson via Casa Grande.  (This is getting to be a habit).  We left the Elks Club and as I was following him I noticed his Coach was badly leaning to the right so we stopped at Walmart on the way out of town.  He determined there was a problem that he couldn't fix easily.  A nice RVer who was a retired mechanic stopped by and gave lots of advice on what he thought was wrong and Joel confirmed it was really something he couldn't fix.  The retired gentlemen suggested RV Masters would be the place to get repairs fixed so we returned to RV Masters which was closed on Saturday but has a huge open parking lot for overnight parking.  Another RVer said it was OK to park overnight until Monday while waiting for repairs so we parked there.  For future reference, RV Masters is open by appointment only on Saturdays.  

RV Masters determined Joel's Beaver had a bad valve to the airbag and was able to fix it and we were on our way  by 12:00.  Before we left, the retired mechanic came back to check and make sure Joel was able to get repairs underway.  Just goes to show how considerate RVers are.  I love this life style!

I caravaned with Joel to the SKP park in Casa Grande.  I've never been there and it was most enjoyable. I filled the RV tank with water and Joel picked up his mail.  The first night of boon docking is free, which makes the park even nicer.

I'm now in Tucson camping at Snyder Hill for a few days, enjoying the warm weather and feeling rather smug to be out of the snow in the high country.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More on the Slabs...The Tanks, the Turd House and more

 The water tanks loom on the horizon. The Wheel of Kama has been painted by a WIN member Tom.  I've posted just a few of the tamer  segments.  They are pretty graphic and may be offensive to some. There are many, many more.


 The Turd house.  Someone actually lives here.  Yes, it is a sewer tank.

 On a lighter note there is was (is) a golf course, including flags and clubs.

The LOW (Loner's On Wheels) and WIN parking area.  My rig is near the right of the picture.

While at the slabs we took a short side trip up to Bombay Beach on the shores of the Salton Sea.  Some time ago a major flood wiped out most of the shore line and the government has now bull dozed a huge berm along the shore to protect the town.

The Salton Sea.  The water is very brackish.  Don't think I'll be putting my kayak in it anytime soon.
 Remnants from the flood.

Not much clean up has been attempted.  These homes were right on the beach.  Now there is a huge earthen berm (seawall) between them and the sea.

I had a very fun time at the Slabs and a few days vs a week was plenty time.  One of the fun things we did was star gazing.  One night we through tarps on the ground and dug out our sleeping bags and watched the crystal clear night sky and stars.  The sky is so clear I felt like I could reach up and touch the stars.  Within a few moments I saw at least three shooting stars.

I left the slabs a few days early.  One of the air bags on my suspension system is not inflating and so I headed to Yuma to get it fixed.  More on that later.

More on the Slabs...Container Charlie and Salvation Mountain

Container Charley is one of the more recent resident characters of the slabs.  He is a 47 year old transplant from the San Francisco Bay area.  He is well educated with a degree in music and an eye for art.  He has put together a garden art gallery which is available for curious eyes any time of the day.  Some of the sculptures have been put together by Charley and other have been brought in by other artists who were looking for a permanent home for their works of art. Our leader had made arrangements for our group to tour Container Charley's abode which is open only by appointment.
Container Charley is the guy with the shorts and hat leaning on the car.  Everything has been fashioned out of salvaged material or trash.
 Note all of the artificial birds in the sand.  The structure was contracted by Charley.
 Old tires make up this mammoth.
 This was one of the structures made by another artist in the area.
What one artist has to say about television.

There are several decorated cars on the premises all with a message...

Charley has set up a nice little entertainment area.  Note the records which make up the ceiling of his living area.

 The bottle wall.
Hundreds of bottles have been collected for future expansion of the wall.

This old bus had been driving around the US by two of Charley's friends.  Charley found a home for it when they were finished with it. It is sunken part way in the sand but the inside has been leveled to make it habitable.  It has a residential size stove and sink and has good sleeping quarters.

There is a bank of twenty four batteries charged up by solar panels. The panels span the length of a huge cargo container; salvaged of course.  Charley claims he has enough power to run an arc welder. The batteries and panels were all salvage material.
These are big pieces of Styrofoams salvaged from a movie set.  Charlie has used them to insulate his battery room, at the upper left of the picture.

Our next stop was Salvation Mountain.  Lennard has been working on the project for 30 years.  He lives off donations and at 87 has many guardian angles looking after him.  Apparently there was a very bad element invading the slabs and they robbed Lennard on several occasions. "Residential law"  aka known as guns, have eliminated the bad elements and Lennard is now carefully watched over by members of the community.

You can't miss Salvation Mountain on the way into the slabs

Thousands and thousands of gallons of donated paint have been used. 

Old car and RV windows are used for sky lites.  Lennard has painted blue birds on these windows.
Inside is a maze of trees and branches.  The tree trunks are made out of old tires and the branches are then fastened to the trunks and painted.

Lennard is very enthusiastic about his Salvation Mountain and memorial to Jesus and God.  He states he planned to only stay for a few days when he first came to the slabs, but his project has kept him here for over 30 years. In 2001 Salvation Mountain was designated as a Folk Art Treasure.  

National Geographic featured  Salvation Mountain on their TV series and  they later sent Lennard a picture they took of the mountain and he  has mounted it on one of the interior walls. 

There is still is more on the slabs.  Stay tuned.