Sunday, May 13, 2018

Social Time in Prescott


DSC09440                                                 Thumb Butte, an iconic Prescott landmark

We’ve spent the past two weeks at White Spar Campground just south of Prescott, AZ. We stayed here last year and reserved the same campsite since we get great solar and there are no neighboring sites except across the road.

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Leaving Jojoba Hills we decided to take a longer route, going south through Anza Borrego Desert State Park, avoiding the steep and twisting Palms to Pines Hwy through Palm Desert and the more heavily trafficked route through Hemet. It turned out to be a nice drive around the Salton Sea, and we were surprised it even passed through part of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. With temperatures in the 90s that day we didn’t see many people out on the dunes.

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300 miles was enough for one day so we stopped for the night at North Ranch, the Escapees park near Congress. We stayed there once before and our experience this time was similar. It’s fine for a stopover but not someplace we would want to spend an extended period of time.

It was an easy 50 miles to Prescott from there, and again we took a longer route through Skull Valley to avoid the curvy, mountainous part of highway 89.

Friends and former full-time RVers Eric and Maureen now live in Prescott , and John and Sandy, camp hosts from McDowell, were spending a month here. And it just so happened that Suzanne, who spent a week in Prescott before we arrived, decided to come back and stay another week while we were here. There have been many happy hours, much beer drinking, and eating out, besides hiking and biking in the area.

Suzanne arrived a couple hours after we did, and she was finally able to share some beer she’d been carrying around for two years after our last meet-up in the spring of 2016.

On our fist full day Eric and Maureen came over for a hike. It turned out to be a cloudy, cold and windy day, as you can see by how bundled up we are. There are miles of trails that can be accessed from the campground. Of course another happy hour took place inside our Lazy Daze after the hike.

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The next day the weather did not cooperate for outside activities, with highs in the upper 40s, rain, and even some sleet and hail that accumulated for a short time. We went to Fitness for 10, the gym we used last year, then met Suzanne at the movie theater to see A Quiet Place, a very suspenseful movie which required a stop at The Raven for happy hour after, where we met John and Sandy. After a beer we walked up the street to Bill’s Pizza, which was excellent. So much so that we ate there three times during our two week stay.

Not exactly the kind of May weather we were expecting.

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The sun came back out the next day so Sandy came over for a hike while John went mountain biking. We hiked across from the campground up the Quartz Mountain trail. Didn’t quite make it to the top but we had a good workout, climbing for three miles with nice views of town.

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High dollar real estate, no doubt.

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One day we hiked with Suzanne from the campground to Goldwater Lake, about 3 miles. Came across a little spring with a surprising amount of standing water that made for nice reflections.

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With a little bushwacking and chasing off some deer, we found a nice shady log for a snack with a view of the lake.

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We also did a couple bike rides, one along the scenic Peavine and Iron King rail trails where we rode almost the entire length of both trails for 16 miles.

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it passes by Watson Lake and goes through the Granite Dells, massive mounds of rounded boulders and unusual rock formations.

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One day we met John and Sandy at Pioneer Park for single track mountain biking on some fairly easy trails, but there was a lot of climbing and it was a hot morning, so we made it 6 miles and called it quits. We would like to ride there again on a cooler day.

We did a few other hikes, one to the overlook at Thumb Butte.

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Maureen, me and Sandy with Thumb Butte behind us. Eric took this photo while Jim and Suzanne sat on a bench in the shade. It was another hot day, one of several during our second week when temperatures got into the upper 80s, nearing record highs.

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View of Granite Mountain.

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Eric, Maureen, Jim and Suzanne. I couldn’t get anyone to pose.

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We wanted to check out Highway 89 south of the campground in the car to see if we thought we could go back that way, since it’s the shortest route. As always with RVers, we spoke with some who would not drive their rigs on this part of the road, and others who said it was no problem. There is a 40’ length limit, so we figured we might want to do it if we don’t hook up the car. After eight miles we decided it would not be a problem, and stopped off for a hike on a forest service jeep trail.

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Much of the trail was like this, steep and rocky, but for some odd reason Jim kept wanting to go higher and higher, so we did. We made it 2.25 miles although it sure felt longer due to the elevation gain and the heat. The nice part was that we didn’t see another soul, either on foot or off-road vehicle.

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More climbing gave us good views of the highway.

DSC09451                                                                                                                                                                                Unusual trail marker.

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See the building out there?

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It appears to be a house, and the only one for miles around.

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Yesterday we dumped tanks at Affinity RV so we don’t have to do it before we head back to Jojoba Hills tomorrow. The Prescott location is 8 miles from the campground and the only place in town to dump. It’s free, though, and the propane fill is right next to it so we topped that off, too. Last weekend we visited Affinity with Eric, Maureen, and Suzanne, all of us searching for our next RV. We were pleased to see that there are now quite a few floor plans offering recliners across from the TV, something that used to be uncommon. Too bad the quality is so poor on most RVs these days. The Grand Design Solitude 5th wheels looked very comfortable for living in, but we wouldn’t want to tow something that big. If we just had a few extra million lying around, Jim would buy one of these.

Today we have one last hike planned followed by dinner at Tara Thai, a wonderful Thai restaurant that we ate at last week with John and Sandy. We’ve eaten out more in the past two weeks than we have all year. Prescott is a great place for a vacation!