Joshua Tree to Williams and Grand Canyon and Favorite Item of the Week

We left Joshua Tree to make it towards Grand Canyon.  We made it after a very long drive to Williams where we found a decent campsite and then headed to the little town of Williams.  It is such a cute little town that really is the gateway to the Grand Canyon.  They Grand Canyon Railroad takes off from there and if we didn’t have a 4 legged kid with us we would have done it.  Anyway, we were only gonna stay at the campground that we stayed at for one night and then move closer to the Grand Canyon but there was things we needed to do in Williams so we stayed where we were and drove the hour to the park.  

The campground we stayed at was Garland Prairie Road Dispersed Camping.  It was free and was really a nice area. My only complaint was no real workable cell service.  We figured ok, next place will have it so we will just suffer it out until then.  

We headed into the Grand Canyon in the afternoon on the second day and it was a good time to go, crowds were lighter and our wait to get in was not so bad.  Well the I should say the crowds were lighter as far as waiting at the gate and parking.  However, the first thing the both of us thought was wow this is like Animal Kingdom (Disney for those of you who aren’t familiar), heavy crowds and sort of hot.  We got the papers from the Rangers and got the lay of the land.  Eris was able to do anything on top of the rim, which I was good with that, I didn’t have any intentions of hiking down at least not this time.  So we hiked the rim and oh my it did not disappoint. I am grateful for digital camera and I did not have to print the what would have been rolls and rolls of film in my previous days.  We headed into the park twice like this, in the afternoon and the second time in we did the scenic drive and again were not disappointed.  We did see some Elk, and deer on both days.  Eris really doesn’t know what to make of them.  Really since we weren’t really going to be doing any of the hikes other then on the rim two days or should I say 1 full day was really enough.  The beauty was amazing and every step we took was breathtaking.  But after a while we realized that everywhere we turned would not look much different then the other locations.  

One day while there we headed into Williams to go to the laundromat.  It was clean and reasonable.  Another evening we were so looking forward to going to the Grand Canyon Brewery.  Well when we got there we were sadly disappointed. It was filled to capacity and no one, I mean no one, except us was wearing a mask.  Felt so unsafe.  We had Covid once and we do not want to get it again. So we left. 

Another day we took a drive to Flagstaff, what a beautiful place.  We could move there if we didn’t already have our winter home in Florida.  We took Eris to the groomer, got her bathed and nails done, got an oil change in the truck, found an REI where we got Eris a pair of boots, she was not thrilled with them when we tried them on her but she may like them in the future.  Also, we decided that all the REI’s out here have amazing views.  The view was San Fransciso mountain range.  Mike asked the girl at REI and said if there is one thing we have to do in Flagstaff what would it be, she did not hesitate to say Snow Bowl. We were taking the scenic drive home so we passed right but the mountain pass that took us up to Snow Bowl.  Eris did not know what to make of that white stuff.  We didn’t try her in the boots, maybe we should have.  Snow Bowl itself was closed but there were trailheads there.  We weren’t really prepared for snow and ice so we headed back down.  We drove the rest of the beautiful drive back home and just chilled.  

After a few days we figured we have seen enough and were ready to move on and on the morning we decided we needed to head down to lower elevation we woke up to 15 degrees.  We were headed to Sedona for a few days to check out the red rocks.  

So be sure to check back next week to hear all about our stay in Sedona. 

This week I am most grateful for the addition of the handle on our screen door.  Where we are currently it is 25-30 mph winds with 50 mph gusts.  It’s crazy, to hear about this be sure to check back with us next week. 

If you want up to date status be sure to check out our Instagram page, I update that daily.  @what_r_we_waiting_4 

Until next week, if you enjoyed this be sure to like and consider following us and subscribing to the email list.  

Hope, Mike and Eris

YUMA TO QUARTZSITE TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, WHERE TO GET GREAT PHOTOS, WHERE TO HIKE WITH FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS AND CHEVY TRUCK BUILT LIKE A ROCK…..

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We headed to Quartzsite where we were treated to a nice boondocking spot at the LTVA BLM (Long-Term Visitor Area-Bureau of Land Managment).  We could have stayed there for 2 weeks for the cost of $40.00, there is a dump, trash and potable water available. Also there are people who stay for the whole season, (7 months) for something like $180.00. Pretty reasonable place to be.  It is about 2 miles from  Quartzsite, which is where the Big Tent (RV Show) is held as well as the gem show.  Oh, the rocks, were everywhere.  Poor Eris feet.  I tried doing yoga outside and I used the rocks under under my mat as pressure point relievers.  We can only imagine what this place was like during the rv show.  Quartzsite truly is a nomad mecca.  We do plan on coming back for the Big Tent next year. Our campsite was nice and private in a big field.  But no one really was that close to us.  It was super windy when we were there so the dust and sand was everywhere.  But can’t expect much different since it is the desert afterall.   We spent 4 nights there, had 4 beautiful sunsets and then  it was time to head to Joshua Tree.  

We arrived to Joshua Tree, South BLM after a couple hour windy drive.  We couldn’t have been any closer to the Joshua Tree sign even if we were staying inside the park.  First thing after we got camp set up was to head into the park to the Visitor’s Center, where we got the maps and lay of the land.  Of course there was not much we could do with Eris so it was a mostly drive thru park.  We did stop and see alot however.  The park is layed out and is condusive to pulling off and seeing and climbing up and over rocks, which we did.  We were able to take Eris on two trails, one honestly really sucked it was supposed to be an Oasis and the other was Keys View which was a beautiful overlook, not really a hike.  This is a beautiful park.  Joshua Tree is famous for it’s namesake the Joshua Tree, which is only found here.  The park roadway winds it’s way from the Colorado Desert to the Mojave Desert where all the Joshua Trees are.  It is such different landscapes.  We drove through the campgrounds to see what it is all about.  While they would have been nice to stay in, we were quite content to be right outside the south entrance for free.  We had the same amenities they have except we had a lot more space.  Basically outside the park on the south entrance there really is nothing.  We did find some hikes the pup could do we picked one called the Painted Canyon.  The drive to the hike was as beautiful if not in some spots as driving through the park.  We realized that Eris while she is a 3 mile dog in normal conditions she is a 2 mile dog in the desert.  After the canyons we went down to check out the Salton Sea.  Very interesting, it is a body of water that was made by accident.  Sadly the accident was pollutants.  There is the highest concentration of salt in this body of water that only two forms of sea life exist.  However, it was nice to smell the salt water as we haven’t had that scent since Mississippi. Also, what I noticed while we were having our picnic was the sound of the sea birds.   Down there they offer camping, fairly reasonable with hookups. But there really is nothing to do there.   

One day Mike had me drive him up the mountain from the campground so he could ride his bike back down.  He smiled all the way down. 

If in the area and need someplace to stay I highly recommend Joshua Tree South BLM, great space and super great cell service, amazing sunsets and great stargazing.

Best place for photos in this area is in Joshua Tree National Park at all of the pull offs.  Supposidly the best place for a sunset photos is at Keys View.  We couldn’t get a parking during the sunset so we came back in the daytime.  The sky was sadly hazy. I got better photos elsewhere in the park and I got amazing sunsets at our campsite.  Also, I highly recommend doing the other trails in the area outside the south of the park.  I got some amazing photos of canyons.

Oh where can the four legged friends go, all over Quartzsite and the BLM land around it, only two trails in Joshua Tree and mile and miles of trails by the Painted Canyon. 

We have done a lot of upgrades to our home, I would like to take the time to mention one a week. However, this weeks is not our camper it is our truck.  All I can say people if you are planning on going off road, make sure you have the proper vehicle to get yourself unstuck. Mike had to pull two people out of the soft sand. One couple spent the whole night in the sand in the park, the other rescue was in our campground.  

The weather was warming up so it was our time to move on and up, so follow along to see where our next adventures will take us.  

Don’t forget to explore, discover and dream and ask yourself what are you waiting for, life is short.

If you like this consider subscribing and like it and follow.  

Safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowerrider camping hound.

Loma Paloma RV Park in Presidio, Texas and Big Bend Ranch State Park

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After we spent a glorious 5 days boondocking in Amistad National Recreation Area we were due for some clean laundry and some a/c, even though now as I sit here writing this in Tucson, Arizona I have a heater down by my feet. But that was then and this is now.  We headed down US 90 from Amistad a little sad to be leaving that beautiful area, but the drive on 90 did not disappoint with the views either. 

 We made it down to Presidio after a long drive to a wonderful welcoming campground called Loma Paloma. For $22.00 a night it comes with free wifi, and full hookups.  Just an FYI they only take cash.  Their address is 17138 FM170 Presidio, Texas, their phone number is 432/229-2992. We were invited to happy hour which started shortly after us checking in. The laundry room has  3 machines of each washer and dryer and it is $1.50 each. Also, this is paid in cash in a honor system. This was a perfect place to get into Big Bend Ranch State Park and for the more ambitious you can drive through it and get to the west side of Big Bend National Park. We were told to take the beautiful ride through the State park and don’t underestimate it. Beautiful sunsets were a daily occurance.  

Presidio itself is a quant border town.  Doesn’t really have much of anything but it is cute nonetheless.  

We were at the Visitor’s Center of the State Park at 8:30 in the morning. Fort Leaton State Historic Site/Visitor Center, where we paid our entry money to get in the park and we went through the Fort and our daily pass gave us access to all the hikes we wanted to do. The reconstructed  Fort served as a trading post in the old Chihuahua Trail from 1848 to 1884.  It was interesting.   

We have a dog, so that limited us to the hikes we could do, but honestly the four we did do was enough.  We did not feel like we missed anything.  We did the short nature hike at the visitor’s center and then got in the car to drive the scenic road through the park and stop and see what we wanted to see.  We did a slot canyon hike and a hoodoo hike, which was a first for all of us. The Hoodos Trail is a 1.1 mile loop trail.  Has some elevation but not too terrible.  We got down the Rio Grande where the moutains on the other side were in Mexico.  Eris got to drink water out of the Rio Grande.  The Closed Canyon Trail (slot canyon) is about 1.4 miles long (round-trip).  It is a narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Mesa in two. The Colorado Mesa was created about 28 million years ago.  The canyon leads to the Rio Grande but is unpassable without climbing gear. I had a hard enough time trying to climb over the boulders so when a sign said end of trail, I was good, I did not need to see what was beyond the sign.  If here be sure to do the Hoodoos trail first as it is exposed and the Closed Canyon is cool due to the canyon walls.  

The views on the scenic road were truly amazing.  This road is one of the scenic drives in the US and should not be missed if in the area.  Of course I was extremely grateful that it was just us and our truck, I would not want to have been towing the camper.   We did the short nature trail on the other side at the other Visitor’s Center and decided to head back through because the thought of driving the scenic drive at night was not overly thrilling.  We saw a moutain goat and some deer.  By the time we returned home it was after 7:00 p.m.  

So if you are in the area and can’t get into Big Bend National Park don’t underestimate Big Bend Ranch State Park it is so very much worth it and should not be overlooked.  

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us as we travel on to our next destination, Carlesbad, New Mexico.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

 

Our Adventure’s in Amistad National Recreation Area 

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Amistad National Recreation Area has changed my opinion of Texas. It is beautiful in an undescripable way.  The rocky coast, the miles of terraces that were once the bottom of the water, the blue/tourquise water that was at the base of the rocky terraces, were a beauty that must be seen to describe it. 

Our campsite that we chose was Governors Landing, on a reservor of the Rio Grande.  While it is right off US 90 is still gets quiet at night. The view cannot be beat. It was the more expensive campsite at $10.00 per night. The other sites ranged from $6.00-$8.00 a night. It was so worth money.  Originally we were going to stay 2 nights and we quickly added an additional 3 on, only because we want to try to beat the heat further outwest, otherwise we would have stayed longer.  You are able to stay there for up to 14 days in each of the camping areas.  There is a total of 5 camping areas. All the areas  have a covered table, a grill and fire pit and trash cans available.  Ours not only had that but access to potable water and was close to Diablo East which has a marina and some great little hikes but also most importantly a free dump.  Honestly, if these make it to your bucket list places you can’t really go wrong with any of the campgrounds.  

Amistad means friendship in Spanish.  Amistad lies between the United States and Mexico border.  The park offers hiking, water sports, fishing, birding , canoeing, kyacking and bow hunting in season.  The reservior was created by the Amistad Dam  in 1969 for flood ontrol, water storage and power generation as well as recreational use.  There are two bronze eagles symoblizing the cooperation between the US and Mexico in building and managing the dam. We did not make it over to see the eagles but maybe next time.  Also, when not Covid times they give dam tours but well as we all know things are a little different right now.  So hopefully we will be able to do it next time.  

There are miles of hikes, all beautiful.  Diablo East has three short easy trails and the Sunrise Trail and Figueroa Trail.  We did all the ones at the main area but did not do the Sunrise nor the Figueroa trials.  We need to safe something for the next time.  Plus we only have a 3 mile dog.  But what we did do was go to Seminole Canyon State Park.  What a really great place.  They have miles and miles of hikes but again we have a  3 mile dog so pushing it with our about 4.5 miles was more than enough for her.  We highly recommend that you do this park if in the area.  All the trails we were on in the area are dog friendly. 

Connectivity (Verizon) was amazing while in all of the Amistad area, however when we went to Seminole Canyon it did not exist and we even received a text (when our service came back) welcoming us to Mexico.  

We met some super nice people, some heading east and some heading west.  Hoping our paths will cross again sometime.  

We had to move on, so next weeks blog will find us at Persidio, Texas.  

Until then, remember to like this blog, and considering following as we continue to head to the west.  

Take care and safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris (the lowrider camping hound)

A CAMPGROUND REVIEW-LAKE MANATEE STATE PARK

When the reservation system for the Florida State Parks finally reopened we made reservations, just to go anywhere, someplace close, but not our backyard. We don’t like to check in at dark and since I got off at 5:00 Lake Manatee it was, close to our house and there is a lake to swim in. A swimming hole was a necessity as it is Florida in June. We invited Steve and Rosie to get a site as well. They are always fun to camp with.

I got home from work and we headed south. It literally took us maybe 50 minutes. As we entered the park we just went directly to the campsite, as there was no ranger at the ranger station. We drove to our site and got set up. Saw Steve and Rosie and headed over there to do dinner.

I got up in the morning and headed to check out the park. It is beautiful. Honestly, I put this park in my top 5 Florida State Parks. We are not sure how we missed this park and were thrilled we found it. The lake is about .5 miles away from the campground. Closer if you are on the other loop. It was a steamy, yet dry weekend. It didn’t stop us in having fun though. We brought our bikes and if it would have been cooler would have used them more. However, I rode mine to the ranger station and I must say that was much easier then getting in the car and driving down. We also rode down to the beach and went for a swim. The water was very refreshing.

The picnic/beach area is in a forest of pine trees. A good portion of the park has saw palmettos as well. It seemed to me most of the campsites are shady.

This state park is 556 acre park and has 3 miles of shoreline. The park has camping, canoeing, (they weren’t renting yet because of Covid 19), swimming (nice little beach area), fishing, boating, hiking, a playground and picnic area. There is a boat ramp, launching dock if you bring your own boat and a ton of parking.

It was the most pleasant weekend, we didn’t head out of the park at all, but next time we might check out the winery and brewery down the road. Also, we will plan our next trip when it is cooler and we are looking forward into hiking/biking the trails and maybe the canoe rentals will be reopened.

The address for this great park is 20007 State Road 64, Bradenton, Florida.

I highly recommend checking this park out if you are in the area.

Until next time, stay safe and travel on…

Hope

Our campsite

CAMPGROUND REVIEW- FORT DESOTO PARK- Home Sweet Home….Not So Much

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When: October 18-20, 2019

Where: Fort Desoto Park, Pinellas County, Florida

Who: We organized this trip 7 months ahead of time. The we are Mike, Eris, the lowrider camping hound, and I on one site, Joe and Caren (who couldn’t come) on another, Annette and pups on another site and Cheri on another site and friends had an additional 4 sites.

Weather was supposed to be crappy, which we sort of figured even when were making reservations as we were camping with Joe. It always rains when Joe is camping. However, he outdid himself this time with a tropical storm. Because of the storm people canceled and there were a lot of empty sites.

Why check this place out, let me start and tell you why we will never come here again. Let’s start with the check-in: Fort Desoto is a Pinellas County Park, where I grew up, and am still a resident for a little longer, I went to plenty of parties here, my favorite beach of all time, I even camped here before. Location is conveniently located less than 10 miles from my sticks n’ bricks. I have been a Pinellas County resident for most of my life, went to school here, got married here, raised my children, etc., I am sure you get the point, it’s the county that is my home. As County residents we are able to make reservations 7 months ahead of time. That is the only benefit we receive, no discounts, no early checkin and no late checkouts. Just the ability to make the reservations one month earlier. When we were planning the trip 7 months earlier I made reservations for Annette (who is formally of Pinellas County, born and raised) using my address. At the same time Mike made reservations for us using our address. Now keep in mind we had a total of 8-9 campsites reserved by friends of Chery and Joe. The only one who didn’t live in Pinellas was Annette. Also, there was no where on the website that stated that only one reservation per address is allowed nor did their crappy website pick up on the fact that two reservations were made from the same address for the same weekend. I understand this rule- actually I don’t understand why my husband and I cannot reserve two sites as they aren’t giving us anything extra and we are paying for two sites and if that is a rule then it should be stated somewhere. Anyhow, we show up and they gave us grief and that was when we were checking in. At one point I was ready to say that’s fine give us our money back and we will leave now, leaving them with two more empty sites, as a lot of people were canceling due to the impending weather and they can try and fill it.

Secondly, there is no alcohol consumption allowed in the park. Not even on your site and they encourage people to tattle on others. There is fat fine for those who are caught with alcohol $118.00 ish per drink. I don’t really care that much if I want a drink I can always drink it inside my camper. However, when you are paying $40.00 per night for a campsite you should be able to sit at your picnic table while eating and have an adult beverage.

Thirdly, after weathering out a tropical storm we went ahead with our plans of a pot luck dinner at Chery’s site, which compared to most of ours was the driest. We carried all our food down there (love my wagon) and Joe drove down as he had an extra tables and grill. Shortly, after eating we were sitting around in a circle and chatting and the ranger came over and said only two vehicles allowed, all three were all on the site and not an inch of any of them were in the road. Joe said ok he would move his back down to his site, ranger asked which site, he told him and that the only reason it was there was to transport the tables and such, instead of the ranger saying that’s fine just make sure it is moved by the end of the night he made him move it. One would think that would make the ranger move on but no, he was nosy and was trying to see if any of us had any alcohol. Keep in mind we aren’t young people average age was probably 45-50, we weren’t loud we were sitting around the, oh wait I was going to say fire pit, but that would be an extra fee, so just in a circle, which leads me to my fourth complaint the costs for lack services…

It was $40 ish dollars per night, not worth it to have to deal with the nasty, unwelcoming Park rangers, with their unbendable rules and to be nickeled to death. The only amenities they have are bathrooms with showers, picnic tables and grills on each site and dump.

Finally, my last complaint is the amount of pet sites. There are 236 sites only 78 are open to pets, leaving 158 sites for the pet less folks, hence the problem with getting a site. I don’t have as much of a problem with this, however, the pets are not allowed to even be walked beyond the pet area, again not very welcoming to say the least.

So reasons to go, the views, not so much in the campground as outside. There is a nice trail that will take you to the beach, which I may be partial are the best beaches. There is a fishing pier and a fort to explore. So biking, walking, fishing and exploring the the beach are the reasons. Oh and believe it or not it even has a dog beach.

I will keep my Ft. Desoto trips to day trips only.

That being said even with all the negatives it was still fun to camp with friends, we brought our propane fire pit, and made s’mores while standing under the awning in the rain, there was mud for the dogs to walk through, and had shared meals with others and made some new friends. However, the next trip I would suggest we hop over the Skyway and go to Little Manatee River State Park and rent as many sites as we want, where the rangers are pleasant and the hosts are as well.

Until next time, happy camping,

Hope

Whatrwewaiting4….

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Cary State Forest, Florida CAMPGROUND REVIEW

THE WHO:, Mike, me, Eris the lowrider camping hound, Nick, Jodie, Annette, Nora, Elsa and Sam, on two sites and the dogs outnumbered the humans as they usually do.

THE WHERE: Cary State Forest, Florida

THE WHEN: February 22-25, 2019

THE LOWDOWN: There are only 7 sites in this campground in this huge 13,385 acre forest, it is located in northeast Florida, near Jacksonville, there is hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

THE CAMPGROUND: With only 7 sites in this huge forest there is plenty of room on and between the sites. Of the 7 sites, 6 have electric and water and one is primitive. Of the 6 that have electric and water only 5 of them can be reserved, leaving one as a walk-up/drive-up site.

When I say the sites are large, I mean super large. The each have concrete slab, picnic table, firepit. We had site #2 and Annette had site #3.

We went hiking, while the dogs were allowed on the trail, causing them (especially Eris the lowrider camping hound) to need baths when we returned. To say it was muddy in spots is an understatement.

There is a very nice bathhouse with two showers and a dump station conveniently located (not that we used it because we were in our tiny camper) at the beginning or end of the loop whichever way you look at it.

THE REASON TO GO: The peace and quiet that the woods have to offer is abundant here, even though there is an occasional train. While sitting at my campsite you can barely see Annette’s camper from here because of the distance. There are tall pines and palmetto scrub. The birds were singing and the smells of the pine forest cannot be beat. The hiking is plentiful and pretty, with boardwalks and some areas that have no boardwalks, hence the dogs getting dirty.