Are We Novices Again?

When we were last in the trailer (late August 2020) we had a leaky shower,  ideas for renovation and appointments for two estimates.  We kept the appointments but suddenly had a much bigger problem. Our largest slide made horrible noises and barely got in and out. That took priority over everything else because slides really need to work!

Misalignment caused a gear tooth to break which caused more breakage and more misalignment. Who knows how or why? Randy found a mobile tech who worked through the slide issue and then he fixed the leaky shower himself – not for the first time.  

We had also decided we wanted to take out the old carpet and the mobile tech knew a guy. Randy made contact and then decided he would do the demolition himself.

Randy took out the old carpet, laminate and many dozens of stapes. He had to sand the floor several millimeters to allow for more clearance for the slides. It was a lot of work. We had to keep the carpet on the slides because there just isn’t a good way to replace it.

The installer Randy hired did a great job. The results are pleasing!

We had reservations to take a trailer trip to Death Valley over the winter but opted not to go when medical leaders asked people to stay home.  As a result our trailer sat unused for seven months – the longest it has been idle since we purchased it in 2012.  

Thus the question – Are we novices again? We feel like it!  Things that were once second nature now render us unsure.  

When we lived in Boise we had house stuff and trailer stuff and rarely moved things back and forth.  When we were full timers we had everything with us.  When we were trying to stock our new home (and garage) almost everything came out of the trailer because we needed it and because it is just too hot to leave things inside.

The results were that on the trips we have taken since, we would inevitably leave something behind or be out in a remote area in need of parts. Idle trailers seem to have as many things break as those that are being used all the time!   

To combat the inevitable, we planned our first few days of this trip close to home.  We could retrieve a forgotten item or get parts in town before venturing too far away.  As it happened, we did go back home for forgotten AirPods but we didn’t need any parts! Everything is working so far!

We live on the west side of Phoenix and our ‘close to home’ stay was on the east side – sixty miles away!    Not only is the Phoenix metro about 60 miles wide it is also quite populous.  Maricopa county (Phoenix metro) has a population estimated at 4.6 million.  That is about the same as the states of Louisiana and Kentucky, numbers 25 and 26 in rank population order.

Since Maricopa county is pretty much a state on its own, we have our own version of state parks.  There are fourteen Maricopa County Regional Parks and they are very, very nice.  We have camped at several and hike occasionally at the two nearest our house.

We visited our first Maricopa County Regional Park in 2015, Usery Mountain, and loved it.  We went to lunch with a volunteer couple and met with a ranger because we were very interested in potentially volunteering there.

What attracted us then, and now, is how beautiful the desert is here. The tall spindly plant is an ocotillo. Usually they look like dead sticks.
An ocotillo bloom is so lovely. We left an ocotillo blooming in our front yard when we departed.
The saguaros are also blooming. This flicker approves!

This is a chain-fruit cholla cactus.  The fruit pieces are edible and some animals rely on them during drought for food and water.

Prickly Pear Cactus comes in many varieties with different colored blossoms. The yellow blossoms are my favorite. We have one at home just like this but it wasn’t blooming yet.
This hawk was cheating – hanging out at the bird feeders looking for lunch.
We very much enjoy walking the desert trails.
Randy hiked up this mountain to Wind Cave.
It’s not a great cave, but a good hike.

He heard bees and saw a hive in this crevice and when he went in for a picture, the bees swarmed him.  He called me and told me what happened and said he lost his glasses and an AirPod and had to go back in.   When I knew he was okay and was not having a reaction to several bee stings, I shook my head and thought “That is such a Randy thing” –  always going in, or getting closer to the edge, for a better look.

After telling a fellow hiker about his experience with the bees, the other man told Randy about a man who died from a bee attack at the same park. This is the link:

He trekked on and got to the top!
The campsites are nice. This one came with three neighbor dogs to visit with!
From our site we could see the direction to Phoenix. This huge sign was provided for pilots in the 1950s.

The first time we were here we noticed many people had lights around their RVs and vehicles.  We were told pack-rats love to get up into vehicle compartments and chew wires. We’ve used the lights a few times along the way and got them out again.

Pack-rat nests are pretty much everywhere, not at all hard to find.

Having successfully maneuvered our initial shakedown, we traveled further afield into south eastern Arizona.

We went through the heavily mined areas of Superior and Globe.
That is mining residue, not snow.
Our destination was Roper Lake State Park near Safford.
We had a pull through site for the night and didn’t even unhook. All we did was plug into electricity.

Roper Lake is a nice state park with a small lake.  We thought it was too chilly to pull out the paddle boards.

We hiked to the top of the “sky island” mesa and enjoyed the sunset.  By the time we got down we were blissfully dodging rain drops.   Blissful in the rain is an Arizona thing….

So far so good for these novices! It is great to be on the road again.  Next stop is Silver City, New Mexico!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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10 Responses to Are We Novices Again?

  1. Handy Randy did a wonderful job on your floor. It is beautiful.
    Loved the hawk picture. Guess he has a different idea about what a “bird feeder” is for.
    The ocotillo has always been one of my favorite desert plants but your picture of the saguaro is just as stunning.
    Looking forward to reading more about your trip. Hopefully without any more bee encounters.

  2. Amy Urian says:

    Wow! The desert looks hot even outside of summer. Happy to hear Randy is ok and that you guys got back to exploring.

  3. Linda says:

    Happy to hear that you two are still looking and enjoying new adventures.

  4. Guerin says:

    See you soon!

  5. judithkranz says:

    Hey you two — thanks for sharing your adventure. Gald to see that you are still out there gitt’en-er-done!

    Warmest, Steve and Judy Kranz


  6. Elaine M Ehlers says:

    A highlight for the day is to know you are back on the road. I wish I were with you but a 90 year old lady needs to stay closer to home but keep your messages coming. I look at and read the pictures and comments and feel I, too, am out on the road again. Thanks to you from those back home.
    Elaine Ehlers

  7. Hi Serene & Randy from the three neighbor dogs; Buford, Rex & (crazy) Daisy! We really enjoyed having you as neighbors and our humans (Keith & Julie) did as well!! Safe travels!

  8. Catie says:

    So glad to hear you are off again travelling. We also have a 5 day trip planned within our mandated “ health area” to Miracle Beach in a provincial park without any services. It will be interesting to try dry camping without electricity again.
    We have been asked not to leave the Island for the next three weeks from our Provincial Health Doctor. 😷❤️😷❤️

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