Sunday, June 12, 2016

Arizona to Amarillo

In early April, after leaving my fabulous boondock at Saddle Mountain, I wisely time my drive through downtown Phoenix for a low-traffic Sunday morning. Soon, I have Scottsdale in the rear view mirror as I climb up to the cooling pines of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.  I've never been to this area before, and look forward to some crisp pine scented air and evergreen vistas after months of brown desert scrub.



I decide to overnight at the Wal-Mart in Payson, AZ and find a delicious Thai place within walking distance for dinner.  Perfection!  The next morning, I awake to find this curious van parked near me at Camp Wally:


Hmm, that's a red hightop van, but it looks a bit "too complicated" to be fellow blogger To Simplify.  "What's with all those straps on the rear of that van?" I wonder. "Is he actually holding his rooftop solar panels down with ratchet straps?"  I walk closer to get a better look.  

Yep, indeed, ratchet straps are securing one of his solar panels, but they're also serving a much more important purpose...to keep his canoe strapped to the other side of the van!  Give this gentleman an "A" for creativity!


I am soon headed out of town on my way eastward, climbing up the side of the Mogollon Rim-- a 1,000-foot cliff that runs some 200 miles across Arizona (marking the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau).

At the top of the rim, I find Rim Road, a highly recommended 30-mile dirt road that runs along the rim.  While I'd love to unhook the Tracker and do the whole drive, I need to clock some serious travel miles to New Mexico today, so I opt to just pull into one of the initial gorgeous overlooks and take a quick hike along the rim edge trail.  What a glorious spring morning in Arizona!




After an hour, I force myself to leave this spectacular place and get back on the highway.  As I pass through Show Low, AZ, I pick up U.S. Highway 60 that will take me almost all the way to southern Illinois.

Unless you absolutely must drive somewhere as fast as possible, why drive the boring, crowded Interstate when there are so many of these quiet, scenic 2-lane U.S. highways to discover?


Soon, I'm crossing back into my beloved Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, and passing by so many great memories from last winter-- Pie Town, the VLA, and Socorro.  But no time for any stops or visits today-- I'm now in serious cruisin' mode!


I'd originally planned to spend the night in northeast New Mexico, but 40-50 mph winds are now forecasted for that area.  No place for a motorhome to be cruisin'!

Thankfully, my trusty wind and weather mobile apps show that winds will be less-severe a bit south in the Roswell, NM area, so I quickly re-route towards Bottomless Lakes State Park just east of town.

I luckily snag one of the last unreserved spots in the campground, and have just enough time before sunset to hike to a few of the park's "bottomless" (i.e. sinkhole) lakes.



Only the scaups are enjoying the beautiful lake next to the campground at the end of the day--


At the other end of the lake, the swimming area looks practically deserted.


I stop to watch the sun set behind the last set of mountains I'll see for the next few months.


The next day, I point the Winnie northeast towards Amarillo.  A completely boring drive, but highlighted at least with the "cheap thrill" of getting to pump sub-$2.00/gal diesel into Winnie's tank!

My overnight destination is actually about 30 miles north of Amarillo-- Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.  Most of the pullout sites at Fritch Fortress are badly unlevel, but....for a completely and totally free picnic area/campground, the view out the View is absolutely fantastic!


This sure beats a Walmart or truck stop parking lot for a free overnight camp spot!


While, I wish for a longer stay, it's springtime in the panhandle.  Tomorrow will bring more 40-50 mph winds to this area, so I must continue my trek eastward to Oklahoma.







6 comments:

  1. You certainly have the prime spot at Lake Meredith! and FREE?!?! Too bad the weather did not cooperate for a longer stay. In SoCal we pay top $$$$ for waterfront sites.

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  2. Lots of great scenery along the way, too bad that the weather is not co-operating for you.

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  3. Fast trip. Glad you were able to find some beauty along the way.

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  4. Very Large Array is on my list. Thank you for the very nice blog, Lynne.
    Happy Travels.
    Pamelab in Houston

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  5. Beautiful pictures as usual. Safe travels...

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