9280 Feet ASL

July 20th, 2023

On our way to the White Mountains we stopped in Show Low for groceries, dump and laundry. When I was young and Mom and Dad took us to Show Low, I remember it as being a small cow-town. Now it’s a big sprawling city complete with Walmart, Home Depot, supermarkets and almost everything you can imagine. I guess one reason the town has grown so big is because of its proximity to the mountains and still only a few hours north of Phoenix. 

We drove south from Show Low for about 40 miles, gaining a coupling thousand feet in altitude, and marveling at the beauty of the alpine meadows , pine forests and lakes galore. We found a campsite on forest road 117 and set up camp. We first intended to park temporarily, and then scout out different places to camp, but the more we looked around over the next few days, there were no places open that we thought would be better. 

The site we found had an open meadow that I parked in to get solar and satellite, and Donna parked back in the trees to get shade. The campsite was level and back away from the road just far enough to be quiet. We had a couple neighbors park nearby that were quiet and respectful. We were only bothered by a couple ATVs and motorcycles racing by on two days. 

Even at 9000’ the temperatures were getting up in the high 80s. I could use my AC and Donna stayed comfortable in the shade with just her fans. We tried sitting outside but the bugs and mosquitoes drove us back inside after a minute. One thing that would have been nice is if we had had a screen tent. There is a fire ban in all of the Sitgraves NF, so we couldn’t even have a fire to smoke the mosquitoes away. 

Since we have been here, we have explored nearby towns, lakes and back roads.   The nearest town, Springerville, is only 20 miles from our camp. One day we drove in and picked up a few groceries, visited a park with metal sculptures, and had a very good pizza lunch. Another day we went to Sunrise Lake and ski area, and explored a campground on Indian Reservation land. 

We tried to space out our trips to sightsee so we would have several adventures during our two week stay. Donna has been doing all the driving in her car, partially because there is room for Hanna, and partially because her car is more comfortable than my little buggy.  Both of our vehicles are low clearance, and I have thought more than once how nice it would be to tow a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance for exploring back roads. 

Other places we have explored so far are Greer and Big Lake. Greer is a picturesque little community, nestled in a forested valley, dotted with hundreds of vacation cabins. It’s a total tourist town with several restaurants but few places to get supplies other than trinkets and souvenirs.  Big Lake is a popular camping, boating and fishing area. There are several campgrounds, one of which Donna remembers that Mom and Dad stayed at a few times. We both got an ice cream sandwich at the little camp store. Luckily, we had some cash because they charge an extra $3 to use a credit card. The cashier told me it was because they had to use satellite to process cards and that’s what they were charged. When I went outside, I noticed a Starlink antenna on top of the roof. 

We still have Hawley Lake to see and for sure another trip to Springerville to do laundry, get a couple groceries, and stop for another slice of delicious pizza!

White Mountains

July 16th, 2023

In the beginning of July, many low altitude places in Arizona were experiencing uncomfortable, hot temperatures. I had been camping near Payson AZ, a moderate elevation of 5000 feet, that usually remains bearable until the calendar signals the true start of summer. Payson is a good intermediate location between the low desert areas of southern AZ and the high plateau of the rim country of northern AZ. This year seems to be a crazy problem of migration to find comfortable weather. 

I was staying near Payson mainly because it was a convenient commute into the Valley for several doctors appointments. I was in no hurry to travel higher onto the Mogollon Rim because an unusually severe winter had left stubborn drifts of snow and muddy road in the forest.  Even though lower elevations were experiencing 90 degree temperatures, snowpack was still a problem getting into camping places in high forests. 

Eventually, good weather made its way up to the rim country and I drove up into the Sitgraves National Forest and secured a campsite in a campground known as FS171. After a few days, sister Donna joined me in her RV and we kicked around plans for where to go after my stay limit was up. At first, we thought about going over to New Mexico and staying in state parks. We enjoyed a previous summer, hopping from park to park and thought it would be fun to do again. I have been dissatisfied with New Mexico SP system mainly because they turned all the parks into reservation system. That’s not the way I like to travel because I never plan where and when I want to go. It’s way more fun to wander around and make it an adventure. 

We thought about other places, but I didn’t want to travel too far away from Phoenix because of regular doctor appointments coming up. When we looked at the latest long-range weather forecast, there were record breaking high temperatures forecast for all of the southwest. Places as high as Flagstaff were predicting near 100 degree temperatures in the coming weeks. I got an idea that we should go up into the White Mountains near Big Lake to beat the heat, and Donna agreed. 

In the next few days I researched places to stay in the White Mountains. I found a dispersed camping area near a place called Carnero Lake, that was only 100 miles from the campground where we were staying, was situated above 9000 feet, and because I had not been there since I was a kid, would be an adventurous place to explore.  Never in my travels over the last several years had I considered the White mountains, mainly because there is no cell signal in many areas of that forest. With Starlink that’s not a problem anymore.  On July 10, 2023, we packed our RVs and headed for the White Mountains. 

No Trails Yet

May 17th, 2023

Its been quite a while since I posted a blog entry. I like to make an entry once in a while to document what I’m doing, but my age and physical ability seems to dictate a different lifestyle than what I would like. I still try to stay active and work on improvements to my motorhome. But I take things slow, partially because I can’t do the work, and partially because everything cost money.

I’m not traveling a lot or hiking trails like I used to and I miss that. My knee is to the point where I will have to have something done or relegate to a sedentary lifestyle. I have appointments for a doctor that will hopefully do a knee replacement this fall.

With gasoline costing $5 a gallon and a motorhome that likes to drink it, I have been staying mostly in southern Arizona for the last two years. You can regulate the seasons by going up into the mountains in summer and scurrying down to the desert when cold weather moves in.

One thing I’ve definitely noticed as I get older is how we depend on our doctors a lot more frequently. In the last couple years I’ve had several thing in my body sputter. I won’t get into that now because I remember when I was young and healthy, how I hated to hear about all the old relatives and friends illnesses. Lol!

Right now I’m camped slightly below Payson, Arizona. It has been quite warm here but my AC is working well. I want to move up higher towards Flagstaff or Show Low but it is still quite chilly up there. It was a wild and snowy winter in the high country and all the snow has not melted yet.

That’s enough for now. I want to tell about a costly mistake to my electronics, travel plans, and of course, all mine and my siblings illnesses. 😉


October 10th, 2022

The newest addition to my rig is a 12 volt chest refrigerator. It’s called an Alpicool X40. I’m sure it’s made in China, but looking at reviews of people that have them, seem as good quality as ones costing several times more. Even if I can only get a few years of service out of it, the price spread out over time is not too painful.

the nice thing about these chest fridges is that they only use a few watts to run. With all the solar and battery power I have, the 4 or 5 amps it pulls put very little drain on my electric system. And unlike my propane fridge, it only runs part of the time until the temperature turns the compressor on again.

I have never been a fan of propane refrigerators. It never used much propane but over the course of a couple years, what I spent for propane could pay for my chest fridge. I think more than the cost of propane, it was the hassle of finding and filling bottles all the time. Lots of places have gone to swapping out bottles instead of filling them. At least I modified my rig to use portable propane bottles. If I had to drive my rig to a propane dealer, that would be even more of a hassle.

An upright refrigerator is a little easier to get things out of than a chest fridge. Getting what you want seems to always be on the bottom and requires some digging to get to it. Fortunately, I don’t stock groceries for a family, so that helps keep the inventory down.

The freezer on my propane fridge would never get cold enough to keep ice cream hard. Sometimes things in the refrigerator compartment would freeze. My absorption propane fridge has served me well, but it is on its sixth year since I replaced the coils on the back, and many say that the life of an absorption fridge is about 7 years.

My plan is to get another smaller chest fridge/freezer ( most can be used either way) after a while to use exclusively as a freezer. I still have to remove the old fridge and build a cabinet for the new ones. As with all things I do, I’ll update how they are working and if I’m happy with the new setup.

New Battery

September 14th, 2022

Just a short update to document another change to my electrical system. A few days ago I purchased another lithium battery to add to my existing battery. I now have two 300 amphour batteries being charged with 1200 watts of solar. It’s part of my quest to go total electric.

The new battery is called Ampere Time and it was less than half the price I paid for my LifeBlue battery. My LifeBlue has an app that lets me see the state of charge and information about amps and voltage, but the Ampere Time only has a BMS built in that protects it from overcharge or low temperature, so I hooked up my Trimetric so I could see the state of the battery in real time. With lingering monsoons and remnants of a hurricane off the west coast, cloud cover has been a challenge for my solar.

So far everything seems to be working fine. The batteries are having a little trouble balancing their charge because my wires to each battery are a little different. As soon as I get new wire, that should solve that problem (copper wire is very expensive now).

I just wanted to mention that I enjoyed two weeks up in the Sitgraves National Forest camping with sister Donna. We had a couple days of rain and a muddy driveway in and out, but several days of beautiful weather where we explored the surrounding area. One highlight was when Richard and Dianna came up for a wonderful picnic with us.

Right now I’m camped near Payson in the Tonto National Forest. I’ve had a couple eye doctor appointments treating for some age-related Macular Degeneration and this is a good place for a quick run into Phoenix to see a doctor. The weather is starting to get perfect here and it is still too early to head down to southern AZ. I may go over to the Sedona area next and look at a new area they set up for dispersed camping. They say the idea of the new area is to remove the areas around town that are becoming overused by boondockers, but I think it’s also to get the homeless people out of sight of the tourists.

Looks like a jumble of wires.

I’ll update how the new battery is working after I’ve tested it for a while.