Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Apache Junction, Arizona

April 1 to May 1:

On April 1st we packed up The Duchess and headed north on I-10 from Benson to Apache Junction, Arizona. We had booked the entire month of April at the Lost Dutchman RV Resort which is a 55+ community. Our GPS re-routed us off of I-10 as we got close to Phoenix since the NCAA Basketball final four was going on and there were lots of traffic on the roads. Al and Barbara Smith have made this park their home for the past few winters and were going to be there for the entire time we had booked.

We arrived and checked in a the security gate. We had been assigned to Site 113 and found out where this location was. We arrived at the site and wondered if we were going to be able to get the motorhome into the place. We came up with a plan and were able to back the motorhome in on the first try. Several of our neighbors came out to watch us park (entertainment for the day) and everyone complimented us on our "backing" skills (Connie directing and Mike driving).

Site 113. We had to maneuver between palm tree & car port. 

We are the last mobile RV on this site. Once we leave they are pouring a
slab to bring a Park Model RV.
There are 731 sites in the RV Resort with park models being on all but a few lots. The park has been here since 1979 and the vast majority of sites are occupied by snowbirds for only the winter months. By the time we left the park on May 1st there were only a few people remaining.

We used the month that we were here to do some repairs on The Duchess along with completing some maintenance jobs. We had several tiles that had broken or were coming loose in the area between the kitchen and the bath. After removing the old tiles (saving as many as we could), we discovered that there was some damage to the sub-floor from a shower leak we had last year. So we ended up having to repair the subfloor before we could begin to put the tile back down. The entire process took a week and we had to make several trips to the local hardware stores for supplies.

Tools to start the process.

Removing a marking the tiles.

Working to take out the old tiles and mastic.

Tiles out and repairing the subfloor.

Our "workshop".

Sub-floor repairs. Plank across area so that we can get to bath/bedroom.

New tiles installed.

Finished floor with grout.
This was the largest project we have taken on to do ourselves on the motorhome. We took our time, had to wait at times for work to "cure or dry", and ended up pleased with the results.

We did the annual maintenance on our generator: changed out air filter along with oil/oil filter. Connie purchased some curtains from a local store and used her sewing machine to make them fit the windows in our bedrooms along with one of the windows in living area. 

Al & Barbara took us out to Tortilla Flat one day. The road to Tortilla Flat is a winding route that goes past Canyon Lake (on the Salt River). Tortilla Flat was a stop along the stagecoach route that followed the Apache Trail. It is now a tourist attraction near the end of the paved road that is the Apache Trail.

Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail.

Women's bathroom in Tortilla Flat.

Stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail.

Getting our picture taken with the "Indian".
On the way back into town we stopped at the Lakeside Restaurant & Cantina on Canyon Lake and ate lunch on the porch overlooking the lake.

View of the lake.
We took a couple of road trips while we were in Apache Junction. One day we drove the Apache Trail along the Salt River up to the Roosevelt Dam. Once the pavement ends just past Tortilla Flat it becomes a very rough, ridge-back and dusty road winding up and down various hills along the river. We did see a motorhome that someone had taken down the road before crashing it into a side wall. There were two Arizona state troopers trying to figure out how to get it out of the way (not sure what they ever figured out).  We made it all the way and were surprised at the number of cars without much clearance travelling on the road.

Canyons along the Apache Trail.

Road continues below.

Motorhome with awning ripped off. The entire passenger side was up
against the side of the canyon.

Apache Lake about the half-way point along the Apache Trail.

Roosevelt Bridge at the end of the Apache Trail.
Another day we took a trip up to Payson, Arizona. Payson is about 1.5 hours north of Apache Junction that at a much higher elevation, about 4,900 feet. The temperature is usually 10-15 degrees cooler than Phoenix and a lot of people go there to escape the heat during the summer months. Al & Barbara are planning on spending part of their summer there. There is a large rim (uplift of the earth) called the Mogollon Rim located north of Payton that is at 7,000 feet in elevation and another 10 degrees cooler than Payson. While we were there we visited the Zane Grey museum and the recreation of his cabin that he built near the rim northeast of town in the 1920's. 

Mogollon Rim above Payson.
Re-built Zane Grey cabin.

The original cabin was built in 1921 in a remote area where all of the materials had to be hauled in by mule or wagon. Zane Grey was a prolific writer of western novels along with publishing many articles on hunting and fishing. The story told is that he would visit the cabin in November and December of each year to hunt, fish and write. In 1929 he brought a film crew with him to film a bear hunt in November not realizing that Arizona had changed the start of the hunting season from November 1st to December 1st that year. Zane asked for a special permit, was denied and vowed never to return to the state. The only other time he sat foot in Arizona was for a few minutes at the opening of the Hoover Dam. The cabin fell into disrepair until a local gentlemen bought it in the 1950's and restored it. The restored cabin was destroyed in a 1990 fire and then recreated in town during 2003. Click on the link for more information about Zane Grey.

We spent a lot of our time in and around the Lost Dutchman RV Resort. The park had two pools, two hot tubs, exercise room, craft rooms, computer and library as well as several different workshops. During the winter months there are numerous activities that occur each day.

On the Saturday before Easter there was brunch held in one of the community rooms where the park provided the ham and the residents still in the park brought dishes to share. It was a great spread and we even got to take home some of the left-overs. I had a nice conversation with a lady who was 95 year old and had been wintering in the park since 1980. This was her last winter at the park as she is going into a senior living center in Wisconsin later in the month.

We were able to spend a couple of days visiting with John and Denise Miller who live in Phoenix. They moved to Phoenix from the Dallas several years ago when John went to work for a wholesale nursery here in the area. Connie had been wedding a long time ago when she lived in Dallas and had not seen either one of them in a number of years. Denise & John fixed up a great dinner one Saturday and we were able to return the favor when they visited our motorhome later in the month.

We got a lot accomplished during the month, enjoyed the pools & hot tubs several days a week and got to spend time with Al & Barbara along with meeting several other people in the park. The temperatures were rising through-out the month and by the time we left daytime highs were near 100.
Al, Barbara, Connie & Mike

We said our good-byes on May 1st and headed north to Flagstaff ready to get out of the heat.