We left Orange on Sunday morning and headed South on I-5 in very light traffic. Just before reaching San Diego we took I-805 and connected with I-8 East. There is nothing but desert along I-8. Lots of cacti and sand dunes plus a mountain that must be crossed. It is not a very forgiving environment and there are few services, except in Yuma, along the length of I-8. We spent Sunday night in one of Yuma’s many RV parks (the Yellow Pages lists 113 RV parks in Yuma). Yuma is a popular spot for the “snowbirds” seeking escape from the northern winters. I’m not sure I would rather brave the cold of the northern winter or endure the heat of the southern Arizona winter. It was well into the 90’s with very few offers of shade. An RV’s air conditioners have to work extremely hard to maintain a livable temperature inside of a poorly insulated box with the sun shining on it from sunrise to sunset every day. At least the humidity is very low.
Monday morning, we were back on I-8 and trekking across the desert toward the junction of I-8 and I-10 and the oasis of Casa Grande, where our friends, Bruce and Karen now live. We stopped at an RV park in Eloy, just outside of Casa Grande. It was still quite hot, but began cooling down as soon as the sun sets. We showered and went to Bruce and Karen’s house at Robson Ranch, a planned community currently boasting about 800 homes, but with plans for over 4,000. After a great dinner at an excellent restaurant we returned to Robson Ranch, said good night to Bruce and Karen, and immediately got lost trying to get out of Robson Ranch. The GPS kept directing us to a non-existent exit, but we got to see a lot of Robson Ranch as we drove up and down one street after the other, like a rat in a maze trying to find the cheese, or in our case, the exit. We eventually escaped and made our way back to the motorhome.
On Tuesday we changed directions and headed north, about 175 miles to Show Low, AZ where we met up with Bruce and Karen once again at their summer home in the White Mountains. The drive took about five hours. It was on two-lane highways, which sometimes became one-lane because of construction. We had to time our departure from Eloy to ensure that we did not reach a section of highway advertised to be closed from 9AM to 1PM due to blasting.
We had about half a tank of gas and wanted to fill up soon after leaving Eloy. I can tell you there is not very much in the way of civilization between Eloy and Show Low. We were well over halfway to Show Low before seeing the first gas station. It was in the dot on the map named Superior. I began pulling into the station when I realized it would be very hard to exit the station if I continued to the pumps. At the last second I turned, drove past the pumps, and got back on the highway. An hour later we stopped in the little copper-mining town of Globe. It was an Arco gas station with easy access in and out. I pulled up to the pump and Carol Ann got out to signal me when the back of the motorhome was even with the pump. Once in the proper position, I got out and walked back to the pump. That’s when Carol Ann pointed to the sign, which read, “Cash or Debit Cards Only, No Charge Cards.” We never carry much cash and don’t have a debit card, but we needed gas. We both pulled out our wallets and managed to come up with $50 for the gas. It would be enough.
On Tuesday we took the car back down the highway that led us here, just to drive through the Salt River Canyon again and take photos. It is really a beautiful area and with the car we were able to pull over easily and take photos. Even though the weather was great, it is still actually winter, which is why you don't see many bright colors. Instead, it's mostly shades of brown with green.
Show Low, AZ is in Apache country (nearby is the Fort Apache Indian Reservation along with the famed Fort Apache), on the Mogollon Rim in east central Arizona, at an elevation of 6,345 feet, a challenge, I am glad to say, in which my gas motorhome excelled. The town was established in 1870 and, according to local legend, the name resulted from a marathon poker game between Corydon Cooley and Marion Clark. They were equal partners in a 100,000-acre ranch and decided there was not enough room for the two of them and agreed to play a game of poker, with the winner taking the ranch and the loser leaving. After it seemed like there would be no end to the game, Clark said, “If you can show low, you win.” In response, Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs and replied, “Show low it is.” Show Low’s main street is named “Deuce of Clubs.”
We are spending three nights in an Arizona state park, Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area, on the edge of Show Low. This is the nicest state park we have ever seen. All of the interior roads and the RV pads at each campsite are paved with concrete. The heavily wooded sites also have water, sewer, and electricity.
There were only two problems, no cable TV and no internet. We are so spoiled! We put up the TV antenna and were able to find two channels. One is FOX, which I don’t care for, and the other is Heroes, which is not high-definition and shows only old movies and TV shows. Thank goodness we brought a stack of DVDs with us. As far as internet goes, our phones are AT&T and could be used as a Wi-Fi hot spot if AT&T had any service in this part of the world. Therefore, you won’t be reading this post until we are out of the White Mountains.
On Thursday, Bruce and Karen took us on a tour of Show Low and the area and then we went out to dinner and to say goodbye to Bruce and Karen. We enjoyed ourselves and Carol Ann insisted that I pick up the check. Never one to say “No” to her, I asked for the check and gave the waiter my credit card. When the waiter brought the receipt, I added a tip, totaled it, signed it, closed the little leather folder, and pushed it over to the edge of the table. We talked a while longer and as we were getting up to leave, something told me to open the leather folder in which I had left the signed credit card receipt. The folder was empty! Carol Ann noticed my puzzlement and asked what was wrong. I explained that the credit card receipt was missing. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I have it.” She had taken the restaurant’s copy with my signature thinking it was our receipt. I had already taken the receipt out and put it in my wallet. If I hadn’t looked, we would have walked out without paying! And the police were sitting out in the parking lot!
Friday we departed Show Low and headed overland (no Interstate Highways) to Capitan, NM. We stopped for lunch in Pie Town. That's right, Pie Town, NM. The only thing in the town appeared to be about three pie eating establishments. We had a hamburger followed by a peach-raspberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Very good.
About an hour from Capitan we spotted something out in the middle of nowhere that could be connected with extraterrestrials, Roswell, or Area 51. Here are some pictures.
They must be listening to the heavens.........
Nothing in any direction.......... Just a lonely railroad crossing. Wouldn't it be spooky at night!
Capitan is a hole in the road with a very small RV park (maybe 10 camp sites), so small that we drove all the way through the little town without seeing the park. We called for directions, turned around, and found it. The sign was not visible when we drove by the first time because a cedar tree blocks the sign. I mentioned this to the owner as I sat at the kitchen table in his double-wide registering. He shrugged and said he had thought about cutting the tree down but his wife wouldn't let him.but only about 60 miles from Roswell. We will spend Saturday and Saturday night in Roswell looking for extraterrestrials.