NOTE: Open post and then Single Click On first Post Photo to view an album in a more detailed, larger format...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thoughts On Maricopa County Park's Campground-Go-Round

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." Mark Twain. 

Ok, let's set the stage before the fireworks get started. First of all these are my opinions, which makes them neither right nor wrong. Opinion, "petrified or otherwise," isn't really much more than an emotional security blanket—it avails warmth and comfort in an hour of need. It can get a little cold and lonely out there, standing in "right field."

Opinions are often shaped and formed by experience and exposure—vantage point, if you will.  Opinions change, or at least get refined, as one gains wisdom... which is to say, perspective. Remember back when we thought we had it all figured out as teenagers? Thus, it's important to resist the compulsion to tie rebar and pour cement around our "truths," just in case the world isn't as flat as it appears. Perspective is everything. Some guy up in the crows nest calls out, "Land ho!" But deck hands see nothing but endless ocean. 

Use sand or gravel to hold your opinions in place, and save the embarrassment of breaking out the jackhammer again and again. 

As experienced RV'ers, Bobbie and I are primarily interested in boondock camping. I would give you a list of reasons why, but most of you already know the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a boondocking RV lifestyle, so I won't bore you with yesterday's hash browns. However, there are exceptions to "primarily,'" allow me to give an example. Madera Canyon, a place we just departed after maxing out the 14 day stay limit. 

For years we boondocked in the dispersed area camp sites located at the mouth of Madera Canyon. It was free, after all, and we could still access the network of trails, enjoy the canyon's shade, cooler temps, babbling brooks, flora, fauna (lots of birds and wild turkeys), and even climb Mount Wrightson when we wanted a challenge and far view. We knew about the Forest Service Campground further up in the canyon but were hellbent on "free" for some silly reason. I say "silly" because, with a senior discount it only amounts to 5 bucks a night to stay in the campground. It has great tasting spring water, trash cans, clean non-smelly restrooms, picnic tables, shade trees, connecting trails, and, best of all, it's nearly empty most of January and February. 

One particularly hot, malodorous day—flies and bees swarming—we questioned the "sacred nobility" of boondocking in a barren, windswept, cow-pattied dispersed area when there was an idyllic, pine scented campground waiting two miles distant up in Madera's protective canyon. Silly, indeed... bordering on stupid. Let sanctimonious purists cast judgmental stones from their glass RVs; at five bucks a night I'll do a little jackhammering and adjust course.

We don't particularly enjoy staying in RV parks; nothing against them, you understand—they serve some people's purpose. But, to me, for all the obvious reasons, if RVing meant staying in RV parks I'd have sold out a long time ago. That said (here comes a little noble hypocrisy) we do choose to stay at Zion River RV Resort for the month of November. For a 320 dollar winter rate, we get a pool, hot tub, showers, laundry, and a superb Thanksgiving Day feast. But the real cinch is its location, within a stone's throw of thousands of acres of mountain biking heaven, not to mention all the hiking opportunities in nearby Zion and surrounding wilderness. We also don't mind staying in National, State, and County Parks once in a while, when they are convenient to good hiking and biking and, yes, scenery. Setup done.

I will address my beef with Maricopa County's camping policies (or any other campground that operates in similar fashion) in the next post. 

All photos are from a great boondock camp only a few miles from Catalina State Park… which allows reservations, thus is always full, which forces serendipitous RV'ers into nuts-to-butts "overflow" where generators outnumber and out-clamor coyotes. If you are resourceful, you too can find this free and uncrowded boondock camp, and it's right smack on the "50 year trail," which connects to Catalina State Park. Sneaky types have been known to use the showers ;o.

Current location: A last minute plan change (thank you Sara) has us in Southern New Mexico, about to point Goldie north towards Colorful Colorado. I think the snow will be gone from Lovely Ouray, given the heat wave. 

Peace out,
mark and bobbie (ready to spread out in her sticks and bricks :))

So you have to push once in a while… a little cross training :)


  1. Yet another reason we NEVER stay at RV campgrounds. It only takes one D-bag to ruin your day, and there always seems to be at least one out there. It's much better to pick and choose who you camp with if you have to camp with others. We found it's better to be all alone and "two miles away from the pine-scented RV campground" than camped nose to tail with generator loving RVers and their disgusting pot luck dinners. :-)

  2. I'll loan you my "jackhammer" if and when you evolve :))

  3. I LOVE your answer to the first comment! Spot on! I learned about "perspective" from Tioga George some years ago. I will always connect the concept with him. Interesting how well you explained it. There are way too many deck hands who refuse to consider what the guys in the crows' nests see. Thank you for your vision.

  4. I think Bobbie needs a motor on her bike.....There are times and places....

  5. Staying in RV parks every once in awhile when there are no other good alternatives is a great way to gain perspective. As nice as it is not to worry about water, finding a place to dump, etc., it really makes us appreciate boondocking in a lovely, quiet location even more.

    So did you make it up that hill that Bobbie had to walk her bike up;-)


    1. Your point is well taken.
      As for making it up that boulder strewn hill, I had the strength, but not the agility :(

  6. All that writing and no actual Rant? You are such a tease! I think I guess what's coming. By the way you'll be thrilled to know that Catalina SP doesn't even have a real overflow anymore...it became reservation too. I personally thought that was crazy. I just can't get us reserved early enough to snag a spot.


If you like reading blog posts...from any blogger...consider leaving a "tip" in the form of a "comment" to the author, lest the blog might disappear from perceived lack of interest.