Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Fishing in Arizona?

 Apache Junction, AZ   High 101  Low 72

We had a specific reason for our stop in St. John's, AZ. We wanted to check out campgrounds in that area and we really wanted to check out Lyman Lake. According to a report I read there is some pretty good walleye fishing in that lake. Jim and I are thinking of maybe staying in Arizona next summer but up in the high country where it's a little cooler than down here in the valley.

Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet.

We camped at St. John's RV Park for $20/night. The park was okay with lots of trees for shade. It is mostly weeds and the concrete pads are all busted and are definitely a trip hazard for someone as clumsy as I am.

Their monthly rate is $300 plus electric. $100 of your rent goes toward the electric and you pay anything above that amount. Not a bad deal at all. 

The drive to Lyman Lake from St. John's is beautiful. 

Lyman Lake looks like a fantastic place to do some fishing. 

The campground area is really nice and I bet it is packed on week-ends during the summer. $33 per night for a full hook up site with a fourteen day stay limit. 

It was all I could do to keep Jim from finding a boat and getting out on the water. We can buy a week-day season pass for $75 which is perfect since he doesn't fish on week-ends with all the locals.

After checking out the lake we wanted to check out Springerville RV Park in Springerville, AZ. St. John's is north of the lake and Springerville is south. We really liked the park and I forgot to take any pictures. It is quite new and does not have any trees for shade, but the lots are a nice size with room for our Bungalow, the truck and the boat. The rate is $300 per month plus your electric. 

So we have options if this is what we decide we want to do next summer.

We then made the journey down the mountain into the valley. All we've done since we got back to AJ is doctor appointments. And we still have several to go. People are returning to the park but most activities have been cancelled. We are still staying pretty isolated. We are not living in fear of Corona Virus but we are being cautious. I wish things were different.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Back to Arizona

 Apache Junction, AZ   High 109  Low 81

It was time for us to pull up the jacks and head south. We left Billings on Wednesday, September 10. It was hard to say goodbye to Todd and Michaela. We enjoyed their company so much. 

This was the view out of our window as we headed west. The snow is beautiful on the mountains as long as it stays up there.

Our first night was spent in Twin Bridges, MT at a quiet, pretty rest area. Well, it was quiet during the night. We had a semi, a few cars and a truck camper for company. As we were getting ready to pull out the next morning, a political rally arrived to take over the whole rest area. 

Thursday night we spent at the fairgrounds in Malad, ID. Another free stop but please call the county if you want to camp there. We had thought this was also going to be very peaceful but I need to warn you, you may hear cannons going off. We were watching some TV when all of a sudden we heard this horrible boom not far from us. I got a little worried but nothing else happened. About 30 minutes later another boom. That did it for me. I had to know what was going on so I called the Sheriff's office.

The view at the fairgrounds.

I explained to the women who answered that we were camped at the fairground and I was wondering what all the noise was about. She started to laugh and then explained there was a football game at the high school which was just across the road from us and every time the home team scored, they shot off the cannon. I figured they must have won the game because awhile later there were lots of cannon booms. Then all was quiet.

The next night we made it to Blue Cut RV Park in Helper, UT. We have stayed there before and it was perfect for a one night stay. Pull through and did not have to unhitch. 

A touch of fall color.


Saturday we headed further south into Utah. The southwest scenery is just incredible.

 Spent the night in Bluff, UT at the Coral Sands RV Park. 

After leaving Bluff we headed down Highway 191 through the Navajo Nation. A work of advice - don't go down this road. It is a very rough, roller coaster road and sometimes we could only do 35 mph. I was afraid to go into the trailer at the end of the day cause I wasn't sure anything had survived. 

The Navajo Nation has been hit extremely hard by Covid-19. They have implemented curfews and strict mask wearing. I called to make sure that we could stop and get gas in Chinle on Monday and they told us that they would be open. Signs everywhere stressing the importance of masks, the curfews, and absolutely no visitors. Everyone was wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing at the gas station. 

We finally reached St. John's AZ and pulled into the St. John's RV Resort for three nights. We have a specific reason for being here and that will be my next post. It has definitely warmed up.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Big Sky Country

 Just some of the gorgeous sky pictures I've taken while here in Montana.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Bragging Rights

 We are on our way back to Arizona but needed to make one last post on Billings.

As parents and parents-in-law of very talented adults, that gives us the right to brag about their accomplishments.

Todd (like his father) is a car nut. He is really involved in remote control car racing which means he has to build and design and paint his own cars.I'm amazed at his abilities to create such realistic models. And he does it by finding really good buys at second hand stores and on sale. (We taught him well.)

This car won a 1st and a 2nd in races last week-end. Way to go.

He also has become very adept at stenciling. At least I think that's what is it. He made this for me.

Our daughter-in-law, Michaela, is beyond talented. I've shown you several of her works in the past but this one is by far her greatest masterpiece.  She painted this for Jim for his birthday. His velcro dog Rocky Joe.

Thank you Todd and Michaela. We love you and are going to miss you so very much.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Happy Birthday Jim

 Billings, MT   High 48  Low 32

It's way too cold for September 8, but it's headed back up to 90 by next week.

We celebrated Jim's birthday by having Chinese food with Todd and Michaela. He also got a huge birthday present. A totally unexpected birthday present.

We always take our truck in for service while we're in Billings at Denny Menholt Chevrolet. Jim retired from the dealership as the Parts Manager when we decided to go full time. They treat him really good.

However, when they were checking over the truck they found a major problem. The head gaskets were not in good shape at all. It would cost several thousand dollars to repair the truck and it was time for Jim and I to have a long talk. We decided that Jim needed to see if he could find a newer truck that we could invest those thousands of dollars in rather than fix the old one.

So he and one of the salesmen, another Jim, went to work and found one.

As you can see, our old topper doesn't quite match in color and this truck has a shorter bed, so we will have to replace the topper when we get back to AZ. Then came all the work. Those of you who have seen the inside of our truck bed know how much stuff Jim carries with us. All of that had to be moved from one truck to the other. The guys at the dealership helped him with some of it, thank goodness. But he still had to do a lot of the heavy moving by himself. It just so happens that it was 103 that day and the Moose's electric was having issues so our air was not working a lot of the time. Not fun.

But everything is done including getting running boards on the truck so I can get in and out. We plan on leaving here on Thursday. And it's none too soon for me. The Moose Lodge folks are talking about upgrading their electric hookups which they desperately need to do. We use our surge guard and it spends a lot of time not being happy with the power output. This is also one of the noisiest places in the whole world to stay. The railroad tracks are just across the street. I know lots of parks have tracks nearby but these trains make our Bungalow shake day and night. This intersection is also one of the busiest in the city. Sirens are going constantly along with motorcycle riders who feel the urge to rev their motors while waiting for the light to change. Just incredible, the amount of noise.

We left the spider infestation back in Canyon Ferry although we brought many of them with us. We will be bombing the Bungalow when we get back to Apache Junction. Here in Billings we have grasshoppers - thousands of them. 

I do love the sky in this picture.

So I am ready to leave, at least mentally. Still lots to do to get everything ready for the road.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Family Times

 Billings, Montana   High anywhere from 87 to 103   Low anywhere from 62 to 32

Roller coaster weather - that's what we've been having. Last Saturday we reached a record shattering 103. Previous record was 95 set back in the 50s.  Today - Labor Day - our high is going to be 48 with a low of 35. So we dropped 55 degrees in 48 hours. They are predicting snow in the higher mountain elevations. We are also getting rain today and we're hoping for enough rain to really help the firefighters get control of all the fires burning in the state.

We usually have four reasons for coming to Billings - to visit with family, visit with friends,an eye appointment for me, and service work on the truck. This year the visit with friends did not happen and the visits with family were few. Thanks Covid-19 for all the wonderful memories.

Todd has become quite involved with remote control car racing which is gaining in popularity here in Billings. I don't understand any of it but he does whatever he can do to make the car go fast, paints it in special paint jobs and decals, and spends a lot of time learning how to make it get around the track without wrecking. The club did not have any events organized while we are here but Todd got some of the guys together for some drag racing and practice runs. It was fun to watch everybody race their cars and have a good time.

And the sun sets on the race fun. Well it did for Jim and I anyhow. The rest of the "kids" stayed until about 10 or so.

We celebrated Labor Day on Sunday (since it was going to rain all day Monday) by grilling chicken wings with corn on the cob and mashed taters at Todd and Michaela's house.

Michaela and Honey Bear

Zoey stole my heart the first time they brought her home as a puppy. She loves her Grandmas and turns into a lap dog when we show up to visit.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Backroads To Billings (at least part of the way)

 Billings, MT   High 84  Low 61

We left Canyon Ferry and headed out on Highway 12. Leaving Townsend you enter the Helena National Forest. It's a beautiful, curvy road through the Lodgepole Pines.

When you exit the forest, the plains are in front of you as far as the eye can see. They are a beautiful golden color this time of year.

After turning south on Highway 89, you'll find the little town of Ringling.The town was founded by John Ringling, one of the brothers of the Ringling Brothers' Circus, as part of his plan to build a railroad connection between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. For some reason, only a twenty three mile stretch was built between Ringling and White Sulphur. When the railroad did not extend any further, Ringling lost most of its population. This is what is still standing. If we had had time, I would have loved to drive down that main street.

Do any of you remember the Jimmy Buffet song back in 1974 on his "Living and Dying in 3/4 Time" Album - Ringling, Ringling? This is the town he was singing about. So I've been playing it on YouTube while I do this post. Check it out.


One building still standing is out by the highway. .St. John Catholic Church which was built in 1914 and sits on a hill overlooking the town. No longer used as a church, a grant was issued to help restore it.

A little further down Highway 89, just before you get to Wilsall, you will find Thunder Jack. He was sculpted by
Gary Kirby to commemorate the mountain men of Montana. The first grade class of 2006-07 got to name him and thanks to them we have Thunder Jack.

The sun was not in the right position to get a very good picture when we stopped. Notice all the smoke covering the mountains in mine. The second picture was taken by James Cowlin and is much better than mine.

From Wilsall we dropped down to I-90 and headed on to Billings. We stopped to get fuel in Big Timber and thought about Janna and The Cowboy up in the mountains.

We are currently at the Moose Lodge in Billings. Not sure how long we'll be here. Get to visit with the kids some more.