Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Campsites”

Mingus Mountain, Ho!

Ahhhh, now THIS is camping. Ground solar is out and to the left. (You can barely see them.)

Mingus Mountain (the name source is uncertain but is from a last name in the late 1800s) is a serious climb, with AZ 89A as its high launching point. 89A itself is a great drive from Prescott, winding and climbing with some exquisite scenery. Midway between Prescott and Cottonwood, the turnoff to FS104 is well-marked, being noted as the Mingus Mountain Recreation Area. I had expected a no-go here, since FS104 is closed a couple of miles in due to a late snow, but not before FS413 branches off to the right. To my relief, 413 has oodles of unoccupied camping sites before it dives back down to where I decided to turn around. No point in going needlessly far, although the dirt road is graded and fairly smooth. The goal is solitude after all, not four-wheeling adventure. No rain is forecast, but there’s no point in needlessly complicating the possibilities. The climb up to reach 413 is also wide and smooth, making this trek a simple drive.

I finally camped on a nice level spot where I have a pretty good shot at lighting up the solar panels, and I deployed the ground panels too, just for good measure. Most sites here offer at least Read more…


One of two branches of a trail heading back to where I’d originally planned to camp. Pretty nice back here. Very pleasant.

I decided to walk the same trail I’d driven last year while attempting to get back to a strange little area I’d scouted on the e-bike and hoped to camp in one day. On foot, I couldn’t get very far in because of the energy-draining meds I’m on, plus the full sun and heat.

I call these The Three Amigos, and have walked past them enough times that I now (quietly) ask, “How ya doin’, boys?” They’re about as tall as I am.

But I did make it just past what had stopped the Intrepid last year, and found another challenge to wonder about. Good thing I went when I did, though. The wind came up after Read more…

3:10 to Wickenburg

Ahead, some nice hills. Off to the right, a mild drop-off into a valley. Above, a beautiful sky.

Since the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was going to be too hot for my tender sensibilities, I decided to stay the one night and the next morning, and then move on to my principal stop at a higher, cooler elevation. I was surprised that the overnight low at 60 degrees felt cold to me, and realized that I’d need to break out a wool blanket or two when I camped in cooler Wickenburg. The warm sweats and flannel sheet weren’t cutting it in the way I’d expected. Maybe it was just me.

I had noticed some guy in a new Toyota pickup wandering up and past my site on the trail to Queen Canyon fairly early in the morning, and was pleased to find him driving past on his return just as I was finally wheeling out in late morning. See, I knew I’d be going back down the trail much too slowly for anyone following, and areas large enough to pull the 27′ Intrepid over are far and few between on this trail. As predicted, he quickly put Read more…

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

This is near Queen Canyon.

And so it begins. Buttoning up the Defiant TT took awhile, so by the time I finally hit the road after a replenishing trip to a supermarket in Yuma, it was 4 o’clock. I had anticipated just such a problem, and drove about an hour to turn in to Palm Canyon Road at the Kofa National Wildlife Preserve. The name Kofa was derived from King of Arizona Mine, one of the principal mines in the area. There are reputed to be bighorn sheep and a unique breed of pronghorn here, as well as one of the few groves of native palm trees. Many level campsites can be found on the right side of Palm Canyon Road, suitable for all types of rigs. The Queen Canyon side-trail is very different in character from the broad dirt road in, and it took another hour to get to my current campsite along it – almost 5 miles.

The Queen Canyon trail in from Palm Canyon Road is a rough one not suitable for Read more…

Change of Pace

A walking path.

A walking path.

I’m temporarily in Columbus, Ohio as a diversion while I wait for the wheels of medical assessment to turn, but here are a few shots of a walking path very close to where I’ve been staying in Indianapolis. As with every other place in the country, the weather has been markedly warmer than usual. In practical terms, you’re out of the hot sun while you’re along this path, but on a hot and humid day, the air is so still and humid that the heat you produce by walking will make you grateful for the invention of air conditioning by the time you get home. In cooler mornings, the path is a rewarding retreat.

A little farther along.

A little farther along.

This path goes along the shoreline of a small lake, so now and then the Read more…

The July 4th Crunch

Early Friday bliss.

Early Friday bliss.

Holiday weekends are a big time for locals, who pack up and then pack into any camping facility around. Rock Cut was no exception. Because of a fully booked park, I had to move a hundred yards into the site that I’d originally reserved for that weekend. It was far from level, but my weird Anderson levelers got the camper into the “acceptable” range when placed under the front tires – even though they sank well into the soft ground. I did have to cheat and run the Furd forward between a BBQ and a picnic table to find less sloped ground. My end of the camping loop was Read more…

Movin’ On Up

Semi-secluded, almost.

Semi-secluded, almost.

I’ve been at Chain-O-Lakes State Park for the maximum two weeks, so a move was required. Rock Cut is quite different, the major items being electricity and higher prices. Many of the sites are fab, while others are badly improvised on slopes that defy leveling spacers. I chose blind by the online map, since I’ve never been there. I assumed that all sites would be roughly the same in usability. When I rolled in a few days ago, I found out that my site was one of the most disastrous in the park. The slope is such that rain will require 4WD and a little tire churning. Going past the bottom of it offers decent leveling, but is in a water collection area. Backing in offers a superb view of the outhouse. It’s also in nearly intimate contact with another site.

I took a look at it and headed back to the check-in booth to ask whether they had the capability/authority to override my online ReserveAmerica reservation. To my surprise, they Read more…

Chain-O-Lakes State Park



I made it to Chain-O-Lakes State Park in Spring Grove, Illinois at 3 PM yesterday. To say it’s lush is pretty accurate. In fact, the undergrowth is so thick that you’d need a machete to carve a new path through it. You can’t simply walk into the woods. Signs say that ticks are plentiful here. I don’t know about that, but my hopes of coming in too early in the year for the mosquitoes and biting flies were in vain. Still, the classic rule to avoid sunrise and sunset works, as does keeping moving.

The spot I made reservations for has no hookups of any kind, and the overhead treetops limit solar power to most of the day rather than all of it, which will likely be good enough. I had to be careful about that, since most of the Read more…

A Busy Weekend

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

One thing that had conveniently skipped my mind is that although the Overland Expo is great, the following weekend may have a team roping competition to watch, but it also brings hordes of holiday campers to Mormon Lake.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The lower area where I was pretty much filled up, and a parade of fifth-wheel toyhaulers began making their way up the Read more…

Trippin’ to Mormon Lake

I found this on a Land Rover coming into the show grounds. Asked where he got it, the owner could only fumble, saying he'd had it added some twenty years ago in England. I love it, as it's certainly appropriate for the Intrepid!

I found this on a Land Rover coming into the show grounds. Asked where he got it, the owner could only fumble, saying he’d had it added some twenty years ago in England. I love it, as it’s certainly appropriate for the Intrepid!

High on my list of things to see is another round of the Overland Expo West, taking place May 20-22 in Mormon Lake, AZ. Since Mormon Lake is not that far from Williams and Flagstaff, they’ve been on the receiving end of the same rainfall I’d gotten in Williams. Last year, the Expo took place in a mudpit, and it actually snowed one night. Fortunately, this year promises drier weather and temps in the high 60s, which is good for me because the sun here pops the perceived temperatures into the 70s. This year won’t be without challenge to the vendors however, since the first two days should net winds approaching 30 MPH. That ought to test the mettle of the canopies and display boards.

Also parked at the show entrance was this 2WD Russian-made bike.

Also parked at the show entrance was this 2WD Russian-made bike.

They have classes on just about anything you can think of related to overlanding, from navigation, equipment choices and use, to extricating your rig out of bad trail conditions. I might sign up for something sometime, but considering the cost, I want to Read more…

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