From Cold To Cacti

 Posted by at 3:01 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 312013

We woke up early yesterday morning to the delightful sense of our motorhome not rocking in the wind. The storm that had brought those terrible gusts to northern Arizona had moved on eastward into New Mexico, and though the sky was cloudy and the air was cold, we knew we’d have good traveling weather.

For me the best thing about our fulltime RV lifestyle is getting to visit the people we love and having the time to spend with them. And the worst part is seeing the tears in my daughter’s eyes as we drive away, knowing that I put them there. But we know we’ll be back again, taking advantage of that parking space next to their house, and enjoying all of the love that Tiffany, Scott, and the girls shower down upon us.

We left Taylor under heavy cloud cover and an ominous looking sky.

Clouds near Taylor

The wind had piled tumbleweeds up for miles upon the fences that line the highway.


We got on State Route 260 in Heber and began the climb to the top of the Mogollon Rim, leaving the high desert behind and entering the Ponderosa pine forest.

Mogollon Rim 

And then we ran into rain/sleet/snow. Huh? That wasn’t in my contract. I’ve read all of the small print and I’m pretty sure there is a No Snow clause! Fortunately it wasn’t coming down too hard, though it did start to build up on the windshield center post.

Sleet on window

In Payson we turned south on State Route 87, better known as the Beeline Highway, and very quickly the sky cleared and the terrain started to change. Giant saguaro cacti replaced the pine trees and we were traveling past rugged mountains.


Cacti steep hillside

Beeline Highway 2

Beeline Highway

The road is a good four lane divided highway, with quite a few 6% downhill grades and a few uphill ones, too. I kept an eye on my dashboard for any repeat of the flickering Check Engine light that we had when coming downhill into the Verde Valley a few weeks ago. Apparently having HEFR in Camp Verde replace the Winnebago’s fuel filter solved that problem and the Cummins 350 purred along just fine, the upgraded PacBrake Redlands Truck & RV Performance Center installed last year doing a good job of keeping our speeds in the comfortable range.

Beeline Highway downhill

50 miles south of Payson we got onto Bush Highway, a good but narrow two lane road with a number of dips to keep it interesting, that took us west past Saguaro Lake and connected with Usery Pass Road. We followed Usery Pass a few more miles, hooked up with local roads, and arrived at Santa Fe RV Park in Apache Junction about 1 p.m. This is a nice, clean Passport America park where we were assigned to a back in full hookup 50 amp RV site with a concrete pad and plenty of room to park our Explorer. We were wearing sweatshirts with T-shirts under them when we left Taylor, but it’s nice and warm down here in the desert and they quickly came off.

Bush Highway

Curves Bush Highway

Once we were parked and hooked up and had time to catch our breath and check e-mail, we drove a few miles to Terry’s parents house to pick up some packages that were waiting for us there and to visit with them for a while before heading to our favorite Chinese buffet for dinner.

We’ll be here for at least a week, maybe two, before we go on to Tucson. We’ve got lots of family obligations and friends we need to see, and it’s going to be a busy time. And it sure feels good to be warm again!

And finally, don’t forget to sign up for our free drawing for for a personally autographed paperback copy of John and Kathy Huggins’ So, You Want to be a Full-Time RVer? You could be our lucky winner!

Thought For The Day – The best part of being over 60 is that I did most of my stupid crap before the internet and Facebook.

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Nick Russell

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  6 Responses to “From Cold To Cacti”

  1. I notice a small zip tie near the connection to the wiper blade to the arm. What purpose does that serve?

  2. Had to stay up late last night to finish Dogs Run. It is an excellent book and you have caught the dialog and times perfectly. Congratulations!

  3. George, I’ll bet that the zip tie is to keep the windshield washer hose plugged into the wiper arm,so it doesn’t pop out.

  4. Welcome to our AZ home. We love Santa Fe – we’re in the back (pet) row, well except we’re in Amado right now. We’ll be back tomorrow so maybe we can drop by and say hi. Know you’re busy but at least we can wave.

  5. Lloyd is right, The wiper hose won’t stay in place without the zip tie.

  6. Just came from Oklahoma to New Mexico. That wind was REALLY special. Glad to be past it.

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