It’s always a sad time when we leave John and Marcia’s home in Sierra Vista, AZ.

The Belands & Warrens
Earl, John, Larry, Marcia, and Susan

You can tell by the look on my face that I am very sad. By the way, that round thermometer in the background on the wall needs to be mentioned. What it reads is the “Official” temperature for Sierra Vista. Never you mind what your weather app or the local television weather man says. This plain looking gage would read below freezing while my weather app and the local weatherman said above freezing. But wait! The bird bath is iced over, hmmmmm. One of John’s favorite sayings is the local weatherman should have a window installed. 😂

We said our goodbyes in mid April and headed north to our first stop, 220 miles away. A little longer drive then we like to do in one day. I know, we are spoiled.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Anyone who follows our travels will know that we received our first taste of McDowell Mountain Regional Park in February at a small Airstream Rally. It’s where Bad Thing #3 happened. Does that ring a bell? No? Good because it is best forgotten!

With it’s tranquil beauty, miles of trails, spring flowers, and birds, McDowell is a fine place to start our 2022 adventures. A mighty contrast to the hustle and bustle of Phoenix just a few miles away.

We would hike the trails early before the heat set in.

Here’s a little slide show of pictures that Susan took here at McDowell.

Time for an odd story. Susan and I were walking on one of the trails and a young couple passes us. The young lady is not wearing shoes, just her socks. Looking around at all the cactus and rocks on the trail not to mention the possibility of snakes, I thought to myself what an odd thing to do. The trail crossed a road and a ranger was driving by just as the couple were crossing. I didn’t hear the whole conversation but I did hear the young lady say “but I still have my socks on”. I had to chuckle. The ranger drove away and the young lady put her shoes on. Is that weird or what?

If your not into daytime temps in the 120’s, McDowell should probably be avoided during the summer. It’s a dry heat though. 😲

There was a hiatus of Canadian RVers in the States during Covid. They are back now enjoying the warmer temperatures that the southwest provides. I was talking to a couple from Ontario camped next to us and during our conversation they told me that Highway 89 north of Flagstaff was closed due to a wildfire called the Tunnel Fire. Yikes! That is the highway we wanted to take to get to Lees Ferry.

After a fun 3 days we drove out of McDowell and headed for Black Barts RV Park in Flagstaff. Black Barts is really nothing more then a parking lot for RV’s. But it is convenient, has full hookups, a laundry, and a steak house if you don’t mind paying $50 or more for a steak. I’m told the steaks are good. Black Barts also has good cell service which we needed to figure out what we were going to do with Highway 89 closed.

Lees Ferry Campground

The longer we enjoy this lifestyle the less driving we want to do when we move. In the old days it was not uncommon for us to drive 400 miles between camping spots. Nowadays 150 miles is too much.

Black Barts to Lees Ferry using Highway 89 was 126 miles. Because of the Tunnel Fire we had to drive west out of Flagstaff on I40 to Highway 64 which took us to the Grand Canyon and around to join up with Highway 89 north of the Tunnel Fire. It added 50 miles to our drive. ☹

After we drove through the Grand Canyon National Park entry gate (they let us through for free as we were on the detour) the road follows the rim of the Grand Canyon. Beautiful drive I must say.

Lees Ferry Campground is 40 miles below the Glen Canyon Dam, on the Colorado River and is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It is a first come, first serve campground. We like to get to these types of campgrounds by noon to find a site. Because of the extra 50 miles we were later than that. We followed another RVer for 40 miles, right into the Lees Ferry Campground. He turned left and I went right. I found a campsite, he didn’t. That’s how it goes, it very well could have been us who drove away dejected. Another effect of Covid, crowded campgrounds.

This camp site was the last one for a reason, it was about as unlevel a site as we’ve ever seen in a developed campground. It took everything we had to get Shiny level. Why is it important to get an RV level you might wonder. The most important reason is the refrigerator. RV refrigerators are different then a home refrigerator which uses a compressor. RV refrigerators use a process called absorption to cool. They do not work well if they are not level and they can even be damaged. In addition, things like the sink and shower won’t drain correctly, items rolling off the counters. Worse, an unlevel shiny makes us look like rookies. 😲 It’s just best to get Shiny level right off the get go.

Can I vent a little bit? Thanks. Let me take a minute and describe a few of the things that irritate me at campgrounds. I’m reminded of it now because Lees Ferry had my top three irritants.

Generators – Every dry (no electric) campground like this is more then likely going to have a “generator man”. Lees Ferry was no exception. You come to a place like this for peace and quiet and then we have to listen to a generator run for 12 hours straight. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a generator (Hondo) and we are not afraid to use it when the “sun don’t shine”. But that is rare here in the southwest. In any case never all day long. Worse case scenario I’d have to run Hondo 1 1/2 hours twice a day. But when the sun is shining our solar suitcase (Genny) does it all and it is a whole lot quieter!

The worst “generator man” episode we have ever experienced was at Big Bend National Park. We were in-between two giant buses both running generators from 8 in the morning until the camp hosts asked them to shut down at night. Why? So they could watch college basketball on their outdoor big screen televisions, that’s why. Can you imagine? Drive hundreds of miles to a secluded spot like Big Bend to watch basketball! I call this “generator on both sides” scourge Texas Headphones. Thankfully it has only happened that once.

Bright Lights – These people are very high on my irritation list. You come to a remote place for the dark skies and someone has bright LED lights wrapped all around their camper and their tow vehicle blinding everyone around them at night. I think the main reason for this is that they think it keeps small rodents like pack rats and mice at bay. I don’t buy it. Sure these creatures can be a problem, I’m just not convinced the annoying bright lights help. The bright light people will tell you that they have never had a rat problem since they started using the lights. Well, we’ve never had a rat problem and we have never used lights, or any other rodent deterrent for that matter. They’re watching to many YouTube video’s me thinks.

The all night RV running lights staying on falls into this bright light category. How anyone would think this is cool, attractive, or anything but an annoyance to everyone else is beyond me.

Dogs – I have to be careful here as we are in the minority when it comes to traveling with pets. The biggest problem I have is a constantly barking dog or dogs. People bring dogs with them and then leave them in the RV or penned outside while they galivant around. Sadly, at times I have had bad thoughts.

Number 2 (pun intended) is dog poop. Mostly people are pretty good about picking up after they’re pets. We’ve all noticed exceptions I’m sure. Still, it irritates me when the owner lets the dog release its bodily fluids in my campsite. Even if the owner promptly picks it up. This sign pretty much represents how I feel about the subject.

Thank you for letting me vent. I have more campground irritants but they can wait as I sense I’m losing your attention.

The Colorado River itself is part of the Grand Canyon National Park. We’d take the trail down to the river and watch people fly fishing. I didn’t see any fish being caught but I was told it was good fishing here. Did you know you can fish here on the Colorado River and actually make a few bucks?

We watched trucks towing trailers with large motorized rafts with kayaks on them heading upstream to the Lees Ferry boat ramp. Then buses full of people to board the rafts would follow. The rafts would put in and then they would motor the people up the river where they would get off with their kayaks and float down the river.

We stayed 3 days here at Lees Ferry. Every day was windy. The wind never stops here in the southwest it seems. One day a brief storm came through which dropped rain and sleet. It didn’t amount to much but I enjoyed watching all the people scramble for shelter. Yet another lowly pastime of mine I’m afraid.

All day long people would drive in and around the campground searching for a campsite. Most found what they wanted, some did not. The new reality for RVers due to Covid. Covid has taken some of the fun out of this lifestyle.

Please enjoy this brief slide show of Lees Ferry.

  • Lees Ferry - Balancing Rock

Jacob Lake

We left Lees Ferry after 3 days, anxious to explore the petroglyths of Utah. We didn’t want to drive the full distance to Parowan Gap in one day so we stopped for a night in Jacobs Lake. The Jacobs Lake Campground was not open yet so we found a dispersed camping spot off of a forest service road.

Because of the altitude is was cold but what a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Lees Ferry Campground. So quiet and peaceful. All by ourselves, beautiful night skies. Ah, this is more like it. But alas the call of the petroglyphs is strong and so we left after just one night.

Our next stops are Parowan Gap and Freemont Indian State Park. You won’t want to miss those stories! You may have to give Susan a prod though. In fact, I wish you would!


  1. Ah ch-ch changes. There’s a migration underway in America and elsewhere. We experience the light shows and hate them as well, but basketball for christ sake. Yeesh. Glad you always find the good pieces in it all. Part of the changes we observe are the newcomers without citizenship skills. One tribe thinks it’s their right to use fireworks into the wee morning hours, the other thinks there ought to be some neighborly rules about that. Then, what they verbalize becomes a sample of the disparate behaviors being played out across the country.

  2. Agree about the annoyances! And totally don’t need to drive More than 3-4 hours a day when you can. Good reads!

  3. Hey! We’re at one of our favorite spots just off 273. It’s windy, as usual. We’ll cross paths again sometime.

  4. Yup, generators, bright lights and barking dogs (we have dog). Add screaming kids in that category. We just had an upsetting incident with a woman and her children wanting to use our campsite as a path to their friend’s campsite. I should have gotten the ranger after the second incident, but at that point I wasn’t sure it was the same person.

  5. State park camping in Alabama…on our way to NOLA in October…Alabama football on the outdoor TV screens. We were amazed, seriously, everybody but us. Since my camping in state parks were in my younger days and RVs were mostly unknown, the TVs in addition to all the RV outdoor lights….I was one broken hearted gal! Camping has been redefined in a sad way. We are looking forward to a lengthy trip out west ( missing Clifftop) to discover BLM areas of peace and dark…..fingers crossed!

    1. Argh! So sorry to hear about that. I’d have to sedate myself. Good luck with your travels west. Are you using the app Campendium? Larry uses it a lot and it has good reviews of the campsites which are usually pretty accurate and helpful.

  6. Thanks for taking your time with this post. I am always so curious about the ins and outs of RVing and your rants gave a fine view of the “outs”. They would be my top three irritants as well. Todd and I are both so annoyed with LED lights on houses and parking lots. A few years ago he went to the town hall and got the Church to change their lights cuz the damn things were shining right in our window!

    COVID has changed things around here. On one hand it’s great people are discovering the great out of doors but places that use to be quiet are not super busy. I stick to my local trails, especially 4th of July weekend.

    Hope your travels to Parowan Gap and Freemont Indian State Park are irritantless!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Annie. Yes, Parowan Gap and Freemont Indian were blissfully free of irritants

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